All posts tagged: caribbean

I’m Back!

My fellow foodies I have to apologize for my absence from this site. I want to say it was down to technical problems, however no worker should blame their tools…especially a tool like wordpress support who are absolute geniuses! I have been away but very, very busy: several supperclubs, food articles and catering opportunities later I have soo much to share with you. 2019 has already kicked off to be a fantastic year with me being featured in Thomas Cook Holiday Magazine¬†reviewing the growing trend of craft beers and wine vineyards in the Caribbean – Yes hot humid Caribbean now has its first winery! check out the link for details. I have so much planned for this site this year combining my love of Caribbean history with food and culture – I have regular updates from now on. In fact I should ask you – what would you like to see? Please leave your comments below ūüėČ Ciao for now! xx Advertisements

Breadfruit Raviloi w/ Saltfish ‘n’ Ackee & Coconut Sauce

Loretta’s been in the ‘test kitchen’ so to speak over the past few weeks. I’ve been trying to re-define familiar caribbean dishes as we know them; from ackee to water crackers (anyone who comes across a caribbean dish beginning with ‘z’ please contact me and I will edit this post accordingly!). Last week I started with Breadfruit. Breadfruit has to be one of the most understated fruits I have come across. After sharing a breadfruit¬†recipe last week, I did a little more research ¬†and found that as well as being high in nutrients and vitamins, Breadfruit is a great substitute for eggs, so it can be used in cakes. ¬†And for those looking for a gluten free, vegan alternative to cooking, it looks like breadfruit pasta is in the pipeline! We have been sitting on a goldmine. Just like the humble Goiji berry and Chia seeds, Breadfruit deserves superfood status, which means both financial and scientific investment into the versatile qualities of this amazing fruit. Can you imagine what impact this could have on the …

Breadfruit Curry

Happy New Year! I had an enjoyable Christmas and New Years with friends and family, for the first time, I didn’t do much of the cooking, I was determined this year that I wanted to have a break from the kitchen and have some quality time with people I love, which I did. Nevertheless my brain was still ticking away with recipes and new projects for the coming year and so having made it through the first week back at work, I am ready to kick things off again with Loretta’s Kitchen! Many of us have started the new year with resolutions: lose weight, start a new course, learn a language etc…,maybe all three. Well how about adding to your list, ‘try out new cuisines, fruits and vegetables’? If you can’t afford to travel this year, you can bring the’exotic’ to your kitchen ;-). To help you out, I thought I would introduce some of you to an interesting fruit. Known as ‘Breadfuit’. Breadfruit¬†found mainly in the Caribbean (although native to Tahiti), is a large …

Golden Patties: Can I take your order?

Is it too early to start talking about Christmas? It’s 6¬†weeks away…you can thank me later ūüėČ This might not come as a shock to many of you, but to those¬†planning on having a whole load¬†of hungry guests share their¬†personal space for at least 24¬†hours,¬†it might be a good idea to¬†start thinking about it¬†from now.   You might be wondering what Christmas has to do with the mouth-watering beef patties pictured above, well I won’t waste anymore of your time; I have been practising my hardest at making jamaican patties, (see my instagram page). Now I think I have mastered the taste and texture, for the first time ever…just in time for Christmas ūüėČ Could you see these golden patties on your buffet table or office party? Maybe you want a Christmas brunch without any hassle; I think these mini patties which fit neatly in the palm of your hand would do the trick. I’m working on some different flavours: pulled bbq chicken, feta and sun-dried tomato…what other combinations are there? I’d be interested to …

Spinach Rice

“Eat your Greens…” ‘Mature’ spinach as I like to call it, has a stronger taste and smell than¬†baby spinach which is why I recommend it for this dish. I bought mine in my local market for 40p a bunch, not bad! Blending some for spinach helps create the green vivid colour in the rice, but still allows you to enjoy the texture of the spinach running through. To make the rice tender and grainy, I prefer to use a pan with a large surface area rather than a pot, that way I avoid having to stir the pot and the flavours get evenly distributed. Its optional to stir in the butter after the rice has cooked rather than during the cooking process. I’ve had some excellent feedback on this recipe, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!  

Rice ‘n’ Peas Risotto w/ Crispy Okra

We sat in our regular cafe spot not far from Highbury and Islington Station; me mulling over an overly sweet Chai Latte, him a large, mug of Americano, our opposing tastes in beverages mirroring our personalities… Him: “Have you made it yet?” Me: “Made what? The Roti Wrap? The De-constructed Ackee and Saltfish? He had thrown so many weird and wonderful recipes ideas at me over the last few months I couldn’t keep track, and I wasn’t sure if he really wanted me to take him seriously. Him: “The Rice and Peas Risotto (blank stare). I think if you make it with coconut milk, it’ll be a great fusion you know…?” Me: “Oook…?” I tried to picture it in my head. I was stepping onto sacred ground here: NO ONE messes with rice and peas…a famous chef was publicly humiliated for his version of rice and peas which insulted the whole of the global black population. How would I pass such a test??? Why was my boyfriend setting me a challenge that could go disastrously …

Roasted Pumpkin & Garlic Soup

So this is how you make effortless, tasty and satisfying soup in minutes. Soup doesn’t have to be complicated nor does it need a whole bunch of ingredients to leave your mouth watering for more. I grew up using yellow or red split peas as a base for thick soups. But as the split peas release no flavour of their own, I found myself adding tons of ingredients, and root vegetables which meant more time in the kitchen and less time doing the other things I enjoyed doing. This soup however is complete in 3 easy steps: roast, blend, boil. And if you have any left over, it could work as a good based for a pasta dish or stew. The dense sweet nutty flavour of this variety of pumpkin (normally sold in caribbean markets) when roasted needs very little to enhance its flavour more. You can add more or less water to achieve the consistency you want. I think you’re going to really like this one…;-)

The Classics: Brown Stew Chicken

  I grew up watching my Mum¬†do all the cooking in our home. But when I was old enough to appreciate that my Mum¬†had a job which sometimes involved working nights, I had to learn to appreciate my Daddy’s¬†cooking. I say learn to appreciate, because there was only one dish my Daddy¬†knew to do: brown stew chicken. I recall with almost near grief¬†watching¬†my¬†mum hitch up her blue and white nurses uniform over her knee and perch herself gracefully on her brown and orange bike to ride through the quiet streets of Crawley, taking all the tasty food ideas with her to the nursing home where she worked. About 15 minutes into her journey I’m sure the smell of something burning must have reached her nose as far as she was from home. My Dad loved brown stew chicken and he made sure the chicken was just that – brown and indistinguishable from the molasses like gravy it sat in. It’s not that I disliked the bitter sweet taste, it was more that I was bored …

Green Fig Salad

    It was only during my first trip to¬†Trinidad as a teenager¬†that I realised the sheer variety of bananas that existed. Most of us are familiar with the Chiquito variety of medium sized bananas and a few more with yellow plantain and even green banana. But Trinidad introduced to me red skin banana, sour tasting banana, short fig and cooking fig. I think I’ll work with the 3 I know for now. This recipe is a typical alternative to potato salad in Trinidad. The firm starchy texture of the green banana makes it a usual candidate for¬†¬†Metemgee; but it works really well in this salad as it¬†resembles the waxy texture of new potatoes.¬†¬†It’s also packed with vitamin C, B6 and Potassium, so don’t feel guilty serving yourself a larger¬†portion.

Guyanese: Pepperpot

If there was ever a dish which made me immensely proud of my Guyanese heritage, it would be this one. Pepperpot, the National dish of Guyana. Simply the bitter-sweetest, warmest, stickiest pot of stew you will ever taste. It has a taste like none other, and its all down to one main ingredient: Cassareep. Cassareep was not as accessible in the 80’s when I was growing up¬†as it is now; and even here, only certain West Indian shops sell it. I don’t know where we found the thick black molasses mixture when I was a child, but it was cherished like liquid black gold in our home: It would sit at the back of the cupboard, in a used Pepsi Bottle silently, waiting for the 25 December. I recall it being sealed with masking tape around its¬†mouth and neck, as if smuggled out of the¬†country, put on a boat destined for the Motherland…only to sit at the back of someone’s cupboard for 11 1/2 months of the year. “Cass-a-reep” I was told by my mother …

Soursop Punch

  There use to be a time in my life when I¬†was conscious that I was beginning to sound like my Mum. Last week was definitely one of them. “No Soursop today?” I said in deep frustration to the man at the¬†stall in Ridley Market. “No sorry darlin’ none today; nothing came off the ship from St Lucia or Jamaica…” In that split second my imagination took me to the shores of St Lucia, picturing Mr Market Stall man waiting at the beach front with his trolly waiting for this precious fruit to come in. I smiled at myself and walked away, a little disheartened. Last month there was no Soursop either, this time it was because it was being sold for the “price of Gold” his friend had told me. The way I hounded these guys, week after week watching, lingering, pretending to only pass by, hoping to see a pile of fresh prickly green skinned fruit smiling back at me…it was¬†beyond¬†an obsession, I was a evolving into my mother. Why I bothered to …

Bara and Channa (Doubles)

Yes Bara and Channa: the original street food of Trinidad. I soon learnt on my first trip to Trini, not to buy Bara and Channa from just anyone! My Dad and I still laugh about it to this day how we would¬†drive¬†45¬†minutes away from my Uncle’s home, in the south,¬†to buy fresh bara (bread) and channa (chick-pea) from a¬†middle aged lady who made it¬†straight from her isolated hut, passing many other vendors along¬†the way. This lady’s bara was made right before our dry eyes and watering lips rather than fried beforehand and left to steam in a hot pan waiting for the first customer. The best bara is slightly crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle with a mild curry¬†flavour. This wouldn’t be a true hot sandwich without the¬†condiments: the Anchar (pickled mango chutney), the tamarind sauces and the cool cucumber salad. If you follow this recipe correctly, you will also have the most¬†lightest fluffiest bara you could ever want: easy to slice into a¬†pocket or sandwich two bara’s together with a serving …

Trini ‘Tambran’ (Tamarind) Sauce’

I remember being about 6 or 7 at the time (for some reason I put a lot of childhood events between¬†this age range) when I tasted¬†my first Tamarind Ball. It was dark in colour and resembled a golf ball that had been rolled in sugar. My brother told me it was (pepper) ‘hot’, so as neither of us could bear hot pepper at the time I avoided them as best I could. But then a few weeks later, I thought I’d pluck the courage to go try one of these ‘sweets’ as my Dad called them. He had brought them back from a short trip he’d made to Trinidad to see my Grand –¬†parents and extended family. I had watched on with envy as my Mum and Dad devoured them with child like pleasure all week and couldn’t understand the fascination with something that resembled liquorice but tasted like pepper. The moment the Tambran was in my mouth, I was met by an¬†unusually sweet sticky texture which I chewed on for a couple of seconds, …

Caribbean Pumpkin Fritters

This is what you could call a golden oldie. I love the bright yellow hue that the pancake mixture has when you mix all the ingredients together. And the smell of the warm pumpkin spices could have you licking from the bowl. Again I was left with the issue of what to do with the abandoned piece of pumpkin I had left over from the first dish I made. And soon realised that I hadn’t made anything sweet with any of the gourds I had bought. I wasn’t in the mood for a cake, I wanted something really quick but could still fit into the dessert category. And then I¬†remembered pumpkin fritters, made effectively the same way that banana fritters are made and served with a hearty savoury main meal or on its own with a dusting of cinnamon sugar. The key to this recipe is the roasting on the pumpkin. It really doesn’t take any more than 30 minutes and in the meantime you can get all the other ingredients ready so that all …

Guyana: Paratha Roti

Oil-roti, buss-up-shot, Dhal puri. Some of the names I have grown to associate with the iconic national dish of both Guyana and Trinidad. From the Street Vendor in San Fernando to the Blue Hut on Mount Irvine Beach¬†in Tobago, Roti is enjoyed by everyone, everywhere. The hardest task I have found however was not in the consuming, but finding someone who could do it well (or as well as my Mother…as we would all say). And I’m sad to report that those places and people are very few and hard to find. Many make the mistake of preparing Roti much like chapatti or some other flat bread, which is fine to those who don’t know any better, but to those who can sniff a good Roti from a far off it won’t be enjoyed as well. The key to making a good Guyanese Paratha Roti is letting the dough rest adequately between each stage. The ratio of baking powder to flour is equally important. It’s also important that you use the right utensils. A Tawah¬†(flat …

Trini Sunday: Chicken Pelau Rice

Sunday morning I would wake up to sounds and smells. First it would be the sound of my mum singing in the kitchen and then the smell of fried bakes roasting to eat with the Buljol she had just prepared. Dad could be heard like a giant stirring around in the living room in his dressing gown and slippers, thumbing through his precious vinyl collection: “Which¬†would it be today: Mighty Sparrow or Mahalia Jackson?” His thoughts would soon¬†be interrupted by the crescendo of pots and pans crashing to the kitchen floor: I would picture Mum in my mind’s eye as I lay on my warm bed: bending down low and reaching far back to grab her precious pot which was usually stacked very badly (by one of us) behind or on top of smaller weaker pots, hence the clash of metal befallen on our sleeping ears. Then I would wait for her to cry out my name to come fix the problem (“Raaaaaaa-neeeee…”) Traditions are so important, they help solidify memories and reaffirm identities. The …

Pumpkin Rice

This rich and creamy pumpkin rice¬†was inspired by Chris De La Rosa of Caribbean Pot – big shout out to Chris for creating this dish and for being my inspiration behind this blog! (this is the first time he is hearing this). Pumpkin has to be one of my favourite vegetables, it is so versatile as you will see from many other recipes I have created. Your going to see it crop up a few more times on my food journey in the form of soups and pies and maybe fritters. Interestingly enough pumpkin rice wasn’t a dish made in my household from what I can recall, unlike many other forms of ‘cook-up rices’ that I have enjoyed. Stuffing it into grilled sweet peppers simply intensifies the colour and texture if anything else. I enjoyed this dish on its own, but I think it could go well with any fish or meat dish of your choice.

Salt fish Fritters

Salt fish Fritters are a stable of most Caribbean households. Some eat it for breakfast, as a snack with¬†bread or on its own. Unlike fish cakes which are made of a mixture of potato and cooked fish, saltfish fritters are made with flour and pack in a lot more flavour which makes them very filling. The end product should be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. These fritters have the most flavour out of any fritter I have tasted recently and the key to this is a couple of things: grate all your ingredients where stated, that way all the flavour will be well-distributed into every bite. Secondly taste as you go along, yes taste the dough, that is the only way to achieve the flavour you want, because once you start frying there is no turning back. You can also adjust the measurements and flavours as you see fit, provided the texture of the dough is not too stiff or runny (do a sample fry first), this should take no more …