Jamaica

Why Jamaica?

Karma, Rob, Lili and Eden are over here for five weeks, so we asked Karma and Rob to choose a country each. Karma has chosen Jamaica, so our March 2017 international lunch will be in Jamaica. Job done!

My experience of Jamaica

I have never been to Jamaica, in fact the closest I’ve come to the Carribbean is New York. Yep, nowhere near. I’ve never eaten Jamaican food. Perhaps the closest I have ever come to Jamaica is listening to Bob Marley, or watching Usain Bolt or Cool Runnings.

The menu

  • Ackee and saltfish
  • Salt and cod tomato fritters
  • Avocado salad
  • Barbequed chicken
  • Goat curry
  • Rice and beans
  • Jerk chicken with rice and peas
  • Seared pork chops with coconut rum and caramelised pineapple sauce
  • Jamaican style ginger cake
  • Jamaican coffee cocktail

Here are the recipes for our faves – Jamaica-best recipes

Click here to see all our favourite recipes.

Preparation

Research and planning are well under way for our lunch in Jamaica. This is going to be very exciting because Karma, Rob, Lili and Eden will be here. The Aussie branch of the family is so excited – they’ll be here for five weeks, so we’ll have lots of opportunities for baby cuddles with Eden (who is eight months old) and playing with Lili, who is two and a half. Karma chose Jamaica for March, and Rob has chosen Portugal for April.

As is becoming the custom, when planning for our culinary virtual tours, my mind turned to what alcohol we should have. OK, it’s Jamaica. It’s a given. We’ll have rum. And off we go to Uncle Dan’s in Ringwood to check out their stocks. James was amazingly well versed about what was worth getting and what was not. I ended up with a bottle of Appleton Estate Signature blend rum. Given that we’ll have five adults at this lunch, I’m sure there will be another visit to Uncle Dan’s.

Sourcing saltfish was challenging until we serendipitously found some baccala at Farmer Joe’s Market in Boronia. Lucky!

So, some interesting facts about Jamaica?

  • Jamaica is one of only two countries in the world that does not have red, blue or white in its flag. Do you know what the other country is?
  • There are hardly any snakes in Jamaica (mongoose were introduced to kill the rats in the cane fields, and after the mongoose took care of the rats, they turned their attention to the snakes). The ones that are there are not venomous (unlike DownUnder!)
  • Ian Fleming wrote ten of his James Bond novels in Jamaica. He designed his dream home, had it built in Jamaica, and called it Goldeneye.
  • Jamaica was the first country in the world to impose economic sanctions against the apartheid regime of South Africa.
  • Jamaica has made significant contributions to two of the most important things that make the world go round – music and sport. We love you, Bob Marley. We love you, Usain Bolt.
  • The movie Cool runnings is not an accurate depiction of Jamaica’s entry in the 1988 Winter Olympics. In fact, after reading the real story, the movie is rather cringe-worthy.

Dinner in Jamaica, Sunday 26 March 2017

Welcome to Jamaica and have a nice day. Yes, it’s an oldie. But it’s a goodie.

Eden_Liam
My two boys – Liam and Eden

On yet another day of perfect weather we went to Jamaica on our virtual tour of the world in 80 cuisines.

Rob did a fabulous job in the days beforehand while I was caught up at work, and marinated the chicken and cooked the goat curry, which was awesome, as was the jerk chicken (two recipes!). The pork chops with coconut rum and caramelized pineapple sauce were delicious, due largely, I suspect, to the fact that I used fresh pineapple rather than the sugar-loaded stuff you get in cans.

Karma and Rob liked the salt cod and tomato fritters, but they were too salty for my taste. And I had skipped over all the Jamaican rice and peas recipes, due to my life-long and never-to-waver intense dislike of peas. But, they’re not peas! They’re kidney beans!! This is more than a little confusing for someone who runs a mile at the thought of peas. But wow, the rice and peas were yum, yum, yum.

Karma had cooked a Jamaican ginger cake that used fresh ginger. It was delicious.

Thanks again to Elysia for taking the photos.

Lauren, Liam and Lani drew up the quiz for us, which, by tradition should only be drawn from the factsheet and place-mat, but we let Lani (who has just turned five) add her own question even though it was not particular to Jamaica. The question was “which is bigger out of cats and dogs”. That’s a great question, Lani!

Here’s the factsheet – Jamaica_factsheet

Here’s the place-mat – Place-mat (Jamaica)

The drinks

And the cocktails. Wow, the cocktails.

The coffee cocktail was everything perfect.  Jamaican rum, Kahlua, coffee and cream. Except that we were supposed to use hot coffee and whip the cream. We had the coffee cold, the cream not whipped, and we added ice-cream for extra creaminess. Perfect, perfect, perfect.

And when we were coffee-cocktailed out, we moved onto pina coladas. Thank you, Will – they were fantastic as well. And thanks for leaving the leftover Bacardi at my place – much appreciated!!!!

So with all that alcohol, we didn’t actually get to have any rum and coke. Which was, perhaps, very un-Jamaican of us.

Where to next?

It was so very wondrous to have my whole family together in one place. And we’ll all be together next month for Portugal. Rob and I are already hunting down Portuguese recipes.

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