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28 October 2014

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Bola Clemo with chicken pakoras
Bola in her kitchen

Caribbean kitchen: chicken pakoras

By Bola Clemo
Bola Clemo came to Berkshire from Nigeria in the 1980s, and decided what better way to earn a living than doing what she loves - cooking. Now she runs Bola's Kitchen at the Corn Exchange theatre in Newbury.

Bola spoke to BBC Radio Berkshire's Louise Chandler about the global tastes involved in the food she cooks at the Corn Exchange, plus her favourite dish with a Caribbean flavour.

Afro-Caribbean food is a mixture of many cultures. You have a bit of Spanish, African, and even Indian influences.

I'm always learning about food. I came to England 27 years ago from Nigeria and I didn't know what all the different vegetables were, apart from what I'd seen the English eating in Nigeria.

But I'd sit and read books and now when I'm relaxing, I'm reading books.

The African way

As a family we eat cross-cultural food - we just like any good food, and when I taste it I'm always working out how it's made. I usually go home and try to reproduce good dishes, and I won't rest til I get it right.

That's probably an African way of learning to cook: when I was growing up in Nigeria I had food being cooked around me all the time and I was assimilating that. When I was on my own in England it all started to come out, bit by bit.

My cooking comes from within. People always ask for recipes but I just think 'I'm going to do this today' and I get all excited and do it.

Bola's choice: chicken pakoras

Caribbean food
Bola's creation: chicken pakoras

We make chicken pakoras with chicken breasts which have to sit in a marinade all night.

There's a hint of garlic, lots of herbs and a tiny bit of ginger with some pepper as well. The chicken needs to be really tender inside.

It's great for business functions and weddings - when you put a lot of it together, it looks really nice.

Did this whet your appetite? Find out how to cook Caribbean style from Berkshire's top Afro-Caribbean chefs with Louise Chandler on BBC Radio Berkshire's Caribbean Show - every Sunday at 9pm.

last updated: 08/03/07
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Euten E Lindsay
Just browsing when I saw this peice,very refreshing to see a female cooking her stuff with passion which I believe is the main ingredient to cook well.Total respect and hope we could meet to exchange ideas as well.I do have so many recepies will forward as soon as time permits,take a look at the Walkerswood kitchen cook book,written by Virginia Burke.You will be told that most of the recipes were developed by myself.If you would like to know more /please call.Euten E Lindsay.

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