A Right Royal Knees Up

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It had to be done, William and Kate had decided to tie the knot at last. I waited with baited breath for the announcement. Finally , in November, it came. I could breath again.

April 29th 2011. How fantastic. I decided I would go on a diet and spend a fortune on hair and clothes so that I would look good at the Abbey. What would I bring as a wedding gift? Some Caribbean Food fruit cake? Some Ceremonial Sorrel drink?

The invitation never arrived.

Never mind, I’ve lost a stone in weight, and I didn’t want to go anyway. All those TV cameras. All those people. Braying and cheering at anything that moved.

No I didn’t want to go.

But of course I wanted to see the  dress.

We all piled into my brother’s house. Friends, family and hangers’ on – most weren’t intending to watch, but because we had watched the Royal Soap that was ‘Charles and Diana’,  It was felt that we had to watch William get married. For Diana. Needless to say, it was really only the women that stayed glued to the TV, the men had lost the will to live.

We were told to bring something to eat, so I made some savoury Caribbean food tarts – Ackee,and Panchetta. Of course there had to be fizz, so I  brought a couple of bottles of Pommery.

Oh, it was loverly! It was grand! Nobody in the world does Pageants the way we do here in Britain! Moreover, they didn’t leave us out, reference to ‘Commoners’ were made throughout the broadcast, people were fawning, bowing and scraping all over the place making me feel quite queasy- as if I had been transported back  to the Victorian age!

I can now rest easy knowing that the ‘Chelsea set’, and the blue blooded aristocrats, not only had a good time, but that they are seemingly riding out the credit crunch without too much pain, judging by the outfits.

Furthermore, when I’ve lost my job, as most of us ‘commoners’ will in the next couple of years, at least I can sleep well at night knowing  the Royal Family will be able to survive yet another generation.  Hurrah!

Gawd bless you all suh!

Celebrate with me by  making my caribbean food savoury tarts.

Angeli’s Supreme Caribbean Food Ackee and Panchetta tart.

It is nigh on impossible to get fresh Ackees unless you are in the Caribbean, so we always used tinned.

1 x 500g tin Ackee

1x teas chopped red scotch bonnet pepper

1/4 teas thyme

1 teas chopped garlic

2 plump ripe tomatoes chopped

1 teas freshly ground black pepper

3 rashers of panchetta , or bacon thinly sliced into 2cm long pieces.

1/2 teas salt.

1 packet of puff pastry (375g)

Oven temp 22oc or 200c(fan)

METHOD

Open tin of Ackee and drain off liquid. Put ackee into bowl of hot salted water and leave

Fry off the Panchetta/bacon for  aprox 3 mins on a med high heat.

Next add the onion and fry for aprox another minute.

Now add the tomato, garlic, thyme and scotch bonnet and cook for aprox 2mins

Finally, gently strain off the water from the Ackee, and carefully add to the tomato mixture.

Turn down heat to med low and cook for about 2 mins.

Remove contents to a plate and sprinkle the black pepper over the mixture. Leave to cool.

PASTRY

Roll out the pastry  until approx  0 .5 mm/1/4 inch thick.

divide pastry into 4 rectangles – each about 8cmx12cm or about 6inx4in. and place onto a non-stick baking tray.

Pile the cooled mixture onto the rolled and scored pastry  and put into  oven for about 15mins.

(it is very important that you score the inner area with a knife so that the pastry under the mixture doesn’t rise).

Now serve as a substantial starter, or as a wonderful snack and enjoy!

Love, Laughter and Food for All

Angeli :)

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Roman Catholics and Dominoes.

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As a child, Easter was a very important date in my Caribbean food diary.

Firstly, I would be on school break. Secondly, it was a time when my mum would make her Heavenly Easter Bun, and thirdly, my dad would have bought some new music which  he would then play – in true Jamaican DJ fashion – very, very loudly. So loud in fact, that the windows would vibrate and dance in time to the beat.

There would be friends round, and  dominos played with  gladitorial intent – my dad and his mates obsessively eyeing their ‘cards’ and then staring intently at each other as if to bore a hole through their opponants’ heads. They would consume large amounts of  bun and cheese together with  fish and bread, washed down with large doses of overproof rum – always with water added of course, no self respecting Caribbean food lover would drink overproof rum neat.

My siblings and I  loved it. We would charge up and down the stairs, chasing each other in whatever world we had just made up, shouting and making strange noises to suit. Occasionally, we would miss our footing and bounce down the stairs like loose bowling balls. This would inevitably drive my mum absolutely mad, so that she would subsequently ban us to the garden, or bedrooms depending on the weather.

Before all this frivolity and fun however, there was Good Friday. Always a solemn day.My mum being a Roman Catholic, meant that we would observe the Roman Catholic tradition of fasting until 12.00 noon and abstaining  from meat. We always had fish.

My  mum would always drag me unceremoniously along with her to the fishmongers one or two days before Good Friday.  After what seemed like hours of regally pointing, haughtily smelling, and tenaciously haggling, we would finally emerge, mum satisfied, me totally bored.

During our Fishmonger visit, Mum  would have picked up a couple of kilo of sprats which she would then deep fry .  They were gorgeous! I could never get enough of them!  I  would guzzle them down with some fragrant Hard dough Bread, layered with butter, and sweet fried onions, the juice would have drizzled down my face and covered my hands, but it was always worth it – My mum is a Caribbean food magician!  She would also perform magic  with our evening meal; serving ambrosial, spicy, red snapper with soft, waxy, green bananas, fluffy, melt-in-the-mouth yellow yams , and satisfyingly gelatinous boiled dumplings.

Perhaps you fancy a change from fried, baked, or poached fish. Why not try my Salt Cod Pate? Absolutely divine with fried plantains.

ANGELI’S  Caribbean Food SALT COD PATE


INGREDIENTS

250g Salt Cod – or any salted white fish

100ml Creme fraiche

2 tablespoons Mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Anchovy paste

1/2 oz chopped and de-seeded scotch bonnet pepper

1 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns

1 oz chopped coriander leaves

2 cloves of chopped garlic

METHOD

Soak the salted fish for aprox 3hrs, changing the water 3 or 4 times – this will wash out  most of the salt.  Next shred the fish.

Put all the ingredients into a food blender and blitz until fine.

Serve as an appetizer or a starter and enjoy!

Love, Laughter and Food for all

Angeli :)

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Caribbean food king? My dad – ‘Mr T’

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Mr T is in the house - May 2010 in Jamaica 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.

Angeli xo

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Caribbean Pie In The Sky

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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:

rockaberry2wt7

Recipe

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
50g Oats
80g Butter (make sure it is at room temperature)
100g Brown Cane  sugar

Pre heat oven to 180 degrees centigrade,(around 350 degrees Farenheit)

Method

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 aside.

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
Angeli x

(photo courtesy of Rockaberry)

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Callaloo, A Natural Viagra?

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Callaloo – what on earth is it?

It’s a luscious leafy Caribbean Food green vegetable, found in the Caribbean and Asia. It grows easily in the summer without much fuss, in the same way as chard or spinach, and is bursting with minerals and vitamins.

Some even swear that it’s a natural viagra!

One autumn, when I was a young child, my dad brought back some seeds from the Caribbean and decided to plant them to see if they would grow.  We ceremoniously followed him into the garden whereupon he raised his hand magestically in the air like a priest about to sanctify a marriage. He freely scattered the seeds around the garden, like throwing confetti at a wedding, with wide circular arm movements. Some landed in the warm, fertile, soil while others landed on the barren path.

The following summer Callaloo had been given birth everywhere.

Like unruly excited toddlers, callaloo had invaded every nook and cranny in the garden. They giggled with the poppies, played hide and seek with the sweet corn, others danced and swayed lazily in the sunshine as if at party.

Actually, Callaloo is very ordinary looking, and could easily be mistaken for a garden weed if you didn’t know what to look for. There is no defining smell, and it’s charming, more-ish, taste is hidden away to be discovered, like a honeymoon kiss.

Once harvested, cleaned and cooked, the tantalising aroma with its melt-in-the-mouth taste, is sublime.

Try this simple Caribbean Food recipe with spinach, sorrel, or chard if you can’t find callaloo. As it has to be made quickly, you need to have everything ready so that you have no interruptions.

RECIPE
pic
2 medium sized tomatoes
2 medium sized shallot onions
a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme (you want the strongly flavored one with the tiny leaves).
1clove garlic
red scotch bonnet pepper to taste
pinch of salt
pinch of freshly crushed black pepper
approx 1 tablespoon of oil (I use Sunflower oil)
approx 1 tablespoon of water
Approx 1/2 kg Callaloo

Cooking time = approx 10mins

1x Ciabbata loaf or French loaf

METHOD

chop the tomatoes into quarters
Thinly slice the onions
Thinly slice your scotch bonnet pepper
wash your thyme.

Put a medium sized saute/frying pan on a medium high heat, add the oil and heat for a few seconds.
Next add your onions and the thyme and saute until the onions are soft.
Now add your tomatoes, cook down until they are soft too.
Add your scotch bonnet, garlic and water. Cook for a minute or two.
Now when everything has come together, add your callaloo, and allow it to wilt down into the tomato sauce, using a wooden spoon/fish slice to turn the mixture.
After a few minutes everything will have melded so you can now take the pan off the heat.
Add your salt and black pepper to taste.

Now for the Bruschetta

Take the bread and cut into thin slices.
Toast or grill until crisp on both sides.
Rub one side with cut garlic.
Arrange on a plate and  spoon on the callaloo mixture.

Now Enjoy!
Callaloo, Love, Laughter, And Food For All :)

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