If the recent flood warnings are anything to go by, this summer is set to be a stinker… But this year, rather than exercising my British birth right and whinging about the weather to random passers-by, I may have found a cure for our collective seasonal woe: Pack your cupboards with exotic ingredients, bask in the glorious radiance of the fridge light and cook your way through the recipes in Sweet, the new cookbook by Jamaican hot-sauce tycoon, Levi Roots.
Since strumming his way into the Dragon’s Den, Levi Roots has been a household name and overnight success story. As one of the UK’s best loved foodie personalities his Midas touch was always likely to extend to the bookshelves. Sweet, the latest cookbook to bear his mantel is a bounteous anthology of Caribbean inspired desserts, cocktails and sweet snacks representing the gastropreneur’s first concerted foray beyond his signature realm of savoury spice as seen in Carribbean Food Made Easy .
As an object, this book will bring a touch of summer to any coffee table. Full of Jamaica’s colour and personality, its mouth-watering photos and stylish scrapbook design are as likely to inform your next holiday destination as to inspire your choice of pudding.
Some of the recipes are classics ‘dubbed up”, as Levi puts it, with a Caribbean twist (excellent Rum Tiramisu and Mango Florentines for example). Other recipes are true originals and authentic Jamaican, many using sophisticated flavours like chilli, tamarind, ginger, lime and cardamom. Of course these flavours may not appeal to some, but a host of other recipes that are more traditional in their delivery of chocolate and cream means the book offers something for everyone. Even the health conscious get a nod with zesty sorbets, fresh fruit salads and a fantastic barbequed desserts section. Barbeques! I remember those…
The cynic in me was half expecting the recipes in Sweet to rely on ingredients from Levi’s own burgeoning Reggae Reggae range, but all I found was a recipe book celebrating the simple warm contentment offered by sugar and spice. As I write this, my window panes are being rattled in their frames by a torrent of July rain, but I don’t mind. This might be the Rum Tiramisu talking but who needs the summer when you’ve got sunshine in your belly?