Caribbean Food Week is a week long celebration of Caribbean food and drink, it is during August 22nd and August 29th. If you are around the Brixton area then I would check out the 2 day event (26th/27th), you will be able to experience street food, cooking demonstrations, live music and what I expect to be an excellent Caribbean market.
I have personally not had the opportunity to try much Caribbean food, other than a couple of trips to Turtle Bay in Nottingham. I have never cooked Caribbean food before so when I was offered a hamper in order to make some great food, I jumped at the opportunity!
I was gifted a Hamper by Grace Foods UK, it arrived at work in a hamper. I opened it up right away and was really impressed with what came. The food items aside, I received a couple of hats, blow up palm tree, party poppers and some mini deck chairs…everything you need for a good party!!
In terms of food items, I received seasoning of different kinds, Jerk sauce, BBQ Sauce, hot sauce, Coconut milk, tin of Callaloo, Tin of mixed pea’s and many more! Just look at the image below!!
The concept of this year’s Caribbean Food Week is street food, I therefore wanted to think of recipes that could be turned into street food. Something I could imagine walking down the street or the beach, order and enjoy whilst soaking in the sun or the sights!
I spent a good few days planning what I was going to cook, as I said before I have not done any Caribbean food before and wanted it to be good. The weather was perfect on the Saturday so thought why not do a nice barbecue with a few extra dishes done in the oven.
I therefore decided to pick up some pork loin and chicken drumsticks and gave these a good marination of the Dunn’s River Jamaican Jerk seasoning that Grace Foods provided, these would be perfect on the barbecue along with some skewers.
I purchased some nice diced chicken and put this into a bowl, I had some Dunn’s River Hot and Spicy Jerk Chicken Fry Mix and poured this onto the chicken and rubbed it all together to ensure it all got a good coating. I then got some pineapple that was chopped and chopped up some red onion.
I put this onto the skewers, chicken first, followed by pineapple and then red onion. I repeated this until all skewers were full, I then popped them in the fridge until they were ready for the BBQ. I have to admit the pineapple went so well with the chicken, something I’ll repeat again!
When doing a search for Caribbean street food, I kept coming across beef patties and they looked incredible so wanted to give them ago!
The recipe is in two parts, the first is creating the pastry and then making the filling. I decided to start on the filling, the filling needs to cool before putting it into the pastry. First of all added 2 tbsp of oil into a pan and added 1 finely chopped onion along with 2 pieces of garlic. I left these to sweat until they were soft and transparent.
I then added 500g of minced beef and stirred it into the onions until fully browned. To give it a little extra flavour I added a beef stock cube and allowed this to melt into the meat. I added a couple of handfuls of frozen peas to give it that little extra flavour. Finally I seasoned with Dunn’s River All Seasoning.
I then drained off excess water and removed from heat, putting it to one side to cool down.
Now the pastry is again something I have never really done much of before, it was actually a lot easier than I expected! If you have been worried in the past about making it, don’t be!
The first thing I did was placed the flour into a bowl and combined this with some of Dunn’s River Mild Curry Powder, this gives it just that extra little taste. I thought it would be overpowering but it wasn’t, in fact I was tempted to add in some more!
I then added a little salt and the butter, this bit means getting your hands dirty. I continued to mix the flour and the butter together until it became the same texture as bread crumbs. I then added the water and continued to mix until it became fully formed and you can roll it into a ball. If it is still to dry, try adding some extra water.
Once done I rolled it out to be roughly half the thickness of a pound coin, too thick and it will have a lot more pastry than filling. Once rolled out get circle cutter and cut out circles out of the dough, I didn’t have one the size I wanted so used the top of a mug.
Get a spoon and place the filling in the centre of each circle, fold over one side to meet the other forming a semicircle/moon shape. Pinch the edges with a fork and then cover over with a beaten egg.
These were then placed in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees and cooked for around 30 minutes, or until it is golden brown and fully cooked.
The pastry making is not done yet and to make things a little more complicated, I decided to make the pastry a little different this time so I couldn’t double up on the last recipe. This time the pastry needs to be made first as the filling doesn’t need to be cooked, so it will all cook together.
I had never heard of Callaloo before so I had to Google exactly what it was. It is actually a Jamaican type of spinach, which is perfect as I love spinach!!
In a bowl I added 250g of plain flour along with a pinch of salt and then a good 8 tbsp of butter. I then put my hands in and gave this a good mix until like before it becomes a similar texture to bread crumbs.
I then added a good splash of milk and gave this a stir with my hands until I could shape it into a ball. If it’s still crumbly then you want to add a little more milk, if you do add too much don’t worry as you can drain it off.
I then popped the dough into a bowl and covered it and then placed it into the fridge for around 30 minutes. (although it probably ended up being around 45 minutes by the time I got to look at it again!!!)
I then made the filling by heating up some oil and put in some finely chopped onion, garlic and a red bell pepper that I had cut into squares. I cooked these until they were nice and soft, which took roughly 15 minutes. I then placed this into a bowl and added a couple of hand fulls of chedder cheese, 120ml of milk, 3 eggs and then half a tin of Callaloo. This then wants a good stir to make sure its all fully combined.
I then got a muffin tray and rolled out the dough to be roughly 0.5, cut it into circles and placed into the muffin tray. Fill each of the dough trays with the filling mixture and then sprinkle over some of the cheddar cheese.
Place in a pre-heated oven at 220 degrees for roughly 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
As well as meat dishes I wanted to make a couple of sides, Rice and Peas was the first thing that came to mind. This dish was incredibly easy to make and doesn’t take very long at all, perfect for when you’re in a hurry.
In a saucepan of water add long grain rice, along with some salt and then add a tin of Dunn’s River Caribbean Peas & Beans and allow this to shimmer. Once the rice is soft and cooked, drain out the water and place in a serving bowl.
I then fluffed everything up with a fork and then seasoned with Dunn’s River All Purpose Seasoning, this gave it a little extra flavour.
With the day being so nice, you sometimes cannot beat a nice salad and this one is perfect. The combination of salad and fruit really gives it an incredible flavour and would recommend giving it a go.
This salad uses a nice honey dressing, which I think gives it a little extra flavour. I don’t usually use salad dressings, but after this I think I’ll have to more often!!
The first step was to make the salad!
There is not a specific type of salad leaves that you have to use, instead use whatever leaves you like. In a bowl place the salad leaves add some sliced spring onions, plum tomatoes halved, cucumber sliced and then finally a red bell pepper and yellow bell pepper sliced. To give it that something special I then took a full orange and halved each orange segment and added it to the salad. The pineapple however really adds a lot of flavour to the salad, I simply used a tin of pineapple chunks (don’t throw away the juice!)
Give everything a good toss to make sure it is all mixed up nicely, now its time for the dressing.
In another bowl add a tbsp of olive oil and combine this with 1 tbsp of honey, give this a stir. The next step is to juice 1 lime into the sauce and then put a good 2-3 tbsp of pineapple juice into the dressing. Give everything a good stir and gradually pour over all of the salad to ensure its fully covered, finally give the salad another good toss and serve….yummy!!!
I did also make some nice Caribbean cocktails such as Mojitos, which will be coming in a later post so keep an eye out! 🙂
Myself and everyone else really enjoyed the Caribbean themed night and BBQ and it has really inspired me to try even more Caribbean food in the future.
I would again like to thank Grace Foods UK for the hamper and encouraging me to try something different. Dont forget Caribbean Food Week is 22nd August – 29th of August, if you are around Brixton then please check out the event!!
Dont forget if you do decide to do some Caribbean food to celebrate or are at the event to tweet with the hashtag: #CFW2016
Check out Grace Foods UK below to find some of the very best ingredients!Continue reading