Caribbean Flavours at Car Fest North for BBC Children In Need

Car Fest North celebrated its second year at Bolesworth Estate, Chester in spectacular style.  It follows  from the highly successful Car Fest South, Hampshire founded in 2012  and is the brain child of radio presenter Chris Evans, it’s an annual motoring festival and a magical weekend of entertainment for all the family and so far this year has raised over £7 million for charity BBC Children in Need.

I had the pleasure of bringing Caribbean flavours to Car Fest North, for a second year on the Chef Kitchen Stage with Simply Good Food TV. It has got to be my favourite festival as I demoed and cooked on stage Saturday and Sunday with fabulous host Andrew Dickens and was the warm up act to Celebrity Chefs Tom Kerridge and Peter Sidwell. Can a girl complain? We then partied late into the night with bands Manic Street Preachers, Mel C, Seasick Steve, Rick Astley and The Kaiser Chiefs.Only one life to live and one must take advantage of all opportunities life has to offer.


I thought the best way to capture this memorable festival would be via a series of photos. So indulge me and hope you enjoy. If you’ve never been to Car Fest then you are missing out on some great family fun. It is after all Car Fest so here’s my favourite car. Aston Martin any one?

It is my passion to bring a contemporary take on Caribbean cuisine to the UK and beyond. Caribbean cuisine goes beyond jerk chicken and rice & peas. I am originally from Trinidad and its cuisine is a fiery fusion of the melting pot of cultures which inhabit this tiny island. It is not unusual to have a gathering where dishes have African, Indian, Chinese, Portuguese, Syrian, South American and European influences all in one buffet. It’s pure foodie heaven. Ok, so back to Car Fest and my rendition on stage with the amazing Andrew Dickens who always dons an apron and gets cooking with me.

On Saturday, I showed how to whip up a Countryside BBQ in 30minutes, complete with BBQ Prawns and Chicken with Couscous Salad. All made with my newly launched Kitchen Thyme Spice Rubs: Cajun Seasoning & Caribbean Herb Rub.

Car Fest Countryside Caribbean BB


On Friday away from the Chef Stage, I had the honour of Judging at the Scotch Egg Competition. Despite the rain the crowds came to see the entries and were rewarded with samples of every entry. The winner was a lovely young woman who made a simple but delicious apple & leek scotch egg. She won due to taste and texture of her entry. She also won the bet with her boyfriend and he had to pay for drinks for the rest of the festival. Prosecco on tap I think…..

When I was not judging scotch eggs or cooking up a storm on the Chef Kitchen Stage, I was out exploring all the delights of the festival. The photos which follow are just a small snap shot of all the wonderful events that take place over three glorious days rain or shine. Horse boarding anyone? I have never seen it before and much skill was needed to stay on the skate board while manoeuvring the course in the fastest time.


Next came a motor cycle stunt show. I must admit I was totally mesmerised and in awe at the stunts which these riders exhibited. So thrilling and scary at times. I was only disappointed that we did not catch the whole show. I plan to position my self in a prime spot at Car Fest South to catch the entire show.

All in all it was a great festival and the Chef Kitchen Stage was buzzing. The crowd on all days were warm, receptive and engaging. I was please to have a full house and standing room only for both demos. On Sunday, I showed how to make Prawns three ways with the mastery help of Andrew Dickens. Together we dished up Coconut Beer Prawns, Pepper Prawns and Prawn Parcels in thirty minutes.

Car Fest North is now a fabulous memory where I made some new friends and hobnobbed with some Celebrity Chefs. Many thanks to the Car Fest Kitchen staff, Cora and Victoria who made everyone feel welcome and were of immense support.

  1. Sabrina with Candice Brown, Bake Off Winner.
  2. Sabrina with Juanita Hennessey, Master Chef Finalist, Victoria & Cora.
  3. Sabrina & Peter Sidwell, Celebrity Chef & Founder Simply Good Food TV.
  4. Tom Kerridge, Celebrity Chef

To try my recipe for Countryside Caribbean BBQ email me at hello@kitchen-thyme and the first 25 people will receive my Kitchen Thyme Cajun & Pulled Spice rubs samples along with recipes.

Look out for the Simply Good Food TV Chef crew as we get ready take Car Fest South by storm from August 25th to 27th. I am the last act on Saturday evening and looking forward to seeing you there.

SGFTV logo   logo2

Sabrina Zeif, The Flavour Queen

Making the ordinary taste Extraordinary!

Launch of Kitchen Thyme Spices & Rubs

So its been ages since I have posted. It’s been a sad and busy time. I found it hard to get back into the groove in January after my Dad’s passing and trying to help my Mom cope with this devastating lost. However life goes on and as my Dad always said pick yourself up, dust off and keep going.

In February, I started blending for sale the three spices and rubs which I have used in my kitchen for many years and recently at Supper Clubse clients have repeatedly asked to purchase. I have stuck to 3 blends as I know they produce gorgeous flavour.

They are Caribbean Herb Rub, Cajun Seasoning and Pulled Meat Rub. All developed to be very versatile, easy to use and make cooking simple. Most of all adding spices and herbs to cooking creates healthy Vava Voom flavour. Any manner of combinations are possible. My friend Victoria Rance who recently helped me at Shrewsbury Food Festival said the spices made the ordinary tastes Extraordinary! Coming from a fellow foodie and cook, it was a nice compliment. At the festival we turned ordinary canned Tuna Fish into Tuna Exotic with the Caribbean Herb Rub & Cajun Seasoning; Pink Salmon and creme fresh combined with Caribbean Herb Rub & Cajun Seasoning produced a rather posh Salmon Canapé. Roasted Aubergines & Bell Peppers were transformed with a dash of Pulled Meat Rub to Smoked Aubergine Choka ( so versatile that no meat is needed). We could hardly keep up with the samples for the Festival goers who sampled every dish.

CARIBBEAN HERB RUB : blend of eight fresh herbs and spices. It’s the Caribbean flavours in a bottle.


  • Ingredients: Fresh coriander, parsley, spring onions, thyme, ginger, garlic, chilli, lime juice, water & cider vinegar.
  • Storage: Once opened, refrigerate and use within 8 weeks. For best before see base of jar. Can be frozen e.g. in ice cube tray, store in freezer bag.
  • How to use: Rub onto meat, fish or seafood at least 30 minutes before cooking. For extra flavour leave marinating overnight. Add to vegetables or pasta. It’s good with everything, it will liven up your dish.

CAJUN SEASONING: blend of nine spices to create an authentic New Orleans taste.

Kitchen Thyme 34

  • Ingredients: Paprika, black pepper, salt, garlic, thyme, oregano, basil, onion, cayenne pepper
  • How to use: Add some Cajun to your cooking. Use like an all purpose seasoning on meats, seafood, pasta and vegetables. It’s a staple in Gumbo and Jambalaya. Use as an all purpose seasoning on its own or add to meats marinated with Caribbean Herb Rub.

PULLED MEAT RUB : blend of ten spices to create that smokey BBQ taste at home.

Kitchen Thyme 36

  • Ingredients: Brown Sugar, Smoked Paprika, Sea Salt, Cayenne Pepper, Cumin, Black Pepper, Garlic, Mustard powder, Thyme, All Spice.
  • How to use: Spice up any meat dish with our Pulled Rub. Ideal with Pork & Chicken rubbed into meat and slow cooked. Use as an all purpose seasoning to add some extra depth to your meats and vegetables.

Here is some feedback from customers who have tried the spices.

The three herb spice rubs you gave me to try recently were outstanding! The Pulled Meat Rub was incredible, everyone loved it on pork and brisket. The Caribbean Herb Rub  is nothing short of fabulous, I normally marinade fish or cook it with Asian herbs stuffed inside, this was better than any Chermoula, gremolata or lemon grass and coriander concoction of my own making and in fact I used it with a 3 rib cut of beef courtesy of “paddy ryan” (al la central american style) it was outstanding.
In fact all three are bloody marvellous.

I used the Caribbean herb rub first on a beautiful piece of cod loin and drizzled it on the accompaniment of cherry tomatoes and green beans.  I also stirred it into a root vegetable stew to add a bit of fresh zing. The pulled meat rub was fantastic rubbed into brisket prior to slow cooking for a brisket chilli.

I used the pulled meat rub yesterday on a piece of brisket in the slow cooker for 8 hours with shallots, mushrooms and a tiny bit of stock. Absolutely stunning.

The rubs are a great store cupboard essential to liven up pretty much any meal

I used the Cajun seasoning on top of some hassleback potatoes with some salt and mozzarella cheese, great side dish brought to life by the spices in the mix.

Great versatile products and so easy to use.
Peps up a piece of chicken or prawns to create an original and easy lunch or supper
I love using herbs and spices in my cooking but I get bored of measuring the right amounts out, especially when I am hungry and pushed for time. These products save huge amounts of time and cut down on fuss and mess! Plus sometimes I can’t find all the ingredients I need.

Please contact us to stock or purchase our very versatile Kitchen Thyme’s Spices & Rubs.

Tips for Creating Healthy Flavoursome Food

img_2668Are you interested in creating some mouth watering meals using herbs and spices? Without a doubt one of the biggest issues that clients have mentioned is how to create different flavours using herbs and spices. Many are worried they will ruin a dish by using the wrong spice combination or too much spice. In my kitchen my recommendation is that there is no right or wrong way to season, marinate or cook. As a home cook, I view my kitchen as a blank canvas where I can experiment and take risks. Yes, I occasionally have disasters but how else do I learn about fusing flavours.

It is my hope over a series of blogs that I am able to inspire home cooks, experienced and novice ones to add a new dimension to their cooking, using some bold flavours to enhance the simplest of meals. Cooking from scratch is the healthiest option, it saves you money from not buying so much processed foods and it can encourage the family to cook together. This blog is dedicated to giving you some ideas on creating some tantalising flavours which are Caribbean inspired.

MARINADE : For a Caribbean Style marinade blend fresh coriander/ cilantro, spring onions, parsley, thyme, lime juice, ginger and chilli to add a burst of flavour. Use as a marinade on meats, seafood and vegetables. Add soy sauce to meat and herb marinade and allow to marinate, the longer the better. This herb seasoning will keep a month in refrigerator.

HERBS: Fresh herbs are quintessential holy trinity of Caribbean cooking. Add as marinade, during cooking and as garnish to add extra depth to dishes. Some basic herbs: Spring onions, coriander, parsley, thyme and spring onions.
Use the stems and leaves of fresh herbs cilantro/ coriander. The stems are very fragrant unlike parsley stems.Salt sprinkled onto cutting board will keep herbs from flying around when chopping herbs.
Fresh basil keeps much better and longer at room temperature with the stems in water.

LIME & LEMON :To optimize the juice you get from a lemon or lime, roll it hard under your palm for before juicing. In a hurry, microwave for 10 sec.
When a recipe calls for zest, instead of grating it into a separate container, hold the zester over the bowl and zest directly into mixture. This way captures the aromatic citrus oils that are sprayed into the bowl.

SEASONING : Season all of your food from start to finish. Seasoning in stages brings the most out of your ingredients and gives you the most flavour. I love to use spice mixes to make my everyday cooking easy such as All Purpose Seasoning & Cajun Seasoning ( blend of 9 spices)

SPICES: Store spices in a cool, dark place. Humidity, light and heat will cause herbs and spices to lose their flavour. Have a ready supply of spices : coriander, black pepper, salt, paprika, thyme, oregano, basil, chilli pepper, cumin, curry powder and all purpose seasoning.
Keep flavoured vinegars near the stove so you won’t always reach for the salt. Acid enhances flavour.

BBQ: Barbecuing is a healthy alternative to frying. Stuck indoors during the winter or rainy days use a cast iron grill pan to achieve similar results.
Marinate meat, chicken or seafood in a fresh Caribbean herb rub for great flavour. Look out for Kitchen Thyme’s Caribbean Herb Rub coming soon.

COCONUT MILK : Fresh coconut milk is a staple in many Caribbean dishes. Blend coconut with hot water. Strain and remove the pulp. Add coconut milk to curries, stews and any dish needing a sauce. The pulp can be baked and ground into coconut flour.
Have you ever tried homemade Coconut ice cream? It’s delicious!

SWEET POTATO : Apart from being full of vitamins C, D and B6 and the minerals iron, magnesium and potassium, they release natural sugars slowly into the bloodstream, helping to ensure your body receives a balanced and regular source of energy. Sweet potatoes are very versatile and can replace potatoes in most dishes.

FRUIT Mangoes, pineapples , oranges are wonderful eaten fresh however they add flavour to cooking. Add to vegetables or meat dishes to add a sweet dimension.
Freeze left over fruit and make smoothies all year round. Mango, Avocado, spinach & coconut milk smoothie.

CHILLI : Excellent source of Vitamin A & C. Chillies come in different shapes and sizes. Many stimulate the appetite with its pungency but also fruity, floral, smokey, nutty or liquorice taste.
To add flavour and not heat, my Mom adds the whole chilli pepper such as scotch bonnet pepper to soups and stews. Remove whole pepper before serving.
Reduce the heat of chiles by removing the seeds.

GINGER: Peel ginger with a spoon. It is part of the aromatic base for most stir-fries and curries. Cook it in a wok with garlic, spring onion and a little chilli, add the meat of your choice followed by some vegetables and then flavour with soy sauce, rice vinegar and a touch of sugar for a simple and delicious supper.
Perk up a salad with a ginger vinaigrette. Simply chop a small piece of ginger finely, add vinegar, olive oil and some sugar.
Ginger tea is one of the best ways to feel the restorative properties of the spice. Simple simmer peeled, sliced ginger in water for half an hour, then discard the pieces of root. Add sugar to taste and a squeeze of lemon or lime for extra zing.

GARLIC: Use minced garlic for sautéing as less likely to burn than sliced. Buy the freshest garlic the fresher the sweeter it will be. The best garlic has firm tissue-like skin and should not be bruised, sprouted or soft.Peeled garlic can be frozen. Roast garlic whole in oven. Cut in half, squeeze out pegs. Add to dishes for smoky taste. Can be frozen.

VEGETABLES Use a coarse microplane to shave vegetables into salads or vinaigrettes. You can create an orange-fennel dressing by adding grated fennel and orange zest to a simple vinaigrette.
Freeze in season vegetables e.g pumpkin to enjoy year round.
Make stock with left over vegetables, freeze in plastic bags for making soup or making sauces.
To get nice, crispy caramelisation on roasted vegetables, heat oven to high heat. Toss vegetables with olive oil and seasoning. Place on hot pan.
Prolong the lifespan of greens by wrapping them loosely in a damp paper towel and placing in a resealable plastic bag.
For perfect vegetable soup, start with diced carrots, onions, peppers and tomatoes sautéed in oil or butter before you add any liquid. This brings out the taste and caramelises the sugars.
Caramelise onions very quickly by cooking them in a dry nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat. They will caramelise beautifully in a lot less time than with traditional methods.

PASTA :Cook pasta 1 minute less than the package instructions and cook it the rest of the way in the pan with sauce.
Do not use oil in the water when boiling pasta: It will keep the sauce from sticking to the cooked pasta.

VINAIGRETTE : Homemade vinaigrettes have fewer ingredients and taste better than bottled ones. Just put all the ingredients in a sealed container and shake.
When seasoning a salad, use coarse sea salt mixed with olive oil. It will stay crunchy when combined with the vinaigrette.

EASY MEAL TIP For an easy weeknight meal, save and freeze leftover sauces from previous meals in ice cube trays. The cubes can be reheated in a sauté pan when you need a quick sauce.

ROASTING Instead of placing a chicken on a roasting rack, cut thick slices of onion, put them in an oiled pan, then place the chicken on top. The onion will absorb the chicken juices. After roasting, let the chicken rest while you make a sauce with the onions by adding a little stock or water to the pan and cooking it for about 3 minutes on high heat.

POT: A cast-iron pan is a valuable kitchen asset. It offers an even cooking surface and is a breeze to clean.

Recipes are only a guideline. Feel comfortable replacing ingredients with similar ingredients that you like. If you like oregano but not thyme, use oregano. Taste as you cook.

Remember – mistakes make some of the best recipes! Keep it simple.

Shoes off, music on, favorite beverage in hand — enjoy your time in the kitchen.

Cooking dilemmas? Send us your issues, we’ll send you ideas.

Sabrina’s Green Herb Seasoning

My Mom always have a bottle of green herb seasoning in her refrigerator. It makes cooking so much easier and full of Caribbean flavour. Never again throw away your fresh herbs. Add some Caribbean to your cooking with Sabrina’s Green Herb Seasoning.


1 cups fresh coriander including stems

 1/2 cup parsley stems removed

 1/4  cup thyme stems removed

5 spring onions

5-8 pegs garlic

25 g fresh ginger

1 red chilli pepper

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1 lime juiced

1 teaspoon salt


Peel, trim and wash the ingredients.

Chop herbs into smaller pieces.

Place all the ingredients into food processor and blend to pesto or chunky seasoning rub.

Use as a marinade or rub on meats and seafood. Great as a seasoning in soups.

Can be frozen in ice-cube trays, store in freezer in zip lock bag or plastic container.

Cajun- Caribbean Crab Cakes

This recipe works best with fresh lump crab meat. Potatoes can be added to make a more compact crab cake.

Ingredients : serves 4

250 g lump crab meat

1 tbsp finely chopped coriander

1 tbsp finely chopped spring onions

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

100 g chopped red bell pepper

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp creole or cajun seasoning

50 g Panko bread crumbs

Juice from 1/2 lime

1 egg beaten

Finely ground bread crumbs for rolling crab cakes


Ravigote Sauce: Ingredients

1tsp lemon juice

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 tsp dry mustard

1/2 small red bell pepper finely chopped

1/2 tbsp parsley finely chopped

1 tsp horseradish

1/2 tsp dijon mustard

1/2 tsp tabasco sauce

salt and pepper to taste



Combine crab with all of the above ingredients. Roll into appetiser size balls or make into patties for crab cakes. Roll the balls and crab cakes in the finely ground bread crumbs to gently coat.

Fry in medium heat for 3-4 minutes or bake at 180 degrees for 15 minutes.

To make ravigote sauce, whisk together lemon juice, mayonnaise and dry mustard. Add remaining ingredients and whisk together. Season to taste.

Crab balls can be served on their own as an appetiser. Serve the crab cakes with ravigote sauce

Caribbean Curry Prawns on Spinach Pancakes


250 g small prawns

1 tsp Trini green seasoning ( see Green Seasoning recipe)

OR 1  tsp chopped coriander, 1tsp chopped spring onions

1 Tbsp light Soy sauce

1/2 tsp Black pepper

1 mild chilli pepper chopped

1/2 can Chick peas ( can use whole can)

1 medium potato cubed

1 Tbsp Curry powder mixed with 1 tsp water

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp Caribbean all-purpose seasoning

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 medium onion chopped

2 closed garlic crushed

1 slice ginger minced


Slice back of prawns to create butterfly look. Season with Trini green seasoning, black pepper and soy sauce. Marinate 10 minutes.

Heat oil on medium heat. Add onions, fry for 2 minutes, add garlic and ginger followed by curry paste. Fry on high heat for 1 minute.

Add potatoes and cumin. Cook for 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Add water to cover the potatoes. Lower heat, when potatoes half-cooked add chick peas and all-purpose seasoning. Add prawns when potatoes are soft. Cook for 2 minutes. Turn off heat and cover pot. Serve on spinach pancake.

Spinach Pancakes


110 g self-raising flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 egg
50 g butter
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cumin
150 ml milk
10 spring onions, finely sliced
2 green chillies, fine sliced
250 g spinach chopped ( fresh or frozen)

Mix together flour, baking powder, egg, melted butter, salt, cumin and milk until smooth. Add onions and chilli.

Steam spinach, drain then finely chop.  Add to pancake batter. Whisk egg white to soft peak and fold into batter.
Pour a little oil on frying pan on medium heat. Spray oil works best here.

Ladle two tablespoons of batter into pan. Cook for a minute on each side until golden green in colour.

Serve hot topped with Caribbean Curry prawns or simply eat on its own with dab of butter.

Prawn Parcels with Ginger Soy

In Trinidad where I grew up, there is a strong Chinese culinary influence. I grew up helping my Mom fold wonton skins to make Shrimp wontons for parties and guests. The prawn parcels featured here are served on arrival at my Cajun Caribbean Supper Club. It’s a been a much loved canapé  so as requested here is the recipe.
200 g shrimp chopped to paste consistency
1 lime juiced
1 tbsp green onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic crushed
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp black pepper
24 wonton wrappers
1 tbsp chopped coriander
1 small mild chilli
1 egg for egg wash

Ginger Soy
50 ml rice wine vinegar
50 g sugar
1Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp ginger grated
2 cloves garlic grated or minced
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp chilli powder

Wash shrimp in lemon juice. Chop by hand or food processor. Combine ground shrimp with remaining ingredients.

Combine all ingredients to make ginger soy. Can be made day before.
Lay wonton skins on dry surface, put 1/2 tsp filling in middle of the skin. Brush sides of skin with egg wash . Pinch skin together to make a parcel. Fry until golden brown.

Serve with ginger soy sauce.

The Worlds First 24 hour Live Streamed Cooking Show

Fab Chefs of 24 Hour Cooking TV Show
Fab Chefs of  24 Hour Cooking TV Show

I was privileged to participate on November 11th, 2016 in the World’s first live 24 hour cooking show hosted by celebrity chef, Peter Sidwell’s on Simply Good Food TV in the beautiful Lake District. Simply Good Food TV is the UK’s most popular award winning video app.

It was a fete in itself to co-ordinate the event, producers and Chefs however Vhari Russell, The Food Marketing Expert handled it all in her stride. How Peter Sidwell managed to stay awake cooking and engaging with his guest Chefs for the entire 24 hours is beyond me and hats off to Robert Steadman, Camera  IT SGFTV tech expert for filming for the entire time and still managed to smile.

I arrived the afternoon before to lend a hand. Come to think about it Peter, Vhari, Robert and myself were awake for almost 36 hours. The show started with much anticipation at 4pm.  I was on at 3am and I barely managed to stay awake so how Peter powered on for another 13 hours is simply amazing. What an awesome  experience and the best part was meeting so many gifted Chefs and tasting  such delicious creations every hour for 24 hours. Indulgent yes, however it was a foodie persons dream come true…in particular my dream!

Funny quote of the event.. ” No girlie pestle and mortar allowed”. Can’t say who said it but I love it.

The perfect setting : Cameras ready to go, Shelves stocked with producers products, gorgeous autumn morning in the Lake District.

Getting set up for 24 Hour Cooking Show
Getting set up for 24 Hour Cooking Show
Italian Hour with Vhari Russell, Food Marketing Expert & Celebrity Chef Peter Sidwell
Italian Hour with Vhari Russell, The Food Marketing Expert & Celebrity Chef Peter Sidwell
Harry showing Peter a thing or two on spices?
Hari Ghotra showing Peter a thing or two on spices?
Jon Fell the Master Fish Chef
Jon Fell the Master Fish Chef….such concentration
Angostura Bitters at 2am?
Angostura Bitters added to Gin at 2am? Guess where Angostura Bitters comes from?
International Chefs
International Chefs Saira, Lillian & Sabrina. They were such good fun. Lovely ladies.
Let's serve up...never mind its 4am!
My menu : Rum Punch, Crab & Cucumber bouchée, Cajun Sea food Gumbo & flambé Rum Mango & Pineapple salad.Let’s serve up…never mind its 4am!

How to stay awake for 24 hours

How to stay awake for 24 hours. Vhari needs a sugar fix. Actually at 5am we all need a few chocolate covered pancakes. Yum!

Thank you to everyone involved in the Worlds First 24 hour live streamed cooking show. It was such an honour and pleasure to be part of history in the making.


Summer 2016

Some photos capturing  my events of Summer 2016.

Cooking up an elegant Supper Club in Shrewsbury, Meeting the Hairy Bikers and their BBC Production Crew in Birmingham, launching the Birmingham Caribbean Festival at Le Monde Restaurant and featuring on the Chefs Stage at Car Fest North, Bolesworth Castle, Chester.