Christmas Caribbean Kitchen: Jamaican Fruit Cake

This entry is part 1 of 23 in the series World Kitchen

With the odds of a white Christmas in the UK slashed yet again, why not take a more Caribbean approach to Christmas this year by making a traditional Jamaican fruit cake? This is such a simple recipe and the addition of cinnamon, lime and (of course) rum really makes a difference. This recipe makes one large cake, serving approximately 12 people, but can easily be halved or doubled as required.

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Curry, Caribbean Style

This entry is part 2 of 23 in the series World Kitchen

In the U.K., we’re accustomed to – and love – a good curry, and it’s no different in the Caribbean. However, the curry we eat here is nothing like the curry you can savour in the Caribbean: trust me.

Despite both being rooted in Indian gastronomy, the cultural milieu of each region has definitely impacted the dish’s flavours and diversity. In the U.K., thanks to a booming Indian and Pakistani subculture (such as you find along Manchester’s famous Curry Mile) a curry is a variety of dishes ranging from your slightly more subtle Korma to a flame-throwing spicy Lahori Karahi. Meanwhile in the Caribbean, the only difference between curry dishes is the meat you choose to throw in and the spices in your kitchen cupboard at any given time.

chillies flickr heymrleej

 

The West Indian Curry was initially brought over to the Caribbean around the nineteenth century when workers from India emigrated across the Atlantic Ocean and brought their stack of delicious recipes with them. Of course, there was the slight problem that the Caribbean didn’t offer the same ingredients as India did and some adjustments had to be made. Shortly afterwards, the wider population caught on to the delicious and ever-adaptable dish and decided to give it a bit of an Afro-Caribbean twist that has stuck around. Today when you order a curry, especially in Guyana or Trinidad, you get a whopping serving either over steamed rice or wrapped in a roti skin (a type of flat bread) and no two are ever alike. As a result, eating a curry is always an exciting adventure for your taste buds and it’s a dish that never fails to disappoint. The recipe below is your  perfect chance to take a whack at it:

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Dining in Singapore

This entry is part 3 of 23 in the series World Kitchen

It might be a very small country that not many people think to visit. And it might be more of a country which, like Dubai, is considered more of a stopover place: but if there is one thing that is worth checking out in Singapore, it is the food.

Food is big in Singapore. It’s popular and its citizens will queue for as long as it takes for the local cuisine, and will eat at any time of the day and night. The most surprising thing is that it’s nothing fancy or extravagant. The best places to find it are in food markets and hawker centres (open air complexes with stalls selling a variety of different foods). Below are five of the best dishes to sample in Singapore…

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Dutch Caramel Cookies

This entry is part 4 of 23 in the series World Kitchen

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(Tip: the quicker you take these cookies out of the oven, the softer they will be. http://www.cafeschoenleben.de/)

The ‘Koggetje’ cookie was founded in The Netherlands’ capital city, Amsterdam. The cookie’s name derives from the medieval merchandise ships, ‘Kogge’. Today, the cookie is more commonly known for its soft texture and shards of crisp caramel pieces.

In 1935, Amsterdam launched a competition to find a new cookie to represent the city. Although the winner’s name is disputed, we are certain that he won for his use of traditional Dutch ingredients: Basterdsuiker and Zeeuwse bloom: these sugar and cake flour mixtures are hard to come by in England, so I have substituted them for available products.

Ingredients (makes approximately 24) 

  • 125g soft butter or margarine
  • 100g soft light brown sugar, sifted
  • 150g caster sugar, sifted (50g for the caramel)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 225g self-raising flour, sifted
  • 1 tbsp water
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Malaysia’s Nasi Lemak

This entry is part 5 of 23 in the series World Kitchen

Nasi Lemak, considered the national dish of Malaysia, is a dynamic dish of both flavour and texture alike. This meal is the quintessential rice dish of the south-east Asian country enjoyed not only by locals, but tourists and expatriates alike, who all call Malaysia their home.

Pronounced ‘Nah-see Luh-mahk’, the dish is prepared using rice cooked in coconut milk and pandan (screwpine) leaf, alongside the important sambal, a hot and fiery chilli sauce; arguably this component can make or break the dish. Other essential condiments to the rice and sambal normally include: fresh cucumber slices, fried anchovies (known locally as ikan bilis and can be used in the sambal itself), hard boiled egg and roasted peanuts. All of which are all customarily served upon banana leaves, though as a student I find a boring old plate will suffice!

(pommietravels.com)

Nasi Lemak has traditionally been served as a breakfast, yet its versatility has made it into a meal that can be enjoyed at any time of the day, demonstrated by an abundance of slight variations or added extras such as fried chicken or curry.

The recipe isn’t a quick-fix: patient preparation is crucial to the meal’s success. Following this basic recipe encompasses and retains the richness, texture and the sambal kick of the glorious dish – or so I hope! So if you have the urge to try something new and have the time for it, then go ahead and try one of Malaysia’s most delicious delicacies.

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