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 Food Summer Cooking

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Do you hate cooking in your kitchen during the summer heat? Me too!

But if you think it’s a punishment from above for past-life misdemeanors, to be standing in your kitchen perspiring, sweat running down your back in heat strong enough to melt your brass door handles, then spare a fleeting thought for those cooking food in their kitchen in the caribbean.

Because, in Jamaica it’s hot. I don’t mean warm. I don’t mean ‘oh look at my skin, it’s gleaming’. I mean hot. That’s why many people in Jamaica cook outside whenever they can.

In the caribbean like to go outdoors to cook and bbq their food. Jerk chicken is a ‘must have’. As is curry goat. I promise to post Caribbean Food recipes for these bbqs.

And they are creative cooks; they improvise. They improvise their recipes. They improvise what they eat it with. They improvise what tools they use to cook it.

At least in N.America and Europe we have access to a vast array of summer cooking ware. Since I started my blog over a year ago, i’ve had many emails asking me not only how to cook certain dishes but also what cookware and utensils to use. Well, i’ve decided to add to my blog by occasionally highlighting good cookware. For outdoor summer cooking I use a powerful grill. Below is a good quality dual purpose outdoor grill from Amazon with 5 Star customer reviews. Simply click on the image to find out more.

Personally, I like to cook on a full-sized charcoal grill that can also be used as a full-size gas grill combined, if need be. I also like it to have an adjustable-height grate so that i can keep my food warm when i’m not actually cooking it. And, of course, enough cooking space is a premium, giving a lot of preparation flexibility, allowing me to concentrate on creating great food and not having to fiddle about with the limitations of a small grill. Yep, good cooking needs good tools. Again, you can see a good example by clicking on the Duo Gas-and-Charcoal Grill

Happy summer cooking. I will post  Caribbean Food bbq recipes in the near future.

Love, laughter and food for all. Angeli.

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Mothers – who’d be one?

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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.

Angeli’s Caribbean Food  Rich Chocolate Mousse.              

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 **

Method

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

Angeli x :)

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My True Love Have My Heart And I Have His

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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.

Recipe

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)

Method

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.
Angeli

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Caribbean Chocolate Tea – Liquid Heaven

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Rich, creamy and spicy. Caribbean Food Chocolate Tea. A Sunday morning treat.

My Dad grew up on a farm, and one of the things they grew was chocolate. His Grandfather planted the cocoa, and the family still harvest it today.

Dad said that when he was a little boy he used to help with the harvesting of the cocoa. One of his delights was to open some of the pods and drink the liquid surrounding the bean.
I was intrigued to find out if the liquid tasted of chocolate, but he said that it tasted syrup-py and sweet,and even though the adults had told him not to drink it, he loved it.

Anyhow, after the fruit ripens – it goes a bright yellow -  the beans are picked out and put into  a container  to ‘ferment’ for about a week. This helps the chocolate flavour and aroma to develop. It is then ‘parched’, meaning roasted. The beans are taken out and ground up, either in a grinder, or using a pestle and morter. The fat in the chocolate is released helping the   mixture  to becomes pliable like plasticine.

Vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg are the magical spices added to the mix which is then made into sausage shapes or small ball shapes. Finally, it is left out in the sun to dry after which it is then ready to use.

My dad reckons that if stored properly in airtight jars, the chocolate will last for years. I can indeed vouch for that because it is not something you could find here in the UK as I was growing up,  yet  I had it every Sunday as a drink.

RECIPE

Angeli’s Caribbean Food Chocolate drink.

To get an idea of  chocolate tea, try making the following drink.

1 or 2 teas very good quality 100% cocoa
Hot water
High quality vanilla essence
finely ground cinnamon
finely ground numeg
tiny pinch of salt.
milk either plain or sweetened (condensed milk) .
Sugar (if required)

In a large mug, place your cocoa and your hot water, add milk  as required.
Add sugar as required
Add a few drops of vanilla essence
Sprinkle in the cinnamon and nutmeg. about half of a 1/4 teaspoon.
Add a tiny pinch of salt.

Give everything a good stir, sit and enjoy with a slice of homemade bread and butter. Lovely!

Hope you enjoy my Caribbean Food chocolate tea.

Love, laughter, and food for all.

Angeli x :)

photo courtesy of  www.thechocolatechemist.co.uk

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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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I Adore Caribbean Food

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Okay, i’m not going to hide it any longer.

Don’t laugh, i want the whole world to taste, and love, caribbean food. MyCaribbeanFood.com will cover:

traditional caribbean food – made from ingredients from the caribbean islands (thankfully, most of these ingredients are now available in supermarkets around the world)

fusion caribbean food – which mixes indian, chinese, latino, mexican, jewish, japanese food and much more (resulting in some fabulous dishes that have to be tasted to be believed)…

modern caribbean food – using non-traditional ingredients, but done in an island-style making them unmistakably caribbean both in flavour and spirit (and using foods that can be found easily in your supermarket).

So, that’s my mission, and the purpose of my little website on caribbean food.

Wish me luck,

Angeli. :-) XXX

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