A post overdue but here we go anyway, an old story from the Summer past – oh my! How time has flown by.. But here we go, a little snippet that I wrote a while back…

For no particular reason, other than that our adventures took us down that path, the one that was partially trailed one weekend was the one laiden with Jerk chicken. A semi Jerk Chicken infused couple of days…it sought us out and lured us in, and we were only too content to savour the delights it had to offer.

Living in Brixton, you’d be hard pushed to not see a Jerk Chicken shop on very street corner. It is a big thing here, predominantly because of the large Caribbean community. As you wonder the alleys, the smell emanates from here, there and everywhere, and one is rarely disappointed with what they buy.

                               

(An example of the small stalls you might find in Brixton)

It was a chilled kinda weekend, realxing in the park. We picniced..blissfully. Nothing better really and it made me sad that, with a whirlwind summer, picnicing hadn’t taken more precedence. Alas, it may well have been the last of the summer! But it was divine.

Anyhoo. I digress. Jerk chicken is the subject matter of today..As well as picnicing, we went to Negril, a small and charming Craibbean restaurant, on the road towards Streatham. As we arrived, the place was quite full, and having had to book ahead, this was clearly a sign that the resataurant has become renowned, as well as regularly frequented by die-hard customers (we bumped into an old friend who has only just moved to Brixton, and this was already his fifth trip there, no less!)..There was a table occupied with about thirty guests, which just goes to show that this fun little haunt is great for any night out!

The kind waitress told us that the wait for our food might be a long one…the big table had only just ordered, so with eyes larger than our tummies, we went big. We went bold. And we asked if we could have some plantain chips to ‘tide us over’….mistake…amazingly good but mistake! We had ordered the platter..and we didn’t have to wait long at all..and it was LARGE! We had (yet more) plantain, rice and peas, chips (bit of a carb overload but oh-so-tasty), salted fish fritters, salad, coleslaw, sauces, lime mayonnaise, and the piece de resistance…the Jerk Chicken! It was awesome. Cooked to perfection. The exact balance of succulent chicken and crispy skin, and wicked flavours that were neither too strong, nor too need-to-put-loadsa-sauce-n-salt-on inducing..know what I mean? Anyway, needless to say, it would have been enough for four, even if we hadn’t been feasting all day, and we could barely manage half of it!…definitely weren’t too ashamed to ask for a doggy bag, and yes peeps, it did cut a fine next day lunch, food re-fried and experienced relived. Yeah.

We then had it again for supper the following day, but this time from Spicy Pearl – Spices of the Caribbean, opposite Hootenannies. I had a ‘small’ portion…it was plenty!…I think that Caribbeans are very generous. It was different but delicious as well and that at a picnic table, with good company and a Red Stripe to share, was the perfect last meal to the perfect weekend.

So..then I tried to recreate Jerk Chicked, and whilst the general consensus was that the rice was banging..I was sadly disappointed with the result of the chicken. I will admit now that I cheated. I bought a marinade, only becasue I didn’t have the time to make the marinade (the list of ingredients is lengthy..)..so I would hope that if I made it myself, it might have panned out better!! Alas, I didn’t, but I am sure there are plenty of marinades out there that will rock the dish. This one was just too salty. So, if any of you lot do know of a particular one, I’d be very grateful if you could share your secret!

Ingredients:

For the rice:

Basmati rice

Coconut milk

An onion

A chilli/chilli flakes

olive oil

stock

Method:

Sweat the chopped onion in two tablespoons of oil until it is soft and then add the chopped chilli. Add the tin of coconut milk and then 330g of rice. Stir and add 400mls of the stock of your choice (I used lambs, but it’s totally up to you!), Season with with salt and pepper and bring the boil. Now reduce the heat and gently simmer for 20 minutes. The rice will absorb the milk so make a lovely, sticky rice – delish!

The chicken:

Marinade or see recipe -

Chicken leg and thighs

Rub the marinade and preferably leave to infuse overnight. No worries if you are in arush though. Turn the oven on to 200 degrees and cook for 35-40 mins. The skin will come away lovely and crispy.

Now place the rice on a plate with the chicken alongside or on top. ENJOY!