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“The man who famously slayed the dragons, Levi Roots, is bursting back onto our TV screens, this time with his very own prime time BBC TV cookery series and accompanying book. Caribbean Food Made Easy with Levi Roots offers us a culinary whirlwind of vibrant colours, mouth-watering flavours and even a bit of reggae music to help us go with the flow; as Levi travels the UK and Jamaica to reveal just how easy it is to bring a little bit of Caribbean sunshine into your home. Oh yes he's going back to his roots..!”

 

 

 

 

As a youngster, Levi Roots was inspired and taught to cook by his grandmother, Miriam Small. At that time he lived with his grandparents in Jamaica and was without any thought to his parents calling him to join them at their new home in South London. Aged 11, Brixton became Levi's abode but, he took with him a part of the Caribbean he knew best – food and reggae music.

 

 

 


Already a successful musician, Levi shot to public attention during the BBC TV show Dragons' Den. Two of the five judges were sufficiently impressed, that they committed £25,000 each for a return share of 20 per cent of his Reggae Reggae Sauce enterprise – a barbecue and jerk sauce. This was, of course, a secret recipe from Grandmother Miriam. With help from his seven grown up children, Levi began by making this sauce in his home kitchen, distributing it to various small outlets in London. Needless to say, since his change of fortune, Reggae Reggae Sauces have gone from strength to strength.



Caribbean Food Made Easy
is Levi's second book, and the foil on which to blend traditional dishes side-by-side with his own newly devised recipes. Time-honoured Caribbean favourites are modernised whilst Levi showcases his own brand of sunshine food, whatever the season. Importantly, every effort has been made to design these recipes with easy-to-find high street ingredients, though for authenticity some items may need to be tracked down at specialist outlets. A detailed Caribbean Kitchen glossary is provided and alternatives are suggested.


Vibrant, colourful and bursting with gutsy flavours from Levi's ancestral homeland, Caribbean Food Made Easy is no shrinking violet on the bookshelf. It cries out to be taken down and used, whatever the season or occasion. To begin, there are comforting one pot and supper dishes. This opening chapter is home to the Caribbean Lamb Shanks, but also includes a range of beef and chicken comfort foods and even Goat Curry, which Levi describes as an integral part of Jamaican cuisine. Lamb and mutton are interchangeable, but goat, together with an unusual cooking method of steaming and frying at the same time, make this an innovative choice.



A staple of island living, fish and seafood are important ingredients, from Baked Spiced Seabass, either with Aubergine, Spring Onion and Coconut, or Pan-Fried with Tomato and Lime Salsa; mackerel, trout, salmon, snapper- the selection is vast, my favourites including a golden sweet potato topped fish pie and a so easy Salmon with Lime, Chilli and Coriander Butter...and this is all in addition to crab, mussels and prawns. Tasty mid-week dishes and weekend treats to share with friends.



Roasts and Grills certainly up the tempo. Honey, Grenadine and Ginger Roasted Lamb with Pomegranate and Mint Salad, Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Oregano, Thyme, Ginger and Soy, Tamarind and Molasses Roast Chicken, venison and steaks. Then to On The Side – a chapter solely dedicated to vegetables, salads, salsas, rice and bread. In the footsteps of preceding chapters, these recipes shine with crunch and vigor, tightly packed to the brim with flavour.

Levi's recipes are easy to follow and illustrated throughout by the beautiful photography of Chris Terry so there is only room for success. For a casual dining style, prepare a lip-smacking temptation from Beach and Street Food. Try Chicken Kickbabs – jerk rubbed chicken, spicy tomato sauce, cheese and salad all stuffed into Loco Bread which is Levi’s alternative to pitta, or perhaps Sweet Potato and Prawn Cakes with Avocado Salsa... and many temptations continue including ideas for the barbecue which are easily transferable to an oven grill.


To close, a finale of delicious Desserts and Drinks: enjoy flavours of reggae music with Jamaican Jelly or sit lazily in the sunshine enjoying Coconut Crème Brulée or Ginger, Pecan and Rum Chocolate Brownies.

Whatever your choice whenever the occasion, Levi Roots Caribbean Food Made Easy simply oozes vibrant colour and exciting flavours. My selection of recipes to share with you is courtesy of Mitchell Beazley (publishing) and Deborah McKenna Ltd.

 

 

 

 

recipes are reproduced from Caribbean Food Made Easy with Levi Roots

published by Mitchell Beazley and priced £17.99

photography by Chris Terry

 

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