Creole Food Week and a GIVEAWAY
The above photo is a vegan creole plate. I used some componets of creole cooking and made this dish. The red beans and cooked creole style with Red Butter or Beurre Rouge which is entirely vegan, the avocados are the sweet rich variety that grow in the Caribbean. The rice and avocados are covered with Sauce Chien or Dog sauce( no dogs were harmed in the making of the sauce,it was made to put on “dog fish”) and, the chillis that you see are sweet peppers called Vegetarian Peppers. I went on a little trip to one of the biggest islands in the the French West Indies for some research for Vegan in the Sun Cookbook. I managed to stuff a suitcase full of fruit and vegetables so I can show you some of them on the blog. Before I go on I know there are many geographically challenged individuals reading my blog. No need to feel embarrassed about it I am this way when it comes to some places too. The French West Indies are islands that still belong to France. Therefore the inhabitants speak French and or Creole and the currency used is the Euro. The countries that make up the FWI are Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Barts (playground of the stars) and St. Martin . On these islands you can find both strong French culture like the sidewalk café selling baguettes and also very strong French or Creole cuisine. Guadeloupe is a fairly big island ( 1, 706 km squared) but it is not densely populated so one can enjoy traffic free drives in the country side without the annoyance. Guadeloupe also has high rainfall something you would not expect from the Caribbean. The high rainfall and the rich volcanic based soil gives Guadeloupe a rainforest and lush appearance and, this is the perfect environment for crops. Guadeloupe exports most of it produce to France. I was very happy to see avocados, plantains, passion fruit, breadfruit and guavas breaking down the branches of the tress there. This would make a vegan happy. The bad thing about Guadeloupe is that it is very meat loving and seafood loving. Going out to the restaurant and being vegan is just dietary suicide if u ask me. This week I will introduce many new fruits and vegetables to you and, I want to give my readers something authentic from the French West Indies.
Guavas (Psidium guajava)
Guavas are small round vitamin C rich fruit. They are found in Asia and Central America and the Caribbean. The interior of a guava can be pink or white depending on the variety. In the summer I got some of the white variety and now later in the year the pink variety is available now. How does it taste? I cannot help you there but I can say it is totally delicious. Guavas do not taste like any fruit I know. The seeds and skins are eaten so if you have a guava just bite into it like how you would do an organic apple. The smell of guava is very distinct and when cooking with guavas the smells pervades the atmosphere all throughout the neighbourhood. It is a wonderful smell, the type of smell that would make your grouchy neighbour smile. Guavas are used to make drinks, jellies and sorbets. See recipe below to make the drink. Guavas also make a confectionary known as Guava Cheese. Do not worry it is vegan and very delicious and you can win yourself a 12 oz package of Guava Cheese direct from the French West Indies or a bottle of Guava Jelly from Guadeloupe. I think Guava Cheese got its name from the texture of it as it is sliceable like cheese. Imagine if you had a strong jam/ preserve that was rich in taste and sliceable but not off putting like those cans of cranberry you have at Christmas. That is how guava cheese looks. Guava cheese can be rolled in puff pastry or shortcrust and baked. It can be mixed with vegan cream cheese and baked in a pastry. It can be chopped and added to fruit salad or used to top ice cream. See Guava Pastries below.
Guava Cheese/ Guava Paste/ Pate de Goyave
6 ripe guavas
3 tbs brown sugar
1/2 – 3/4 cup water
Cut guavas in quarters (In Barbados this is called Cutting the Throat). Add guavas and water to blender. Blend until smooth. Strain in a fine strainer or cheese cloth. Dissolve sugar and served chilled.
Note this drink can get a little thick so, thin out the drink by adding some cold water or re straining it.
Tay’s Guava Cheese Bites
1 sheet of short crust pastry ( home made version is half fat to flour with some tsp. of cold water
1 70 g of guava cheese sliced
sugar for dusting
Roll out sheet of pastry if it is not a commercial brand you are using
Cut into 8 equal pieces. Place your guava cheese in the centre and fold to seal. Brush with water and sugar and Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar. Excellent for high tea. Sorry I do not drink coffee I drink tea so I find them delicious with tea.
Finally, the giveaway where two yes two lucky winners can win a pack of guava cheese or a bottle of Guava Jelly. So what do you have to do?
1.Name a Caribbean food ingredient and the island or dish it is used in. Please do not say Pineapples or Coconuts those are way too stereotypical.Leave your answer in the comment section. If you have a blog please back link to this post so that more people can enter.
2. If you honestly deep down in your brain really don’t know any answers leave a comment and I would enter you anyways because I am decent like that (just kidding)
The giveaway ends on September 18th 2009. Be sure to leave you email address when you are filling in your answer in the comment box. Do not worry about someone stealing your answer as the ingredient can be replicated but not the dish or region. Eg. Pinapples Pinacolada, Jamaica/ Barbados e.g Coconuts- Sugarcake Barbados, Coconut Bread Trinidad/ Barbados, Coconut Turnovers Barbados.