All posts by The Mustard Seed

About The Mustard Seed

I am a writer and poet who is interested in blogging.

Vegetarian Super Foods of the Caribbean ~ Part 3

Eddoes, Dasheen and Yams

Eddoe or Eddo is a tropical vegetable, a variety of Colocasia esculenta, closely related to taro (dasheen), that is primarily used for its thickened stems (corms).[1][2] It has smaller corms than taro, and in all but the best cultivars there is an acrid taste that requires careful cooking.[1] The young leaves can also be cooked and eaten, but (unlike taro) they have a somewhat acrid taste.[1]

Eddoes appear to have been developed as a crop in China and Japan and introduced from there to the West Indies where they are sometimes called “Chinese eddoes”.[1] They grow best in rich loam soil with good drainage, but they can be grown in poorer soil, in drier climates, and in cooler temperatures than Taro.[1]

Eddoes are also called malangas in Spanish-speaking areas, but that name is also used for other plants of the Araceae family, including tannia (Xanthosoma spp.).[1] Eddoe is known as arvi or arbi in Urdu and Hindi and kochur mukhi in Bangla languages in South Asia. And chembb or Chembu in Malayalam.

Eddoes make part of the generic classification cará or inhame of the Portuguese language that, aside taro, also includes root vegetables of the genera Alocasia and Dioscorea. They are the most commonly eaten inhames/carás in the states of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo, as well as surrounding regions of all.[3] They are also fairly common in Northeastern Brazil, where they might be called batata (literally “potato”), but less so than true yams of the genus Colocasia. According to Brazilian folk knowledge, the eddoes most appropriate to be cooked are those that are more deeply pink, or at least pinkish lavender, in the area where the leaves were cut. (Wiki)

Eddoes is one of my favourite ground provisions. Nutty and wild in flavour it is ideal served with a variety of accompaniments.

eddoes-steamed-under-pressure   eddoes1 ???????????????????????????????

Dasheen

Taro /ˈtɑr/ is a common name for the corms and tubers of several plants in the Araceae family. Of these, Colocasia esculenta is the most widely cultivated and the subject of this article. More specifically, this article describes the “dasheen” form of taro; another variety of taro is known as eddoe.

Taro is native to Southern India and Southeast Asia.[2] It is a perennial, tropical plant primarily grown as a root vegetable for its edible starchy corm, and as a leaf vegetable. It is a food staple in African, Oceanic and South Indian cultures and is believed to have been one of the earliest cultivated plants.[3] Colocasia is thought to have originated in the Indo-Malayan region, perhaps in eastern India and Bangladesh, and spread eastward into Southeast Asia, eastern Asia, and the Pacific islands; westward to Egypt and the eastern Mediterranean; and then southward and westward from there into East Africa and West Africa, whence it spread to the Caribbean and Americas. It is known by many local names and often referred to as “elephant ears” when grown as an ornamental plant. (Wiki)

dasheen   Yam

Above you can see a photo of what the dasheen plant looks like above ground and the tubers themselves. In this clip Chris from CarribeanPot shows us how to cook dasheen or taro.

Here is a typical dish of ground provisions, salted cod, plantain, dasheen bush spinackh and a johnny bake. Dasheen bush spinach are the leaves of the dasheen plant that grows above ground. It is used to make callaloo and can be fried with onions and peppers just as you would spinach to make a delicious accompaniment.

daddy breakfast

Here Chris shows you how to cook dasheen bush bhaji (Indian word for spinach)

Yams

Yams are widely used by many communities, African, Caribbean and soul-food cooking of the South in America. Here is a link to a variety of recipes that use yams to suit a variety of tastes. Be adventurous try our ground provisions. They make excellent meals and are a great carbohydrate supplement.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/yam

382580     molasses-yams

http://allrecipes.com/recipes/fruits-and-vegetables/vegetables/yams/

Enjoy these recipes from allrecipes…

 

 

 

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Vegetarian Super Foods Of the Caribbean 2

Cassava

File:Manihot esculenta - Köhler–s Medizinal-Pflanzen-090.jpg

Cassava (Manihot esculenta), is also called manioc, yuca, balinghoy, mogo, mandioca, kamoteng kahoy, tapioca-root (predominantly in India) and manioc root, a woody shrub of the Euphorbiaceae (spurge) family native to South America, is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy tuberous root, a major source of carbohydrates. It differs from the similarly spelled yucca, an unrelated fruit-bearing shrub in the Asparagaceae family. Cassava, when dried to a powdery (or pearly) extract, is called tapioca; its fermented, flaky version is named garri.

File:Manihot esculenta 001.jpg

Cassava is the third largest source of food carbohydrates in the tropics, after rice and maize.[1][2] Cassava is a major staple food in the developing world, providing a basic diet for over half a billion people.[3] It is one of the most drought tolerant crops, capable of growing on marginal soils. Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of cassava, while Thailand is the largest exporting country of dried cassava.

Cassava root is a good source of carbohydrates, but a poor source of protein. A diet consisting predominantly of cassava root can cause protein-energy malnutrition.[4]

Cassava is classified as sweet or bitter. Like other roots and tubers, cassava contains antinutritional factors and toxins.[5] It must be properly prepared before consumption. Improper preparation of cassava can leave enough residual cyanide to cause acute cyanide intoxication and goiters, and may even cause ataxia or partial paralysis.[6] Nevertheless, farmers often prefer the bitter varieties because they deter pests, animals, and thieves.[7] The more toxic varieties of cassava are a fall-back resource (a “food security crop”) in times of famine in some places. (WIKI)

trinidad-cassava-recipe-1  Cassava and Saltfish Pie

Above two photos of the traditional cassava and salt-fish buljol and cassava and salt-fish pie. Cassava is a melt in your mouth experience with a sweet, nutty flavour, and despite it’s “dark-side”, remains a safe carbohydrate source in many cultures. Traditionally prepared with fried salted cod or in a buljol which is a salted cod salad. It is also excellent in soups and can be served with meat and fish stews, however personally eaten hot with a knob of butter, is just heavenly! Cassava is also used in sweet dishes in the Caribbean, and similar dishes I have found in the Phillipines and Vietnam. In the Caribbean they are called pone, which is a cassava cake and pamee, a steamed cassava paste in a banana leaf.

cassava-pone-12  cassava-suman-recipe

Here are some wonderful new ways of serving cassava from Conde Nast:

http://parade.condenast.com/156299/ericadinho/10-sweet-and-savory-yuca-recipes/

Caribbeanpot provides two lovely recipes for you to enjoy!

Have a read:

http://caribbeanpot.com/tag/caribbean-cassava-recipes/

Next Yams and Eddoes….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegetarian Super Foods of the Caribbean 1

One of the best places in the world to be a vegetarian is in the Caribbean. The creole and indian kitchen has always been one of the primary sources of delicious tasting and healthy Caribbean food that is vegetarian, with fish or totally vegan. In recent times the Ital or Rastafarian cuisine has added new and refreshing ways to enjoy vegetarian food with the emphasis on power punches (drinks :-)) and meals rich in energy and flavour.

Provisions11

Ground provisions or “blue foods” as they are called on some islands are one of the most important components of a good creole plate. Here is a photo of some of them in their raw state, along with traditional accompaniments like green banana, plantains. These foods traditionally the staple of slaves is accredited with longevity and strength. They are high in fibre and are slow-releasing carbohydrates, very low in fat. Prepared traditionally in soups they are also served with rice, lentils, beans or callaloo and other vegetables as well as salted-fish (salt-cod), fish and meat.

cassava  GPPlate with Prawns

Ground provisions is the term used in West Indian nations to describe a number of traditional vegetable and fruit staples that are planted in the ground, such as yams and cassava. They are often cooked and served as a side dish in local cuisine. Caribbean recipes will often simply call for ground provisions rather than specify specific vegetables. (Wiki)

Here is some basic information on tubular/ root vegetables found in most caribbean and South American countries:

http://latinfood.about.com/od/latincaribbeancuisine101/a/Ground-Provisions.htm

The most well known of the ground provision is sweet potatoes, and possibly yam in some cultures. They are easily found today in many groceries and markets in UK, Canada and America, where large West Indian populations live.

As you can see below there are various kinds of sweet potato:

Sweet potato

http://www.saveur.com/article/Techniques/16-Shades-of-Sweet

Roasted, boiled, mashed, fried, the sweet potato is a wonderful staple dish that is a good alternative to rice and pasta.

Here is a beautiful winter warmer, or just a hearty lunch soup from Caribbeanpot:

Check out for more ideas:

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/sweet-potato

 

NEXT: CASSAVA

 

 

 

 

Carnival!

Today Monday and Tuesday, the two days before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent  is Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago.

In Trinidad & Tobago, Carnival is a festival season that lasts months and culminates in large celebrations in Port of Spain which is the capital of Trinidad, on the Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday with Dimanche Gras, J’ouvert, and Mas (masquerade). Tobago’s celebrations also culminates on Monday and Tuesday but on a much smaller scale in its capital Scarborough. Many people from various other Caribbean islands visit Trinbago (combination of Trinidad and Tobago) at this time to participate in the festivities as either reveler or spectator.

Trinidad & Tobago                  trinidad-carnival_Hart's ladies

Carnival is a festive time of costumes, dance, music, competitions, rum, and partying (also referred to as fete-ing). Music styles associated with Carnival include Soca, Calypso and Rapso (mixture of Rap and Calypso) and more recently Chutney-soca (Chutney and Soca combined).

The winners of Panorama Finals 2014 -Phase II Pan Groove:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10152285122800610&set=vb.377693645609&type=2&theater

The annual Carnival Steel Pan competition known as the National Panorama competition is held in the weeks preceding Carnival with the finals held on the Saturday before the main event. Pan players compete in various categories such as “Conventional Steel Band” or “Single Pan Band” by performing renditions of the current year’s calypsos. Preliminary judging of this event for “Conventional Steel Bands” has been recently moved to the individual pan yards where steel bands practice their selections for the competition.

“Dimanche Gras” takes place on the Sunday night before Ash Wednesday. Here the Calypso Monarch is chosen (after competition) and prize money and a vehicle bestowed. Also the King and Queen of the bands are crowned, where each band to parade costumes for the next two days submits a king and queen, from which an overall winner is chosen. These usually involve huge, complex, beautiful well-crafted costumes, that includes ‘wire-bending’.

Dimache Gras

J’ouvert, or “Dirty Mas”, takes place before dawn on the Monday (known as Carnival Monday) before Ash Wednesday. It means “”opening of the day”. Here revelers dress in mainly character costumes that make use of puns on current affairs, especially political and social. “Clean Mud” (clay mud), oil paint and body paint are usually familiar sights on one’s body during J’ouvert. A common character to be seen at this time is “Jab-jabs” (devils, blue, black or red) complete with pitchfork, pointed horns and tails. Here also, a King and Queen of J’ouvert are chosen, based on their representation of current political/social events/issues.

Carnival Monday involves the parade of the mas bands, but on a casual or relaxed scale. Usually revelers wear only parts of their costumes, and the purpose of the day is more one of fun than display or competition. Also on Carnival Monday, Monday Night Mas is popular in most towns and especially the capital, where smaller bands participate in competition. There is also the “Bomb Competition” which is a smaller-scaled judging of steel bands held on Ariapita Avenue (a popular “liming” area in the environs of Port-of-Spain).

Carnival Tuesday is when the main events of the Carnival take place. On this day full costume is worn, complete with make-up and body paint/adornment and other accessories. Usually “Mas Boots” that complement the costumes are worn and are also more comfortable for the feet on the long parade routes. Each band has their costume presentation based on a particular theme, and contain various sections (some consisting of thousands of revelers) thar reflect these themes. Here, the street parade and eventual crowning of the best designed band costumes take place.

Port-of-Spain-carnival-Trinidad-and-Tobago.Beautiful

After following a route where various judging points are located, the mas bands eventually converge on the Queen’s Park Savannah to pass on “The Stage” to be judged once and for all – this is usually the climax for revelers because the stage is literally their own to portray their costumes to the onlooking audience in the North and Grand Stands and also the video-photographers and other camera persons. Also taking place on this day is the crowning of the Road March King or Queen, where the singer of the most played song at judging sites over the two days of the Carnival is crowned winner, complete with prize money and usually a vehicle.

This parading and revelry goes on into the night of the Tuesday until midnight. Ash Wednesday itself, while not an official holiday, is marked by most by visiting the beaches that abound both in Trinidad and Tobago, the most populated being Maracas Beach and Manzanilla Beach, where huge beach parties take place every Ash Wednesday. These provide a cool down from the previous five days of hectic partying, parades and competitions, and are usually attended by the whole family.

Carnival West Indian Street Food at it’s best: Check out around the Queen’s Park Savannah:

Rum ~Liquid gold of the Caribbean II

These are some of the wonderful rums being produced in Trinidad and Tobago today.

1919angostura-1824-12-

These rums are best served neat, or on ice. Some very traditional Caribbean chasers are water, coca-cola, and coconut-water.

Rum1rumoniceRum-TAsting

Chasers:

Personally I love rum and coconut-water and if you haven’t tried it yet then I suggest you do. Getting fresh coconuts is difficult but you cannot replicate that taste in artificial drinks. In London this brand Vita Coco is the closest I found to good tasting coconut water, and can be bought at Morrisons.

coconut-water-2                                                 Coconut water

Rum Punch

One of the most delicious drinks is a rum punch. As Chris says you can play around with this recipe but let’s start with a traditional recipe. The most important ingredient is the rum and your choice of rum will determine the quality and taste of your rum punch.

Rum Punch ~ Putting it together…

This recipe is beautifully done as you can see they’ve used a St Croix rum. My only change would be to use Malibu insted of the coconut cream.

INGREDIENTS (Serves 4): 1.5 cups of rum, .5 cups of orange juice, 1.5 cups of pineapple juice, 3 tablespoons of cream of coconut, .5 cups of freshly squeezed lime juice, 1.5 cups of grenadine

[In this video, we DOUBLED all of the above to serve 8.]

INSTRUCTIONS: mix all ingredients except for grenadine. Pour a small amount of grenadine into a cup filled with ice. Add rum mix. Enjoy!

At Christmas time there is nothing more enjoyable than punche-creme or rum flavoured eggnog:

http://blog.seasonwithspice.com/2011/12/ceylon-cinnamon-nutmeg-eggnog-recipe.html

Enjoy these recipes!

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/trinidads-ponche-de-creme-punch-with-cream/

Rum~Liquid gold of the Caribbean I

Trinidad and Tobago Rum

“Drink a rum and a punche-crema, drink ah rum…”  Lord Kitchener

glass of Rum

Over the Carnival season in Trinidad and Tobago rum will be drunk by millions. Rum is an exquisite drink which is a byproduct taken directly from sugarcane juice, by a process of fermentation and distillation. The distillate, a clear liquid, is then usually aged in oak barrels. Rum can be referred to in Spanish by descriptors such as ron viejo (“old rum”) and ron añejo (“aged rum”).

The majority of the world’s rum production occurs in the Caribbean and Latin America. Rum is also produced in Austria, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Mexico, Hawaii, the Philippines, India, Reunion Island, Mauritius, South Africa, Taiwan, Japan, United States and Canada.

Light rums are commonly used in cocktails, whereas “golden” and “dark” rums were typically consumed individually (i.e., “straight” or “neat”) or used for cooking, but are now commonly consumed with mixers. Premium rums are also available, made to be consumed either straight or iced.

Rum plays a part in the culture of most islands of the West Indies as well as in the Canadian Maritimes and Newfoundland. This beverage has famous associations with the Royal Navy (where it was mixed with water or beer to make grog) and piracy (where it was consumed as bumbo). Rum has also served as a popular medium of economic exchange, used to help fund enterprises such as slavery, organized crime, and military insurgencies (e.g., the American Revolution and Australia’s Rum Rebellion).

See more about the Caroni Sugar Factory here:

CaroniSugar factory                                caroniRum

http://www.sugarheritagevillage.com/index.php

One of the first rums produced by this distillery was Old Oak. The rawest of rums is called Puncheon Rum:

Old Oak Rum                          Puncheon Rum

Puncheon rum (or puncheon) is a high proof heavy-type rum produced in Trinidad and Tobago. Three local brands, Forres Park, Caroni and Stallion produce bottles that are 75% alcohol by volume. The first puncheon rum is said to have been manufactured in 1627 by the makers of Caroni Puncheon Rum.[1] The first distillation of rum took place on the sugarcane plantations of the Caribbean in the 17th century.[2] Plantation slaves first discovered that molasses, a by-product of the sugar refining process, can be fermented into alcohol.

Approach with care!

Vat19 Rum

Two popular rums drunk in the Trinidad and Tobago either straight or with a chaser are Vat 19 white and gold. This is a mellow rum of good quality ideal for either drinking or cooking.

Vat19.whitefernandes-vat-19-rum-trinidad-435498

White rum is traditionally the rum used to make cocktails, but if you are using a chaser like coke or cocunut water then a dark rum is preferable. When making fruit cakes or creole cake for Christmas or a punche -crema/ egg -nog then a dark rum is the best choice.

Part II _ Recipes….

Roti ~ Love from Our Indian Community

Origins of Roti in Trinidad and Tobago:

Roti

Roti is generally an Indian bread, made from stoneground wholemeal flour, traditionally known as atta flour, that originated and is consumed in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. It is also consumed in parts of South Africa, the southern Caribbean, particularly in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Suriname, and Fiji. Its defining characteristic is that it is unleavened. Indian naan bread, by contrast, is a yeast-leavened bread. (Wiki)

Gary Rhodes Recipe for Roti:

Potato-roti6

http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/613962

Various types of roti, are integral to Indian and Pakistani cuisine.[2][3]

* Sada Roti: Similar to naan. It is cooked on a tava, therefore the bottom is not crisp like that of a naan. Because it is the easiest one to make, it is the most commonly consumed roti in Trinidad. It is a popular breakfast option in Trinidad, in combination with tomato choka, baigan choka (aubergine/eggplant/melongene), and other vegetable dishes.

* Paratha Roti: A roti made with butter, usually ghee. It is cooked on a tava. Oil is rubbed on both sides, then it is fried. This gives the roti a crisp outside. When it almost finished cooking, the cook begins to beat the roti while it is on the tava, causing it to crumble. It is also called ‘Buss-Up-Shut’ because it resembles a ‘burst up shirt’.

* Dosti Roti: A roti where two layers are rolled out together and cooked on the tava. It is also rubbed with oil while cooking. It is called dosti roti because the word dosti means friendship in Hindi. This type of roti is not made in Guyana.

* Dhalpuri: A roti with a stuffing of ground yellow split peas, cumin (geera), garlic, and pepper. The split peas are boiled until they are al dente and then ground in a mill. The cumin is toasted until black and also ground. The stuffing is pushed into the roti dough, and sealed. When rolled flat, the filling is distributed within the roti. It is cooked on the tava and rubbed with oil for ease of cooking. This is the most popular roti. Another version of this is aloopuri, which is made from potatoes.

Check out this wonderful device for making rotis!

Carnival and Street Food!

Carnival is just around the corner in Trinidad and Tobago and eating and drinking is a fun part of the experience. Most Trinis will be eating a veritable feast of treats, but most important will be a wide range of street food, like this corn soup being eaten below.

Have a read of the some of the dos and don’t of partaking in street food:

  

http://www.trinidadexpress.com/featured-news/Carnival_and_food_safety-113857444.html

Street Food- Doubles

One of the most popular and delicious street foods is doubles, a mouth-watering, more-ish vegetarian dish made from chickpeas and two fluffy puris. If it looks a holy mess, don’t be put off, the taste is divine…and you won’t stop at one!

  

The origins of this food began in Trinidad by the Deen family, Emamool Deen (a.k.a. Mamoodeen) and his wife Rasulan in 1936 in Princes Town. When Mamudeen started the business the products he sold were fried channa wrapped in cone-shaped packs. He diversified his product line soon after by adding boiled and fried chana, then curried channa with chutney. He then introduced a single bara with the curried channa. His customers would ask him to double the bara, hence the name “doubles” evolved and Deen’s Doubles became the pioneering brand.

As the demand for Deen’s Doubles increased, Mamoodeen employed his two brothers-in-law, Asgar Ali and Choate Ali to sell Deen’s Doubles in 1937. The Ali brothers launched their own Ali’s doubles brand in 1938. Asgar Ali chose San Fernando for his sales district and Naparima College in particular as his historical starting point. Choate Ali remained in Princes Town while Mamudeen expanded to San Juan and Port of Spain. (Read the rest on Wiki)

Recipes

If you are living abroad and craving a doubles here is a wonderful recipe to get you going.

http://www.food.com/recipe/trini-doubles-caribbean-fried-dough-and-chickpea-sandwiches-232226

Q: What’s your favourite street food and from what part of the world is it from?

Spices of the Caribbean I ~Pepper Sauce

Peppersorangeredgreenyellowblackhot

Ah feelin hot, hot, hot!!

One of the main ingredients to spicing up West Indian food is the pepper sauce. Here is a basic recipe to get you going. Remember peppers/ chillis are very hot so protect your hands, and do not rub eyes, face etc after handling peppers.

Here are some of the peppers of the Caribbean…

  • Scotch Bonnet

  • These peppers are used to flavour many different dishes and cuisines worldwide and are often used in hot sauces and condiments. The Scotch bonnet has a sweeter flavour and stouter shape, distinct from its habanero cousin with which it is often confused, and gives jerk dishes (pork/chicken) and other Caribbean dishes their unique flavour. Scotch bonnets are mostly used in West African, Grenadian, Trinidadian, Jamaican, Barbadian, Guyanese, Surinamese, Haitian and Caymanian cuisine and pepper sauces, though they often show up in other Caribbean recipes.
  • Fresh, ripe scotch bonnets change from green to colours ranging from yellow to scarlet red. Ripe peppers are prepared for cooking by those who cannot handle the sharp heat by cutting out the area around the seeds inside the fruit, which holds most of the heat. The seeds can be saved for cultivation or other culinary uses.
  • Scorpion Pepper

Image

  • The Trinidad Scorpion Butch T variety pepper was for a short amount of time ranked as the most pungent (“hot”) pepper in the world, according to Guinness World Records in 2011.[4][5] A laboratory test conducted in March 2011 measured a specimen of Scorpions at 1,463,700 Scoville heat units, officially ranking it the hottest pepper in the world at that time.[6] The pungency of a species of chili pepper can vary by up to a factor of 10 depending on the conditions under which the specimen grew. The secret to the heat, according to the creators, is fertilizing the soil with liquid runoff of a worm farm. According to the New Mexico State University‘s Chile Pepper Institute (the only international, non-profit scientific organization devoted to education and research related to Capsicum or chile peppers), the distinction of world’s most piquant pepper currently belongs to the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion.[7]
  • The Scorpions are so hot that, in order to cook with it, the pepper’s cultivators have to wear chemical masks and body suits, and reported feelings of numbness in their hands for more than two days afterwards. [8]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinidad_Scorpion_Butch_T_pepper

  • Bird Pepper

Red-and-green-chilies

Pequin (or Piquin) pepper (pronunciation: pee/puh-KEEN) is a hot chile pepper cultivar commonly used as a spice. Taxonomically, it is classified within variety glabriusculum of the species Capsicum annuum.[1]

  • Pequin has a compact habit growing typically 0.3–0.6 meters tall, with bright green, ovate leaves and small fruits that rarely exceed 2 cm in length. Like most chiles, fruits start out green, ripening to brilliant red at maturity. Pequin peppers are very hot, often 13–40 times hotter than jalapeños on the Scoville scale (100,000–140,000 units). Flavor is described as citrusy, smoky (if dried with wood smoke), and nutty.[2]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pequin_pepper

“One Book to Rule them All!”

http://www.uncommoncaribbean.com/2010/11/22/taste-of-the-caribbean-naparima-girls-h-s-cookbook-updated-revised-edition/

http://www.trinigourmet.com/index.php/the-naparima-girls-high-school-cookbook/

Whenever I speak to friends this cookbook comes up as a real definitive in Caribbean cooking. Read the post from Uncommon Caribbean …worth every penny!

Naparima Girls' High School Cookbook

What is your favourite Carribean cookbook and why?