Bring some tropical sunshine into your home with these Caribbean recipes from one of our popular cooking workshops.

Exotic Avocado Salad

Ingredients
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 ripe papaya
1 ripe avocado
2 bunches trimmed and washed watercress
half small pack fresh mint
juice of half lime
1 tbsp olive oil

Method
Dry-fry the pumpkin seeds in a frying pan for a few minutes, tossing and turning them until they look toasted. Tip them out of the pan and let them go cold. Peel the papayas, halve them lengthways and scoop out the seeds. Cut the flesh into long, thin slices. Halve the avocados and remove the stones, then peel off the skin and slice the flesh lengthways into thin slices.

Put the papayas, avocados, pumpkin seeds and watercress into a large bowl. Chop about 1 tablespoon of the mint leaves and set aside. Pick the remaining leaves from the stalks and tear them into the bowl.

Mix the lime juice and olive oil with the rest of the chopped mint to make a dressing, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour over the salad and gently mix all the ingredients together with your hands.

Taste and add more salt and pepper if you think it needs it, then transfer to a serving platter.

 

Jerk Chicken with Rice and Peas

Ingredients
12 chicken thighs, bone in
1 lime, halved
hot sauce, to serve (optional)

For the jerk marinade
1 big bunch spring onions, roughly chopped
thumb-sized piece ginger, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves
½ a small onion
3 scotch bonnet chillies, deseeded if you want less heat (be careful!! Start with 1)
½ tsp dried thyme, or 1 Tbsp thyme leaves
juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp ground allspice

For the rice & peas
200g basmati rice
400g can coconut milk
1 bunch spring onions, sliced
2 large thyme sprigs
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp ground allspice
2 x 410g cans kidney beans, drained

Method
To make the jerk marinade, combine 1 big bunch roughly chopped spring onions, a roughly chopped thumb-sized piece ginger, 3 garlic cloves, ½ small onion, 3 scotch bonnet chillies, deseeded if you like, ½ tsp dried thyme or 1 tbsp thyme leaves, juice of 1 lime, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp vegetable oil, 3 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tbsp ground allspice in a food processor along with 1 tsp salt, and blend to a purée.

If you’re having trouble getting it to blend, just keep turning off the blender, stirring the mixture, and trying again. Eventually it will start to blend up – don’t be tempted to add water, as you want a thick paste. Taste the jerk mixture for seasoning – it should taste pretty salty, but not unpleasantly, puckering salty. You can now throw in more chillies if it’s not spicy enough for you. If it tastes too salty and sour, try adding in a bit more brown sugar until the mixture tastes well balanced.

Make a few slashes in 12 chicken thighs and pour the marinade over the meat, rubbing it into all the crevices. Cover and leave to marinate overnight in the fridge. If you want to barbecue your chicken, get the coals burning 1 hr or so before you’re ready to cook. Authentic jerked meats are not exactly grilled as we think of grilling, but sort of smoke-grilled. To get a more authentic jerk experience, add some wood chips to your barbecue, and cook your chicken over slow, indirect heat for 30 mins.

To cook in the oven, heat to 180C. Put the chicken pieces in a roasting tin with 1 halved lime and cook for 45 mins until tender and cooked through.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the rice & peas. Rinse 200g basmati rice in plenty of cold water, then tip it into a large saucepan. Add 400g can coconut milk, 1 bunch sliced spring onions, 2 large thyme sprigs, 2 finely chopped garlic cloves and 1 tsp ground allspice.

Season with salt, add 300ml cold water and set over a high heat. Once the rice begins to boil, turn it down to a medium heat, cover and cook for 10 mins. Add two 410g cans drained kidney beans to the rice, then cover with a lid. Leave off the heat for 5 mins until all the liquid is absorbed. Squeeze the roasted lime over the chicken and serve with the rice & peas, and some hot sauce if you like it really spicy.

 

Spicy Prawn Skewers

Ingredients
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 red chilli, finely chopped
½ small bunch parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
½ tsp hot smoked paprika
4 tbsp olive oil
400g raw king prawns, in their shells if you like, or keep the tails on
1 jar Peppadew hot sweet piquanté peppers, drained
lemon wedges, to serve

Method
Whisk the garlic, chilli, parsley, both types of paprika and olive oil together. Stir through the prawns and season well. Cover, put in the fridge and leave to marinate for at least 30 mins before threading on to skewers, interspersing them with a few of the peppers, so that each skewer has about 4-5 prawns.

Heat a grill pan over high heat and grill the skewers for 3-4 mins until pink and opaque. Serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon and plenty of saffron aïoli.