Tag: Jamaica

Fresh Jamaican ginger cake


 

Caribbean ginger cake has been a staple dessert in the UK for years. British Chef, Jamie Oliver’s YouTube channel shows a quick recipe, but is it a real traditional Jamaican ginger cake recipe?

 

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Snippets of an African legacy; from a colourful perspective

Twitter: @PotAndPlatter – for more African-Caribbean inspired food.

Strolling through colourism & class in Jamaica


Jamaica is a beautiful island, tourism is one of its biggest industries. Like most Caribbean islands, there is more to Jamaica than sunshine, white sandy beaches and good rum!

Despite all her beauty, there is an ugly which lurks beneath. Colourism, a negative racial construct is endemic within ethnic communities globally and Jamaica hasn’t escaped. Earlier this year, the Jamaican Gleaner newspaper reported sprinting legend Usain Bolt, discussing being discriminated against by his fellow ‘upper class’ Jamaicans, at the start of his rise to success, due to his humble beginnings.

“Especially when I started out. It was more shocking than anything else. That was how I ended up buying my house..I was living in a complex and I had issues with a few of the lighter-skinned people. I used to live near a lawyer and when I moved in, he said to me ‘be careful, they don’t like to see young people strive’.”

 Strolling, is an online documentary series by  director Cecile Emeke from London – “connecting the scattered stories of the black diaspora”. One episode follows two Jamaicans, recounting their experiences of Jamaica’s class/colour divide.

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Spicy Jamaican Ginger Cake


There’s nothing like a moist and crumbly slice of ginger cake to satisfy the soul. As a child I loved ginger biscuits and that is when my ginger indulgence began. Jamaican ginger is renowned for its intense flavour and as the main ingredient in the popular Jamaican ginger cake recipe, this Caribbean cake has become a must have in many parts of the world.

I must say, I didn’t expect Caribbean desserts to feature at the annual Pop-up Africa event at Spitalfields Market in central London at the end of May, but thinking about it, Africa and the Caribbean do have an intertwined history, so it made perfect sense…

Described as “A unique interactive shopping experience inspired by Africa; ‘Africa at Spitalfields’ – promotes and celebrates all things African and African inspired.” I was looking forward to all the festivities and food on display from the African/Caribbean diaspora in London.  Having a sweet tooth my first point of call was to check out the desserts; you can never stock up on too many desserts!

spicy jamaican ginger cake receipe
Ginger spice: Photo: Stock Xchng (jeff1980)

A bit of food history….

It’s said that the roots of Zingiber officinale the tropical herbaceous plant, which produces the ginger spice originated in Asia. Used by the Indians and Chinese for its healing properties over 5000 years ago, you can guess that the rest of the world wanted a taste of this intriguingly pungent spice and Arab traders brought it to Europe. Once the Roman Empire fell, ginger nearly became obsolete. Between the 11th-13th centuries ginger made a European comeback and was said to be imported to the New World by Spanish conquistadors.  Ginger is s now grown in tropical countries across the Caribbean and Africa. From 1585, Jamaican ginger was the first Asian-originated spice to be grown in the New World and exported back to Europe.

spicy Caribbean ginger cake
You can never go wrong with some good old ginger cake…

While walking around the market I was scoping out which stalls to visit; Tantie Lorraine’s ginger cake was calling out to me. I love all things ginger and was eager to try this Trinidadian version of the ginger cake. A friend told me that ‘Tantie’ is a version of ‘Auntie’ used in some part of the Caribbean. In some African cultures the term Auntie is also used to address an older woman, who may not necessarily be your blood relative (as a sign of respect).

tantie def

There were various other cakes and cookies on offer but I only tried the ginger cake. I do regret not trying the chocolate Guinness cake though! An unusual combination which I’ve never had before; I’m not a fan of Guinness on its own, but do like it when mixed with something sweet, like Caribbean Guinness punch. If I knew Tantie Lorranie won a Great Taste Award for her rum and raisin brownies, I would have tried those too!

Jamaica ginger and Guiness cake recipe, Caribbean ginger cake

Caribbean ginger cake has been a staple dessert in the UK for years. On British Chef, Jamie Oliver’s YouTube channel, a quick recipe is demonstrated, but is it a real traditional Jamaican ginger cake recipe?

Have your say; watch the video and vote below…If you have a better recipe, post it in the comments section!

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Yo, that’s dope!


The Athletics world was rocked this week for all the wrong reasons:

“I don’t have a sabotage story, I basically put my trust in someone and was let down” – Tyson Gay

It emerged that two of the fastest men in the world; multiple Olympic and championship medal-winning athletes, America’s Tyson Gay and Jamaica’s Asafa Powell who’s 100m record was broken by Usain Bolt (no introduction required), have tested positive for banned substances. Tyson Gay tested positive for an unnamed substance from a sample submitted in May. This situation is quite sad, especially because both are very successful, but now I wonder how much of that success is actual talent? Being an athletics fan, for a split second I thought this couldn’t be true, but the science rarely lies when it comes to doping tests and neither athlete has denied the results.

Continue reading “Yo, that’s dope!”

Brixton – Here today, changed tomorrow


The only constant in life is change (paraphrased) – Heraclitus, Greek philosopher

The aftermath of World War II was a catalyst bringing citizens of Jamaica to England on 21st June 1948. The image they were given before arrival was very different to what they encountered. Experiencing discrimination from indigenous English people, tempers often flared over access to housing. Economic and social exclusion caused these immigrants from the sunny island to create their own institutions, such as the financial ‘pardner’ system. They were given temporary accommodation in an air raid shelter in Clapham, South West London; the closest labour markets were in nearby Brixton and the rest is history as they say; Brixton became one of the UK’s first Caribbean settlements.

How they came: Jamaicans on the Empire Windrush ship

Continue reading “Brixton – Here today, changed tomorrow”

London 2012 – The Final


As a Londoner, my view may be a little bit biased – London 2012 (the 30th Olympiad) A.K.A ‘The Friendly Games’ were MUCH better than Beijing 2008! The US ambassador to the UK went one step further saying that it was the ‘greatest Olympics ever’ I am sad that it is over, but all the fun begins again with 2.1 million Paralympics tickets already sold! Apparently the gold medals were the heaviest (400g) than at previous Olympics and Team GB were there to collect, winning 29 gold. It sounds cliché but there really are too many achievements to mention, so I will only skim the surface, as I am sure you watched it all for yourself!

After earlier disappointment and the loss of his father to brain cancer last year, 18 year-old Tom Daley collected a well-deserved diving bronze Medal.

Bradley Wiggins – the first Brit to win Tour de France in 109 years and the first man to win Tour de France and Olympic gold in the same year.

Nicola Adams – winning the first Olympic Women’s Boxing gold medal in history.

The continent of Africa did not disappoint with David Rudisha breaking the first world record of the 2012 Games. He has been dubbed ‘the greatest runner you’ve never heard of’ by Vanity Fair after breaking his OWN world record and becoming the first man ever to run 800m in under 1min 41sec – finishing in 1:40.91.

The marathon saw an east African 1,2,3 – Stephan Kiprotich (Uganda), Abel Kirui (Kenya) and Kipsang Kiprotich (Kenya).

Chad Le Clos (South African swimmer) – Gold, 200m butterfly

Meseret Defar (Ethiopia) – Gold 5000m

Tirunesh Dibaba – (Ethiopia) – Gold 10,000m retained her title
Smashing 4x100m world records - Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, Michael Frater & Nesta Carter

 

 

Continue reading “London 2012 – The Final”