Recipe: Okra Stew with Beef & Eggplant

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"WE YU YεRI PIKIN SE "MAMA DE KUK כKRכ", PAPA BIN DכN TכK AM. If you hear a child say "Mama is cooking okra," it's because Papa said it."*  When I read this old proverb from Sierra Leone, I get goosebumps. The truth is, children pick up everything from their parents, from what's for dinner to more serious considerations, like world views, either loaded with prejudice or full of grace. While sipping soup or nibbling rolls, they overhear snippets of conversation; verbal jabs … [Read more...]

Menu: Sierra Leone (& Giveaway)

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Next time you see someone doing or experiencing something especially grand (or perhaps even showing off a bit), say with wide eyes: "The salt has climbed the hill." It's the way people in Sierra Leone express amazement over something they weren't quite expecting. Like how we had two days in the 70's in January. Totally unexpected. Or when I found out I'd secured a book deal with National Geographic. The salt and the pepper both climbed the hill on that one. As for this menu? She's … [Read more...]

About the food of Sierra Leone

Woman and child in Mile 91, Sierra Leone. Photo by Annabel Symington.

I recently watched a video from the BBC about Sierra Leone in preparation for today, which asks the question "Is the Global Media too negative about Africa"? Great question. I have my answer, and if you've been around this blog for more than five minutes, you can probably guess what it is. My mission is to build up the positive stories, for every country, no matter what. Please note, you should not ignore the negative. We need to be aware. To do our part. This is vital. But you'll just … [Read more...]

Monday Meal Review: Seychelles

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I was an hour into researching the food of Seychelles when it hit me - hadn't there been someone in my writer's group who went to these amazing islands a year or so back? Images of suggestive two-lobed coconuts and pirate stories popped into my brain. Yep. That's right. Barry had been there. Barry who lives the life of a wandering bachelor, who jets off at the drop of a hat to see this place or that, and who loves to tell the tales almost as much as going. Barry who might be in … [Read more...]

Recipe: Massalé Spice Blend

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The spice drawer is the most sensual part of any kitchen. On the inside seemingly innocuous  dry, brittle seeds rattle around, each with the power to take our minds from continent to content, country to country. All we need is a little warmth to coax their magic out and something like a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle. Today's daydream takes us the Seychelles where they enjoy this haunting spice blend called "massalé" (a variation on Indian garam masala)  in coconut fish curries. The … [Read more...]

Recipe: Creamy Coconut & Banana Tart

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Imagine sitting by the sea one lazy afternoon, focused on the tattered nets of nearby fishing boats, when something big and hard bumps against your foot. When you look down, you see a giant, two lobed coconut has washed up, onto the sand. From end to end, this coconut is as long as your forearm, with tufts of hair poking out between the brown, oblong lobes. She would have traveled hundreds (thousands!) of miles to reach you, all the way from the Seychelles. And you'd know she came from … [Read more...]

Recipe: Coconut Fish Curry | Cari de Poisson

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When the sun dips low and spreads her rouge all over the sky, I enjoy knowing that this glorious watercolor of light travels around the world like a comet, leaving behind a glowing trail for all to see. No matter where they are from, or where they are going. The sun has universal beauty. It makes me smile to know that, somewhere in the Seychelles - half a world away - they, too, see her rose and curried colors curl through the clouds, right before bedtime. And I imagine that maybe, … [Read more...]

Menu: Seychelles (& giveaway)

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Mr Picky flew to Washington D.C. for work, so Ava and I are spending this week "mother-daughter" style. We've already made banana muffins, hot cocoa (Guatemalan-style), and stuffed artichokes (my mother's recipe from Italy). And there's the coconuts. Coconut milk. Shredded coconut. Toasted coconut. We're surrounded, thanks to our stovetop travels to the Seychelles. While we ate this particular menu before Keith left, I'm considering recreating it one more time since I still have plenty … [Read more...]