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Hi once again my dear readers. I do apologize for the couple months of absence. I recently moved to a new apartment closer to work and it has been quite a task settling in and as always, I’m always busy with something. Nevertheless, tis’ the season! And you know what that means……Great Food!!!

So for this article I thought it be nice to share some recipes with dishes that are usually common, both at this time of year and on my side of the world.

Trinidad Black Cake (this recipe contains alcohol)

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Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE

1 lb unsalted butter

1 lb sugar

8 eggs

1 tsp lemon essence

2 tsp lime rind (zested)

2 tsp almond essence

2 tsp vanilla

1 lb all-purpose flour

4 tsp baking powder

2 tsp mixed spice

1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

THE FRUIT BASE

1 lb pitted prunes

1 lb raisins

1 lb currants

1 bottle cherry brandy

1 bottle rum

THE BROWNING

1 lb brown sugar

1/2 cup boiling hot water

Three days before or even a year before (no joke):

Chop all the fruits and place in a large bowl. Pour cherry brandy and rum and leave in a cool corner, covered, so that it can soak up the alcohol.  3 days before is optimum but the longer you leave it the better! One day should be minimum.

Baking day – Blend Fruits:

Pour the soaked fruit and remaining juices into a blender and blend until thick and chunky.

Prepare The Browning (optional):

Burn the sugar until it has caramelized and add hot water gradually. Let this mixture cool.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 275F
2. Cream the butter and sugar.
3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing in
4. Add lemon zest, almond essence and vanilla
5. Mix and sift flour, baking powder, mixed spice and nutmeg.
6. Gradually add sifted ingredients to creamed mixture
7. Mix in fruit base and ‘browning’ prepared earlier
8. Pour batter into greased baking dishes
9. Bake for 3 hours
10. Once removed from the oven soak with equal portions of rum to your liking.


Pastelle

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Ingredients

3 Cups grated green corn or cornmeal

1 lb minced cooked meat (beef, chicken or soya for the vegetarians)

2 large tomatoes

1 tablespoon vinegar

½ teaspoon black pepper

3 capers or sweet pickles

½ cup raisins

2 medium onions

¼ Cup cooking oil

¼ sweet pepper

2 blades chive

Banana leaves cut in 8" squares

There are many variations to this dish with some people using chicken or even soya instead of beef. The principle is the same no matter what you use.

Preparation

1.  Chop all green seasonings finely and mix with meat. Brown in hot oil in a skillet.

2.  Add chopped tomatoes, raisins and sweet pepper. Blend well together.

3.  Clean banana leaves with a damp cloth and steam them over hot water to make them pliable.

4.  Crush corn and dampen with a little salted water, butter the leaf squares and spread with the corn mixture.

Side Note: There are now machines called “Pastelle Press” that let you place this corn mixture in it and you get uniform rectangular shape for your pastelles, this is completely optional but is definitely a neater choice.

5.  Place 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture on each square leaving a 1-inch border.

6.  Fold over and tie securely into a parcel, using thread.

7.  Steam for about 1 hour.

Be careful unwrapping these after cooking, they WILL be hot! It’s best to take them out individually out of the boiling water, and place them on a rack to cool before serving. They are usually kept in their banana leaves to be re-heated and served. So this can be prepared ahead of time for any occasion.


Christmas Ponche De Crème (YES THIS HAS ALCOHOL TOO)

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I do believe this is similar to eggnog. But still a delicious drink nevertheless. And yes, it has alcohol.

Ingredients

6 eggs
4 cups evaporated milk
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 cups golden rum or 1 cup puncheon
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon minced lime zest
1 teaspoon aromatic bitters

Preparation

  1. In a medium stainless steel bowl beat eggs with sugar, place into a double boiler, and over simmering water cook eggs until thick and sugar has dissolved. Do not heat the eggs directly to prevent cooking.
  2. Remove the mixture from the heat.
  3. Add condensed milk, evaporated milk and alcohol. Combine the mixture well.
  4. Add lime zest, aromatic bitters and nutmeg stirring continuously.
  5. Store in glass bottles and refrigerate until ready for use.
  6. Serve with crushed ice.

 And finally BACON!!! Ooops I mean it’s HAM!!

Christmas Ham

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I’ve seen a couple recipes with different ways people prepare this beloved meat. Even boiling before baking…..ummm no lol. I’m going to digress from that and cue you in on how my mom used to do it.

Ingredients

1 ham (preferably with bone )

Whole cloves

Pineapple slices and brown sugar (optional)

Preparation

  1. Usually when you buy a ham from the grocery you usually get the leg or shoulder for this recipe with the big bone inside. And it’s usually frozen solid. So be sure to defrost this meat thoroughly. It could take hours to thaw out depending on the size you get.
  2. Remove wrapping from the ham and place in a large baking pan. Decorate with whole cloves over entire surface.
  3. The rule of thumb on baking ham is 25 minutes per kilo at 350°F.
  4. During the last couple hours of baking, you can take the ham out of the oven and decorate with pineapple slices and brown sugar and place back in the oven. Of course this will add a very sweet taste to your meat.

I hope you all have a safe and happy Christmas season and all the best for the New Year!

Reference: https://naparimacookbook.com/