London is such a fantastic place for food and Mango Indian Restaurant which is just a 5 minute walk from London Bridge Station on the Jubilee Line was a wonderful restaurant to review on one of the hottest evenings of the year. I was invited […]
Month: June 2017
I don’t really like mayonnaise and most potato salad recipes use mayonnaise to make the dressing. On a trip to the US last year my sister and I ordered a sandwich which came with a side of potato salad. I tasted it like I always […]
When we think of Harvest Sunday in the UK we think of something in the autumn when schools and churches collect non-perishable foods for old people’s homes and underprivileged families. In Tobago Harvest Sunday is a food, family and friends gathering that happens somewhere on the island every Sunday!
Each village has it’s designated Sunday which falls on the same Sunday each year. The village holding Harvest when we were there on the 1st Sunday of May was called ‘Belle Garden’. There is no set number of families taking part, its just if you want to you get together with other family members and cook large pots and cauldrons of food, stock up the fridge with local beer and soft drinks
and crank up the music ready for an afternoon to evening of eating, drinking and music.
The Sunday we were in Tobago we (Mr R and I) were invited to a family’s home in Belle Garden.
Shorn Richards is the chief cook for the day and with a big smile he beckoned us to come closer and see what he was doing. Shorn would have a taste and deftly sprinkle a little more of spice or tomato puree or whatever was needed!
When we arrived there were huge bowls with various meats and fish marinating waiting for their turn in one of the great pots. Shorn was planning on cooking tuna, chicken, pork, local blue crab,
rabbit and iguana. I must admit I was not too upset that the iguana wasn’t ready by the time we left!!
When recipes call for coconut milk no one opens a can but in true Caribbean style they grate the flesh from the coconut, put it in the blender with water and blitz. Next you strain the milk from the pulp and use that in your recipe. Nothing is wasted though as the pulp will be squeezed out and used in cakes and sweet breads.
As the pots were so big and the fires so hot you need a very long wooden spoon/stick to stir. Of course you just know I wanted to get one of these and bring it home with me. It’s a long story but I am happy to report that my spoon made it home safe and sound!
As the food starts smelling amazing and the day heats up friends and family as well as other villagers start to assemble ready for the festivities! Each family provides this feast absolutely free in the spirit of sharing.
As well as the large pots cooking there were several of the women in the family in the small kitchen cooking what the locals call ‘provisions’ – a mixture of plantain, dasheen, casava and sweet potato.
Mr R had a good time making new friends in spite of the difficulties understanding some of the local dialect. Clinking a couple of beers together is the same in any culture so he was happy waiting outside, drinking beer and chatting while the food preparations were in full swing.
Tobago is an island rich in culture and traditions and it was an honour and a pleasure to participate in this traditional Sunday lunch.
We came to this village as strangers and left as friends with hugs all around and a promise that I will come back the first Sunday of May next year and help with the cooking! It’s a date!
The event comes to an end when the food and drink are finished or the music stops! Then it’s all about planning for next year.
I was a guest of the Harvest Sunday celebrations in Belle Garden. I was not required to write a positive post and as usual all photos are my own and are not to be reproduced without my written permission.
I was invited to the launch of the celebrations for the 350th Battle of Medway (click here for full program). Ironically we lost the battle so you might question why are we celebrating. Well this battle signified a radical change in the course of the […]
I have been sent the following books to review:- Mountain Berries & Desert Spice by Sumayya Usmani (published by Frances Lincoln – Quarto Group) I met Sumayya a couple of times before she had produced her first book ‘Summers Under the Tamarind Tree‘. She was […]
‘Tobago: Clean, Green and Serene’ is a beautiful coffee table book that was given to me on my recent visit to the Caribbean paradise island. This book echoes the diverse and colourful life on this idyllic island as well as giving you an insight into the history, traditions and local customs (I will soon be posting about a local custom called ‘Harvest’ which I think you will enjoy).
As you flip through the pages you will feel like you have been transported to this special place in the Caribbean; sunny, warm and friendly whose people are intensely proud of their heritage and customs. I attended a community cooking session leaning how to make cou cou and even brought home one of those long cooking sticks!
And of course one of the highlights of the community calendar is the Easter Goat Racing at Buccoo Reef!
The beaches are serene and very rarely busy making you think you may be the only one on the island at that point along with calm, warm and beautiful clear waters.
This book is publishes by Hansib Publications Ltd with a UK RRP of £20.00 and you can win a copy for your own coffee table by following the instructions below. The giveaway is open to residents of the UK only.
I was a guest of Visit Tobago (The Tobago House of Assembly) and Le Grand Courlan Spa Resort. I was not required to write a positive report. As usual all photos are my own and may not be reproduced without my written permission.