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Coconut Curry Vegetables In Hamilton, Bermuda

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Hamilton, the capital of Bermuda, has the appearance of a small town, and you can stroll across it in half-an-hour. However, its size belies its charm and sophistication, for Hamilton is a major commercial hub, home to a large number of international banks and insurance companies. The downtown consists mostly of office buildings, none of which are allowed to rise so high as to obstruct the view of the cathedral that dominates the skyline. In the commercial district it is quite usual to see a banker, dressed in business attire consisting of Bermuda shorts, knee-high stockings and a tie, stepping out for lunch.

Hamilton also has a vibrant night-life, making it a fun place to visit after a day spent lazing on the beach. Getting to Hamilton from anywhere on the island is easy. You can take a cab or a scenic ferry ride or hop on a rented scooter. Zipping up and down those curvy, mountain roads on a little red scooter is an experience you won't soon forget!

Front Street, running along the length of the harbour is where most of the action is. Lined with shops, boutiques, restaurants and cafes, it is a great place to explore, people watch and buy that souvenir.

Since the main downtown area of Hamilton is quite small, it is easy to walk around and see the lovely pastel coloured, colonial style buildings, straight out of a picture postcard!

A short stroll from Front Street, up a gently sloping, meandering path lies Fort Hamilton. Built in the 1870s as a possible defense against American attacks, it is a lovely green, serene place with wonderful views of the city and harbour below.

Dotted about all over the island you see these unusual arches built into boundary walls . Known as Moon Gates, they were first brought to Bermuda from China in the 19th century. Locals believe that newly weds will be blessed with good luck when they walk through them. I just love the way they frame the scene around them, and I never missed a chance to walk through them!

I have long been a fan of celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson's food. When we discovered that he recently opened a new restaurant in Hamilton called Marcus', we had to eat there. His creative spin on Bermuda's classic favourites is like none other and the restaurant's beautiful location in the Hamilton Princess Hotel doesn't hurt either!

Sitting out in the shady veranda of the restaurant, gazing at the impossibly blue waters, with boats bobbing around in the harbour, sampling dishes like Fish Chowder Bites, Grilled Fish Tacos and Bermuda Vegetable Curry was a fantastic experience. This is my version of that delicious curry and every bite takes me back to sunny Bermuda!

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Roasting the vegetables adds a smoky dimension to this curry, which lifts it out of the ordinary. It is a fairly thick curry; if you'd like a thinner sauce, add some water. Pair it with Coconut Rice for a delicious meal.

Coconut Curry Vegetables

1 cup each, 1/2 inch size diced vegetables: carrots, sweet potato or pumpkin, sweet red and green peppers, zucchini, cauliflower and onions

1/4 cup olive oil, divided

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 inch piece ginger, finely chopped

8 large canned whole plum tomatoes (San Marzano variety preferably), pureed

1 cup canned tomato puree or juices from above can of tomatoes

400 ml can of coconut milk

Salt to taste

1/2 tsp each: ground black pepper, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, cayenne pepper, turmeric

2 tbsp each: chopped fresh coriander leaves, mint leaves, lemon juice

Preheat oven to 450F. Line a rimmed baking tray with parchment.

Combine diced vegetables with 2 tbsp oil and salt to taste. Spread evenly on tray. Bake for 20 - 25 min until lightly browned and roasted. Reserve for later use in the recipe.

Warm remaining oil in deep heavy skillet set over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger. Saute for about 30 sec until lightly browned.

Add pureed tomatoes, saute 5 min, until slightly thickened.

Add tomato puree or juices, coconut milk, salt to taste and all the spices. Cook 5-7 min until thickened slightly.

Add roasted vegetables. Stir gently to mix, bring to a gentle boil, cover skillet and cook on low heat 20 min, stirring occasionally.

Fold in the chopped coriander, mint and lemon juice.

Serves four - six