Old Time Coconut Drops

The Buford Highway Farmers Market is close to my house. I buy most of my meat, seafood, and fresh produce there. On a whim, I added a  dry coconut  to my shopping cart, though I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Traditionally dry coconuts are an integral part of rice and peas and any other dish that calls for coconut milk, like stew peas and mackerel rundown.  It is a laborious process; the coconut has to be broken open and then a dull knife wrapped in a kitchen towel is used to pry out the hard white meat. The pieces are grated and then steeped in hot water. The mixture is wrung dry and the resulting liquid (coconut milk) is used for cooking.  This old-fashioned technique for extracting the “milk” from a dry coconut has been replaced by convenience products like coconut powder and canned coconut milk.   On an island where coconut trees abound, people have found ingenious ways to use every part, from the leaves (for decoration) to the husk (coir for stuffing mattresses) to the water (refreshing as a drink). The meat from the dry coconut can also be used to make sweet treats like gizzada, grater cake and coconut drops. I’ve made all three; they’re quite easy to make, but today I am in the mood for coconut drops. This recipe is my own and there are only six ingredients. The recipe is easy, but the technique can be tricky, so make sure to read […]

Cornmeal Pudding Warms the Soul

Jamaicans adore pudding. Our taste for this rich, sweet, baked treat is a part of our history as a British colony. The British claim pudding as a part of their culinary heritage and with time, this affectation for the sweet treat has become intertwined in the food lore of all its commonwealth dependents. As food history often relates, climate, geography, culture, availability of key ingredients and the resourcefulness of local cooks have taken these recipes that travelled aboard British ships and personalized them. We love pudding because of the British; but our taste hungers for creamy cornmeal pudding with cinnamon and coconut milk or sweet potato pudding cooked in a banana leaf (also called Duckunoo or Blue Drawers).

Jomo’s Banana Bread Story

“My favorite thing about bananas apart from eating it; is the aroma of banana bread baking in the oven, Bananaroma.” Jomo Morris

Buy Hardough Bread, Make Your Own Buttermilk biscuits

It started with a simple question; do I have a recipe for Jamaican hardough bread? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Jamaican bakeries use equipment specifically engineered to create the texture that we associate with this signature bread. It is impossible to duplicate outside of a commercial bakery. At home, with flour, butter, water, yeast, a little elbow grease and a hot oven it is relatively simple to bake your own bread. Everything that is, except Jamaican hardough bread. So I’m at work and I’m thinking, alternatives, alternatives, alternatives. It’s kinda a personal challenge now. Time is on my side, I’m working the graveyard shift from 10:30pm till 6:30 in the morning. It means I’m by myself with one server and the cleaning crew as company. They’re cleaning and I’m busy prepping for breakfast. It’s relatively quiet and I’m humming along on autopilot. In my mind’s eye, I’m already typing the words to this post. Time flies when you’re working an overnight shift. A glance at the clock confirms that it’s now 6am. That’s a good thing; Chris comes in at six to work on breakfast pastries and more importantly to bake biscuits for the restaurant. He’s super cool and we chat for a few minutes while he’s getting set up. Chris is my go to guy for buttermilk biscuits and he was gracious enough to bake a batch of biscuits just for these pictures. It’s a simple recipe  2 cups unbleached self-rising flour  ¼ cup butter (plus two tablespoons for […]