#15 Date selected: 13/3/16 Date completed: 13/3/16
Country selected: St Kitts and Nevis
Dining Selection: Cooked Own
What was on the menu:
- Tarragon Chicken with Carrots & Linguine
- Sweet Potato Pudding
Sunday 13th March 2016, 12.43pm
I think we are at a part of the challenge where we seem to be getting a bunch of smaller islands for some reason. Given the humidity we’ve had in Melbourne recently, it’s probably perfect however.
This time it’s St Kitts and Nevis which again, is a country that I’ve practically never heard of before. I guessed correctly that it was in the Caribbean. Again we have a two island country with Saint Kitts and Nevis separated by a shallow channel called ‘The Narrows.’ From the country’s tourism website, it looks gorgeous!
St Kitts and Nevis were among the first Caribbean Islands to be settled by Europeans and had both British and French colonies. The soil is very fertile due to the islands’ volcanic origin and the large central peaks are covered in tropical rainforest. The majority of the population live close to the sea where the terrain is flatter than the uninhabited steep slopes leading to the peaks.
As with many countries in the West Indies, cricket is very common and St Kitts and Nevis is the smallest country to ever host a World Cup event. I did giggle a little at the name of the national football team, the ‘Sugar Boyz.’ To me it sounds a little like a teen boy band, though it seems they have had some international success.
The country has a program called Citizenship-By Investment which allows foreigners to obtain the status of St Kitts citizen by means of a government sponsored investment programme. As a result, the country is on its way to becoming one of the Caribbean’s most luxurious and popular destinations.
Seafood is obviously a staple part of the Kittitian cuisine and the volcanic soil allows a great variety of exotic fruits and vegetables . Coconut, plantain, cassava and yams are often common in local dishes and light and spicy meals seem to be the preference.
Sunday 13th March 2016, 8.57pm
I love the pride that comes with some of the Caribbean dishes online. Even the smallest island nations have a plethora of recipes, each with subtle differences, that they seem happy to share.
I was a little surprised to find a pasta dish when looking for recipes from St Kitts and Nevis, but it ticked a lot of boxes for me (including the fact that it was exactly the kind of meal I felt like for dinner!) so I decided to give it a go.
The cooking process is pretty simple but I found the cooking of the chicken a bit unusual. You sauté the breast whole with the onion, carrots and mushrooms, then cut it into strips, then cook it in stock, before adding it to the rest of the dish.
Italian style pasta, in my mind, is always quite rich, often creamy, with pasta as the main component. This pasta was quite light, the chicken and carrots leading the show, with the linguine there to compliment them. The flavours of the parsley and the tarragon subtly filter through giving it a freshness. I also decided to use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock which probably helped give the dish that fresh flavour. It was very yummy.
For dessert, I decided to do a more typical style Caribbean dish – Sweet Potato Pudding. Again, I was expecting it to be a lot heavier than what the end result was.
The pudding included all the hallmark ingredients of Caribbean cooking – lime, rum, coconut milk, sweet potatoes. For some reason I thought it would be more cake-like when I first chose this recipe. It had no flour in it though – only a tiny bit of baking powder. This gave it almost a mousse-like consistency. Smooth with a burst of sweetness whenever you bit into one of the raisins.
I still had some of the coconut cream in the fridge from my Marshall Islands challenge earlier in the week and I decided to add a dollop with the sweet potato pudding. It was the perfect accompaniment – absolutely delicious!
Note that, whilst the recipe states that it serves 8, I made a half quantity and think I probably had enough to serve 6-8 already! I did use a wide, shallow dish which probably helped spread the portion size, but keep this in mind if you are looking at making this dish.
Time to pick another challenge…..