London Hotels Articles

April 29, 2010

Caribbean food menu ideas

Caribbean feast day. Bring the beautiful flavors of the island to your doorstep whether you live in Gotebo Oklahoma or London, England. A great way to celebrate with friends and food. Put on a little Bob Marley and Peter Tosh for a little Jamaican Reggae, Mamborama for some Cuban Son or get everyone’s feet moving with a little Reggeaton form Puerto Rico’s Daddy Yankee and let the party began.

For all the menu items suggested below recipes are readily available either right here on Helium or through the internet. None require special culinary skills. The breads, fruits and vegetables that are not available in your local market can be shipped to your doorstep for a reasonable price. We usually do this with a group of friends sharing in the cooking which makes it even more affordable. Those friends that don’t like to cook usually take care of the beverages.

Drinks must start with fresh tropical fruit punch using pineapple, mango, papaya and the like. Spike this mixture up for the grown folks with a little taste of rums from throughout the region. Put some ginger beer, Red Stripe and Guinness Triple Stout in the cooler surrounded by a variety of Ginseng Up sodas. Make some good ole ice tea with papaya puree ice cubes and floating pineapple rings.

Throughout the meal and with the appetizers a variety of breads and chips will compliment the dishes. Coco bread from Jamaica delicately sweet, tostones (fried plantains) or Yuca bread for dipping and snacking, hearty Cuban or Puerto Rican loaves for the main dish. Smashed fresh roasted garlic, guava butter, olives, pimentos and avocados drenched in lime juice along side the bakery delights, just for a little enhancement.

For appetizers Mofongo is a must. Varieties of this Puerto Rican specialty crop up everywhere from the Bahamas to Caicos. The base is simply fried green plantains that are mashed with garlic salt and pepper. Shrimp, conch, bits of fried pork rind, onions and herbs may be added. Each island has its own additions. Make a variety in bite size balls with several dipping broths to cover a wide range of Caribbean flavors. Coconut shrimp, conch fritters and bite sized patties, pastelittos or empanadas make great additions too.

Callaloo soup and a Puerto Rican pepper pot are two contrasting soups to offer. For salads feature cucumber, tomato, jicama, red onion in a papaya infused vinegar and oil. Fresh tropical fruit salad garnished with flaked coconut and tossed in sweetened yogurt, creama or just plain naked.

No meal in the Caribbean is complete without rice and few without pigeon peas (gondules). An easy way to combine the two is to cook the rice in coconut milk and stir in one cup of cooked peas for every four cups of rice. A pot of beans is not a bad idea either. The little pink ones that look like tiny pink pintos are the most commonly used throughout the islands though black beans will do just fine. Feeling really fancy then whip up some Cou Cou from Barbados. It’s sort of like cous cous with okra which is always a winner if you live in the southern US.

For the main meal try seafood slow cooked in coconut milk, slow roasted pork shoulder rubbed in achiote and garlic paste or roasted chicken marinated in lime and garlic. Step out on a limb and try roasting a goat or do a whole pig Cuban style.

Desserts are a must for any Caribbean feast. A rum soaked cake, coconut bread pudding, rich creamy rice pudding or if the day is hot and sunny shaved ice with papaya syrup.

Now its time to dance off those pounds so crank up the music. Smell the air. It’s as if you really are there.

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