I have been sitting at my desk for days, feverishly putting the last things together for the launch of our Nina Cucina site. It’s all very exciting & I do it with great joy but I must admit that I am tempted by the beauty of the outdoors here at the Abaco Club. The grounds here are so gorgeous and there is plenty of playing to be a part of: golf, tennis, water spots – there is a gym & of course a beautiful spa.
We have a couple of wild parrots living in the trees outside our cottage….yes, wild parrots…. Parrots are indigenous to this part of the world. I have even seen flocks a couple times in the Abacos. These to parrots are obviously a couple & a married couple at that — they happily squawk at each other, romp in the trees & talk to me every time I go to the patio to say hello to them. As they squawk at me with their expressive faces, I can almost hear them say: ‘Don’t sit in front of the computer, come out & PLAY!!’
Yesterday, was the first really pretty day here, & the temptation was great to go out & play. I was happy to see the end of the day, when I could join my family for dinner at the club house. Looking forward to our new dinner adventure, off we went to the club. I knew I would have some soup. The soups, as I said in my last post, are absolutely delicious here at The Abaco Club.
Now, I will tell you, that having grown up in the islands, I know that news travels fast here. I was amazed when I heard this story….. The four of us were sitting at the bar enjoying our wine when, the executive chef, Rafeeque Hameed, introduces himself & says, looking at Roger: “I know you are Roger, and (looking at me), you must be ‘I’, from ‘Roger & I are staying at the Abaco Club’….I read your blog post about our kitchen.” I introduced myself and asked how he possibly found my blog….I was thinking to myself – could this be what people really mean by ‘the power of the internet’….. Well, no such luck. This was the power of Magheo, our waiter-bartender friend from the night before. Magheo told someone in the kitchen that a guest made mention of the great soups at the Abaco Club on her blog, called: ‘Nina Cucina’. Now is when the power of the internet kicked in….People started googling & found my blog. A couple of meetings have been held in the kitchen about it. This compliments as well as fascinates me. With all the ‘power’ that the internet has to offer – there is nothing more powerful than hearing a good word from a friend! Thank you, Magheo!
The next wonderful person that I had the pleasure of meeting was Lesley Delancey, the chef who actually created the delicious soups! I have had two more since my last post, by the way ~ Conch Chowder & Lobster Bisque; both were sensational! Leslie & I got to talking about our mutual love of food, but especially about SPICES! I was curious about the pepper used in the dishes.
I am familiar with the ‘Bird Pepper’ that is a common staple in Bahamian cuisine; named for the fact that the birds eat them. I was so mystified the first time I saw a bird eat one, because they are SOOO hot; much hotter than a jalapeno. No, Leslie’s not using bird peppers, she’s using Goat Peppers…. Leslie went to the kitchen and presented us with the beautiful pepper below…..
About the size of a walnut, bright golden orange & super-hot! A Goat Pepper, huh….So where did that name come from….There must be a similar story to the one about the bird pepper, I thought. Leslie had to get back to work – she didn’t want to keep any of her guests waiting for her delicious creations. So our wonderful hostess, Charlene Adderly & I started trying to figure this out… Charlene decided she was going to find out for me so she got on the phone & called the guy who knows everything – her dad! Her dad said that the reason that it was named a goat pepper was because when you laid it on its side it looks like a goat….We were giggling but not convinced. I was laying the pepper on its side though….. It looked familiar, but I guess most peppers do… Charlene was determined! She went into the office to the computer to find out ‘the heat’ on this pepper.
Well come to find out –it’s a Scotch Bonnet Pepper! Charlene found out the following:
The Scotch Bonnet is also known as the Meh Boabs Bonnet, Scotty Bons or Bonney Pepper. It’s a variety of the Habenaro & is one of the hottest peppers in the world. It’s found mainly in the Caribbean Islands, Guyana & the Maladives. It’s named for it’s resemblance to the Tam O’Shanter Hat….Hhhmmmm….. At this point, I’m still wondering where the name Goat Pepper came from.
This pepper is definitely what has definitely been helping Leslie give her delectable soups their unique flavor! It IS a hot pepper though. I learned from Charlene’s information, that there is a ‘heat rating’ that is measured in ‘Scoville Units’. The ‘Bonney’ has a rating of 100,000 – 350,000 Scoville Units, whereas the Jalapeno has a heat rating of 2500 – 8000 on the Scoville Scale – & I thought the jalapeno was hot! The Bonney is a unique & beautiful pepper but I’m still searching for the answer of where the nick-name ‘Goat Pepper’ came from. I’m sure it will come to light eventually.
I have had so much fun getting to know all of the staff here, but I have had a special time getting to know the kitchen & restaurant staff, of course. Passion for food runs through my veins. This kind of passion travels over oceans & seas and has landed here in Marsh Harbour, Abaco! Thank you to all my new found friends at the Abaco Club! Here’s a picture of the great chefs & our hostess with me.
From right to left, Charlene Adderly, Rafeeque Hameed, Leslie Delancey, Me, Tamica McIntosh & Montgomery Mortimer. Thanks to all of you, as well as to Magheo, Tristan & Dee, our buddies behind the bar, for all the fun we have been having at the restaurant!
Stay tuned, friends! We are almost ready to launch Nina Cucina!