What started off as just a crazy idea to move to Puerto Rico, turned into a not only a new learning and living experience, but opened up our eyes to all of the Caribbean, each island with its own unique culture, charm and cuisine.
These were taken last week at Dulcina's going-away party with her daughter Dhakiya in Crystal's front yard. Next top model in the making? Her mother, Dulcina asked her to strike a pose and this 7-year old started bringing out all these poses!
I've since been asked to shoot a wedding in March!!!!!!!
Yet another food post, but 'tis the season, right? :-)
This one I have to admit I'm pretty darn proud of... Geoff and his coworkers organised a multicultural cook-off - one guy from India, another from Dominica, another from Trinidad and one guy from "The South" :-)
Then there was us - Chinese and German heritage. Geoff knew right away what he was going to cook, and with some asian herbs and spices available on island, it wasnt too difficult to get his ingredients together. German on the other hand..?! I wanted to bake a Mohnkuchen (Poppyseed Cake) but after realising that the only poppyseed available on island was that in 50gr containers (i needed 2-3kg), I decided that a $70 was out of the question.
So.... I attempted Laugen Bretzel! You know the ones with the nice brown, crunchy outside and the coarse salt on top? They turned out really good and everyone loved them! Which means... yes, I guess I'll be baking them on more occasions now!
I have to share my new favorite local food with you all - the famous Caribbean "Double".It is a sandwich made with two flat fried "breads", called "bara" filled with curried chick peas or garbanzo beans, commonly called channa (from Urdu/Hindi/Bhojpuri "chanaa"). Topped with a variety of spicy chutneys (mango, cucumber, coconut, tamarind - I had the mango) and extra pepper sauce made from Scotch Bonnet peppers (ranging from a dash "slight" to much more), this delicacy is undoubtedly the most popular fast food in Trinidad and Tobago. It is usually eaten for breakfast, and sometimes lunch, but can be a late night snack as well (which it was in my case).
The bread is a quick bread made of flour, baking powder, salt and ground turmeric, which gives the bread its yellow color. It is flattened to a thin round disk about four or five inches in diameter and fried until golden brown. The bara (from Hindi/Bhojpuri "bara") is then filled with the channa ready to be sold. There is no set recipe for the channa, which can be just curried or mixed with curry and dhal (split peas, usually the yellow variety, from Hindi/Bhojpuri "dhal").
Today my friend Mary Ann and I took our pups to the beach - Jack and Isaac's - which involves a hike down and a hike up on a one person/dog trail... they're not with keeping one behind eachother, but they are good at sitting when they want a treat, arent they??
On Sunday Geoff got an unexpected day off work (from his crazy hours lately) so we were able to go to one of the 'kick-off to Carnivale' events, called Soup de'Cure. It was an event put on by one of the charity organisations that helps educate youth about making right decisions and teaching them the consequences of drugs, alcohol etc so the money raised went towards that. About 20 restaurants competed and they all cooked up their best soups/stews. You paid 50 c per tasting, but the tasting cups were a decent size. There was no Callaloo (my favorite - traditional Caribbean soup made with saltfish, greens (usually spinach), crab and some sort of starch, like potato or rice) but I had some various Seafood stews, a Peruvian Corn Chowder and Wahoo (a type of local white fish) Chilli.
All restaurants that were there as participants were competing for cash prizes - the winner took home $1000. Unfortunately, my favorite on the night (which was a creamy tomato fish stew from a Puerto Rican restaurant) didnt take a place..but they did give me a big take home container for telling them that theirs was the best :-)
The live entertainment - which was a local reggae band and another local singer, Mada Nile was excellent too. I took a little video with my phone, but dont know how to turn it - its on its side right now! Its kind of noisy from all the people there, but try and watch till at least the part where the couple are dancing - We called them Mr and Mrs Claus for the night :-)