All posts filed under: Seychelles

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Monday Meal Review: Seychelles

I was an hour into researching the food of Seychelles when it hit me – hadn’t there been someone in my writer’s group who went to these amazing islands a year or so back? Images of suggestive two-lobed coconuts and pirate stories popped into my brain. Yep. That’s right. Barry had been there. Barry who lives the life of a wandering bachelor, who jets off at the drop of a hat to see this place or that, and who loves to tell the tales almost as much as going. Barry who might be in the Pacific islands next week, but isn’t quite sure if he feels like going yet. Barry, Barry, Barry. One email later, and our dinner date was confirmed; he’d be happy to join the family for a bite of the Seychelles. A little stovetop travel to bring his tastebuds back to that beautiful place. When he walked in he sported a thick, white beard and, thanks to the twinkle in his eye and the gifts he bore, it felt a lot more like …

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Massalé Spice Blend

The spice drawer is the most sensual part of any kitchen. On the inside seemingly innocuous  dry, brittle seeds rattle around, each with the power to take our minds from continent to content, country to country. All we need is a little warmth to coax their magic out and something like a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle. Today’s daydream takes us the Seychelles where they enjoy this haunting spice blend called “massalé” (a variation on Indian garam masala)  in coconut fish curries. The heat is fairly mild, but can be quite hot if you add more chili powder. As always, spice blends make great DIY gifts. And, really, what better way is there to “heat up” Valentine’s Day? (Don’t answer that)   Makes about a 1/4 cup Ingredients: 3 Tbsp coriander seeds 1 Tbsp cumin seeds 1 Tbsp black peppercorns 8 cardamom pods 1 tsp whole cloves 1 small cinnamon stick, cracked into pieces 1 tsp chili powder, or more to taste 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg Method: First, get in the mood by setting …

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Creamy Coconut & Banana Tart

Imagine sitting by the sea one lazy afternoon, focused on the tattered nets of nearby fishing boats, when something big and hard bumps against your foot. When you look down, you see a giant, two lobed coconut has washed up, onto the sand. From end to end, this coconut is as long as your forearm, with tufts of hair poking out between the brown, oblong lobes. She would have traveled hundreds (thousands!) of miles to reach you, all the way from the Seychelles. And you’d know she came from there, because it is the only place where these incredible coconuts grow. Once you saw her, you’d never forget her.  She’s called Coco de Mer, or coconut of the sea. And she really is quite… shall we say… graphic. I had the awkward pleasure of sitting next to one this week, hand delivered from the Seychelles by my friend Barry. Weighing in at 40-50 pounds, these are the world’s largest coconuts, stars of countless legends and pirates tales (one of which we’ll hear from Barry in a …

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Coconut Fish Curry | Cari de Poisson

When the sun dips low and spreads her rouge all over the sky, I enjoy knowing that this glorious watercolor of light travels around the world like a comet, leaving behind a glowing trail for all to see. No matter where they are from, or where they are going. The sun has universal beauty. It makes me smile to know that, somewhere in the Seychelles – half a world away – they, too, see her rose and curried colors curl through the clouds, right before bedtime. And I imagine that maybe, just maybe, they watch the darkening sky at the edge of their sandy shores, while spooning Coconut Fish Curry among friends. Considering fish curry is one of the most popular recipes  in this African island nation, this is a gamble I’m willing to take. Everyone on the islands, from weather-worn fishermen to stern grandmothers, serve up the day’s catch like this, with a little bit of India, China, and France, in the form of homemade curry powder (called massalé), fresh ginger, garlic, and thyme. …

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Menu: Seychelles (& giveaway)

Mr Picky flew to Washington D.C. for work, so Ava and I are spending this week “mother-daughter” style. We’ve already made banana muffins, hot cocoa (Guatemalan-style), and stuffed artichokes (my mother’s recipe from Italy). And there’s the coconuts. Coconut milk. Shredded coconut. Toasted coconut. We’re surrounded, thanks to our stovetop travels to the Seychelles. While we ate this particular menu before Keith left, I’m considering recreating it one more time since I still have plenty of  Massalé left over, and Ava’s on a real kick with fish. At the very least, I’m going to add the spice mix to some lentils. You’ll love the fish for an impressive, but super quick weeknight dinner (just whip up the spice blend ahead of time), and the tart is a real crowd pleaser, especially when served with a traditional cup of lemongrasss tea. So join us, we’re having a spiced, whipped, and banana topped kind of week. All recipes and meal review will be posted throughout the week. Coconut Fish Curry | Cari de Poisson [Recipe] The catch of the day gently simmered in …

The spectacular beach of Grand Anse on the island of La Digue, Seychelles. Photo by Tobias Alt.

About the food of the Seychelles

“Water, water, every where. But not a drop to drink.” This week we’re stovetop traveling through the lush, greenery of 115 African islands, whose soft sands and coral beds peep out between the waves of the Indian Ocean. This is the Seychelles. In this tree carpeted and sand brushed landscape, fresh water is so scarce, it’s presence is officially designated as “negligible.” Looking outward towards the turquoise ocean, there’s a sense of calm. Looking inwards towards the granite outcrops, which jut like obelisks among palm trees, there’s a sense of wonder… as though our very spirits have moved into an ancient world of secrets. Yes, these islands more than make up for the lack of water. Bottom line? Her inhabitants know their corner of the earth is special. Many of the islands remain pristine – completely uninhabited – with 50% of all land designated as national parks. This is unprecedented. And wonderful. I should warn you. While saying “Seychelles” feels like a sing-song, lullaby, this was once the land of pirates passing by, legends and lore. Dinner …