Hannah Burton thumbs through the world recipes of Bloomsbury’s International Night, and finds herself upon Jamaican shores…
As a keen traveller and a real foodie, the latest cookbook from Bloomsbury, International Night, immediately caught my eye. Written by father and daughter duo Mark and Talia Kurlansky , this lovely book details their culinary journey around the world. One night a week in the Kurlansky home is International Night, when Mark and Talia cook up a storm recreating the best-loved recipes of a certain nation – they simply spin a globe and cook from wherever it stops.
The book is beautifully laid out, despite there being no photos, and the sheer variety of cuisine explored is enough to make this book popular with huge swathes of the foodie population. Why not dine in Peru one night, feasting on ceviche and a duck and yucca main course, then move on to the Philippines and some delicious pork adobo the next? With dishes like Mexican stuffed squash blossoms and Nicaraguan beef all in one book, there’s something to appeal to every appetite.
We jumped right in with the Jamaican jerk chicken. The recipe is straightforward and the ingredients were all easy to source, which makes a refreshing change from a lot of the cookery books on the market. One top tip is to use a food processor when Mark and Talia tell you to – ours was on the blink so we persevered without it, but I don’t think we quite nailed the method. The sticky paste that is supposed to coat the chicken was a bit too runny, not having been whipped up in the food processor, but the flavours were great anyway.
If you fancy spending a night in Jamaica, here’s the recipe for the jerk chicken, to be served with rice and peas:
1 Scotch bonnet pepper
4 sprigs organo
4 green onions
1 cup gold rum
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 garlic cloves
¼ cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon salt
5 turns of black pepper
6 chicken quarters
1. Use a food processor to purée the Scotch bonnet, oregano, green onions, rum, soy sauce, garlic, dark brown sugar, water, salt and pepper.
2. Rub the mixture on to the chicken, place it in Tupperware, then pour the remaining mixture over the top. Cover it and leave in for two nights in the fridge.
3. When you’re ready to start cooking, about two hours before you want to serve dinner, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the chicken for one hour, then let it stand for about 20 minutes. After it’s cooled, grill the chicken at the highest temperature possible on your grill until there are a few black marks on it.
4. Prepare the sides, pour a glass of fresh ginger beer, and tuck in.