Tag: Caribbean

Funchi: the polenta of the Caribbean – Italian Cuisine

A plate of recycling that has become tradition, to be fried and sprinkled with Gouda. Polenta is also eaten on the island of Aruba, and cooked like this

The first reaction for an Italian to the idea that even in the Caribbean they eat polenta is totally astonishing. Comparable only to that shown by the inhabitants of the island of Aruba, in the Caribbean, in discovering that corn flour, one of their typical ingredients, is consumed even so far.

The corn is actually native from Central America and it is up to us to become our "typical dish" only with the conquistadores in the sixteenth century. They have always eaten it and still serve it today as bread, as a side dish, as a breakfast with eggs and bacon or as "funchi fries“, Snack for a refreshing beer.

They use corn in different forms, worked with the nixtamalization process to make it digestible and nutritious, and used to make tortillas and arepas, or cornmeal. The funchi is prepared just like a polenta, vigorously mixed during cooking and then left to cool before being cut into sticks and fried. The funchi is widespread in all the Antilles and therefore the local culinary tradition has merged over the centuries with that of the many nations that have crossed these lands. That is why today in Aruba it is also eaten sprinkled with Gouda cheese, according to the Dutch tradition.

Criolla cuisine

The criolla cuisine of this slice of the Caribbean is decidedly unexpected: the Dutch influence is still very present and cheeses like Gouda are omnipresent. Aruba is still part of the Netherlands and therefore despite the climate and the distance from old Europe, the taste for sweet mustard, bitterballen, rookworst, frikadelle and other food from Northern Europe is surprising; they even drink fresh milk, and to the Equator it sounds at least strange. And so on the bread, or rather on the pan batì, the butter is spread here.


6 cups of cold water
1 ½ cups of long-cooked cornmeal
1 Teaspoon. salt
1 tablespoon of butter
Gouda, to taste
butter or oil for frying


Pour the flour into the cold water with the salt and bring to the boil, stirring vigorously with a whisk. As the polenta coagulates and detaches from the edges of the pot, lower the heat and continue mixing with a wooden spoon until the polenta is cooked. It will take at least 40 minutes. When ready, add the butter.

Pour on a baking sheet to cool before cutting into sticks. The funchi is roasted in butter in a pan or fried in seed oil. At the end it is served with flaked Gouda, which melts on the steaming polenta.

How to prepare a Grand Tonic and 5 other cocktails dreaming of the Caribbean – Italian Cuisine

How to prepare a Grand Tonic and 5 other cocktails dreaming of the Caribbean

Cognac and exotic bitter oranges meet in the Grand Marnier, a liqueur that is ready to give its best this spring when mixed in fresh and decisive cocktails. Here's how to prepare them

The beauty of classic cocktails is that they take you away from the embarrassment of choice when you arrive at a bar in a club. Gin Tonic, Old Fashion, Mai-Tai and Margarita, are words that come out of our mouths automatically, as if they were part of us, of our language and our desires. Perfect habits to toast, pass in time with friends or break the ice with those we do not know, but also to understand something from the first glance.
Just think of theUnderstanding that automatically takes between two people ordering the same cocktail or the curiosity that leads us to listen to the orders of others while we wait for our drink. And although what we know is perfect to cuddle us and protect ourselves from repentance, the risk of settling in a comfort zone and getting bored is high.
Why not conjure up it by revisiting the great classics? The interesting proposal comes from Grand Marnier, the famous liqueur produced by the company established by Jean-Baptiste Lapostolle in 1827. Created in 1880 with the name of Curaçao Marnier is produced from the union of a great French cognac with the exotic aroma of the peels of Citrus Bigardia, particular bitter oranges read in the Caribbean lands (the orchards are mainly found in Haiti) before complete ripening. It is the sun of the Caribbean to dry them so that they can best release the aromatic oils that characterize them and that will transform the French cognac, with the help of sugar, into one of the most famous liqueurs in the world.
And it is just thinking of the Caribbean sun and the overwhelming energy that you breathe in these lands guarded by the crystal clear sea that we have prepared 6 aromatic and carefree cocktails. We recommend siping them enjoying the first warmth of the evening, perhaps while planning the next trip to sun-kissed lands.

For the aperitif

Here are three cocktail recipes light, aromatic and fresh perfect to taste before dinner or accompanied by appetizers. To do something different, we advise you to accompany them to del fried platanus (if you do not find it, you can substitute it with slightly bitter bananas), perhaps served with a primosale-type fresh cheese.

Grand Tonic
Ingredients: 50 ml of Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, tonic water, ice, a slice of orange, raspberries to decorate
Method: pour the ice cubes into the Gin Tonic glass (the very large cup that the bartenders call baloon glass) and add the Grand Marnier. At this point pour tonic water and mix well before completing the cocktail with the orange slice and the raspberry.

Grand Margarita
Ingredients: 30 ml of Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, 30 ml of tequila, 20 ml of lemon juice, ice, lime
Procedure: as for traditional Margarita, pour on a saucer of fine salt. Cut a lime slice, put it on the edge of the glass and let it flow so as to wet it with the juice. Cut another slice of lime that you will need to garnish and flip and the glass so as to adhere salt to the edge wet with juice. Pour into a shaker the Grand Marnier, tequila, lemon juice and ice and pour into the glass after shaking. Garnish with the lime slice.

Grand Mai-Tai
Ingredients: 30 ml of Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, 60 ml of Appleton Estate Signature Blend rum, 15 ml of orzata, 15 ml of lemon juice, ice, a slice of lime, mint and a tuft of pineapple to garnish
Method: shake all liquid ingredients with ice, pour into a narrow, tall glass and garnish with lime, mint and pineapple leaves.

After dinner

Freshness, bitter notes and an enveloping taste. The Grand Marnier can be served with an ice cube as a digestive liqueur, but it is also the perfect base for intense and aromatic cocktails. Also in this case the theme of the revisitations of the great classics works and invites us to dare inspired by the best mixologists. The extra touch? There orange peel in the glass, perhaps cut so subtly to be wrapped around itself.

Grand Old Fashioned
Ingredients: 30 ml of Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, 30 ml of Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon Whiskey, 3 drops of aromatic bitter, ice, orange peel rolled up for garnish
Procedure: First of all pour the drops, the Grand Marnier and the Whiskey into the glass. Add the ice and mix until it is cold and well mixed. Garnish with the orange peel that we will squeeze on the surface of the cocktail to release the aromatic oils.

Grand Sidecar
Ingredients: 50 ml of Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, 20 ml cognac, 20 ml of lemon juice, ice
Procedure: pour into the Grand Marnier shaker, cognac, lemon juice and ice. Shake well and pour into the cup.

Grand Collins
Ingredients: 50 ml of Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, 15 ml of lemon juice, seltz, ice, rolled orange peel and raspberries for garnish
Procedure: pour the ice into the glass, add the Grand Marnier and lemon juice. Finally pour the seltz, mix well and serve with the orange peel and raspberry topping.

In the gallery above, all the cocktails to get inspired to prepare them with the most suitable glass and the gaskets to make them special.

Slow Cooked Jerk Pork with Caribbean Salsa

Pork roast, marinated overnight with fresh citrus juice, garlic, and jerk seasoning, then slow cooked all day while you’re away. Topped with a bright, fresh Caribbean salsa of fresh mangos, avocado and cilantro. If I told you how good this dish was, would you believe me?

The kind of good that your husband tells you how much he loves you while eating it… yeah that good! This dish is officially going into my regular rotation. 

One of my friends turned me on to Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning[1], turns out it’s the #1 Best Seller in Gourmet rubs on Amazon! It’s actually made in Jamaica, so it’s the real deal and only cost about $4. It comes in mild and hot, so being the wimp that I am, I went with mild. I served this over brown rice with some cucumbers on the side for a complete meal.

Since a lot of you ask, I have the Hamilton Beach Set It and Forget It Slow Cooker[2], I’ve had nothing but great results since purchasing it if you’re in the market for a slow cooker. I’ve had really bad results with other slow cookers, so they are not all created equal!

Slow Cooked Jerk Pork with Caribbean Salsa
Servings: 10 • Size: 3 oz pork, 1/3 cup salsa • Old Pts: 6 pts • WW Pts+: 7 pts
Calories: 265 • Fat: 15 g • Protein: 21.4 g • Carb: 11.5 g Fiber: 2 g • Sugar: 7.5 g
Sodium: 468.4 mg (without salt)


  • 3 lb boneless pork shoulder blade roast, lean, all fat removed
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 – 3 tbsp Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning[3] (I used mild)
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 lime, squeezed
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice

For the Caribbean salsa:

  • 1 haas avocado, diced
  • 2 large ripe mangos, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chopped red onion
  • 1-2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh lime juice 
  • salt and pepper, to taste


Using a sharp knife, cut slits into the pork and stuff holes with half of the crushed garlic. Combine the remaining garlic, jerk seasoning, and salt, rub all over pork (you may want to wear gloves). Place in a large container, pour the lime and orange juice over the pork; cover and refrigerate 5 hours or overnight, turning pork occasionally so the marinade covers all of pork.

The next morning, put everything in the crock pot and cook on LOW for 9 hours.

After 9 hours, remove pork and shred using two forks.

Remove liquid from crock pot and reserve. Add shredded pork back to the slow cooker. Add about 1 cup of the liquid back into the crock pot and taste for salt and pepper. Let it cook an additional 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile make the  Caribbean salsa: combine all the ingredients in a bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper. refrigerate salsa until ready to serve.

Makes 30 oz cooked pork, 3 1/3 cups salsa.


  1. ^ Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning (www.amazon.com)
  2. ^ Hamilton Beach Set It and Forget It Slow Cooker (www.amazon.com)
  3. ^ Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning (www.amazon.com)

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