Goodies for your Dinner Table this Christmas

 

Along with wrapping and unwrapping gifts, singing and listening Christmas carols and the cool weather, Christmas also grants us the opportunity to bond with family members. What better way to bond than with laughter around a table filled with food. Like Virginia Wolf said, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” So here a few goodies that you can add to your recipe this Christmas.

  • Honey Glazed Ham – Adding ham to the menu has been a Christmas tradition all over the world for years. It is great for slicing and serving to a large crowd. The meat is glazed with thick caramel and spiced with seasons of choice. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Gungo Rice and Peas – This Jamaican tradition Christmas gift is one that just have to be added to the table. It is similar to the Sunday favourite, rice and red peas but in this case the red peas is substituted for the gungo peas. Its flavour is enriched with rich coconut milk, scallion and thyme, salt and sometimes includes a “tups” of sugar. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Stewed Oxtail and Beans – This is a slow cooked thick and savoury meal with bean, potatoes to add heart to it. It is seasoned with onions, pepper, garlic, scallion, thyme, pepper and Jamaican powder seasonings such as paprika, all-purpose, etc. It is cooked over medium heat in vegetable oil and combined ingredients. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Chicken – Chicken is Jamaicans favourite poultry. You can bake it, fry it, sautee it, stir-fry it, jerk it, barbecue it, barbi-fry it, Stroganoff it, Parmesan it…and the list could go on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Christmas Cake – The Jamaica Christmas celebration is not complete without its Christmas fruit cake. Jamaica Fruit Cake or Jamaica Black Cake is a spiced fruit cake. Traditionally the fruit in Jamaica Fruit Cake is soaked in Red Wine and Rum 6 months or earlier depends on the baker. It is usually served with Sorrel Drink.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Sorrel Drink – Sorrel is the most popular Jamaican holiday drink during the Christmas and New Year season. The hibiscus sabdariffa flowers, known as sorrel in Jamaica, are harvested in late November to early December. The dried flowers are used to make the drink. The drink has many health benefits including, controlling high cholesterol levels, managing high blood pressure, enhancing the functions of the liver and a high source of Vitamin C. It has now become a year-round drink in Jamaica and the Caribbean.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas in Jamaica!

 

Happiness, gifts, carols, snow, mistletoe. These are some of the terms usually associated with Christmas. Despite not having snow in Jamaica, like many countries, Christmas is the last month of the year when family and friends celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. However, like many other things, Jamaica adds its own uniqueness to this celebration. When traveling the Jamaican streets and visiting communities, signs normally associated with this special celebration are freshly painted houses, pepper lights that twinkle like stars at night, trimmed Christmas Trees, Christmas carols blasting from loudspeakers and market places that are packed with people buying new clothes, shoes, curtains, sheets, etc. Anticipation for this celebration usually starts in September and heightens in November with Christmas breeze cooling the mornings and balmy evenings. 

 

Gran’ Market

 

Before the big day, there is what is called Gran’ Market. This event is held in every major towns and cities across the island on Christmas Eve and continues into the early hours of Christmas Day. As its name suggests, it is a grand affair that brings buyers and shoppers together for last minutes shopping. During the day between 12:00 and 6:00 is the most exciting part, especially for children. They are given the chance to enjoy games such as merry-go-rounds, bounce-about, train-rides, riding the bull and many others.  

Around 6:00 the evening part of Grand market starts. During this time music is played, houses are beautifully lit with pepper lights and people are either busy dancing, shopping or simply walking around with friends. There are also normally street vendors who sell food such as jerk chicken, boiled corn, fish, beverages, and sweets like cotton candy. 

 

Christmas Day!

Following Grand Market is Christmas day! The day starts off with breakfast which usually includes ackee and saltfish with either bread or roasted breadfruit and sometimes consists of boiled banana, fried plantain, a glass of sorrel drink and chocolate tea. The sorrel drink, also known as red tea, Roselle or Sudanese tea is made from the Jamaican sorrel plant, a member of the hibiscus family. It is often made in advance before Christmas day. To make the drink, boiled water is poured over the sorrel, grated ginger, cloves, and pimento. After cooling it is sweetened with sugar and flavoured with rum or wine.  

Dinner is usually served in the afternoon and often includes baked turkey, chicken, curried goat, stewed oxtail, pot-roasted pork and rice, and peas. 

After dinner Christmas fruit cake is served. This is prepared by soaking the fruits for the cake in white rum and red wine months before Christmas. In many families, baking pudding or Christmas fruit cake is a whole day family activity. The children are tasked with washing mixing bowls and preparing utensils while the adults cream the sugar and butter for the batter. These cakes are also often given as gifts to friends or neighbours. 

 

Gift Exchanges

Christmas is the festive season for giving. Parents reward their children with the latest gadgets, books and toys and co-workers surprise their “office pixie” at Christmas Parties. Gifts are also distributed to the more vulnerable groups in communities and state-run institutions. 

 

Boxing Day

Boxing Day, which follows Christmas Day got its name from the tradition of tradesmen receiving gifts in boxes (a “Christmas Box”) from their employers for a year’s work well done. Boxing Day is also linked to an older English tradition in which servants who had to keep working in their masters’ household throughout Christmas Day would be allowed to visit their families, on the day after Christmas. The mistress of the house would give each servant a box with leftovers from the household’s Christmas Dinner and items of clothing from the annual pruning of the household’s wardrobes. The workers, therefore, always looked forward to Boxing Day, since this was when they could take home that box of gifts.

Today, Boxing Day is better known as a public holiday and unlike in the US it is a very quiet day in Jamaica. In many families, it is the day used to visit other friends and relatives since Christmas day is often reserved for closer family members. Many also often flock to the beaches.

 

New Year’s Eve

 

New Year’s Eve in Jamaica is chocked full of parties and events across the island. It is not only a time for celebration but also a time for reflection. Jamaica affords you the option to either spend time dancing with DJs on beaches or in villas or gathered with the community to attend a Watch Night Service at church. One of the island’s most popular events is the New Year Fireworks on Waterfront, Down Town Kingston where artistes are invited to perform. It features a kiddies village, a massive craft vendors’ arcade and other entertainments such as dancing competitions on stage.  At midnight, following a countdown, fireworks are displayed.

THE KING OF REGGAE – BOB MARLEY

Today, the distinguished reggae artist , the Hon. Robert Nesta Marley, popularly known as Bob Marley is regarded as one of the most talented musical legend of all times. With his passion for music and creativity the legend charted his own course in the music industry as a unique songwriter, singer and performer. He is regarded and accepted world wide as the “King of Reggae” and has successfully transcended three Jamaican genres from 1960 through to the 1980s. These include Rock Steady, Ska and Reggae. 

Marley’s passion for music was reflected in his performance on stage with swaying long locs, sometimes closed eyes and beautiful heart felt melodies. His passion often instilled excitement in audience as he rocked stages and his guitar with the very beat from his soul. Marley’s music was filled with his philosophy with emphasis primarily placed on love, peace, equality and his spirituality. His passion played a huge part in its popularity then and today world wide with many still listening to his music in places such as Europe, America, African and the Caribbean. 

 

Marley’s commitment to Rastafarianism and his views on social issues were the cornerstone of his music. One of his most popular song today is “One Love” which was voted the best song of the 20th century. It speaks to the hope of world peace and his position on equality of all races, classes and ethnicity. These are especially depicted in the track “War”. Songs such as “Rastaman Vibration” and  “Jah Live” on the other hand, reinforces his religious beliefs. 

His album, “Exodus” (1977) was also voted the greatest album of the century by the US based, Times Magazine, one of his greatest achievements. 

He was awarded Jamaica’s third highest honour in 1981, the Order of Merit, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the Jamaican culture. Along with this, he also received an official funeral from the Jamaican Government following his death in 1981. His contribution to the Reggae music has always made way for the celebration of Reggae Month observed on February of every year. 

Memories of the legend has also been preserved at the Bob Marley museum which is located on the musician’s home which he purchased in 1975. Converted into a museum by his wife, Rita Marley, the home displays Marley’s personal treasures. It features a theatre, a gallery and photo and gift shops with a wide array of of Bob Marley’s memorabilia. It also boast a cafe called “One Love Cafe”  which provides  meals and beverages after tours which gives a peak into the life of the musical legend. 

Today the songs of the “King of Reggae” remains on the playlists of many people worldwide. He has in fact recently been featured on The Release, one of the Caribbean International Network’s (CIN) most popular program. His songs are used as example for many artists who would like to be successful in the musical industry  such as popular Jamaican Reggae artist Chronixx. He remains the icon for many today. 

Cockpit Country – Will Mining Threaten Natural Resources?

For the past months bauxite mining in the cockpit country has been at the top of debate lists.  While some people are concerned about the environmental issues mining on the land might cause, others are considering the monetary benefits Jamaicans might get from mining in the country. 

Those against mining in the country are community members and environmentalists. One such environmentalist is Esther Figueroa.

“Digging up for bauxite is insane and suicidal. Mr Prime Minister, are you going to bring out the police and soldiers to kill your people when we stand against mining? Withdraw the Mining Lease 173 immediately”, said Figueroa. 

Persons have also highlighted the lack of resources in other areas that can be found in the cockpit country. Such resources include water, animals, herbal plants and trees that provide food to members of the community and the country on a whole. 

According to Dr David Smith, Coordinator, Sustainable Development Unit – University of the West Indies, Mona water is now one of the main resources that the government has been having problems providing and bauxite mining in the cockpit country might worsen this situation. 

“There are two places in Jamaica with resources found nowhere else in the world. I speak of the Blue Mountains and the Cockpit Country. A key resource is water. Scientists have not been able to find a substitute for water. Every hotel in western Jamaica use water which originates in the Cockpit Country. The electricity from the Rio Bueno Jamaica Public Service Plant depends on water generated from the Cockpit Country. Bauxite is a finite ore when that is over, what is next? There is a Mining Act of 1947 which is in desperate need of being brought into the 21st Century,” said Smith. 

While mining in the cockpit country could contribute immensely to Jamaica’s revenue, it is extremely important for the government who has 51% of the majority shares in the Noranda Bauxite Company while the remaining 49% are private of shares to think long term as it relates to how Jamaica will benefit. Climate Change has been a huge issue which many countries have been fighting to deal with and mining in the cockpit country would only add to the already existing environmental issues.  The land, forests, plants and animals in the country provides people with clean air, cool temperatures, fresh water, pollination and pest control for agriculture, medicinal plants and many fertile soils. These all contribute to troubleshooting climate change. 

BIG VOICE BEHIND THE SMALL FRAME – KOFFEE

“Likkle but Tallawah”, this is the description used by many Jamaicans to describe the talented, Mikayla “Koffee” Simpson who has not allowed her 5’0 height nor her modesty to stop her from devouring as much as she possibly can in the music industry. She describes herself as a “sing-jay guitarist”. She explained that she was raised in Spanish town single -handed by her mother following her father’s travel to the United States. “Mummy struggled so I didn’t have to,” said Koffee. Her mother was an occasion actress who also worked for the Ministry of Health and often gives sex education and body positivity talks to young people. She was given the name “Koffee” after ordering coffee on a very hot day whilst everybody else was ordering soda. Her musical life initially started after joining a church choir at the age of 12. She was later inspired by artist Protoje and began writing her lyrics starting with shorter ones.

Koffee’s followers started growing in 2016 after entering an audition for her school’s talent show – and won.

“They had a show in the cafeteria one day and people were going up to perform poems and songs. My friends encouraged me to go up and perform so I did and the place loved it. I had no idea it was an audition until my name got called over the intercom.”

Her followers grew even more after releasing “Burning” in 2017 – a version of Upsetta Records’ Ouji Riddim made popular by Jamaican legends Busy Signal and Luciano. The track features a hypnotic chorus and today remains one of Jamaicans favourite.

 

Koffee and one of Jamaica’s most popular artists, Chronixx

 

Burning came from a disappointing experience,” remembers Koffee. “I applied for 6th Form but I didn’t get in and I felt really disappointed by that. So Burning was an inspiration to myself, to push myself forward to say, ‘You can’t let this out your flame’. Literally it was me parking a fire within myself to go forward and excel in something else, because education didn’t look like it was working out. I say ‘Me have a burning sound, me a burn the city down’; I meant, like, lighting a fire in Kingston, bringing that energy.”

Her talent has been recognized by many popular and talented musicians such as Coco Tea who brought her onstage at Rebel Salute; her mentor Protoje who has allowed her to perform with him on many occasions, Chronixx, one of the world’s most popular superstar who invited her to join him on Seani B and Mistajam’s recent 1Xtra shows broadcast from Big Yard. Today, the young artist continues producing hit songs which includes “Toast”, “Throne”, and “Raggamuffin”, one of her most popular songs, “Paradise”, “Pass By” and many more.

Paul O Beale’s Legacy lives-on on CINTV

Written by: Leonard McKenzie 

Paul O Beale

 

CIN pays tribute to one of Jamaica’s unrivaled playwrights and screenwriters Paul. O Beale.

Paul helped to propel the CIN platform to Jamaicans living abroad especially in the N.Y. metropolitan area with gut-busting laughter from two of his top rated theatrical comedy plays, the sidesplitting Granny Rules and the eccentric Shabbada. 

CIN in paying tributes, thank Paul for his body of work in the entertainment industry by creating laughter through the arts.

 

Characters created by Paule O Beale

 

Delcita
Shebada

 

 

Must Visit Scenes in Jamaica!

YS Falls

Located on the South end of Jamaica, St. Elizabeth, is one of Jamaica’s most beautiful scenery, YS Falls. The fall is perched on a working cattle ranch and thoroughbred horse farm. There are approximately seven falls on the land, most of which cascade into pools. Though cold, its water is refreshing. The fall’s scenery is a unique beauty and is the favourite place of many nature lovers. On entering the falls property one would be astounded by its beautiful mountain views, lush fields with horses and the calming sound of the gorgeous river. A tractor is used as transportation to this beautiful scene with tour guides who are happy to take as many pictures as one would like. You can also exploit the full usage of zip lines and ropes to add fun to your adventure. In addition to this, there is the climbing of the fall and if you’re too scared to climb the rocks, there are ladders that you can take full advantage of.

Martha Brae

Rafting on Martha Brae is the number 1 rafting attraction. It is located approximately three miles inland from the birthplace of Falmouth, 20 miles from Montego Bay and 40 miles from Ocho Rios. It is a recreational facility that includes picnic grounds, a service bar, souvenir shops, swimming pools, and modern restrooms. Persons are provided the source of on all-round tour on thirty-foot long bamboo rafts over a three miles stretch of the lovely Martha Brae River for an hour. However, before embarking on this tour guess are allowed to stroll through the “Miss Martha Brae’s Herb Garden”, where a presentation is given of Jamaica’s herbs and their famous medicinal and healing properties. On the tour, guests are taught the “Martha Brae legend” or given the chance to enjoy an exciting swim while sipping fine wine and the beautiful flora and fauna surrounding. The Martha Brae is perfect for a lazy day or a romantic getaway.

Dolphin Cove 

Swimming with dolphins should definitely be added to your bucket list when traveling to Jamaica. Dolphin Cove, located at the north coast of Jamaica, is surrounding by more than 5 acres of lush tropical rainforest. The friendly dolphins at the cove welcome visitors with their friendly demeanor welcomes all guests who are willing to take a swim.
Visitors can also interact with friendly sharks and stingrays in their natural habitat. Along with swimming, visitors are given the chance to pamper and feed each species while learning about their nutritional program. If walking through the park, visitors will experience all the magic that the park is surrounding which includes birds, iguanas and tropical plants and flowers which will make any nature lover fall in love. To top off its tropical surroundings, visitors can have a taste of the unique Jamaican coffee at the famous Star Buccaneers and also stop buy souvenirs at the Dolphin’s Cove boutique.

 

Pelican Bar

The Pelican bar is probably one of Jamaica’s most fine and unique attractions and is definitely something worth bragging about.
It is a tiny bar made of driftwood and stilted on a huge sandbar about ¾ mile out in the sea located in Parottee Bay on the South Coast of Jamaica. It is hands down the best bar in the world to eat, have a drink or chill with friends – all with the opportunity to take a swim.
To get there, visitors will have to take a 20 minutes boat to the middle of the ocean. Once there you can have plates of seafood like lobster or grab, have beer, sun-bath or have a swim in the shallow ocean.
What makes the bar even more unique is its inside which includes a variety of relics from all over the world brought there by visitor. So don’t forget to bring something special to add to the collection!
The bar was brought to life from a dream its owner, Floyd Forbes had about a dream of a bar out in the sea made of driftwood and coconut tree trunk driven into the sand back in 2001. Its name originates from the many pelicans that often rest on the sea’s sandbanks.

Jamaican Comedians

Oliver Samuels

“With hard work, you can make it”. With this philosophy from his mother, the Jamaican comedy king rose from a banana plantation to the TV stage, theatre and stand-up comedy. Despite growing up in poverty, the comedian allowed nothing to block his path as he was determined to grasp as much from the entertainment as he possibly could. The comedian found his love for the stage at seven years old while reading poetry and singing with his childhood neighbour. Samuel’s passion for the art propelled him to enroll in the Jamaican Theatre School where he performed in numerous productions. His breakthrough followed his involvement in the pantomime performance in which he was lauded for his extraordinary performance. This performance opened doors for several other performances by the comedian. This includes several British Broadcast Series such as My Father Son-Son Johnson,” “The Fight against Slavery,” and “Brothers and Sisters”. Today the comedian is busy performing in places such as the United States and Britain where he entertains many “Caribbean patriots”.  

 

Volier Johnson

Volier Johnson has graced many stages with his many characteristics. Claffy has bestowed on the Jamaican comedian one of his three popular names. The other two are Maffy from “Oliver at large” and Fishead from “Traxx”. He first performed in his first theatrical production a Trevor Rhone-directed version of A Christmas Carol, way back in 1969. In an interview with “Tallawah” the actor explained that “acting was always my pastime. When everybody was playing football I wanted to be on the stage. It’s a natural love I have for the theatre. I never wanted to be a big star; just to be able to do what I love and live a good life.” Today the comedian at 67 can still be seen on many stages with one of his most recent being the Phoenix Theatre where he performed with Oliver Samuels and Dennis Titus in the play “Tenament Yard”.

Glen Campbell

The passionate and talented Jamaican actor has committed over three decades of his life to the stage. Glen Campbell, popularly known as “Titus” career took after his performance in the Louis Marriott’s 1981 stage production of Playboy. He also gained national recognition after playing the bulging-eyed policeman in the Fabulous Five Inc. music video for “Ring Road”. The actor has been a part of films such as Titus in Town and Third World Cop and in plays like Cindy-Relisha and the DJ Prince (2003). He had theatre roles in historical productions such as Smile Orange in 1993, State of Emergency in 1996, Breadfruit Kingdom in 1999, Class of ‘73 in 2006, Love Games in 2007, and Matey Chronicles in 2017, and is also part of the cast for the movie Sprinter which was released last year. The United Kingdom born actor also joined the likes of theatre professionals like Oliver Samuels after he was awarded the nation’s sixth honour – the Order of Distinction in the rank of Officer in 2018. This came 20 years after he was awarded the Actor Boy Award for Best Actor in a Lead Role in Breadfruit Kingdom,  that he has been nominated for more time than any other Jamaican actor.

Jamaican Foods….Favourites from the Kitchen

By: Crisan Evans 

Next to its lovely beaches, its warm sun and its friendly people, food is also one of the things that stands out in Jamaica. This is one of the reasons when travelling people normally packs one, two or even three different types of food in their suitcases. Some people even go as far as ensuring a space is left in their suitcases specifically for this purpose. Some of the foods commonly packed are, puddings, patties, coconut drops and fried fish. So what are some of the favourites when it comes on to the Jamaican kitchen? 

Jerked Chicken 

Jerk chicken is probably one of Jamaica’s most popular foods as it is served at several hotels and is often one of tourists favourite Jamaican food. There are also some historian who believe it was found by the Maroons, African slaves who had escaped into Jamaican forest when the island was captured by the British from Spain in 1655. Today it is prepared on a grill or what Jamaicans popularly call, a jerk pan and covered.  The chicken is turned several times as marinade made from Jamaican seasonings is gradually added. 

 

Ackee and Saltfish

We cannot talk about food without incorporating the Jamaican national or traditional dish, the ackee and salt-fish. The dish is infused with natural seasonings such as tomato, and  sweet-pepper. The ackee is boiled and then combined together with the seasonings and boiled salt-fish. Salt and black pepper is added for flavour. 

 

Red Peas Soup 

The Red peas soup in one of Jamaicans favourite one pot meal. The meal, usually cooked on Fridays in homes is infused with ground provisions, dumplins, meats such as pork, chicken and beef, carrot, coconut milk, scallion, scotch bonnet pepper, pimento seeds and its ingredient which gave it its name, kidney beans. 

 

Curried Goat 

Jamaicans have great love for curry and has used this love to add their own special twists by incorporating it in several dishes. The curried goat is just one such dish. Curry powder is added when seasoning the dish and in some cases even added to the oil in which the meat will be prepared. It is said that this “deepens” the curried flavour making it tastier. 

 

Escovitched Fish 

Escovitch fish is one of Jamaica’s most popular seafood dish. Given a distinct island twist, the dish is prepared using the Red Snapper fish, king fish and other firm bodied fishes. It includes the usage of vinegar, onions, pepper and other spices brought to Jamaica by the Spanish Jews who lived on the island about 500 years ago. It is served with the remnants of its marinade which include carrots, peppers, etc. 

 

Sorrel Drink

As its name suggests the sorrel drink is made from the sorrel flower or hibiscus. Steeped/drawn, boiled or blended are some of the common methods used to prepare the drink. It is and essential drink served at Christmas time and adds to the joy of the holiday. The sorrel is sweeten using sugar and sometimes flavour is added using wine or rum. Many people incorporate their own special way of preparing the drink by adding pimento grains and ginger. 

Usain Bolt’s continued Legacy

By: Crisan Evans

Usain Bolt on stage with Christopher Martin at the Hummingbird Gala Cipriani in N.Y on friday night

Usain Bolt, retired Jamaican athlete, entrepreneur and to date, the fastest man in the world is undoubtedly one of the most phenomenal person one could ever come across. During his time on the tracks, he reaped from his hard work and dedication, nine gold medals and to this day holds a world record in races 100m at 9.58, and 200 m at 9.19 seconds. The superstar and businessman was recently honoured the International Humanitarian Award in New York for his achievements and work ethics at the American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ).

Usain Bolt poses with Prime Minister Andrew Holness (centre) and other American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ) 2019 International Humanitarian awardees Glenford Christian (second right). Others joining in are President of AFJ Wendy Hart and Executive Director of AFJ Caron Chung.

After investing a lot of work into his career and achieving the title of the “world’s fastest man”, it was expected that the sprinter would have embarked on a lifelong holiday enjoying the riches from his achievements, but, being the hardworking and “success-craving” man he is, the “track rocket” embarked on yet another path in the sporting industry – football. The then 31 years old who has always had a passion for the sport dreamed of playing on the Manchester United team. He had his mind set on making that dream a reality. The sprinter spent his time not only concentrating on entrepreneurial duties but also training and playing with clubs such as   Borussia Dortmund and Norweigian side Stromsgodset and Central Coast Mariners of Australia’s A-League. After joining and playing with these and many other clubs the sprinter eventually decided to retire completely from the sporting industry and has since then been focusing on what he calls “businesses’’.

“I’m just doing many different things – the sports life is over, so I’m now moving into different businesses. I have a lot of things in the pipeline, so as I say, I’m just dabbling in everything and trying to be a businessman now,” said Bolt.

Bolt is now involved in real estate and in 2018 got involved in the Business Process Outsourcing centre (BPO) in Half-Way Tree which was expected to house about 1200 employees. He is also the owner of the property on which the centre is built. This is, however, not the only business the sprint king has been involved in as he is also involved in the Usain Bolt’s Tracks and Record restaurant and sports bar franchise.

He also launched a company called Champion Shave which sells 6-blade razor at discounted prices in 2016 and has endorsed deals with several brands. These include PUMA, Nissan, Hublot, Virgin Media, Japan’s All Nippon airway, Enertor, Australia’s Optus, Digicel and the most recent Xoom.com.