1st March 2021: We have left the most southerly island in the West Indies and arrived at the most northerly: Cuba. Cuban cuisine is perhaps the least well known of the large West Indian islands, which is a shame, because it really is quite delicious. Combining African and Spanish influences, Cuban recipes use much less chili than in the rest of the West Indies, which makes them ideally suited to Cariblend’s mild spice mixes.
1st February 2021: Well, here we are in Trinidad, the most southerly of the West Indian islands. Home of steel pan, delicious food, and Carnival (though, sadly, not this year – because of Covid-19). If Jamaica was an example of British and West African fusion cookery, and Haiti was an example of French and West African fusion, then Trinidad represents the fusion of Indian and West African food (Trinidad had a large number of immigrants from the Indian sub-continent).
31st January 2021: There were 9 recipes for January, because I decided to publish an additional Bronze (free) recipe: Haitian Joumou or “Independence Soup” (a delicious pumpkin and sweet potato soup).
1st January 2021: We have arrived in Haiti. Though just a short hop across the Jamaica Channel, Haitian cookery reveals its French influence in recipes which are distinctively different to Jamaican cuisine.
31st December 2020: As December was our launch month, I published 16 recipes instead of the eight which will be the norm from now on.
15th December 2020: We’re off on our journey of discovery! We’re starting in Jamaica, the land of my birth and the home of my ancestors. “Island of Wood and Water” – and Jerk Spice! A very special place in my life. But why, I hear you ask, are we starting a journey of Caribbean fusion recipes in the Caribbean? How do you fuse Caribbean with Caribbean?
Well, let me explain. I grew up in an Anglo-Jamaican household, with a Jamaican mother and an English father. Both my father and I disliked fiercely hot dishes, so my mother modified classic West Indian cuisine to keep all the famous ingredients, but with less of that fiery favourite of the West Indies: the Scotch Bonnet pepper. I have continued to develop my mother’s recipes, trying to boost the other wonderful ingredients in jerk spice (including my personal favourites: allspice, cloves, nutmeg and paprika), so that you don’t just get a watered-down version of jerk spice: you get a wonderfully vibrant version in which other flavours emerge into prominence once you tone down the heavy drumbeat of chili. If you follow my advice and roast and grind the spices yourself, I think the wonderful aroma and flavour will convince you that every minute you spent was worth it. Of course, if you’re someone who likes a lot of chili, you can always add more to my mix but, before you do, please will you give my version a try? I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!