Its Spring and in the Caribbean we celebrate the Easter season with Church services, Beach picnics, along with special treats of Island Breads, Buns and Tarts. Here I share my recipe for Antiguan Easter Raisins Coconut Bun. Move over Hot Cross Bun,
These are an all time island favorite they are great eaten on their own. However most Antiguan enjoy them served hot with butter and cheese
3 packages of fast acting yeast ( ¼ oz packages)
2 tablespoon sugar
2 cups lukewarm water
6 cups flour (plus 1 cup flour for dusting)
2 cups sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup milk
¼ cup vegetable shortening
2 tablespoon butter
1 ½ cup freshly grated coconut
1 cup golden raisins
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoon water for brushing top
2 tablespoon brown sugar for sprinkling top
Pre- heat the oven to 350 degrees, grease a large cookie sheet with vegetable shortening or non-stick spray.
Dissolve the yeast, sugar and water in a large bowl cover and let sit until mixture is bubbly. Place the flour into a large bowl, make a well in the center add the sugars, milk, shortening, butter, coconut, raisin, spices and vanilla extract. Pour in the yeast mixture and combine the mixture together, Dough will be slightly sticky, dust with extra flour and form into a ball, cover the dough and let sit until it double its size. Punch dough back and knead for 2 minutes. Cover dough and let rest for 20 minutes. Cut dough into 6 large pieces and form into balls. Place on the cookie sheet and press lightly with palm of hands. Cover buns and let rise for 20 minutes until double in size. Score top of Buns with a sharp knife by cutting 4 slits on top of buns, Brush lightly with water, sprinkle with brown sugar and bake in oven for 35 – 45 minutes until golden and when tapped at the bottom makes a hallow sound. Remove from pan cool and serve warm
How to Open a Coconut for grated Coconut
To open a coconut, use a small hammer or large rock, first with a clean nail or ice prick puncture the two eyes at the top of the Coconut. Drain the liquid in a small bowl. Using the hammer give the shell a hard blow to split it. Or crack the shell by hitting it hard on a sturdy rock. This will cause the shell to fall away or break into pieces. Using a small blunt knife cut off the meat from the shell. Wash the Coconut meat thoroughly to remove left over shell. Before grating the coconut peel off the thin brown outer skin, Cut the meat into smaller pieces and using hands grate on a and held grater.
Recipe: Caribbean Green Pea Soup
Peas and beans are a staple in Caribbean cooking, and find their way in stews, rice, fritters, and soups, I enjoy making soups especially in the colder months when I need something comforting to ward off the cold. This recipe is made with green split peas however any other peas can be substituted.
1 lb dry green split peas ( soak peas overnight)
8 oz pickled beef or smoked ham hocks
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 medium onion minced
1 small green bell pepper chopped
2 large tomatoes diced
1 bay leaf
4 medium potato peeled and diced
2 green bananas peeled cut into chunks
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large stock pot. Add peas and ham hocks reduce heat and simmer for 1 hr until peas are soft.
Remove ham hocks reserve, Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat ,add garlic, onions, bell peppers, and saute for 5 mins until soft but with no color. Remove flesh from ham hocks discard bones and cut meat in small pieces, add to frying pan along with dice tomatoes, cook for another 4 mins. Reserve
Add the ham hock mixture to the peas along with the potatoes, bananas, and bay leaf season with salt and pepper cook for another 25 mins stirring frequently
Remove soup from heat and adjust the seasoning if needed serve hot with warm Caribbean Coco Bread
Recipe: Tamarind Jam
5 Cups of the reserved Tamarind pulp
6 Cups of Brown Sugar
4 Cups water
2 teaspoon grated ginger
Bring Sugar and water to a boil. Boil for 10-15 minutes stirring lightly until sugar is dissolved
Add tamarind pulp, cinnamon, and ginger. Cook over medium heat lightly stirring to prevent sticking and burning. Cook for 45 Minutes to 1 Hour until the mixture reaches a jam like stage. Remove from heat, cool and serve.
I love making Cuban Sandwiches, especially in the spring it makes a light but filling dinner. I first tasted Cuban Sandwiches in a small cafe in the town of Ponce Puerto Rico Over the years of making Cuban Sandwiches I have adjusted the ingredients to suit my taste. I use honey mustard instead of regular yellow mustard because I prefer the balance of flavor between the sweet and sour taste.
I also like adding the pickle juice when an old Cuban friend of mine suggested I try it with the pickle juice, Amazing difference more of an authentic taste.
For the Pork nothing compares to leftover pork from my Sunday Pork Roast., The Bread I have tried a lot of variety and find that the authentic Cuban bread made by the Publix Supermarkets Bakery to be the closest to the real thing unless you can find a local Cuban bakery. The ham I prefer a sweet or honey ham or a black forest ham works great also.
Below is a my Cuban Sandwich recipe give it a try and let me know what you think
Cheers!! Don’t forget my Mango ice tea makes for a great accompanying drink. Find this and other recipes on my web site http://www.caribbeanculinarytours.com
Recipe: A Spring Treat: “Fifi’s Cuban Sandwich”
1 ( 2 foot loaf Cuban Bread or French Bread)
2 Tablespoon Mayonnaise
2 Tablespoon Honey Mustard
1/2 Pound Swiss cheese
1/2 Pound sweet Ham thinly sliced
1/2 Pound roast Pork or lean Spanish style Pork
thin sweet pickle slices ( reserve 1 Tablespoon of pickle juice)
Pre-heat sandwich press or large skillet ( I use the George Foreman’s grill) to 300 degrees
Cut the loaf of bread in thirds, Then Cut in two horizontally. Remove a small portion of the bread from the middle half of the loaf.
Combine Mayonnaise and mustard with the reserve pickle juice in a small bowl, and spread the mixture evenly on both side of the bread.
Layer 2-3 cheese slices on the bottom half of each of the bread portions followed by the ham and pork. Layer the pickle slices on top of the pork followed with 2-3 more cheese slices top with the other half of the bread and press sandwich down with hands lightly.
Spray the grill pan with some non- stick spray or pre-heated grill or skillet, and place the sandwich pieces on Top ( I place lengthwise for a few minutes and then turn cross side this keeps the halves together and prevents slipping)
Press down on the sandwich with the sandwich press or heavy cast iron pan, cook for about 5 minutes until sandwich is heated through and cheese is melted,remove from heat
Serves 6 persons.
Recipe: Tropical Avocado Mango Daiquiri
This recipe have always been one of my favorite and most people who tried it thinks the Avocado and Mango works well together the rum adds that island vibe that we all love.
Happy Saint Patty Day, Hope you enjoy this cool Caribbean spring Cocktail, Great for your Saint Patrick’s Day drink Menu
Avocado and Mango Daiquiri.
4 oz. Gold Rum
2 oz. Simple syrup
1 large ripe Mango peeled cut in chunks
1 1/4 oz ripe Fresh Avocado skin removed cut in chunks
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
1 1/2 cups ice cubes
dash of grated nutmeg
Place rum, syrup, Mango, Avocado, , lime juice , Ice and blend in a blender until combined. pour into chilled glasses topped with chunks of Avocado,Mango and a dash of fresh grated nutmeg. Serve.4
Recipe: Caribbean Jerk Yams and Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with, Rum, Banana and Ginger
Yams are a stable food in the Caribbean, They have a brown tough skin and the flesh vary in color from yellow, white, and purple. In the Caribbean Yams are prepared in various ways mainly boiled, mashed, fried and sometimes roasted. In this recipe I am using the white variety, and prepare with the roasting method.
Caribbean Jerk Yams
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
1 pound white yams Peeled and placed in water to prevent discoloration
1/4 cup virgin olive oil
1 large onions peeled and cut into medium dice
2 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon dry jerk seasoning
Remove yams from water and drain. Place yams in a Large bowl and toss with remaining ingredients
Place on a flat baking sheet and roast in the oven for 30-45 minutes or until yams are tender, Turning to help with even browning.
Remove from oven and place in a serving dish serve warm
Baked Sweet Potatoes with Rum, Banana and ginger
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2 Large sweet potatoes or American Yams Washed and scrubbed to remove dirt
1 tablespoon butter
1 large ripe Banana Peeled and cut into diced toss with some lime juice
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoon coconut milk
1/2 tablespoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon rum
2 Tablespoon grated cheese, ( Cheddar, Asiago, or any favorite cheese)
salt and pepper to taste
Mash mellow optional
Place potato in oven and cook until tender ( Can also be cooked in a microwave
Remove from the oven cool Cut in half lengthwise.
Using a spoon scoop out the middle and cut into small dice leaving some flesh intact at the outer edges, Reserve Shells
In a small Sauce pan add butter and melt over medium heat
Add bananas and cook for one minute
Add the diced sweet potatoes and combine together lightly
Add the brown sugar, coconut milk, ginger, rum, and cinnamon combine all ingredients and cook together for one to two minutes.
Remove from heat add the cheese season with salt and pepper and mix lightly to combine the cheese
Place the mixture by spoonfuls into the reserve shells
Return Potato halves back in the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes
Can also place some mash mellow on the top to toast while baking
Remove from oven place on a serving platter and serve warm
Great serve as a side dish, Lunch or appetizer.