Father’s Day is around the corner, so it’s only right that we honour fathers and father figures everywhere!
When you think of a father what image comes to mind? Is it someone that you look to for emotional support or it is someone who knows when you need practical help?
Well, anyone living in Gregory Park, Portmore, Jamaica, may have already encountered a young man who fits the bill.
Thirty-year-old Ricardo Burke is the founder of an organisation in St Catherine called Yutes 4 Change Foundation, whose philosophy towards young people is ‘Changing today, for a better tomorrow.’
While going through some difficult times himself, Burke saw what was going on around him and decided to challenge poverty amongst the young children in the Walker Avenue community. At first, with his own money, then later with help of food and donations from residents, churches and other organisations; Burke provided youngsters with a filling and nutritious breakfast of banana and oats porridge. He and the team also help with lunch money and offer homework help. This positive action from one ‘step-father’ has had an impact on many in the wider community.
It is no coincidence that Burke’s choice of breakfast is also a part of many Jamaicans’ diets. This staple dish, which came about through the influence of the British, with traditional ingredients such as cornmeal and green bananas are known to boost energy and help increase iron intake.
At Rudies, we believe that having tasty and wholesome meals is key to all Jamaican cuisine.
As well as our usual delicious Jamaican fare, with the usual Rudie’s Twist; we have a special mouth-watering peppered steak on the menu, specially prepared for Father’s Day. Served with jerk peppercorn sauce and chunky yam chips and saffron scotch bonnet mayo, your dad will love it!
For many Jamaicans, Lent is a time to fast or abstain from certain types of food such as red meat. During this period, there is a noticeable increase in the sale of fish in Jamaica, UK and other parts of the globe where Jamaicans live. Good Friday sees the culmination of fish dishes such as Fry Fish and Bammy, Escovitch Fish, Callaloo and Saltfish and of course the national dish Ackee and Saltfish. These and favourites like Bun and Cheese are an essential part of the Easter tradition.
This, of course, should be of no surprise as Jamaica is an island so fish is an important staple food for many Jamaican families.
So, what’s the history behind the national dish?
The Ackee fruit was originally imported from Ghana, in the early 18th century. This unusual fruit which starts off green but ends up a yellow/reddish colour when ripe bursts open and releases toxins. The cod or whitefish used for the saltfish was from Europe. Dried and the preserved with salt, the fish could then be exported.
Like Ackee and saltfish, another popular fish dish which derived from another culture and is eaten and enjoyed by Jamaicans and visitors is Escovitch Fish. This dish started life as Escabeche, a Spanish oil and vinegar marinade used on meat or fish.
We love our fish but we are aware that fishing is known to be an arduous task and the good news for fishermen in Oracabessa Bay in St Mary is that a new fish sanctuary allows them to catch more fish around the sanctuary. In the sanctuary, itself a variety of fish breed and are protected from a ‘no fishing zone’, which allows the fish population to grow significantly.
Rudie’s is not just a place for great food, but of course great company, so over this Easter period Rudie’s will be open for business as usual. We would love to see you and your family get together and enjoy a choice of small plates including ackee and saltfish, or peppered shrimps and mains of Market Fish or Escovitch Fish to you and Swordfish Steak, as ever, crafted the Rudie’s way with Yam, Coriander and Pesto.
If you can’t do without your meat, don’t worry about a thing, your favourites like Jerk Chicken and Curry Goat are still on the menu.
Don’t fancy chicken or fish, there’s the Vegetable Platter or Stew Peas.
March is International Women’s Month and Mother’s Day is just two weeks away, so we want to honour inspirational women everywhere.
One lady who is the epitome of inspiration and influence is Annmarie Richards. As founder of Stars of Hope in Clarendon, Jamaica, Ms Richards recognised a need in her community to support young people. Without formal qualifications and with very little money she helped at least fifty young people with her advice, practical help, emotional support and accommodation. Surviving a difficult childhood herself, she could relate to the young people and encourage them to move forward.
All mothers and mother-figures like Annmarie are instrumental in our lives. They have influenced us all in so many areas. An example being the way that our mothers’ prepared meals. Never mind the Caribbean cuisine cookbooks – you can’t beat the experience of witnessing a maestro at work.
When you watched, your mother boiling the pot of rice or soaking the peas for the rice and peas, or seasoning the meat for the curry goat, did you ever think about the origins of these dishes?
A clue to the roots of our food can be found on the Jamaican coat of arms “Out of Many One People”. The motto reflects the vibrant mix of cultures and races which have influenced the lifestyle and food of the island. This stimulating assortment of colours and flavours, which we have today is a legacy from nations such as the Spanish, British, Dutch, African and French. Did you realise that our beloved rice and peas which derived from a Ghanaian dish called Waakye?
Whether it is your mother, step-mother, aunt, sister or neighbour, celebrate their life and all that they generously give to the world. Tell them you love them, appreciate them and plan something memorable for them.
Rudie’s has a special a Mother’s Day menu with all the traditional dishes like juicy Stew Peas and Pigtails, well-seasoned Mackerel, tasty Lambs Neck curry, delicious Brown Stew Chicken, and Hellshire style Fried Fish. Why not book yourself a table? Your mother is bound to find something she loves from all this appetising food with a distinctive Rudie’s twist.
How is it possible that an island of only 2.9 million people can boast not one, but two of the fastest people in the World today?
We are talking of course about Usain Bolt – the fastest person ever no less – and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce who have each recently picked up gold medals for the 100m sprint in the World Championships to add to their already burgeoning collections. But a quick look at the Olympic statistics shows that Jamaica virtually owns the blue ribbon event.
In total they have accumulated 67 Olympic medals virtually all of which are from sprints. That is a remarkable 23 medals per million population. By comparison America limps in a distant second place with only 8 medals per million and that covers both Summer and Winter Olympics and all events. If you just took the sprint events, well it would get embarrassing.
Quite an achievement for a small island and one to ponder, but that is only the beginning. Jamaica has created two global brands as well. Reggae music is now recognised as an entire music genre in it’s own right and is popular right across the World.
And of course how could we forget jerk cooking. Now the fastest growing form of street food in London and if it follows reggae it could soon gain global recognition. If Rudie’s has it’s way that’s exactly what will happen.
Watch this space people!