Today, I threw my best friend Arlene a bridal shower and because she’s Jamaican, we decided on a tropical theme for the menu. Before I show you the menu all written down, let’s peek at the table!
Signature cocktail: The Arlene – White sangria rum punch
Signature mocktail: The Fintan – Ginger-lime splash
Fruit “salad” skewers (vegan)
Veggies with ranch dip (vegetarian) and Italian dressing (vegan)
Sliced baguette with various dips/spreads
Dee’s Wholefoods sausages (vegan)
Jamaican meat mini pies (carnivorous)
Traditional Jamaican Matrimony dessert (vegetarian)
With guests having varied allergies and dietary restrictions, we carefully chose vegan, vegetarian, and fully loaded foods for the menu. Here are a few highlights of the menu then I’ll share the Jamaican Beef Patty (like a hand pie, pastry, or bierock).
The Arlene was amazing and I wish I had a photo because the girls who made it arrived and it was in one of those fabulous glass jugs with the spout. They followed THIS recipe to make it.
The Fintan cocktail was a pitcher with two litres ginger ale and 10 ounces lime juice blended. Adding a little lime zest added a nice fresh kick to that.
The fruit salad skewers simply were cut or cubed fruits paired with grapes. Simple, effective, healthy, refreshing.
The veggies with dip were served individually in little shot glasses. Ranch dip for most of us and Italian (Paul Newman’s from a bottle) for the dairy-free and vegan guests.
Sliced baguette with dips/spread were simple. I toasted the sliced baguette in the oven for about eight minutes to make them crunchy so they could help up to the toppings. Hummus, guacamole, and a couple others were served. I bought them all ready-made to make the preparation easier.
Vegan sausages from Dee’s Wholefoods were perfect with this menu because it was tasty on its own or with a little Italian dressing.
Jamaican beef mini pies were the highlight because they were made mostly from scratch by the bride-to-be and me. The patty itself is more like a Cornish pasty, Nebraska bierock/runza, or Hot Pocket, but with distinctive comforting flavours like Shepherd’s Pie. Here is the recipe, which made eight hand pies:
Jamaican Beef Patty
Two sheets ready-made shortcrust pastry, rolled out
1 1/2 tablespoons butter + 1/2 tablespoon to brush/glaze
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 pound ground/minced beef
6 ounces vegetable or beef stock
1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme
2 teaspoons dried herbs de Provence
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
Dash of ground sea salt
Pinch of nutmeg
4 stalks spring onions (scallions), sliced
1–2 cups bread crumbs
1 1/2 tablespoons milk for glazing
- In a wide pan over low-medium heat, melt the butter and add the chopped red onion and cover to cook until softened.
- Add the beef and break up the chunks with a spatula or spoon. Increase heat to medium and pour in the stock.
- Stir in the thyme, herbs de Provence, pepper, salt, and nutmeg. Let cook until the liquid has reduced to almost nothing (but while meat is still amply moist).
- Add the scallions and stir to blend.
- Bit-by-bit, stir in the bread crumbs. They should soak up excess liquid, but not become clumpy. One cup is usually enough, but sometimes a little more is necessary. You want the sauce to make the breadcrumbs wet.
- Cut five- to six-inch circles from the rolled out pastry, two for each mini pie. Spoon two tablespoons of the beef mixture into the centre of one circle then place another circle atop then crimp and seal the edges. Poke a hole in the top for excess air, brush with butter and milk, and set on a greased cookie sheet. Continue this process until all have been created. I used a mini pie maker, like this one, to simplify the cutting and sealing process. But, if I ever wanted to be super efficient, I’d get one of these Mini Pie Maker.
Bake the pies for about 40–45 minutes at 350F (175C). Serve hot.
Note: If you like a little heat, stir in a few dashes of Tabasco or a chopped hot pepper when cooking the beef.
They were a resounding success and enjoyed by all. There were no half-eaten pies at this party. There were three leftover, but they were demolished within a few hours. I’ll definitely make these again.
The entire spread was just enough food to enjoy seconds or thirds, but not so much to be wasteful or fill my fridge after.
Of course, one last menu item is the traditional Jamaican Matrimony dessert. Yes, it’s actually called Matrimony! Perfect for a bridal shower, right? It is a very simple recipe which is being shared here as well, but without a photo because it was eaten too quickly.
Jamaican Matrimony dessert
Three oranges, with each section cut in half
Three mangos, peeled and chopped
Half can of mandarin orange segments
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Half can of condensed milk
- Mix the fruit together.
- Sprinkle and blend the fruit with the nutmeg.
- Drizzle the condensed milk over the fruit and stir to blend. Chill until time to serve.
- Serve cold. Really lovely with ginger cookies.
So, that’s the menu and two recipes from the Jamaican bridal shower for my best friend. What is your dream bridal shower menu?