Clive Caines CaribDirect

Clive Caines Cultural Contributor

Health news. Like it or not we are in the season of hearts and flowers and with it comes the level of spending that would kick-start a flat-lining economy. In the US

Valentines day is worth billion to the US economy and in the UK at least £1 billion. If romance isn’t dead then it might be fair enough to say that it is the retailers who have refused to let die a natural death.

My take on Valentines day may be slightly cynical but I have to recognise the retailer’s example points to the fact that if you want the heart to survive then you need to pay it some attention. Maybe you’re willing to not rely on a card to do the legwork in trying to get someone to like you but why not take a more radical approach: work on your own heart.

By working on your heart I don’t necessarily mean spending hours in a gym working on getting a six-pack to at least give the appearance of being really fit. In any case no amount of physical activity will be truly beneficial without eating the right foods so what better way to looking after your heart than eating well.

In my latest feature on healthy eating I want to look at the types of foods that are good for the heart and the types of Caribbean recipes that they’ve featured in. On my list of foods that are good for the heart are salmon, avocado, kidney beans, tuna, and sweet potato

 

Caribbean recipe for green fig (banana) with salmon.

Avacado

Here’s another video from the Caribbeanpot, which means that you know the standard that you’re going to get in terms of production values: clear sound, good visuals and engaging presentation style.

In the sourcing of the ingredients there’s nothing here that should present any difficulty but given that I’ve never seen green bananas in the major supermarkets you’ll probably have to source them in a specialist shop. What’s more if you’ve never bought green bananas before you want to be talking to someone who knows the difference between green bananas and plantain.

My only reservation with this dish is that tinned salmon is used, I’d recommend that fresh salmon is used unless you really can’t get hold of it.

On the whole this is a one-pot dish, which means that the actual cooking process will not be too challenging.

 

How To Make Jerk Pork, Caribbean Salsa, Rice & Beans

This video provides a little more than I was originally looking for with an interesting combination of dishes that proves you don’t just have your rice and peas with chicken. I’m also taken with the high level production values on display in regards to the lighting, camera work and sound.

The presenter’s style is playful but she has a lot of interesting things to say about Caribbean cookery and how to mix things up a little. It would have been nice however to see straight into camera shots to create the feeling that you’re being directly spoken to.

The ingredients for all three dishes are things that you can find in any of the major supermarkets and most definitely reflect a UK approach to Caribbean cooking.

Watching the presenter cook, from a trained chef perspective, makes me think that she’s not the most experienced cook on the planet. There are some knife techniques on display that I would definitely not recommend but what all of that points to is that you don’t need to be highly skilled to produce what looks like three tasty dishes.

 

Breadfruit Basket with Tuna Salad – Grace Foods Creative

Like the Caribbeanpot videos you know the quality that you are going to get when you’re looking at cooking videos from a well established production team. Grace Foods are most certainly a well established name and with it comes videos of good quality through, well thought out camera shots, good sound levels and in this case a presenter working with a guest chef.

It’s good to see all of the ingredients prepare and set out ready for cooking so if you are not clear on what everything is you at least know what it looks like, it also gives you a good idea of how long it will take to prepare this dish. According to the chef the whole thing is easy to do and works as one of those dishes that you can put together when you come home tired from a hard day’s work and want something quick and easy to prepare.

Sweet Potato

Sweet Potato and Pumpkin – Caribbean Cooking

Where the Grace Foods video comes with a degree of slickness this video is at the other end of the scale with its back home feel. In many ways the fact that this video looks like it’s been put together by a friendly mother who just wants to pass on her skills gives the video its charms.

Though I’ve said it often enough but with only two principle ingredients this dish is really simple to shop for and simple to prepare. The last thing that I’ll say about this dish is that of all the recipes featured. This has to be the healthiest for the heart, as it contains no fat in the cooking process.

 

Lean beef

Jamaican Curry Beef

The presentation style of this video is so simple that it’s not just about visuals, graphics and music.

The cooking method involves a 12 hour marinate, which I personally think is a classic approach to Caribbean cooking but does mean you ain’t going to eat this dish in a hurry. Again the ingredients are shown ready prepared confirming that there’s nothing to worry about in the sourcing and preparation.

I have to say that while the use of lean beef is good for the heart the amount of oil used isn’t, so you might want to simply lightly coat your cooking pan.