Sunday, 14 October 2012

Shades of the Caribbean - roti-licious ;)

One regret of mine since coming back from Barbados...well, all those days and only three rotis? ;) Let me explain...

We are back in Ireland a week, and in that time we've had complete downpours two days, mixed with hanging drizzle another three and then the two days of glorious autumn sunshine that were Friday and Saturday. I spent as much of that glorious sunshine in the garden...what's to do? Well, there was digging of the pitiful crop of late spuds (Golden Wonders that we didn't protect from the omnipotent blight), the clearing out of the greenhouse and the general cutting back of weedy species and rogue raspberries. It was mostly a solo run as Number 1 gardener was away working for the man, but time passed easy in the sunshine and there was always the anticipation of his return ;)

Flash forward and it's Sunday evening and a week apart beckons. I'm heading for the wild west and he's for the south. What else to do but pretend we are back in Barbados and try to re-create roti? Again, for the Irish folk, and basically any non-Caribbean...

This is what making a roti should look like ;) can't wait!
Roti is the word for a type of unleavened bread, similar to what we call a wrap - but very different - that is served with curry in most Caribbean countries. I only tasted this comforting yet divine pleasure in Barbados. while it's origin is Indian. The pastry of flour, oil and water is wafer thin, delicate and crumbly and is worn draped perfectly, nay - huggingly - around the curry interior. This of course can be made to your own taste (curry makers and lovers will know that curry manufacture needs a whole post of its own). Sometimes this soft, flaky roti is filled with split peas or lentils, sometimes it is plain. Can this Caribbean delight be created in the Holly Cottage kitchen? We'll see ;) The curry is on the fire and the man is making the dough...more for the next post.

I wish I Bathsheba (think air to Carrickfergus)
Meantime, after tidying up the straggling tomato plants, I was musing on the bounty of green tomatoes. And so, on this Sunday evening we have a huge pot of green tomato chutney chow chow simmering away on the Stanley range - the perfect accompaniment for cheese, burgers, hot dogs (don't tell the tomato chilli jam...sssh!) Take 2.5kg of
green tomatoes (you won't buy them in the shops so talk nicely to a gardener who is stuck for time and ideas!), 0.5kg onion, 500g brown sugar, 250g dried fruit (we used the only dried fruit we had - dates, apricots, cranberries and raisins mixed), 1 litre of malt vinegar, 2 teasp salt and 3 teasp ground black pepper. Start by melting the sugar in the vinegar, bring to a steady boil, add the dried fruit, bring back to the boil and then add the chopped tomatoes and onion, salt and pepper.....and basically you are where we are ;) Apparently the longer it is left to simmer the better. By bed time I expect that we will be potting this green elixir into sterilised jars, and adding them to the store of beetroot relish and tomato chilli jam - and all the other 24lbs of strawberry jam in the front room (we need to build on at this stage!).

Hmm...I need to lose a few pounds ;)

Smiley green tomato..."I have a purpose in life ;)"

And so, the full stop to another week. Fingers crossed for the roti lovers of Ireland and more to come next weekend.Have a great week y'all..mine is set to be marked by torrential rain and wet days in the west of Ireland - how bad? Great to be alive ;)

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