The ladies in the kitchen take all day to prepare classic West Indian dishes as an homage to the recipes of mothers and grandmothers. These dishes are served in the traditional clay pots and vessels from Nevis clay made and fired at the Newcastle Pottery kiln. A whole roast pig is spit roasted for seven hours under the mango tree making a feature presentation.
The evening always starts with rum punch and cocktails until we sit for the soup, Fisherman’s pot, which is served from a large clay pot called an “Omigod”. It’s called an ‘omigod’ because that is what you say if you drop it, “Oh Me God!”
At the head of the buffet lies the fresh fish dish, usually line caught Mahi Mahi, but sometimes Wahoo, Grouper or Snapper. It’s served with a brandied creole sauce, or sometimes a lemongrass and tamarind.
Next to that is local grown mixed greens served with our signature passion-fruit vinaigrette, red beets marinated in orange juice with feta cheese crumbled on top, fresh tomatoes with fried plantain and a basil dressing.
The tomatoes and plantains come from our neighbor, but we grow our own basil, as well other herbs and spices. The Gingerland-slaw is red and white cabbage shredded with a ginger vinaigrette.
Standing proud and tall above it all we have a stuffed local pumpkin, which is pumpkin mixed with herbs and spices and black beans.
Then we come to our feature presentation “Miss Piggy”. We use only locally raised pigs, sometimes pigs that have even been raised at the Hermitage and grown fat on the surplus of our mangoes. The pig is roasted rubbed with local spices and roasted on a spit over Acacia coals for seven hours. It goes beautifully with our home made mango chutney and a little hot sauce for the daring.
The beef short ribs are cooked with rum and brown sugar and come from Nevis cattle. Of course barbequed chicken is the national bird so it is also included and served with an interesting variety of rosemary, honey or mango.
No meal is complete in the Caribbean without rice and beans, which is prepared with a bit of spinach and squeezed coconut milk. Sweet potatoes, our ground provisions, come next, that have been candied in orange juice, and then we have a medley of garden vegetables, bora beans, christophene, carrots and local squash for color.
Cinnamon grows locally and we use it in the curried chickpeas. Tannia fritters and Johnny Cakes are served in the middle of the table; Johnny Cakes are based on the tradition of frying bread to take on a journey, and tannia is a local root that we shred and batter and deep fry. Lastly, there is the Breadfruit Soufflé which if you have any room left will help fill in the corners of your belly!
We like to end the evening with a mango crumble, with mangoes from our own trees. When the monkeys don’t let us have any mangoes then we serve a rum soaked bread-pudding that usually makes guests glad they are leaving in a taxi.
The clay dishes and pots that we use are made here in Nevis at the Newcastle Pottery from local clay that is fired not in a kiln but in an outdoor fire. The bigger the pot, the louder the omigod!