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Posts tagged ‘Caribbean’

Caribbean Beef Stew

I admit that I am not the world’s best food writer or photographer.  Maybe I will get a little better over time, or maybe not. I won’t spend too much time or energy fretting about it. 

 I mostly started this blog odyssey just for my self and my own sanity. I have so many cookbooks and so many recipes bookmarked on the internet (hello!!  my recipe box has close to 800 recipes in it) that I would lose track of where my favorite recipes were from and what recipes I had already tried.   It also gives me a way to link friends to the recipes I’ve made and my thoughts on the books I read.

I have a Crock Pot that I got as a wedding or shower gift from my mother.  I like to break it out every few months to cook dinner on the weekend.  My commute to work and working schedule being what it is, slow cooker meals aren’t really something I can do on weekdays…since I am away from the house for too long.  So…weekends it is.

This Caribbean Beef Stew has an interesting combination of flavors and is loaded with great color and texture. 

Caribbean Beef Stew

  • 1 lb stew beef
  • 3 1/2 cups diced butternut squash (or pumpkin)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 14 oz canned chopped tomatoes
  • 14 oz canned pigeon peas, drained and rinsed
  • 14 oz canned black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • salt and pepper


  1. Trim visible fat off beef, then dice the meat into 2 inch pieces.
  2. Heat a large heavy pan without adding any oil.  Add the meat and cook, stirring constantly for a few minutes until browned all over. 
  3. Stir in the pumpkin, onion, and bell pepper and cook for 1 minute, then add the paprika, cayenne, broth, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil.

  1. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker, cover, and cook on low for 7 hours. 
  2. Add the pigeon peas and black-eyed peas to the stew and season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  3. Re-cover and cook on high for 30 minutes.

(serves 6)

Anguilla Eats: Barrel Stay

Barrel Stay
Sandy Ground, Anguilla


We were in Anguilla just before peak season started. One day we were looking for lunch and many places that the restaurant guide said were open for lunch, weren’t open. We went from place to place and finally landed at Barrel Stay. Barrel Stay is located right on the beach at Sandy Ground in Anguilla. The area around the restaurant is a bit beat up, but the restaurant itself is clean and inviting. The dining room is casually furnished with rattan chairs topped with floral & tropical patterned cushions.

The dining room opens onto the beach with a view of the ocean and boats anchored just offshore.  One of the boats, was not a very picturesque one. There was a giant freighter loaded with gravel docked next to the pier and all through our lunch we watched as dump truck after dump truck got loaded with gravel from the ship. It was a source of entertainment but perhaps not what one would consider an idyllic tropical island view. At night the location is probably much more charming as it looked like they had Xmas lights strung about the railings and the trunks of the nearby palm trees. 

Barrel Stay is owned and operated by a British couple and specializes in French & Creole cuisine. I ordered the “Famous Barrel Stay Fish Soup”, with crispy croutons, Rouille, and Swiss cheese. It was a pureed soup that contained tomato, fish, and herbs. The soup was good, but not my favorite soup that we had on Anguilla (an honor that goes to the pea soup at Veya).


Since he was so impressed with his fish burger from the Dune Preserve, my husband ordered Barrel Stay’s fish burger with fries and salad. As you can tell from the picture, he was so hungry he didn’t allow me much time to take a picture of his meal before he started tearing into it.  He liked his burger but in his opinion it didn’t quite measure up to the one from Dune Preserve.


Overall, we enjoyed our lunch at Barrel Stay, but I wouldn’t say we were wowed. I would definitely give them another try during dinner hours.

Rating for lunch: 3.5 out of 5 mangoes

Anguilla Eats: Dune Preserve

Dune Preserve
Rendezvous Bay, Anguilla

The Dune Preserve is located on Rendezvous Bay next to the Cuisinart Resort. It is owned by musician Bankie Banx.  The Dune Preserve  is constructed mostly from driftwood and other objects that have washed in from sea. It consists of several different levels with covered decks, stairs, balconies etc all combining into a truly unique structure.  It is decidedly fun & casual. The Dune Preserve often has live music either from Bankie himself or other performers.


The Dune Preserve was damaged by Hurricane Omar in the summer of 2008 and they’ve done a good job of rebuilding since then. There is a sign hanging over the bar that says “Omar Wrecked Bar”. 

We stopped in one day for lunch and we both ordered he fish burger and a rum punch. The service was very friendly and our drinks arrived almost immediately. Our burgers took a bit longer to arrive but we kicked back and enjoyed the view.  There was plenty of things to keep us entertained while we waited: watching the waves crash on the beach, staring at St. Maartin across the water, exploring the Dune Preserve,  spying random cats & dogs strolling through the bar…(beware: they may beg you for a bite of your fish burger!)


When our meals arrived, they were worth the wait. The red snapper fillet was well-seasoned and topped with creole sauce and fried plantains.  It came with a side of fries.  It was a perfect lunch served up in a fun environment with a stunning view of the beach.

rating: 4 out of 5 mangoes!

Caribbean Rice & Peas

I’ve recently returned from a trip to Anguilla and St. Martin. The other day when it was really cold and blustery here in Massachusetts, I longed to be back in the sunshine of the Caribbean. The closest I could come was to cook up a Caribbean influenced dish for dinner. I found this one for Rice & black eyed peas with turkey kielbasa in the premiere issue of Food Network Magazine. It was easy to make and thanks to the brown rice and collard greens, relatively healthy.  I found the end results to be full of Caribbean spice and flavor. Now, where’s my rum punch???


Caribbean Rice & Peas (from Food Network Magazine)

  • 10 ounces frozen black-eyed peas, thawed
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 ounces turkey kielbasa (or other smoked sausage), thinly sliced
  • 1 large bunch scallions, sliced, white and green parts separated
  • 2 small ribes celery, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons jerk seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain brown rice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups stemmed and chopped collard greens (or turnip greens)
  1. Combine the black-eyed peas, 3 cups water and a pinch of salt in a small pot. Cover and bring to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the kielbasa and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the scallion whites, celery, garlic, jalapeno, jerk seasoning and a generous pinch of salt. Cook until the vegetables are brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the thyme and tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomato paste turns brick red, about 2 more minutes. Add the rice, bay leaves and the black-eyed peas with their liquid to the skillet and bring to a boil; do not stir.
  4. Add the greens; cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer undisturbed until most of the liquid is absorbed about 50-60 minutes; set aside for 10 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
  5. Just before serving, add the scallion greens and fluff with a fork.

Anguilla Eats: Geraud’s Patisserie

Geraud’s Patisserie
South Hill Plaza


The Geraud of Geraud’s Patisserie is Geraud Lavest, who was born in France, worked all over the world, and moved to Anguilla in 2004.  He worked as the pastry chef at Koal Keel for several yers before he opened his own bakery on the island.  The patisserie is easy to spot as you drive along the main road in Anguilla, it’s green exterior are a bright, welcoming beacon. The interior of the bakery is just as bright, welcoming and charming.  There are several tables inside and a few more outside.


Geraud’s serves up breakfast and lunch with baked goods and special entrees. Their prices are very reasonable for Anguilla.  We didn’t have a full meal there but we did stop in one afternoon to pick up a few pastries to snack on. We got a palmier and a mini blueberry cheesecake, which was about the size of a cupcake. The palmier was lightly sweet and crunchy. It was  perfect compliment to a cup of coffee. The cheesecake was topped with pool of blueberry compote and was sweet, rich and indulgent.  


rating: 4 out 5 mangoes!

Anguilla Eats: Veya

Sandy Ground, Anguilla
264-498-VEYA (8392)


The word veya means “ray of sun” in the Carib language. Veya bills themselves as serving the “Cuisine of the Sun”.   Veya’s  focus is on serving food that is inspired by the food you find around equatorial regions of the world. This includes the Caribbean, Morocco, and India.


Veya is located on the road to Sandy Ground and is about 1/2 a mile a so on the right from the rotary off of the main road.  We were able to find it with no trouble at all. We stopped in for dinner late one evening after having a couple of drinks at Elvis’s Beach Bar.

The vibe of Veya is what I will call posh tree-house chic. Veya’s dining room is up a set of stairs and the center of the space is the bar area pictured above. All of the dinner tables are along the outside of the restaurant that wraps around the bar. The dining area is surrounded by open windows with flowing white curtains framing ocean views. The ceilings are all dark wood with the beams exposed. The climb up the stairs, all the dark wood and open windows are what gave me the feeling that I was in a tree-house. It was very elegant and contemporary.


The waitstaff was very friendly and once we’d placed our order they brought out a basket of assorted bread including spice bread and Johnny cakes. The appetizer was shortly followed by an amuse bouche and I am sorry to report that my memory fails me as to what exactly that amuse bouche was. My mind is going in my old age. 😉

My husband ordered an appetizer of Velvety Yellow Split Pea Soup ($11).  This soup was flavored with coconut, lime, and Indian spices. It was reminiscent of Mulligatawny soup by much smoother and richer in both texture and flavor. Our meal was off to a great start. Of course I stole a few spoonfuls of soup from him. I just couldn’t help myself since he was raving about it so much.   The mister said to me “find out a recipe to make a soup like this at home!”.  We frequently make dal (Indian stewed lentils) and lentil soup in our house and therefor have a cabinet full of canisters of dried lentils, split peas, and beans. So, I just may try to recreate this soup in my own home someday soon.


For his main course, my husband order the Tamarind Glazed Roast Chicken with Christophene Gratin and tropical fruit chutney ($28). Chicken is not something that either of usually orders in a restaurant, but I guess he was drawn in by the allure of the tamarind glaze. Tamarind is another flavor that we frequently use in our home cooking. Veya’s roast chicken was juicy and loaded with tamarind flavor. MrMango love it and I loved that his tropical fruit chutney was comprised largely of mangoes!


I ordered the sauteed red snapper with green papaya , mint and avocado ($34). I ate a lot of fish, particularly snapper, on this trip and this was one of my favorite fish dishes on Anguilla. It was light and fresh and I loved the touch of the avocado to add a different texture to the plate.


We were both too full for dessert, although they did have some tempting options like coconut cake and tropical creme brulee. We were satisfied with our dinner and my husband declared it a better value for the money than Blanchard’s.

Veya is open for dinner only and is closed on Sundays. Their cafe on the ground floor is open for breakfast and lunch.

Rating: 4 out of 5 mangoes

Anguilla Eats: Sweet Tooth Bakery

Sweet Tooth Bakery
P.O.BOX 665
(located near South Hill area on the main road)
Anguilla, AI 2640

(264) 497-3056


I still can’t seem to find Anguillan road names!  Anyhow… this small bakery is on the main road on the south east side of the island. We randomly stopped in at Sweet Tooth bakery since we were parched and a bit peckish. it was early afternoon and there were no other customers and only one woman working inside. The bakery case was kind of empty with only a few options remaining including chicken pies, salt fish pies, and beef pies. 


Mr. Mango and I decided to share a chicken pie.   It was one of our least expensive meals/snacks on Anguilla, coming in at a dollar and change. This little pie was meant to be eaten with your hands. It was very similar in size and shape to a Jamaican Patty. The flakey crust was wrapped around shredded, mildly spiced chicken. It was the perfect mid-afternoon snack for the two of us to share as we drove around exploring Anguilla.


Rating for this chicken pie: 4 out of 5 mangoes

Anguilla Eats: Blanchards

Blanchard’s Restaurant
P.O. Box 898
Meads Bay
Phone: (264) 497-6100


One of the things that spurred me to plan a trip to Anguilla was the book A Trip to the Beach: Living on Island Time in the Caribbean by Melinda Blanchard. We read Trip to the Beachin one of my book clubs last summer and I really enjoyed it. This non-fiction book tells the tale of how a Vermont couple followed their dreams and opened a restaurant on Anguilla. Blanchards is the restaurant that they opened and it is still up & running.


Blanchards is a cute little cottage-y space located on the beach at Meads Bay. The dining room was casually elegant with white walls and ceiling making it feel bright and airy. In nice weather they throw open all the shutters and you can hear the waves while you eat. It was too dark to see the ocean but we could definitely hear it. The ocean was on the other side of those 2 trees in the picture below. We got there at around 6:30 and there was only one other party in the restaurant at that time. A few more parties showed up while we were dining. We were not visiting during the peak tourist season, so I am certain the restaurant is more crowded in January-April.


See what we ordered (after the jump)…


Anguilla Eats: E’s Oven

 E’s Oven
Rendezvous Road
South Hill, Anguilla

 For those who’ve never been to Anguilla, it’s not a very big island. It is only 16 miles long and about 3 miles wide at its widest point. There are no highways, and you can probably count all of the traffic lights on 2 hands. There are several main roads on the island, with one lane of traffic going in each direction. It is pretty easy to find your way around. That being said, for all of the restaurants I wanted to check out there, I didn’t have a real street address for them… not a house number to be found. But, we were eventually able to find everyplace that we were looking for.  The people of Anguilla are really friendly and were great at giving us directions. One thing you see A LOT of as you roam around Anguilla are goats. Goats aren’t very good at giving directions though. 😉 


Our first day in Anguilla, we had a late lunch at E’s Oven. I selected E’s Oven based on recommendations from Chowhound.  E’s Oven is located on the same main road as the hotel that we were staying at. It’s a bright red & yellow building nestled into a curve in the road in the South Hill area of the island.   E’s Oven is run by an Anguillan named Vernon Hughs, who gained his cooking skills by working at other restaurants on the island. E’s Oven is located at the site of his mother’s old stone oven. The cuisine has some upscale Caribbean  dishes with some pastas and grilled seafood thrown into the menu-mix as well. the vibe is nice, bright, and casual.  They have a full bar so that you can enjoy a beer or rum punch with your meal.



We were seated in a covered porch area at the front of the restauraunt. The mister got a beer and I got fruit punch.


Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa

Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa
144 Oyster Pond Rd.
St. Maarten
Phone: (599) 543 6700
On our recent, much needed, trip to the Caribbean, we planned to visit two islands, St. Maarten and Anguilla. Our flight from JFK didn’t arrive in St. Maarten until 4:30 or so, and based on the rumored “horrible traffic” on St. Maarten we didn’t want to risk trying to make it to the Anguilla ferry in Marigot before it stopped running for the day so we had planned ahead to spend our first night on St. Maarten and THEN go to Anguilla the next day for our 3 nights there.
The room we booked for our first night on St. Maarten was at the Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa. This hotel is on the Dutch side of the island but very close to the border to the French side. The Dutch side of the island can be pretty crazy and congested (and can have VERY VERY bad traffic at times), but the Westin is nestled on an out of the way hill miles from the craziness. This resort sits right on Dawn Beach — there is no crossing roads or following meandering goat paths to get to the beach. We opened the veranda door in our room and here’s the view:
View from our room's veranda
View from our room’s veranda

Ahh, what a way to start a trip. This is the sort of view I had been longing for!

The room itself was very similar to another Westin’s room that I stayed in a few months ago in Washington DC. The furnishings are contemporary traditional with a very comforable cloud of a bed and a spacious & bright (and quite large) bathroom.
The resort also had a spa, a small casino area with lots of slot machines, and a hot tub and infinity pool (both of which overlook the beach). On site, the Westin has 2 restaurants. We only ate at one of the restaurants– the more casual one called Ocean. We stayed at the Westin on a Wednesday night and every Wednesday night Ocean had a Pirate Night Seafood Buffet. I am not a huge buffet fan but this one was very good. There were huge platters of crab claws, shrimp, various seafood salads, soup, a BBQ /carving station and a ton of different desserts. Imagine pictures here that I took of the food but that my computer decided should no longer exist. *sigh*  At first I was frightened by the “Pirate” in the buffet’s name…it gave me visions of waiters running around in pirate costumes hamming it up with lots of “Arrrr”s.  The waiters (fortunately, IMO) were wearing black t-shirts that mentioned pirate  night but there was no one dressed up like Captain Jack Sparrow….there WAS live entertainment though out on the covered patio where we were sitting. There was a steel drum band playing a mix of holiday music and pop favorites and then later in the evening there was a bit of a floor show with a fire dancer, a man walking on coals, and a small troupe of dancers.  All in all the buffet was worth the $38 per person price tag. My husband was very impressed  by the whole thing.

In the mornings, Ocean has a breakfast buffet which we also took advantage of the next morning. The breakfast buffet included an omelete station, assorted pastries, fresh fruit, eggs benedict, and other hot breakfast items.  I wasn’t as impressed with the breakfast buffet as I had been with the seafood buffet. I did enjoy eating breakfast out on the patio with a view of the pool and the beach.
The pool at the Westin Dawn Beach

The pool at the Westin Dawn Beach

I give the Westin Dawn Beach Resort 4 out of 5 mangoes. I would stay there again if I returned to St. Maarten.