If you are like me Christmas is your favorite holiday. I enjoy family, friends and food (Three Fs). I, especially, look forward to making Belizean black fruit cake. I love fruit cake so much that 6 to 8 weeks before Christmas I start to soak the dried fruits for the cake. Here’s how I do it:
- 1lb of dried raisins
- 1lb of dried cherries chopped
- 1/2lb of dried currants
- 1/2 lb dried pineapple chopped
- 1/2lb dried dates chopped
- 1/2lb dried apricots chopped
- 1/2lbs pecans chopped
- 1/2lbs of walnuts chopped
- 1 Orange or lemon/lime peel chopped
- 1 Ginger peel chopped
- 2 cinnamon sticks
2 – 3 cups dark rum
1/2 cup Water
1/2 cup of sugar
- Chop into small pieces the cherries, dates, pineapple, ginger, orange peel, pecan and walnut.
- Mix all the dried fruits and nuts together,
- Pour in rum and water.
- Add sugar and cinnamon sticks.
- Put this mixture into an airtight container and keep it on your kitchen counter (Don’t refrigerate)
- You need to mix it every other day or at least once a week.
- After six-eight weeks your fruits are ready.
Belizeans include coconuts in everything they cook and bake. So, having a bread made of coconut is no exception. Actually, coconut bread is my absolute favorite bread. It is not only delicious but very easy to make. In some Latin countries it is also called Pan de Coco. Here’s a recipe:
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. grated nutmeg
3/4 cup white sugar
2 cups sweetened or unsweetened flaked coconut
1 cup coconut milk or evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla or coconut extract
1/4 cup melted coconut oil or butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees; grease and flour a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.
In a bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon. (Dry Ingredients)
In another bowl whisk together eggs, vanilla or coconut extract, coconut oil & coconut milk. (Wet Ingredients)
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together to combine.
Fold in flaked coconut then pour in loaf pan and bake for 50-60 mins.
Serve warm or cold 3-6 people.
Belizeans love their hot sauce. Belizean hot sauces are made with habanero pepper which is a very hot and spicy pepper. So, be careful when you prepare habanero pepper by using a glove when you chop or touch them.
Here’s a recipe:
- 1 medium onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tbs coconut oil
- 2 medium carrots
- 2 cup water
- 5 habanero pepper
- 3 tsp lime juice fresh
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- Saute chopped onions and garlic in coconut oil until soft.
- Add chopped carrots and water, bring to boil and cook, uncovered, until carrots are soft.
- Remove from heat and add chopped habanero, lime juice, vinegar and salt.
- Puree in blender or food processor until smooth.
- Makes 2 pints.
Instead of the usual tomato salsa try jazzing it up with mango and papaya. This mango and papaya salsa is refreshing and goes well with fish, chicken and tortilla chips.
- 3 ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted and diced
- 1- 2lbs ripe papaya, peeled, seeded and diced
- 1/4 cup freshly shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup cilantro or basil
- 1/4 cup slivered almond
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 tbs lemon or lime juice
- Mix fruits well; sprinkle with the coconut and slivered almonds. Put in a refrigerator for an hr
- In a small bowl, blend the mayonnaise, cilantro and lemon juice
- Top the salad with the dressing just before serving.
Served on top of fish or rice
Serves 4-6 people
Plantains are used a lot in Belizean cuisine as a snack or side to most meals with fish, chicken or rice. A plantain looks like a large banana but if you taste one you can definitely tell the difference. They are a lot larger than a banana and harder to peel. However, they are healthy and delicious.
Here’s a recipe for healthy plantain dish:
- 4-6 yellow ripe plantains with black spots.
- Coconut oil
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Grease sheet pan with coconut oil.
Cut the ends off of the plantains and peel.
Cut each plantain on the diagonal into 1/2 inch slices.
Arrange in single layer and brush the tops with coconut oil.
Bake, turning occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, until plantains are golden brown and very tender
Instead of having potato chips try plantain chips. They are delicious, easy to make and healthy. You’ll find most Belizeans eating plantain chips as snack or a side to fish.
Here’s a recipe:
- 1 1/2 tsp lime/lemon zest
- 1 lemon/lime
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 teaspoon smoke paprika
- 6 cups coconut oil (Or any cooking oil)
- 4 green plantains
Mix together lemon/lime zest, salt, and paprika in a bowl.
Peel the plantains and then slice them about 1/8 inch thick. Then soak in hot water and 1 lime/lemon juice for 5 minutes, drain and dry with paper towel. Fry in hot coconut oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and add salt mixture to taste.
Serve as a snack or with fish or chicken.
Johnny Cakes are a favored breakfast item for Belizeans. It is a cross between what American people know as biscuits and muffins. Johnny Cakes are so favored by Belizeans that they are also consumed during their lunch and dinner meals. They go well with refried red or black beans, melted cheese, scrambled eggs and stewed chicken.
Here’s one of many recipes:
3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 -1/2 cup either butter, shortening, lard, margarine or coconut oil (Butter is preferred to me)
1/2 tsp salt
1tbsp of white sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 – 3/4 cup coconut milk
1. Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl.
2. Add the egg, butter, shortening or coconut oil, mix well.
3. Add the coconut milk gradually to form a dough.
4. Roll out into small balls, flatten slightly and prick with a fork.
5. Bake in a hot oven 375°F for 15-20 mins
6. Slice and butter while hot and enjoy.
Makes about 8-12