Retirement in Jamaica

I would like to thank the lovely Simone from ‘Retirement and Good Living’, who asked me to write a guest post about retirement in Jamaica. When writing the content for the post it made me think more seriously about what I intend to do with myself when I have to make this choice. If you too are pondering on your retirement, then you may be hard pushed to decide what to do with these ‘freedom years’. The choice of where and how to live is ever-increasing, but with some good impartial advice you will be well on your way to getting the best out of this time of your life.

The ‘Retirement and Good Living’ website has a portfolio of information ranging from financial and health advice to the more fun aspects of retirement locations and what to do with your free time, such as volunteering, knitting jumpers for penguins and other pursuits! Be sure to stop by and take in ‘The Top 10…’ and ‘The Latest On….’ section for up to date information on all the best parts of retiring.

Jamaica has a lot of offer to retiree’s and my guest post gives you the scoop on retirement in Jamaica. You will find full details on a variety of topics such as The Cost of Living, Property Prices, How to Manage on a State Pension, Where to Live, What to do, Transportation, the weather and much more. Stop by and check out the other great features on the Retirement and Good Living website while you are there.

I will give you a small taster of the Guest Post about Retirement in Jamaica that is featured on the Retirement and Good Living website…. but you will have to visit the site for the full post!

Jamaican Fruits and Vegetables
Jamaican Fruits and Vegetables

Pensions and Retirement Age

Living and working in the UK all my life I have witnessed the retirement and pension age steadily rising, with experts claiming that I will have to wait until I am 67 or 68 years old to receive full state pension. When I do receive my State Pension it may equate to between £84.45 and £110.15 a week, which I would be expected to live on in London…. Mmm! I’m not sure that would be possible. The facts are that even as a home owner in the UK, with no mortgage, the cost of living is high and it is viable that the figure I would receive each week would be the same as my monthly heating bill alone.

Thoughts of the huddled, hunched up figures moving around padded with clothes,  their scrunched up ‘sea faring’ face turned away from the cold air, that I had seen in London last month, crossed my mind. Brrrr! There are many pensioners in the UK suffering hardship and it is now becoming more common for this group to pool their resources and buy a property with their grown up children and their families in order to live a more refined life in retirement. Plans for holidays in the sun become more and more enticing, but it is always back to the cold for the majority of the time…

My full post on Retirement and Good Living can be read here…

Thinking of moving to Jamaica

Sweet Jamaica interview on ExpatBlog.com

I had an interesting email earlier this month from the lovely Erin, Content Editor for EasyExpat.com inviting me to be the next interviewee in their great series of expat interviews. My ‘Sweet Jamaica’ blog is listed on their sister website BlogExpat.com which features great blogs from Expats from all over the world sharing their experiences of moving overseas.

If you have wanderlust or are planning to emigrate to another country then an Expat Website can be a great place to start as it features impartial life experiences of persons already living overseas. EasyExpat is one such website that has informative Expat Guides,  Forums, Classifieds, Job Listings & More. If you have experiences or queries about living abroad, then get involved on the website as  it enables the community and information sharing to grow. The website can be found at: www.easyexpat.com

They also have a BlogExpat Directory: www.blogexpat.com which features Blogs by Expats and the Expat Interviews can be found at: www.interviews.blogexpat.com There is a section that features Expat Author Interviews who have written books, which can be found at: www.books.blogexpat.com

And last, but not least they also have an Expat Services Site & Guide: www.expat-quotes.com Where you can find companies and professional services for all the steps of your relocation abroad. They have specialised services and products to answer your needs for managing your expatriation. You can apply for information and free quotes online and make the best decisions for your move.

This is my Interview…

 

From London to Ocho Rios: Sweet Jamaica From London to Ocho Rios: Sweet Jamaica

Erin Erin  Date 23 January, 2014 11:18

Sweet Jamaica Hi readers and thank you for taking the time to read this interview. My name is Jules, I am originally from London, but now I live in the sunny and beautiful Caribbean. I have the pleasure of calling Ocho Rios, or Ochi (as we call it), Jamaica my home – the land of wood and water.

1. Why did you move abroad? From the age of 15 I knew I wouldn’t spend all my adult life in the UK, but I didn’t know where I would move to. I love London, but I think living in London can become a trap where you are always pushing for a ‘bigger and better’ everything, whilst quietly thinking ‘will I over work myself before I am able to reach retirement age?’ From the first time I visited Jamaica I fell in love with the freedom, possibility and opportunity on the island and knew I had to find a means someway, somehow, to call it home.

2. How do you make a living?  I do not currently work in Jamaica as there is some bureaucracy to getting a work visa and setting up a business, if you do not have any ancestor or marriage concessions. But, I am in the process of dealing with it and I have lots of exciting projects in the pipeline. I have run a construction business in the UK for the last ten years and I have my blog www.sweetjamaica.co.uk and an upcoming business ‘LonJam Trading’ which keep me busy for the time being and enable me to ‘pay the bills’ over here. I also help with the local community, farmers group and my adopted schools in rural St. Ann and am also in the early stages of setting up a charity over here too.

3. How often do you communicate with home and how? I am really close to my family and love to keep in touch. It is actually cheaper for me to call the UK than the other way around as there is a great international plan that Digicel offers to call UK landlines, so I tend to do the calling! I usually talk to my Mum every couple of days to catch up with the goings on in London and the business as she stays up late and the time difference doesn’t bother her. I speak to my sisters at least once a week and my friends a few times a month.

To be honest, I have tried Skype but the connection is terrible and it actually becomes an annoying experience instead of fun! I do fly back to London a few times a year as well though and this enables me to catch up and sort myself out before heading back to my beloved Jamaica.

4. What’s your favorite thing about being an expat in Jamaica?  Being able to experience and immerse myself in a different country and all that it has to offer. Plus, as I was raised, educated and have work / business experience in London, I have been exposed to alternative ways of doing things. This has enabled me to gain a skill set that puts me in a position to encourage and mentor people who haven’t had that opportunity, so that they may realise their full potential and entrepreneurial spirit too. Tackling environmental and recycling issues, sustainable living and alternate farming practices are also of great interest to me and in many ways they are in an embryonic stage in Jamaica, this also gives me maneuverability to get involved and help make a difference in a country that I love so much.

5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in Jamaica?  Sometimes feeling like all eyes are on me as people are interested to ‘pree’ (look and study) me, so you can lose a sense of anonymity. Also some people will assume things about you from things they have heard about living overseas, and others will offer you ‘tourist’ or uptown prices. I would also like to clarify that people from ‘foreign’ (abroad/overseas) do not have an ATM machine in their navel that gives them money whenever they need it, like most people, we have to work hard to earn money to live! I do find that ‘busting a likkle patois’ tends to make most assumptions about me and the higher prices disappear though!

6. What do you miss most? Aside from thinking about my family and friends a lot and missing out on special occasions with them, I am really happy living in Jamaica so don’t miss much about London. I always wanted to move abroad and I just love Jamaica and all it has to offer. The food over here is delicious and there is so much to do, plus the gorgeous weather is always a massive bonus.

There are times when I do miss the shops in the UK, as good quality items are expensive in Jamaica and on the flip side I miss routing around the £1 shops for bargains!  I sometimes crave foods, such as salt and vinegar walkers, party rings, flour tortilla, or deli foods (cheese, hummus, sundried tomatoes, olives, and pesto) which you cannot buy here, or if you can they are at extortionate prices. Plus other things which I wouldn’t normally eat on a regular basis when back in London…. Such as this evening I made home-made pasta sauce and spaghetti (except after opening the packet I realised it wasn’t spaghetti, but macaroni that was as long as spaghetti – weird!)

7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home? I had the advantage of coming here with Jamaican friends the first time I visited on holiday, so we left the shiny hotels behind and stayed with friends and relatives in their homes. Therefore, I immediately immersed myself in the local lifestyle, culture and community and as Jamaican’s are so friendly I always had someone to talk to.

I must admit on the first trip here the language barrier was sometimes frustrating and other times hilarious as we tried to decipher what each other were saying, especially when in the rural areas where they talk faster and their accents are stronger. But, again I took my time, I people watched, I listened keenly and I learnt the local dialect, so that I could converse with people from all walks of life and feel a part of everything. It is also recommended that you learn the ‘going rate’ for things in Jamaica and familiarise yourself with the currency, so you’re not fumbling around when spending.

Five years later when I decided to try living here I moved to a busier area where I didn’t know anyone, to really test myself and see how I coped on my own in Jamaica. This took me away from my comfort zone and the familiarity, but it forced me to go out there and meet people. Luckily for me I have made friends, some of which are my neighbours who live in the same complex as me, but it took a while, so be patient! If you are wanting to mingle in a less in your face way than going everywhere solo, I would recommend attending church, the gym / sporting activities, joining local community groups, or volunteering with local schools, charities, orphanages or environmental groups. You will be amongst like-minded individuals and will easily find kindred spirits to share your time with in Jamaica, so get creative and think ‘outside of the box’.

8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?  Jamaicans are very direct and have a custom of giving ‘pet names’ (nicknames) to each other, this is often very literal to the individual’s looks or personality traits and would probably be classed as being politically incorrect in the UK. So don’t be surprised if you hear someone being called Fish Head, Knock-Knee, One Foot Man, Blacks, Miss Chin, Indian, and Whitey and so on. However, far from being used as a derogatory insult, it is deemed to be a term of endearment and is not to be taken offensively! To give example, when in the UK a Jamaican meeting his cousins for the first time said ‘What’s up Fatta’ much to the disgust of the rather plump relative. When his mother scolded him afterwards, he retorted ‘What should I call her slimmer?!’, as he genuinely didn’t mean any disrespect and didn’t know why she was so upset!

Jamaican’s much to their credit are very inclusive of all people, and you will see all walks of life included and socialising together. They do not objectify or disassociate from anyone who is less fortunate than themselves, or who for example, has a disability, although many have homophobic tendencies. It is not uncommon to see the young and old mingling together and you will often see examples of this at night spots, or social gatherings where you will find them huddled together playing dominoes, or you will see a man in a wheelchair getting a wild dance from a fit, sexy woman!

9. What is a myth about your adopted country?  That Jamaica is still living in the dark ages and is full of Ganga smoking Rasta’s and / or criminals who want to sell you drugs or harm you! OK it is different to London in many ways, and there are problems here and poverty, but Jamaica is up-to-date with what is going on in the world and is full of mannerly, decent, hard-working, inventive, God fearing individuals. We have internet access, cable TV, the latest gadgets and technology, tools and new cars over here. Plus, all the usual things are on offer over here such as cinema, theatre, stage shows, night clubs, bars, good restaurants, attractions, horse racing, car/motorbike racing, cricket and other sports, museums, art gallery and installations, shopping malls, beaches, basically something to suit all tastes, budgets and age brackets.  There are excellent education facilities, universities and many highly educated and successful people, living in beautiful residences with all the trappings of a westernised culture. To assume that all Jamaicans are illiterate, violent, non-achievers would be a great disrespect and underestimation of all the hard working Jamaican’s over here.

10. Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life? I was quite surprised at the cost of living in Jamaica when I first came here. Food prices are comparable or higher than in London, for example I can buy 5 plantain in London for £1.00 or $150.00, but it costs $80.00 for 1 plantain in Jamaica! Water and electricity rates are high and I have to wonder how many of the poorer people and business owners here cope with this expenditure. Electrical items, cars and all imported goods (except cheap Chinese goods) are very expensive and much more so than London. But overall my living expenses are lower than in London and I live an enjoyable, but not excessive lifestyle. Like London you can live high class here, 5 star all the way if you want to go all out, but at the same time you can live more economically if that suits you too.

11. What advice would you give other expats?  First and foremost I would say that Jamaicans are very proud, they can be very direct when talking to you and aren’t shy to express themselves. Remember that we are all people and have the same bodily functions, so you are not better than anyone else – you will be setting yourself up to fail and may receive feelings of contempt if you portray yourself as better than others. Get out there and experience the people and the culture, for they will become your friends, colleagues, neighbours and fellow community members.  Speak to strangers politely and formerly, as it traditional to use the prefix ‘Miss’, ‘Aunty’ or ‘Mr’ and so on, especially when speaking to those who are older than you. Don’t get a false sense of security, or lock yourself up indoors because you are in another country. I would always advise that using common sense, not getting involved in matters that don’t concern you and not being too ‘out there’ as this will keep you out of most discrepancies. What we would class as ‘chit chat’ in the UK, some Jamaican’s would find as being nosey, so don’t get all up in people’s business or ask too many questions about their personal life.

From the first time I visited Jamaica on holiday in 2006, I made it my point of duty to check out the local EVERYTHING as I knew I wanted to live here! If you are planning to move to Jamaica, I would advise coming here first, live amongst the locals and see if you can manage it. It is important to check out different areas and find out about the local amenities, as at some point you will need food, household and personal items, utilities, a bank, post office and so on, so it makes sense to find out if all you need is on offer. Gated communities offer many people peace of mind, whilst living in more remote places suits others – talk to people who have a connection with the area, or other expats.

Expat websites and forums such as www.blogexpat.com and www.easyexpat.com/forums/ are a great impartial way to glean information about the neighbourhood and get the inside scoop on living there.

Oh, and make sure you buy or bring plenty of sealable containers to store food stuffs, as Jamaican insects and creatures are very wily and will find a way to taste your favourite foods and invest in stainless steel as everything else rusts really quickly!

12. When and why did you start your blog? I started my blog in 2012 as a way of sharing my experiences of living in Jamaica.

This is my interview which was originally featured on BlogExpat.com, the original can be found here…

If you enjoyed this interview and my blog then please take one minute to click here and vote for ‘Sweet Jamaica’ blog. Thanks, safe travels 🙂

Sweet Jamaica
Sweet Jamaica

 

Thinking of moving to Jamaica

Jamaican Style Pumpkin Rice Recipe

Jamaican style Pumpkin Rice is a delicious alternative to plain rice and helps add colour, nutrients and taste to your meal. It is a very easy Jamaican recipe, uses up small bits of veg and cooks in under 1/2 an hour.  It appeals to Vegetarians and children get a sneaky dose of vegetables included in this versatile dish. What more could you want for a healthy dinner idea?

Wash the Rice
Wash the Rice

[icon icon_name=”star”]You Will Need:

  • a large pot (saucepan) for the rice
  • a sharp knife and chopping board
  • a measuring cup
  • a sieve / strainer

Throughly wash your hands and scrub underneath your nails if you can. Gather all your ingredients and cooking implements together and put them on the counter top so you have everything within reach and you will also save time and make it easier for yourself.

[icon icon_name=”star”]Ingredients:

  • 3 Cups of preferably Basmati Rice, but long or short grain will do
  • 6 Cups of water
  • 1/2 tsp of Salt
  • 1 tbsp of Butter / Margarine
  • 1 cup diced / sliced pumpkin
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 garlic peg, diced small
  • 1 stock cube (optional)
  • If you want a deep orange coloured and fuller flavoured rice, you can omit the stock cube and use 2 tbsp of Grace Pumpkin Soup Mix, but use a sieve / strainer to remove the noodles!

 

[icon icon_name=”star”]Method:

  • Measure out the rice and place into a strainer, thoroughly wash the rice, rinse and strain it and add to the pot (saucepan).
  • Add 6 cups of water, do not fill the measuring cup right up to the brim.
  • Add the pumpkin, onion, garlic, butter, salt, stock cube / pumpkin soup powder.
  • Stir with a fork (do NOT use a spoon).
  • Cover the pot (saucepan) and place onto the hob on a medium heat, until it starts to boil.
  • Turn down the hob immediately and simmer the rice, until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is ‘pitted’ on the top.
  • This should take about 20-30 minutes.
  • Using a fork remove some of the rice and taste to check it is not undercooked. If you find the rice is a bit hard and the water has dried up, you can spread a piece of cling film (cling wrap), tin foil, or even a clean scandal bag (plastic bag) tightly over the top of the pot (saucepan) and allow the pot to steam which coupled with the condensation formed will finish cooking the rice.
  • When removing the cling film use a fork to slowly lift the cling film off of the pot, facing away from you as the steam and condensation can easily burn you.
  • Using a fork, fluff the rice and serve immediately…. YUM!
  • This Jamaican Pumpkin Rice can be served with one of these delicious Jamaican recipes that I have shared on this site: Ackee and Saltfish, Steamed Callaloo, Brown Stew Fish, Escovitch Fried Fish, Red Herring, Fried Plantain and so much more!

If you do have any left over, wait for it to cool down and store in the fridge. When you are ready to reheat it add the rice to a pot (saucepan) and turn on a medium heat, as the pan gets hot (and before the rice starts burning) add an eggcup full of water to create steam and cover the pot, turning down the heat. Reheat rice until piping hot and serve immediately ~ do not reheat rice more than once, so only reheat what you can eat!

I Love Pumpkin Rice
I Love Pumpkin Rice

Jamaican Escovitch Fried Fish Recipe

Jamaican style Escovitch fried fish is easily in my all time favourite list of Jamaican recipes. It is surprisingly easy to prepare and cook and can be enjoyed hot or cold, which makes it an excellent special occasion, dinner idea, barbecue or picnic food. Whether you serve it with hard dough bread, bammy or fried dumplings it will sure to be a winner and will make your guests want to ‘lick finger’ and come back for more!

This dish can be prepared in advance for a fuller flavour and many people feel it always tastes better the day after it has been fried. Once cooked Escovitch Fish can be stored at room temperature, for a day or two in a sealed container as the vinegar pickles the fish and vegetables and acts as a preservative.

[icon icon_name=”star”] You will need:

  • a large bowl for the fish
  • a sharp knife and chopping board to prepare the seasoning
  • a Dutch Pot or large frying pan to fry the fish
  • a small to medium sized pot (saucepan) to boil the Escovitch dressing

Throughly wash your hands and scrub underneath your nails if you can. Gather all your ingredients and cooking implements together and put them on the counter top so you have everything within reach and you will also save time and make it easier for yourself.

If you want to eat this with Fried Dumplings, you can find the recipe here.

[icon icon_name=”star”] Jamaican Escovitch Fried Fish Ingredients:

  • Whole fish or pieces of sliced fish, use firm meaty fleshed fish, such as: Snapper, Bream, King Fish, Tilapia
  • Cooking Oil, to cover bottom of vessel used for frying by about 1/2 inch.
  • 1 lime, or splash or two of vinegar (to clean fish).
  • Salt and pepper to season fish.
  • 1-2 cups of Plain (counter) flour to lightly dust over fish.

[icon icon_name=”star”] For Escovitch Dressing

  • 1/2 to 1 Onion peeled and cut to form rings
  • 1 Carrot, peeled and sliced into Julienne strips
  • 1 Cho Cho, peeled and sliced into Julienne strips
  • 1 Scotch Bonnet Pepper, sliced into rings, or Julienne strips
  • 3 large tbs of the cooking oil used to fry the fish
  • 2-3 cups of preferably White Vinegar

[icon icon_name=”star”] Method

  • De-scale and clean your fish; firmly hold the fish and scrape a sharp knife along the flesh without breaking it. Moving against the direction of the scales until they pop off (this can be messy so do outside or over a clean and empty sink).   The skin will feel smooth and slippery when all the scales have been removed.
  • Clean away any blood and guts and clean  thoroughly in water and lime juice, or a little vinegar, rinse, shake dry and place in a clean bowl.
  • Add ground black pepper and salt and mix until the fish is covered in the seasonings, if using whole fish season inside the cavity. Cover and leave to marinade in the fridge for up to a day if time permits, if not, even 30 minutes marinade is better than nothing!
  • Add the flour to a deep sided dish and once the fish has marinated, stab each piece with a fork and place it the bowl, lightly dusting all sides with the flour.
  • Set on a dutch pot, or other deep heavy bottomed pot with enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot by about 1/2 inch. Leave to get very hot on a medium to low heat. Once the oil is clear  and crackling carefully add the prepared fish to the oil, browning on both sides until crispy, which should take about 2-3 minutes on each side.
  • Set aside in a dish.
  • Wash and chop vegetables into Julienne strips or rings, as noted above, set aside.
  • Using a pot (saucepan) boil 2-3 cups of vinegar with 3 tablespoons of the oil used to fry the fish.
  • After a few minutes, add the carrot and onion. Boil for a couple of minutes before adding the Cho Cho and Scotch Bonnet Pepper. Boil all ingredients until the onion has become translucent and turn off the heat.
  • Spoon this mixture over the fish and leave to sit for at least 1/2 hour, but if you can manage to wait, one day old Escovitch Fish always tastes better!
  • Lay the vegetables over the fish and spoon the remaining liquid over the top.
  • Serve with Bammy, Fried Dumplings, Hard Dough Bread, Fried Plantain , Rice and Peas, or even Chips and so on…. YUM!
Jamaican Escovitch Fried Fish
Jamaican Escovitch Fried Fish

Michael Lynch – Jamaican Film Maker Interview

Michael Lynch is a modern-day story teller whose name is becoming synonymous with real life Jamaica tales. If you want unbiased, insider information about Jamaica, then the ‘This is Jamaica’ Documentary could well be the answer to some of your questions about this diverse and often misunderstood Caribbean island. Far from the usual negative media uptake about Jamaica, Michael manages to uncover the truth about Jamaica, without using clichés or being sentimental.

If you want to learn more about Michael’s documentary, I wrote a post entitled ‘This is Jamaica’ Documentary which not only introduces the film, but also includes the means to rent the film (for your viewing pleasure!) On the back of this I invited Michael to take part in a ‘Support Jamaica, Buy Jamaican’ interview, so we can get a behind the scenes insight to this creative and intriguing Film Maker. Michael has great plans to showcase the Documentary in the UK and Part Two is expected to be out in 2014 to continue the coverage of the island and it’s people. Can’t wait to watch it? You can download the documentary here!

1. Introduce yourself and your role in the company?

My name is Michael Lynch I am the Producer and Director of the company.

 2. When was your company established and why did you choose this career path?

The company was established in Jamaica in January 2001 and Uk in November 2012.

3. Tell me about your typical working day?

After checking, sending and reading emails, text and other social networks. I start work on organising music and video projects along with other technical consultant work for the company.

Michael Lynch (org. band 920)
Michael Lynch (org. band 920)

 4. What is your company philosophy?

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we’re here we should dance.

 5. How much of your work takes place in Jamaica?

At present very little but later in 2014 we plan to do a lot more filming and music production.

 6. Are you Jamaican?

I consider myself Jamaican but I was born in the UK to Jamaican parents.

7. Tell me your top 3 likes and dislikes about living and working in Jamaica?

Likes: Sunshine, people and food. Dislikes: roads, crime, mosquitos.

8. What new company plans and visions are you working on?

Working on setting up a training school for media and technology.

9. What is your personal favourite production that you have made and why?

“This is Jamaica documentary”, traveling and discovering Jamaica was very exciting for me, meeting and talking with the Jamaican people has learnt me a lot.

This is Jamaica Documentary Cover
This is Jamaica Documentary Cover

10. Who or what, is your inspiration or role model?

My inspiration and role model would have to be my mother who instilled in me great life lessons, love for all people and pride.

11. Where can we buy your productions in Jamaica and overseas?

At present rental through the website http://computamax/thisisjamaica and Amazon video on demand for rental, sale and download.

12. How do you love to spend your free time in Jamaica?

Chillin out at any of the many beautiful locations.

13. If you could be Prime Minister of Jamaica for a day, what would you do?

Set up a mass education and training program for all Jamaicans especially those in poor areas and the challenged.

Marcus Garvey
Marcus Garvey

14. Which Jamaican, dead or alive, do you feel made the biggest contribution to Jamaica and why?

Marcus Garvey for his strength leadership and commitment to his people.

15. If you could impart one piece of advice to inspire young Jamaicans to start their own businesses or succeed in their chosen career, what would it be?

Believe in what you do, think positive at all times have faith and never give up! Prayer, Practise, Patience and Persistence.

16. Apart from your own company, what is your favourite Jamaican company and why?

I would have to say Digicel for opening up new markets for providing an alternative mobile solution for the Jamaican people.

17. What do you feel you and your company has to offer viewers and listeners in international and home markets, over and above your competitors?

We are proud to be a company producing positive awareness of Jamaica and its people we aim to provide more discovery of our identity, history and culture to all people with any connections or interest in Jamaica.

18. How do you believe we as a nation can help to build Jamaica?

By coming together as one people, to put aside trivial matters, I believe education is one of the key factors, to look at the many great things the island has to offer and decide to work together with a common aim and strengthen the motto (out of many one people).

19. What are your aspirations for Jamaica?

To see Jamaica become completely independent, for crime to diminish.

20. What are your thoughts on the ‘SUPPORT JAMAICA BUY JAMAICAN!’ post on Sweet Jamaica’s blog?

I believe whole heartedly in that our home grown food is the best. Eat what we grow, grow what we eat every time!

Read the SUPPORT JAMAICA BUY JAMAICAN! post here…

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Want to find out more?

Read Sweet Jamaica’s review of the ‘This is Jamaica Documentary’ in this post…

Check out the official website for Computamax Productions here.

On 24th November 2013 Michael Lynch created column inches in The Gleaner, a national newspaper in Jamaica when staff reporter Sadeke Brooks produced a article based on an interview with Michael, which can be read here.

If you would like to hear more about Michael Lynch and his documentary, he has also been featured on a BBC Radio Derby Interview here with Devon Daley .

If you would like to rent a copy of Michael Lynch’s  ‘This is Jamaica’ Documentary for 7 days it costs US$1.99, click here.

Check out the Facebook page and click like here!

Inspirational Love Songs back
Inspirational Love Songs back

Jamaican Fried Plantain Recipe

Fried ripe (yellow) Plantain are a Caribbean favourite and they always go down well as an accompaniment, or side order to other meals. You can even eat them as a snack squashed between slices of bread. This quick and easy Jamaican recipe will be a crowd pleaser for all ages, as the sweet fried Plantains taste so good!

It is best to use a fairly ripe plantain, which has blackened or at least has some black spots on the yellow skin, this will determine the sweetness when fried. I personally do not like over ripe Plantain, so I go for a firm (but not overly tough) Plantain with a bit of give in it when squeezed. However, some people love to fry them when the skins have turned totally black and the Plantain is soft and squidgy.

Peel the Plantain
Peel the Plantain

Throughly wash your hands and scrub underneath your nails if you can. Gather all your ingredients and cooking implements together and put them on the counter top so you have everything within reach and you will also save time and make it easier for yourself.

[icon icon_name=”star”] You Will Need:

  • Chopping Board
  • Sharp Knife
  • Frying pan or Dutch Pot

[icon icon_name=”star”] Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe Plantains
  • Enough cooking oil to lightly cover the bottom of the vessel used for frying
  • Sprinkle of Salt to taste
Plantain diagonally
Plantain diagonally

[icon icon_name=”star”] Method:

  • Peel Plantain and placing it on a chopping board use the knife to cut on the diagonal, so that you get ‘wide’ slices about 1cm thick
  • Pour enough oil to cover the bottom of the vessel, approx. 1cm deep, heat on a medium heat until the oil is hot
  • Carefully add the sliced Plantain and fry on both sides until browned
  • Sprinkle salt over Plantain to taste (optional)
  • Remove from heat and serve

Fried Plantain can be enjoyed as an accompaniment to almost any meal (except soup?!) and are enjoyed throughout the day. Try them with Jamaican Brown Stew Fish, Jamaican Escovitch Fish, Red Herring and Hard Food, Ackee and Saltfish, Steamed Callaloo, Fried Dumplings, Jamaican Rice and Peas, Saltfish Fritters (Stamp and Go), or add them to a fried egg sandwich… Yum!

Fry the Plantain on both sides
Fry the Plantain on both sides

Dover Raceway St. Ann Jamaica

If you are looking for a day out then why not give Dover Raceway located near to Browns Town, St. Ann, Jamaica a try? Offering  enthralling first class entertainment watching Motorbike, Motor Car Racing and Kart Racing. They have major Meets taking place monthly between April and November, which generally take place to celebrate the Jamaican Public Holidays throughout the year. Dover Raceway makes a change from the usual attractions on offer in Jamaica and appeals to the whole family as there are lots of things going on to keep all ages occupied.

With lively and knowledgeable comperes and a DJ playing the latest tunes between races, Dover Raceway is a fun day out and a must see in Jamaica. We have witnessed aerial shows with remote-controlled helicopters, dance competitions for the youngsters and celebratory antics on the track with the cars doing donuts and wheel spins! The whole of Dover Raceway is well thought out, clean and welcoming with great amenities on site, such as toilets, hot food vendors, bars and drink sellers and well as stands and promotional items to wander among. It is said that Dover Raceway is the most challenging in all the Caribbean and with twists and turns and two long runs to pick up speed you will be flag waving and cheering with the warm and receptive crowds that flock to watch these thrilling and exciting events.

Pedestrian Entrance Dover Raceway
Pedestrian Entrance Dover Raceway

History of Dover Raceway, Jamaica

When I started researching about the founder of Dover Raceway, Mr Alfred Chen, I found very little information online about him. He was of Chinese decent and is credited as people person who worked tirelessly in philanthropic and political roles right up to his untimely death. Mr Chen sadly passed away at the age of just 49 in a self piloted helicopter crash in Trelawny, Jamaica on 11th October 2000 when he crashed into hills shortly after taking off. He was greatly mourned, but his legacy lives on as Dover Raceway continues to draw in the crowds and introduce world-class racing drivers to the world at large.

The following information has been taken from other websites, with the original source mentioned:

About Alfred Chen

To fulfil his desire to race, Alfred Chen built a race track in his backyard. It became known as Dover Raceway later. Other race fans were invited to join him to race and before long, it became very popular. It is now the circuit racing track in Jamaica. It is also named the most challenging and most difficult in the Caribbean. Bike races are also held at this location. I have no knowledge of car drivers dying from accidents on this track, but at least 1 bike rider have died on this course. The raceway is 1.4 miles long with a front stretch of about 0.25 miles and a back stretch of 0.24miles. The track record is held by David Summerbell in a time of about 1 min 20 sec followed by Doug ‘Hollywood’ Gore.

Find the Source Here at Google Forums, written by: G. Lawrence

About Dover Raceway

The track is a road course which has 12 curves and a straightaway that allows top speeds of over 100 mph. There is one hairpin, 180 degree turn at turn number 5 that is always a fan favourite during tight races. There are many viewpoints from which to see the races including the main gallery where you can see the 2nd half of the straightaway where the cars are at full speed and turns 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. This vantage point offers the widest view of the track with the most turns.

On the opposite side of the track, you can see turns 9, 10, 11 & 12 where they will accelerate up a steep hill onto the straightaway. Another popular spot is the VIP Race Tower. If you have the right wristbands, you can climb the 3 story tower for a 360 degree view of the race track. It is also quite a bit cooler up there because of the shade and you will get a nice breeze on most days at the higher elevation.

Find the Source here at wikimapia

Compere and DJ Stand Dover Raceway
Compere and DJ Stand Dover Raceway

How to find Dover Raceway, Jamaica

You can find Dover Raceway just north of Browns Town, St. Ann. If you are driving from the north coast, turn off the North Coast Highway at either Runaway or Discovery Bay and head inland towards Browns Town. There is a large sign letting you know where to turn off the main road heading into Browns Town, but we warned it is a long way to walk up a steep, winding and sometimes pot-holed road before you reach the raceway. If you reach into Browns Town itself you have come too far, turn back! If you are coming from the other direction, head out of Browns Town towards Runaway Bay / Discovery Bay about 5 minutes down the road you will see the sign post for Dover Raceway.

What is on offer at Dover Raceway, Jamaica?

But when you do reach the top it is a sight to see! There is ample parking on a grassy area, with security guards and Police Officers in attendance they ensure the safety of patrons and their vehicles. Once you head towards the ticket booth you will be given the option of a standard entry fee, or a VIP entry fee and children under 12 come in free, which is great if you have a family. They do offer pre-sold tickets at various outlets across Jamaica, which are listed further down the article. Cross over the pedestrian bridge and your nose will direct you towards mouth-watering delicious food, drink (alcohol is on sale) vendors, and some stands profiling related products, such as the sponsor of the event and engine oil and so on.

There are some seating stands which are open to the general public and others that need VIP passes to gain entry, but they fill up early and don’t give you much elbow room. However, I feel the most fun can be had by staking a plot on the grassy area right at the front. You will need to get here early to get a good spot and I would recommend wearing a hat at the very least as the sun can be scorching.

At lot of people bring tents (portable gazebos), umbrellas, seats and an igloo (cool box) filled with ice and drinks and plenty of food. Ideal foods to bring would be Jamaican Escovitch Fried Fish, Saltfish Fritters (Stamp and Go),  Fried or Jerk Chicken, Hard Dough Bread or Fried Dumplings, if you really want to get a plateful you could bring some Jamaican Rice and Peas, Jamaican Coleslaw or Jamaican Potato Salad too!

If you forget anything, don’t worry there are plenty of walking vendors selling sun hats, fedora’s, umbrella’s, as well as the obligatory cold drinks, nuts and snacks.

Motor Bike Dover Raceway
Motor Bike Dover Raceway

Dover ‘Independence of Speed’

My first taste of Jamaican motor racing came at the Independence Day celebrations with the track meet being held on 4th August 2013. It was very hot and sunny and as we had never been before we wasn’t sure what you were allowed to bring inside the enclosure we didn’t come with much. However, after about 1/2 hour in the scorching sun we had to buy and umbrella to shade us as we didn’t want to sit in the stands. There were plenty of vendors walking past so just as you felt thirsty or peckish there was a cold drink or bag of freshly roasted peanuts on offer. After a few hours we were hungry and ambled over the food court and got some tasty fried fish and chicken with rice and peas.

Independence of Speed 2013
Independence of Speed 2013

Dover ‘Heroes of Speed’

The second exciting driving meet that I attended at Dover was on October 21st 2013 and was titled ‘Dover Heroes of Speed’ to commemorate Heroes Day In Jamaica.  It was the last Meet on the 2013 season, so we were filled with anticipation for the days events. We came more prepared this time and brought back the umbrella we had bought the first time we came. We also brought a big bottle of frozen water, some good old Jamaican Wray and Nephew White Rum, a couple of icy cold sodas and some fish and crackers and other snacks!
This information was taken from The Jamaica Race Drivers Club Facebook page:
Dover Heroes of Speed Back on track! The deciding race meet for the Jamaica Race Drivers Club 2013 circuit racing championship See the return of Doug Gore’s Petcom Audi TT, David Summerbell’s Total Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, Peter Rae’s Shell Mazda RX7, Natasha Chang’s Texaco Honda Civic. Witness the daring bikers Andre Norman, Adrian Blake, Stefan Chin and Robert McDonald Monday, October 21 starting at 10am Dover Raceway, St Ann Bring the entire family. Presold tickets available @ • Petcom Dunrobin • Petcom Ocho Rios • Tile City Kingston • Performance Centre Mobay • Campbell’s Wholesale Mandeville • Williams Auto Parts May Pen & Old Harbour.

Top Tips for Dover Raceway, Jamaica

  1. You can bring food, drink (including alcohol) so come armed and ready!
  2. Bring an umbrella, hat or portable gazebos and / or  sunscreen as it gets scorching hot watching the races in the midday and afternoon Jamaican sun.
  3. Many people bring seats, cushions or anything else they can find to sit on and make the viewing more comfortable.
  4. Get there early, there are qualifying races happening and the covered seating stands and good spots on the open grassy areas fill up quickly.
  5. Bring your own igloo (cool box) and fill it with ice and drinks, don’t forget some water and food to keep you going if you are drinking alcohol in the sun. If you don’t have an igloo, try freezing a bottle of water and / or a couple of sodas and bring them with you. As they melt out in the sun you will be provided with cool drinks all day, and if you have food it will help keep it cool until you are ready to eat it.
  6. If you don’t want to bring anything with you there are promotional stands, walking vendors selling hats, umbrellas, nuts, drinks, name it! Plus there is a good choice of food and drink stands to keep you watered and fed.
  7. Look out for the Jamaican favourite driver Natasha Chang, she is a bullish driver and is sure to always get the crowds on their feet with her exploits on the track!

 

Spectator Stands Dover Raceway
Spectator Stands Dover Raceway

 

About the Jamaican Racing Drivers Club – JRDC

The following information about the JRDC has been copied from the official JRDC website which can be found here.

The Jamaica Race Drivers Club was revived in 2003 to organize and promote motor racing, primarily at the Dover Raceway located just north of Brown’s Town, St. Ann. The Club has an active membership of approximately 80 competitors, led by an executive body comprised of 9 members. Events are held primarily on holiday weekends: Easter Monday; Labour Day; Independence Day and Heroes Day. The Dover events are usually two day events with qualifying on the first day followed by a full calendar of races in a variety of classes, including a special street car class, motorcycles and full fledged race cars, and attract crowds of between 4,000 to 14,000 spectators.

The Club improved the physical infrastructure at the track, including but not limited to:

  • The erection of a new pedestrian bridge at the spectator entrance.
  • The renovation of the current pedestrian bridge on the front straight.
  • The improvement of the track access road.
  • The expansion of the parking area.
  • The erection of vendor facilities
  • The provision of covered spectator stands.
  • The increase in the numbers of Bays
  • The provision of Media monitors (tele communications)
  • Live Broadcast Streaming.
  • The provision of wireless routing for the internet savy
  • The creation of a new access road
  • The increase of vending stalls
  • The increase of exhibit booths

The prize monies paid to winners in our events has also been raised and has increased the quality and quantity of the competitor entries. The JRDC plans to continue the innovations debuted in 2006 with respect to Race Driving schools held at the Track to encourage and develop nascent competitors in a safe and organized manner.

The JRDC would also like to increase our partnerships with corporate Jamaica, as we see many mutually beneficial linkages which exploit the rapidly growing subculture of automobile racing, both locally and internationally.

Contact: Jamaica Race Driver’s Club, 54 Molynes Rd Kingston 10 Ph. 758-JRDC (5732).

Office is in the Deluxe Medical Centre complex beside YP Seaton.

Find the JRDC website here:  http://www.jrdc.org/

[divider_1px]

Motor Cars Dover Raceway
Motor Cars Dover Raceway

Jamaican Motorsports

http://jamaicamotorsports.com/

Dover Raceway (t): 975-2127

Jamaican Brown Stew Fish Recipe

Jamaican’s love to have gravy with their food, so brown stew (cooked in gravy) anything is always well received. This easy recipe for Brown Stew Fish  makes a healthy and hearty meal especially if served with another Jamaican favourite ‘Hard Food’ (boiled provisions). It is an ideal dinner idea if you are looking for a tasty Jamaican recipe for you and the family.

 [icon icon_name=”star”] You will Need:

  • a large bowl for the fish
  • a sharp knife and chopping board to prepare the seasoning
  • a Dutch Pot or large frying pan to fry the seasoning and fish

Throughly wash your hands and scrub underneath your nails if you can. Gather all your ingredients and cooking implements together and put them on the counter top so you have everything within reach and you will also save time and make it easier for yourself.

If you want to eat this with Hard Food, as shown above you can find the recipe here.

 

 [icon icon_name=”star”] Ingredients:

  • 1-2 whole fish or 3-4 pieces of sliced fish
  • 1 onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 escallion, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 1-2 pegs of garlic, peeled and mashed or thinly diced
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1/4 green sweet pepper (optional), de-seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 tomato, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into rounds or thin strips (Julienne)
  • 1 lime, or splash or two of vinegar (to clean fish)
  • Dry seasoning, I usually use a few shakes of each, say 1/2 to 1 tsp of each: ground black pepper, all-purpose seasoning, garlic powder, fish seasoning and paprika
  • Salt to taste
  • Ketchup, squirt or two to taste and thicken gravy
  • Water, 1-2 cups boiled or cold

If you want to eat this with Hard Food, as shown above you can find the recipe here.

 [icon icon_name=”star”] Method:

  • De-scale and clean your fish; firmly hold the fish and scrape a sharp knife along the flesh without breaking it. Moving against the direction of the scales until they pop off (this can be messy so do outside or over a clean and empty sink). The skin will feel smooth and slippery when all the scales have been removed.
  • Clean away any blood and guts and clean thoroughly in water and lime juice, or a little vinegar, rinse, shake dry and place in a clean bowl.

 

  • Wash wet seasoning, including thyme and thinly slice onion, escallion, garlic, scotch bonnet pepper and sweet pepper adding to the washed fish
  • Add dry seasoning, ground black pepper, all-purpose seasoning, garlic powder, fish seasoning and paprika to the mixture and stir until the fish is completely covered in the combined wet and dry seasonings. It should take on colour all over the flesh once sufficiently mixed. Leave to marinade for up to a day if time permits, if not, even 30 minutes marinade is better than nothing!
  • Once the fish has marinated, stab each piece with a fork and using a second implement carefully remove any attached seasoning (vegetable matter only) from the fish whilst holding it over the bowl. Do NOT throw this vegetable matter away as it will form the gravy.
  • Set on a dutch pot, or other deep heavy bottomed pot with enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot by about 1/2 inch. Leave to get very hot on a medium to low heat. Once the oil is clear and crackling add the prepared fish to the oil, browning on both sides for about 2-3 minutes and set aside.
  • To prevent the gravy becoming too greasy you only want a light covering of oil on the bottom of the pot to fry the seasoning, so carefully remove any excess oil and leave in a heat-resistant receptacle to cool. PLEASE do NOT leave where children can pull it over themselves!
  • Turn down the heat a bit and add fresh sliced tomato and all the other seasoning used to marinade the fish (thyme, onion, escallion, garlic, scotch bonnet pepper and sweet pepper) to the oil, saving any ‘water’ in the bowl for later.
  • Gently fry until softened, which should take about 3-4 minutes on a low to medium flame.
  • Add 1-2 cups of water to the dutch pot (can be cold or boiled), plus any liquid from the bowl the fish marinated in. Add the peeled and sliced carrots and cover.
  • Gently bowl liquid until carrots cook and the liquid reduces to form a thicker gravy, which should take about 10 – 15 minutes. Taste gravy to make sure of depth of taste and add salt and ketchup to your taste.
  • Once the gravy has thickened to suit, gently add fried fish cover and simmer for a minute or two to reheat fish right through.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!

 

Add the fried fish to the gravy
Add the fried fish to the gravy

If you want to eat this dish with hard food then you can follow the recipe here. If you do not have time to season the fish ahead of time, I would recommend seasoning the fish first and leaving it to marinade, prior to preparing the hard food. This will make sure the flavour of the fish is right to the bone and the taste will be ‘lick finger’!

Cream of the Crop – Ocho Rios 2013

PurpleSkunz Entertainment and DJ Wayne put on a great show last night with their ‘Cream of the Crop’ stage show in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. The venue was the Ocho Rios Cruise Ship Pier, which made for a great setting for this sell-off event. There were general release tickets on pre-sale for $1,200, or $1,500 at the gate and although the pre-sold VIP tickets were advertised at $2,500 they were unavailable from the promoters or ticket outlets prior to the event and had to be purchased at the gate for $3,000 each.

The Ocho Rios Cruise Ship Pier was an ideal venue as it was secure, flat, clean and well laid out, with a visible Police presence which kept the night drama free. The general ticket area was large and there were a number of bars and food server’s plying their trade to the punters, alongside clean portable toilets which were serviced. The separate area VIP area was off to one side and included an area right in front of the stage, which made for great up close and personal viewing of my favourite artists. The VIP area had its own bar where they gave away complimentary Guinness and Nitro earlier in the evening and they also a few portable toilets. There were also a few vendors allowed inside the enclosure which was great if you wanted a snack, or horn to blow and kept up the great Jamaican tradition of vendors at events and shows.

Chronixx - Cream of the Crop
Chronixx – Cream of the Crop

Line Up

Not even the rain could dampen the spirits of the crowd as the line up kept us entertained all night.

Stand out performances came from I-Octane who gave the best performance for the night, where he had the crowd blazing fire, horn blowing and rocking to the music.

I-Octane - Cream of the Crop
I-Octane – Cream of the Crop

Romain Virgo looked stylish in a navy blue suit with polka dot jacket and gleaming white crepes and gave an outstanding performance where he rocked the crowd throughout his set.

Chronixx one of the bright stars on the scene, enthralled the crowd with his hit selling songs and Jah Cure had a new fan in the form of a Rasta toddler who was dancing and flag waving on stage in appreciation!

Movado performed last of the night and although we enjoyed his performance he didn’t seem as if he gave it his all, but maybe that was because his set was shorter?

Other acts included Iba-Mahr, Nature, Jah Bouks, Kabaka Pyramid, Dre Island, Kelissa, Keznamdi and supporting bands such as the ‘Zinc Fence Band’ and the ‘Ruff Kutt Band’.

Sorry about the quality of the pictures they were taken on a mobile (cell) phone, as my camera memory was accidentally deleted at the end of the night!

Mavado - Cream of the Crop
Mavado – Cream of the Crop

‘This is Jamaica’ Documentary

Jamaica Land We Love

There is something about Jamaica that steals a little piece of your heart the first time you visit. If you are truly afflicted the feeling will seep into your very existence and nag at your sub-conscience to return again, such is the draw of this Caribbean island. With its beguiling qualities and beautiful looks this could well lead to a full-on love affair that will have you telling all who will listen of ‘your Jamaica’ (sounds like me!).  It is therefore  no surprise that Jamaica has inspired some of the most talented and creative people to flourish with its natural backdrop of uplifting people, lush greenery, fruitful lands, cool rivers, picture perfect beaches and rich history.

One such person is Michael Lynch, who was born and raised in the Midlands, England to Jamaican parents. Michael decided to move to Jamaica in 2000 after his parents passed away, where he got married to a local woman and lived there happily for the next 12 years.  This coming home struck a chord with Michael who had spent his formative years in the UK absorbing the media’s perception of Jamaica which wasn’t always the most complimentary, or honest. Inspired to tell others about what he had experienced he decided to produce an independent documentary about ‘his Jamaica’, with the aim of enlightening people to what Jamaica is really all about outside of the scaremongering and shiny hotels.

The documentary champions the everyday person in Jamaica through whistle stop tours over much of the island and interviews with  members of the local communities and settlers, such as the Maroons, Indians and Germans. Michael is able to skilfully unravel the meaning behind the Jamaican motto ‘Out of Many, One People’, which is a testament to the multi-cultural inhabitants of the island, who lives are peacefully intertwined. Hear about Jamaica in the words of its people and revel in some of the sights and sites that are covered in this documentary, so that you too can transported into the very heartbeat of Jamaica.

By watching this documentary Michael hopes to inspire creative, educated entrepeneurs to give Jamaica a chance and consider moving here. By encouraging this talent pool to Jamaica to set up businesses, they will bring their wealth of knowledge and employment opportunities to further the country as a whole. The sentiment is one I believe in too, and therefore I wholeheartedly support Michael and his teams endeavours with this informative and engaging documentary that helps to demystify Jamaica.

You can view the trailer below and when that whets your appetite for more, you can rent the 53 minute long documentary for  just US$2.99 through Jamaican Movies. This way you are paying the film maker directly and supporting their craft. Sweet Jamaica has not been endorsed for writing this post or supplying links, but we appreciate you supporting this independent British / Jamaican film maker.

Who is Behind ‘This is Jamaica’ Documentary

Michael Lynch is creative by nature and has been a published artist since the mid eighties where he started his career working as a session musician and producer with London based Orbitone Records. This lead to work with US based Jamdung Media, where he worked on many music videos and short film projects. No stranger to film producing, Michael produced his first short film in Jamaica in 2002 with Jesoco Productions which was distributed throughout the island by ‘Novelty Traders’. Fast forward to 2010 where he teamed up with local Montego Bay photographer Lenworth Brown and in 2011 set out to film this documentary assisted also by a young talented presenter Taneisha Ingram. He returned to the UK in 2012 to edit the film which was released on 3rd November 2013 and is currently available for rent through selected online outlets.

  • Producer/Director – Michael Lynch
  • Director of photography – Lenworth Brown
  • Presenter/narrator – Taneisha Ingram

Media Coverage

Don’t just take it from us, Michael has been featured in some other media channels too…

Check out the official website for Computamax Productions here.

On 24th November 2013 Michael Lynch created column inches in The Gleaner, a national newspaper in Jamaica when staff reporter Sadeke Brooks produced a article based on an interview with Michael, which can be read here.

If you would like to hear more about Michael Lynch and his documentary, he has also been featured on a BBC Radio Derby Interview here with Devon Daley .

If you would like to rent a digital copy of Michael Lynch’s  ‘This is Jamaica’ Documentary it costs US$2.99 from Jamaican Movies, click here.

Check out the Facebook page and click like here!

Mangoes in Jamaica

Jamaican Mangoes

Mmmm! Sweet and juicy Mango…. who can resist their charms?! Once the fruits start to swell and ripen it is hard not to look up longingly on a regular basis.  It isn’t long before the fruits sway on the higher branches from their long ‘strings’ and tempt you to eat them, as you find yourself quietly beckoning one of the fruits to drop into your hand. Luckily for me I had a willing and capable tree climber who presented me with sweet and juicy East Indian Mangoes on a daily basis whilst they were ripening on the tree (big smiley face!).

It is said that Mangoes were introduced to Jamaica in the 1700’s when a French Ship was captured at sea by Lord Rodney. There are many varieties of Mango available throughout Jamaica and everyone has their favourite. But, I had the pleasure of a large East Indian Mango Tree in the yard which gave me ample fruits to eat throughout July and barely into the first week of August….

East Indian Mango Tree Climber
East Indian Mango Tree Climber

East Indian Mango

This type of Mango grows to a really big size and the skin is green with reddish marks on it. You can smell the aromatic scent wafting through the skin when they are ripe and they should yield slightly when squeezed. If the fruit is rock hard then don’t buy (or pick) it, but if it starting to shows signs of softening it can be encouraged to ripen if left in a warm place wrapped in a paper bag (or a sheet of The Gleaner!) for a couple of days.

How to Eat Mangoes Jamaican Style…

When you are ready to eat the Mango you should wash the skin, which cannot be consumed. If you choose you can simply bite completely through the top of the skin where it was attached to the tree and suck out the flesh inside, before discarding the skin. Then you just peel the skin down (much as if you were trying to peel an apple in one piece) in a circular fashion, eating the flesh as you go – don’t forget to eat the flesh clinging to the skin!  The flesh inside is a gorgeous orangey-yellow colour and it tastes joyous – oh so juicy and sweet! There is a large seed inside the middle of the flesh, but you can eat around it if you are eating the Mango whole. The trick is to clean off as much flesh from the seed as possible before discarding the seed and skin responsibly.

Or, if you prefer to remove the Mango flesh and reserve it for a dessert, sauce, drink or anything else you can think of… Place the mango upright on a hard surface, carefully holding the Mango steady and feel for the seed inside. Using a sharp knife (that is longer than the width of the Mango) cut from the top to the bottom of the Mango as close as possible to the seed. Repeat on the other side, so you have removed the two ‘fattest sides’ of the Mango flesh, carefully cut through the flesh in a ‘grid’ pattern but don’t break through the skin. Now you can push the skin from the back and delicious squares of Mango will ‘pop’ forward presented to you to harvest! The rest of the Mango flesh can be cut from the seed and cut from the skin in the same way.

The Health Benefits of Eating Mangoes

I can understand why Mangoes are known as the ‘King of Fruits’. Because I took a great deal of comfort from feeding my face with a daily supply of this delicious tropical delight in Jamaica this July, when I realised how good they were for me!

The science behind the pleasure attained from eating Mangoes is that they contain a special enzyme that soothes the stomach, aids digestion and increases the appetite.

They are also packed full of the good stuff, such as: dietary fibre and they are very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. Plus, they are rich in vitamins and minerals, such as, B6, A, C, E, K, niacin, folate, thiamine, riboflavin, panthothenic acid, potassium, magnesium, selenium, calcium, iron and copper. Antioxidant sources include quercetin, betacarotene, and astragalin.

All these attributes mean that by eating Mangoes you can to help keep blood pressure under control and help to eliminate certain cancers, heart conditions and bowel problems. What is there not to like? Enjoy eating copious amounts of Mangoes in Jamaica!

Please do not help yourself and pick Mangoes from a tree in Jamaica unless

you have permission from the land owner first!

 

Remember to discard of the skins and seeds responsibly and help keep Jamaica beautiful. Or, why not recycle them by making a compost heap and throwing them on it instead?….

Jamaican Potato Salad Recipe

 

[text_justify] This Jamaican Potato Salad recipe is delicious and easy to make. Like the Jamaican Coleslaw, it makes a great accompaniment to anything and everything (except soup!) and is the perfect dish for a barbecue too.[text_justify]

[text_justify]Potato Salad in Jamaica has a few unusual ingredients that you don’t normally find used in the UK. But, these new additions makes for a dreamy combination that tastes so delicious I have never looked back…. Enjoy![/text_justify]

 

Jamaican Potato Salad Ingredients
Jamaican Potato Salad Ingredients

 

[icon icon_name=”star”] You will need:

[list style=”1″ underline=”1″]

  • a large bowl to mix the ingredients (I use a smaller clean bowl to serve, once all the messy sauce has been stirred in)
  • Pots (saucepans) to boil potato, green garden peas and the eggs (I would recommend boiling the ingredients separately!)
  • a jug or deep sided dish to mix the sauce
  • a big spoon to mix

[/list]

 

[text_justify]Throughly wash your hands and scrub underneath your nails if you can. Gather all your ingredients and cooking implements together and put them on the counter top so you have everything within reach and you will also save time and make it easier for yourself.[text_justify]

 

[icon icon_name=”star”] Ingredients

[list style=”1″ underline=”1″]

  • 4 large (Irish) Potatoes
  • 1 cup of green garden Peas (I used frozen)
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 2 stalks of Escallion (spring onion)
  •  2 large tablespoons of Mayonnaise
  • 2 large tablespoons of Salad Cream (can be omitted if preferred or unavailable)
  • 1 teaspoon of Mustard (I used English Mustard)
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Salt for boiling vegetables

[/list]

[text_center]Makes about 6 cups of Jamaican Potato Salad – Takes about 30 minutes to prepare; if you want to make more,  just increase the amount of the ingredients to enjoy this delicious Jamaican food.[/text_center]

 

Add all Ingredients to a Dish
Add all Ingredients to a Dish

 

[icon icon_name=”star”] Method

[list style=”1″ underline=”1″]

  • Set on a large pot (saucepan) half filled with water, to boil – add salt and pot cover (saucepan lid).
  • Peel the Potato and cut into bite sized cubes, rinse in clean water and add to boiling water.
  • Add garden peas to a smaller pot (saucepan), cover and set to simmer.
  • Add eggs to smaller pot (saucepan), cover and set to simmer.
  • Once potato, garden peas and eggs are cooked (test potato with a knife – it should go through the potato easily) drain hot water and replace with cool water.
  • Drain cold water from potato and put pot (saucepan) back on the hob, for about 1 minute, to dry out potato; continually ‘swirl’ potato to stop it from sticking or burning. Once it has a fluffy texture on the outside, remove and place in bowl and leave to cool.
  • Drain garden peas and allow to dry and cool, before adding to potato.
  • Peel eggs – knock shells on countertop all over the egg as it is easier to peel skin off. Once cooled slice into small pieces and add to potato and peas.
  • Cut off the roots and raggedy tips of the escallion (spring onion), rinse well in clean water and chop, add to potato mix.
  • In a separate jug mix all the other ingredients together, taste with a clean and separate spoon, to make sure it is tangy enough for your palate!
  • Pour ‘sauce’ onto prepared potato mix and stir until it is evenly distributed throughout the Potato Salad.
  • Either serve immediately with your meal, or cover and leave in a cool place (especially if you are in the tropical heat of Jamaica!)
  • If kept in the fridge, this Potato Salad can last about 3 days… If it doesn’t all get eaten on the day.
  • Enjoy!

[/list]

 

 

If you enjoyed this recipe and want to try more delicious Jamaican food, click here for more easy, filling and nutritious Caribbean food recipes[button style=”1″ caption=” Jamaican Food” link=https://sweetjamaica.co.uk/category/jamaican-food-and-drink/jamaican-recipes/[/button]

 

Jamaican Coleslaw Recipe

 

[text_justify] This Jamaican Coleslaw recipe is delicious and easy to make. It makes a great accompaniment to anything and everything (except soup!) and is the perfect dish for a barbecue too.[text_justify]

[text_justify]In Jamaica it is common to see a cabbage based side order featured on the menu, as it is much cheaper and more readily available than lettuce. This recipe takes the humble cabbage to a place of glory, nestled together with its healthy vegetable friends and covered in a tangy sauce, it won’t last long on the table!……. Enjoy![/text_justify]

 

[icon icon_name=”star”] You will need:

[list style=”1″ underline=”1″]

  • a large bowl to shred the ingredients (I use a smaller clean bowl to serve, once all the messy sauce has been stirred in)
  • a fine grater, or blender
  • a jug or deep sided dish to mix the sauce
  • a big spoon to mix

[/list]

 

[text_justify]Throughly wash your hands and scrub underneath your nails if you can. Gather all your ingredients and cooking implements together and put them on the counter top so you have everything within reach and you will also save time and make it easier for yourself.[text_justify]

 

Jamaican Coleslaw Ingredients
Jamaican Coleslaw Ingredients

[icon icon_name=”star”] Ingredients

[list style=”1″ underline=”1″]

  • 4 Cups of grated / shredded Cabbage
  • 2 Cups of grated / shredded Onion
  • 1 1/2 Cups of grated / shredded Carrot
  • 4 large tablespoons of Mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons of Crème Fraiche, or Sour Cream (can be omitted if preferred or unavailable)
  • 2 teaspoons of Mustard (I used English Mustard)
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of Sugar (can be omitted if preferred)
  • 2 – 4 tablespoons of Vinegar

[/list]

[text_center]Makes about 6 cups of Jamaican Coleslaw – Takes about 20 minutes to prepare; if you want to make more,  just increase the amount of the ingredients to enjoy this delicious Jamaican food. If you want more kick and a spicier flavour, simply add more onions and mustard…. But add slowly and with caution![/text_center]

 

Jamaican Coleslaw Wet Ingredients
Jamaican Coleslaw Wet Ingredients

 

[icon icon_name=”star”] Method

[list style=”1″ underline=”1″]

  • Cut about half a cabbage into smallish chunks and wash in clean water – drain and add to blender / or grate.
  • Blend cabbage in short blasts until you get the consistency you like, remove from blender and measure until you have 4 cups; add to bowl.
  • Peel 2 carrots, cut into smallish chunks and wash in clean water – drain and add to blender  / or grate.
  • Blend carrots in short blasts until you get the consistency to match the size of the shredded cabbage, remove from blender and measure until you have 1 and 1/2 cups; add to bowl.
  • Peel the skin and ‘top and tail’ off of a large onion, cut into smallish chunks and wash in clean water – drain and add to blender / or chop into small pieces (I don’t recommend grating onions, as the juice goes everywhere and makes your eyes red and watery!).
  • Blend onion in short blasts until you get the consistency to match the size of the shredded cabbage and carrots, remove from blender and measure until you have 2 cups; add to bowl. Some people prefer to blend the onion for less time which creates slightly larger pieces than the cabbage and carrots which gives more of a kick to the coleslaw.
  • You may need to add more of the vegetable ingredients to the blender until you have the required amounts of each kind.
  • In a separate jug mix all the other ingredients together, taste with a clean and separate spoon, to make sure it is tangy enough for your palate!
  • Pour ‘sauce’ onto prepared vegetables and stir until it is evenly distributed throughout the Coleslaw.
  • Either serve immediately with your meal, or cover and leave in a cool place (especially if you are in the tropical heat of Jamaica!)
  • If kept in the fridge, this Coleslaw can last about 3 days… If it doesn’t all get eaten on the day.
  • Enjoy!

[/list]

 

Jamaican Coleslaw Mix Ingredients
Jamaican Coleslaw Mix Ingredients

 

If you enjoyed this recipe and want to try more delicious Jamaican food, click here for more easy, filling and nutritious Caribbean food recipes[button style=”1″ caption=” Jamaican Food” link=https://sweetjamaica.co.uk/category/jamaican-food-and-drink/jamaican-recipes/[/button]

 

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Like our FaceBook Page to get the latest news, photo’s, music, events, competitions and offers from Sweet Jamaica https://www.facebook.com/sweetjamaica.co.uk

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Looking forward to hearing from you.

Bless up, Jules

Keep the Conversation Going….

Have you made this recipe, share your experience? Where are your favourite Jamaican foods to eat with this recipe? Join the Comments Below….

 




Sea Turtles Hatching on the Beach in Jamaica

Sometimes you have an amazing experience that makes you feel alright with the world and that money cannot buy. Jamaica gave me one of those truly feel good moments recently when I saw gorgeous Baby Sea Turtles hatching on the beach….

Mother Nature is amazing and I un-expectantly got a taster when I was at the beach recently on the North Coast of Jamaica (for the purposes of protecting the Mother Turtles secret, I will keep the name of the beach between the Sea Turtles and I!). After spending a few hours at the beach we were swimming when slight dew rain started falling and there was lightning flashes out to sea. We were considering coming out of the water, but the rain stopped so we decided to stay where we were. We noticed a crowd of people were forming into a circle on the beach, with everyone staring at the sand. After a couple of minutes of wondering what was going on, it became apparent that there were Sea Turtles hatching on the beach!

Many of the locals believed that the lightning had made them hatch and they were carefully picking up the turtles and putting them in the sea. I have to say they are one of the cutest things I have ever seen. They have the biggest doe eyes and squirm about with real intent to get into the deep-sea and away from predators on the land and in the shallows. I have to admit for a nano-second I really, really wanted to keep one and raise it, but I soon decided this would be cruel and purely for selfish reasons and would not be in the best interest of the little Sea Turtle.

Needless to say I quickly took a few photographs before I swam out really far into the sea with three Sea Turtles. I then said a little prayer for them and wished them a long and happy life! The first two ducked their heads under the water and swam about a metre (about 3.3 foot) before popping up their heads for a gulp of air, before doing the same again until they were so far away I could no longer see them. The last one stuck around for a while longer, whilst I trod water in the deep-sea it stopped for a while and just looked at me with its beautiful big eyes for about a minute or so, before swimming off itself. Again I watched at it swam out into the deep, smiling to myself at the magical experience Jamaica had given me.

Please do not touch, take or harm Sea Turtles if you see them. No Sea Turtles were harmed in the making of this post!

 

If you want more information on Sea Turtles or want to Support the Sea Turtle Conservation Project in Jamaica then contact JET – Jamaica Environmental Trust. http://www.jamentrust.org/conservation/jamaica-sea-turtle-project.html

The Jamaica Environment Trust is a non-profit, non-governmental membership organization operating in the island of Jamaica. We were formed in 1991 and our main focus is environmental education and advocacy.

 

Jamaican Rice and Peas Recipe

Jamaican Rice and Peas Recipe

Sunday wouldn’t be Sunday without ‘Rice and Peas’ on the menu, however this delicious coconut based rice dish is a Jamaican tradition that can be cooked and savoured on any day of the week…

If  ‘Ackee and Saltfish’ is the National dish of Jamaica, then ‘Rice and Peas’ should be the known as the ‘Coat of Arms’. Rich, coco-nutty, wholesome and nourishing, Jamaican’s ‘dere a yard, or dere a foreign’ love to eat Rice and Peas, whether served at home, or at the cook shop.

The preparation for this dish starts on Saturday night when the peas (kidney beans / red beans) are washed and left to soak overnight in water infused with garlic. In the morning when the peas are set on to boil, the dry coconut is grated and the milk is drawn, then the magic really begins when the scent of seasoning and coconut milk start to fill the air as it is added to the red peas….Mmmmm! Enjoy!

 

Rice and Peas Seasoning
Rice and Peas Seasoning

 

 How to Cook Jamaican Rice and Peas

First things first, thoroughly wash your hands and scrub underneath your nails if you can. Gather all your ingredients and cooking implements together and put them on the counter top so you have everything within reach and you will also save time and make it easier for yourself.

You will need:

  • a large pot to soak red peas and cook rice / or a pressure cooker
  • a chopping board and sharp knife
  • A sieve / strainer to wash the rice

 

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of rice (I prefer basmati rice)
  • 1 cup dried red peas (kidney beans / red beans) – You can use tinned instead, just don’t soak and over boil them!
  • 2-3 stalks of escallion (spring onion)
  • 1 large tomato
  • 2 peg Garlic
  • 1 sprig Thyme
  • 1 Scotch Bonnet Pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter / margarine
  • Milk from 1 dry coconut (see Coconut Milk recipe) Or, 1 pack of Coconut Milk Powder, or,  1 tin of coconut milk
  • Water; Combined liquids should make up about 6 cups
  • 1 Knorr style vegetable stock cube, optional but recommended for a fuller flavour

 

Recipe Notes:

If you don’t have a dry coconut to hand, then I would recommend using Coconut Powder, both Grace and Maggi have a great substitute.

You can use tinned red peas (kidney beans) if necessary, but they don’t turn the cooking water very red and aren’t quite as nice as using the dried variety.

Serves 6 people – Takes about 10 minutes to prepare and up to 2 hours to cook; if you want to feed more people,  just increase the quantities to enjoy this delicious Jamaican food.

If preferred you can cook the peas in a pressure cooker from dried, in about 45  – 60 minutes, which saves time and energy, plus it also gives a great colour to the finished rice.
Let’s Start Cooking!…

Method for Cooking Jamaican Rice and Peas

 

Stage One

 

  • Thoroughly wash the red peas (kidney beans) and discard the water
  • Place the red peas into the pot you intend to cook the rice and peas in, add about 4 cups of water and the diced garlic, cover the pot and preferably leave overnight, or for at least 2 hours – until the peas have swelled
  • Once the peas have swelled, the water should have turned a reddish hue, which will colour the rice when it is cooked; I feel by soaking the peas overnight, or using the pressure cooker, you get a better colour to the finished dish and you don’t have to boil them as long saving energy
  • DO NOT discard the reddish coloured water the peas have soaked in as this helps to colour the finished dish!!

 

Stage Two

  • Once the red peas have swelled, set them on to boil in the same reddish coloured water and cover the pot. Regularly check the pot and do not allow to boil dry – add more water if necessary, but not too much as coconut milk will be added later
  • Wash the seasoning, then crush the escallion stalks, slice the tomato thinly and put to one side, with the sprig of thyme and the whole Scotch Bonnet Pepper
  • Make the coconut milk (recipe can be found on blog) and set aside
  • Boil the red peas until almost soft – around 30 – 40 minutes
  • Add the coconut milk to the pot and stir in with a fork to finish cooking the peas  – test the peas are cooked by removing one from the pot and see if you can crush with a fork; usually after about 45 minutes to an hour (if left to soak overnight) turn down the pot a little to a simmer
  • Add the sprig of thyme, escallion, tomato, salt, a good-sized knob of butter, whole Scotch Bonnet Pepper (if possible leave on the stalk and do not cut or pierce the pepper) and stock cube to the pot and lightly boil until seasoning is soft
  • Wash the rice thoroughly and add to the pot, the liquid level should be about 1 inch above the height of the rice and peas
  • Carefully and lightly stir with a fork to mix the peas through the rice, be careful not to burst the pepper. Turn down the heat and cover the pot and leave to steam
  • Steam until the rice is tender and all the liquid is gone – you can tell if the water has been absorbed as the top of the rice will be ‘pitted’; around 30 minutes
  • If you do feel the need to stir the pot again, only use a fork – do not use a spoon and do not over mix, or it will turn into rice pudding / risotto…
  • If the rice is still hard and the pot is dry, turn down the heat a bit and carefully wrap some cling-film (plastic wrap) over the top of the pot, leaving the pot to sweat, the condensation created in the pot will usually finish cooking the rice to perfection (a plastic bag or even tinfoil can be used if cling-film is not available)
  • Serve and enjoy!

 

This Jamaican Rice and Peas Recipe can be enjoyed with:

Brown Stew Fish

Ackee and Saltfish

Fried Escovitch Fish

Steamed Cabbage

Steamed Callaloo

 

If you enjoyed this Jamaican recipe and want to try more delicious Jamaican food, click the link for more easy, filling and nutritious Jamaican food recipes.

 

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Looking forward to hearing from you.

Walk Good, Jules

 

Keep the Conversation Going….

What do you think of this Jamaican Rice and Peas Recipe? Join the Comments Below….

Coconut Milk Recipe

 

[text_justify]Coconut Milk is used in many Jamaican recipes, such as ‘Rice and Peas’ and ‘Mackerel Rundown’ and with a little effort it is easy to make if you have a dry coconut available…[text_justify]

[text_justify]Coconuts are plentiful in Jamaica, but if you don’t have a tree near to where you live, they can be bought in markets and supermarkets instead. Fresh coconut milk tastes better than the processed varieties and can be fun to prepare, even if it is a bit time-consuming…. Enjoy![/text_justify]

 

[icon icon_name=”star”] You will need:

[list style=”1″ underline=”1″]

  • a large bowl to grate the coconut
  • a fine grater, or blender
  • a strainer and / or, muslin cloth
  • Jug to collect milk

[/list]

 

[text_justify]Throughly wash your hands and scrub underneath your nails if you can. Gather all your ingredients and cooking implements together and put them on the counter top so you have everything within reach and you will also save time and make it easier for yourself.[text_justify]

 

Finely Grate the Coconut
Finely Grate the Coconut

 

[icon icon_name=”star”] Ingredients

[list style=”1″ underline=”1″]

  • 1 large dry coconut
  • Water

[/list]

[text_center]Makes about 2-3 cups of coconut milk, dependant on strength required – Takes about 30 minutes to prepare; if you want to make more,  just increase the amount of coconuts to enjoy this delicious Jamaican food…[/text_center]

[icon icon_name=”star”] Method

[list style=”1″ underline=”1″]

  • Pierce one of the eyes of the coconut and drain out the water, set aside to drink later (chill in fridge)
  • Crack open the coconut and carefully extract the white coconut flesh, try to cut it out in large pieces, especially if you are using a grater as it is easier to hold (and to save your fingers!)
  • Grate the coconut and add 2 cups of water, or add the pieces of coconut to a blender, add the water and blend
  • Squeeze the mixture through a strainer, or place a piece of clean muslin cloth over a bowl, place mixture in the middle, gather up the edges to create a ball and squeeze the liquid through the muslin into a jug, repeat several times to extract the milk fully
  • Enjoy!

[/list]

 

Fresh Coconut Milk
Fresh Coconut Milk

 

Why not try using this Coconut Milk Recipe for ‘Rice and Peas’? Click the button for the recipe:[button style=”1″ caption=” Rice and Peas” link=https://sweetjamaica.co.uk/jamaican-rice-and-peas-recipe/[/button]

 

If you enjoyed this Jamaican recipe and want to try more delicious Jamaican food, click here for more easy, filling and nutritious Caribbean food recipes[button style=”1″ caption=” Jamaican Food” link=https://sweetjamaica.co.uk/category/jamaican-food-and-drink/jamaican-recipes/[/button]

 

Ackee and Saltfish Recipe

 

 

 

[text_justify]Ackee and Saltfish is the celebrated National Dish of Jamaica and is much-loved for breakfast, lunch or dinner, it’s easy to prepare and a pleasure to eat…[/text_justify]

[text_justify]If you are on a visit to Jamaica you will be able to use fresh Ackee in this recipe, but if you are out of the region you can make use of canned Ackee which is widely available in Caribbean food stores.[/text_justify]

[text_justify]When using fresh Ackee make sure the red pods have burst open revealing the black seeds and yellow fruits,  so the naturally occurring poisonous gas is expelled from inside. Pull the yellow fruits from the open pods, remove the black seeds and pink lining from the Ackee and you are ready to cook and enjoy it.[/text_justify]

[text_justify]This dish can be eaten at anytime of the day and can be enjoyed with many accompaniments, such as, fried dumplings, breadfruit, hard food, pear (avocado), fried plantain, white rice or rice and peas…. Enjoy![/text_justify]

 

 

[icon icon_name=”star”] You will need:

[list style=”1″ underline=”1″]

  • a large bowl to hold the Ackee
  • a chopping board and sharp knife
  • 2 pots (saucepans) with covers
  • a Dutch Pot or large frying pan

[/list]

 

[text_justify]Throughly wash your hands and scrub underneath your nails if you can. Gather all your ingredients and cooking implements together and put them on the counter top so you have everything within reach and you will also save time and make it easier for yourself.[/text_justify]

 

[icon icon_name=”star”] Ingredients

[list style=”1″ underline=”1″]

  • 1 pack Saltfish
  • 12 Ackee pods (or more if liked) or 1 tin
  • 1/2 Green Pepper (Sweet Pepper)
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 tomato
  • 1 peg Garlic
  • 1 sprig Thyme
  • Black pepper to taste
  • little sugar (to boil saltfish)
  • ¾ Cup Cooking Oil, or enough to cover bottom of pot

[/list]

[text_center]Serves 4 people – Takes about 40 minutes to prepare (if using fresh Ackee) and another 20 minutes to cook; if you want to feed more people,  just increase the quantities to enjoy this delicious Jamaican food…[/text_center]

 

 

[icon icon_name=”star”] Stage One

[list style=”1″ underline=”1″]

  • Wash off the saltfish in clean water and place in a pot (saucepan) cover with water, add a little sugar and set on to boil. Leave to boil for about 10-15 minutes, drain the water off and repeat the process until majority of salt is removed, but before saltfish tastes too  ‘fresh’ – If you prefer and have more time you can leave the saltfish to soak in clean water overnight instead of boiling it
  • Flake saltfish and set aside
  • If using fresh Ackee prepare for cooking by removing them from the pods, twist off and discard the shiny black seeds cutting away any remnants and discard the pink lining, lightly rinse – If using tin Ackee, drain from tin and set aside
  • Place (fresh) Ackee into salted boiling water for about 20 minutes and carefully drain (do not boil tin Ackee)
  • Set on the dutch pot and add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan
  • Wash and Chop seasoning add to heated oil and lightly fry
  • Add flaked saltfish to the seasoning stir mixture to lightly brown saltfish
  • Carefully add the Ackee to the mixture and turn over to keep Ackee intact
  • Add black pepper to taste
  • Warm mixture through and serve with an accompaniment– Enjoy!
  • ! Please remember that the pot and any remaining oil will stay hot for a long time – Move away from the front of the oven and leave somewhere where children cannot pull it over them until fully cooled

[/list]

 

Why not try Ackee and Saltfish with…

[button style=”1″ caption=”Fried Dumplings” link=https://sweetjamaica.co.uk/cook-fried-dumplings/[/button]

[button style=”1″ caption=”Boiled Hard Food” link=https://sweetjamaica.co.uk/jamaican-food-red-herring-and-hard-food-recipe/[/button]

If you enjoyed this Jamaican recipe and want to try more delicious Jamaican food, click the button for more easy, filling and nutritious Caribbean food recipes[button style=”1″ caption=” Jamaican Food” link=https://sweetjamaica.co.uk/category/jamaican-food-and-drink/jamaican-recipes/[/button]

 

Prospect Plantation – Jamaica

 

[text_justify]Prospect Plantation is picturesque and full of Jamaican flora, facts and history. There are a few surprises too, it’s not all about sedate jitney rides through the grounds….[text_justify]

 

Things to Do in Jamaica

[text_justify] This well thought out offering from Dolphin Cove Ltd gives you a glimpse into agricultural life in Jamaica and can be found on the A3 between Reggae Beach and White River, St. Mary. If you are coming from the direction of Ocho Rios it is about ½ mile from White River, there is a sign and you have to pull off of the main road to the right hand side and approach the Plantation’s Driveway. Once the guard lifts the barrier, follow the driveway until you reach the car park and ‘reception’ area. There is a clean  bar area, restrooms and a gift shop and you can pay for your excursions here. I would recommend telephoning in advance to let them know you are coming and perhaps book the tour you would like.[/text_justify]

 

[text_justify]When I visited in the week, it was deserted apart from our party of three people, but they still welcomed us and gave us a sugary cane juice drink when we arrived. We were offered a jitney ride around the plantation, which is basically a tractor pulling an open sided truck with long bench seating onboard. When we embarked on the tour, we also had a guide and a security guard onboard and the three of them made a jovial group stopping and pointing out different crops and points of interest along the route and generally keeping us amused, entertained and informed.[/text_justify]

 

Prospect Plantation - Coconut Climber
Prospect Plantation – Coconut Climber

 

[text_justify]The jitney made several stops throughout the plantation and we were shown various crops and a grove where various dignitaries and celebrities have planted different tropical fruit trees over the years. We were also able to get off the jitney on a few occasions, first by the Ostriches which you can feed if you wish. Here we also watched Farmer Joe climb a 30ft Coconut tree and we were introduced to tropical fruits and invited to eat some coconut. We were told that Farmer Joe ate the Ostrich eggs, which might explain how he managed to climb the tree with such speed and ease! An Ostrich egg is also presented to you to stand on and take a picture, which unbelievably does not break. If you choose you can take some small notes as a tip was expected.[/text_justify]

History of Jamaica

[text_justify]We next made a stop by the Great House where you are free to walk around the lower floor of the property laid out in the original style. We were also able to walk through the beautiful and extensive gardens. There are bubbling water features and many unusual plant specimens and it is tranquil and fragrant with panoramic views to the ocean. The great Mahogany Tree which was planted by Sir Winston Churchill in 1953, takes centre stage in the front garden.[/text_justify]

 

[text_justify]Back in the jitney we ambled along until we came to a clearing where they had camels with their proud and able trainers. There was a cute and noisy young Camel in the paddock, who got most of the attention. If you choose you can take pictures with the camels and for an additional charge you are also able to ride them. Off again we made our way, slowing down by a Church in the grounds, before finishing the tour back were we started. The tour guide invited us to give him a tip too when we neared the reception area.[/text_justify]

 

Prospect Plantation - Jamaican Fruits
Prospect Plantation – Jamaican Fruits

 

[text_justify] Prospect Plantation is beautiful and worth a visit if you are in the area. Although it isn’t as fast paced as some of the other attractions in Jamaica, it feels more authentic and doesn’t feel like it has been overly ‘plasticised’ like some of the other tourist traps. If you have thrill seekers in the group, telephone in advance and book a camel, horse, Segway or you can bike and hike around the plantation, which might just get the teenagers involved! There is also a ‘Flavours of Jamaica’ cooking course if you want to try your hand at making some traditional Jamaican cuisine, which you get to eat afterwards… Yum![/text_justify]

 

[divider_1px]

 

[text_justify]Prospect Plantation

 

Prospect Plantation Address and Contact Details:

Address: Prospect, St. Mary, Jamaica

Telephone: (876) 994 1058

Or check out their website here: http://www.prospectoutbackadventures.com/ [/text_justify]

 

Jamaican Guinness Punch Recipe

Traditional Jamaican Drinks

If you are looking for a delicious and traditional Jamaican drink, then anything with the word ‘punch’ in the title is sure to be a winner! The term ‘Punch’ refers to a mixed drink of some sort and there are many varieties of this popular drink available to suit all tastes in Jamaica.

Jamaican Guinness Punch is delicious and oh so moreish and is easily one of my all time favourite Jamaican drinks. Sweet, bitter, cool and nourishing at the same time and with that kick of nutmeg and vanilla…. OMG, So good! You have to taste it to know.

 

Jamaican Guinness Punch Recipe

This is an easy recipe to follow and once you get the hang of it you will be rustling up Jamaican Guinness Punch in no time! There are many methods for making this drink and some of the ingredients can be substituted, or omitted if you prefer, so there are no hard and fast rules.

If I make this drink when I am in London I generally leave out the Lasco (fortified and flavoured milk powder drink) and pour in a can of Dunn’s River Nourishment instead. I have never seen it sold in Jamaica where Suppligen is widely available.

 

How to Make Jamaican Guinness Punch

First things first, thoroughly wash your hands and scrub underneath your nails if you can. Gather all your ingredients and cooking implements together and put them on the counter top so you have everything within      reach and you will also save time and make it easier for yourself.

You will need:

  • a large jug
  • A grater
  • a measuring cup and teaspoon

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle of Guinness or Dragon Stout
  • 1 Cup Oats
  • 4-5 Cups Water
  • ¼ Cup Condensed Milk
  • 1 tablespoon Vanilla Essence
  • ¼ teaspoon of grated nutmeg
  • ½ Cup Lasco – Peanut or Vanilla flavour is good
  • Or, 1 can of Nourishment / Nutriment / Suppligen

Method:

  • Add the oats to a jug and pour over the water – you can blend the oats if you wish
  • Add the Lasco and mix into the water
  • Add the Guinness to the water
  • Add the Vanilla Essence
  • Add the Condensed Milk slowly and check for sweetness
  • Grate the nutmeg and stir ingredients together
  • Chill in the fridge before serving
  • Pour into long glasses (the bigger the better!)
  • Enjoy!

 

Top Tip!

My best advice when making this recipe is make sure you make plenty, as one glass is never enough!

Notes:

Serves 4 people, although 2 adults could easily drink it!

Takes about 10 minutes to prepare and another 20-30 minutes to chill to perfection

Increase the quantities to enjoy this delicious Jamaican drink if you want more

Please remember to drink responsibly, as this recipe is alcoholic! Adult Consumption Only

 

Jamaican Guinness Punch
Jamaican Guinness Punch

 

Get More From Sweet Jamaica – Join Us Here…

Want to get updates on the move, so you don’t miss out?

Like our FaceBook Page

Join our twitter feed @sweetjamaicajul

Follow us on Instagram

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Walk Good, Jules

 

Keep the Conversation Going….

What do think of this Jamaican Guinness Punch Recipe? Join the Comments Below….

 


Jamaican Steamed Callaloo Recipe

 

[text_justify]Steamed Callaloo is both delicious and nutritious and is quick and easy to prepare, you can enjoy this dish with fried dumplings, rice or hard food…[text_justify]

[text_justify]Callaloo is often compared to spinach, but is much more widely available and consumed in Jamaica. It is often eaten as a breakfast dish with fried dumplings, or as a Vegan / Vegetarian dinner idea with rice or hard food.  [text_justify]

 

 [icon icon_name=”star”] You will need:

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  • a large bowl to wash the vegetables
  • a sharp knife and chopping  board
  • a Dutch Pot or large pot to steam the callaloo

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[text_justify]Thoroughly wash your hands and scrub underneath your nails if you can. Gather all your ingredients and cooking implements together and put them on the counter top so you have everything within reach and you will also save time and make it easier for yourself.[text_justify]

 

[icon icon_name=”star”] Ingredients

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  • 6-8 stems of Callaloo
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • Other vegetables if available, such as carrots and string beans – cut up into thin slices
  • 1/3 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 teaspoon Butter or Margarine
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • Glug of water

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[text_center]Serves 4 people – Takes about 10 minutes to prepare and another 20 minutes to cook; if you want to feed more people, just increase the quantities to enjoy this delicious Jamaican food…[/text_center]

 

 

[icon icon_name=”star”] Method

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  • Set on your Pot to Electric Mark 3 and leave for about 1-2 minutes to warm up, then carefully add cooking oil and leave to heat up (Keep children away from the Hob)
  • Put the Callaloo in a large bowl and cover with water, adding a little salt to the water encourages any stray bugs to unlatch themselves
  • Meanwhile wash and chop up the onion, tomato, garlic, thyme and other vegetables if desired
  • Add the chopped seasoning to the oil and lightly fry until softened
  • Take the callaloo out of the water and pick off any unsavoury parts of the leaves, remove flowers if present and discard. Cut off the end of the stalk and peel off the outer layer of the ‘skin’ on the stem – it is not necessary to remove every piece.
  • Roll the leaves together to make it easier to handle and using a sharp knife cut the callaloo into thin ribbons. Cut right down the stalk and include this in with the leaves
  • Turn down the hob to Electric Mark 2
  • Add a little water to the pot and add the chopped up callaloo and carrots / string beans if desired – do not add too much water as the callaloo will produce water as it wilts
  • Sprinkle on a little salt and pepper to taste and the butter and cover the pot
  • Steam for about 15-20 minutes, or until the callaloo has wilted
  • Remove from pot and serve with bread, fried dumplings, boiled hard food, rice or other

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Steamed Callaloo ready to serve
Steamed Callaloo ready to serve

 

[icon icon_name=”star”] [text_justify]If you prepare the ingredients in the same way the raw callaloo and seasoning mixture can be used to stuff the cavity in fish once it has been gutted. Fish needs to be de-scaled, gutted and thoroughly washed with lime and water.  Make some slashes on both sides of the fish with a knife but do not cut right through the flesh. Stuff the cavity with the callaloo mixture, rub some dry seasoning on the skin and add a blob of butter. Wrap the fish in tin foil and place in the oven, fire or Bar-B-Q until cooked… Yummy! [text_justify]

 

[text_justify]If you enjoyed this Jamaican recipe and want to try more delicious Jamaican food, click the button below for more easy, filling and nutritious Caribbean food recipes[button style=”1″ caption=” Jamaican Food” link=https://sweetjamaica.co.uk/category/jamaican-food-and-drink/jamaican-recipes/[/button] [text_justify]

Cook Fried Dumplings

Jamaican Fried Dumplings

Fried Dumplings are a Jamaican favourite that are easy to make and which can be served at anytime of the day. Enjoy your fried dumplings with a whole host of different accompaniments, or even as a tasty snack on their own…

I have to admit I am a lover of Jamaican dumplings and I’m not fussy which kind I get. Because, when I am eating fried dumplings, I love them the best. But, when I am eating boiled dumplings, I love them the best!

Dumplings are a simple food, basically flour, salt and water kneaded together and pinched and plopped into hot oil until golden brown. But oh how so versatile and delicious!

A staple part of the Jamaican diet and whether fried or boiled they make a filling and delicious accompaniment and side dish to many other Jamaican  dishes. Ready to go for breakfast, lunch or dinner start experimenting and cook fried dumplings!

 

Cook Fried Dumplings

First things first, thoroughly wash your hands and scrub underneath your nails if you can. If you have chipping nail varnish / polish, I recommend removing it all, otherwise you may you have on even less (and the dumplings will be wearing more) after kneading the dumplings – if you get what I mean!

Gather all your ingredients and cooking implements together and put them on the counter top so you have everything within reach and you will also save time and make it easier for yourself.

 

You Will Need:

  • a large bowl to knead the dough
  • a measuring cup and teaspoon
  • a Dutch Pot or large frying pan to fry the dumplings

Ingredients:

  • Use Either, 3 Cups Plain (counter) flour mixed with 3 tsp Baking Powder
  • Or, 3 Cups Self-Raising Flour
  • 1/3 to 1 tsp Salt
  • 3 tsp Sugar (can be omitted if preferred)
  • 3 tsp Butter, or Margarine (can be omitted if preferred)
  • ¾ Cup Water, or enough to make a firm dough
  • ¾ Cup Cooking Oil, or around 1 inch deep

How to Cook Fried Dumplings

Preparation:

  • Set on your Dutch Pot on a medium heat and leave for about 2-3 minutes to warm up, then carefully add the cooking oil and leave to heat up (Keep children away from the Hob)
  • Meanwhile, add the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix together evenly
  • If using butter / margarine, add this to the dry ingredients and rub the flour through your fingers until it mixes together with the butter evenly and resembles fine breadcrumbs – do not leave blobs of butter in the mixture
  • SLOWLY add the water and constantly knead the dough until it is firm and there is no dry flour in the bowl.
  • The dough should NOT stick to your fingers once finished and should form into one large ball
  • Pinch a golf ball sized piece of the dough and place in the palm of your hand, use the other hand to fold the outer edges into the middle until the dumpling has a ‘firmness’ to it
  • keep kneading in this way for about 30 seconds until firm
  • Form into dumplings: have fun! You can either roll dough into a ball, form into a sausage shape, make a knot, or roll it into a ball then press flat on two sides to form a 1½ high biscuit
  • Leave formed dumplings to one side of the bowl until the oil is ready

Method of Cooking:

  • Carefully place dumplings into the hot cooking oil and leave for a few minutes until they are fried golden brown on the underside
  • Gently turn over and brown the other side – do not overload the pot, the dumplings shouldn’t be touching one another too much
  • You can encourage the middle of the dumplings to cook by pushing a fork into the centre of the dumplings and turning it over into the oil; the hot oil will surge into the fork holes and cook the inside
  • Test the dumplings are cooked by pushing a fork in the middle of the dumplings, if it yields and the fork comes out clean, its ready to come out of the oil
  • Use a fork to remove dumplings from the oil, shake lightly to remove excess oil and place in a covered bowl with paper towelling in the bottom to drain off any remaining excess oil and keep warm
  • Fry remaining dumplings and serve – Enjoy!
  • WARNING! Please remember that the pot and any remaining oil will stay hot for a long time – Move it away from the front of the stove and leave somewhere where children cannot pull it over them until fully cooled

Recipe Notes:

Serves 4 -6 people

Takes about 10 minutes to prepare and another 20 minutes to cook

If you want to feed more people,  just increase the quantities to enjoy this delicious Jamaican food…

 

 Jamaican food - Fried Dumplings Ready to serve

What can I eat with Fried Dumplings?

Wondering what to eat with your Fried Dumplings?

Where would Jerked meats and Fried Escovitch Fish be without fried dumplings?

Or, the National Dish of Jamaica ‘Ackee and Salt-fish’; which is delicious stuffed inside split open fried dumplings, by the way.

Fish lovers can eat fried dumplings with Red Herrings, sardines, or tinned mackerel.

Vegans can enjoy fried dumplings with Steamed Callaloo or, Jamaican style Steamed Cabbage.

The list of suitable accompaniments is endless…. Just Cook, Nyam and Enjoy!

This recipe for fried dumplings goes fast, so make sure you make enough for everyone to eat seconds!

Jamaican Recipes

If you enjoyed this Jamaican recipe and want to try more delicious Jamaican food, click here for more easy, filling and nutritious Caribbean food recipes.

 

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Bless Up Jules.

 

Keep the Conversation Going….

What do think of this Jamaican Fried Dumpling Recipe? What do you like to eat with your Fried Dumplings? Join the Comments Below….




Bugs… I found a cool Beetle in Jamaica

 

[text_justify]Not a fan of insects? This beetle I found in Jamaica caught my eye as it was such a cool bug, but what is it?[/text_justify]

 

May is ‘Bug Month’ in Jamaica

 

[text_justify]After finding all kinds of bugs in my apartment in a matter of hours, my Jamaican friend commented in a knowing way that May is ‘Bug Month’ in Jamaica… Great, I have lived through many things but can I manage a whole month of bugs, insects and beetles?

I have a confession to make, after watching the animated movie ‘A Bugs Life’ I will never be able to look at bugs in the same way again (as long as we aren’t talking about cockroaches or slugs). The film cleverly depicts bugs with big characters and personalities, so when I see them now I always think about their daily escapades in the big wide world and think twice about killing them.

With this in mind I was especially intrigued to see this strange looking bug in my apartment today and thought it looked pretty cool. I don’t recall ever seeing one before, but as far as bugs go it was quite beautiful on closer inspection!  My Jamaican friend couldn’t remember the name of it, but they did comment that it left a horrible scent if it walked on you, so although I wanted to rescue it back outdoors I didn’t want it to touch me. Grabbing a small punched tin tea light holder I scooped it up and took it outside, but the more I looked at it, the more I loved the ‘design’ of the bug.

 

 

The ‘unidentified’ bug was a fantastic shape and appeared to mimic a leaf, maybe as a means of camouflage. It was mottled green on its back, with bright lime and purple coloured lines around the edges of the tough wing case and the translucent wing tips were visible and neatly folded over one another underneath. The head had two curious looking ‘horns’ that looked like the ‘stem’ of a leaf… another camouflage technique?  When I looked at the photographs up close I realised that it looked as if it had four eyes, two of which were large and grey in colour and on the sides of the long face, with two smaller black eyes nearer to the back of the ‘face’.

If anyone knows the local name of the bug please let me know…[/text_justify]

 

Jamaican Food – Red Herring and Hard Food Recipe

[text_justify]Jamaican food like this hearty breakfast recipe, are so filling they also make a great dinner idea for you and yours.[text_justify]

[text_justify]Jamaicans love to eat ‘cooked food’ at any time of the day and although this meal takes a little longer to prepare, it takes little time to eat. It makes a perfect breakfast recipe if you are really hungry! Wholesome, filling and delicious, you too can cook this meal by following the easy steps…

Red Herring and hard food is a filling and delicious breakfast recipe, but it perfect if you are looking for hearty lunch or dinner ideas. The Red Herring comes dried and smoked and once soaked in water it is fried in oil with the seasoning and herbs and makes the perfect accompaniment to the hard food. Hard food in Jamaica consists of boiled provisions and can include any starchy vegetables, such as (Irish) potato, yam, green banana, pumpkin, dasheen and boiled dumplings. Caribbean food is generally filling and delicious and this meal is no exception. If you prefer you can eat the fish with fried dumplings, which are equally delicious and filling.[/text_justify]

 

 

[icon icon_name=”star”] You will need:

[list style=”1″ underline=”1″]

  • a large bowl to soak the Red Herring
  • a sharp knife and chopping board to prepare the seasoning
  • a Dutch Pot or large frying pan to fry the seasoning and fish
  • a large Pot (saucepan), to boil the hard food

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[text_justify]Throughly wash your hands and scrub underneath your nails if you can. Gather all your ingredients and cooking implements together and put them on the counter top so you have everything within reach and you will also save time and make it easier for yourself.[text_justify]

 

 [icon icon_name=”star”] Ingredients – Fish

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  • 2 Smoked / dried Red Herring
  • ½ Onion
  • 1 Tomato
  • 1-2 Cloves of Garlic
  • Sprig Fresh Thyme
  • Piece of Scotch Bonnet Pepper (to suit)
  • 1 teaspoon of Black Pepper (to suit)
  • 1 teaspoon of All purpose Seasoning (to suit)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of tomato ketchup
  • Cooking Oil – Enough to cover the bottom of the pan
  • Water – to soak the Red Herring

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[icon icon_name=”star”] Ingredients – Hard Food

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  • 2 (Irish) Potato
  • 6 Green Banana
  • Any other starchy vegetables such as: Yam, Dasheen, Pumpkin and so on…
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Water

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[icon icon_name=”star”] Ingredients – Boiled Dumplings

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  • 2 Cups Flour (Plain)
  • 1 tablespoon Salt / Low Salt
  • ¾ Cup Water

 

[text_center]Serves 3 hungry adults, or three medium-sized appetites – Takes about 30 minutes to prepare and another 20 minutes to cook; if you want  to feed more people, just double the quantities to enjoy this delicious Jamaican food…[/text_center]

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 [icon icon_name=”star”] Stage One

 

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  • Place the Red Herring in a large bowl and cover with water, set aside
  • Set on a large pot (saucepan) fill half full with water, add salt to taste and cover with pot cover (lid) Electric Mark 3-4
  • Make dumplings – place flour and salt in a large bowl, SLOWLY add the water and constantly knead the dough until it is firm and there is no dry flour in the bowl. The dough should NOT stick to your fingers once finished. Pinch a golf ball sized piece of the dough and place in the palm of your hand, use the other hand to fold the outer edges into the middle until the dumpling has a ‘firmness’ to it, use the ball of your hand to flatten the dumpling and leave a slight indentation in the middle, place in the bowl and continue until you use up all of the dough, set aside; many Jamaicans love to eat ‘tuff’ boiled dumplings, meaning that it has a density and firmness to it when cut and eaten
  • Wash and chop seasoning, onion, garlic, tomato, thyme, set aside
  • Wash and peel ground provisions, (Irish) potato and any other, such as dasheen or yellow yam; do not peel yam until the water has boiled so  you can put it straight in the pot (saucepan), otherwise it will produce a reddish slime which is not nice!

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[icon icon_name=”star”] Stage Two

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  • Once your pot (saucepan) has come to a rolling boil, add a splash of cooking oil, this will stop the provisions from ‘blackening’ in the pot, then carefully add the ‘toughest’ ground provisions first, i.e. add potato, and yam and so on if available
  • Place your green banana in a bowl of cold water, cover your hands with cooking oil (stops the banana turning black) and carefully cut off the top and bottom making a slit in the banana skin from top to bottom, now gently peel off the skin and discard, place the peeled bananas straight into the boiling water
  • Add the dumplings to the water and turn down the pot to Electric mark 3, replace the pot cover (saucepan lid) and leave to gently boil

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[icon icon_name=”star”] Stage Three

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  • Set on your Dutch Pot or deep frying pan on the stove on Electric mark 4 and after about 3-4 minutes, add enough oil to cover the bottom of the vessel; beware of small children going near the hot pan and pulling the oil over them
  • Now to tackle the fish, should it have been soaked for at least 20 minutes or so, the skin should be reasonably easy to peel off and discard, take time as you do not want to take up the flesh when removing the skin, snap off the head and ensure that the gills are fully removed with it and discard, now pull all the flesh off of the large central bone that runs from head to tail, discard as many of the smaller bones as possible as you do this so it is easier to eat and more child friendly, finally shred the fish into slithers and set aside
  • Once the oil has heated for about 3-4 minutes you can add the chopped seasoning, onion, garlic, tomato, thyme leave to soften; the oil should be suitably hot and ready for use before you finish preparing the fish, so you can add the seasoning once the oil is ready, rather than waiting for you to finish processing and shredding the fish which may take considerably longer
  • Check your hard food, the pot may want turning down to Electric mark 1-2 to finish boiling
  • After the seasoning has softened for about 3 minutes turn down the pot to Electric mark 3 and after another 2-3 minutes you can add your dry seasoning, ground black pepper and all-purpose seasoning, stir into the pot
  • Add your shredded Red Herring and stir, leave to simmer
  • After another 3-4 minutes add a good blob of tomato ketchup, stir and cover the pot for a few minutes

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[icon icon_name=”star”] Stage Four

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  • Check the hard food with a fork to check it is cooked, the toughest vegetables should NOT be hard in the middle, the dumplings will float once cooked – if everything is ready turn off the stove and using a slated spoon remove them from the water, share on to your plates
  • Turn off the stove for the fish and share on to the plates with the hard food, share some of the oil from the pot as it tastes delicious and it makes a ‘gravy’ to eat with the hard food
  • You can also offer a green salad, with lettuce, tomato and cucumber if available
  • ENJOY!

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Jamaican food - Red Herring and Hard Food
Red Herring and Hard Food

 

 

If you enjoyed this Jamaican recipe and want to try more delicious Jamaican food,  click here for more easy, filling and nutritious Caribbean food recipes[button style=”1″ caption=” Jamaican Food” link=https://sweetjamaica.co.uk/category/jamaican-food-and-drink/jamaican-recipes/[/button]

 

Cook Saltfish Fritters – Stamp and Go

Stamp and Go, or Saltfish Fritters are quick and easy to prepare and cook and are delicious to eat….

[text_justify]They can be enjoyed for breakfast, as a snack or as an appetiser at an event, as they are perfect Caribbean finger food. These delicious fritters can be prepared in about 15 – 20 minutes depending on how fast you work and can be fried in another 20 – 30 minutes depending on how crispy or cripsy, as Jamaicans would say, you like them.  I made them for breakfast today along with some fried green plantain and a little salad and you can too by following the simple recipe. This recipe is my own slightly modified version of the great classic and I hope you will enjoy eating them as much as I do…[text_justify]

 

[icon icon_name=”star”] You will need:

[list style=”1″ underline=”1″]

  • a large bowl to mix the ingredients
  • a sharp knife and chopping board to prepare the seasoning
  • a Dutch Pot or large frying pan to fry them in
  • a small saucepan, if you include the optional vegetables you will also need to lightly boil them

[/list]

[text_justify]Throughly wash your hands and scrub underneath your nails if you can. Gather all your ingredients and cooking implements together and put them on the counter top so you have everything within reach and you will also save time and make it easier for yourself.[text_justify]

 

Jamaican food - Salt fish fritters ingredients
Jamaican food – Salt fish fritters ingred

[icon icon_name=”star”] Ingredients

[list style=”1″ underline=”1″]

  •  2 Cups Flour (plain)
  • 1 Cup Saltfish (dried and salted Cod Fish)
  • 3/4 tablespoon Salt or Low Salt (low sodium content)
  • 1 to 2 Teaspoons of Baking Powder (can be omitted if wished)
  • 1 to 2 Teaspoons of Curry Powder, BetaPac is a Jamaican Brand (I have not used this ingredient as I prefer the fritters without it)
  • 3 stalks of fresh Escallion (Spring Onion)
  • 1 Clove of Garlic (can be omitted if wished)
  • 1/4 fresh Scotch Bonnet Pepper (add more according to taste!)
  • 1 tablespoon dried Thyme or Mixed Herbs
  • 2 Cups of Water
  • Approx 2 cups Cooking Oil, or enough to keep bottom of pan 1/2 inch deep in Cooking Oil throughout frying

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[icon icon_name=”star”] Optional

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  • 1 small carrot, diced small, roughly the same size as the diced escallion
  • 5 medium string beans, diced small, roughly the same size as the diced escallion

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Jamaican food - Salt fish fritters chop vegetables
Jamaican food – Salt fish fritters chop veg

 

[icon icon_name=”star”] Stage One

[list style=”1″ underline=”1″]

  • Place the Salt Fish in a bowl of water to soak for a while, set aside
  • Wash and dice your seasoning – escallion, garlic and scotch bonnet, set aside
  • If using carrot and string beans, dice into small pieces and set to (lightly) boil in a pan / pot of water

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[icon icon_name=”star”]Stage Two

[list style=”1″ underline=”1″]

  • Set the dry Dutch Pot or frying pan on Electric Mark 4 and after approx. 3 mins, add cooking oil and allow to heat
  • Put flour, salt, baking powder and thyme / dried herbs in a bowl and mix together
  • Add your diced seasoning – escallion, garlic and scotch bonnet to flour mix and stir together
  • Take your saltfish out of the water and peel off the skin, remove fins, belly lining, bones and everything else except the flesh and discard the waste
  • Take the remaining saltfish, rinse in clean water and pull off chunks, shredding into small pieces
  • Add shredded saltfish to flour mix and stir
  • If you are using other vegetables, drain them from the water and add to flour mix and other ingredients
  • SLOWLY add 2 cups of water to the flour mixture, stirring all the time. Make sure you scrape the spoon around the bottom and sides of the bowl to ensure there are no pockets of flour left in the mixture

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Jamaican food - Salt fish fritters add water to flour mix
Jamaican food – Salt fish fritters add water

[icon icon_name=”star”] Stage Three

[list style=”1″ underline=”1″]

  • Once oil has heated carefully drop 2 tablespoons full of mixture into the oil  make each fritter; in a medium sized dutch pot you can probably fit three fritters at one time
  • Add other drops of mixture ensuring the fritters do not touch one another in the pan
  • Fry for approximately 3 – 4 minutes and turn over once the underside has started to crisp
  • Fry on other side until there are no ‘wet patches’ of mixture in the fritter
  • I normally turn mine again and fry until the fritter has lightened in colour and is slightly crispy and golden brown in colour
  • Remove from oil and lay on kitchen towel or uncoloured napkins to remove some of the oil
  • Place in a lidded bowl to keep warm until all fritters are fried
  • Once fried, remember to turn off the hob and leave the oil in the pan to cool down- PLEASE ENSURE pan it is set back from the front of the stove as the pan and oil stay hot for a long time; especially if you have young children who could pull it off the stove over them.

[/list]

 

Jamaican food - Salt fish fritters fry until golden and crispy
Jamaican Salt fish fritters fry golden and crispy

[icon icon_name=”star”] Stage Four

[list style=”1″ underline=”1″]

  • Serve your fritters and share if you really have to!
  • Enjoy…

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Jamaican food - Salt fish fritters ready to serve
Jamaican food – Salt fish fritters ready to serve

 

 

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Bob Marley and The Wailers Kaya Album Released

Kaya has been reworked as a Deluxe Edition, if you didn’t hear it the first time it was released, don’t miss it this time round…

Continue reading Bob Marley and The Wailers Kaya Album Released

When in Jamaica be Conscientious

Whilst we as temporary visitors or returning residents may worry about how far our hard-earned pound or dollar is going to last in Jamaica for the duration of our stay. There is a real situation out there for the poor and disadvantaged in Jamaica. Many Jamaicans have have never had the opportunity to leave Jamaica to earn a foreign ‘dollar’ and experience living in another country. This causes some Jamaican’s to have stereotypical views of foreigners as being wealthy and having easily affordable and replaceable stuff.

Yes, you will find people in Jamaica who prefer to shub out their hand rather than try and find work, the same as in any other country. The UK is certainly just as bad, if not worse for this trait with people taking advantage of the welfare system. But, look beyond this because The Fact Is: Life is hard for the average working class Jamaican.

At times you may have felt the victim of a Jamaican assuming that life is a bed of roses ‘dere a foreign’ (abroad), or got annoyed at a vendor trying to sell you their wares, or the beggar on the street stretching out their hand to you, but there is more to the situation than first appears…. Let me break down what I have gleaned about the living expenses versus wages earned in Jamaica debate and see if I can shift your opinion even slightly.

Jamaican Living Expenses

The Jamaican Government taxes most purchases 20% (General Consumption Tax), so that means every day grocery prices are sky-high and it is cheaper to buy plantain and bananas in London than it is in Jamaica and you can easily spend $5,000 a week or more (if you are frugal) on household shopping if you live outside of the country areas; this post: https://sweetjamaica.co.uk/food-shopping-is-expensive-in-jamaica/ has more information on this.

JPS

Additionally, JPS (Jamaica Public Service) the sole electricity supplier in Jamaica has some of the highest rates for electricity I have ever come across, having paid bills of up to $8,000 a month for a one bedroom apartment; again this has been broken down in a former post, which can be found here: https://sweetjamaica.co.uk/jps-provider-of-electric-power-in-jamaica/

Hi-Lo Receipt Jamaica
Hi-Lo Receipt Jamaica

 

Household Expenses in Jamaica

Where residents have piped water the N.W.C (National Water Commission) also charges steeply and you can expect to pay at least $2,000 a month for the supply.

Rent can be anywhere from $9,000 a month for a room to $50,000 and more for a one bedroom apartment in the popular busy areas that have more work opportunities.

If you have children, you need to supply uniforms, books and school bags and you will need to find around $80 a day for lunch and breaks per child for primary school age children, plus school fees, travelling expenses and lunch money for the high school age children.

All this is before you have paid for your own lunch and travelling expenses to even get to work, which may equate to up to $1,000 a day depending on how far away from your workplace that you live.

We haven’t started on expenditure for clothes, household items, healthcare, leisure, beauty products and so on. With these few examples of living expenses, can you start to identify with the problems some Jamaicans have with managing to live off of their income?

JPS Bill Jamaica
JPS Bill Jamaica

 

Be Conscientious….

To further put things into perspective I heard an advert on the radio for The National Housing Trust Jamaica, that was offering assistance to low-income workers to own their own home and it stated that hotel workers earning less than $10,000 a week could apply. That equates to about £68.02 for a long and hard weeks work at todays going rate, sometimes with little thanks from the guests or mega rich hoteliers.  I could have cried at the injustice and further understood why there is such a tipping culture in Jamaica.

To add insult to injury I saw a massive billboard for a very large and famous Jamaican hotel chain which was celebrating its anniversary. Most startling about the prominently placed billboard was that the hotel chain was boasting that it brought in the most foreign exchange into the country…. Umm, if that is the case, then why aren’t the hotel workers that enable you to earn those ridiculous profits earning more money then?

I then heard another article on Irie FM radio station, that stated that persons in Barbados earn around double what Jamaicans earn, and those from Trinidad earn around 4 times what Jamaicans earn for doing the same type of work. All of these countries are based in the same region and yet the similarities end there as the poverty gap widens due to anomalies in earning capacity and incomes.

If you look in The Gleaner (Jamaican national newspaper) there are vacancies advertised where the average low-income worker can expect to earn up to $1,000 a day for casual work, or for other jobs that are classed as ‘menial’ work, tradespeople can earn sometimes $2,000 – $3,000 per day, restaurant workers could earn maybe $7,000 a week…. Jamaica does not have a welfare or benefits system like we have in the UK or USA, where the Government is able to hand out hundreds of pounds to citizens.  Anyone can do the maths, this makes the living conditions and constraints hard for the everyday person in Jamaica.

Think about it when you complain about the attitude of some of the staff or those who look for a tip in Jamaica. If you were earning less than £100.00 for a 6 day week would you not feel over worked and under paid and perhaps you too would be looking for a way to boost your income in a way that prevented you from relying on criminal activities?

With all this to consider and with the unemployment figures rising in Jamaica, it is time for all of us to look at the hard-working and trying Jamaicans in a different light. Not everyone has had the means, education, opportunity, luck or otherwise to get an ‘office job’ or  a ‘9 to 5’ as we would call it in the UK, so please ‘mi a beg yuh du’ next time you come across a vendor, higgler, shop or hotel worker, gas pump attendant, farmer and so on, don’t just ignore them or treat them with contempt, support their endeavours where you can and do it with a smile! As they in their own small way are forging a path for themselves and their dependants to somehow, someway, ‘tek a ruff life easy’. If you are unable to support them, or don’t want to spend that day, a simple ‘No, thanks’ will do and they will leave you alone!

The National Housing Trust (NHT)

For those that don’t know, the National Housing Trust (NHT) was set up by the Government of Jamaica to lend money at low-interest rates to those contributors who either want to buy, build, repair, or improve their homes, or for those who wish to build or buy on lots. They also develop housing schemes across the island for sale to contributors and they give low-cost financing to private developers. They have become very successful in collecting billions of dollars in revenue and interest from the loans, so much so that they have been at the centre of a debate in parliament as whether to raid the piggy bank over the next few years to help alleviate the debt crisis in Jamaica.

In reality this means that all persons in Jamaica aged between 18 years old and retirement age, whom are in legal employment (whether employed or self-employed) are expected to pay 3% of their income (3% gross for employed persons and 3% net for self-employed persons) into the National Housing Trust Scheme. Should the person need a low-interest loan from the NHT they must have been paying this contribution for a least 52 weeks, before they can even apply to use the highly over subscribed loan service. If contributors do not wish to apply for a loan based on these contributions for a home, they have to wait 8 years before being able to apply for a refund of these contributions. There are other stipulations to these contributions which are described in-depth and more information on the organisation can be found on their website, at http://www.nht.gov.jm

James Bond Beach – Jamaica

If you are looking for a laid back attraction in Jamaica, or simply want to relax at an exclusive beach, then James Bond Beach in St Mary could well fit the bill…

Visiting James Bond Beach

James Bond Beach sounds suitably glamorous for an initial dip in the ocean and it provided us with an opportunity to get a drive out of Ochi, St. Ann and eastwards towards Oracabessa, St. Mary. The drive is a pleasant one along the highway which takes in ocean views along some parts of the road, whilst the farming enterprises of coconut and banana walks (plantations) that stretch as far as the eye can see make up the majority of the scenery on the journey. There are two gas stations along the highway near to Ochi, the first of which is a large PetCom gas (petrol) station just past Irie FM (on the by-pass in Ochi), that has a Pharmacy, supermarket, ATM and W.C.’s attached to it, the second one is a Texaco and is near to White River, just before the turn off for Exchange and has which has lesser facilities.

How to get to James Bond Beach – Oracabessa…

Driving along the highway leaving Ochi (Ocho Rios) the road is straight with no turn offs and it takes about 25 – 30 minutes to reach the beach, driving at the legal speed of course. There is a  large and hopeful road sign on the highway that depicts that James Bond Beach is 1km away, which is a vast underestimation as it was more like 5km when we checked it on the second visit.

Directions

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  • After passing the PetCom gas (petrol) station in Ocho Rios, drive along the highway and about 15km you will pass Ian Fleming Airport.  It was previously known as Boscobel Aerodrome and had a somewhat controversial name change after the renovations that saw it re-open in January 2011; however the new name further sets the scene as we search for the elusive James Bond Beach…
  • Keep driving along the same highway towards Oracabessa and you will eventually come to a deep corner about 1.5km past the aerodrome, where you will cross a bridge, continue forward. The beach is hard to find as the sign that lets you know where to turn off of the highway has blown down
  • Look out for a Shell Gas Station on the right hand side of the road and shortly after the road will bend and you will see a marl (white gravel) side road on the LEFT HAND SIDE, with a large sign for James Bond Beach and a wooden shop (where a Rasta sells fruits on the corner) TURN HERE; if you come to Oracabessa Crossroads you have come too far
  • Once you find the side road you have to travel about another 1 – 1.5KM to reach the entrance to the beach, so be warned if you are walking! Travel up to the end of the side road until you pass Jah Willy’s and you will be forced to turn right passing the unassuming fisherman’s Beach which is much more low-key and has a little shop serving beach goers
  • At the end of the road you will see the entrance which has ‘James Bond Beach’ written across the top of the gates, you found it!

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What is James Bond Beach All About?

James Bond Beach has an interesting story to tell… Owned by non other than Chris Blackwell, of Island Records and Island Outpost fame, who not only had a successful music and movie company, but who also has several high-end and exclusive resorts under his mantle such as:

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  • GoldenEye; Ian Flemings former home
  • Jake’s; Treasure Beach
  • The Caves; Negril
  • Strawberry Hill; Blue Mountains

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Chris Blackwell’s mother Blanche was born into a powerful family that made their money and livelihood in sugar and rum in Jamaica in the 20th Century. Blanche owned several thousand acres of land near Oracabessa and later sold some of it to both Ian Fleming and Noel Coward, who made homes there. She was considered to be the love of Ian Flemings later life and who he refered to as his Jamaican wife and muse, and who was said to be the inspiration for the James Bond character ‘Pussy Galore’. James Bond Beach also has the claim to fame of being the beach in which a young Ursula Andrews cavorted in the James Bond movie ‘Dr. No’.

Wash Rooms James Bond Beach
Wash Rooms James Bond Beach

What Is Offered at James Bond Beach?

You can drive your vehicle inside the complex and find somewhere to park; if there isn’t an attendant at the gate to take your entrance fee they will shortly appear before you can get out of the vehicle to take the money from you; we paid about $400 per person. James Bond Beach has a nice set up with a small but clean and sandy beach which boasts crystal clear waters, and has a few complimentary wooden loungers and a couple of picnic tables scattered about. As the sandy beach area is small the seating goes quickly and you may want to bring a beach mat or extra towel to lie or sit down on if it is busy.

If the beach isn’t your thing, or it is too busy for you, there is also a winding terrace that has been constructed over the rocks surrounding the beach and which offers up a larger area in which to sun yourself; although it could do with some repairs in places, as the sea seems to want to reclaim it. On both occasions we came there were only a few other groups present, which made it feel more secluded and quiet for a beach in Jamaica.

There is no gift shop or vendors on the beach, so once you pay for your entrance fee you will be limited to splashing the cash in the bar and restaurant…

Sunset Swimming James Bond Beach
Sunset Swimming James Bond Beach

Moonraker Bar and Restaurant

The large Moonraker Bar is prettily made from wood, is open on all sides and boasts a fabulous upstairs seating area that has scenic views across the ocean and the grassy area. The bar is well stocked and they had plenty of ice; a flask of Wray & Nephew costs about $700. There is also a restaurant with lots of fish (and chicken) dishes on offer, which cost around $1,000 – $2,000 per main dish dependant on what you ordered; but we didn’t eat there on either occasion we visited. A point to note is that the restaurant doesn’t look as though it opens when there a little or few people around.  A large grassy area that is surrounded by the clear blue sea on three sides affords you a change from the beach area and a stroll to look at the boats. The lawn and bar are packed full of people and really come alive and into their own when the venue plays home to the large stage shows and events that are held periodically.

The other amenities include large separate male and female changing facilities, offering a shower, communal changing areas with benches, wash basins and toilets; on both occasions we found them to be clean and with soap and tissues available. The beach normally closes at sundown, and I’m told it is busier at weekends when more of the locals and even Chris Blackwell and friends sometimes frequent it.

On the whole I would recommend James Bond Beach and feel it was worth the drive as it was clean, secluded, friendly, peaceful and with good vibes and amenities. The entry price wasn’t too expensive either and was indicative on what was on offer there. All round it was a nice experience…. I will definitely come again and will have to try the food next time though!

Jamaica 'One Love' James Bond Beach
Jamaica ‘One Love’ James Bond Beach

 

 

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Bless up, Jules

Keep the Conversation Going….

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Post Updated January 2016

Eating Jamaican Spicy Pickle!

If chocolate tea (hot chocolate), real vanilla or spicy pickle are your thing, then you will love this Jamaican food manufacturer…

 

 Spice Girl Products

The second interview in my SUPPORT JAMAICA BUY JAMAICAN! campaign lead me to another inspirational Jamaican woman who is  rocking the natural food manufacturing industry with her sensational pickles, natural vanilla and chocolate teas (hot chocolate). Sheryl Muir is the Managing Director and general superwoman of Spice Girl Products a truly authentic Jamaican enterprise that you will want to taste and savour again and again, as all the ingredients are grown right here in Jamaica…..

The Spice Girl Range of products on offer currently includes:

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  • Spice Girl’s chocolate tea is made from a selection of seeds from the finest cocoa pods, the seeds are naturally sun-dried for about 7 days to remove the moisture and capture the chocolate flavour, after parching and roasting they are pounded in a mortar with a pestle and formed into Jamaica Spice Girl Chocolate balls. The fabulous kit has three (3) Chocolate balls, Vanilla Bean, Nutmeg and Cinnamon Leaves to create the perfect cup of chocolate tea (hot chocolate).
  • They also offer dried vanilla beans (pods) and a natural Vanilla Extract which has no sugar or preservatives, which is “aged” for at least six months before bottling to develop flavour.
  • Plus, a Vegetable Pickle that contains scotch bonnet peppers, carrots, onions, cucumber, pimento seeds and vinegar, which can be enjoyed with fish, sardines, pork or poultry for a vibrant and tasty condiment.

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Did you know?

Vanilla beans are natural fruit from vining orchid vanilla Planifolia Andrews, the plant produces flowers after the first three years and annually thereafter. The flowering period last for about five (5) months of the year, each flower survives for only eight hours and must be hand pollinated within this time to make sure a bean which stays to the vine for about nine months to achieve maturity. Beans are thereafter naturally sun cured and conditioned to achieve the Worlds “Supreme Vanilla Bean From Jamaica”.

My Interview with Sheryl Muir of Spice Girl Products gave an insight of what manufacturing Jamaican food is all about…

Vanilla Extract Spice Girl Products
Vanilla Extract Spice Girl Products

Interview questions

 

1. Introduce yourself and your role in the company?

I am Sheryl Muir, my primary place of residence is Kingston Jamaica and I am the founder and Managing Director of Spice Girl Products.

 

2. When was your company established and why did you choose this career path?

Spice Girl Products was established as a sole trader operation in April 2010.The genesis of the company reflected a desire and response to my training and courses at the University College of the Caribbean (UCC) where I pursued studies in Business Administration, and Tourism & Hospitality.

3. Tell me about your typical working day?

My typical day starts at 5 a.m and revolves around my family and organizing my business. I am the mother of two girls ages eight and nine years old. After feeding, preparing and taking them for school I become immersed in any of the following activities depending on appointments or schedules. Visiting the country to arrange raw material supplies and check on happenings at the vanillary, actual manufacture of products, packaging, labelling, preparing orders, delivering products or instructing deliveries, meeting with clients, graphic artist, packaging suppliers or, checking on in store displays and sometimes facilitating in store sampling, promotion and banking and other financial issues. These activities must be completed by 3 p.m when it becomes time for collecting the girls, seeing to their extra curricular activities and feeding, supervising homework, spending some quality time and seeing them off to bed by 8pm. My administrative and computer time begins there after and I am usually in bed by 10:00p.m with some t.v. time until sleep takes over.

4. What is your company philosophy?

Quality product, Quality Service.

5. Where is your Head Office based and do you manufacture / produce your products in Jamaica?

Spice Girl primary raw materials are produced at the Elan Farms in Hope Bay Portland, Woodside in St.Mary. Packaging, quality control and distribution is executed in Kingston.

Jamaican Vanilla Pods
Jamaican Vanilla Pods

6. Do you use Jamaican raw materials in your products?

Raw materials used in Spice Girl Products are locally produced.

7. Are you Jamaican?

I was born in St.Elizabeth, Jamaica.

8. Tell me your top 3 likes and dislikes about Jamaica?

My three likes about Jamaica are:

  1. Perceived potential of the country to provide a truly rewarding experience.
  2. The moderate climatic conditions of the country throughout the year.
  3. Potential friendly tourism destination.

My three dislikes are

  1. Visionless politicians who are clueless to what is required to facilitate business development.
  2. The high crime rate and praedial larceny.
  3. Unnecessary bureaucracy and lack of developmental opportunity to promote productive enterprise.

 

9. What new company plans and visions are you working on?

For 2013 we intend to launch our Vanilla flavoured teas and open the Spice Girl farm tours in conjunction with Elan Farms in Hope Bay Portland for sometime in July.

10. What is your personal favourite product that you make and why?

Natural Vanilla Extract from the “Supreme Beans” produced at Elan Farms. We hope to educate Jamaicans and international health conscious persons to go easy on the artificial vanilla and start using natural vanilla.

vanilla extract 114ml Spice Girl Products
vanilla extract 114ml Spice Girl Products

11. Who or what, is your inspiration or role model?

My inspiration is definitely my girls, they have been my support team through thick and thin.

12. Where can we buy your products in Jamaica and overseas?

Spice Girl Products can be found in the Mobay Airport, thirty-two supermarket outlets and online @ www.spicegirlproducts.com

13. How do you love to spend your free time in Jamaica?

Free time ….Visiting new and interesting adventures or attractions around the country.

14. If you could be Prime Minister of Jamaica for a day, what would you do?

The country has been in degradation for too long, for one day to be effective or meaningful, however, it is of primary importance for the Prime Minister to recognise the importance of National Empowerment of the masses not through marginal programs but through programs that are sustainable and encourage, production, consumption and export. The packaging and marketing of Jamaica as a tourism product is seen by us to be the only true solution to Jamaica’s’ economic and by extension crime and other problems….

15. Which Jamaican, dead or alive, do you feel made the biggest contribution to Jamaica and why?

I believe Norman Manley made a significant contribution with his vision for community development and Edward Seaga has made a good try for cultural awareness.

Jamaican Vegetable Spice Pickle
Jamaican Vegetable Spice Pickle

16. If you could impart one piece of advice to inspire young Jamaicans to start their own businesses or succeed in their chosen career, what would it be?

Stay true to yourself, perseverance and dedication despite the obstacles and definitely learn to accept changes wherever necessary. Must gain knowledge in their respective field and surround themselves with positive people that will always encourage and support them.

17. If you could change jobs, what would you do?

I’ve asked myself this question many times…………but definitely being paid to travel to other countries and learn more about their culture, food, attractions and adventures (Professional Tourist).

18. Apart from your own company, what is your favourite Jamaican company and why?

Grace Foods…..They had a vision and a plan and they execute it as a family……They are an inspiration to many young entrepreneurs.

19. What do you believe contributes most to your company’s ongoing success?

Quality products, good service and the support of loyal customers, well wishers and immediate family.

20. What do you feel your company has to offer the international and home markets, over and above your competitors?

Our unique products. There are no other commercial vanillaries in the English-speaking Caribbean, United States, Canada or Europe.

Spice Girl Products logo
Spice Girl Products logo

21. How do you believe we as a nation can help to build Jamaica?

As stated earlier massive Jamaica packaging and tourism promotion.To achieve this in a meaningful way we need to change the mindset of our people to move away from the hand out mentality. Unfortunately, our current crop of politicians on all sides of the aisle seem to lack the moral or entrepreneurial ability to lead such a charge. We must be contented with tiny steps until…….

22. What are your aspirations for Jamaica?

To have a peaceful, welcoming and productive country where the masses are truly independent and empowered.

23. What are your thoughts on the ‘SUPPORT JAMAICA BUY JAMAICAN!’ post on Sweet Jamaica’s blog?

Your concept is very much in keeping with the principle of packaging Jamaica for consumption….We wholeheartedly ” Support Jamaica Buy Jamaica” Concept.

Thanks Sheryl it was a pleasure interviewing you…. anytime you need a food sampler ‘hail me up!’

 

_________________________________________________________________________________

 

Want to learn more, buy something or get in touch with Spice Girl Products you can do it here:

Website: www.spicegirlproducts.com 

Mailing Address: Woodside, Pear Tree Grove, St Mary, Jamaica.

Please contact us at any of the following email address:

spicegirlproducts@gmail.com

products@shopspicegirlproducts.com

info@shopspicegirlproducts.com

Telephone: 1-876-484-9976

Spice Girl Products

“Spice for Life!”

Smell and Feel Irie!

If the smell of tropical fruits and the feel of cocoa and shea butter make your senses come alive then meet Irie Rock Yaad Spa…

Irie Rock Yaad Spa

Since my SUPPORT JAMAICA BUY JAMAICAN! blog post, I interviewed a very inspirational Jamaican woman who I am very happy to support and who would defiantly be described as ‘the female boss’. Racquell Brown is the Managing Director, creative, marketing and business brains behind the brand that is ‘Irie Rock Yaad Spa’ a Jamaican beauty gem that you will want to discover….

Their flagship range of 6 lines with 10 different gorgeously scented body care products, has had a new line added which features a tea tree oil and witch hazel skin care range to further meets customers needs. Let me introduce to you the delight that is Racquell Brown and her fabulous Irie Rock Yaad Spa Range that you could be forgiven for wanting to slavour over yourself from head to foot!

Interview with Racquell Brown

 

1. Introduce yourself and your role in the company?

Racquell Brown the owner, creative and marketing force of Irie Rock Yaad Spa.

2. When was your company established and why did you choose this career path?

 After leaving Jamaica and living in the UK in 2007, I found that I had dry and problematic skin and couldn’t find a suitable body care product in the shops. So I went to the pharmacy and natural food stores and started playing around with ingredients, taking cocoa butter, shea butter and coconut oil and mixing my own formulations, I gave some out to my friends and got a good reception. After returning to Jamaica it took 2 years to create the product ranges, 6 months later we had the first hotel customers, 6 months after that I was made redundant from my full-time job, but the next month we got one of our biggest customers.

Racquell Brown of Irie Rock Yaad Spa
Racquell Brown of Irie Rock Yaad Spa

 3. Tell me about your typical working day?

 Entrepeneurs and manufacturers of products have to work very hard as it’s not all glamorous. I have to take care of many things, from the business, creative, marketing and production side of things, such as checking the manufacturing side of the business and ensuring there is enough stock for suppliers, customers, direct customers and end users. In all the chaos and confusion you have to find a balance which is not always easy to find, seeing the madness going on around you and saying to yourself it will all work out. It’s important to have the confidence to know you can bring everything back together.

 4. What is your company philosophy?

 That each and every one of my customers big and small is pleased with service and products and truly happy.

 5. Where is your Head Office based and do you manufacture / produce your products in Jamaica?

 Everything is based in Jamaica, in Spaldings, Clarendon.

 6. Do you use Jamaican raw materials in your products?

Unfortunately as Jamaica does not produce many of our ingredients we have to use a combination of Jamaican and imported products, such as shea butter, which the majority of is imported. We do use Jamaican products where available, such as coffee and coconut oil. Most of the scents are imported in powdered form which is added to the ingredients.

 7. Are you Jamaican?

 Yes!

 8. Tell me your top 3 likes and dislikes about Jamaica?

 Likes:

 1. The people, my customers put everything into perspective for me – our spirit is very optimistic as a people, we are very positive in the most part that things will be better tomorrow, Jamaican people think it will be better tomorrow.

 2. I have found that you cannot beat the beauty of the country whilst driving around the country visiting suppliers and customers, I find it very therapeutic and it lifts your spirits taking in the landscape.

 3. Jamaicans are open to the possibility of something new and different, we are very adaptive, in with new technology, we want to be the 1st movers and shakers when it comes to new things. For example, the response has been amazing to our new range of tea tree oil products. I have created a brand and want adventurous people to try it is see that is it equal or better than our international competitors.

 Dislikes:

 1. The People – we feel we are entitled to things coming to us and not necessarily wanting to work for it. We are wanting to be happy and rich, but don’t always work hard enough at it. We have a feeling of entitlement.

 2. The Government,  what they say and do does not match up, they are not doing enough to invest in small and micro businesses and building manufacturing.

 3. We don’t appreciate what we have in the richness of the culture of Jamaica, we should put ourselves on a pedestal.

 9. What new company plans and visions are you working on?

 Locally we are building Irie Rock brand increasing the volume of products with our tea tree and body care line. Hotels and pharmacies love the range as it is a fresh, tropical, natural, authentic Jamaican range.

 We hope to expand the brand to other countries and start exporting more. We would like to see Irie Rock sitting beside international brands and people choosing Irie Rock over them as the preferred choice.

Irie Rock Yaad Spa Product Group
Irie Rock Yaad Spa Product Group

 10. What is your personal favourite product that you make and why?

I use different products depending on my mood, such as the coffee body butter to energise me if I haven’t had my morning coffee, or if I want something sweet scenting I uses passion fruit, it just depends on mood. I personally sat down and created the range of flavours so I love all of them. I also use the new Facial line as its good for acne prone skin and normal skin as it contains problem solving tea tree oil.

 11. Who or what, is your inspiration or role model?

The Everyday person. When I see vendors with the odds stacked against them and they still go out there and work. Oprah Winfrey and Richard Branson also are big success stories that are truly inspiring . But on a day-to-day basis it’s being with my friends that are living their normal life on a day-to-day basis, sharing a laugh and a drink, that is what really makes a real impact and is what is making a stamp on Jamaica. Creating a legacy not only for ourselves and children, but also to make other people’s life better.

 And finally me I inspire myself ;I depend on me and the grace of God to make things happen for me. You can only rely on you as an entrepeneur, you have to be able to get up out of bed when times are rough and when things aren’t as you want, you need to have the strength and drive to get up and do it.

I would also like to thank myself, as a little girl at school dreaming big, feeling and believing that you are capable of being more than what is presented and executing it. It is a learning curve knowing how you deal with it, nurturing that entrepeneur spirit and having the courage to think beyond what was being presented in front of you. There is a big world out there with so much possibility.

12. Where can we buy your products in Jamaica and overseas?

Most pharmacies, such as Fontana Pharmacy and gift shops and hotels island wide, especially in Kingston stock the range.

We also have a website www.irierock.com where we have lots of European customers and we ship all over the world.

 13. How do you love to spend your free time in Jamaica?

With friends, the more you work, you appreciate having lunch and drinks and having fun with friends, the truth of the matter is you inspire each other, we share problems and help one and another. Doing absolutely nothing with my friends, everything we do ends up being good, even if its nothing.

14. If you could be Prime Minister of Jamaica for a day, what would you do?

It’s a lot of responsibility, and a job I never wanted, people don’t appreciate how hard that job must be. I would give more support to micro, small and medium businesses, for us to be sufficient as a nation and increase our production capacity we need the government to help and encourage us by changing the policies that are created in parliament. The customs charges are too high and can be as much as three times the cost of raw materials, we are already contributing to GCT through our businesses, we are creating foreign exchange and we would like it to be nurtured to become a giant in manufacturing. Use strategies here to help our our local industries, Trinidad offers businesses more support.

15. Which Jamaican, dead or alive, do you feel made the biggest contribution to Jamaica and why?

Bob Marley, when I think of how uplifting a song of his may be, if your feeling depressed it lifts your mood and transforms your mind in a way that is phenomenal. He has for a very long time, without trying put Jamaica’s name on the international map. When you think of Jamaica you think of Bob Marley, when you think of Bob Marley you think of Jamaica. A brand such as Bob Marley that you can associate with a country, for the new generation it is Usain Bolt who is the new phenomenon. But for me personally he had the most influence on me when I live abroad, its amazing how people treat you differently just through making that connection.

16. If you could impart one piece of advice to inspire young Jamaicans to start their own businesses or succeed in their chosen career, what would it be?

Find something that you truly love.  It is sometimes the hardest thing to recognize, as sometimes we love something so much it becomes like a pastime or hobby, when we could make an honest living out of it and it doesn’t feel like work. Positive thinking is paramount. How you think is how you actually live your life, if you think it is possible, you will live positively and positive things will come, speaking it as to being it. Being negative is not an option, throughout all problems if you have a positive state of mind it gets me through, you have to think and belive that ok it will be better, because I will make sure it is better. Be positive.

17. If you could change jobs, what would you do?

 I am following my dreams of creating something from nothing. I came from a working class family, always dreaming of being a business owner, but didn’t know what to do. I wanted to create something that was bigger than me. I am trying to do that, but the dream is not complete, but I am happy in the direction it is heading. If it was another business, I would want to be able to create something.

18. Apart from your own company, what is your favourite Jamaican company and why?

National bakery. When another company takes a smaller company and nurtures them, being a mentor to smaller company. Their generosity of information and knowledge and giving someone else the spotlight, we are selfish by nature and want it all. But the fact that they have been able to do that in a big way, is very inspiring. I would like to mimic and copy them as my business grows, as it is essential to give back. Through our Passion Fruit Scent we give back as it is our charity line.  Each year we choose a charity and the give profits to them. We have chosen the ‘Shaggy Make a Difference Foundation this year. I am passionate about Jamaican Cancer Society and would choose it every year as it is dear to my heart, but in order to not be biased, I have a team of people that help choose. We are also looking at assisting communities at grass-roots levels, such as the charity ‘Marys Child’ which we are supporting next year.

Irie Rock Body and Skincare
Irie Rock Body and Skincare

19. What do you believe contributes most to your company’s ongoing success?

90% of business come from local hotels and referrals. We are not only selling products, we deal with our customers as we would want to be treated. When sitting with a customer we get to understand our customers wants and needs, we have helped to rearrange stores to increase sales. If you support them they will eventually support you. You will create a linkage, a bond and a solid relationship because you are investing in their dream and aspiration, so they will become the interested in your dream and aspiration too.

 20. What do you feel your company has to offer the international and home markets, over and above your competitors?

Whether in Jamaica or our International customers we keep intimacy with them, by being professional with a personal touch. When you are finished dealing with a customer they thank you for it and we thank the customer, for saying thank you.

 21. How do you believe we as a nation can help to build Jamaica?

Start small. We can all do something in a small way. We manufacture Jamaican goods and hope that people support us.

22.What are your aspirations for Jamaica?

Get national security in order in terms of getting the crime rate down, getting outside investors trusting the Jamaican brand not because of Bob Marley or Usain Bolt, but because Jamaica is the ideal location. For us to truly embrace the things that will bring us to the next level. Nuturing micro and small business and bringing investors in Jamaica.

23. What are your thoughts on the ‘SUPPORT JAMAICA BUY JAMAICAN!’ post on Sweet Jamaica’s blog?

I support it whole heartedly. In order for us a nation to move beyond where we are we need to start buying our own. As manufacturers we need to make sure we are equally comparative or better than our competitors. If we buy international products we should also be willing to buy our local products as well.

Thanks Racquell it was a pleasure interviewing you…. anytime you need a product tester ‘hail me up!’

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Want to learn more, buy something or get in touch with Irie Rock® you can do it here:

Website: www.irierock.com
Email: info@irierock.com
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/irierockyaadspa

Irie ROCK …” The Love Of All Things Natural” ….Your Jamaican Treat

 Press Captions on Irie Rock 2012

 

http://jamaica-star.com/thestar/20121110/news/news5.html

 

 

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20120820/flair/flair5.html

 

 

http://jamaica-star.com/thestar/20120427/news/news6.html

 

Amusing Real Stories From Jamaica #1

Jamaica is an island where you will see things you have never seen before, these are a couple of my Jamaica firsts!

Toad on a Rope

My Mum had come to visit me in Jamaica and I decided to take her to visit some relatives in the countryside of St. Ann. We set out in a Toyota Hiace bus (van) on a clear and sunny day, and drove the usual route past Brown’s Town and Calderwood, deeper into the green and mountainous interior. On approaching a hill, I noticed 3 people at the top who were crossing the road, so I slowed down to let them pass comfortably. As we reached the brow of the hill I noticed one of them was leading something along into the road in front of me….

then I realised it was a massive toad with a piece of string tied around its neck! As we approached the group the one with the toad said

“drive pon it nah mon!”

basically urging me to drive over it and kill it. I quickly thought about the poor toad and it’s splattered guts all over the bus and having to clean it off and replied “Noooo, it’s too crawny!” to which they all fell about laughing. They duly led the toad out of the road and let me drive past, assumingly to wait for the next driver to come along!  *Many Jamaicans seem to be very scared of toads and believe they can be used by Obeah for casting spells on people.

Your Eye Nar Mek Good!

My vehicle was always giving me problems starting, as the battery wouldn’t charge properly. I begrudged paying $18,000 for a new one, as I was leaving the country in a few more weeks, which meant the bus would be parked up again resulting in the new battery dying in the same way. This meant I was always having to park on a hill (I kid you not!) hoping no-one would block me in, so I could roll the vehicle in order to give myself a ‘juk start’ when I was ready to leave! If this wasn’t possible I had to rely on a friend or a kind-hearted soul to push the vehicle to get the famous ‘juk start’, or if I was really lucky, I would find someone with jump leads to give me a ‘ol fashioned jump-start…. when I say jump leads they are normally just two pieces of strong wire which they simply hold onto the connectors on the batteries, sparks flying and all! (you have to love the tenacity and improvisation skills of Jamaican’s!)

One morning I was late and the vehicle wouldn’t start despite all the pleading in the world, which eventually turned into threatening through gritted teeth that I would sell it if it didn’t start…. needless to say, none of it worked. I needed a plan with a strong man. There is a large hardware store at the end of the road where I live, so I decided to wander up there to see if I could persuade some of the big strapping men that load the goods into the waiting trucks, to give me a ‘juk’ start.

As I walked up there feeling a bit nervous about asking for help, I noticed a boy of about 7 years old in among all the men in their overalls, leaning up against the fence watching me walk up the side road towards the entrance. As I got nearby he called out to me “Hey pretty lady!”, I smiled and walked over towards them thinking this will be easy now the ice had been broken. When I got to the fence and the little boy I said to him “Hi, whats up?” and he and the men all smiled broadly at me. Next thing, before I could ask for their help I noticed the little boys eyes all widened as he looked into my face and replied to me

“lady u pretty, but your eye nar mek good!”,

I had to laugh out loud with everyone else as I can only guess he wasn’t so used to seeing blue eyes and thought my light coloured eyes hadn’t been made correctly! When all the laughter had subsided and I was able to explain my plight nearly all the men flew over the fence to give me a ‘juk start’ much to the bemusement of the supervisor!

Start your Jamaican journey here….

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