All posts filed under: Caribbean

A Day Exploring St Lucia & Eating (Cocoa Plantation, Orlando’s & Rainforest Hideaway Lionfish)

Sitting here in Soho looking out at the rain and surrounded by buzzy media types on their phones, tablets and what not, it is hard to believe that this time last week I was in the Caribbean and my biggest problem was being stalked by mosquitos. I love going away, but I also love coming home, and I don’t mind the rain. An Irish person with an issue with the rain, might as well have an issue with the sky, blades of grass, cows that moo, and anything else everyday and not extreme. It rained in St Lucia too. Quite a bit. Lush misty rain that waters the cocoa trees, the giant rainforest, towering palms, gorgeous eclectic flowers, the vivid greenery, and the occasional boa constrictor (true). We drove along the coast and into the rainforest along windy steep roads dotted with small villages, seashores, luxury resorts and finally, our destination, a cocoa plantation. Rabot Estate is owned and run by Hotel Chocolat in the UK, but it is run entirely by St Lucian staff, …

The Atlantic Here & There: Ireland, Antigua & St Lucia

When we last spoke I was procrastinating, as I often do. Making homemade peanut butter for a supposed quick dish (it was still quick), but you know, what I really should have been doing was my laundry. I was set to fly to the Caribbean the next day and I had nothing clean to pack. At least very little that would be suitable for the heat. Now, cooking is my jam. Any other domestic things, not so much. I would drive to Edinburgh to buy a packet of crisps to avoid a stint of spring cleaning (I can’t even drive, and I still would). To cut quickly to the end, I put my suitcase on the British Airways scales at Gatwick and the hostess, surprised, commented, only 12kg? You must be hoping for warm weather! I thought: RUBBISH, I completely forgot that extra load of washing that I had hung up to dry. So here I am in a mish mash of razzle dazzle pinks, greys and yellows, writing to you from my balcony at …

Eat like a Bajan: Cooking Bajan Sunday Lunch with Heather in Barbados

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, …

A Postcard from Barbados

Well, hello there! And greetings, now from Barbados. I am on the second leg of my Caribbean break, nearing the end of it, this time at The Club in Barbados. It has been a super week. I have gotten under the skin of Bajan food, learned to cook it, had lots of gorgeous fresh local fish and a few cocktails. Typically, I finish with a backlog of all the things that I wanted to do but didn’t. So, I start at 8.30am tomorrow with a trip to see some turtles, cooking in the kitchen here and getting a recipe for pepper sauce (I love that stuff!) and I am going to finish it all with a massage and facial. Then back to London overnight on Wednesday and straight back into meetings and insanity. Here are some photo highlights. Back soon with recipes, stories and lots more photos. Travel Info: I am in Barbados on the Barbados Blogathon, sponsored by Tropical Sky & Elite Island Resorts.

Recipe: Chef Baka’s Banana Fritter Recipe (from Palm Island)

Every morning on Palm Island, I would ask what the local breakfast was, and almost always order it. I love Caribbean breakfasts. On my first morning, the local breakfast was banana fritters. Well, yes please. The bananas here are fantastic, rich and sweet, almost like they have been soaked in a rich banana syrup. I made banana fritters in school at Home Economics and was quite taken with them. These, however, were different. My school banana fritters were slices of banana, fried in batter. Just that and for a 13 year old Irish cailín a revelation. These Caribbean banana fritters are more of an intense banana American pancake with some gentle spicing. Fluffy, light and like a morning banana tickle. Except that sounds quite rude. It isn’t! Like banana bread, they are made with bananas just on the right side of brown – speckled skin with some yellow bits – mashed until soft (do you remember banana sandwiches?! I used to love them) and then added to the fritter mixture. Perfect for bananas that have …

A Postcard from the Grenadines: A Lobster Lunch at Tobago Cays

I wish I had more time to write, but as I sit here typing, I really should be packing. I leave in an hour you see. However, I really wanted to share some pictures of my fantastic lobster lunch yesterday. I left Palm Island on the Pink Lady – a small sailing boat that can take up to 4 passengers. We went to Tobago Cays, a protected series of tiny islands and a nature reserve. It is also the home of many turtles which you can see pop their heads up occasionally to breathe. I did see them, but I also snorkelled to have a look. I am possibly the worst and most panicky snorkeller in the history of creation. But I saw turtles, starfish, some seahorses. So despite the fact that I nearly choked when I came up for air, it was worth it. Back to lunch. One of the small islands has several barbecues and for  EC$12 a pound they will cook you lobster. The lobster lives in little lobster pots off the …

A Postcard from St Vincent

Good morning and greetings once more from Palm Island. Yesterday I went across to St Vincent, principal island of St Vincent and the Grenadines. I flew there, it took about 2o minutes in a tiny plane. They used to make me nervous but I have grown to trust the pilot and the air industry and now enjoy the sense of adventure instead. Unless it gets rocky, then all bets are off. I went to visit a farm. By sheer coincidence, before my arrival the people who supply Palm Island with passion fruit visited, and when I arrived they came up in conversation. It sounded wonderful, so a visit was arranged. Becky and her husband have repatriated to St Vincent in the last two years. Becky’s husband was born and raised in St Vincent but they have spent most of their adult lives in the US, returning now to farm his grandparents land, now called Madam Ground Farms. The farm is on a steep hill and is packed with passion friut, pineapple, papaya, ginger, mangos. It …

A Postcard from Palm Island in the Grenadines

I know. I am so very lucky. Here I am in the Grenadines, on a glorious Caribbean island, not even a mile long. I am here as part of the Barbados Blogathon, where four bloggers have been sharing their experiences of Barbados. I am the last one. I tagged on an extra island, as I am a little greedy that way. So, before I hit Barbados, I am spending 5 nights on Palm. Palm Island is off of Union Island, a short ride in a tiny plane from Barbados. It felt like such an adventure, and it is. Once I arrived at Union, I jumped on a boat, and landed 5 minutes later on Palm. We were greeted with a delicious rum punch and the last 2 days have been bliss. A wee glimpse now, I will be back shortly with lots on what I have been up to, the food, and also some recipes. See you soon! You can follow the Barbados Blogathon on twitter, #bdosblogathon. Disclaimer / info: I travelled to Palm Island with Virgin …

Last Postcard from Grenada

I spent my last couple of hours in Grenada putting together this post. I hit publish, boarded the plane, and got back today. Only when I hit publish, my post disappeared into some unknown ether. Gone from drafts to nowhere I can find, so I have just put it together again, with a very sleepy head. Recipes, Grenada restaurants and more soon. Enjoy my last postcard for now :)

A Postcard from Grenada

I can’t quite believe that my week on this beautiful Caribbean island is coming to an end, but it is. It has been quite the non-stop adventure. I am busier here than I am in London, simply because there is so much that I want to see, and taste. Lets start with an overview, and I will be back with more details and videos soon. More photos too, as this is really just the very tip of what I have taken.

Greetings from Grenada! And Now for Something Completely Different: MONKEYS

Greetings from Grenada folks! Gre-nay-dah! Not Greh-nah-dah! In the Caribbean and not in Spain. I have been explaining that a lot. When my Irish accent meets Grenada, everyone thinks I am in Spain. I am on the Spice Island. There is nutmeg everywhere, cinnamon too. Pimento, and in season cloves. Bay everywhere. Larger and more luscious waxy leaves than what we know. Bergamot scents the air occasionally. Mangos, papaya, so many bananas. Rich flavours, colours and smells permeate the air, and the Atlantic washes the coast every few seconds. My Atlantic from Ireland but the other side of it. The warmer bit. I have done so much, I am very tired as I type. Hundreds – actually thousands of photographs in – video too. I take video on all my trips but never get the time to edit it. Rather I am never that inclined to. I am forcing myself to do that now. My little craptop, which is missing keys and has others that refuse to work gets me by, but is very whiny when …