Thursday, May 26, 2011


I have arrived at the beautiful bays and balmy beaches of the Bahamas. And as you can guess by the alliteration, I am pumped to have left A behind, and bounded brazenly onto B. Also, given the glut of countries that begin with the letter A, I am actually about 5.7% of the way through, so hooray for me.

The Bahamas are a chain of islands that lie north east of Cuba and Hispanola in the Caribbean Sea. They were at one time inhabited by the Lucayan people, but after Columbus made landfall in 1492 (the first in the New World) the population was decimated by good old small pox and the slave trade. The islands then lay uninhabited for the next 150 or so years. In the mid 17th Century the island of New Providence was settled by a group of English puritan adventurers, however the English abandoned the island in 1704 as it was prone to Spanish and French attacks. Why the history lesson? Well, because this leads to one of my favourite topics: Pirates!

After the English left, the island was overrun by grog swilling, swag burrying, mascara wearing, cussing, rutting scourges of the seven seas. The island is now the most populous in the Bahamas, containing the nations capital Nassau, and over 70% of the population, however New Providence was once known as a 'Pirate Kingdom.' It was said that when a pirate slept, he didn’t dream that he’d died and gone to heaven, he dreamt that he had once again returned to New Providence. This was a base frequented by the well known buccaneers Captain Feathersword, Captain Pugwash, James Hook, Long John Silver, The Dread Pirate Roberts, and Gybrush Threepwood, however the best known New Providencian of all was Edward Teach, a.k.a Blackbeard.

Blackbeard terrorised the trade routes around the West Indies aboard his man-o-war Queen Anne's Revenge. When he and his pirate crew returned from weeks at sea, with all the booty they could plunder, they liked nothing more than to find a bawdy tavern and tuck into a steaming plate of Peas and Rice with Bahamian chicken, which I have authentically replicated below (although in place of chicken they probably used bilge rat, and instead of peas and rice it was probably porridge). This gave them the strength needed to sustain several days of drinking, brawling, and whoring (I didn't test this personally). Please enjoy responsibly - possible side effects include:

- Tibial timberfication;
- Psittaciformes husbandry;
- Skeletal vexillology;
- Carpal curvature;
- Mono-ocular masquerading.

For further reading, try: The great days of piracy in the West Indies by George Woodbury.

Bahamian Chicken with Peas and Rice


4 Chicken pieces (or breast)

Salt & fresh ground pepper
Juice of 2 Fresh limes
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 Cup Bacon, finely chopped
1/2 Cup Red onion, finely chopped
1/2 Cup Green pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 Cup Celery, finely chopped
2 Cups diced tinned tomatoes (with juice)
1 Cup Chicken stock
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 Tsp Thyme


Season chicken with salt and pepper and marinate in lime juice for about 15 minutes (no longer than 2 hours). Grill for about 10 minutes each side until done.

For the sauce, heat oil in a pan then saute bacon, then onion pepper, celery and saute for a few minutes. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes, chicken stock, worcestershire and thyme: continue to simmer about 10 minutes.

Peas & Rice


Long grain rice
1 Onion, diced 
1 Stalk celery plus leaves, diced
2-3 Tbsp Vegetable oil
1 can peas (pigeon, black eye, green - whatever is your favourite, or available)
1 Can diced tomatoes 

Salt & Pepper
1 Cup Vegetable broth (enough to cover rice)
1/2 teaspoon Browning (I didn't have any so I left it out, hopefully it isn't essential)

2 Tbsp Tomato paste


Heat oil in a saucepan then sauté onions and celery. Add the can of diced tomatoes, let cook until the water from the tomatoes is almost reduced.

Add tomato past and heat until evenly dispered through.

Add the peas and stir until peas are coated.

Add the rice and evenly coat. Let "fry" for about 2-3 minutes careful not to allow sticking. Add broth to cover rice. Season with salt pepper and thyme.

Generously stir the pot, and cook until rice is done.

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