Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Having the opportunity to study the module Literature of food at university has encouraged me to pay closer attention to the different types of food I eat, its origin, ingredients, spices, nutritional value of  the foods, flavours and more. 
I have always been a lover of food and enjoy tasting the variety but acknowledging exactly how it made me feel was never something I would pay close attention to, until now. Considering I have specifically concentrated on the foods of Dominica I have gained a better understanding and knowledge of the cultural origin of the variety of dishes. 
I was always aware that Dominican cuisine is influenced by the French culture, indigenous Caribs and the African culture. However, after carrying out more research I found out that Caribbean cuisine is further influenced by Spain, East India, Chinese, Lebanese and Syrian.
I was not able to include the abundance of fruits I enjoyed growing up as a child in Dominica. To name a few, Guava, Papaya, Kenips (my favorite fruit of them all), Mango's, Passion fruit, Pomme cette (Golden apple), star fruit and many many more. I would pick these fruits off of the trees and would eat as many as my stomach desired.
Food holds a significant importance in my culture and it triggers memories; for me specifically, childhood memories as I would remember what I disliked eating the most as my mum would try to encourage me to eat because I didn't like food. Studying the module has made me realise how much my eating habits have changed from childhood (my diet consisted of mostly fruits and dairy products), entering my teens (I developed a love for junk food i.e. cakes, fast food) and finally, adulthood (I now have a more balanced diet). It has also made me appreciate the fact that I have always been lucky enough to have freshly cooked evening meals.
How to cook Broiler Chicken

Broiler Chicken is a meat that is cooked quite often in my household by both my parents and myself.  This particular breed of chicken must be broiled which is meat or fish that is cooked to direct heat.  It can not be baked like normal chicken due to its tougher texture.  

 Below is a picture of the chicken covered with basic seasoning such as the curry powder, cut onions and garlic.  It is entirely up to the cook how big or small they want their onions and garlic to be.
If the cook/chef wanted to season the chicken further they could add the following ingredients including the ones that have already been mentioned above the previous picture.                                                                                                                            
                                                     1. Curry Powder
                                                     2. Onion (half or whole)
                                                     3. Garlic (4/6 cloves)
                                                     4. Thyme
                                                     5. Rosemary
                                                     6. Dark Soy Sauce
                                                     7. Chicken cube
                                                     8. Gourmet sauce (very small amount)

Whilst adding all the ingredients to the chicken it is important to have your Stainless steel pot on the fire with the highest heat and some oil at the base of the pot.  Once the oil begins to bubble the chicken is ready to be put into the pot to stew.

                                 All the ingredients have been added and is ready to be mixed.

The chicken stewing.

The chicken requires stirring every 15-20 minutes to ensure that all areas of the chicken is being cooked. The chicken will take two to three hours to cook in order for it to be cooked thoroughly.

The broiler can be cooked with anything you desire but my dad and I chose to cook it with freshly grown spinach that my father grows in his allotment.  It is very healthy, crunchy and filling.

Fresh spinach washed and cut into small pieces.  To give the spinach some flavour my dad put it into the bowl that was used to season the chicken and added a teaspoon of both soy sauce and brown sauce with garlic and coconut cream before frying it lightly.

The spinach cooking.

This particular meal is healthy, light and enjoyable and allows my family to enjoy a more simplistic meal; one that is not completely consumed by Caribbean ground provisions, ingredients and spices.  We often enjoy other foods like Chinese, Italian, French and many more.

Tamarind Balls & Coconut Tablets

The Caribbean is not only good at producing flavoursome, mouth-watering and delicious food; they also have snacks and sweets that will make your taste buds scream for more.  The many textures and flavours is what make them so gratifying.  

                                      One of my favourite sweets is the Tamarind balls.

It has a sweet and sour taste to it.  The texture at first is rough but becomes smooth once all the sugar has been sucked off of it.  Although it's popular in the Caribbean the Tamarind tree/plant originated in Africa.

Coconut Tablet (sugar cake)
It does not look very attractive but I can assure you it tastes fantastic! If you are a coconut lover like myself and have a sweet tooth you will love it just as much as I do.  Well I hope so.  I first discovered the tablet when I was 4 years old living in Dominica.  My grandmother and I or my aunt and I would go to town and they would by me treats now and again, the tablet being one of my favourite choices.
The tablet is made using:
Grated coconut
Brown sugar
Vanilla extract
Cinnamon powder
Baking powder

Tablet photo: google images