This winter, I had the opportunity to visit the beautiful island of Saint Lucia in the Caribbean. I managed to learn some simple recipes that will help to recapture the tropical flavours and bring some Caribbean heat to the capital.
Find mangoes, passion fruit, Asian celery, soursop, salted codfish, breadfruit, laurel, ugli fruit and other St. Lucian staples at Produce Depot and Farm Boy to recreate the island flavours here at home.
Classic Mango Salsa
Chef Lwanga picks mangoes from the tree right outside The Mango Tree Restaurant’s kitchen, which is situated over the Caribbean Sea. Lwanga effortlessly transforms the magnificent fruit into a multitude of signature dishes. This salsa will warm up even the coldest day in Canada. Serve with your favourite pan-fried fish or chicken, garnish soup, flavour a wrap or scoop with tortilla chips.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Makes: 3 cups (750 mL)
- 1-2 large mangoes, peeled, julienned and diced (about 2-1/2 cup/ 625 mL - see Chef Lwanga’s tip)
- 1/3 cup (80 mL) finely-minced Asian celery
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) finely-minced red pepper
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) finely-chopped onions
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- 2 tsp (10 mL) minced fresh oregano
- 3 tbsp (45 mL) vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) each of white vinegar and cane sugar
- 1/2 tsp (2-1/2 mL) sea salt
- 1/4 tsp (1-1/2 mL) freshly ground black pepper
In large bowl place finely diced mango.
On large cutting board combine the prepared celery, pepper, onion, garlic and oregano; with chef’s knife, chop all the ingredients again to ensure an even chop then transfer to bowl with mango. Add oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper; stir well and adjust seasoning to taste.
Refrigerate up to 2 days.
Chef Lwanga’s Tip:
To prepare mango, remove outer skin and slice each side of the mango into 1/2 inch (1-1/4 cm) thick slices until you encounter the pit. Cut the flat oval slices into 1/2 inch (1-1/2 cm) julienne strips then dice the strips into small even pieces.
Coconut Cheesecake with Passionfruit Drizzle
Cheesecake is a popular dish in every St Lucian restaurant and the best vehicle for fabulous toppings from rum-infused caramelized bananas to a vibrant passion fruit drizzle.
Use molds or ramekins that are 1-inch (2½ cm) deep and 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) cornstarch
- 1-1/2 lb (680g) cream cheese, room temperature
- 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) cane sugar
- 1 cup (250 mL) 35% cream
- 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) fresh coconut milk
- 5 eggs
- 1 tsp (5 mL) pure almond extract
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) butter, melted
- 225 g digestive biscuits or graham crackers, finely crushed.
In small bowl, combine butter and biscuit crumbs; divide evenly between 16 molds; press lightly and set aside.
In large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar for about three minutes; add eggs, coconut milk, cream, almond extract and cornstarch; beat an additional 5 mins or until light and fluffy.
Pour into prepared molds; place in boiling water bath. Bake at 350F (180C) for 5 minutes; lower temperature to 300F (150C) bake for 35 mins.
Allow to cool then refrigerate up to 3 days.Serve with favourite topping.
Passion Fruit Drizzle
- 2 cups passion fruit juice (see Chef Lwanga’s tip)
- 1-1/2 cup (375 mL) sugar
- 1 cup (250 mL) water
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) white wine
- 1 tsp (5 mL) sea salt
Put all ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil, then cool.
Drizzle over cheesecake. Refrigerate up to 1 week.
Chef Lwanga’s Tip:
To make your own strong-flavored passion fruit juice, crush the pulp of 8 passion fruit and mix with 2 cups (500 mL) water; strain through fine mesh sieve.
Recipes courtesy of Stonefield Villa and Spa Resort