On arrival in Barbados, you quickly learn a few things. Things from Barbados are Bajan, and Barbados is affectionately known locally as BIM. The people here are so warm, friendly and very generous.
I am always asking lots of questions about food – as you know – as I try to understand what the local food culture is and where it comes from. This nosiness I am sure can annoy, but in Barbados people loved to share, and one lady, Heather, a chef from The Club where I am staying, invited me to her home to cook a traditional Sunday lunch.
How exciting. It is the best thing that I could hope for when visiting another country.
Heather lives in a lovely neighbourhood, calm, near the sea, and primarily composed of the traditional Bajan chattel houses, lovely wooden homes, usually small, some big, almost always colourful. Heather welcomed me with a traditional Bajan lemonade (recipe soon!) and we got started.
The traditional Sunday lunch here has mac pie (a Bajan take on mac & cheese, with lots of spice flavour, and long strands of macaroni), rice and peas (we used local green peas, gumbo peas or split peas are also used), Bajan fried fish, pork or chicken, butter sauce / gravy (a spicy fruity buttery sauce) and coleslaw. Again, a Bajan interpretation with some spice.
The macaroni for the mac pie comes in long strands like spaghetti and you break it as long as you want, ours were about three inches long. We cooked mahi mahi (known locally as dolphin), marinated first in lime and salt, as all meat or fish is here before cooking, then stuffed with Bajan seasoning, a Bajan chimmichurri of sorts but much thicker and not used as a dip. It was a wonderful time, I have taken notes on all of the recipes, and I will cook them and write my take on them when I get home.
So, watch out for that, and in the meantime, enjoy the photos. I leave Barbados today, on the red eye to London. Very sad to leave but excited to get home and cook, and share lots of Bajan recipes with you.