Archive for April, 2014

Take a journey to Jamaica by tasting Lahnah’s lovely Ackee and Saltfish with Fried Dumplings:


This simple Jamaican dish is usually eaten for Sunday breakfast. You can add ground provisions like yam and green bananas or rice to make it a main meal. You can eat it as a snack with roasted Breadfruit or Bami, made from cassava or with Jamaican hardo bread. Or of course, with fried dumplings!

The Ackee is a fruit that is picked from the tree, but not until it is open, otherwise it is poisonous! We luckily have the benefit of tinned Ackee which is ready for use.

Journey cakes or Johnny cakes, better known as fried dumplings, were a part of the staple of the slaves in Jamaica and many other islands. They were a type of ‘fried biscuit’ taken on long journeys when the slaves travelled around or while working on the plantations.

Many meats and fish were ‘corned’ with salt to preserve them, hence salted codfish – you can find other types of salted fish which work just as well.



      1 small pkt filleted Salted codfish*
      1 small onion (slice thinly)
      2 spring onions (chop)
      4 sprigs of thyme
      I tin of Ackee*
      2 cloves of garlic (finely chop)
      2 small Bell peppers (red and green) (slice thinly)

      2/3 fresh tomatoes (chop)
      ½ cup of vegetable oil
      1 plantain (sliced ¼ inch pieces)
      1 small scotch bonnet pepper (or ½ !) (deseed &finely chop)*
      ¼ tsp coarse black pepper

        For Dumplings:

      1 lb self-raising flour
      ¼ tsp salt
      ¼ tsp baking powder
      ½ cup of oil (to fry)
      ¼ c up cold water


Prepare Dumplings – Add all dry ingredients in a bowl. Gradually add water, enough to make a firm but soft dough. Do not overwork as this will harden your dumplings. Cover bowl with damp cloth. Leave to sit for 10/15 minutes.

Using a large frying pan, add oil. Let it heat up vigorously. In the meantime, take a small piece of dough and knead into a ball – press flat and then place in the hot oil. Repeat the process until all the dough is used. Dumplings will cook quickly, so keep turning them in the oil until golden brown. You may need to turn heat down slightly to enable the inside of the dumpling to cook. Break one to see if the middle is cooked through. Makes 15 or more depending on size -smaller balls of dough (not too small) means quicker fry time.

Set dumplings aside until ready to eat – ok, you can taste one!

Tip: you can place the dumplings in a dish – put on a very low heated oven – not for too long – to keep them warm.

Prepare plantains – Using the same pan, add sliced plantain to hot oil, turn them until golden brown. They are very quick to do. Place in a dish and place in the oven to keep warm.

Prepare Ackee – Open tin and drain off fluid – place in a bowl until ready to use.

Tip: I pour boiling water onto the ackee to remove the brine – gently – this fruit is very delicate and will turn to mush if over handled. Drain and set aside.

Prepare Saltfish – Wash off salt granules under the cold tap. Soak fillets in a bowl of cold water for at least 4 hours. If still too salty, soak a while longer. Drain. Flake the fish, removing any small bones and place in a bowl until ready to use. Heat pan with ½ cup of oil. Add onions, spring onions, garlic, scotch bonnet, thyme. Saute until softened. Add sliced bell peppers. Add flaked saltfish. Bring together (do not stir) in saucepan and then add fresh chopped tomatoes. Simmer for 5 minutes on a relatively low heat. Now add the ackee. Gently fold into the mixture and do not stir otherwise it will break the ackee down too much and end up resembling scrambled eggs! Sprinkle black pepper. Simmer for 3 /5 more minutes. Remove from the heat.

Tip : If you find it’s too salty, place in a saucepan of cold water and bring to the boil until it looks frothy – drain off the water – if still too salty repeat process, but don’t lose the flavor. You could also use this method, rather than waiting for the saltfish to soak.

Tip: Be careful when handling scotch bonnet peppers. If you are sensitive it is best to use gloves when chopping. You can opt for chillis which are not as hot if you prefer, but scotch bonnet adds authenticity to the dish and has a distinct heat! Remember to remove the seeds please! Keep them in if you like it dangerously hot!!! At your peril.

Serve your ackee and saltfish with the fried sliced plantain and dumplings. This dish can also be eaten cold.

Tip: A fresh green salad is a lovely accompaniment.

Tip: *You can source all these products at your local supermarket now. (Morrisons, Tesco for example)


Cooking Jamaican food takes a little patience. And, this recipe is not for weight watchers! I hope you enjoy THE JOURNEY!


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In January, February and March 2014 Myatt’s Fields Park Project run Intergenerational Food Project, funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Local Food scheme.

Local people were employed to teach their favourite recipes to parents with young children. We particularly aimed to find people who wanted to learn how to cook from scratch.

The cooks recruited their own participants and taught four sessions each. The sessions were run in the park depot kitchen and in Mulberry Centre -perfect  for participants with young children.

Madlyn week4 (3)

 Madlyn Tuck and Candice James have both run OOCCs at Myatt’s Fields Park and Max Road Park. Jennifer Haynes is one of our volunteers for our cooking programme, and Serena Thompson is a young parent who wanted to teach other young people. Arfa Mirza cooks for Roots and Shoots.

Below we post selection of recipes from this project.


Candice week1 (4)

One Pot Rice:

Whole chicken
150g rice
300ml water
Tablespoon of oil
Knob of butter
2 tablespoons of peas (tinned or frozen)
2 tablespoons of sweetcorn (tinned or frozen)
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 carrot
1 green sweet pepper
1 spring onion
1 teaspoon turmeric or curry powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Prepare the chicken using the breast. Prepare the vegetables, wash rice. Add oil to the pan, add vegetables. Add a teaspoon of turmeric, add the chicken and brown. Add the water and rice, bring to boil, turn down to simmer until the rice is cooked. Serve and enjoy!




Codfish fritters and vegetable fritters


1 pack of Salted Cod filleted or with bone
2-3 cups of Self-raising flour
1 cup of Chickpea flour
4 Tbsp of coarse cornmeal
4 Spring Onions (Green part only)
1 Large red onion
4 Sweet Peppers
8-10 Okra fingers
1 cup of sweet-corn
Coarse black pepper
Thyme /pimento or all-spice (crushed)

Zesty Lime and Tomato Sauce

6-8 Firm baby tomatoes or 4 large tomatoes
1 large lime
4 garlic cloves
3 tbsp of oil
1 tbsp of hot sauce (optional)

Prep time: 10-15 mins
Cook time: 10-15 mins

Pre-soak the salted cod in a large bowl, preferably overnight or at least for 1 hour. Remove the salty water from the cod. Rinse the cod pieces 2-3 times, to get as much of the salt out, but making sure that there is enough for flavour and taste. Divide the cod pieces, removing bones, particularly small bones even if you are using filleted salted cod. Separate the cod and using fingers, tear the cod into small pieces and place into a large bowl.

To prepare the mixture, you will need two bowls, one for the codfish fritter mixture and one for the vegetable fritter mixture.

Meanwhile, wash then dice the onion, chop the spring onion (green part only), dice the sweet peppers and slice the okra.
Place the ingredients into a bowl adding the cornmeal, self-raising and chickpea flour. Add the black pepper, thyme and pimento. Mix the dry ingredients well with a metal spoon. Divide the dry ingredients and place into a new bowl. Add the codfish to one of the bowls. Add the sliced okra and sweet-corn to the bowl without the codfish. Add approximately 500ml of cold water or 1 large cup of cold water, to each bowl, a little at a time to the mixture, into a thick batter. Add more cold water, flour or additional seasoning at this stage, if necessary .Allow the mixture to rest.

Heat a frying pan with oil, and using a large spoon scoop the mixture up into individual portions, and drop into the hot oil, sauté for 2-3 minutes on a medium
heat, on each side, until cooked and golden brown in colour. Remove the fritters from the frying pan, and place onto two individual plates or bowls. One for the codfish fritters, and one for the vegetable fritters.
For the zesty lime and tomato sauce, wash then chop or slice the tomatoes, grater the zest of the lime, extract the juice of the lime removing any pips, and place in a bowl. Heat the oil in a hot frying pan. Add garlic, allowing the garlic to fragrance the oil for a few seconds. Then, add the tomatoes, zest and juice of the lime into the frying pan, and sauté for 2-3 minuets or until the tomatoes soften slightly, and the flavours combine.

Spoon over the fritters, or serve in a small bowl or plate, garnish with the remaining chopped spring onions (the white part) and serve immediately.

Tip: If you are using a tin of sweet-corn, empty the contents and drain well.
Frozen sweet-corn can also be used, but be sure to thaw well by ‘blanching’ the sweet-corn with boiling hot water. Making sure that the sweet-corn is covered well with the hot water. Allow the sweet-corn to defrost for up to 10 minutes, and drain well before use.



Madlyn week1 (8)

Caribbean chicken soup

1 chicken
3 carrots
1 pumpkin
2 sticks celery
1 yam
3 potatoes
2 Maggie cubes

Put two pints of water in a large saucepan on medium heat to boil.
Put chicken in a saucepan, add peeled carrot, pumpkin, cho-cho and celery and bring to boil.
Stirring as you go, make dumplins and bring to boil along with yam and potatoes.
Cook for 15 minutes then add onion, spring onion, thyme, Maggie cubs and chicken noodles.
Cook for a further 30 minutes, finally add salt and pepper.
Serve and eat/blend for babies.


Daal (lentil) soup


Red lentil 1cup
Red onion one medium size
Celery 2 medium size stick
Leek 1 stick take only the white bit
Garlic 4-5 clove
Salt to your taste
Oil 2 table spoon

Soak the lentil for 15-20 mints in cold water after one wash.
Sauté the crushed garlic in oil. When light brown in colour add the washed and finely thin chopped onion, celery and leek. Fry them for 5 minutes, add little salt. When all ingredients are softened add the red lentil and 4 cups of water. Boil it for 10-12 minutes. When lentil changes its colour blend it using hand blender to make it smooth.

Your soup is ready!
For children you can add little bit of butter at the end.



Serena week1 (8)

Easy Spaghetti bolognaise with grated cheese

Beef mince, onions, garlic, fresh or canned tomatoes, thyme, salt, pepper, seasoning, spaghetti pasta, cheese (parmesan)


Mix up the mince with beef seasoning, black pepper, salt, chopped garlic, chopped onions and herbs.
Heat a frying pan with a tea spoon of oil.
Put the mince in a frying pan and fry it up until it browns.
Add canned tomatoes or fresh tomatoes with some water to the pot covering the mince.
Leave the mince to simmer ( this should take 1 hour 30 minutes)

Prepare Spaghetti:
With your hands break the spaghetti in half
Put the spaghetti in boiling water and leave to boil for 10-15 minutes.

When ready, drain and mix with the sauce.

Prepare Cheese:
Grate the cheese and sprinkle on the top of ready spaghetti bolognaise.


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