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        Jamaican food (part 3)

        Jamaican food (part 3)

        Become a real Barista!
        Jamaican food (part 3)

        At the other end of the food market, there is vast range of restaurants, serving a wide range of foods, a Gourmets, paradise: classic dishes from around the world, all given the Jamaican, treatment: one restaurant I want to try, advertises "Ja-mexican" dishes, which should be a real treat for the taste buds!!

        2The Buff river

        Every year ( this year is the 6th time they have organised it ) the Gleaner, organises a "Restaurant Week": several dozen restaurants, all over the Island, join in: and they offer a fixed price, "special", for the week: and the Gleaner publishes the menus, the prices are all very reasonable, and some of the dishes had me drooling over the newspaper as I was reading them!! The participating restaurants, are across the whole range: from the top, of the top, ones, to the interesting little, out of the way, eating houses.

        This year there are 60 participating restaurants, with a 3 course meal: "tasty":J$1,450 ( ?11 - US$16 ), "savoury" J$1,750 ( ?13 - US$20 ) "delectable": J$3,300 ( ?25 - US$ 38 ) and "epicurean" at J$3,800 ( ?29 - US$ 45 ): drinks, tax and gratuities, are not included; and if last years dishes were anything to go by, excellent value for money!!

        Without doubt, chicken is far away the most popular meat ( in most supermarkets, occupying about 2/3rds of the chilled meats display ) the cheapest chicken available, is "chicken back", a lot imported from the States, and consists of the left-over bones of the chicken when the breast, thighs/drumsticks, and the wings, have been removed: not much edible meat, and a whole lot of bones!!! The feet are removed, and sold separately, at a much higher price!!

        The other bits of the chicken ( which I have never seen on sale, in England ) chicken feet, necks, livers, and gizzards, all on the shelves: the chicken liver and gizzards, very cheap, and my dogs love them!!

        This week, a special treat for them, found a dozen pigs tongues ( at ?0.70p per pound ) a couple of them I will use to make a savoury pie, for myself, and they will get the rest.

        The savoury pie: one of my Fathers "specials", He made one every Christmas, and it was sliced up and served with the ( everlasting!! ) cold turkey. A variety of meats, chicken, venison, just about anything, as available; mixed with "offal" meats ( pigs tongues, and a pigs head, if he could get one ( pigs trotters are a reasonable substitute) from which comes all the jelly, for the pie: liver, heart, and sausage meat ) chopped up, with onions, garlic, herbs and a few spices: squashed tightly into a pastry case, lined with strips of bacon, in a pie tin, covered with pastry, and slowly cooked in the oven: always served cold, with chutney. Very nice for Christmas in the icy northern climes: might be a little "heavy", for these tropical conditions!! but, vary the recipe, a little, and it should be more suitable!! Apart from the ubiquitous Jamaican meat patties, there are almost no other savoury meat pies, in the local cuisine.

        Few Jamaicans are coffee drinkers, and if they drink it, usually buy instant coffee ( yeuk!! ) on one occasion, I was checking out the coffees available in a supermarket, and got chatting with a lady at the coffee section; turns out she was a coffee grower ( lowland coffee, in the hills above Kingston ) and she went away with a jar of Jamaican instant coffee: I was amazed!! how can a coffee grower serve up instant coffee?? Even the worst, cheapest ground coffee in the supermarkets is vastly better, and only a fraction more expensive; and what an insult to any visitors to a coffee farm!! I keep a small jar of the muck, as every so often, I have to remind my palate, just how awful it tastes!!

        Jamaica has some of the very best Rum, in the world: Appletons is the biggest producer, and their top of the range Rum, is truly superb!! and makes most of the advertised white rums, available world wide, taste more like "chemical engineering" than "distillation"!! Their top grades of Rum, are easily comparable to many a single malt Scotch Whiskey, in the subtleties, and complexities of their flavours ( in my "younger" days, many a bottle of single malt whiskey, was "sampled" with friends!! ).

        At the other extreme, the very bottom of the "taste" range is the local "looney juice", over-proof white rum: 66%ABV, and about ?8.50 ( US$12 ) per Litre, and ( to my way of drinking ) fit ONLY for external use!

        They even make Jamaican wine! made from imported grape juice, and like most of the other drinks around, so sweet, that ( to my palate ) it is virtually undrinkable! It is as sweet as good Port, but with none of the flavour of a Port: it tastes exactly like what it is: cheap, nasty, red wine, with sugar added.

        Rarely see them, but there are some "real" local wines: Aloe Vera, Pumpkin, and many varieties of "home-made" wines: oranges being one of the most popular.

        6Oranges ready to become wine.

        Christmas: turkey is not a Jamaican tradition; frozen, imported turkeys are available in some of the supermarkets, but they are few in number.

        A large roasted chicken, and a ham is the usual choice for Christmas dinner, served up, buffet style, with a wide range of vegetable side dishes. Followed by a fresh fruit salad.

        Easter: and the most "Jamaican" of all seasonal dishes: bun and cheese: sliced spice bun ( a light, sweet, and spicy, fruit cake, with a good "slug" of rum added ) served with a slice of the local processed cheese on top: a few seconds in the microwave, or oven, to just warm it through, but without melting the cheese, and ready to eat.

        The first time I tried it, cold, and it was definitely NOT to a European palate! Since then, warming it up, and the taste is vastly improved; the spice bun is very tasty, and ( to my palate ) is better served with either cold cream, or cold custard.

        Something rather different for today's recipe: Jamaican Rum Cream:-

        It is not worth the effort to make less than a couple of pints, at a time: the most important ingredient is a bottle of aged, and matured, Jamaican Rum, none of the white rums available give the drink anything approaching the "right" flavour. It is a waste to use the top quality Rums, a mid-range Rum, is ideal.

        [ Note:- Rum definitely gives the best flavour to this recipe, but most "aged" spirits ( Whiskey, for example ) can be substituted: "white" spirits; white rum, vodka, and gin, etc, do NOT work!! ]

        Pour 3 ( one pint ) tins of evaporated milk, and 2 tins of condensed milk, into a saucepan, taste the mixture, and add some honey, or sugar, as required: add a teaspoon of vanilla essence, and heat slowly: the mixture must NOT boil, and is best heated in a pan of boiling water; add 6 well beaten, egg yolks, and stir until the mixture begins to noticeably, thicken.

        Remove from the heat, and allow to cool a little, stir in about half of a bottle of rum, cover tightly, and leave to fully cool, stirring occasionally. When cold, pour into well sterilized bottles, and cork the bottles: this drink will only keep for a couple of months, and once the bottle is opened and sampled, will only keep for a week or two, if kept in the 'fridge.

        To make Coffee-Rum Cream: the easy way is to stir in a few spoons of "instant coffee" if you can bring yourself to use the muck ( using this method, use the "best" instant you can find, always use granules, never the "powder" ones: the rest of the ingredients will "cover" the worst of the taste of it ) or, brew up some VERY strong coffee, and add to the mixture, but you may need to add extra egg yolks, to thicken up the extra liquid.

        To brew up some really strong coffee for this recipe ( don't use your best coffee, use a cheaper, full, dark, roast coffee ) put about 6 ounces of finely ground coffee in a pan, with about 10 ounces of water, and gently heat, the moment you see the first bubble ( as the water is approaching boiling point ) add a little more water, and repeat, always trying to keep the water a few degrees below boiling point. When "cooked", remove from the heat, and allow to settle, scoop off as much of the liquid as possible, and run through a paper coffee filter, before pouring the remains into the coffee filter ( fine ground coffee will quickly clog-up a paper filter, by allowing the coffee to settle, and scooping off the liquid, it will drain as quickly as possible ) add to the rest of the mixture, whilst it is still hot: check on the "thickness" of the mixture, and add more egg yolks, if needed, before adding the rum.

        Another interesting variation on this recipe ( for chocoholics ) is to melt a couple of small bars of milk chocolate ( or cocoa powder ) into the mixture, before adding the rum.

        Until next time,

        Robin Plough, friend of m.wzdscp.com

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        See also:
        A New Year on the Plantation
        A Visit to Paradise
        A year in the life..What makes JBM, the 'legend' of coffee?
        Assessing your coffee (part 1)
        Assessing your coffee (part 2)
        Assessing your coffee (part 3)
        Economics of JBM. Part 1
        Economics of JBM. Part 2
        Everything you wanted to know about the Coffee Board
        Growing a coffee plant at home
        Growing Coffee. Part 1
        Growing Coffee. Part 2
        Growing Coffee. Part 3
        Growing Coffee. Part 4
        Growing Coffee. Part 5
        Growing: Part 1
        Growing: Part 2
        Jamaican food (part 1)
        Jamaican food (part 2)
        Jamaican newsletter
        Living in Paradise: Part I
        Living in Paradise: Part II
        Living in Paradise: Part III
        Processing our coffee (part 1)
        Processing our coffee (part 2)
        Random thoughts on the end of the world
        Random thoughts on the end of the world (II)
        Special Report: Coffee Leaf Rust Fungus Part 1
        Special Report: Coffee Leaf Rust Fungus Part 2
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        Trivia and other ramblings: part 1
        Trivia and other ramblings: part 2
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