Thanks to Travel Writer, Michael Franco, of About.com Guide.
Our signature recipe here at Neita's Nest, Kingston's #1 Bed and Breakfast was worth a shout out, and we are screaming with delight. Read here about our sweet and savoury offering which we named, Good Morning Honey!
Thanks to Travel Writer, Michael Franco, of About.com Guide.
Christmas is a-coming and the pudding’s steaming hot…
Yes, Neita’s Nest is in Christmas mode and the family tradition of preparing one of the tastiest Christmas puddings around, continues.
From earliest memories of Mummy allowing me to cream, fold and mix the ingredients in the yabba with a wooden spoon in exchange for that spice-y, rum-y, wine-y, fruit-y tasting at the end, to wrapping them carefully for mailing to family and friends abroad, to receiving the unwritten recipe from Mama over 40 years ago; the end result, now practiced to perfection, is yours for the tasting.
Call me at 469-3005 to order for yours for home, office, gifts and occasions. They are delivered to your home or office (otherwise, outside of Kingston & St. Andrew by special arrangement). Order now and receive in time for your special celebrations.
And, until your pudding is delivered, enjoy the warm-up to the Season. Things can get hectic, if you allow it. So, take it in stride and remember the Reason for the Season.
National Geographic, in its book Food Journeys of a Lifetime, has placed Jamaica’s National Dish, Ackee and Saltfish (salt-cured cod) as Number 2 in the Top 10 dishes in the world.
At Neita’s Nest we have always included it as a staple. Any 4-day stay at this Kingston bed and breakfast is sure to include this signature dish. And before the crop on our tree is over, we stock up on the best tinned ackee on the shelves, the one labeled Linstead Market Jamaica, in order to keep this promise.
Randy, our recent B&B guest, when asked by his Jamaican friend of the breakfast fare at Neita’s Nest, could not remember the name but confidently stated “I had Scrambled Eggs with Yellow Yam”! Bobby, our mutual friend, with his quizzical chuckle and even more confidence came to my defense. “There is no way that Michelle would serve you eggs and yam!”
The ackee is aptly described by National Geographic as a nutritious fruit with a buttery-nutty flavour and resembling scrambled eggs when boiled”. Despite ackee’s unhappy origins as slave food in Jamaica around the mid-18th to 19th centuries, Jamaica claimed it as our national fruit when we became an independent nation nearly 50 years ago. The boiled ackees are sautéed with the prepared saltfish, onions and tomatoes, with every good cook claiming one additional ingredient or other to making their version special.
Here, we proudly serve our National Dish with any one or combination of starches from a list of favourites; boiled green bananas or yams, roasted or fried breadfruit, fried or boiled dumplings, bammies, hot buttered toast or fried green plantains. Depending on the season, you may also find some avocadoes or ripe plantains on the side.
The truth is, the sides don’t matter, as long as the ackee takes centre stage.
Freshly picked ackees in their pods
The pods and seeds are removed and the creamy- couloured fleshy fruit is boiled and sauteed with salted codfish and seasonings.
Years ago, and long before I had a Bed and Breakfast in Kingston, Jamaica, I was an active ‘patron of the arts’ (smiles). On one of my gallery-hopping jaunts I dallied around a Partick Waldemar watercolour of tangerines hanging from the tree. So real. So juicy! At once, I wanted to pick and eat them yet still take home that richly-coloured tangerine and green piece of art. I did neither. Luckily, the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel prudently purchased it and proudly placed it in their foyer for all to share. Filled with regret, I wanted to pick and eat the fruit right there, and simultaneously, stealthily take home those rich tangerine and green hues to hang on my wall. Alas, I did neither.
Over the past 10 years, we have dallied under our own tangerine tree here at Neita’s Nest. Season after season, we have watched the drought deny its blossoms, storms strip its leaves and hurricanes blow baby fruit from their stems. In a better season, we too patiently waited for that one ‘deggae-deggae’ fruit to be ripened by the sun, only to find that the birds knew better. It was among the best of times when one year we were able to share the only one of the season with our neighbour, Ray.
Hurricane Dean all but did her in in '07. Not a bud, not a blossom since all these years. Fertilized, watered, pruned. Yet nothing! I stood firmly under the seemingly stubborn tree last December and threatened to cut her down to make way for better views of the sunrise if she did not bear next season.
Well, whether it was that awful threat, the blessings of rain, more frequent fertilizing, perfect pruning, the appreciation expressed by our guest J. Nichole for how she filtered the morning sun by her window, or sheer time and patience, this summer we are counting over a dozen tangerines on the tree. Duncan picked the first ripe fruit last week and we shared it. Peg by peg. The others are slowly taking on tangerine hues in the late summer sun.
Last week I went to another Patrick Waldemar exhibition; my first since then; probably his too. I dallied around his artfully placed master strokes depicting fruit, flora, sea and landscapes, knowing, that like fruit on the trees, we can’t have them all, and that there is another level of pleasure to be experienced from sharing art with others.
This time, there will be no regrets.
Pulpy pegs of tangerine, ready to be shared
Our list of things to do in Kingston, Jamaica expanded recently when our home stay guest, J. Nichole Noel joined us on a trp to the Farmer's Market in Portmore. Farm-fresh produce straight from the Garden Parish of St. Ann and the Food Basket Parish, St. Elizabeth, all at mind-bogglingly low prices, had us heaving home loaded baskets.
Since then, Neita's Nest's kitchen has been stewing tomatoes, pickling beets, freezing pumpkin soups and drying herbs ensuring nothing goes to waste.
Photos taken by Spoken Word Artiste, J. Nichole Noel, recent Neita's Nest guest from Canada.
Neita's Nest in Kingston, Jamaica recently welcomed our first visitors from the Cayman Islands. With quite an itinerary, it was literally bed and breakfast, then out on the town. It was over breakfast that we got to share so much, and there we bonded over bammies. Serious Champs enthusiasts that they are, they will be back later this month for this high school athletics event, and we will be sure to have bammies on the menu again.
Care to join us? Contact Neita's Nest to reserve your accommodation for Champs.
Yesterday, I left Kingston and drove to Ferry on the border of St. Catherine to meet Junior. We were exchanging produce. I brought water lilies which were on sale at Hope Botanical Gardens and he brought a cornucopia of vegetables, lovingly sent by Aunt Pearl in St. Elizabeth, the "Bread Basket Parish" of Jamaica. What fair exchange!
I came home and sank my teeth into a huge, deep red, juicy and sweet, vine-ripened tomato. It was so good!
Today we will be stewing tomatoes and baking home-made vegetable lasagnas for our guests from London.
Call us to place your order for these delicious lasagnas.
Christmas in Jamaica is food, fellowship and that cool Christmas breeze blowing just so only at this time of year. At Neita's Nest Bed & Breakfast we steeped a spicy sorrel, baked Lillan's Brick-Oven Smoked Ham and steamed the most delicious Christmas puddings you could imagine. It is all in the olde family recipe, practised to perfection. It's still the talk, and even tho' it is New Year's Day, orders are coming in for gifts and lingering memories to be taken back to second homes abroad.
Happy New Year from Neita's Nest!
Jamaicans love St. Vincent yam, and we reaped some here at Neita's Nest Bed and Breakfast yesterday. So you know what's cooking for breakfast on New Year's Eve! Care to join us?
I get a special thrill from cooking and eating home grown, unfertilized foods here at Neita's Nest. Growing up in St. Ann, Jamaica, a selection of ground provisions was always an optional side dish, but I would pass on that off-white, off-putting St. Vincent Yam. Until one Saturday when it was the ONLY staple which Mama served with her delicious salted cod fish cooked up with onions and tomatoes in that sweet, homemade coconut oil.
Protesting, I did take some yam. Then unashamedly, I went back for seconds. And thirds!
Dee-lishous! I am now a true home-grown Jamaican.
Jamaica's October ritual of afternoon rains has done wonders for our new kitchen garden here at Neita's Nest Bed and Breakfast. Lemon basil, french thyme and black mint are all sprawling, while tomatoes, sweet peppers and onions are sprouting. As for the scotch bonnet peppers. Prolific!
And it's not just the herbs and vegetables. This morning, we served the sweetest, tree-ripened papayas for breakfast!
There is something special about serving home grown to our guests.