An easy dip into Dalston’s Caribbean cuisine

EVERY WEEK I take £5  to Ridley Road Market in Dalston, Hackney, London E8 2LH, to spend on seasonal food, obviously not including items likely to be already in a kitchen cabinet, such as sauces, oil, herbs and spices. On Friday I tell you what I have chosen and publish a seasonal recipe.

As usual, expenditure on any extra ingredients, eg, flour, will be recouped by usage over subsequent weeks. Some of the recipes will be frugal. They will all be tasty. All will be vegetarian.

NB: this website uses metric measures but a few Ridley Road traders cheekily sell in imperial, some in metric and some also by the bowl.

This week’s £5 basketRidleylogoc

1/2 yam £1

3 plantain £1

1lb (454.5k) large portobello mushrooms £1

Savoy cabbage 60p

Head broccoli 50p

2 pineapples £1

Total £5.10 (oops!)


I had intended to buy my food this week from stall-holder Barry, whose family has been selling just African-Caribbean vegetables for more than 50 years.

I learnt, however, that Barry had taken a day off, so for the imported exotic vegetables I sought this time I went to a side shop behind the stalls, which meant paying a little more because the retailer did not sell by the bowl or weigh the items. He looked at them, then stated a price and told me how to prepare those items that I told him I’d never previously cooked.

Equipment: paring knife, roasting pan, basting spoon. Wash/scrub all vegetables.

Recipe: Roasted Caribbean vegetables with fresh mango chutney. Serves 2. I am using up a leftover red pepper, a sweet potato, a mango and one of my chillies. Preparation30 mins, cooking 30 mins. Preheat oven to 180C 

Ingredients: 1/2 yam peeled and cut lengthwise into 0.5cm strips, 1 onion peeled and quartered, 2 cloves garlic, 1 pepper cut into strips, 1 sweet potato peeled and cut into bite-size chunks, 1 carrot chopped into bite size pieces, 1 chilli deseeded and finely chopped, herbs of choice (I used fresh rosemary and 2 bay leaves), 3 tablespoons oil and seasoning

Method: Heat the oil in the roasting pan in the oven for 5 minutes, then remove the pan and add all the ingredients to the hot oil. Turn the vegetables so that they get a coating of the oil. Return the pan to the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Take the pan from the oven and turn the vegetables again and return to the oven for another 15 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. I served my roasted vegetables on a bed of millet with a fresh mango chutney.

With the remaining food from my basket I shall make a coconut and spiced plantain curry. I’ll try chef Aldo Zilli’s recipe of chargrilled pineapple and plantain for a dessert. The mushrooms will be grilled for one meal and stuffed for another. The broccoli and Savoy cabbage will accompany most of the above as side dishes.

I am near the end of my giant red cabbage (bought for 15 February 2013) and have just one onion left from the sack (8 February 2013).

Bountiful basket: just look at the number of delicious mushrooms bought in the market and with the pineapples — all for about a fiver
Bountiful basket from the market: the mushrooms and pineapples alone are worth a fiver

Previous articles hyperlinked:

Feeling fruity 22February 2013

Kashmir delight 15 February 2013 

Samphire surprise 8 February 2013

Two dishes from £5 1 February 2013

Ae fond neep 25 January 2013

Cauliflower cheese 18 January 2013

A Hackney frittata 11 January 2013  

Tasty and easy Christmas snack 21 December 2012

The shops behind the market stalls 9 November 2012

Chutney 2 November 2012 

Piccalilli 26 October 2012

Golden soup 19 October 2012

Roasted, stuffed squash 12 October 2012

Vegetable curry 5 October 2012

Carrot and coriander soup 28 September 2012

Ratatouille Gypsy stew 21 September 2012

Bubble and squeak Shooey style,

Bakewell pudding 14 September 2012

Coleslaw and radishes 7 September 2012

Turkish spinach pie 31 August 2012;

Tomato tart, marinated aubergines, fresh mango chutney 24 August 2012;

Roasted butternut squash soup and beetroot salad 17 August 17 2012;

From a fiver in the market: the column launched 15 August 2012

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