Comforting Classics

These iconic foods are fully ingrained in the culture of the Bajan holiday.

Black Cake
Recipe compliments Roberts 


500 g Glow Spread Margarine

2 cups white sugar

1 tbsp lime juice  

1 tsp vanilla essence 

1 tbsp almond essence 

Zest of 1 lime 

450 g chopped dried mixed fruit soaked in rum and wine 

2 cups red wine 

1 cup brown sugar 

2 ½ cups plain flour 

3 tsp baking powder 

½ tsp ground nutmeg 

½ tsp ground allspice 

½ tsp ground cinnamon 

¼ cup dark rum

1 pinch salt 


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Grease and flour two 23 cm round cake tins. 
  2. Cream together Glow Spread Margarine and white sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. 
  3. Beat eggs, add rum, lime juice, vanilla, almond essence, and lime zest. 
  4. Stir in mixed fruit mixture and brown sugar. 
  5. Sift together flour, baking powder, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and salt. 
  6. Fold into batter, being careful not to over-mix. Pour into prepared pans. 
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 80 to 90 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. 
  8. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, turn out onto a wire rack, and cool completely. 
  9. Pour extra rum over if desired. 


Find this recipe and more in the Roberts cookbook! 

Baked Ham


Roasting pan fitted with a rack
Aluminium foil


For the Ham

  • 1 whole ham, cured and fully cooked, defrosted
    Spicy or country-style mustard
    Whole cloves

For the Glaze

  • ½ cup of your favourite jam
  • 3 tbsp. tap water


  1. Line the baking pan with aluminium foil, insert the rack and set it aside. Preheat oven to 350°F. 
  2. Remove rind (skin) from the ham by running a knife along the edge and peeling it back with your hands. Store the skin for use in other dishes.
  3. Slice off some of the excess fat but be sure to leave at least ¼-inch of the fat so that the ham can self-baste.
  4. Score top fat of ham into squares or diamond shapes. Rub all over the top and sides of the ham with mustard then stud with cloves. You can put the cloves in the centre of the diamond cut or at the edges of each square.
  5. Transfer ham to the rack and roasting pan and place in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes per pound or until it reaches an internal temperature of 140° F.
  6. While ham is baking, add jam and water to a small saucepan, mix together and heat gently. You want the water to loosen the jam so that when mixed together it will become a thick sauce.
  7. Half an hour before the ham is due to finish cooking, remove the oven and brush with the glaze. Return ham to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, remove it and glaze the again. Bake for 15 more minutes.
  8. At the end of the last set of 15 minutes brush ham with any remaining glaze and remove it from the oven. Let rest for 20 to 25 minutes before slicing and serving.

Wine Match 
J. Lohr Estates Wildflower Valdiguie 
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Jug Jug

Recipe & photo by Cynthia Nelson

Makes 4 cups

2 cans Pigeon Peas
4 tbsp oil divided equally
¾ cup diced onions
3 tbsp chopped herbs (mixture of your choice)
Minced hot pepper to taste
¼ lb (4 oz) salt beef, soaked and cut into chunks
1 ½ cups water
¼ lb  (4 oz) minced beef
¼ lb  (4 oz) cooked ham, cut into chunks
Salt to taste
1/3 cup sliced okra
2 tbsp guinea corn flour (substitute with cornmeal)
2 tbsp butter, divided equally

1. Drain pigeon peas and reserve liquid.

2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a saucepot. Add onions and sauté until onions are translucent. Add herbs and hot pepper and sauté for 1 minute. 

3. Add drained peas and salt beef and stir. Sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. 

4. Add the water along with reserved liquid and stir; cover and bring to a boil. When the pot comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook until beef is tender.

5. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a shallow frying pan.
Add minced beef and brown the meat then season with salt and pepper to taste; set aside. 

6. When cooked, strain peas through a sieve and reserve the liquid.

7. Add drained peas and cooked salt beef to bowl of a food processor along with ham and minced beef. Pulse to a paste; do not let it get completely smooth, you want it to have a little texture. 

8. Add the reserved liquid and additional water (to measure a cup of liquid) to the pot that the peas were cooked in along with the okra. Cover and bring to a boil on medium heat for about 4 minutes. 

9.Turn heat to low/simmer and whisk in the guinea corn flour, stirring constantly until the liquid has been absorbed and to ensure there are no lumps. The mixture should swell, this will take about 4 to 5 minutes (ensure that the heat is very low).

10. Add peas and meat mixture to the pot and stir to incorporate fully. With the heat still on low, let cook for 7 to 10 minutes or until the mixture comes away easily from the sides of the pot.

11. Stir in 1 tbsp. Butter. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, smooth the top, add the remaining Tbsp. of butter in the centre and let melt over the hot Jug Jug.

12. Serve as a side dish.


Wine Match

19 Crimes: The Banisher
The Grape Vine 


Rice & Peas

Recipe adapted from Contemporary Caribbean Cooking by Sally Miller 


2 cups or 11 oz/345 g fresh/frozen pigeon peas 

6 cups or 48 fl oz/1.45 L water 

Bouquet garni of fresh thyme, marjoram, and chives 

¼ lb/125g salt beef or salt pork 

1 tbsp butter 

2 cups or 8 fl oz/250 ml rice 

1 large tomato, blanched, peeled, and chopped up

1 tbsp lime juice 

Red pepper sauce to taste


Using fresh pigeon peas 

  1. Cover and boil the peas, herbs, and salt beef in four cups of water for about ½ hour. If you are not using salt meat, add salt to taste. 
  2. Wash the rice and drain. Add the rice, two more cups of water, butter, tomato, and lime juice. 
  3. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. 
  4. Reduce heat to low and let it simmer until all the water is steamed out (20-25 minutes). 

Using dried pigeon peas 

  1. If using dried pigeon peas, use 1 cup of peas, increase the water to 7 cups, cook the peas very rapidly for about 10 to 15 minutes, and then reduce to simmer for about 40 minutes until tender. 
  2. Proceed with the recipe as above. 
Find this recipe and more in Contemporary Caribbean Cooking ($72.84, Amazon) Buy Now

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