Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Cook the Books: An Embarrassment of Mangoes

March in Hertfordshire is worlds away from the Caribbean. Wrapped up in several thick layers of clothes, listening to the rain on the conservatory roof, it was almost impossible to imagine the blue sky and sunshine Ann Vanderhoof describes in the current Cook the Books bookclub selection, An Embarrassment of Mangoes.

This isn't my first at-second-hand encounter with sailing around the Caribbean. An amazing foody friend of mine has been crewing on a charter catamaran based in the British Virgin Islands for several years. Once in a while amazing nutmeg scented parcels of aged rums, bizarre spiced cocoa balls and nutmeg jam arrive, with lovely evocative letters about trying to produce gourmet meals in a galley kitchen with uncertain supply chains.

Because of those luxurious parcels, and the lovely passage in the book about hiking through the nutmeg trees, I'd been keen to do something with nutmeg or mace. Unfortunately I couldn't decide what.

So I settled on booze.

A frozen daiquiri (made with tinned mango pulp - I did mention March in Hertfordshire, mangoes are hard to come by), heady with lime juice and coconut rum was a delicious hit of sunshine on a grey day.

And as a substantial snack as a base for the booze - shark & bake with shadow benny sauce and some fried plantains. I used coriander leaves for the shadow benny, and (as a supporter of the Fish Fight) some lovely fat fillets of Cornish day-boat caught pollock instead of shark for my fried bakes.

It may not look much like Trinidad outside, but we still had our little taste of the Caribbean.

16 comments:

leaf (the indolent cook) said...

The beauty of mangoes is that you really don't have to do much with them. Your frozen daiquiri sounds pretty perfect!

sharonfruit said...

AHA! Now, I know why you were buying those big bananas ;o)

The Cat's Mother said...

what a revelation.
Nutmeg is an underrated spice.

We had a short mango season this year - too much rain.

Deb in Hawaii said...

Your little taste of the Caribbean looks pretty wonderful to me. ;-) I especially love the shark and bakes with the colorful shadow benny sauce. Great picks!

Foodycat said...

Leafy - it was really good! Worth getting the blender out of the garage.

Sharon - exactly!

Mother - I love nutmeg. And mace - I was thinking about doing some potted lobster but funds didn't permit.

Deb - the shark & bakes were amazing! Definitely to be repeated.

Simona said...

Very nice post! I like how you took inspiration from the book and adapted to what is available to you. Hope spring arrives soon in Hertfordshire.

Rachel said...

What a tasty post. Had to settle for some canned mangoes myself here in dreary winter-logged upstate New York. My Cook the Books dinner is cooking as I type this and will hopefully have my post up soon.

The Cat's Mother said...

This prompted a trip to the Vietnamese shops at Darra to get some saw tooth coriander to make the sauce. Delicous with some pan fried snapper.

An added bonus was the side trip to have lunch where we discovered the best chilli crab since the much lamented restaurant in the Valley.

kat said...

I know how you feel, we are still knee deep in snow so anything that reminds you of summer is good.

Foodycat said...

Simona - I think Spring has sprung, finally.

Rachel - I'm looking forward to seeing the round up!

Mother - I am very jealous of the chilli crab.

Kat - Oh god, knee deep in snow sounds awful!

Choclette said...

Mango daiquiri sound wonderfully evocative of the Caribbean. Hard to imagine walking through the nutmeg trees, although a bit easier having recently seen Kate Humble's spice programme.

Foodycat said...

Choclette - I have been loving Kate Humble's programs. So interesting!

Eliotseats said...

What great recipes from the book!

Claudia said...

What a lovely meal. I would like one of those daiquiris as soon as our mango season arrives.

Foodycat said...

Eliot - thank you!

Claudia - you are so lucky to have a mango season.

cantbelieveweate said...

I love the versatility of mangoes! Your entire meal looks wonderful! Wish I'd had a bit of everything!

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