The caribbean, for me, often conjures up images for smoking barbecues, sunshine, and beautiful scantily-clad people. Whether that’s truly the case, I have no idea. But we can pretend right?
So when I got a hold of Élan’s Caribbean Flavours, I knew I just had to add a caribbean twist to my run-of-the-mill meals.
Élan Harris grew up with her dad’s home cooking, full of the aromatics of chillies and caribbean spices. This love for food got passed on to her, and she started making her own sauces to share with family and friends. Before you know it, she’s got this great line of flavourful sauces that she’s ready to share with the Australian market.
I’ve used the Calypso Pepper Jam and the Feeling Hot Hot Pepper Sauce in my recipes. The jam wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet, and gave a hint of warmth with the mellow flavour of cooked capsicums. The sauce was made with scotch bonnet peppers, which provided a slightly stronger kick, blended with a tropical fruitiness.
My only complaint? I would have loved the hot pepper sauce to be well, hotter. The bottles I’ve tried are somewhat mild, so if you’re a true chilli lover, you might want to add a bit more heat yourself. Otherwise, they’ve all got a great fruitiness which I really appreciate – there’s something about the natural sugars in fruit that add so much depth to a savoury dish.
- 4 chicken marylands
- 1 bottle of élan's feeling hot hot pepper sauce
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 cup (60ml) lemon juice
- Fresh parsley to serve
- 2 cups long grain or basmati rice
- 1 small brown onion
- 1 tbsp butter
- 400 ml lite coconut cream
- 600 ml water
- 1 tin (400g) kidney beans, drain and rinsed
- 1 tsp salt
- Place all the ingredients (except for the fresh parsley) into a large non-reactive container. I used a large zip top bag - you just need something big enough to fit all the marylands. Massage the chicken lightly, and marinate overnight in the fridge.
- Preheat your oven to 180C.
- Place the chicken into a roasting tray, and pour the marinade over the top of it. Roast, skin side up and uncovered, for about 40min or until the juices run clear. Jerk chicken is really meant to be done over hot coals, but I'm not sure how inclined you are to fire up the barbecue in the middle of winter. The skin should be nice and blackened, then rest the chicken for about 10 minutes before serving.
- While the chicken is in the oven, finely dice the onion. In a large pot, melt the butter till it's foaming, then lightly sauté the onion. Place the onion into a rice cooker, and add the rice, coconut milk, water and a pinch of salt. Cook the rice as per your rice cooker's instructions, then stir through the drained and rinsed beans.
- Finely chop the fresh parsley to serve.
- The sauce has a fantastic fruity flavour, with some heat from the scotch bonnet peppers. It was pretty mild for me, so if you'd like to add a bit more of a kick, add minced fresh chillies into the marinade, or some chilli powder.
- 1 shoulder ham on the bone (about 2kg)
- 1 jar élan's Calypso Pepper Jam
- 1 tin pineapple chunks in juice (about 400g), drained, reserve juice
- 1 bird's eye chilli
- 2 limes
- Fresh parsley
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 180C.
- Score around the knuckle near the end of the bone and remove the rind from the ham. In a small saucepan, simmer the juice from the pineapple chunks and the calypso jam till thickened slightly.
- Score into the shoulder ham, not cutting too much into the meat, and brush over the glaze. Place a trivet in a roasting tray, and place 2-3 cups of water into the bottom of the tray. This water shouldn't touch the top of the rack, and is just there to prevent burnt on stains from the sugar in the glaze. Place the ham on the trivet and bake for about 1.5 hours, or till ham is warmed through. You might want to baste the ham every 30 minutes or so with leftover glaze.
- Place drained pineapple chunks into a bowl with lime and salt. Add finely chopped chilli. Leave for 30 minutes in the fridge for the flavours to infuse. Mix in chopped fresh parsley before serving.
5 things you should do in the Caribbean
Source Berit Watkin
The national dish is Flying fish and a flying fish sandwich or “flying fish cutter” ( local name for a sandwich ) has evolved up the island food chain from roadside rum shops to the finest restaurants. Bajans (as they are called) love their national dish marinated with Bajan seasoning (a wet seasoning), lime, battered in egg, and served straight off the grill with a lashing of Caribbean peppersauce. There is an annual Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival in November, which attracts a lineup of celebrity chefs from around the globe.
The Local Way : A fish fry at a local fish market like Oistins is a must if you want to have great fish and hang with locals!
Source: Frank Roche
An ice cold Red Stripe, reggae music blasting from speakers and “jerk” are a must for the food lover! Jerk meats were originated by runaway slaves who marinated meat in a piquant sauce and then slow-cooked over a pimento-wood fire. Pork and chicken are the traditional meats used, however a new style of preparation of meats known as jerk-style, lets Jamaicans prepare anything including goat, mutton, beef, and even fish. On the island’s eastern tip in an area named Boston Bay, they celebrate the jerk by having roadside jerk stalls. This tradition has definitely taken off and the tangy jerk with its smoky aromas from the barbecue pits, has spread across the island and throughout the Caribbean.
The Local Way: Scotchie’s jerk stalls in Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, and Kingston.
Source: Your Local Connection
This islands heritage of both French and English has influenced their cuisine. The Creole cuisine serves up barbecued seafood straight off the boat, accompanied by roasted or boiled breadfruit, sweet potato, or blackened corn on the cob. The locals flock to the waterfront towns of Gros Islet and Anse la Ray on Friday nights for “jump ups” that blend food, drink, music, and dancing in the streets. They also love their national dish of salt fish and green banana.
The Local Way: Dasheene at Ladera Resort.
Source: Simon & Vicki
A large percentage of the population is of South Asian origin, so the Indian cuisine is especially good. But this is only one of the influences – the immigrants from Africa, Europe, South America, the Middle East, and China have also enhanced the local food culture. Dining here is a journey through the foods of the various cultures that have come to populate this island. The variety of foods range from the amazing coconut water and fresh corn( they sell on the sides of the roads) to Indian roti, channa and red-hot curries to callaloo soup and jerk meats. It’s hard to know where to start.
The Local Way: Chaud restaurant in Port of Spain.
This island is known as the “Island of Spice”! It produces cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon for export but many local kitchen use them as well. The chefs and cooks create so many flavourful dishes like ginger pork, curried mutton, crayfish broth, and stir-fried rabbit. Grenada also grows rare and special varieties of cocoas giving their chocolate deep flavour and clearly one of the strongest, richest cocoas in the world. Grenada’s cocoa produces a chocolate with a powerful, delicious and intriguing flavour.
The Local Way: Patrick’s Local Homestyle Cooking Restaurant.
Élan’s Caribbean’s Flavours are available from select grocers around NSW, Australia. For more information, you can visit her website: elanscaribbeanflavours.com.au
I Ate My Way Through sampled the sauces featured in this post with thanks to Élan’s Caribbean’s Flavours