This month the Notting Hill Carnival takes place and with a Caribbean theme running through the whole three day event, what better excuse to look up something different. I have never been and it is certainly on my bucket list, but I have tasted some of 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.

Have a go at something different this summer and try the Cuban Black Beans, they are really very nice. 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 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 1/2 lbs chicken pieces

Mix all ingredients except chicken in bowl. Pour over chicken. Cover and marinate 1 hour or overnight in fridge. Grill it or BBQ it; then enjoy it!

Caribbean Carrots
1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced/1 lb baby carrots, whole
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons butter/margarine
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Cook carrots until tender, or to desired doneness. (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 (10 ounce) cans black beans, drained (reserve the liquid)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon 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 for 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 tablespoon sunflower oil
1/2-3/4 cup chopped onion (1-2 onions)
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tablespoon curry paste (levelled tbsp, preferably Madras, Korma or another Indian or Caribbean curry paste you like)
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
4 cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes (not yams)
1 red bell pepper, deseeded and chopped
3½ cups chicken stock or 3½ cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons rum (optional but use white rum)
Recommended Topping
4 -6 tablespoons 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 another 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.


Simple syrup is a mixture of 1/2 water & 1/2 sugar that is simmered until sugar is dissolved & cooled.