What’s your top Christmas tip?
Enjoy cooking with love and family. While drinking…
What’s your failsafe Christmas dish that everyone loves?
It has to be pastelles and arepas. Both are made with cornmeal or masa harina. Pastelles are wrapped in banana leaves before being steamed while the arepas (also known to some people as empanadas) are shallow fried. They are both filled with beef, chicken, green lentils or firm fish such as king fish along with capers, raisins, olives and spices. They are easy but time consuming to make so it suits to turn it into a family party and get lots of people to help you make them. We eat the arepas in the morning along with smoked ham and picalalli made with mango.
What’s your drink recommendation?
We drink sorrel at Christmas, made from hibiscus flowers or fresh ginger beer, but the best drink around is punch a creme or ponche de creme. A Trini take on eggnog, this drink is rum based and really does pack a punch alcohol wise. A little twist of citrus,cloves and Angostura bitters stops it all being too rich.
What would be your worst Christmas meal?
Curry would be the worst. I love it any other time but it’s just not right for Christmas!
What do you eat or drink after over indulgence?
In my family the tradition after indulging is mint liqueur to settle the stomach and a little more punch a creme. We sit together as a family and listen to parang music which is traditional in Trinidad and has its roots in Venezuela. Every village has its own parang musicians who visit people’s homes on Christmas morning serenading them while people bring out food and drink to share. It isn’t Christmas in our house until we hear Daisy Voisin!
What is your favourite comfort food after Christmas?
I find it comforting to eat the leftovers from our Christmas festivities. These dishes are known in Trini Creole as macafouchette. They often involves pork or ham as both are essential to Christmas in Trinidad. We also love black cake and coconut ice cream from the pail as comfort food. Maybe a little fresh guava juice too…