Sunday, 26 July 2015

Watermelon Pimms Cooler

Watermelon is in season, make the most of it! I love in-cooperating one of my favourite Summer fruits in a variety of ways including this tropical Summer drink. If you have a blender, this takes minutes and is so refreshing, light and summery. 


Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Caribbean Modern Book Review and Interview with Shivi Ramoutar

Caribbean Modern: Recipes From The Rum Islands, by supper club host and chef Shivi Ramoutar was released last month, to rave reviews by newspapers, magazines and food professionals. I eat a lot of Caribbean food at home, being of Jamaican heritage, however I am always surprised with the new recipes from the Caribbean islands. Shivi's heritage is from Trindiad, Trinidad born, Leicester and London raised I believe and that certainly shows with the number of Trinidad recipes that feature in this book. I have been almost desperate to find authentic recipes on "Shark and Bakes" and "Pelau" so pleased these dishes were featured in her cookbook. What I love about Caribbean Modern, is that all the dishes are so vibrant, colourful and exotic, exactly what Carbbean food is. There were so many recipes which I have bookmarked to try from this book, so far, I've made three dishes: Bag Bakes Sea Bass with Black Bean Salsa, Geera Pork Chops with Citrus Garlic Germolata and Ginger-Dressed Tomato, Orange and Ginger Salad.

The cookbook is split into the following chapters:
  • Introduction
  • Notes On The Recipes
  • Cutters (Snacks For Sharing)
  • Soups and Salads
  • One Pot
  • Two Pots or Three
  • Something On The Side
  • Sweet Things
  • Sticky-Fingered Good
  • Drink UP
  • For the Larder
By far one of my favourite dishes from Caribbean Modern is this incredibly light, flavoursome, tropical and healthy Bag Baked Sea Bass with Black Bean Salsa. 

I've never heard of "Geera, it's cumin pork, but I loved it, instantly. The pork chops was juicy and succulent, flavoursome and lush. Served with roasted vegetables, this dish is certainly a healthier way to eat a chop.

I love salad, especially as it's the Summer months. But salad combing heat, with fruit and more fruit (tomatoes are a fruit), I wasn't sure whether it would work, but it does. Marvelously.

Congratulations on your debut book, Caribbean Modern, I love it's fresh and light take on Caribbean cuisine.

11) What has been your inspiration behind your book?
The inspiration behind my book has come from my family and my upbringing between Trinidad and Leicestershire (UK).  Both countries provided a wealth of different flavours, ideas and ingredients that have impacted my recipes and creations.  It is particularly apparent in some of my recipes where I combine ideas from both regions, or adapt recipes that my family would cook in Trinidad, to take into account ingredients that are more readily available in the UK.

12)  In the UK, Caribbean food tends to be overlooked compared to other cuisines, why do you think this is?
I think this is definitely changing.  Perhaps in the past, the most well-known Caribbean exports would have been Jerk and Goat Curry, dishes that are boldly flavoured, but not necessarily the most beautiful dishes to look at, particularly if you had no idea as to how wonderfully flavourful they are.  Otherwise, Caribbean cuisine wasn’t so easy to find in the mainstream, so it went a little un-noticed.  But the UK as a nation has progressively become more adventurous and excited to try new cuisines, it is so wonderful to see.  That and the fact that we are travelling more and also the internet making the World ‘smaller’.  Caribbean food joints are popping up on the High Street across the UK. And the beauty about Caribbean food is that, because if its wide-ranging influences (British, Dutch, French, Spanish to Chinese to West African to Indian) it is both exotic and yet so familiar.

13)   You’ve introduced us to Trinidadian cuisine, what is your favourite dish from Trinidad?
    This is a tricky one.  I love it all!  At a push, if I had to decide, I’d go with ‘Buljol Butties’ - a breakfast dish of shredded salt fish with fresh vegetables (peppers, chives, tomato, lime and avocado) served in an absolutely drool-inducing, but easy to make bread, called ‘Fried Bakes’.  It is the perfect combination of sweet, savoury and tangy.  It is also vibrantly colourful and fresh.

14)   What dish would you recommend for those who may not have cooked Caribbean cuisine?

You know, I would go with 'Buljol Butties’ - not only because it is one of my favourites dishes, but it is easy to make but the results are so moreish!

15)   Who is your biggest culinary inspiration?
My family – my Ma, Pa, Mama and Aunties and Uncles.  They are all so passionate about food – both cooking and eating and it is such a joy to watch all of them do this.  I think I have said so many times before, but the Caribbean ethos is all about spontaneous hospitality, food, its creation and the enjoyment of it.  And you can see this everytime I watch any of my family members cook.  It never comes across as boring or routine.

16)   Best way to “lime” in the UK?
     Everyway, anyway and anywhere is the best way.  Have some food in one hand and a drink in the other, take your shoes and socks of, put on a little ‘soca’ music and chill with a friend or a random.

Thank you Shivi for taking the time to answer my questions. 
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