Tastes of the Caribbean…
If you you’ve never tried jerk pork or even jerk – give it a go. We had this on a brilliantly hot day and the spicy tropical flavours are made for sunshine and good times – you might even imagine you are in the Caribbean!
This is where I say: ‘Ahh, when I was in the Caribbean…’
As it happens I have been to the Caribbean. I was a young teenager travelling with my family on a cruise ship. It was a wonderful trip, but like all cruises, most of our time was spent on board. As the ship food was ‘all inclusive’, there was little incentive for the kids to be adventurous with local food. We probably stuck to what we knew – hamburgers and soda. So the great irony was (as far as great culinary ironies can be appreciated by young teenagers) we sailed all around the Caribbean – yet never ate jerk chicken, goat stew, plantains, saltfish, callaloo, cassava – or any other local delicacy – including conch, which we saw being processed by the fishermen of Nassau in The Bahamas.
In those days, I suspect everybody was happy ‘sticking with what they knew’. Whereas now it seems people will go to any lengths to explore unknown ingredients or recipes. The ingredients for a taste of the Caribbean are now available throughout London. With Scotch Bonnet chillies widely available it’s now possible to make an acceptable jerk at home, if passing through Waterloo at lunchtime there are Cuban sandwiches and fried plantain available at The Cubana restaurant and while browsing in Brixton Market it’s possible to buy goat, saltfish, callaloo, and cassava (I’ve yet to find conch in the UK), or when wandering around Portobello Market you’ll find a vast array of other Caribbean specialties, especial jerk chicken cooked on hot coals with rice and peas. With the reggae vibes booming from the sound systems – you might even imagine you were back in the Caribbean!