The Jamaican motto is "out of many one people". This is because Jamaica is an island full of heritage, history, and people from various parts of the world. The same is true for the Jamaican cuisine which has influences from the Dutch, Chinese, Spanish, British, East Indian, West Africa, Portuguese and French . It is impossible not to be fascinated with the rich culinary choices of Jamaica.
From a early age I developed an interest and love for Jamaican food, especially the food prepared by my grans in the rural parishes of St Ann and Westmoreland. While growing up in Jamaica during summer holidays I was privileged to spend up to three months at a time with my grandparents. I learned to appreciation the meals made from humble ingredients which were either rared on our land or grown in the garden.
After living in the U K for some time and missing that home cooked Jamaican taste, I try to relive these memories by cooking meals using my granny's and mother's recipes. Sometimes I add my own twist to some popular dishes but mainly sticking to some firm and popular favourites such as jerk chicken, fish, pork and of course the national dish, ackee and saltfish.
In my supperclub I create authentic Jamaican meals within a warm, homely and friendly environment which is typical of the Jamaican people. My hope is that my enthusiasm and passion for this fascinating cuisine is reflected in the foods you eat at my events and that you will come away desiring this bountiful and flavorsome food long after you have left.
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15 Oct 12 by Going With My Gut
13 Jun 12 by Going With My Gut
28 May 12 by
Fabulous food, wonderful company.. but read on..
My first supper club. The words revolved around my mind as I gazed at my wardrobe considering what to wear. Of course something that gave at the waist without having to lean back in my hosts chair and undo a belt buckle amidst total strangers! A top that looked nice, comfortable and probably wouldn't mind ruining should I over salivate and drool down it, or throw food down myself. Well, we've all been there - I just never grew out of that toddler stage :(
Once satisfied with one's clobber I set off to SE16 feeling confident in my timing and feeling damn hungry too.
Promptly I arrived at Lisa's abode. A lovely smiling face greeted me as I inquired if it was Lisa, which it was, but not the right one. I was told Lisa was in the kitchen. Walking into the lovely calming influence of a warmly decorated apartment, I sunk into a sofa gazing longingly at the beautifully decorated dining table softly lit by candles and thought "thank God for the mellow tunes, my stomach is making a richter scale nervous".
Somebody else popped out of the kitchen. "Lisa"? No, Lisa was in the kitchen. I was offered a warm sorrel drink or a lime and ginger cooler. I went for the latter and was given the opportunity to dilute with water to alter to my taste buds. I only added the water to see if it was as delicious with more water, or less. The heat of the ginger, the sharpness of the lime, gave the sugar a run for its money. I have to resort to a word I am not keen on, but it was "moreish"
Other diners turned up shortly after. Most of us virgins!
Lisa, our host, appeared from the kitchen smiling broadly, looking calm and greeted us all warmly, with ease and comfort offering us our first nibble of the evening. Ackee and saltfish served in won ton's.
Ackee resembling the texture of lightly fluffed scambled egg alongside the shredded saltfish with a tad of spice fused onto my tongue with the unexpected twist of won ton crunching alongside. "oh yum" I think I said aloud...
We were offered a seat at the dining table and talked amongst ourselves with ease.
Then the calloo and cabbage with prawns was brought onto the table by Lisa giving us some background about the ingredient. This was partnered by breadfruit, sweet potato thinly sliced and lightly fried – or baked - I am not sure, as it was beautifully crisp and not at all oily. Ackee and saltfish, calloo/cabbage and prawns scooped onto the breadfruit (a carbohydrate fruit, but veg like) sandwiched with the sweet potato crisp was a combination I did not want to leave. However, the words "pace yourself girl" sprung to mind.
Lisa appeared from the kitchen with a large server of Guava jerk chicken that had been marinating in her own home made jerk seasoning. Some of the ingredients brought back from Jamaica during her recent trip. Lisa disappeared again to return shortly with a large jar of that marvellous jerk seasoning where we were all offered to take in its aroma. This stuff needs to be sold online! Its combination of scotch bonnet and assorted spices, secret recipes and richness left me like a small child with a turned down bottom lip and outstretched hands saying “want”!
As if Lisa heard me, out she popped from the bottomless kitchen again with jerk pork accompanied with a warm jerk dressing on the side. “Pace yourself girl”! To accompany all this, was a pineapple salad sharpened with sourness and sweetness that clung to the pork like its mate for life. Marriage made in heaven.
At the same time the rice and peas were being ladled onto my plate by my very own hand. Lisa explaining how she cooked this, why it was made with pigeon beans rather than kidney beans. I can’t tell you why the difference as I was lost in the lightness of the rice, the al dente bite of the pigeon beans and the ‘without fail, that is real coconut milk, not tinned stuff”. A little bit of that, a little bit of jerk pork, some pineapple salad and jerk sauce carefully scooped onto my fork and lost onto my palate in paradise. I managed that action many times with the same result.
I consumed this food and engaged in a variety of subject matter with my wonderful and interesting co-diners.
Amongst this excellent food and company, Lisa appeared engaging with us, explaining historical elements of food, preparation and challenges. At all times, I got the impression she enjoyed cooking and feeding people. If I wasn’t so absorbed, I would have thrown flower petals at her feet!
Escovitch fish. Fried sea bream with a vegetable accompaniment that had been pickled in Jamaican cane vinegar.
The fish was served without a tear drop of oil, beautifully crisp outer coating and moist flesh. The flesh fell effortlessly off the bone. I combined it with the pickled veg and the world stopped for a short while, my upper arms got goosebumps as I slowly allowed this combination of textures and flavours assault my taste buds in the most delicious way.
I miss it now, writing this… my mouth waters…
Thereafter, desserts were presented together. A plate of banana fritters that I kept going back to, served alongside a rice pudding brulee where Lisa told me to “crack the top, don’t worry, make as much mess as you like” So I did.. The hardness of the sugar top and softness of the rice pudding was set off with reggae hot chocolate. I then imbibed in more banana fritter, taking a bit of this, a bit of that and a slurp of hot choccie.
Throughout this dinner, the conversation flowed. The food almost took on a physical representation of our topics. Beautiful, sad, spicy, funny, unusual, enlightening, inspirational and so much more.
If you get the chance to go to Lisa’s kitchen just for the food and Lisa, you will not be disappointed, very far from it. If you are gifted with the same dining companions with me last night, you’ll leave with not just a big smile, but a sense of contentment.
This is what dining together is all about..
Fabulous food and wonderful company.
Thank you Lisa. You have skills girl!
Thanks to my companions – you know who you were. x
The smell of fish, rice and fragnant spices caught us in the corridor as we walked towards Lisa's door. We knew we were up for a treat. Especially since two of the other guest then confessed to being second-timers. Score!
Lisa doesn't do anything by half, and no one was going to go hungry that night. We were started off with a delicious lime ginger drink, which bit the palate with its refreshing pungency, and to which white rum was optionally added by simply passing the bottle around.
The food then started coming thick and fast - bowlfuls of ackee and saltfish, with home fried breadfruit chips, the slight sweetness and starchiness of the breadfruit cutting through the saltiness and making this a very morish "starter".
Next, came prawn and saltfish fritters, which were more like fried dumplings to me, the batter delicious and crisp, and not too oily.
There were 3 mains. Yes, 3, because one is just not satisfactory. A large dish containing fried seabream, its skin browned crisp and enticing, served with a chilli vinaigrette that packed not a punch, but certainly a light smack, and pumpkin rice. The fish was soft, flaky and satisfying and the skin, as predicted, coveted by all.
Second main was a chicken curry, cooked Jamaican style with carrots and spaetzle - boiled dumplings that slightly soak whatever sauce they're sitting in and move a dish from 'oh, ok' to 'oh, ok!!!'.
Finally, and to me - and several others - the highlight of the meal, jerk pork. Now this wasn't just casually grilled or roasted. No. Its brilliance i think was that it was apparently first pressure cooked. There was no question about tenderness, this meat was melt-in-the-mouth goo-ooo-ood. The pork was good enough by itself, but the awesomeness was taken to the next level by a sauce that combined jerkness, bbqness and spice so perfectly, it must to be bottled and sold post-haste. And to give it all a final push toward heavenly, it was also served with a cucumber and mango tangy salad, cutting through any fattiness and heaviness that is inevitable with good pork belly.
Satiated and slightly self-loathing, we all sat around moaning as we were informed there were 3 desserts to come...
There was a hominy corn and coconut milk creme brule, with a brittle sugary shell-like topping and starchy pearls of joy inside, all nutmegy and warm. Banana fritters which i've never had before and fell in love with - the batter was not the usual heavy doughnut type, there was something wholemeal and malty about it that really made it special.
Here too there was a highlight - a hot chocolate drink made with raw chocolate which rocked all our worlds, served with a optional splash of flavoured baileys. I opted for banana, as my brain still savoured the fond taste memory of the fritters, and i was not sorry. There's nothing i could say here that would adequately convey the experience, you simply need to try it.
Getting home was not easy, but the love and care with which Lisa prepares her food, her attention to every aspect of each dish and her generosity reverberated within us and carried us there.
I have had a lot of Jamaican food here in London and its very rare that I find anything that is worth writing about. I attended Lisa's Jamaican summer feast and I was in for a real treat. The service, setting and the food was faultless. It was clear that Lisa is passionate about cooking. The food was authentic and reminded me of being back home in Jamaica in my mother's kitchen. I would recommend Lisa's Jamaican Supper club to anyone who wants a real taste of authentic Jamaican food. I will certainly be going again.
I have never been to a supper club before and the idea of secret dining was quite enticing. However I was unsure what to expect. I was blown away by how professional everything was. From the greeting to the table setting and the general ambience, everything was just PERFECT!! The food left me speechless for once. We started with ackee and salt fish served up with breadfruit chips which was a perfect companion for the ackee and salt fish. There was also Jamaican bread which was good a match with the ackee. This was followed by a savory pumpkin fritters which I really enjoyed.
The main dishes were stew peas served with rice. I'm salivating while typing this and my tummy growls with the memory of the oxtail and red kidney beans melting in my mouth. Next on the menu was a kind of prawn and cabbage curry dish cooked in fresh coconut. This went down well with the white rice which apparently was just plain basmati rice but even this was cooked to perfection and tasted amazing. OMG!! Then there was the guava Jerk chicken. In a statement? “Tantalizingly more-ish” I have had jerk chicken before but not guava jerk chicken. There was just enough spice to compliment the sweetness of the guava and the chicken was moist on the inside and crispy on the outside.teh flavors and textures went together perfectly. At one point there was a hush around the room except for the clutter of knives and forks on plate. I looked around only to see that the other guests were enjoying the food as much as I was
Just before pudding was served we were invited for a quick drink by the riverside terrace and the view of Canary Wharf after dark was just breath taking. This just topped what was already a perfect evening but there was more to come. After about 20 minutes of chatting and just enjoying the view we went back upstairs where a trio of puddings awaited us. First there was the corn brulee which left my taste buds begging for more. This was followed by the most delicious ripe banana fritters I have ever eaten. Finally there was the reggae hot chocolate. By now I was so full I didn’t think I could have another morsel but when I smelled the hot chocolate I could not resist. Hot chocolate was personalized with different flavored Jamaican rum cream and each guest got to choose their own flavor we all thought this was pretty cool. I chose the banana flavor and man oh man was it good. I had to resist asking for more as by then I felt I would need help getting home from how full I was.
I am still surprised that I could find such wonderful, well cooked and authentic Caribbean food in London. All in all the best Jamaican food I have ever had. Lisa and her assistant were so accommodating and the attention to detail was impeccable. In the end I felt like I was truly dining in the comfort of a home where the passion and love can be felt in the food served. Well done Lisa. I cannot wait for your next supper.
it was a wonderful evening the food was fabulous.the atmosphere is enjoyable and the FOOD was delicious cant wait for the next one Lisa is a brilliant host and explain all the food in detail well done to you Lisa.
An amazing evening of mouth watering food! the perishables just kept coming out, it was endless and worth every single penny - the value and quality just excelled!! The hospitality of the host 'Lisa' was infectious and you really felt like you were being fed by a family member.
The energy in the room was immense, everyone was engaged in conversation and everyone were impressed with the selection of food and drink.
And the drinks - my my my - Lisa's 'rum punch, pineapple punch, ginger and lemon juice'.......everything was just divine.
I was truly gutted that I was unable to eat desert, merely because I was too full and couldn't possible consume another morsel. I woke up wishing I had but I shall return.
Lisa, well done on an incredible evening and we shall be returning.....in force.
the food was wonderful everything was beatifully created well presented and tasted superb
Wow, sums up the whole evening! from start to finish it was a perfect meal & venue. The courses kept coming & it was all so yummy you could not refuse. The hot chocolate was fabulous. Thank you Lisa & all your assistants for making it a lovely evening. I look forward to the next.
This was my first supperclub experience and it will definitely be one to remember. Thanks to beautiful weather, we had our dinner by the river while the jerk chicken and pork belly ( which was a surprise addition to the menu) bbqed. The food was delicious and very authentic. Oxtail stew, goat curry and lemon rum cake were my favorites. We finished off with Jamaican hot chocolate which was very yummy, After eating non stop for 2.5 hours, we were all extremely full! I will definitely go back to eat more of Lisa's food! Thanks Lisa!
it was just fabulous, the food, the people Lisa and everyone else made us feel welcome.
The fabulous set up on the river..
it was amazing!