We just got back from vacation, and now that I am home under grey skies again, with the heat turned up and my tan quickly fading, I am trying anything to keep the memories of the holiday alive. The taste of the tropics is one way that certainly works well!
We had friends over for dinner so that we could regale them with stories of our adventures in Jamaica. It seemed only fair that we would put them in the mood too so we created a theme dinner.
To start the evening I made rum punch, using the bottle of rum we won at the resort for correctly answering the most questions in the Lovers Game. I suppose we had an advantage with our fifteen years together – the young couples competing against us weren’t seeing eye to eye on things like whether sex or sports was more important. Once you’ve seen as many Superbowls as we have, you know what’s really important at the end of the season 🙂
For a quick appie I put out some home-brined olives to remind us of that salty tang of the sea, and some goat cheese. Not because we had goat cheese in Jamaica, but because we couldn’t believe they didn’t have it with all the goats we saw roaming the countryside!
Then came the main course, a variation on one of our favourite local dishes, curried goat (you see, they do use those goats for something). Martin did a leg of lamb with the same aromatic broth and added some veggies reminiscent of our trip – sliced plantains and sweet potato along with the usual carrots and such. He added a scotch bonnet pepper too, which kept us all nice and warm! We served the stew over a creamy polenta that offset the spice and reminded me of the “grits” they serve in Jamaica. We broke down and enjoyed some local wine with dinner, although a few bottles of that well-chilled Red Stripe beer could have done nicely….
For dessert, I am pleased to say I hit the ball out of the cricket pitch (another witty Jamaican reference for you there). I put a twist on my pineapple upside down cake, using coconut milk instead of cow’s milk and adding some shredded coconut in the cake. With fresh pineapple and some warm rum caramel sauce to pour over it, we had the perfect way to end the evening.
Our friends laughed at our stories, and oohed at our photos and I think they felt a bit better for having been exposed to our post-holiday warmth. It was wonderful to share the experience after the fact. And, it felt good to hold the memories in my tummy just as I do in my head.