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And what if we prepared a creole style pre-dinner drink from Martinique?
First the drinks...simple cocktails
Get a glass cup pour either lemon or syrup on top then dip it in sugar. Now the juice, here we do not use any specific fruit juice. Mix several sweet fruits together such as guava and banana along with passion fruit and pineapple. Sprinkle in some cinnamon and add a slice of starfruit on the edge of the glass for decoration. For those who want a more invigorating drink , suggest a “ti-punch”.
Making a ti-punch
Cut a lime into four parts squeeze the lime juice into the glass. If the lime is not juicy you can add lemon juice to the mix. Add two teaspoons of brown sugar (optional). Mix well. Add 5 centimeters of either white rum or old (aged) rum. Place a lime in the glass and mix well. Remember do not add ice cubes! That is a big no-no! In martinique when we talk about “vieux” we are referring to a specific of way of aging rum that dates back to the seventeenth century. Martinique is the first french outer-state department which has an official seal of quality control called “protected destination of origin”. This label was awarded to the rum industry of Martinique on November 5,1996.
The difference between agricultural rum and non agriculture rum is the way the rum is produced. The former is fermented from cane juice while the latter is the result of molasses residue. Though they may come from the same original source the taste is entirely different. If when you taste rum you would like to savor the aromas of this precious beverage you should drink fresh water after every sip. Kraz in Creole, meaning to crush, involves one crushing the “fire” out of the drink so that the person drinking it doesn’t experience a burning sensation. You can then enjoy the array of aromas in your mouth.Back to our pre-dinner drinks! For delicate palates, the “Planteur” a mix of fruit sugar and the warmth of alcohol is suggested. Here is a recipe you should try: a bottle of 75cl of any type of rum you desire ( white, aged, amber which is a rum that is aged from approximately 18 months to 3 years). Using amber will give the “Planteur” a sweeter flavor. Use fruit juices that are sweet in flavor while also using a fruit juice that adds a touch of acidity however absolutely no orange juice should be used. Add a touch of pomegranate and a dash of cinnamon. Mix everything well in a blender adding ice cubes or even better refrigerate it for a time.
In the meantime, appetizers can be prepared such as: cod fritters, an avocado paste spread, a salmon and kiwi styled parfait, blood sausages, creole patties, and a ham stuff with pineapple slices.
How is the Christmas ham prepared?
Caribbean Christmas Dish
Cook a ham in a pot of boiling water for about an hour and 45 minutes making sure to place along with it the following: minced garlic, a whole onion that has 3 cloves placed into it, and dry white wine. After take the ham out of the boiling water pour sugarcane juice all over the ham and then place in the oven for no more than 10 minutes. Making sure to sprinkle the the ham regularly during that time. Cut the pineapple slices and brown them in a pan with salted butter. Cover the ham with the pineapple slices and place back into the oven for another 10 minutes. Can be served either hot or cold. The ham can be cut into thin slices.
Salt Fish Fritters
The little fritters that we love so much and are known all over the world where the caribbean diaspora is located. You can easily find the salt cod fritters in France already prepared. Microwaving them is not suggested as this will cause them to become soft and greasy. If you have a heart of a chef, then by all means attempt this recipe. Let’s get started! Make sure to desalt your cod fish by soaking your codfish in water and rinsing it several times in order to remove as much salt as possible or let it soak overnight. Once done, shred it into small pieces and the chop it into finer pieces making sure to remove all bones as best as you can. Finely chop five green onions, 4 sprigs of parsley, one thyme, 1 hot pepper and 5 cloves of garlic. Add to this mixture 250 grams of flour, the salt fish, and half a packet of yeast mix everything well. Make a well in the center add black pepper according to your taste. Be careful do not add too much as it can interact with the hot pepper and make things quite spicy. Add a glass of water and stir everything. Separate the yolks from the egg whites and pour the yolks into the dough. Beat the whites into peaks and incorporate the whites gently into the dough. Let stand for 30 minutes. At this point taste and salt if necessary. In a wok or a large frying pan heat colza or vegetable oil. Before frying the fritters make sure the oil is hot! Take a tablespoon of dough and pour it into the hot oil. The fritters will swell and become golden brown. Once cooked take them out with a slotted spoon and drain them on a paper towel. Serve hot!
“Le féroce d’avocat” (avocado puree) is Martinique’s version of a guacamole. A mix of cassava flour, salt fish and locally grown avocado. It gets it spiciness from the hot pepper added. You have to mix the mashed avocado, desalted salt fish, lime juice, minced garlic, sweet peppers or chilli peppers depending on whether you want it hot or sweet, cut chives, and parsley. To this mix you add the cassava flour and 300 milliliters of a neutral oil or odorless oil. Play in the refrigerator to harden. The avocado puree can be enjoyed with vegetables or tortilla chips.
To add a bit of flair to your aperitif, you can cut slices of smoked fish such as swordfish, marlin or mackerel. If you cannot find any of these types of fishes. You can substitute salmon or trout. Place the fish as well as the kiwi in a shot glass. Arrange them on the bottom and sprinkle some lime juice . Whip some heavy cream until it is light and airy. Put a large spoonful of heavy cream on top. Next comes the diced bell peppers with chives. Repeat the process for as many fish/kiwi parfaits needed.
Creole patties are made a variety of ways including but not limited to with pork,meat, or vegetables. They are a food staple during the Christmas season but you do not have to necessarily wait for the season to come around in order to taste them. A pie crust pastry filled with meats and a variety of spices and herbs. The spices and herbs can be green onions, lemon, cloves, a few pinches of allspice, and garlic. Ah yes! Do not forget the chili pepper. You can either include it in the ingredients or just place it alongside the patty once done. Don’t lick your hands after, it’s hot! Spread the dough out with either a cup or a rolling pin. Use the bottom of a glass to cut holes in the dough. In the center of each round dough place the mixture. Using another pie crust pastry that you rolled out and cut cover the mixture and weld the edges by patting the dough with moistened fingertips. In order to get a nice golden brown color while baking in the oven brush the patties with egg yolk. Place the patties in the oven for 15 minutes. Voila! Everything is ready! Take a colorful wraparound skirt and use it as a tablecloth pair it with matching napkins on the table. Play a bit of background music either Kassav or the sounds of the Martinican jazz musicien Eddy Louiss. Let’s go!
Do not forget: alcohol abuse is dangerous, consume with moderation.