Sunday, 22 July 2007

Holiday Fare

The beauty of plantain is that it sweetens with cooking . If you are not familiar with plantain and inadvertently mistake it for banana, it can be a very unpleasant experience. Some people never venture there again! Which is a real shame because it is one of the most delicious and versatile of our vegetable/fruit (which one is it, I wonder?).These dishes are served for lunch at Rawllins Plantation in St Kitts. The above plantain dish is served in an attractive wooden dish which shows up the colours beautifully. If you start with firm plantain and bake them, a magical transformation of caramelisation takes place. I have even done it in the toaster oven at around 400F and it doesn't take long for the sugar deep in the plantain to pop to the surface and add its own glaze. They are also perfect on the BBQ. Literally cut in half and place on hot grill in their skins. They are ready when the ends begin to puff.
Another West Indian favorite is "CookUp Rice". It is truly ubiquitous throughout the region and especially in Trinidad where our pelau is a serious contender for national dish. The above rice was also served at Rawlins Plantation in St Kitts. The technique is usually quite simple. Boil the rice. In another pan, add aprox. one tablespoon of oil and saute diced (all) onions, green onions, seasoning peppers, corn, carrots, pumpkin and even bacon. Turn the rice into this pan and mix together. This is my recipe which looks quite similar to the above one. Unfortunately I do not have the exact recipe from Rawlins Plantation.
When I go on holiday, this is the type of bed I imagine. Even down to the mosquito netting around the post. As children we slept with nets and it was lovely. You could hear the rain at night and if you were lucky enough to wake up during the night, at certain times of the year, you could catch the fireflies signaling each other across the room with little pulsing lights.

The pleasure of an open door on a sunny afternoon. Leaving doors open allows the breeze to come right through bringing with it all the sounds and smells of the garden. The casuarinas in the background were swaying and singing in the breeze.