You might have guessed from the title that we were feeling a little Caribbean on Saturday, so we invited a bunch of folk round (including James, Steph, Mark, Jen, and some regular non-tweeting folk) and applied a theme: Jamaica. I came up with a few new recipes, and there were even some guest contributions. Bashment! (Okay, enough Jamaican words).
The closest to rain we’ve had! Hit-and-miss all day, but thankfully the rain stayed off until (literally) ten minutes after we finished cooking.
Well, this was a good one! For a start, Mark brought his very delicious coffee-rubbed pork tenderloin with watermelon salsa. Alas, he hasn’t given me a recipe yet, but I’ll bully it out of him, mmkay?
Also on the savouries menu: Jamaican Pork Burgers with Caribbean Mango Salsa, Caribbean Chicken Kebabs, and venison sausages we happened to have (not Jamaican. Sorry). Alas, due to other beer-related things, I didn’t take many pictures (not even my trademark picture of all the food on the grill). However, the pictures in those recipes linked above are all from the barbecue.
We finished with a rather nice dessert thought up by Jen (with, I believe, a little help from a cookery book). Start with sliced pineapple, grilled on the barbecue until it has scorch marks (note: best clean the barbecue with a wire brush first. We realised this the hard way). Put each grilled slice into a bowl, douse with a dessert spoon of rum, top with coconut ice cream and passion fruit pulp, and sprinkle with desiccated coconut. It’s <insert Jamaican word for “quite nice”> here. Thanks, Jen!
So that’s the Jamaican adventure done with. Any suggestions for the next one? We’re thinking Mexican…
Okay, so I cheat a little in this recipe. It so happens that Levi Roots‘ Reggae-Reggae sauce is (to use his words) fabulocious. It works really well as a marinade, which is quite convenient for this recipe!
500g pack of diced chicken, or chicken breasts cut into 2-3cm dice
1tsp harissa paste
1tbsp dry white wine (believe me, it works!)
1tsp fresh thyme, chopped
Half a large red chilli, finely chopped
Two cloves of garlic, and 1cm of ginger, crushed/grated
Most of the ingredients above form a marinade for the chicken. Simply combine all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl, and add the cubed chicken to it. Leave covered in the fridge for at least 2 hours. The lime juice should cook the chicken slightly, so it will get paler.
Thread and alternate chicken, cherry tomato, bell pepper and onion onto pre-soaked bamboo skewers. Note that if there’s an ingredient you’d prefer (okra might work), go for it. Aim for 3 pieces of chicken at least on each kebab, and pack quite tightly.
When you’re done, use a silicon brush to paint the remaining marinade over the kebabs. Barbecue for around 8 minutes, turning a couple of times. They’re really rather good when cooked, and go well with my Mango Salsa!
Again with the Caribbean theme! These spicy little beggers are fantastic with my mango salsa, or with a dollop of yoghurt, or maybe just some extra hot sauce, if you’re nuts.
Serves four hungry people
500g/1lb of pork mince
Zest and juice of a lime
1tsp of fresh thyme and oregano, chopped finely
1/2tsp ground allspice
1tsp harissa paste. Harissa is a chilli paste, typically Moroccan. But hey, it really works.
Two cloves of garlic, crushed
One large red chilli, chopped finely
1tsp crushed chilli flakes
2tsp grated ginger root
1tsp salt, and pepper to taste
Again pretty simple – combine the ingredients, and mix well. You may find that the lime juice makes the mixture a little wet – if so, add breadcrumbs. Divide the mixture into four, form a ball from each part, and compress the ball to give you a burger. These are four fairly hefty burgers, so you could potentially make five.
Spicy and fantastic with a cold beer (substitute Red Stripe, or other Caribbean beers!)
Stemming from the recent Caribbean Barbecue we tried out, this mango salsa is a fantastic accompaniment for any Jamaican food, and goes particularly well with pork, chicken and oily fish.
One ripe mango, peeled, stoned and cut into 2cm cubes
Half a red onion, chopped finely
Juice and zest of a lime
Half a large red chilli, very finely chopped
Half a red bell pepper, chopped roughly
A centimetre or so of ginger root, grated or chopped finely. I wouldn’t recommend using powdered ginger!
A handful each of coriander and garden mint, chopped finely
Caster or demarara sugar, to taste
This one couldn’t be much easier – combine in a bowl! Put the lime juice in with the sugar (perhaps stir them first). It’s important that you leave the salsa to make friends with itself in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.
All comments suggest that this really is a nice accompaniment to spicy food. You’ll be surprised how well the mint and coriander work with the mango. Go try it.