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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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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Potato Horror

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Recently, my daughter asked for one of my  roast dinners- caribbean food style.

Her favorite  consists of delicately jerked, juicy, roast pork. Crispy, light, yorkshire puddings. Lightly steamed veg and golden, caribbean-style, roast potatoes, which she adores.

On this occasion, fearing I didn’t have enough time to prepare potatoes for her and her five friends, I  bought some ‘Aunt Bessie’s’ roast potatoes from the supermarket.

What happened next was the stuff of nightmares. My daughter  announced to the world that they were the best roast potatoes she had ever tasted.

Oh, the shame! The horror!

I felt the world spinning around me. Was this really happening? Did my daughter and her friends just cast an evil spell on me? I could see my culinary forefathers tutting and wagging their fingers at me. I decided there and then that it was the last time I’d buy manufactured roast potatoes – I would produce my own even if I were on my death bed.

RECIPE FOR MY CARIBBEAN FOOD ROAST POTATOES

INGREDIENTS

Pic by Anandamide

Pic by Anandamide

Approx 1kg/2lb weight of your favourite roasting potatoes – I use King Edward or Maris Piper

2 onions

Approx 2cm piece of red scotch bonnet
Approx 1/2 cup of  warmed virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves
Large sprig of thyme
1/4 teas saffron or 1/2 teas tumeric

1 teas fresh ground pimento seeds or allspice
Good quality sea salt to taste

METHOD

Incorporate the scotch bonnet, the garlic,the thyme, and the salt into the oil and put the mixture in a large bowl. Now set aside. Turn the oven on and set at approx 220/375 degs

Wash and cut potatoes into aprox 4cm or 2inch chunks. Set aside. Next fill a large pot with water, and place the two onions, half the thyme, large pinch of salt, 2 cloves of garlic, the saffron or tumeric and the allspice/pimento into to pot.

When the water is boiling, place the potatoes in the pot, and boil for approx 8-10mins. While potatoes are boiling, put a  large baking tray in the oven.

Once boiled drain off the potatoes and toss in the  olive oil mixture.

Put the potatoes into the hot baking tray and bake for 35-45mins.

Now Enjoy!!

Having gone to Twitter for counselling, here are some of my fellow twitterers’ roast potato preferences:

@Nalani1
I like New Red Potatoes, quartered, with olive oil, kosher salt, garlic cloves AND fresh rosemary. Never 4get the rosemary

@SensitivePantry http://www.thesensitivepantry.com
Roasted potatoes (in a cast iron pan) with olive oil, sea salt, pepper, rosemary, and parmigiano reggiano. Mmm.

@cookskorner http://www.cookskorner.com
try this. mix 1 tsp dry mustard, 200 mls cream. toss w taters. roast at 375 for 60-90 mins. turn often.

@goodshoeday http://www.withknifeandfork.com
king eds are the best for roasties.

@dmentia66 http://www.goreyhaus.livejournal.com
I love Yukon Golds roasted with olive oil, coarse sea salt, and lots of garlic cloves. ‘Tater’ comfort extraordinairre.

Love, Laughter, and Food for All.
Angeli x

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How To Eat Jerk Chicken Wraps With Your Whole Face

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It’s true, my husband eats Jerk Chicken wraps with his whole face.

in fact, his whole body. So engrossed is he with the waves of taste and utter culinary pleasure that take over him, a thousand Elvis’ could be hip-swiveling and rocking behind him singing ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ at the top of their voices and he would still fail to notice.

He’s so completely lost in-the-moment that nothing else registers with him to prevent his total, instant, demolition of Jerk Chicken wraps. I swear that i can almost see his body shudder as he takes the first mouthful. What i definitely can see are his eyes rolling to the back of his head and then his head lifting towards the heavens in a quasi-religious experience. It’s like he’s mystically channelling some sort of Gourmet-God. Soon after, his feet then begin to dance a little Celtic jig as the taste of the chicken, herbs and spices hit-the-right-spot.

Then comes the use of, what seems, his whole face to extract every atom of sensation from the food. His entire head appears to begin slowly opening and closing as he masticates the wrap with great purpose. Apparently King Cobras can dislocate their lower jaw in order to consume animals larger than the orifice would otherwise allow. When it comes to devouring my wraps, I swear my husband has the same anatomical ability.

Chomp, chomp, chomp. A cacophony of eating noises accompany.

It’s quiet and slow at first, then as he engages his complete face to eat, they build to a throaty, chaotic crescendo of deep guttural and alto ejaculations of perverted sounds.

I’m sure it must be some sort of crime-against-humanity to eat food in this way. But then i remember he’s my husband and not a neanderthal interloper, so i manage to prevent myself from calling the police. It’s ridiculous really. He’s a grown man (allegedly).

Don’t get me wrong, i love my husband dearly.

I call him The Shrek. He stands 185cm tall in his stocking feet (currently the left one has a hole in the toe). Weighing in at nearly 95 kilo, he is still mostly muscle and bone, but the adipose fat is beginning to cloak his once athletic body, like a padded gold-lame jump suit worn by The King himself. And, of course, being The Shrek he speaks in a lovely, lilting Scottish accent.

In fact, i can hear his Celtic voice, in my head as i write, asking for another fistfull of Jerk Chicken wraps.

So, in order to gift you the recipe but spare you the theatrical eating performance of The Shrek:

JERK CHICKEN

Peppercorns by ToniVC

Peppercorns by ToniVC

500g (1Ib) of raw chicken breast meat

1.5 teas mild curry powder
1 clove garlic
1 med onion(or 2 small shallot onions)
a sprig of fresh thyme/1 teas dried
2.5cm x 1cm(1inchx1/4inch) piece of green scotch bonnet pepper*
1 teas cocoa powder
1/2 teas allspice/pimento
1/2 teas juniper berries
1/2teas black and red peppercorns
1teas balsamic vinegar
juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons brown sugar/demerara sugar
3 fresh medium tomatoes
1 teas Angostura bitters
1/2 teas salt
Spare bowl

*The green scotch bonnet although milder, will still give heat – so if preparing this for children, cut down on the pepper.

PANCAKE MIX

350ml(12floz)milk
3/4cup(4oz )Wholemeal flour
1 tbsp sunflower cooking oil
2 med eggs
Pinch of salt

I use the 1/4 cup measure (approx 60ml/2floz) to scoop up and pour out mix – it gives approx 11-12 pancakes using a 23cm (9”) frying pan.

First, cut the chicken breasts into strips(aprox 8cm x1cm/3″ x 1/2″), place into a bowl with clean water, squeeze in half a lime and wash meat. Next, crush and chop garlic, chop onion, and chop pepper into small pieces.

Grind Pimento seeds,peppercorns, and Juniper berries down as finely as you can, with a pestle and morter.(if you don’t own one, then place seeds between a clean kitchen towel and bash with a rolling pin)

Chop tomatoes.
Prepare the rest of the jerk seasoning, and add all to the meat.
Using your hands* mix all the ingredients together, so that the meat is totally coated.

Set aside – ideally overnight, but for at least 1/2hr.

Once the meat has been prepared, Prepare your pancake mix.

Simply put all ingredients into a large bowl and whisk well, making sure that the end result is a nice smooth batter. Set aside.

Before you can fry the meat, you need to scrape off as much of the seasoning as you can, placing scraped off chicken in a seperate bowl. Don’t throw away seasoning, pour in approx 250ml(1/2pt) warm water making sure all the seasoning is incorporated into water. Set aside.

To fry chicken, heat aprox 60ml(4tbsp) cooking oil in pan over a med high heat- you know the oil is ready, by sprinkling into it, a small pinchful of breadcrumbs or flour – it will sizzle immediately. Place chicken pieces into oil, fry on both sides until golden brown. Take pan off heat, remove meat and drain off oil.
Pour the water with seasoning into pan and replace onto stove bringing to the boil. Add Meat, lower heat and simmer for approx 20 minutes.

Once meat is simmering, take out pancake mix and give a good whisk.

Heat frying pan, lubricate base with a smear of oil, or spray on oil. Cook pancakes, making sure base of pan is always lubricated.

Once your meat is cooked, remove from the liquid, which should have reduced down while simmering. Take the cooking liquid and strain into a bowl/jug – you have your Jerk Chicken sauce!

Assemble your pancake wrap by placing some meat, together with some lettuce, cucumber,or sweet pepper etc. onto the pancake, and wrapping tortilla style.

Well, there it is. Please let me know what you think. I love comments, questions and viewpoints on my blog so please leave comments below.

Love, Laughter & Food for All

Angeli

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