Do you know your whiskey from your whisky?

Posted by on 23rd February 2017

DSC 7638  Do you know your whiskey from your whisky?

The Scots spell it whisky and the Irish (and everyone else) spell it whiskey.

Scotch is whisky made in Scotland (an average of 34 bottles of whisky are exported from Scotland every second), while bourbon is whiskey made in America. Scotch is made mostly from malted barley, while bourbon is distilled from corn. If you’re in England and ask for a whisky, you’ll get Scotch. Sound confusing?

Not for those who attended our SWIRL event at The Brasserie last night. Guests were treated to bourbon blended scotch and single malts whilst enjoying whiskey braised pork belly, Cayman lobster corndogs and Valrhona dark chocolate & orange tart. To cap off the evening, a hand rolled Cuban Cigar.

Whether you drink your whiskey with ice, a small splash of water or “neat”, there’s a long history behind this beloved spirit.

Apparently the Scots used to light scotch on the fire to determine how much alcohol was in it. The color of the flame showed whether or not the alcohol content was right. If it was too hot, the alcohol content was too high.

Did you also know that the word whisky comes from the Gaelic “uisgebeatha” meaning “water of life”?

Want to share in our next entertaining and educational SWIRL event? Email us to book your spot for ‘Wines of Argentina’ on Thursday 30th March 2017 – reservations@brasseriecayman.com

For the love of swordfish

Posted by on 16th February 2017

Swordfish Challenge 2  For the love of swordfish

Swordfish are one of the most lucrative fish in the world.

That’s according to Gray FishTag research scientist Travis “Tag” Moore, who has over 20 years’ experience as a recreational fresh and saltwater angler.

“Swordfish account for billions of dollars in economic value worldwide. Swordfish steaks are highly prized table fair at fine dining restaurants. Also, swordfish are very popular among recreational anglers, who spend a great deal of money targeting the fish.”

Travis’ involvement in the industry has taken him around the world.

“I worked in Turkey and Morocco as part of an international agreement between the United States and each respective country. I worked with commercial fishermen to design a version of swordfish buoy gear to replace drift gillnet fishing. The use of drift gill net to target swordfish has been banned in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. We were teaching the commercial fishermen how to build and fish more eco-friendly gear type as well as land economically more valuable fish. The work was a success and the fishermen from both countries are now fishing the new gear type.”

He says given the knowledge that swordfish is so highly valued, it’s surprising that we don’t know much about the fish.

Perhaps it’s because they are one of the fastest fish in the ocean, timed at over 50 miles per hour, making them difficult to catch and study.

“Swordfish are also hard to study because of their environment. Swordfish are a deep-water fish, spending the daylight hours at depths around 2000ft. So, conventional methods to catch the fish, much less track or study the fish, are obsolete.”

However, Travis says the Cayman Swordfish tournament is single-handedly becoming responsible for more satellite tagging data then anywhere else in the world.

“The Challenge provides us with a consistent avenue to tag swordfish every year in the Cayman Islands.”

The swordfish feed around the islands during their yearly migration from Canadian waters down to the warmer Caribbean waters. Cayman is quite isolated making this area the perfect feeding ground for the highly migratory travelling fish.

“The data indicates peak seasons for when the swordfish are in the Cayman waters. The data shows feeding behaviour and the vertical migration patterns. The data can indicate how long swordfish stay around the islands and which islands they stay around the most.

“This information is important because it can help anglers to catch more swordfish. The data will also help to protect Cayman’s exclusive fishery against international rogue fishing fleets by establishing scientific evidence for international authorities that illustrate these fish are in the Cayman waters for certain time periods.”

He says the Challenge is the reason that the Cayman Islands is now being recognized as one of the top sword fishing destinations in the world.

The culinary culture behind turtle stew

Posted by on 9th February 2017

Miss Marvel 1  The culinary culture behind turtle stew

Every Friday morning Miss Marvel walks over to her stove in East End and pulls out an enormous pot steaming with slow cooked turtle stew.

You can tell she’s done this routine many times before as she gently ladles the stew into a container on route to The Brasserie for lunchtime service.

The turtle meat comes from the Cayman Turtle Farm and is dropped off to Miss Marvel on Wednesdays where she makes the dish in her own home.

This is the only menu item prepared outside the Brasserie kitchen, because there’s no one in Cayman who cooks turtle stew quite like Miss Marvel.

“Two hours on the fire and two hours slow cooking in the oven. The secret ingredients? Onion, salt and pepper.”

Miss Marvel, now in her mid-eighties, has lived on the island her entire life and grew up cooking and eating turtle stew.

Traditional Cayman cuisine has never been properly recorded and today many recipes exist only in the memories of older Caymanian cooks who devoted long hours creating delicious meals, “one pot at a time” outdoors in covered iron pots. The “cookrum” was a separate outer building where the cooking was done, often using a unique fireplace called the caboose—a wooden box filled with sand in which the firewood was placed.

In the 1600 and 1700’s, the Cayman Islands became a provisioning stop for vessels sailing the Caribbean because of an abundance of green sea turtles. It was a means of income as well as a source of local food for permanent settlers.

A custom that has been part of Cayman culture for centuries, however, doesn’t come without controversy.

The Cayman Turtle Farm regulates the legal sale of all turtle meat in Grand Cayman in an effort to reduce poaching. Originally founded for raising sea turtles for consumption, the Farm has ventured into breeding and releasing sea turtles back into the wild to help protect the endangered species. The associated research facility relies on meat sales to ensure the sustainability of conservation work. To date more than 30,000 turtles have been released back into the wild since the Centre opened in 1968, while at the same time, local people are provided with a limited source of meat to preserve an important part of their heritage.

Miss Marvel’s experience and knowledge of Cayman tradition is etched in her face as she smiles proudly over the turtle stew she has cooked hundreds of times before. She reaches over and holds a plantain, a local ingredient she always has on hand.

“Sliced and fried, it makes the perfect accompaniment to turtle stew.”

So, next Friday lunchtime you order turtle stew at The Market thank Miss Marvel, whose close association to the turtle and long-held cultural culinary traditions stand reflected in the Cayman Islands’ flag and currency.

PROFILE SERIES: Meet Aidé Davila

Posted by on 6th February 2017

DSC 7158  PROFILE SERIES: Meet Aidé Davila

Meet Aidé Davila.

Aidé is the backbone behind The Brasserie’s thriving edible gardens throughout Cricket Square.

She has just finished harvesting 50 pounds of the fragrantly sweet star apple for the kitchen and is taking the final passionfruit to The Wicket; a popular ingredient in our Juiced@ menu.

“It’s important for me to be outside in the garden. I love the outdoors. I could never see myself working in an office.”

In the shade house alone, Aidé cares for 18 different vegetables, six fruit varieties and over 25 herbs to feed The Wicket, The Market and Brasserie restaurant customers that value the local, fresh and seasonal flavors grown just meters away.

“It’s important that people know where the food that they eat comes from and I believe it’s my job to teach people. If they can see the produce in front of them as it is here when they come to work everyday, hopefully it will inspire them to eat locally and seasonally and reduce food miles.”

Beyond the shade house you can embark on an edible adventure around Cricket Square to find, 11 varieties of eggplant, avocados, naseberries, cashews, starfruit, star apples, grapefruit, all spice, kaffir lime, ackee, guava, soursop, sugar cane and mangoes, just to name a few.

Tomatoes climb up the square boundary and watermelons lace wooden crate structures amongst the parked cars.

Ever stopped to think about how a pineapple grows? Look down and you will see pineapple heads immersed in the soil, building roots and preparing to hoist more pineapple fruit above their tropical foliage.

A qualified biologist, Aidé grows all her own seedlings in the nursery using the seeds from the previous harvest and transplants the crops regularly as is required by the kitchen’s appetite.

“For those wanting to grow food in a small space at home, it is important that you plant an assortment of fruits, vegetables and herbs. Different plants attract different insects and so by growing a variety there will never just be one dominant insect or pest eating your harvest. This is called biology control; reducing or mitigating pests and pest effects through the use of natural enemies so that you don’t need to use pesticides.”

The introduction of our Brasserie bees has boosted production levels significantly as they work endlessly to pollinate the crops, and the nearby ‘Chateau Chooks’ must also be acknowledged. Aidé makes her own sustainable compost using the green waste from the restaurant and the chicken manure from the coop. For those plants that need extra care like our favorite edible species of orchid, vanilla bean, Aidé concocts her famous compost tea by diluting this mixture in water and distributing it onto the leaves.

So next time you venture into Cricket Square, stop, observe all the delicious produce being grown around you, give Aidé a wave, and be thankful that you have the opportunity to enjoy this abundant food basket right on your doorstep.

The perfect gift this Valentine’s Day

Posted by on 6th February 2017

DSC 7470  The perfect gift this Valentine’s Day

There’s no experience quite like a cooking class at The Brasserie.

Escape the hustle and bustle and immerse yourself in our leafy green garden enjoying a cocktail made from local and seasonal ingredients, while Chef Dean shares his passion for fresh food and points out the fruits, herbs and vegetables that have just been harvested for the class that day.

Learn how to cook lobster on a caboose and listen to the knowledge of our chefs as they talk about the day’s seafood catch from our very own deep sea fishing boats.

Master the tips and tricks of cooking deep water snapper in parchment with garden pak choi, fennel, local long beans and fresh lemon.

Create your own charred Cayman lobster salad with local beet carpaccio, warm ‘Brasserie Honey’ pickled eggplant, arugula (that you saw growing in our thriving garden) and goat cheese crema.

Grasp the skills required to make your own Valrhona chocolate tart and ‘Brasserie Honey’ meringue from scratch.

This was the fun and memorable experience enjoyed by a wonderful group of cooks yesterday as they shared their meal, with paired wines, together.

The perfect gift for the love of your life this Valentine’s Day.

We are taking bookings now for our March class: reservations@brasseriecayman.com