Last weekend I knocked another item off my proverbial bucket list – ‘go to Notting Hill Carnival’. I know for a lot of Londoners the mere idea of attending may cause them to shudder (my boss’s words were ‘really? good luck’) but I absolutely loved it. It was nothing at all like I imagined, first and foremost because we completely missed the parade. We did see some drummers, Dan excitedly took it upon himself to join in by tapping one of the musician’s drums, which they were surprisingly cool about. We spent most of our time on Portobello Road amongst giant sound systems blaring out garage and house music, which is not something I usually listen to but I love pretty much any excuse to dance, so I went with it. Along with drinking dripping cans of Red Stripe from a dingy carrier bag and tiny tubs of vodka jelly at 2pm on a sunny Sunday afternoon, the day was full of things I don’t generally do.
We chose to go on Sunday, which is the ‘child friendly’ day (which would have me exclaiming ‘really? good luck!’ to anyone thinking of bring a small child – which many did), rather than the Monday, which is known slightly worryingly as ‘the stabby day’. Reading the news later, apparently it was unusually busy that day due to bad weather predicted on Monday. I was lucky, we didn’t see much trouble and stayed in the slightly less busy crowds. Some of our group got caught in a crush and were pushed down away from us in a wave of screaming people which sounded terrifying, and due to poor phone signal couldn’t find the rest of our party and ended leaving early.
^^ photo of the crowd by one of the people I went with – it was absolutely packed! ^^
One regret I have from the day is that I didn’t try out any of the plethora of food stands, which is very unlike me. I felt slightly cheated, but after reading several recipes and finding that quite a few are based around tomatoes (which I can’t eat) it was probably for the best. Like the other vegetarian dishes I have shared on here this summer (mexican baked eggs and sweet potato burgers) this recipe for vegan Jamaican curry uses black beans, which is funnily enough not something I use as frequently as it would seem. This is a great recipe for after work as it can be made in around thirty minutes, and can use what ever vegetables you have lurking in the bottom of your fridge. For example, I had three lone new potatoes, so I scaled down the quantity of sweet potato and subbed them in (I hate food waste). Depending on the brand of Jamaican spice you use (I used Tropical Sun) and personal taste you may want to add extra spice in the form of a chilli. I have also omitted salt and pepper from the recipe, as both were in the spice mix I used, so it’s worth checking the label before adding seasoning.
Previously on BAKE
serves four recipe by Jennifer Brown
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 onion diced
2x garlic cloves finely chopped
1 chilli finely chopped (optional)
thumb of ginger peeled and finely chopped
1 medium sweet potato (mine was 340g), peeled and cubed
500ml vegetable stock
½ tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp jerk seasoning
1 red pepper cubed
100g runner beans sliced
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup of your preferred rice (I always measure rice by cup)
75g frozen peas
handful of coriander
- Heat the oil in a pan to a medium-low heat, add the onion and sweat for 5 minutes until translucent.
- Add the garlic, chilli and ginger and fry for a further minute, stirring regularly to prevent it from sticking to the pan.
- Place the sweet potato in the pan and pour over the stock, stir through the jerk seasoning and cayenne pepper. Bring to a simmer, cook uncovered for 10 minutes.
- Whilst the sweet potato is cooking, boil the water for the rice. You want to start the rice cooking a couple of minutes before the timer reaches 10 minutes. Cook the rice as per the instructions.
- Here’s where I differ from how you should probably cook the rice, and how I will cook it because I will always try to find shortcuts in the kitchen. You should cook the peas in boiling water in a separate pan for a couple of minutes until they all begin to float to the surface. But that’s more washing up, so what I do is throw the peas in with the rice after about 5 minutes, then check the rice when the timer is up and if it needs it cook it for an extra minute or two. It’s always worked for me, but if you are unsure cook the peas separately.
- Roughly destem the coriander, hold the bunch in two hands and twist to break the coriander where the majority of the leaves start. Finely chop the stems, and put to one side. Reserve a small pile of leaves to decorate the curry and then roughly chop the rest.
- When the potato has been cooking for 10 minutes add the runner beans, black beans, shopped coriander stems and red pepper and cook for a further 10 minutes. You want to start trying to reduce the liquid slightly.
- When the rice is cooked, drain, and whilst still in the sieve pour a kettle of boiling water over it to remove any residual starch. Return to the pan and stir through the roughly chopped coriander leaves.
- Serve the rice and curry with a sprinkling of coriander leaves.