Cooking at Sea (Part 1)

The Caribbean is full of amazing things to eat and vibrant flavours that are truly unique to the region. In this first instalment of our yacht chef recipe series, we explore two vessels and chefs that are creating delicious food for their charter guests. They have provided some amazing recipes for you to recreate the charter yacht meal experience at home!

After surviving the devastating 2017 hurricane season, Amy & Biff joined Gypsy Princess in January 2018. At that point, she was a hurricane-damaged boat with no mast. They have renovated the vessel and she is sailing once again. Biff is the captain and Amy is the chef. Trained at the Ashburton School of Cookery in Devon, UK, Amy loves to learn about Caribbean cooking and ingredients to share with guests.

“Working as a chef on a crewed boat here in BVI is so much about the cooking and making people happy through their belly, but there is so much more to the job and personally on our commitment to being part of a BVI community,” Amy said. 

Looking for a family-friendly recipe to try? Gypsy Princess is a popular kids and family Lagoon 450 yacht based in Tortola that caters to kids’ tastes while exploring new flavours to broaden palates. These recipes are perfect for an end-of-summer barbecue or any time you want to evoke a taste of the warm Caribbean sun!

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Caribbean Burgers with Slaw and Garlic Plantain

(serves 4)

Slaw

1 white or purple cabbage, finely chopped

3-4 carrots, grated

1 red onion, finely sliced

Dill, finely chopped

2 tbsp. mayonnaise

1 tsp. vinegar

1 tsp. mustard

1 tsp. honey

Mix mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, honey and dill. Add all the veg and toss to coat. Slaw can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Garlic plantain

2 yellow, only slightly soft plantain, sliced

4 garlic cloves, minced

Coconut oil

Heat oil in the pan and lightly fry the garlic until it begins to turn translucent. Add the plantain slices. Once the plantain begins to caramelise, turn over to fry the other side. Once nicely browned on both sides, transfer to kitchen paper to drain excess oil and serve immediately.

Caribbean Burgers

1 lb minced beef 

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

1 handful breadcrumbs

1 egg

1 tbsp. paprika

1 tsp. salt

Flour

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl using your hands. Add flour as necessary until the mixture is a good consistency to stick in a patty shape. Split into four portions, roll into a ball and flatten into a patty and coat in flour. Chill until ready to grill. 

Grill for approximately two minutes on each side. After flipping the burger, add a slice of fresh local pineapple and three slices of your favourite cheese. 

Build the burger with buns and top with avocado, lettuce, tomato and Sunny Caribbee Hot Sauce!

Octopus and Mango salad with Roasted Beets

5 microlocal beetroots

Mixed local leaves

1 local radish, thinly sliced

4 local cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 octopus tentacle, sliced

Dill & garlic butter

1/2 ripe mango

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1tbsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. Vinegar

Pinch of chopped local dill mixed into vinaigrette

Roast the beets in a hot oven (approximately 400 degrees Fahrenheit), tossing in olive oil & salt island salt for 40 minutes or until soft. allow to cool. Puree the mango in a blender and add ground ginger, olive oil, vinegar and a pinch of dill into the vinaigrette. Toss the leaves, radish and tomato in the dressing while the octopus slices fry lightly in the dill and garlic butter. Arrange all ingredients on the plate, topping with a basil florette.

Chocolate and Avocado Mousse

75 g dark chocolate

100 ml coconut cream (or heavy cream)

100 ml agave, honey or maple syrup

2 tbsp. cocoa powder

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 ripe avocados (or 1/2 large local Caribbean avocado)

Melt chocolate in bain marie/double boiler. Add cream, agave/sweetener, cocoa powder and vanilla extract. Stir until smooth. Blend avocado till smooth, add chocolate mixture and blend till silky smooth. Pipe or pour into dishes and refrigerate for 3 hours or up to 2 days. Top with toasted coconut or other toppings of your choice.

*Chef’s note: “This is a great vegan dessert and brilliant for kids who struggle to eat fruit or veg! Just don’t tell them about the avocados till they’ve scoffed the lot! The local Caribbean avocados are perfect for this dessert as they are sweeter and creamier than others.

At 105 feet, Cuan Law is the world’s largest trimaran. With ample space for up to 20 guests, the vessel provides popular SCUBA-oriented charters as well as family-friendly experiences. After training at Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago, Chef Patrick Wilson worked in Michelin-starred restaurants before moving to the US Virgin Islands to serve as Chef de Cuisine at La Tapa in St. John, further expanding his knowledge of Caribbean flavours.

“As long as I can remember wanting to be a chef, it was my ambition to someday work on a large boat in the Caribbean. Every decision I made, every meal I prepared, has led me to fulfil this goal,” said Wilson.

These recipes are perfect for a dinner party menu or an elegant meal at home.

Mahi with coconut curried butternut squash purée, 

sweet chilli green beans, roasted peppers and crispy polenta

For the purée:

1 small butternut squash

1 small yellow onion

3 garlic cloves

1 can coconut milk

2 tbsp. red curry paste

4 oz dry white wine

3 tbsp. soy sauce

2 tbsp. fish sauce (optional)

2 tbsp. olive oil

Sweat onions and garlic in olive oil on medium heat until translucent. Add curry paste and cook one minute. Add wine and reduce. Add peeled and cubed butternut squash and remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer until squash is tender. Blend in a blender until smooth. Blend in a small amount of fresh cilantro if desired.

For the polenta:

2 oz butter

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 quart whole milk

1.5 cups ground corn polenta

1/2 cup chopped mixed herbs (parsley, basil, cilantro, oregano)

1 tbsp. kosher salt

Cook garlic in butter then add milk and salt. Bring to a simmer, then whisk in polenta. Cook until polenta is no longer grainy. May require more milk depending on coarseness. Add fresh herbs and remove from heat. Place on a sheet tray and spread to 1/2 inch thickness. Cool, then cut circles with a biscuit cutter. Heat up oil in a pan and sear polenta circles on each side until crispy.

For roasted peppers:

1 red pepper

1 yellow pepper

1 orange pepper

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 clove creamed garlic

6 sprigs fresh thyme

1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Rub outside of peppers with olive oil and bake 20-30 minutes until skin is browned. Remove from oven and let cool. Remove skin and seeds. Reserve the juices. Slice peppers vertically and mix in a bowl with strained juices, freshly picked thyme, garlic and vinegar.

For the fish:

Heat up sautée pan with 1 Tbsp olive oil until smoking hot. Place seasoned fish in pan and sear until browned. Flip fish gently and place in a 425-degree oven until juices just start to release (anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes depending on thickness). 

Flourless Chocolate Cake 

with espresso crème anglaise and fresh raspberries

For the cake:

8 large eggs

1 pound dark chocolate

8 ounces butter cubed

1/4 cup Kahlúa

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large metal bowl over a pot of simmering water (reserve boiling water) place chocolate, butter and Kahlúa. Fold with a spatula until smooth and melted.

In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment beat eggs about 3 to 4 minutes on high until triple in volume. Gently fold eggs into chocolate mixture in stages. The idea is to not deflate all of the air you whipped into the eggs. There will be small bubbles but that makes the cake less dense. 

Take a 9-inch springform pan and line the outside with plastic or foil to ensure no water enters the cake. Spray the inside thoroughly with cooking spray to ensure the cake does not stick to the pan. Add batter to pan and place in a casserole pan with about 1 inch of your boiling water from before.

Place it all in the oven for 25 minutes. When you remove it the cake will look too runny. Let cool at room temperature then place in refrigeration for at least 3 hours before serving.

For espresso crème anglaise:

2 cups heavy cream

5 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup espresso reduced till almost dry

(you can also use 1/2 cup instant coffee)

Bring cream to a simmer. Whisk sugar with egg yolks. Temper eggs and cream by whisking a little bit of cream into the eggs then the eggs to the rest of the cream. Whisk just until it begins to thicken. Be careful not to boil or you will scramble the eggs. Stir in the espresso and chill.

*Chef’s note: The cake is easiest to serve when really cold. Try placing it in the freezer before cutting. Garnish with fresh berries and a pirouette cookie.

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