Glorious Cream

BY AMANDA CUMMINS So many of our favourite puddings in the summer have one ingredient in common. Cream. Specifically, double cream. Fools, mousses, possets, syllabubs. And luscious, seductively moreish homemade ice-cream. The idea of homemade ice cream might seem a bit of a faff if one lacks an ice-cream maker but, frankly, an ice-cream maker is one of those kitchen gizmos which seem a good idea … Continue reading Glorious Cream


BY AMANDA CUMMINS A long life, well-lived. Well, Daddy certainly had a long life.  But the well-lived part started to unravel five years ago. Who could have thought that with every setback he’d not quite bounce back, but certainly totter back.  His was the most unshakeable spirit coupled with huge optimism, – a few weeks before he died, he asked me to buy some new … Continue reading Memories

Mr Royal Warrant

BY AMANDA CUMMINS My mama used to buy me clothes, which were presented with a shrugged shoulder and a muttered “you won’t like it”. On occasion, she was absolutely right: some quite dreadful garment would be unveiled. I’d smile with barely disguised horror. “It” would be worn once and then be consigned to the Really Awful Things Never To Be Worn Again section of the … Continue reading Mr Royal Warrant

Summer Buffet Nears

BY AMANDA CUMMINS April is tapping at the calendar’s door and already the pencils are being sharpened, and ideas tossed about, as the season of the Summer Buffet nears. Those of my grandmothers’ generation held lunch parties at which cold collations were served, and these included various items en gelée (what I called “things in aspic”) for which I hold a dislike that is only … Continue reading Summer Buffet Nears

Trinidad Runaway

BY AMANDA CUMMINS When I was a little girl in Trinidad, I ran away from home. Teddy clutched in my arms, and emergency supplies (I can’ t remember what they were, but they were important) in my school satchel, I opened the garden gate which was usually locked (more to deter incursions than for containing a 5-year-old). I remember it vividly. Standing on the road … Continue reading Trinidad Runaway

Christmas Day in Trinidad

BY AMANDA CUMMINS For some inexplicable reason, the other day I was looking through my paternal grandmother’s recipe book – or, more accurately, given that she started writing in this ledger in 1916 prior to her marriage, her Collection of Receipts. It makes fascinating reading. It is heavy, and I use the word in its most literal sense, especially in respect to puddings. Nothing seems … Continue reading Christmas Day in Trinidad

Lunch at Lancaster Great House

BY AMANDA CUMMINS Step a little closer, and I shall tell you a secret. Well, it’s not exactly a secret-secret, more a pointer to something rather special. Going out for Sunday lunch – a planter’s buffet – in Barbados is something of a tradition. Convivial company, a groaning table of delicious choices and likely a rum punch or two. Hotels and restaurants throughout the island put … Continue reading Lunch at Lancaster Great House

Pink in Barbados

BY AMANDA CUMMINS My father’s paternal grandfather, born in 1828, was married not once or twice but thrice. With prodigious issue. His first two wives were young ladies from Barbados, a place he visited during his service as a surgeon in the Royal Navy. Both these brides were from “old Bajan families”. Inevitably, they were cousins. Both died young. My great-grandfather returned to County Cork … Continue reading Pink in Barbados

St Nicholas Abbey – Pride of Barbados

BY AMANDA CUMMINS The Great Houses in Barbados and other parts of the West Indies were attached to estates, primarily sugar estates. Some houses were greater than others, many are now dilapidated shells and sometimes their previous existence only lies in the name of whichever estate they were at the heart of. The areas one drives through have names such as Friendship and Harmony Hall. … Continue reading St Nicholas Abbey – Pride of Barbados

Barbados Hot Sauce

BY AMANDA CUMMINS There are those for whom hot sauce is a never-to-be-repeated experience. In the same way that I, ever the child of the Caribbean, shriek at putting even one toe into the waters surrounding the UK (“you’re trying to kill me”, I said to Granny, circa 1973, Aberdovey), hot sauce is not necessarily something for everyone. Before I go any further: the correct … Continue reading Barbados Hot Sauce

Return to Trinidad

BY AMANDA CUMMINS On my parents’ return to Trinidad it was to a bigger job, a bigger house and a bigger diary. They had attended, and given, many parties during our first stint in the West Indies. Parties mainly for friends, with very little business entertaining. And very good parties they were, too. However, this was different. This new life meant entertaining Big Time. Diplomats, … Continue reading Return to Trinidad

Driving in Barbados

BY AMANDA CUMMINS Those of us who live in the countryside in the UK are familiar with narrow lanes, sheep being moved en masse, meeting hounds and/or the field on a hunting day, tractors galore, etc, etc. This does not prepare one for driving in Barbados. There is a trick to driving in Barbados which is, essentially, go forward and ignore the opposition. There is … Continue reading Driving in Barbados