Pick a peck of Pickapeppa

Odds are good that when you sit down at any table in the Caribbean, you’ll see a bottle of Pickapeppa in the centre. This versatile sauce was created in 1921 in Shooters Hill, Jamaica, and ever since then people have been discovering that when it comes to food, Pickapeppa can enhance just about anything.

It is a unique blend of tomatoes, onions, sugar, cane vinegar, mangoes, raisins, tamarinds, peppers and spices, but what really gives the sauce its amazing flavour is the ageing process, conducted in oak barrels for one year before it even sees a bottle.

Fans worldwide use it to brighten up cream cheese, but really it can be applied to vegetables and meats and all manner of cooking methods such as grilling, stewing, roasting or baking. It makes an incredible marinade and takes all the guesswork out of preparing a tasty, memorable meal.

Pickapeppa has gained international fame thanks to mentions in newspapers and magazines, including Gourmet Retailer, which dubbed it “One of the great bottled sauces.” The classic is indeed a classic, but over the years the line has expanded to include Pickapeppa Hot Red Pepper Sauce, Pickapeppa Mango Chutney, and Pickapeppa Meat Seasoning. Your meat never had it so good with this rub.

Pickapeppa is known as the “Jamaican ketchup” but it certainly isn’t limited to its home country. It is distributed all over the world so that everyone can enjoy its finely crafted flavour. Cayman Distributors is the local representative and distributor of this coveted product, and it can be found throughout the Cayman Islands at all discerning retailers.

Spicy Creole Bloody Mary

3oz Absolut Vodka (can be optional for Virgin Bloody Mary)

1 1/2 cups tomato juice

2 1/2 oz. canned bouillon, undiluted

1 tbsp. fresh lime juice

2 tsp. Pickapeppa Sauce

2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce

2 dashes Pickapeppa Hot Red Pepper Sauce

1/4 tsp. salt, if desired

Lemon pepper seasoning

Celery stick

Shake all ingredients in a shaker with ice cubes, except for the lemon pepper and celery stick, until chilled. Strain over fresh ice in two 12oz glasses. Sprinkle lemon pepper lightly over both drinks. Garnish with celery stick.

Bammy

The art of making bammies is dying out, because many feel it can only be made in the parish of St Elizabeth by the experts. If you see a bitter cassava in the market, why not buy 2 pounds and try your hand at making some?

2 lb. bitter cassava or

1 and a half lb. grated cassava

Pinch of salt

Peel and grate the cassava. Place in a clean muslin cloth. Wring out and discard the juice. Add salt to the cassava ‘bran’. Place about a cup of the mixture in a small, greased, heavy and shallow frying pan. The size of the frying pan will determine the size of the bammy. Press down with the bottom of a bottle or similar implement. Place the pan over a moderate heat. In a few minutes as the pan heats up, some steam will rise. When the edges shrink slightly from the sides of the pan, flatten the mixture and turn it over to cook the other side. The process should take approximately 10 minutes on each side.

Repeat the process until all the cassava is used up. The bammies can be refrigerated for up to 14 days, or frozen. When ready to use the bammies, soak them in milk, water or coconut milk for about 5-10 minutes. Either fry or grill until light brown. They can be buttered before placing on grill or immediately they are taken off and served hot. Serve with fried fish or saltfish and ackee.

Mannish Water

Curried goat is very popular in Jamaica and a goat is usually slaughtered for a ‘feed’. The head, legs, liver etc. are used to make a soup called Mannish Water. A stock is made from what is available, usually called the ‘fifth quarter’.

Green pepper, green bananas, yam, coco and dumplings are added. The soup is usually made in a large pot to ensure everyone can have seconds, if they so desire. White rum, which is often served at these feeds, may be tipped in to satisfy the individual taste. Hot paper cups are the norm for serving this brew. So much is left to the cook’s discretion, that with two different cooks you may never capture the same taste.

4 pounds goat head, tripe and feet (get butcher to cut in small pieces)

12 green bananas

1 pound flour for spinners (see below)

3-4 hot peppers

1 pound coco

1/2 pound carrots

1/2 pound turnips

3 cho-chos

3 gallons water

1/2 lb. escallion

4 sprigs thyme

2 pounds yam

Salt to taste

Chop meat into small pieces (if not already chopped. Wash and place in a 5 gallon container with 3 gallons hot water. When the water returns to the boil, simmer until meat is cooked soft (about 2-3 hours).

Peel green bananas and add all other ingredients, except the flour, i.e vegetables, seasonings etc. Cook uncovered for one hour more. Use flour to make spinners. Add to stock. Correct seasoning and remove hot peppers. Add more water if necessary. Serve hot.

Spinners

Jamaicans love these in many kinds of soups, and stew peas and rice would not be the same without them.

1 cup flour

Pinch of salt

Enough water to make a stiff dough

Mix ingredients together to make a stiff dough. Pinch off 1/2 oz. of dough. Knead and shape in palm of hands into a long, fairly thin dumpling. Repeat. Allow to stew in soup about 15 minutes before serving.

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