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Get Hot and Spicy for the Notting Hill Carnival!

Get Hot and Spicy for the Notting Hill Carnival!

By Laura Briggs

Think Notting Hill Carnival and you’ll be transported to a vibrant and exciting Caribbean dream, where dancing and great food meet with thousands of people ready to party.

Caribbean food is hot, spicy and delicious and it has health benefits too – the use of chillies and fresh produce means that you can indulge knowing that as long as you eat in moderation you’ll be getting plenty of nutrients and goodness in your diet.

Here are some classic Caribbean recipes to add to your repertoire which use healthy ingredients and will help keep you dancing until the wee small hours for the Carnival on Sunday, August 24, until Saturday, August 25.


Jerk Chicken

This classic dish packs a punch and it all comes from the marinade – with fresh and healthy flavours such as chillies and ginger, this one will transport you straight to the Caribbean!

jerk chicken


  • 12 x chicken thighs,
  • 1 x large bunch spring onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 x thumb-sized piece ginger, roughly chopped
  • 3 x garlic cloves
  • ½ a small onion
  • 3 x scotch bonnet chillies, deseeded if you want less heat
  • ½ tsp dried thyme, or 1 tbsp thyme leaves
  • juice 1 lime
  • 2 x tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 x tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 x tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 x tbsp ground allspice


  • Blitz all the ingredients in a food processor apart from the chicken.
  • Slash some cuts in the chicken flesh and rub the marinade all over.
  • Cover and leave overnight – for at least 24 hours to really soak up the flavour.
  • The best way to cook the chicken is to barbecue it, alternatively you can cook it in the oven at Gas Mark 4/140C for around 45 minutes until cooked through.

Rice and Beans

An essential Jerk Chicken side dish, rice and beans is a simple and tasty accompaniment to many Caribbean dishes.



  • 200g basmati rice
  • 400g can coconut milk
  • 1 x large onion
  • 2 x large thyme sprigs
  • 2 x garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 x cans of kidney beans, drained


  • Rinse the rice and add all the ingredients except the kidney beans.
  • In a saucepan, cover with water and then when it’s boiling turn the heat down and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add the beans and cover with the heat off, for another 5 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Season with salt and black pepper.

Make it healthy

With Caribbean cooking, using lean meat, low fat coconut milk and incorporating plenty of beans and legumes, and fish can make your dishes healthy. Focus on marinades to get a real kick without adding too many calories, and use pineapple, sweet potato and plenty of greens in dishes to get loads of nutritional value.

For more information on Notting Hill Carnival and the food, visit