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Trend watch: spice up your life?

By Daniel Woolfson

- Last updated on GMT

Zeif: "The longer the marinade time, the better the taste."
Zeif: "The longer the marinade time, the better the taste."

Related tags Caribbean

Jerk chicken may be the public face of Caribbean food, but dig past it and you’ll find a diverse cooking style steeped in tradition… and smothered in spice.

Spice is on the rise. More and more customers are willing to push their culinary boundaries these days, searching for the next great taste. And whilst Caribbean cooking has been moderately popular in Britain already, it’s a culinary goldmine when it comes to unique and delectable recipes.

Top tips

“Whilst Caribbean people like to season their food for a full flavour, they do not use fat and salt for this,” says Trinidadian chef Sabrina Zeif, founder of Kitchen Thyme UK. “They achieve great taste through adding spices and herbs.

According to Zeif, some lesser known standout dishes include plantain with orange rum sauce; sliced plantain baked with syrup made from brown sugar, rum and orange rind then sprinkled with cinnamon, callaloo soup; containing crab or pig tail, okra, callaloo bush and coconut milk and geera pork; which is marinated in green seasoning and cooked with extra cumin and pepper.

She says: “For great tasting Caribbean dishes my biggest advice is: marinate and season meats before cooking –the longer the marinade time the better the taste.

“I also encourage people not to be afraid of combining spices liberally. Everything must be fresh and in copious quantities. Remember, chilli peppers are added for flavour and not always hear. Finally, I would advise people to not hold back on flavour and when in doubt, add a splash of rum.”


During warmer months, the Scott Arms, Kingston, near Dorset, puts on outdoor Jamaican barbecue with its own dedicated menu.

Some of the dishes on offer include roast whole bream with spring onion and thyme, Jamaican curry mutton, Ital vegetable curry with pumpkin, sweet potatoes, celery and greens and ackee and saltfish with plantain, micro herbs and lime oil.

When the weather isn’t good enough to barbecue, the venue hosts regular Jamaican food evenings for customers.

Caribbean nights

At the Wildmoor Oak, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, head chef Lorenzo Richards puts on a Caribbean night the last Thursday every month.

The nights run from 6pm to midnight and feature a two course, buffet-style menu, limbo competitions and dancing with Caribbean music.

The site also offers a daily Caribbean menu which includes dishes such as pan fried salmon cooked down in Caribbean sauce with rice and peas, jerk chicken, pork or halloumi on a bed of lightly spiced onions and peppers and curried goat with basmati rice, salad and hardo bread. 

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