Haiti, it’s impossible for anything you’ve seen on tv to prepare you for what Port-au-Prince (capital of Haiti) looks like after the earthquake in 2010 that killed about 300.000 people in a day in 2010. And it’s cliche the worst kind of cliche to say life goes on, but of course it does. This is a city of 2.000.000 people as in so many places in the world you do what you need to do get by, you fight to live. Six years after the earthquake many of the damage that the earthquake caused is still there. The main religion in Haiti is Voodoo, on of their gods in Baron Samedi he is the keeper of the gateway between this world and the next, to the believers certainly a creepy guy. Would it help you if I told you his also the saint of procreation and humor? On the day of Baron Samedi, parades are organized with the cemetery as a destination. Although I can’t imagine going to cemetery is a happy occasion, the Haitians see this differently. On the day of Baron Samedi they celebrate life and bring offers to their ancestors. Offers like food and coffee.
- Haiti produces Rhum Barbancourt, an award winning brand of rum that is referred to as “the rum of connoisseurs”.
- Haiti issued free visas and passports to 70 Jewish families during the Holocaust, about 300 lives saved. It has been speculated that one of the reason they couldn’t give more was the debt Haiti was paying to France, which was basically money the French decided Haiti owed them for freeing themselves from slavery. Haiti’s debt was “forgiven” after the devastating earthquake that hit the country in 2010.
- In 1791, Haitians began what became the only successful slave revolt in the history of the world. Yes, the only one.
- The English word barbecue is that it’s a derivation from the Haitian word barbacoa. The Haitians were referring to the framework of sticks used to cook meat over fire, but Spanish explorers who encountered this cooking method also referred to the results – the cooked meat – as barbacoa.
- Colorful busses called taptaps take you from place to place named after the tap a passenger makes on the bus when they would like to get on or off.
The event that put Guyana on the map for a lot of people is the catastrophe that happend in 1978. Guyana was still a British colony back then. In the middle of jungle a cult called “Peoples Temple” settled and founded their own town “Jonestown” under the leadership of Jim Jones. A total of 909 Americans died in Jonestown, all but two from apparent cyanide poisoning, in an event termed “revolutionary suicide” by Jones and some members on an audio tape of the event and in prior discussions.
That is what put Guyana on the map nowadays there is much more to Guyana. Few places on the planet offer raw adventure as authentic as densely forested Guyana. Although the country has a troubled history of political instability and inter-ethnic tension, underneath the headlines of corruption and economic mismanagement is a joyful and motivated mix of people who are turning the country into the continent’s best-kept ecotourism destination secret. Georgetown, the country’s crumbling colonial capital, is distinctly Carinbbea with a rocking nightlife, great places to eat and an edgy market.
Things you didn’t know about Guyana:
- The official name of Guyana is the “Co-operative Republic of Guyana.
- The national motto of Guyana is “One People, One Nation, One Destiny
- The Omai Gold Mine in Guyana is one of the largest open-pit gold mines in South America.
- Slavery in the state was banned in 1834. There was a great demand for plantation workers after slavery in Guyana, which led to the immigration of the East Indians into the nation
Ingredients: 4 boiled eggs, 1/2 onion sliced, 2 cloves garlic sliced thin (or crushed), 1/2 tomato sliced, 1/2 teaspoon curry powder, 1 scallion, dash of black pepper, 1/4 hot pepper, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1/2 cup water, salt to taste (less than 1/4 teaspoon)
- Prepare the onion, hot pepper, garlic, scallion and tomato and set aside.
- Put the eggs to boil on a medium to high flame (cover eggs with cold water and bring to a boil), then as soon as it comes to a vigorous boil, turn off the heat, cover the pot and let it stand in there for 10-12 minutes.
- Heat the oil in a sauce pan on medium/high heat, then add the sliced onion and garlic and allow to cook for a few minutes. Until they go soft, release their aromatic oils and stars to brown on the edges. Then turn down the heat to medium /low and add the curry powder and slices of hot pepper (if you need some good madras curry powder, check out the store – where you can find tons of Caribbean goodies) and stir. Allow this to cook for about 3-4 minutes, so the curry won’t have a “raw” taste to it.
- The next step is to add the water and give it a good stir and bring it up to a gentle simmer. Then add the slices of tomato and scallion and top off with the eggs. Cut the eggs in half before adding and be very gentle at this point forward, since the eggs will fall apart easily. Add the salt and black pepper at this point as well.
- On low heat, cover the pot and allow to cook for abut 4-5 minutes, so the sauce thickens and all the flavors get a chance to marry together. If you find that the sauce is a bit runny, cook for an extra minute or two with the pot uncovered.
- Serve with Rice or Roti
Dominican Republic, we know it’s in the Caribbean somewhere and they speak Spanish right? Sharing an island with Haïti, the Dominican Republic has seen it’s fair share of good times and bad times. Most vacationers know the Dominican Republic simply as an island of pristine white beaches, all-inclusive resorts, tropical cocktails and ice cold beers. The capital Santo Domingo is the oldest European style city in the America’, with grand cathedrals and old fort walls. But know T-shirt shops or fast food restaurants in sight. No, the Dominicans know what’s good for them, they have their own food.
Things you don’t know about Dominican Republic:
- Dominicans love baseball, it’s their number 1 sport! Almost 40% of US baseball players are actually Dominican.
- The Dominican Republic is the only place in the world where the blue, semi-precious stone called larimar is found. It most closely resembles turquoise.
- The capital city, Santo Domingo, has a rich history. Founded in 1496, it’s the oldest European settlement in the Americas.
- The Dominican Republic is the only country in the world to have a bible simble on it’s flag
- The only place where 5000 humpback whales travel each year to mate
This dish is so delicious, it’s a little bit like a caribbean style paella. And I love paella! Definitely one I will make again to impress someone :D. It’s so easy and has just the right amount of spice! And the fact that you can eat it out of bowl makes me happy. I don’t know what it is with food in bowl but somehow it always gives me a very warm feeling when I eat food out of a bowl.
Ingredients: 2 lbs of shrimp, 1 1/2 cups of rice, 500 ml of fish stock, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1/2 green bell pepper, 1 red chili pepper, pinch oregano, 1 crushed clove of garlic, 1 pinch black pepper, 1/4 cup chopped seedless black olives, 1/4 cup chopped celery, 1 spoon finely chopped parsley, 1 spoon finely chopped coriander, 1/2 spoon of thyme leaves, salt
- In an iron pot heat the oil (reserve 2 spoons of oil).
- Add the herbs, olives, spices, tomato paste, peppers, garlic and salt.
- Add the shrimps and stir (be careful with hot oil splattering)
- Cover and wait two minutes, then stir again.
- Add the fishstock and bring to a boil.
- Add all remaining ingredients (including the rice)
- Stir regularly to avoid excessive sticking. Let 3/4 of the water evaporate, by then a grain of rice should be about 3 times its original size.
- Adjust salt to taste. Serve while hot, with a slice of lemon.
Dominica a tropical island in the sun, very often confused with Dominican Republic but that’s on the other side of the Caribbean. Dominica was discovered by Christopher Columbus on the 3th November 1493 on his second trip. He thought he had arrived in India. Oh boy was he of by just a few miles… When he discovered Dominica the Arawak people were living there. Soon after Dominica was colonized by Spain these Arawak people started dying of the flue and smallpox. Nowadays there are only 3000 Arawak people left on the island.
Things you didn’t know about Dominica:
- Dominica is the youngest island in the Lesser Antilles and was formed by geothermal volcanic activity.
- The main industry is tourism, however the locals are proud of how well preserved their island is and they’re doing everything they can to avoid deforestation. 40% of local power is generated through hydro-electricity thanks to all the waterfalls and rivers. Conservation and eco-tourism aren’t buzzwords on Dominica, they’re a way of life. Even if tourism increases to Dominica, it will never be a high-rise hotel island. (that’s the way to go guys well done!)
- Dominica is often described as ‘the anti-Caribbean’ and isn’t your average 2-week all-inclusive style island. Since there are now white sandy beaches to be found on Dominica.
This Caribbean Reef Chicken is Sweet and Spicy at the same time! So deliciously caramelized!
Ingredients: 1 roast chicken,, ½ tsp salt , ¼ tsp. pepper , ½ cup dark brown sugar , 4 tbs. dark rum (divided) , 1 tbs. lime juice, 2 tsp. lemon pepper , 1 tsp. ginger , ½ tsp ground cloves , ¼ tsp. cinnamon , ¼ tsp. garlic powder , 2 drops sriracha hot sauce , 4 tablespoons of mango chutney, lemon – sliced, lime – sliced
Sprinkle salt and pepper over washed and dried chicken. Set aside.
In a small bowl, make Caribbean paste by mixing together sugar, 2 tablespoons of the rum, lime juice, lemon pepper, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, garlic powder, and hot pepper sauce; set aside.
Place the chicken, skin side up, in a large shallow baking pan. Rub Caribbean paste evenly over the chicken. Bake in a 205 C oven for 75 minutes or until the chicken is fork tender. In a blender, place chutney and remaining 2 tablespoons of rum; process to blend. Spoon chutney mixture over chicken and bake about 10 minutes more or until chutney is warm.
The Cayman Islands are know for 2 things tax haven and beach holiday destination. With it’s white beaches, clear waters and colorful marine life it’s the perfect relaxing holiday. The most famous beach is called Seven Mile Beach, it is said to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Diving is a very popular activity around the Cayman Islands just like all the other watersports. The biggest income for the Cayman Islands is the financial market. There are about 70.000 international enterprises, just because of the low taxes, this is also the reason why there are so many luxurious hotels, shops and restaurants to be found.
So here are a few things you probably didn’t know about the Cayman Islands
- Cayman Islands Law prohibits topless sunbathing.
- The Cayman Island Turtle Farm is home to 16,000 green sea turtles at any given time
- The Pirates Week Festival, the island’s largest festival, held each fall is a reminder of Islands’ legendary pirate occupation in the 18th Century which the tales of treasure caches left behind by Edward Blackbeard, Neal Walker, and Henry Morgan. (Blackbeard actually existed!!! WOW)
- The world-famous ‘Seven Mile Beach’ is actually only 5.2 miles long (Why is called 7 mile beach? Anyone?)
- The Batabano Carnival held each spring offers a Caribbean flavor with costumed bands taking to the streets to the sound of steelpan music
This recipe is fantastic, it’s one of the best dishes I have cooked until now! It is a great family style dish! My family suggested to add starts to my recipes: so here we go
– Difficulty: **
– Taste: *****
– Time: 1 1/2 hour
– This recipe is for 6 people
Ingredients: small bunch of spring onions (chopped), thumb-sized piece of ginger (chopped), 4 cloves of garlic, 1 red chili (chopped and seeds removed if you don’t want it to spicy), handful of cilantro stalks (chopped), tbsp of thyme, zest and juice of 1 lime (+extra lime wedges to serve), 2 tbsp of all spice, 2 tbsp of sunflower oil, 12 drumsticks (2 per person), 400 gram long grain rice, can of kidney beans (400 gr), 1l of chicken stock, 1 ripe mango peeled stone cut out and cut in to bit size chunks, 300 grams of mango chutney
Put the spring onions, ginger, garlic, chilli, coriander stalks, thyme, lime zest and juice, allspice and oil in a food processor, then blend to a paste. Pour over the chicken drumsticks and leave to marinate for at least 1 hr, or preferably up to 1 day. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Tip the rice and beans into a large roasting tin with deep sides. Remove the chicken from the marinade and set aside. Mix the stock into the marinade in the bowl and stir well. Pour the stock over the rice and beans, then put the chicken drumsticks and the mango pieces on top. Cover the tray tightly with foil and bake for 30 mins. Take the tray out of the oven and remove the foil. Increase the temperature to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Spoon the mango chutney over the drumsticks and return to the oven, uncovered, for 50-60 mins, to brown the chicken pieces and allow the rice to absorb all the liquid. Before serving, fluff up the rice a little with a fork and scatter with the coriander leaves. Serve with lime wedges and extra mango chutney, if you like.
Most famous celebrity from Barbados! … Nothing ok let me give you a hint; “under my umbrella, ella, ella” YES Rihanna of course! But you probably knew that already! Barbados is now considered the playground of the rich and famous, but it wasn’t always like that. When first settled by the British in 1625, Barbados almost totally covered in dense jungle, with a very large population of wild pigs. Not so glamorous right? At least all the pirate stories from the seventeenth century speak to my imagination! I always loved pirates, I’m probably romanticizing it in my head about what it’s like to be a pirate because I watched way to much Pirates of the Caribbean. For some reason pirates just keep fascinating me. But enough about my strange obsessions. Here are some things you didn’t know about Barbados:
- Barbados is home to a large Mongoose population. Originally imported from India to take care of the rats in the sugar cane fields. Instead they ate the snakes, which was the original predator of the rats. (They did not completely think that through)
- Barbados is the 3rd oldest parliamentary democracy in the world.
- Barbados was originally named Los Barbados, meaning ‘the bearded ones’
That’s it I guess for Barbados! I have to spare my Caribbean facts a little, because there are still sooooo many small islands to come! Let’s get cooking! here is the recipe! I loved these fishcakes they make an excellent light dinner or a lunch! I will make these again!
Ingredients: 3 tilapiafilets, Juice of 1 lime1 tsp thyme leave, removed from stem, 2 tbsp parsley, 1 scallion, 3 cloves garlic, 1 tbsp black pepper, ¼ tsp red pepper flakes, ¼ cup mayo, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 baguette toasted , Oil
Cut the baguette in pieces and place them in a food processor and pulse until it’s crumbly. Put the bread crumbs in a bowl. Next chop the fish with a knife in cubes as fine as you can, it is possible to use a foodprocessor but don’t let the fish become a paste. Place the fish back into a bowl. Finely chop the thyme, parsley, scallion and garlic then add to the bowl with the fish. Add about 1/3 of fresh bread crumbs, black pepper, red pepper flakes, mayo, salt and lime juice and mix to combine. Place remaining bread crumbs onto a plate. Spoon about a hand of the fish into the palm of your hands and form into a thick patty then lightly coat the fish cake with the bread crumbs. Place enough oil in a frying pan. Heat oil over medium fire; once oil is hot, lower the heat to medium low. Fry fish cakes for 5 minutes per side until golden brown, flipping only once. You do not want to move the fish cakes too much or it may fall apart. If the fish cakes brown too quickly, then lower the fire. Once the fish cakes are golden, remove from the fire and place on a plate lined with paper towel to drain. I served them with a nice green salad! It was delicious definitely a keeper!
I found some really upbeat Bajan music! Play this music in the morning and you’re instantly happy!
Bahamas yet another Caribbean destination I wish I could go. The Bahamas consist of 700 small islands but only 30 islands are populated. millions of tourists visit the Bahamas each year.
- The great Blue Hole Dean (the deepest in the world) is located in the Bahamas. It is located on Long Island. You can enter the water on the knee – and suddenly fail at 202 meters, that is how much of its depth;) This is the place where many freedivers are attempting to break the world record.
- Nassau – the capital of the Bahamas. The city itself is very modern, which combines cutting-edge building designs and old colonial architecture.Nassau was formerly a small village, founded by pirates. (Well that speaks to my imagination!) But nowadays there are plenty of colorful buildings that surround the harbor and the Portside promenade.
- The historical fact! Bahamas were the base of pirate ships. Been there, Francis Drake, Mary Read, Anne Bonny (yes, there are female pirates!) And other well-known pirates.
Well this is some cake! My mom absolutely loved it! I think she ate about half of it over the weekend the nice thing is that it stays very smooth, normal cake gets very dry after a few hours but this one just keeps it’s great texture!
Ingredients cake : 3 cups (420 g) All Purpose flour, ½ teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 225 g unsalted butter, at room temp, 400g granulated sugar, 3 large eggs, 2 large egg yolks, at room temp, 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract, ¾ cup (180 mL) canned Thai coconut milk
Ingredients rum syrup: ¾ cup canned coconut milk (actually … just use the rest of the canned coconut milk),6 tablespoon sugar, ½ cup dark rum
Preheat your oven to 180C or 350F. Spray a pan with baking spray with flour.In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.Beat together the butter and sugars, – allowing the batter to become light and fluffy (approximately 5 minutes) In a small bowl, beat together the eggs, egg yolks and vanilla. Slowly drizzle the mixture into the creamed butter, scraping the sides as needed. Once the eggs are completely incorporated, gently stir-in one-third of the flour mixture, then about half of the coconut milk. Mix in another third of the flour mixture, the rest of the coconut milk, and the remaining third of the flour until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. And bake for 55 to 60 minutes – until the cake is set in the middle.
While the cake is baking – open that bottle of rum and start working on the syrup
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the remainder of the coconut milk, and the sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves. It shouldn’t come to a boil. Remove the syrup from heat and add the dark rum. Whisk everything together. Set aside until the cake comes out of the oven
Spoon about two-thirds of the syrup over the cake – allowing the coconut-rum to macerate the cake. It’ll smell pretty amazing already at this point. It only gets better.
And I found this AMAZING song it might not be from the Bahamas, but it sure reminds me of the Bahamas!