Saturday, March 10, 2012

Oualie Beach

Oualie Beach hotel is described as a delightfully small, informal and ecologically sensitive 3.5 star beach front resort. It is situated right on the beach in a calm and sheltered cove. The sunsets over the western horizon are said to be spectacular, viewed from the balconies of the many cottages that dot the cliff side, overlooking the ocean.

There are many activities to be experienced, such as kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, windsurfing, and mountain biking. But as a foodie, the star of the facility is the Chef of the grand little restaurant which is located practically on the beautiful white sand beach.

Michael Henville is one of the new breed of Chefs professionally trained at New York’s Culinary Institute of America and he has brought his considerable skill, and his enthusiasm for native Caribbean cuisine, to the trendy Oualie Beach Hotel here on Nevis, where guests from all over the world, and the local population alike, gather to sample Chef Michael’s extensive menu of creative West Indian dishes.

Chef Michael is the son of a very dear friend of mine.  We grew up together on this little  rock called Nevis.  Mel, Chef’s dad, who has since passed away, was an early pioneers in the hotel industry; he was very instrumental in the early success of the Mount Nevis Hotel, another of our fine establishments, where Chef Michael, early on in his career, honed his culinary skills.

When I visited the restaurant at Oualie the tables were elegantly set in preparation for the evening dinning crowd, but the  Chef took time to sit down and talk with me and shared his recipe for a delightful Caribbean Fruit Salsa which I will try as soon as I return to the United States


1small pineapple, small dice
1 papaya, small dice
1 red onion, minced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped fine
1green bell pepper,  small dice
1 yellow bell pepper, small dice
2 mangoes, small dice
1 lime, juiced

- Toss all ingredients together
- Season with a little salt and pepper to taste
- Serve with chicken, fish, or tortilla chips

Compliments of Chef Michael
Oualie Beach Hotel
Nevis, West Indies

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Harvest Sunday

It was harvest Sunday in my home Parish Church of St. Paul Anglican a few Sunday’s ago. I noticed in the church bulletin that a cooking class was going to be held the following Tuesday at the newly renovated church hall kitchen. I was anxious to see the new facility and curious about what new recipes I might garner from this cooking class, so I decided there and then to go.

Did I mention it was harvest Sunday? On this day members of the congregation, farmers, and backyard gardeners shared the bounty by bringing all sorts of foods and vegetables to display on the alter, the aisles, and the front lobby. And after the church services, the items are sold and the proceeds from the sale and the leftovers are donated to one of the local nursing homes.

On the Tuesday evening of the cooking class I arrived early and, except for our Pastor Father Flemming who only stuck his head in for two seconds to say hello, I was the only male in the kitchen amongst a dozen or so ladies.

Local nurse and food entrepreneur, Mrs. Ermine Hendrickson, conducted a class and, throughout the evening, instructed us in the preparation of three interesting and rather tasty recipes.

The one I want to share with you is a simple side dish made from green bananas which can be purchased in most supermarkets in the USA or any neighborhood Asian or Caribbean market.

Seasoned Green Bananas:

5 Green Bananas
1 Stick of Butter
5 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
½ cup of Fresh Parsley, Chopped
1 Small Onion, Diced
1 Small Red Bell Pepper, Diced
1 Small Green Bell Pepper, Diced
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Peel Green Bananas and slice about a ¼ of an inch thick and boil in slightly salted water until done, approximately 20 min. and set aside. Melt the butter in the large sauce pan and add all other ingredients and sauté for 5 minutes until soft. Add cooked green bananas and stir until well coated with the seasoning. If more moisture is needed, add more butter, olive oil, or bacon fat which gives it more flavor.

Serve with grilled fish or stewed cod fish.


 Sunshine is known internationally for his famous “Killer Bee,” a potent rum concoction that is as tasty as it is addictive; one has to just sit at the bar and watch as boat loads of tourists from yachts anchored offshore, guests from the neighboring five diamond Four Seasons Resort and locals alike swarm in for the killer bee experience. I am not saying that I have not on one or more occasion indulged in this intoxicating drink, but my reason for this particular visit was to sample perhaps the second best menu item behind the killer bee, his marinated grilled fish. This is a well seasoned whole fish, Grouper or Red Snapper, crisply grilled on an outdoor coal fire to mouth watering perfection.
After complementing the owner and chef for his masterpiece, he sat down with us to share some of his secrets for perfectly grilled fish. Remember I said some of his secrets, I also had to read between the lines to come up with this version.

One fish per person, one pound to a pound and a half thoroughly cleaned and pat dried with paper towel, place fish in a baking dish and cover with marinade for two hours or longer.

2 tbs of minced garlic
1  onion, chopped
1 bunch of scallions, chopped
1 bunch of fresh thyme ( 1 tbs dried)
1tsp black pepper
1 or 2 scotch bonnet peppers (substitute 1 tsp Walters Caribbean hot sauce)
1 tbs sea salt
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup of fresh lime juice

Mix ingredients thoroughly and pour over the fish. Marinate for approximately two hours. Grill slowly over medium coal fire turning to cook equally on both sides.

Thanks to Sunshine. Bon Apetit.  

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Greetings from NEVIS

When one thinks about the Caribbean thoughts of lying on white sandy beaches soaking up the sunshine comes to mind. During my first two weeks on the Island we have had heavy rainfall in the mornings pretty much everyday. As a consequence when the rains subsided and the sun came out to chase away the lingering gray clouds, Mother Nature has been bringing out her palette and paint brushes and splashing the horizon with the most breathtaking rainbows imaginable, and more often than not, brilliant double rainbows so spectacular, even Michael Angelo would pause to pay homage. And this spectacular backdrop just for a group of hearty souls who gather to exercise and swim every weekday morning, arriving at the beach at 6.30am. An impossible thought if you live in Europe or North America but here in the tropics it’s something special to swim at dawn in the cool exhilarating Caribbean Sea.

I am excited about blogging from my Island home on Nevis here in the eastern Caribbean. Since arriving I must truly confess, that I have done nothing but relax enjoying the almost constant 82 degree daytime temperature, revisiting old haunts and catching up with friends and family. I hope to be getting around soon to visiting the markets and other food venues and eating establishments, hopefully finding some new recipes to expand my product line and of course to share with you.