Saturday, July 16, 2011


As it has turned out my predictions about the forming of new nations has turned out to be true (see previous post). Thankfully for me it was not the Abkhazians who earned their self-autonomy, deserved as it no doubt is. It was in fact the South Sudanese who have formed the world's newest nation. Meanwhile I am still stumbling along in the B's so it will be some time before I get to taste their delicacies.

For now, I return to the Caribbean to learn what I can about the nation of Barbados. The words: "Welcome to Barbados, have a nice day!" linger in my mind, and take it from me, these words do not conjure up images that you want to be thinking about while cooking.

Anyway as I was doing my shopping for this recipe I was graced with a sign - there on the shelf in front of me was a large bottle of Mount Gay rum, the spirit so closely associated with the island of Barbados (this wasn't a huge miracle given I was in a bottle shop). It also happened that I was to be joined in this meal by my sister Ali and her husband Dave, as well as my neighbours Scott and Kelly. This all resulted in the recipe perhaps not turning out as well a it could have, had I remained sober. And speaking of sober, it is an interesting irony that Mount Gay rum was originally owned by a man named John Sober, and was named after his friend and manager Sir John Gay Alleyne. I do not know whether John was a progenitor of the great West Indian cricketer, Sir Garfield Sobers: most likely not given they spell their names differently but I couldn't ignore the segue.

Many of the recipe's of Barbados call for the use of flying fish. Barbados used to be known as the 'Land of the Flying Fish' where it is the official national fish. It is becoming a recurring theme that the national fauna often ends up on the plate. I have seen flying fish before and they are astounding animals. Charles Darwin himself speculated on the origins, and the future evolution of the flying fish. I can't even imagine what he would have thought about them, they are amazing to watch fly. Needles to say, the flying fish was unavailable for this recipe, and contemplating this, the recipe suggested cod. Cod was also unavailable so I ended up using ling, which I think is a type of cod. Although the fish wasn't quite Bajan (shortened for of Barbadian) there was plenty of Mount Gay flowing, so the recipe still counts.

Bajan Flying Fish and Chips


4 Large baking potatoes, peeled and sliced into long, thin strips
Cold water
12 flying fish, filleted (substitute cod or other meaty fish)
Juice of 5 limes
Salted water
Oil for frying

Bajan Fish Seasoning:
6 Spring onions
1 Clove garlic
1 Tsp Chopped hot pepper
2 Tbsp Chopped celery
1 Tbsp Marjoram
1/2 Tbsp Thyme
1/4 Cup Chopped fresh parsley
1/2 Tsp Salt

Fish Batter:

2 eggs
1 1/4 Cups Flour
1 Cup Milk
1 Cup Water
1 Tsp Baking powder
1/2 Tsp White pepper

Breadcrumb mixture:

2 Cups Breadcrumbs
2 Cups Flour
Pinch Salt


Set potatoes in a bowl, cover with cold water, and let soak 30 minutes. Drain well and pat dry. 

Soak fillets in lime juice and salted water for 5 minutes. Rinse fish with fresh water and pat dry. 

While the fish is soaking, make Bajan Fish Seasoning: Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse on and off until finely minced - about 30 to 45 seconds. Rub an ample amount of seasoning into the fish. 

Stir together ingredients for fish batter in a shallow mixing bowl. 

Combine ingredients for breadcrumbs mix on a shallow platter. 

Dip each seasoned fillet into the batter, then cover with the breadcrumbs mix. 

Pour oil into a heavy skillet to the depth of 1 inch and heat. Fry fillets about 5 minutes, turning once while cooking, until crispy and golden brown.

In a second heavy skillet, pour oil to the depth of 3 inches and heat. Fry potatoes in 3 to 4 batches, about 2 minutes each, until golden brown. Let drain on paper towels.

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