The Caribbean is famous for its delicious food and introducing kids to the flavoursome and interesting flavours of this region is a fun experience for all concerned! Start off simply with favourites like coconut; a delicious coconut cake is a great way to show children how versatile Caribbean foods can be. The main ingredients used in Caribbean food are fresh fish and chicken and tropical fruits such as mangoes, coconuts and papaya as well as various herbs and spices. Rice and beans are also a big feature of Caribbean cooking and children are vey open to dishes including those ingredients; they also make the perfect base for the many delicious herbs and spices used in the Caribbean and children who are a little wary of strong flavours will be more likely to give them a try when they are absorbed by easy-to-eat beans or rice!
A simple cake such as a coconut cake is a good way to start children on a journey of discovery with regards to food and Caribbean cooking. The coconut in this recipe may be desiccated or fresh. If you decide to use fresh coconut, let your child help you to choose the coconut and let them watch as you break it open. Fresh coconut is delicious and children will love the excitement of watching it get broken!
4oz caster sugar
6oz self raising four
Dash of milk
Cream the softened butter together with the sugar; beat the eggs in a separate bowl and add them slowly; next fold in the coconut and the flour and a dash of milk to make the coconut cake. The mixture should be a soft, dropping consistency. Grease a loaf tin and pour in the mixture and sprinkle with more desiccated coconut for a crunchy topping; then bake in the oven for 60 minutes on a moderate heat or until a skewer comes out clean. This cake is delicious served with mango ice cream which is another favourite in the Caribbean!
Children love trying simple recipes and to introduce them to the basics of Caribbean cooking, you could help them to make something like Caribbean style nachos which are a simple combination of nachos, tomato sauce, guacamole, coriander, soured cream, a pinch of allspice and some mild chilli powder; pop the lot into an ovenproof dish, sprinkle with cheese and cook in a moderate oven for around 7 minutes. Children can help with this simple recipe and they’ll love to eat the results too!
Encourage children to enjoy learning about foods from this region by showing them the different spices and allowing them to touch, smell and if appropriate to taste them as long as they are not too spicy! The colours and scents as well as the flavours of this style of cooking are exciting and interesting to children who are not familiar with these things and by helping them to understand different cultures and their foods, you will expand their horizons enormously.