By Nigel Spence
What a something this month! Two major events observed in February will be occurring on the same day this year. This is bound to cause a stir as many participants won’t know whether to feast or fast?
Valentine’s Day celebrated annually on February 14th will share the stage with another annual observance which will fall on the same date – Ash Wednesday.
On Ash Wednesday, Western Christians spend the day pledging their love for the Holy Spirit with worship and fasting. On Valentine’s Day participants pledge their love for each other (sometimes for “spirits” – Wray & Nephew no less) with a show of gifts, chocolates and feasting. It will be interesting to see what happens with those caught in the crossover.
But it is all good. After the gloom and doom of extreme icy weather conditions we have recently been experiencing here in New York, it is refreshing to finally see the thaw at the end of the tunnel (in the city that could be literal). We can slowly get out of hibernation and get back to the business of living. It’s times like these I find myself humming the words of DJ Admiral Bailey “…no where nuh betta dan Yaad”. And it looking really good to me right now – Snow free and warm! Ha!
Speaking of warm, did you know there are certain foods you can eat to keep you toasty? Adding ginger to your dishes can create the perfect combo – a delicious burst of flavor with body warming effects. A study published in 2012 in the journal “Metabolism” showed ginger to enhance thermogenesis (the production of heat, especially within the body) when ingested. Ginger has another method beyond thermogenisis effect to help heat things up. An old Indian tradition is to mix it with eggs and honey as a cure for impotence. Madame du Barry of the French Revolution would put her lovers in a state of submissiveness by serving ginger potions to them.
Here at the restaurant we serve a ginger infused cocktail on Valentine’s Day with the hopes of leaving our guests with a totally satisfying experience.
Of course, any self-respecting Yard man woulda just call for a “whites”. One or two swigs and everything irie !
Anyway, however you choose to keep those fires burning this Valentine’s Day, whether internally or externally, please keep it safe and continue to spread the love. Here is the Valentine’s Day secret potion…enjoy!
1 1/4 oz Dark rum
1/2 oz Campari
1 oz Ginger syrup
dash of Vanilla extract
2 oz Ginger ale
Put rum, campari, ginger syrup and vanilla in a shaker with ice and shake for a few seconds. Strain into a glass filled with ice and add ginger ale.
½ cup Sugar
½ cup Water
1 lb fresh Ginger root, peeled and grated
In a saucepan bring the sugar, water and ginger to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes then turn off the heat and allow to cool. Strain.
Nigel Spence, a Culinary Institute of America alumnus, was born in Kingston, Jamaica. Nigel freelanced at the Television Food Network for 3 years where he worked with culinary luminaries such as Bobby Flay and Emeril Lagasse. Chef Spence has appeared twice on Throwdown with Bobby Flay where he emerged the victor in cook offs against the Food Network star and was featured on CBS when he appeared on Tony’s Table as well as ABC’s Neighborhood Eats, NBC’s The Today Show , Sirius’ Everyday Living with Martha Stewart and TVFN’s Chopped. The acclaimed and New York Times-reviewed Ripe Kitchen and Bar is Mr Spence’s first entrepreneurial endeavour.