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Curry goat with rice and peas.
Caribbean cuisine is a fusion of African, Amerindian, European, East Indian, Arab and Chinese cuisine. These traditions were brought from many different countries when they came to the Caribbean. In addition, the population has created styles that are unique to the region.
Ingredients which are common in most islands' dishes are rice, plantains, beans, cassava, cilantro (coriander), bell peppers, chickpeas, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, coconut, and any of various meats that are locally available like beef, poultry, pork or fish. A characteristic seasoning for the region is a green herb and oil based marinade which imparts a flavor profile which is quintessentially Caribbean in character. Ingredients may include garlic, onions, scotch bonnet peppers, celery, green onions, and herbs like cilantro, marjoram, rosemary, tarragon and thyme. This green seasoning is used for a variety of dishes like curries, stews and roasted meats.
Traditional dishes are so important to regional culture that, for example, the local version of Caribbean goat stew has been chosen as the official national dish of Montserrat and is also one of the signature dishes of St. Kitts and Nevis. Another popular dish in the Anglophone Caribbean is called "Cook-up", or Pelau. Ackee and saltfish is another popular dish that is unique to Jamaica. Callaloo is a dish containing leafy vegetables and sometimes okra amongst others, widely distributed in the Caribbean, with a distinctively mixed African and indigenous character.
The variety of dessert dishes in the area also reflects the mixed origins of the recipes. In some areas, Black Cake, a derivative of English Christmas pudding may be served, especially on special occasions.
RECIPES: JAMAICAN BEEF PATTY
Below is a delicious recipe for Jamaican Beef Patties:
2 cups Flour 1/4 teaspoon Salt 1/2 tablespoon curry powder 1/4 cup Solid shortening 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) margarine 1/3 cup Cold water
Sift the flour, curry powder and salt into a large bowl. Cut in the shortening and margarine until crumbly. Add the cold water to make a stiff dough. Lightly flour a wooden cutting board and roll out the dough until about 1/8-inch thick. Cut out 8-inch circles. Cover with wax paper or damp cloth until ready to use. You can place the dough in the refrigerator overnight. If you do refrigerate, remove the dough at least 15 minutes before using.
2 tablespoon oil 1 Small white onion, Finely chopped 1/4 teaspoon Chopped Scotch Bonnet pepper 1/2 lb. Lean ground beef 1/2 teaspoon Salt 1/2 teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper 1/2 teaspoon Curry powder 1/2 teaspoon Dried thyme 1/4 cup Breadcrumbs 1/4 cup Beef or chicken stock 1 Egg, beaten 1/4 cup Water
In a heavy skillet, melt the margarine and sauté the onion and Scotch Bonnet Pepper until they become limp. Add the ground beef, salt, pepper, curry powder and thyme and mix well. Brown the meat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the breadcrumbs and stock and combine all the ingredients well. Cover the skillet and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. When all the liquids have been absorbed, the filling is ready. It should be moist but not watery. Remove the skillet from the stove and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Uncover the dough circles and place 2 to 3 tablespoons of filling on half of each. Moisten the edges of the dough with water and fold the dough circle over the meat filling. Pinch the edges closed with a fork. Lightly brush the pastry with a mixture of the egg and water. Bake on a lightly greased baking sheet for 30 to 40 minutes or until the pastry are golden brown.
Serves: 10 Patties
JAMAICAN PEPPER POT SOUP RECIPE
Serves: 4 - 6
1 lb Callaloo or Spinach 12 Okras 12 cups water 1/2 lb salt beef 1/2 lb shin of beef 4 Cups water 1 Can of coconut milk 1/2 lb Yellow Yam (peeled) Crushed escallion Sliced hot peppers Black pepper
Wash the callaloo then chop finely. Boil in water with the salt beef and shin of beef until beef is tender, usually about 2 hours. Add the coconut milk, yam, okras, escallion, hot peppers, and black pepper. Add water if necessary. Simmer for 30 minutes. Soup should be thick in consistency.