Joe & Sophie’s flat, Deptford
20 September 2012.
Off to Deptford this time, not to a representative restaurant unfortunately, but to Joe & Sophie’s new flat. Given that Belize has a well-defined and interestingly varied cuisine, it was a shame not to be able to find a find a restaurant that serves in it London, when there seem to be several of them in American cities. At least we weren’t short of recipes to attempt.
First up was Sophie’s “Panadas”, which were a kind of deep-fried empanada filled with tuna and green peppers. These were served with a fabulous “salsa”, actually a cabbage and coriander salad raised to divine levels by the addition of lime juice. The panadas were pretty good too.
For main course, Joe made a chicken and onion stew lifted out of the ordinary by a sauce that featured white wine vinegar, lime juice, cloves and allspice and gave the whole thing a thoroughly pickled flavour. It was unusual and delicious, but ultimately a bit too intense to be polished off by all of us.
Finally, for dessert, an unlikely pudding called sweet potato pone. Also popular in Jamaica, there are myriad variations on the recipe with wildly differing quantities of each ingredient. I tried for an average of the Belizean versions I found on the web, and the result was really quite good, even if it didn’t solidify in the oven as I’d hoped.
Finally we washed it down with a Belizean version of ‘michelada’, a spiced beer. Not quite the right drink to follow what was quite a spicy main, but it was nevertheless curiously satisfying.
Overall, I’m not sure I’d make any of the dishes again in quite the same way, but the michelada is definitely worth a try.
Sweet Potato Pone
- 900g sweet potatoes, grated
- 60g butter, melted
- 450g dark brown sugar
- 600ml (1.5 cans) coconut milk
- 300ml (0.5 cans) evaporated milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 200g raisins
- 2 tbsp grated root ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon/nutmeg
Pre-heat oven to 220ºC.
Mix the grated sweet potato with the sugar and coconut milk in a large bowl. Stir until sugar has dissolved, then add the evaporated milk, butter, ginger, vanilla, raisins and cinnamon. Mix well and pour into a 9”x11” baking dish.
Bake for 30 mins, then lower heat to 180ºC and bake for another 30 mins.
- 1 Mexican/Belizean beer bottle
- 1/4 lime
- 2 splash tabasco or other hot pepper sauce
- 1 splash Worcestershire sauce
- Pinch black pepper
Fill a tall glass with ice. Squeeze in the lime and drop it in. Add sauces and pepper. Pour in beer, stir and serve.