It’s Caribbean carnival weekend in London’s Notting Hill district and this will mark the end of the summer holidays for many people. Nothing Hill carnival was started by Claudia Jones, a journalist from Trinidad, back in 1959, in order to celebrate the contributions and achievements of local African Caribbean communities.
Many of the carnival mas camps are now finalising their costume adornments, for a glittering array of dance and performance on Sunday and Monday and with this merriment, comes an age old tradition, of the sharing of culture in full Caribbean style.
Along side the summer heat, carnival music and stunning spectacle of colour, will be the smells and tastes of traditional Caribbean cuisine. Dozens of food stalls will line the procession path and many revellers will expect to enjoy, one of the many ‘must-have’ culinary accompaniments with their street food, in the form of ‘pepper sauce’, just to spice it up that little bit more.
Fresh chili peppers, red and green, are rich source of vitamins and minerals. I recently read an interesting article about one of the hottest chilli peppers in the world, Paul Bosland, a chili pepper expert and director of the New Mexico State University Chilli Pepper Institute, stated that, “You take a bite. It doesn’t seem so bad, and then it builds and it builds and it builds. He was talking about the ‘Trinidad Scorpion Moruga pepper’! It has a tender fruit-like flavor, which makes it a sweet-hot combination and is currently the hottest chilli pepper known on the planet!
Throughout the Caribbean and other parts of the world, there’s an inspiring tradition of seasoning (soaking, marinating) raw food, and hot pepper sauces are a traditional part of dietary consumption. They are used to marinade ingredients and, as a condiment to add additional flavour to cultural dishes.
A raw pepper sauce can be made from using any of a number of chilli pepper types, depending on how ‘hot’ (spicy) you like your sauce. From the milder jalapeno pepper, to super hot types like scotch bonnet or Trinidad Scorpion Moruga chilli peppers, these are blended with seasonings, olive oil and sun-dried tomato, to produce and scintillating creation that can bring many a raw food dish to life. This is great news if you’re exploring a raw and living foods lifestyle for the first time; familiar flavours make that bit easier and more interesting.
If you live in a cooler climate, pepper sauces can often help to warm you up from the inside during the colder months. Best to build up slowly and not to over-consume, especially if you are not used to it. If you have a stomach or digestion condition, you may need to seek advice.
So, if you’re off dancing to ‘Feeling hot, hot, hot’ (a song by The Mighty Arrow) this weekend, remember to take a little raw hot pepper sauce with you, it can go a long way to spicing up your raw street food, as well as adding more fire to your boogie…
Happy carnival love,
p.s. A date for your diary: my next Sistahintheraw raw soul food class will be held on Saturday 21st September 2013, in London