Stabroek News Sunday
‘Tis the week before
Add corn and carrots, even chopped sweet peppers to the mix. Make it cheesy delicious. What you are essentially doing is making Macaroni Pie with tuna and veggies. Also, it’s the holidays so use a combination of cheeses if you can. And be generous with the tuna! I recommend using chunk tuna for this recipe and don’t break up the chunks too much.
Looking for a nibble with sweet and savoury notes? Then it cannot get more Caribbean than baking some ripe plantains cut into 1-inch rounds, wrapped in bacon. Make plenty. Don’t say I didn’t tell you because they will disappear quickly. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes.
Listen there are many of us that will, scratch that, must have some sort of meat curry on the table. This. Is. Who. We. Are. To save yourself having to make 2 sets of rice, cook one large pot of rice and peas. Sauté lots of onions and minced fresh thyme and cook the rice and peas with coconut milk using the absorption method (like how you would make Cook-up Rice). The rice and peas will go well with curries, stews, roasts etc.
Finally, some quick reminders.
Skim the froth that appears at the top of the Pepperpot as the pot comes to a boil. Also, carefully remove the oil that settles at the top. Look at the pot and where you see part of the pot is bubbling and the other part is not, the part that is not bubbling is because oil is sitting over the liquid, so spoon it off. Or you can wait until the following morning when the Pepperpot is completely cooled and easily remove the white congealed fat.
Check the ham you bought to see if it is fully cooked, if it is, remember that all you are then doing when ‘baking’ the ham is heating it right through. Make sure the ham is completely defrosted before cooking it. Cook the ham at 325 degrees F for 25 minutes for every pound. Therefore, if your ham is 6 pounds, cook it for 2 and half hours.
Regardless of the glaze you are using, if you want to give it a spicy kick, mix in some achar to the warm glaze and brush the ham. Start glazing the ham half an hour before it is done baking; do 2 glazes at 15-minute intervals and then you can do a last glaze when it is done and leave it in the oven with the heat turned off for 15 minutes and then remove it. If you glaze the ham early, the glaze will burn quickly because of the high sugar content of the jam/jelly.
Bring all your seasoned meats/roasts up to room temperature before cooking them to ensure even cooking.
As you busy yourself this weekend and the coming week, please remember to be safe. And this is not simply a platitude – spare a thought for all the people among us who are without; for the displaced around the world, and those stranded at borders; for people experiencing droughts and starvation. Eat, drink, and be merry but let’s not waste.
Happy Holidays everybody!