Saturday, June 12, 2010

Day 18 - Belize! Papaya Glazed Chicken & More - up Next, Benin!

BELIZE (Belmopan) (NA): I hardly to where to begin! What started as preparing a meal from the beautiful country of Belize turned into to full on party with  7 wonderful friends (who'd never met before tonight), a huge meal, Belizean music, a magnificent slide show and more. The entire evening became a celebration of  Belize, it's people, culture, traditional food and new found friendships. Proof positive that sitting down to a good meal unifies people of all races, creeds and backgrounds.

Belize is at the southern end of the Yucatan peninsula, facing the Caribbean Sea. It covers 8,866 square miles (23,000 square kilometers) and has the second largest barrier reef in the world, which shelters scores of cays.

Previously called British Honduras, the country now known as Belize derives its name from one of two historical sources: Maya root words or the surname of the Scottish buccaneer Peter Wallace, who maintained a camp near present-day Belize City in the seventeenth century. Belizeans affectionately refer to their country as "the Jewel."

In the north and west there are the mestizos, people formed by the union of Spaniards and Maya. In the central part, there are the Creoles, formed by the intermarriage of the British and their African slaves. In the south, there are the Garifuna, also called Black Caribs, along the coast and the Maya farther inland. Belize is the only country in Central America where English is the official language. However, numerous other languages and dialects are spoken including, but not limited to: Belizean Kriol (Creole), Spanish, Mayan Kekchi, Garifuana, Yucatee and Mopan.
Mayan Ruins

Imported bleached wheat flour, corn, beans, rice, and poultry are the daily staples. There are hardly any food taboos, but as in many ancient cultures, there are beliefs across ethnic groups that certain foods, notably soups and drinks, help restore health.

I set out to make a traditional Belizean meal. Rather than using the web as my sole resource, I was lucky enough to have my friend Barbara who spends a fair amount of time in Belize consult to me. She put me in touch with her friend Shelmadine who lives in Belize via Facebook. A huge thank you to Shelmadine for patiently answering my amateur questions. The meal I settled on was what Shelmadine reported being most traditional: Chicken, rice and beans, coleslaw and banana cake.
Shelmadine has her own cookbook!

And...I'm discovering that preparing these meals is a community effort - many shout-outs to the following Holliston businesses for their support of this particular meal: : John gave me a pack of glow-in-the-dark monkey bamabandz (bracelets) to give my guests in celebration of Belize's rich and tropical jungle wildlife (check 'em out if you want to be way cool!)  : The Ashland branch that has every kind of tropical food imaginable! Joan who made wonderful suggestions for wine to compliment the meal
The Depot Package Store in Holliston: Andrea who helped me find just the right rum for the Tortuga Cake

PYRAT Rum XO Reserve - hand bottled in Anguilla, British West Indies - the cake is "soaked" in a rum, sugar and butter glaze

No place else I'd rather be

The Meal
  • Plaintains and pineapple ginger sauce
  • Gaucamole
  • Mango Salsa
  • Papaya glazed roasted chicken
  • Rice and beans
  • Coleslaw (Barbara brought this)
  • Pineapple
  • Sliced Tomatoes and Cucumbers
  • Tortuga Cake (Rum soaked)
  • Shelmadine's banana cake
Recipe links

Rice and Beans:
Tortuga Cake:

Shelmadine's Banana Cake-which was DELICIOUS!

Preheat oven to 350
Grease 8x8 or 9x9 cake pan

  • 6 ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 cup flour

In a mixer, beat egg and sugar until light and fluffy.
In blender, blend bananas. Pour bananas into sugar mixture. Add remaining ingredients and beat for 10 minutes. Cook until golden brown, about 45 min.

The Meal, Friends & Family
Mango Salsa, Plantains and Pineapple Ginger Sauce, Guacamole and Blue Corn Chips 
Rice and Beans - The Staff of Life

  Barbara - My Consultant for all things Belizean and Queen of Cole Slaw

 Papaya Glazed Roasted Chicken
Dinner with Friends and a beautiful slide show courtesy of Barbara and Steve

Final Assessment: The chicken was very good, but the glaze was a little heavy. Next time I'll just marinate and roast it and serve papaya and mango on the side. The rice was great - who doesn't love rice and beans? The cole slaw was beautiful and light - no soupy mayo and the Tortuga and banana cakes - Unbelievable!


Giulietta said...

Hi Sarah,

I'm a friend of John Kenny's and live in the next town from you! John gave me this link. How fun to be doing this. Will check out your recipes ... Look forward to your Hungarian recipes. Great food.



sindy1232 said...

Can you possibly post Barbara's recipe for cole slaw? When visiting Belize this is one of my fav dishes but I just can not seem to make it right.
Thank Sindy

ps. Can't wait for Jamaica. Hope you make either Jerk Chicken or Patties!!

sindy1232 said...

Can you see if you can get Barbara's recipe for the Cole Slaw she make for your Belize dinner? When in Belize this is one of my fav dishes but I can not seem to make it right at home.

Als, can't wait for Jamaica. Hope you make true Jerk Chicken or Patties!!