I’ve been working on several pieces for the Brixton Blog over the last few weeks about what different cultures and nationalities do for Christmas and my attention was particularly drawn to pastelles from Trinidad as these parcels of filled cornmeal steamed in a banana leaf sounded like the perfect way to try out my new electric steamer-slow cooker in style. I’ve also always wanted to use banana leaves and I’d never seen them until now to buy. If you can’t get them, then wrap your pastelles in greaseproof paper instead. These are traditionally eaten on Christmas Day but I think they’d be a great way to use leftovers in style so I’m publishing the recipe today so you can buy cornmeal alongside your Big Shop you’ll be doing later…
Having been reintroduced to the Irish tradition of spiced beef by Niamh Shields’ fantastic recipe in Comfort and Spice, it’s become a North/South food festive favourite again. This year I’ve gone a little bit Brixton with the cure and the cooking liquor and am hoping to make pastelles with my leftovers.
This version was for the Brixton Blog to show the wealth of Christmas ideas in the area. Help make it an extra tasty treat by donating anything you can to our crowdfunder for a news editor to help us keep local journalism alive and supporting independent traders in a unique community. It closes on December 6th and will make a massive difference. You can even get signed copies of Recipes From Brixton Village this way for Christmas so click as you read!
This cured slow cooked beef is a traditional festive dish in my home country of Ireland. It’s an excellent Christmas Eve meal and creates fantastic leftovers in the best breakfast hash you’ll ever eat. Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients and prep time. There’s not much activity, just time in the fridge before low slow cooking. The flavour is so good, it’s well worth it.
I bet you didn’t know you could pickle the green rinds from the watermelon until now unless you happen to be from the Southern states of the USA and living in Brixton currently….
I discovered this because I’ve been buying so much watermelon recently. The stall under the on the corner of Pope’s Road and Atlantic Road by the Village is selling massive hunks of it for a mere pound and I can’t stop myself. (Nor can I resist the bargain cherries and flat peaches.) I felt wasteful simply tossing the rind in the bin as it doesn’t compost. So I was delighted to discover you can pickle it and end up with something as crunchy as cucumber but a little bit different for once.
Oh how I love a plantain. They are so delicious and verstaile that they’ve even lured this Irishwoman away from potatoes with every meal. I love the sweet stickiness of a ripe plantain as magic happens when you cook them.
Frying them is the traditional way to serve the plantain but as I’m using only serving small amounts at a time, I don’t like getting the pan out for one at a time. So I’ve been playing around with other ways to get my plantain just right. Coating them with sugar and spices and baking them in the oven before stuffing them with mozzarella gives close to plantain perfection.
Brixton is considered the Deep South of London by those who don’t cope well without a Tube line, but little do they know that there’s a real taste of the South in SW9. There’s a new Louisiana chef in town and he resides daily at Kaff serving up Cajun and Creole inspired food with a taste of the bayou.
Richard Myers found his niche on Atlantic Road a few months ago and the already tasty food at the bar has gone from strength to strength since. Arriving in Brixton almost by accident, he fell in love with the market and the attitude to food here finding it more like New Orleans than anywhere else he’d been outside of that famed city.