My dad recently passed away, he was a fiercely loyal, loving father with a strong family ethic.
I love my dad, and I miss him greatly, I am coming to terms with the fact that he has gone, and I can no longer talk to, or share a joke with him. As a family we are still in the grieving process and still trying to get our heads over what has just happened.
Last year he had been diagnosed with asbestos related cancer, and this weakened his immune system greatly. His passing was still a shock because he had been told that the cancer was stable and was not moving, he had gone to Jamaica in the spring, and came back looking very healthy. However, events took a turn for the worse very quickly, it seemed that he had contracted a chest infection which was complicated by the cancer. One thing led to another and within a week of him being admitted to hospital, he had gone.
My dad grew up on a farm. There were goats, chickens, cows, coffee, chocolate, sugar cane ,star apples ….I could go on. He wasn’t a great caribbean food cook when we were little because my mum was so good, he couldn’t be bothered. Still she had to work, and they were a team so he persevered, and actually became quite good.He always said that while growing up in Jamaica, when it came to food, he wanted for nothing, because they grew everything they needed to survive. Earlier in the year we were joking about Puri Dahl, which is one of his favourite caribbean food snacks. I had made them for him but had made them just a bit too hard – the joke was how long it was taking him to eat and digest them.
I didn’t feel that I could carry this blog on , but now I think I owe it to my dad who together with my mum looked after us, and is there for us 1oo% .
Working with asbestos, was the ultimate death sentence as it takes 30-40 years to develop . We knew that he loved us and would have died for anyone of us. In the end he died for all of us thanks to the asbestos he had unwittingly inhaled all those years ago when I was little .
I love you dad.
I enjoy being a mother and relish the complexities and challenges it brings. I firmly believe all human beings are made to nurture, I have concluded it’s innate within all of us.
This Mother’s Day, my daughter made me breakfast in bed. She found out what I like to eat and drink and then ordered my husband to the supermarket – hubby doesn’t ‘do’ supermarkets, or shopping, so that was an achievement in itself.
She then dragged him out of bed on Mother’s Day to help her prepare my surprise. It was lovely! She had prepared heart-shaped toast, scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, bucks fizz and had even given me one of my chocolate mousses as a ‘dessert’. I was in heaven.
Chocolate Mousse? I hear you say – for breakfast? well it so happens that all the women in the family were gathering at my mum’s for sunday lunch, all of us having promised to bring something for the feast. My contribution was a chocolate mousse soaked with the wonderfully mellow Appletons Rum.
The champagne and music flowed, the men did the washing up – we watched ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ and all had a great time.
Mothers – Who’d be one? I would
Try my Rich Caribbean Chocolate Mousse recipe for yourself and let me know what you think.
150g (5oz) 72% dark chocolate
2tbsp the best rum you can afford. *
3 egg whites
50g (2oz) caster sugar
100ml (3.5 fl oz) double cream **
Put a med sized pan of water on to boil – turn down to a simmer and place a (glass) bowl on top .
Break the chocolate into small pieces and place into bowl. Once melted mix in the the rum, turn off the stove, leaving the bowl on the pan.
Whisk the cream until very thick and stiff, Put aside.
Whisk the egg whites in a grease-free bowl until very thick and stiff you will be able to make ‘little peaks’ with the whisk.
Add the sugar bit by bit , whisking until all is incorporated. The mixture will be ready when it is smooth, thick, and shiny.
The chocolate mix will be a bit stiff by now, but still melted, fold in the whipped egg whites bit by bit to the chocolate mixture, making sure all is blended.
Now add the cream mixture and once all mixed in pour into small dishes or glasses. I get 4 or 6 depending on how greedy we are!
* the higher the rum quality, the less water it will contain – melted chocolate doesn’t like water.
** I find that double cream is far superior to whipping cream and holds it’s shape longer.
Love, Laughter, and food for all
Their eyes met across a crowded room drowning out all else around them.
The prince waded through the throng of partygoers, never once losing her gaze. She was transfixed.
Finally he was in front of her, he swept her up in his arms and declared for all to hear.
“I am in love, Marry me for my heart is yours….”
Okay, the story didn’t quite go like that. But it was love at first sight, and The Shrek did ask me to marry him after three weeks together.
We got married 8yrs later. However, my wedding day was wonderful. It was everything I wanted it to be – magical, whimsical, irreverent and beautiful. As is always with special occasions, it was over all too quickly.
My wedding cake was baked by my mum in true caribbean style to her own secret recipe. Fruit cake is always eaten on special occasions and most caribbean women will have their own recipe.
I had decided to design and decorate my wedding cake myself. My ‘love chest’ cake contained magical heart sweets – both bought and hand made.Enchanted love charms, gossamer rose petals and one of a series of poems The Shrek had written to me declaring his undying love and passion.
This was the poem in the ‘love chest’
The sound of our love deafens me
It’s volume drowns all else around me
And when we’re apart
I hear the echo of our love……
We will be celebrating Valentine’s day as a family day of love. I will be making special Caribbean Spice Chocolate Cookies.
My Caribbean Food Love Cookies
230g(8oz) self-raising flour
40g(1.5 oz) good quality 100% cocoa
120g(40z) softened salted butter
190g(7oz) brown organic caster sugar
60g icing sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teas highest quality vanilla essence
1/4 teas good quality finely ground cinnamon.
Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius (aprox 350 degrees farenheit)
Put the flour, cocoa, and cinnamon in a bowl and mix together well.
In a small bowl place the eggs and the vanilla essence, lightly whisk together until there is just a little froth.
Put the all the sugar and the butter in a bowl and whisk together until creamy.
Add the egg mixture bit by bit untli all is blended.
Now add the flour mixture and mix on a low speed until just blended.
The mixture will be soft and pliable
Shape into balls and place on a greased baking tray about 5cm(2in) apart.
Bake for aprox 10-12 mins.
Let cookies cool before placing a small heart cutter on the centre of each of the cookies.
Sprinkle some icing sugar into the shape.
Now removing the heart cutter will reveal a little heart on top of the cookie.
Happy Valentines day my friends
Love, laughter, and food for all.
I love apples, baked, raw, fried, stewed, I could go on, but I think you see the picture.
My mum – caribbean food home cook extraordinaire – makes a demon apple pie. With a ‘melt in your mouth’ short crust pastry case covering tangy, tart bramley apples which in turn are sweetened with cane sugar, and flavored with essential caribbean spices : cinnamon, cloves and ginger.
The synergy of pastry, apples, and sugar for me is perfect.The smell of the spices divine. Inevitably I am always sent into a salivating frenzy, and once baked I can never get enough.
No matter where I go to eat, I avidly scan the menu to see if they serve apple pie for dessert. I’m disappointed every time.
Whenever I get the urge I have to make one. Such a simple recipe, such a wonderful, satisfying taste.
On the 15th January 2010 I tweeted:
‘I have a taste for hot spicy apple crumble, but it must be homemade – so now to the kitchen…ciao everyone.’
One of the replies I received was from Dawn at @Vanillakitchen
She said simply:
‘spicy apple crumble? you best share that one’
So here it is:
My Caribbean Food Spicy Apple Crumble
For the filling:
1kg Peeled, and sliced cooking apples of your choice(I prefer Bramleys for that wonderful tartness)
60g Brown cane sugar
1/2 tsp Ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
1 tsp Ginger
1 tbl spoon water
2 tbl spoons Ginger Wine (I prefer Stones Ginger Wine)
For the Crumble:
200g Plain Flour
80g Butter (make sure it is at room temperature)
100g Brown Cane sugar
Pre heat oven to 180 degrees centigrade,(around 350 degrees Farenheit)
Place the flour and oats in a large mixing bowl, then roughly chop and add the butter.
Lightly rub the butter into the flour and oats using your fingertips.
When it has all been incorporated add the sugar and combine with the other ingredients again using your fingertips for best results.
Put the apples, wine, sugar and spices in a large enough pot and cook very gently on a low heat until the apples have cooked down and are soft and translucent.
Spoon the apple mixture into a pie dish.
Sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly on top of the apple, lightly spreading it out with your fingers.
Cook for aprox 30mins or until the topping is golden brown.
Serve warm or cold, with cream, or ice cream.
My Caribbean Food Spicy Apple Crumble – Enjoy:)
Love, Laughter, and Food for All
(photo courtesy of Rockaberry)