Country #8 – Trinidad & Tobago

 

008 Trinidad and TobagoChallenge Log:

#8           Date selected:    28/2/16 Date completed:  2/3/16

Country selected:   Trinidad and Tobago

Dining Selection: Cooked Own

What was on the menu:

  • Doubles with Mrs. Bessie Byam’s Mango Relish
  • Creole Baked Pork Chops

Restaurant/Recipe address:

http://www.trinicooks.com/cookbook/item/specialty-recipes/creole-baked-pork-chops

http://www.alleasyrecipes.com/recipes/3/10/doubles.asp

http://www.alleasyrecipes.com/recipes/2/2/mrs_bessie_byams_mango_relish.asp

 

Sunday 28th February 2016, 10.20pm

We’re going a little Caribbean this challenge!  Only just though – if you look at a map, Trinidad and Tobago is situated just off the northern edge of the South American mainland.  It incorporates the two main islands, aptly named Trinidad & Tobago, with several smaller islands off their shores.

Trinidad and Tobago remained separate until 1889.  Prior to that, Trinidad was a Spanish colony.  Tobago had a bit more of a varied colonization, with the Spanish, British, French, Dutch and Courlander all having a crack at one stage or other.  Both were ceded to Britain in 1802 and eventually obtained independence, and formed a republic.

The country has a high economy and is actually the third richest country by GDP per capita in the Americas after the United States & Canada.

The limbo and calypso music originated in Trinidad and Tobago which I find a bit exciting!

 

Wednesday 2nd March 2016, 7.42pm

I’m beginning to get a feel for these challenges now.  It seems the more traditional the recipe, the more vague the instructions!  I’m actually enjoying it.  I usually cook ‘by feel’ and sticking to a recipe is quite foreign to me anyway.  I’ve done better than I thought in managing to stick to the recipes I’ve been using but I’m sure this vagueness has helped me with that.

It took quite some time to settle on a menu this week.  Firstly, I’ve been working quite a lot this week so have been much busier than previous weeks of the challenge.  Secondly, whilst it was quite easy to find traditional recipes from Trinidad and Tobago, some the ingredients that are used in almost every dish, are quite difficult to find where I am in Australia or go by a different name.  It took a fair amount of time to decipher what some of the ingredients were and what I might be able to substitute for items that I couldn’t source easily.

For the record, ‘Channa’ is also known as pick peas.  Shadon beni is a related species to coriander.  Apparently the taste is much stronger but apparently using coriander but putting in more than the recipe calls for is an acceptable substitute.  I also used red capsicum instead of the pimento.  I have seen them about but they are not always available.

The other issue I had in deciding on a recipe for this challenge was the fact that there were SO many that I wanted to try.  I kept coming back to Doubles (a local street food) and the Creole baked pork chops.  I flipped between the two for ages before finally deciding to bite the bullet and cook both of them!  For good measure, I also found a mango relish to have the doubles – apparently this often served as a side.

I was surprised at how easy he dishes were.  I’m not sure why but I had convinced myself that they were more complex than what they actually were.  They did take a long time to finish but most of that was time was taken up marinating or proving.

The pork chops were a bit of a challenge with the oven out of action, so I decided to bake them in the BBQ with the lid closed.  I was surprised at how well this worked!  They were maybe a little dry but not overly so.  Full of flavour and would be great for serving at a relaxed dinner party.  I would actually love to try these grilled on the BBQ too.

008 Creole Baked Pork Chops.JPG

The big surprise for me was the relish.  I was expecting to be cooking up mango, sterilising jars and such but it was a case of chopping up the ingredients, mixing them in a bowl, putting a bit of olive oil over the top and that’s it!  Being the start of autumn here, the mango I used was much riper than the original recipe called for, but it was still delicious and went beautifully with the Doubles.

Speaking of which, the doubles were a thing of wonder!  Curried chickpeas sandwiched between light, fluffy and lightly-spiced flat bread.  I made half quantities and wish I didn’t.  I could easily eat these all day.

008 Doubles with Mango Relish
Doubles served with mango relish

I’ve become a big fan of “Trini” style cooking with this challenge.  Will definitely be trying this lot again.

And for my next challenge…..

IMGP0080.JPG

I may have just done a happy dance around the kitchen – whoooooooo!!!!!!

 

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