SUPERFOOD SERIES: Breadfruit

Posted by on 20th March 2017

Have you ever wondered what the inside of a breadfruit looks like? The image above was taken during our last cooking class at The Brasserie when we were learning how to make deliciously satisfying breadfruit chips.

This dimply bright green orb the size of a cantaloupe has always created interest and intrigue. Why now for a breadfruit comeback? It’s high in fibre, antioxidants, calcium, iron and potassium.

The other great news is that you can eat breadfruit at any stage. When it’s small and green, it tastes like an artichoke. When it’s starchy and mature, breadfruit is the equivalent of a potato. When it’s soft and ripe, it’s dessert.

A traditional staple in Hawaii, breadfruit is sometimes called the tree potato, for its potato-like consistency when cooked. Except breadfruit has higher-quality protein and packs a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals.

That’s why this nutrient-rich staple is being cultivated for poorer, tropical parts of the world, giving us even more reasons to consider breadfruit as a superfood. The fast-growing perennial trees require far less labour, fertiliser and pesticides than crops like rice and wheat. They’re also more productive. A single tree yields an average of 250 fruits a year and can bear an abundance of fruit for decades.

Breadfruit grows on tall trees in tropical areas like Hawaii, Samoa, and the Caribbean. It’s high in energy from carbohydrates, low in fat and has more potassium than 10 bananas.

This fruit is an immune booster and is rich in amino acids that are essential to keeping our bodies fueled and functioning properly. It’s loaded with bioflavonoids, which fight inflammation, and contains high levels of thiamine to support digestive health.

So the next time you see breadfruit on our menu, enjoy this superfood, knowing that it is providing your body with plenty of nourishment.

CHEF THOMAS’ FAMOUS BREADFRUIT SALAD
8 servings

Ingredients

2 breadfruit
½ cup seasoning pepper aioli
3 green onions, trimmed, washed, thinly sliced
3 local bell peppers, diced
1 scotch bonnet, seeds removed, minced
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
½ cup sour cream
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
kosher salt
5 beets, trimmed of any tops

Method

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Cut the top of the breadfruit off and score the bottom with an “x”. Roast on a sheet pan for about 35-45 minutes or until you can insert a knife easily into the centre. Once cooked remove from the oven and allow to cool. Peel the skin by cutting with a knife. Dice the breadfruit into 1 inch cubes. Combine the aioli, green onion, peppers, scotch bonnet, vinegar, sour cream, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl and whisk until combined. Stir in the breadfruit. Season to taste. Meanwhile, pour about 1 cup of kosher salt into a baking dish and place the beet on the salt. Roast in the oven at 350 degrees until cooked though. Allow to cool and peel. Slice thinly and reserve for plating.

SUPERFOOD SERIES: Açaí Berry

Posted by on 20th March 2017

When next walking through the Amazon rain forests, look up, and you’ll see açaí (pronounced ah-sigh-EE) berries growing in huge clusters near the tops of the palm trees. Similar in appearance to a blueberry, açaí berries contain many health properties; an exciting discovery given that many associate the flavour of açaí with dark chocolate.

The açaí berry is a good source of fibre, antioxidants and heart-healthy fats. Açaí has more than double the antioxidants of blueberries and nearly ten times that of grapes. Antioxidants strengthen our immune system and aid in neutralising damaging free radicals. For that reason, these berries should be part of a healthy diet.

The fibre found in açaí berry skin and pulp can aid digestion, help prevent or relieve constipation and may help support a healthy cardiovascular system. Açaí berries contain amino acids, which help promote muscle performance, boost energy levels, endurance and strength. If that’s not enough goodness, this superfood contain as much vitamin C as blueberries and they are also a source of Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 and E, as well as a source of calcium, magnesium, zinc and copper.

Harvesting açaí is hard work as the trees have no branches and each cluster of berries needs to be cut and brought down manually in order to preserve the fruit and pulp. The fruit, which is the size of a small grape, is delicate, which means that transporting it is difficult. To add to the expense of açaí, it’s best if the berries are freeze-dried within 24 hours to keep their nutritional profile intact.  That’s why you are most likely to find the açaí berry as an ingredient in smoothies, juice or in our refreshing and delicious Açaí Bowl on the menu at Juiced @ The Wicket.

JUICED @ AÇAÍ BOWL

Ingredients

½ cup frozen açaí pulp
a splash of orange juice
½ banana or a small cup of strawberries
a sprinkle of coconut
a sprinkle of granola
banana and strawberries, sliced, for topping

Method

Blend the açaí pulp, orange juice, strawberries and banana together. Pour into a bowl and sprinkle with coconut and granola, and top with fruit.

SUPERFOOD SERIES: Green papaya

Posted by on 14th March 2017

Deliciously sweet with a soft, butter-like consistency, it’s no wonder that Christopher Columbus called the papaya the “fruit of the angels”.

Bright colorful mountains of green papaya salad, laden with fresh tomato, garden cucumber and green beans and topped with crispy local breadfruit, peanuts and herbs, is one of our favourite seasonal salads.

Papaya (referred to as pawpaw in Australia) is native to southern Mexico and Central America and is now cultivated in many tropical regions. You could be mistaken for thinking papaya is grown on a tree, however it’s really a large herb with a tall barkless and branchless trunk crowned by a shock of large leaves.

Green papaya is the unripe fruit and contains an enzyme called papain that helps digest proteins and is used as a natural meat tenderiser. Papaya seeds have a peppery taste and are a great substitute for black peppercorns.

Papaya is a rich source of vitamin C and contains beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fibre. If kale no longer does the trick to cleanse you out, it might be time to add this superfood, super-fruit to your repertoire thanks to its fibre content and natural laxative abilities, as well as enzymes that help with balancing stomach acid for healthy digestion.

Though very different in taste, texture, and appearance, green and orange papaya are actually the same fruit picked at different stages of development. The tender, creamy, orange-fleshed papaya is harvested when fully mature. It’s sweet, “melon-y” and even somewhat “cheesy.” Because it is very low in acid, it is often spritzed with lime juice to provide balance. Immature green papaya has crisp white flesh with subtle flavour. It is prized mostly for its crunch and used primarily as a base for salads. Green papaya is “clean-tasting” and “like cucumber or jicama”; in fact jicama (Mexican turnip) and seeded cucumber make good substitutes if green papaya is unavailable.

 

GREEN PAPAYA SALAD
Serves 4-6

Ingredients

Dressing
2 garlic cloves, peeled
¼ teaspoon salt
2 fresh bird’s eye chili, sliced
½ teaspoon raw sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce, to taste

2 cups julienned peeled green (unripe) papaya
2 cups julienned peeled cucumber
1 cups julienned peeled carrots
2 plum tomatoes
8 grape tomatoes, coarsely chopped
½ pound long beans, trimmed

½ cup loosely packed fresh Thai basil leaves
½ cup loosely packed fresh Vietnamese mint (rau ram) leaves
½ cup loosely packed fresh coriander leaves
breadfruit, sliced thinly and fried
1 tablespoon dry-roasted peanuts, for garnish

Method
Mix all dressing ingredients together. Combine prepared salad produce, top with the dressing and sprinkle with a mixture of the herbs, breadfruit strips and nuts.

The Brasserie’s Gardening Godmother

Posted by on 13th March 2017

Margaret Barwick sits under the shade of the cashew tree in the Butterfly Garden, relaxed and smiling, as she surveys the edible plants and native foliage growing in Cricket Square.

“The trick is to plant foliage first and then the flowers are a bonus. If you get the foliage right, you get all the texture and color you need. You can always add a punch of color in afterwards if necessary.”

Now residing in France, it has been several years since her last visit to Grand Cayman, the place Margaret once called home.

A lot has changed since this skilled painter, gardener and landscape designer first arrived on the island in 1974.

“There would have been less than 20,000 people living here and you knew everyone in the supermarket when buying your groceries.”

In 1982 Margaret’s husband, David Barwick, was sworn in as the Governor of the British Virgin Islands. She swapped the paintbrush for the gardening gloves and turned her attention to the ambitious project of designing and developing the BVI’s Botanic Gardens.

Fondly known as the “Gardening Godmother”, Margaret’s creative flair and attention to detail caught the eye of many and on her return to Cayman in the late 80’s, her landscaping passion turned into a full time project as she joined forces with the Flowers family to turn Cricket Square into the thriving series of gardens that it is today.

“My most enjoyable mission was designing the ‘parklet’ or The Wicket garden. I wanted a place where people could sit outside and so I designed the key-shaped lawn. It was great fun.

“Gardens are like sandwiches. There has to be layers of education, experiment, science and beauty.”

The first phase of Cricket Square was planted with exotics and the second phase with fruit trees.

“It was the beginning of the farm-to-table movement here on the island and the start of The Brasserie kitchen garden also.”

It was while seated at her “desk” under a tree at what is now known as the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Gardens on Grand Cayman, that the New Zealand-born artist decided to share her passion of native plants with the rest of the world.

“I volunteered my time to assist with developing the Gardens and with that came a lot of research into the different plant species most suited to the island’s sandy soil.

“My mother was a crazy gardener and I guess these genes were passed down to me.”

Margaret’s long lists of trees turned into one of her proudest achievements, Tropical & Subtropical Trees: An Encyclopedia.

“There was no handbook on how to put together a Botanic Garden, so I wrote it myself. Fifteen years of work and after travelling the world three times, spending a large percentage in Cairns, Australia working with horticulturalist Anton van der Schans, the book was published.

“Very few plants are unique to Cayman. There are only a handful of endemic plants due to the poor soil and low rainfall.

“Approximately 75 per cent of all native flora has been destroyed on Grand Cayman for development and my mission has always been to plant back as much as I can.”

Now in her mid-80’s, Margaret’s enthusiasm has not wavered as she prepares to prune the cashew tree while enthusiastically sharing her extensive knowledge and experience that so many people have had the privilege to enjoy.

Swordfish surprise just weeks out from Challenge

Posted by on 9th March 2017

Imagine dropping a line in the water expecting to catch a snapper and you instead haul up a 270-pound and approximately 10-foot long swordfish. Lewis Wood and his son Malik found themselves in this position 12 days ago about five miles off the coast of Frank Sound, Grand Cayman.

Just two weeks out from the Cayman Swordfish Challenge, the catch was timely, emphasizing the thriving fishery that exists in the local waters.

“This is the first swordfish that I have ever caught,” exclaimed Lewis. “We visit this fishing spot every weekend. It’s right on my backdoor.”

“It was our first drop of the day”, said Malik.

“Normally when we deep drop for snapper we add a plastic leader spliced to the braid as a shock leader “top shot” so it gives a scope when you drop your snapper rig. This allows our snapper rig to lie on the bottom of the ocean giving us an even greater chance to get bites.

“In this instance, I decided to just use straight braided line and luckily we did, otherwise the line wouldn’t have been able to hold the swordfish.”

Within seconds of the line hitting the ocean floor some 430 meters down, Malik felt a sharp pull on the reel.

“It felt like a shark,” he said.

Malik described the line instantly going slack as he began reeling it in.

“I thought that whatever was on the line had broken off, when in fact the swordfish was actually swimming straight up to the surface. Rather than getting hooked, the fish had managed to tangle itself in the line as if it had swum straight into it.”

Three hours later Lewis and Mailk were lifting the swordfish into their 18-foot boat, but not without a fight.

“I had never seen a live swordfish before and when it came to the surface I couldn’t believe it,” Malik said.

“As soon as the fish saw us it quickly swam straight down to about 60 meters. I started reeling it back in with our electric reel and suddenly its entire bill came up out of the water at the bow of the boat.”

The swordfish headed for the ocean floor again and this time didn’t stop until the fishermen were almost to the end of their line.

“We have 467 meters of line on our electric reel and at this point we only had 20 meters of line left! We thought we were going to run out. I gently put my gloved hand on the reel to slow down the pace of the fish, and it responded.”

Lewis and Malik decided to work with the fish rather than against it. “We gently dragged the swordfish heading in the same direction as the ocean current and turned the boat to wind up slack with the electric reel.”

After several hours, their tactic finally prevailed.

So, if you have been enjoying our delicious swordfish dishes at The Brasserie over the last week you have father and son, Lewis and Malik Wood, to thank for their mighty effort out on the water that day.