Hello, this is Cookery Editor, Sue McMahon, and this week I’m glad to have the excuse to try some Caribbean recipes at home. My husband was originally from the Caribbean and he’s worked as a chef on several different Caribbean islands, so on the rare occasions that he cooks a main meal at home it usually has a Caribbean influence. One of my favourites is Rice ‘n’ Peas and I also love fried plantain, so this week as it’s Caribbean Food Week it will be a good excuse to try and get him cooking.
Caribbean Food Week is organised by Grace Foods who are the main supplier of Caribbean food and drink in the UK, and the event will be headed up by Chef Hasan De Four, a top chef from Trinidad who will be encouraging people to get into the carnival spirit whether it be hosting a reggae-themed party, or trying jerk chicken for the first time, or even just enjoying a rum cocktail. You may know him as the chef who accompanied Gary Rhodes on his series “Rhodes across the Caribbean” and he also appeared on the Hairy Bikers’ “Best of British” programme in April. Have a look at the Facebook page for the event with some more ideas, and also information about events taking place, including where you can sample Carribean foods and get money-off vouchers.
A while back when we asked for your favourite recipes, we were sent this Caribbean-style Fried Fish recipe by Hassrah Mohammad, who at that time was a reader in London, but she’s now moved back to her roots and is back living in Trinidad. This delicious, spicy recipe was the version she used to make when she lived over here, so all the ingredients are readily available in the UK.
Two of the best known Caribbean recipes are Jerk Chicken and also Rice ‘n’ Peas. Our version of Jamacian Jerk Chicken Wings is very easy to prepare, but does taste best when you allow it time for the meat to marinade, so you coat the chicken wings in the morning and then cook in the evening. To make it even quicker, you could use Dunn’s River Jerk Seasoning instead of mixing your own spices.
And Rice ‘n’ Peas doesn’t have green peas as we would usually think of when we see ‘peas’ in a recipe, but use dried beans, which give the rice quite a dark colour. Our recipe uses dried red peas or red kidney beans, but black beans are quite traditional to use too. This rice makes a good accompaniment to the Jerk Chicken wings, but it also goes well with BBQ pork. If you want to make the recipe quicker, then drained canned beans can be used instead of the long soaking and cooking of dried beans.
If you’re looking for a light dessert after a meal, then try our Caribbean-inspired Poached Pineapple, and make sure the rum is used and isn’t optional! If you want the recipe to have even more of a kick to it, then you could even double the amount of rum that you add. Or as an alternative, as coconut is such a good partner to pineapple, try using Malibu which is a Caribbean rum with coconut liqueur, but as it has a lower strength than standard rum, then I’d suggest doubling the amount of rum stated in the recipe.
I hope I’ve inspired you to try something new to get into carnival spirit.