It's a King Thing

A Lifestyle Blog by Mwahaki King

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Thursday, 6 April 2017

Jamaican Easter Spice Bun


Good Friday and Easter are just around the corner. To Jamaicans that means a special treat has been lining the shelves of supermarkets and filling the tummies of delighted children and adults alike. That treat is of course, a Jamaican Spice Bun. While it is possible to find spice buns, particularly the plain, circular variety year-round; it is the loaves bursting with sumptuous fruits and the delectable aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg that come into prominence during Easter, and they are certainly worth the wait.

There are traditionally four different ways that you can choose to make a Jamaican Spice Bun, it just depends on the rising agent you wish to use: baking soda, baking powder, yeast or stout. Perhaps one day I will go into the merits of each rising agent, but for today I’m sharing the baking soda option. As many Jamaican grandmothers can attest, the baking soda method produces a soft, moist, melt-in-your-mouth spice bun that’s easy for anyone to whip up.

Spice Buns hold a special place in the heart of many Jamaicans as they invoke memories of family, tradition and togetherness. However, you don’t have to be from the island to enjoy this delicious dessert, as everyone deserves a little more sweetness in their life. So, whether or not you’re Jamaican, I think it’s time to dust off your apron and treat yourself to something fragrant, flavourful and ultimately irresistible, straight from your own oven. And if you are Jamaican, I hope you enjoy this little taste of home. Here we go!

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Friday, 17 March 2017

5 Songs I’m Loving Right Now


As I write this, large parts of the world are enjoying the start of Spring. Birds chirping, flowers blooming, sun shining! Here in Boston however, we are still deep in the throes of winter, having just emerged from yet another massive snowstorm. I’ve been listening to a lot of new music lately, so I thought it would be good idea to share some of these tunes; to either complement your joyful springtime vibes or to help you combat the lingering winter blues.

First up:
Leave Me Alone - Calypso Rose ft. Manu Chao (Kubiyashi Remix ft. Machel Montano)


This energetic new installation from the queen of Calypso herself, the indomitable Calypso Rose, has taken the Carnival 2017 season by storm. The living legend joined forces with “King of Soca”, Machel Montano and Franco-Spanish musician Mano Chao to produce an exhilarating song, full of the vibrant pulsating rhythms for which the genre is known.

The institution of Carnival has come under scrutiny in recent months, given the sexual harassment of women during parades and the wider discussion regarding violence against women in the Caribbean. “Leave Me Alone” has come at the right time, emerging as an anthem for women who just want to have a great time and celebrate the effervescence of Caribbean culture in peace.

“Leave Me Alone” has old school calypso vibes, new school swagger and an international dimension that makes it both familiar to soca junkies and a perfect introduction for Caribbean Carnival newbies. Manu Chao’s gentle guitar and subtle Spanish inflections complement the exuberance of Rose and Montano; culminating in a song that is at once comforting, fun and ultimately thrilling – the true spirit of Carnival!

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

10 Facts About Me



“Getting to know you, getting to feel free and easy…haven't you noticed suddenly I'm bright and breezy, because of all the beautiful and new things I'm learning about you, day by day.” – Rodgers and Hammerstein, The King and I

Hello hello! Today, I thought I’d do a little “Get to Know Me” post, so you could learn a bit more about the lady behind this blog. So, in the spirit of getting to know each other better, here are 10 facts about me:

Big Ben & The Westminister area of London [Photo Taken by Mwahaki King]
1. My name is Mwahaki King (pronounced Muah-Kee)

2. I lived in London, England until I was about 10 years old. Then, I moved with my mother to her native, Jamaica and stayed there until university. 


The Caribbean Sea, as seen from Ocho Rios Jamaica. [Photo Taken by Mwahaki King]
I went to university on the West Coast of the United States and afterwards relocated to Boston, Massachusetts because of a job offer. I’ve been in Beantown ever since, but the West Coast will always have a special place in my heart. (I mean, In-N-Out Burgers are what dreams are made of)

Monday, 27 February 2017

Stormzy’s Stunning Debut Album – A Review of Gang Signs and Prayer

 Image Source: www.stormzy.com

Michael Omari a.k.a Stormzy a.k.a The Problem a.k.a Wicked Skengman, dropped his much-anticipated debut studio album “Gang Signs and Prayer” this past Friday to the excitement of grime fans everywhere. After a surprise performance with Ed Sheeran at the Brit Awards earlier in the week, there was a great buzz around Stormzy and this new album does not disappoint. “Gang Signs and Prayer” not only excellently captures the South London youth experience, but also takes the listener on a compelling journey as the album tackles issues of love, race, religion and urban culture at large.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

What's for Dinner? | Jamaican Curry Chicken & Basmati Rice


Hello everyone! Today, I’m sharing another childhood favourite: Jamaican Curry Chicken. I can still recall many Sunday afternoons sitting on a veranda in suburban St. Andrew with a plate of curry chicken and rice in my lap as Beres Hammond’s melodious voice drifted over from a neighbour’s radio, crooning out hits like “I Feel Good” and “Rockaway”.


Jamaica has a sizeable population of Indian descent given the history of indentured servitude which began in 1845, due to the social and economic changes that arose after the emancipation of slaves in 1838. Between 1845 and 1917 over 36,000 Indians came to the island, and after this period smaller numbers came to Jamaica in the twentieth century as merchants rather than labourers.

Fast forward to 2017 and it’s safe to say that the varied ethnic cultures in Jamaica have influenced each other greatly. As a natural product of this passage of time, recipes have evolved accordingly. Thus, the Jamaican Curry Chicken we see today is distinct from the original chicken curry seen in contemporary India. It has become a Jamaican culinary classic that embodies the nation’s motto “Out of Many, One People.”



Traditionally, Jamaican Curry Chicken is served over white rice, with curried Russet Potatoes (or Irish Potatoes as they are known in Jamaica) mixed in with the chicken. However, in the recipe below I have made a slight change and replaced the potatoes with red bell peppers. Don’t get me wrong, I love the conventional way of cooking curry chicken; but as we’ve seen culture is fluid and there’s always room for innovation. As such, I thought this would be a fun and delicious tweak on tradition. Plus, the sweetness of the peppers compliments the curry sauce beautifully; providing a depth of flavour that the potatoes can sometimes lack as they tend to absorb the sauce and blend in with the rice, rather than add another dimension of their own. So, whether you’re a Jamaican looking for a taste of home or a foreigner looking to experience the cultural complexity and flavours of our island paradise, this dish is for you! Let’s get started:

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Protoje’s Powerful New Single - Blood Money


“Come take a look inna Jamaica, injustice in the place. If what you see nuh really faze you, then you ah di problem weh we face too.”- Protoje

Video Source: Protoje’s YouTube Channel | https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYZo7CbLJjjfEOqYwknzzow

If you are Jamaican or have any ties to the country, you’ll know that it has been a harrowing time for the nation recently. Despite its reputation, Jamaica has been anything but paradise in the past months as the tropical isle is once again being choked by the vice-like grip of crime and violence. Now, high levels of crime and violence are hardly a new phenomenon for the country. According to the United Nations, Jamaica had the highest murder rate globally in 2005 and it remains one of the highest today[1]

Violent elements of the nation’s history are seen in “Blood Money” with references to the Tivoli Incursion of 2010[2] and the long-standing institutionalized nature of corruption through patronage politics[3]. Historically, such political corruption has cost Jamaica approximately US$18 billion[4]. However, although high levels crime and violence are not new, this does not make them acceptable. Furthermore, crime and violence should not be allowed to spiral out of control unchallenged. As Protoje states, “If you build it pon crime then crime will haffi find you, and that’s how it’s been always. That nuh frustrate you like it do to me?”

It should be said that while violent crime levels in Jamaica were higher than others with a similar per capita profile, they were on the decline nationally until recently. Now, there is a different atmosphere in the air. The general lawlessness, not to mention the elevated abduction and murder of women and girls has struck a chord with the populace. The volatile situation has inspired small scale protests and widespread fear throughout the island. Moreover, while the situation in Jamaica is alarming; violence, political corruption and socioeconomic stratification are not solely Jamaican issues. As such, Protoje’s single “Blood Money” could not have come at a more appropriate time. Its articulate depiction of the current state of affairs in the country and call for change resonate with concerned Jamaicans, reggae aficionados and contemporary viewers of global politics alike.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Seasonal Favourites - Winter



“In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan, earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone; snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow” – In the Bleak Midwinter, Christina Rossetti. January 1872

Hello everyone! I hope 2017 is treating you well so far. The hymnal lyric above was one of my favourites growing up and the chilly weather in Boston has gotten the tune stuck in my head lately. If it does leave my head, it is quickly replaced with California Dreamin’ (all the leaves are brown and the sky is grey. I’ve been for a walk on a winter’s day…) Suffice it to say, I could feel a theme emerging in my head. At the end of last summer, I compiled a few of my favourite things (Cue: Julie Andrews and some Austrian children) from Summer 2016. So, I thought the best thing to brighten up my winter would be to do something similar and share with you some of the products that are helping me to survive these long months.

So, here we go:
CLOTHING


L.L. Bean Ultrawarm Coat, Long
The first item up is this deep chocolate coat from L.L.Bean. The down insulation has kept me toasty warm in some truly frigid Boston winters. Furthermore, the coat comes with ample storage space; two zipped pockets on the outside, one smaller pocket with a Velcro closure on the inside and a very deep breast pocket with a zip to keep items safe.

We all know that quality winter apparel can be a bit of an investment; and at $239, this supremely soft winter coat may be a bit pricey. However, it is still a fraction of the cost of similar Canada Goose products that can retail upwards of $1300. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the style and design of the popular Canada Goose coats but we can’t always afford such an expense; so it’s great to have this gem from L.L. Bean. Furthermore, it’s exquisite craftsmanship, comfort and utility have made it well worth my while.