I love collecting recipes from those copied from my mother's old recipe books to the exciting new ones picked up travelling all over Europe.
I love talking and writing about food too. Compiling a book of Caribbean recipes a few years ago, I was given many exciting and delicious recipes by kind hostesses in the Caribbean from the elegant wives of governors-general and prime ministers to busy house-wives planning nourishing meals for their children, I now have a superb collection of delicious Jamaican recipes. Many are traditional but there are some which I have adapted, using old ingredients to create modern and stylish new ones, such as, Ackee wrapped in smoked salmon parcels. Jamaican cooking is simple and delicious, making use of the abundant local ingredients available - fresh vegetables, seafood straight from the sea, aromatic herbs and spices, flavoursome hot peppers, yams, bananas and potatoes, all from small rural farms. And of course, there is the rum - white and dark rum - the main ingredients in Jamaica's popular punches! Delicious too in flavouring roast pork dishes and puddings.
As I live in London, England there is nothing more pleasurable than cooking and introducing traditional Jamaican recipes to my friends as well as experiencing with the latest Asian recipes - a great international cooking pot! I love decorating my table with pretty china, gleaming silver and sparkling glasses and arranging bowls of fresh flowers in every conceivable spot.
I have added some of my favourite recipes here and hope you will enjoy them too - serve them on pretty Jamaican Ackee china plates for a stunning show-stopper."
Lady Sarah Spencer-ChurchillMontego Bay, Jamaica
Lady Bustamante"Bellencita", Irish Town, St. Andrew, Jamaica
Lady SpringerGovernment House, St. Michael, Barbados
Mrs. Pat RamsayPortland, Jamaica
Inspired by his travels in Jamaica, 2019 F&W Best New Chef Kwame Onwuachi shared this recipe for escovitch snapper. In Jamaica, escovitch fish—fish that’s fried and then topped with pickled, thinly sliced vegetables—is everywhere. In chef Kwame Onwuachi’s version, a garlicky marinade forms a crust as the fish cooks, adding flavour and keeping the snapper moist and tender, and a pickled tangle of thinly sliced chillies, carrots, and onions—makes a punchy, crunchy topping for crispy fried whole snapper.
2 medium-size yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 large carrots, cut into thin strips
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
5 large garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1 fresh Scotch Bonnet chillie, stemmed, unseeded, and thinly sliced (about 1 tablespoon)
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt (Kosher if possible)
For the fish
1 cup Sunflower oil, plus more for frying
20 large garlic cloves
2 tablespoons seasoned salt
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 (2-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger
2 (3- to 3 1/2-pound) whole red snapper, scaled and gutted
2 teaspoons salt
How to Make It
Step 1 Make the pickled vegetables
Combine onions, carrots, vinegar, garlic, ginger, chillie, lime juice, allspice, and salt in a large bowl; toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate 6 to 24 hours.
Step 2 Make the fish
Combine oil, garlic, seasoned salt, thyme, and ginger in a blender; process until a smooth paste forms, about 2 minutes. Using a sharp knife, score fish skin in a crosshatch pattern. Rub oil mixture evenly on skin and in cavities of fish. Place fish on a large baking sheet; cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate about 2 hours.
Heat a large heavy frying-pan with oil (medium-high). Sprinkle fish evenly with salt. Fry the fish until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes, carefully turning halfway through cook time. Remove from saucepan, and transfer to a serving platter. Top with pickled vegetables.
Habanero peppers can be substituted for Scotch bonnet chillies.
Grilled Red Chilli & Garlic Prawns
- 10 large uncooked prawns
- 2 red chillies, finely chopped
- 2 tablepoons grated lemon rind
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
Mix together all the ingredients and brush over the prawns and allow to stand for around 10 minutes. Cook prawns on a hot grill or barbecue for 1 minute on each side. Serve hot.
Ackee in Smoked Salmon Parcels
- 4 oz smoked salmon, thinly sliced
- 1 bunch fresh chives
- 1 tin ackees
- 1 oz butter
- a little vegetable oil for frying
- salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan.
Saute the chopped onion in the butter until softened, add the chopped tomato and lastly the tinned ackees (without the brine). Season with a little salt and a generous helping of ground black pepper.
Heat through thoroughly. Cool.
Mash the ackees just a little with a fork.
Divide each slice of smoked salmon down its length into two and put a spoon of the ackee mixture about a third of the way down lengthways.
Roll the slice over the filling to form a parcel.
Tie each parcel with a sprig of chive.
Delicious as a starter.
Cold Rum Souffle
This is a really good cold pudding flavoured with lots of delicious Jamaican Rum.
- 4 tablespoons dark Jamaican Rum
- 1 tablespoon cornflour
- 200ml single cream
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 1 tablespoon unflavoured gelatine
- 4 egg yolks, separated
- 1/4 llb soft brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- pinch of salt
Mix the cornflour with the water and stir into the cream. Cook, stirring gently over a pan of boiling water until thickened. Set aside. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until the sugar dissolves. Sprinkle the gelatine on one quarter cup cold water to soften. Add the gelatine and the egg mixture to the cream and cook, stirring over a very low heat for around five minutes, Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and rum, stirring to blend well. Add the salt to the egg whites and beat until the whites stand in peaks. Fold into the egg yolk mixture. Pour into a 1/2 inch pint soufflle dish and chill in the refrigerator until set firm. Decorate with a tablespoon of grated plain chocolate.
Blood Orange & Polenta Cake
This is a delicious moist cake with a moreish ruby citrusy syrup.
400g unsalted butter
400g golden castor sugar
200g polenta (fine golden cornmeal)
400g ground almonds
2tbsp baking powder
Zest of 3 oranges
Juice of 2 large oranges
80g caster sugar
Handful of flaked almonds
- Beat the soft butter, orange zest and sugar together until soft, light and fluffy.
- Add in one egg at a time.
- Spoon in the ground almonds, baking powder and polenta and fold into the mixture.
- Split the mixture over two lines cake tins and bake at 150 centigrate for 25-30 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.
- Make the drizzle by heating the orange juice and sugar together on a low heat in a heavy pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is sticky and syrupy.
- When the cake is cooked take out of the oven and pour over the drizzle glaze.
And there you have it a delicious cake for tea or as dessert served with crème fraiche.