If you know me, you’ll know that I’m a bit of a foodie. It may sounds a bit weird but I love really flavorsome food. What I mean is that a basic roast chicken doesn’t really cut it for me. It needs a bit of seasoning and spice to jazz it up a bit. I’m really lucky that I’ve grown up in South London with friends from all backgrounds. It means I’ve experienced some real home cooked food from all over the world and every time I try something new I feel amazed but gutted that I’ve missed out for so long!
I’m super happy that this week is Caribbean food week 2017 (August 21st – 28th) Grace foods created the celebration and now it’s in its sixth year. It’s all about celebrating Caribbean food; educating home cooks on the joys of the Caribbean and helping people cook authentic cuisine in their own home. If you don’t already know, Grace foods offer some of the best products to compliment Caribbean cooking. From seasonings to fruit punch; your food will be almost there with the help of them.
To celebrate the event. Grace Foods are holding a Caribbean Food Week Festival at Windrush Square, Brixton, London on the 25 & 26th August 2017. You’ll find street food, live music, cookery demonstrations and a good vibe. We’re going to head there as a family if we can as it’s not far from us but I have a feeling Mr. C might just work his way around each and every street food stall! We’re a bit excited about catching the Original Flava brothers at the event – I’m hoping we can pick up their book to be honest.
To join the celebrations I’ve created my own little street party spread. It just goes to show that you don’t need to host a massive party to have a good time. Some delicious home cooked food, good company and a little music is enough. It’s a little warm up at home before we head to Graces Caribbean Food Week Festival.
I cooked up a homemade spread of Caribbean food and it went down sooooo well. There’s still things I would have liked to include, like jerk chicken, fried plantain, curry goat and salt-fish fritters but there’s only a few of us so it would have gone to waste. (OMG salt fish fritters are amazing) of rice and peas which in my opinion is a Caribbean food staple and one of our favourite things to eat. It’s so easy to make a batch and have it over a couple of days too. Plus, it’s so simple once you get used to it – although it took me a couple of attempts to get the ratio right because soggy rice is a NO NO! I also made jerk bbq wings using a Grace foods sauce, mac and cheese (with a splash of Dunn’s River hot sauce thrown into the mix) and some fruit punch. One of my favourite things to cook and eat was also offered up. Stew chicken. It takes a couple of hours to cook but it’s one of the tastiest things in this world.
Brown Stew Chicken Recipe
Skinless chicken pieces I use any part of the chicken but it’s much better with chicken on the bone.
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
2 teaspoons of sugar
3/4 cloves of minced garlic (I LOVE garlic)
2 spring onions chopped
1 chopped onion
Half a chopped pepper, any colour although I prefer red.
2 Sprigs of fresh thyme or 3 teaspoons of dried thyme that is just as good.
Encona Hot Pepper sauce
Salt & pepper
To begin, you marinade the chicken over night if possible in the sugar, garlic, spring onion and a bit of salt and pepper. Once you’re ready to cook, dry the chicken on both sides in the oil until brown. With this recipe, it doesn’t matter if the bottom of the pan looks a little burnt or dark, it’s just going to add to the flavour.
Put the chicken to one side and tip away the oil leaving a little for the stew gravy. Then it’s time to fry off the onion and peppers with a little more garlic. Once that’s gone transparent, add everything else to your liking. People like their sweetness and spice different. I don’t measure what I use but generally I would say we use about 5 tablespoons of Encona hot sauce, 2 tablespoons of ketchup and a cup full of hot water poured straight from the kettle. You want the water to go about half way up the chicken as too much will just water it all down. We also add a few drops of the River Dunn’s hot sauce just to add a bit of extra heat. This does make for a hot recipe but like I said, add whatever you want depending on your taste. Once you’ve cooked it once you’ll amend it next time to make it perfect.
Then you add the chicken, use a spoon to cover the chicken with some of the gravy, pop a lid on the pot and let it simmer on a low heat for at least an hour. The key is that the chicken should just fall off the bone and the gravy should be rich in texture with al those sweet yummy seasonings running through it. This mixed with rice and peas cooked in coconut milk is just the best thing ever.
Most of my favourite food comes from the Caribbean and my friends have been nice enough (and patient enough) to teach me some home cooked tricks along the way so when I cook Caribbean flavours it tastes like it should. I have to tell you, Caribbean food is cooked with serious love and attention. It’s not a shove it in the pan for 2 minutes kind of affair. I’m also fortunate that Mr. C’s grandma is an amazing cook and has introduced me to everything from Saturday soup to her tropical home made juices. I know I’ll never be able to cook Caribbean food totally on point but I definitely try and hold my hands up that it takes time and effort.
I’ve also learnt along the years that everyone has their own way of making jerk chicken and curries, it literally tastes slightly (just slightly) different depending on who has made it. This brown stew chicken was born from 3 different friends telling me how they make theirs and then changing it a little until I got it just how we like it. I make it a bit hotter if Mr. C’s family is here for dinner as they like it hot and I make it a little milder if my parents are here because they think BBQ sauce is too spicy for them!
So go celebrate Caribbean Food Week 2017 with Grace Foods and make a spread at home or attend the festival if you’re nearby. Let me know if you’ll be there! For more hints, tips and even a discount code or two follow Grace Foods –
And follow all the action with hashtag #CFW2017