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This month the Notting Hill Carnival takes place and with a Caribbean theme running through the whole three day event, what better excuse to try something different. I have never been and it is certainly on my bucket list, but I have tasted the food. Jerk Chicken is very famous and most people have heard of it, but have you ever tried to cook it? Below you will see my recipe and believe me it is very easy and perfect on the BBQ or under the grill. Why not try the Cuban Black Beans?  They are really very nice and again easy to make. Finally, not for the faint hearted or children, I added a little cheeky recipe for Dirty Banana.  It is very refreshing for a summer evening but be careful! One is enough for me!   

Buen Apetito

Jerk Chicken

Italian salad dressing mix

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp oil

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp ground red pepper

2½lbs chicken pieces

Mix all ingredients except chicken in bowl. Pour over chicken. Cover and marinate for 1hr or overnight in fridge.

Grill it or BBQ it and then enjoy it!

Caribbean Carrots

1lb carrots, peeled and sliced or 1lb baby carrots whole

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp butter/2 tbsp margarine

½ tsp ground ginger

Cook carrots until tender. (I usually steam them to retain the most flavour).

Melt butter and add brown sugar and ginger, stirring to blend.

Add sauce to carrots and stir to coat.

Cuban Black Beans

2 (10oz) cans black beans, liquid drained and reserved

1 medium onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp cumin powder

½ tsp oregano

½ tsp salt

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Fry the onion and pepper in a little oil. Add the garlic and sauté a little. Introduce a little of the bean liquid until all previous ingredients are soft. Add the beans with the remaining liquid. Add spices and simmer about 30 minutes. Add the vinegar just before serving. These are good served over a bed of rice and a squirt of lime juice

Sweet Potato Soup

1 tbsp sunflower oil

½ -3/4 cup chopped onion (1-2 onions)

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 tbsp curry paste (level tbsp, preferably Madras, Korma or another Indian or Caribbean curry paste you like)

1 tbsp grated fresh ginger

4 cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes (not yams)

1 red bell pepper, deseeded and chopped

3½ cups chicken stock or vegetable stock

2 tbsp rum (optional but use white rum)


Recommended topping

4-6 tbsp sour cream (any fat content)

Sweet paprika


In a soup pot, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add curry paste and onions and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat if necessary. Add garlic clove and ginger and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and pepper. Mix. Add stock. Cook for 15 minutes or until vegetables are very soft. Puree the ingredients in batches in a blender or puree the whole amount directly in the pot with a hand blender (if pot is high enough). Check if you like the consistency of the soup. Add more stock or water if desired and adjust the seasonings (check if salt is needed). You can add more curry paste if desired, but most pastes need to be cooked first before adding to a dish. Add rum if using. Serve in individual bowls and top each with a tablespoon of sour cream and a sprinkle of sweet paprika.

Dirty Banana Shake

3 ounces Tia Maria

3 ounces rum cream liqueur

3 ounces dark rum

6 ounces milk

2 ounces simple syrup

1½ bananas


Fill blender 3/4 way with ice. Add all the ingredients and blend well.

Note: simple syrup is a mixture of ½ water & ½ sugar that is simmered until sugar is dissolved & cooled.