Weekly round-up, 29 August-4 September 2011

Sea turtle swimming in Madagascar

Sea turtle in Madagascar

This weekly feature offers a roundup of the content on our blog from the past week, in case you missed anything.

Split into categories, it’s another way for you to easily find the posts of value to you.

This week we’ve got a fabulous special offer to Constance Moofushi, an interview with one of our general managers, tips on how to take great photos, our regular delicious Friday recipe and much more.

Special Offers

  • The Moofushi Honeymoon Dream Package
    Planning your dream honeymoon? Check out this great offer for Constance Moofushi – if you book before October you receive up to 20% off rate prices.

Events

Culinary

Behind the scenes

Inspiration

Insider tips

  • How to take great photos
    Review of a new book by Bethany Salvon, ‘Getting out of auto’ that gives tips on how to take great photos.

Recipe: Chilled tomato and green papaya soup with cucumber-coriander salsa

Try our delicious chilled summer soup from the kitchens of Constance Le Prince Maurice. Similar to gazpacho, this soup includes tropical papaya and hot red chilli.

Mauritian chilled tomato and green papaya soup

Mauritian chilled tomato and green papaya soup

Serves 4 
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 30  minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 kg small, ripe tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 green papaya
  • 1 small fresh red chilli
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 50 cl tomato juice
  • salt and pepper

For the salsa

  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 2 sprigs coriander
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 level tsp cumin seeds
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper

To serve

  • olive oil
  • 4 coriander leaves

1. Peel and chop the garlic and onion. Dip the tomatoes into boiling water for a few seconds, then cool them immediately in iced water before peeling them. Halve the tomatoes and remove their seeds.
2. Peel and seed the green papaya. Seed the red bell pepper. Finely dice both.
3. Fry the chopped onion and the halved red chilli in a little olive oil without colouring. Add the chopped garlic, diced bell pepper and papaya, and cook for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and tomato juice, season with salt and pepper. Cook at a slow boil for 20 minutes.
4. Cool this mixture in a deep freezer, then blend it and strain it through a fine sieve into a bowl. Correct seasoning and keep refrigerated.
5. Make the salsa: peel and finely dice the cucumber. Chop the coriander. Mix cucumber, coriander, olive oil, cumin seeds and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper.
6. Drop a little salsa in the middle of each soup bowl; pour the chilled soup around it. Add a thin streak of olive oil onto the soup and a coriander leaf on the salsa.

You can also purchase the Constance Prince Maurice recipe book from our online store.

Recipe: Seafood vindaye with white haricot beans

Perfect for a Saturday evening meal with friends, this spicy seafood vindaye is an authentic Creole dish from Mauritius.

Let us know how you get on making this vindaye. You can comment or send photos to us via Twitter, Facebook or the comments section below.

Seafood vindaye with white haricot beans

Seafood vindaye with white haricot beans

Serves 4
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 1 1/4 hours
Soaking time (for beans): 12 hours
Marinating time: 24 hours

Ingredients

For the vindaye:

  • 8 scallops without roes
  • 4 fillets white fish, approx 50g each
  • 6 shelled camaron tails (large prawns)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • 2 fresh green chillies
  • 4 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • salt and pepper

For the fricasséed white beans:

  • 200g white haricot beans
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 small ripe tomatoes
  • 1 fresh green chilli
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs parsley
  • salt and pepper

1. One day in advance, prepare the seafood vindaye: peel and coarsely dice the onions. peel the garlic, halve each clove ad remove the germ. Slice the chillies in 2 lengthwise and remove the seeds.
2. Soak the beans 12 hours before cooking.
3. Season the squid, camarons and scallops with salt and pepper. Sear them separately in a frying pan with 2 tbsp oil for 5 minutes. Keep warm.
4. In a saucepan, sweat the onions, garlic, ginger and chillies for 5 minutes with the olive oil without colouring. Mix vinegar and turmeric, add them to the saucepan.
5. Take off the heat and add wholegrain mustard, mustard seeds and finally the seafood. Mix well, let cool. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
6. On the day you are serving the recipe, make the bean fricassée: drop the tomatoes for 30 seconds in boiling water, cool them in iced water, then peel them. Halve them and remove the seeds. Chop the tomatoes.
7. In a heavy cooking pot, sweat the onion, garlic and ginger in oil for 4-5 minutes without colouring. Add the tomatoes, stew for 5 minutes, then add the beans. Add water to barely cover, add thyme, parsley and the green chilli, split in two. Cook on low heat for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring frequently to prevent drying. Add a little water if necessary.
8. Correct seasoning.
9. Reheat the vindaye and serve it just warm, with the fricasséed beans and some plain white rice.

You can also purchase the Constance Prince Maurice recipe book from our online store.

 

 

Lobster on the rocks at Constance Tsarabanjina

At Constance Lodge Tsarabanjina, Madagascar there’s no such thing as imported fresh produce. Everything comes from Nosy Bé market, or the mainland food producers.

Madagascan lobsters at Constance Lodge Tsarabanjina

Madagascan lobsters at Constance Lodge Tsarabanjina

And the fresh lobster we serve comes from the water in front of your villa. This is freshness at its best. Its simply cut in half, grilled in front of you and splashed with fresh lime juice.

Locally grown vegetables are incredible in taste and texture. Sweet potato or pumpkin are wrapped in foil, cooked in the charcoal grill and served with chef Claude’s secret relish.

All to be enjoyed ‘on the rocks’.

Spice route – 5 spices from the island of Madagascar

Beach and rocks, Madagascar

Beach and rocks, Madagascar

The vast island of Madagascar has long captured the world’s imagination as a place of exoticism and natural beauty.

The fourth largest island in the world, its unspoilt landscape is home to some of the world’s rarest and most unusual animals and plants.

Madagascar is also renowned for its spices. Here are 5 of the best served at Constance Lodge Tsarabanjina, along with recipe and remedy ideas for each spice.

Vanilla

Probably the most famous spice from Madagascar is the wonderfully fragrant vanilla pod. Vanilla makes up some 20% of Madagascar’s exports. The bean has no smell when it’s first harvested – it has to be fermented and dried to develop its distinctive aroma.

Recipe with vanilla: Salad of smoked duck and leeks with vanilla citrus dressing

Remedy for headaches: vanilla has an uplifting effect, helping to alleviate stress and anxiety. Vanilla extract can help to get rid of headaches – mix one teaspoon of extract with 8oz of water.

Black pepper

Peppercorns

Peppercorns

A store cupboard basic, black pepper grows in plantations on the verdant East coast.

Voatsiperifery is a very rare wild pepper found only in Madagascar. It has a hot taste that goes well with meat, especially pork and lamb dishes.

Recipe with black pepper: try our Constance Spicy Chicken Legs

Remedy for coughs: grind black pepper to a powder and mix with honey. Add to boiling water and allow to cool before drinking.

Red chillies

Red and green chillies

Red and green chillies

The best hot red chilli peppers are bright and deep red in colour. Capsaicin is the chemical in the peppers that makes them spicy. In traditional Madagascan cooking, chillies are seldom put in a dish but instead are put on the table as an accompaniment, along with garlic, ginger, lemon, onions and carrots, all steeped in white vinegar for a few days.

Recipe with chillies: try our Chicken and prawn fricassée with stewed chinese bredes with boucane.

Remedy for back ache: The capsaicin in peppers has a powerful pain-relieving effect. Mash red chilli pepper and rub it onto the painful area. For a milder remedy, use an emollient cream mixed with ground chilli pepper.

Ginger

Ginger root

Ginger root

Ginger became a key ingredient in Madagascan cuisine after it was introduced to the island along the spice route from Asia. Its distinctive taste works well in curry pastes, stir fries and chicken dishes as well as sweet puddings.

Recipe with ginger: Dark chocolate tart with ginger milk foam

Remedy for motion sickness: peel a knob of ginger and make ginger tea with boiling water. Drink the tea about half an hour before travelling.

Cloves

Clove trees along the East coast of Madagascar turn a crimson shade when the tree flowers. For many centuries, cloves were very expensive in the West and so were saved for special occasions. Still today, they are a quintessential ingredient at Christmas time. Cloves should be used sparingly either whole for flavouring fish or meat, or ground for use in cakes and puddings.

Recipe with cloves: Orange lemon gingerbread

Remedy for toothache: Ground cloves can be rubbed onto the tooth to alleviate the pain of toothache. Be careful not to get it on your gums as the oil in the cloves can create a burning sensation.

Recipe: Smoked marlin and Pejipaye fresh heart of palm tree with passion fruit dressing

Smoked marlin and heart of palm from Constance Hotels Experience

Smoked marlin and heart of palm from Constance Hotels Experience

Fresh heart of palm tree is an Indian Ocean delicacy. Michael Scioli, our Executive Chef at Constance Le Prince Maurice, shares with you one of his best recipes made out of fresh palmiste – ‘Cigars’ of smoked marlin and Pejipaye fresh heart of palm tree, with passion fruit dressing.

Serves 4 

Ingredients

For the palmheart:

  • 130g thinly diced fresh Pejibaye heart of palm
  • 40g fresh lemon-flavoured mayonnaise
  • 10g grated horseradish
  • 5g grain mustard
  • 4g gelatine leaves
  • 4g chopped chives
  • 1g salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper 
 

For the marlin and passion fruit dressing:

  • 130g smoked marlin in slices
  • 30g passion fruit coulis
  • 2g maïzena
  • Rucola salad leaf
  • 8ml extra virgin olive oil

1. Put the gelatine in cold water. Press the gelatine and melt in a bain-marie.
2. Remove the gelatine from the bain-marie, add the horseradish, mustard, mayonnaise, chives, salt and pepper.
3. Add the heart of palmtree, mix well and keep at room temperature.
4. Divide the marlin into 4 servings.
5. On a sheet of cling film, lay out the marlin in a rectangular shape, spread a quarter of the mix of palm tree, then roll as a cigar with the cling film.
6. Keep in the fridge for at least 5 hours.
7. Dilute the maizena with a few drops of water.
8. Bring the passion fruit coulis to the boil, then thicken with the maizena.
9. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

You can also purchase the Constance Prince Maurice recipe book from our online store.