My experience with Canarian food

In November I spent two weeks sailing around Canary Islands. For me it was the first meeting with Canary Islands and living on boat. During the holidays I concentrated on practising sailing and panorama viewing. soo my culinary discovery wasn't very intense.

Before a trip my friend told me about Canarian food. She was excited about Canarian potatos and I was curious of their taste. First day of my trip when we were in small town Villaflor on Tenerife, I ordered Canarian potatos with mojo sauces. The potatos were very small with skin and boiled in sea water. The faint smile appeared on my face when I recalled that my uncle throws out potatos of thas size. But those potatos were very tasty and they were yellow inside. I loved them. I bought a couple kilos of potatos to eat them on the boat. Either we boiled them in sea water and served with mojo soauces and fish or we made them as tortilla. Both dishes are very easy to prepare especially on boat during sailing. Spanish tortilla is kind of omelette made of eggs, boiled potatos, roast onion and sometimes smoked meat. Canarians make tortilla for breakfast and it is served inside sandwich or as tapas or as a part of main dish during dinner.

Tortilla and Canarian potatos we can serve with mojo sauces. Mojo sauces originated on Canary Islands. The basic recipe consists of olive oil, large amount of garlic, paprika, and cumin. Flavorings such as vinegar, lemon, orange or lime juice may be added. Mojo sauce can be of three kinds: red, green and orange. On Tenerife I met only red and green. They are also commonly served with fresh bread rolls at the beginning of a meal and we can buy these sauces as ready to use or instant powder in all grocery shops on Canary Islands.

Canary Islands are famous by bananas although it is not country of their origin. Anyway they grow up very well there. Canarian banana is a special kind. They are smaller than South American bananas and taste more sweet but I was suprised by the price. Canarian bananas on Canary Islands are more expensive than others. Why? I don't know. These bananas are tasty especially as an addition to ice cream. Canarians make a lot of sweet dishes and beverages of bananas, my favorite is banana liqueur. It is very sweet and pleasant. I recommend having it very cold.

During my trip I tried two new fruits. One of them was Guava bought in Masca. Masca is a small village lost in mountains. We didn't understand street saler and we were suprised by price – 10 euro. I wondered – what is so special in those small fruits that makes them so expensive. Street saler saw our embarrassment and she repeated price and she showed two fingers. It was true price – 2 euro per 1 kilo guava. Gauava tasted nice, it was fresh and a little sour. Good for a hot day.

Second fruit was opuntia. Opuntia grows everywhere on Canry Islands. They are weed. I picked one wild fruit after my arrival but I couldn't open it. I had small spines in my fingers. After this experience I was searching for those fruits in shops, but opuntia isn't popular among Canarians and I bought it only on La Palma Island. I discovered new taste of opuntia, becouse I tried opuntia juice in Europe and it was too sweet. Opuntia isn't sweet, it is only a little sweet and sour, but nothing intresting. I made fruit salad with opuntia, banana, papaya, orange – it was a good mix.

Big suprise and new taste for me was goat's meat. I like milk or cheese of goat but I newer eat meat. So when I saw a dish with goat in menu I ordered. It was a steak from goat. The taste was different than I know from other kinds of meat, it is a little like a game. Steak was soft, a little fat, it was pleasant and peculiar. This taste remainded in my memory.

My first dish on Tenerife was really original. After arrival I was hungry and after my experience with opuntia I was very angry. I found the first open restaurant and ordered dish which was ready. It was starter “ Escaldon”. I gave plate with brawn pap with pieces of bacon and potatos. It didn't look attractive but I was so hungry. When I took chance and ate first bite I was surprised by the taste. It was very good. Escaldon taste a little like salty porridge made on the stock from a stew. Yes, this is my taste. Why my mother didn't give me Eskaldon instead of porridge when I was a child? Yes, Escaldon is made of the stock from a stew, bacon and gofio. Gofio is the Canarian name for flour made of roasted grains or other starchy plants. Gofio is thought to be the base of the diet of the Canaries. It is a highly versatile product which can be added to soups, stews, desserts, ice cream, sauces, and more. It is very rich in vitamins, proteins, fibre, and minerals.Gofio in Canary Islands is currently produced from cereals of several types , if you add a small amount to milk you prepare balance breakfast. It was favoured by Canarian mariners as it can be stored for long periods while retaining its goodness.

So when next time I 'll sail across the Atlantic, Gofio and Canarians potatos and mojo will be my basic ingredients in my galley.
Ahoy!!! See you on the sea.


Bread with the secret agent

Good day! Did I tell you that I love watching where do you come from on our live traffic map? Yes, I really do! I also enjoy tha fact that Gosia's mother yeast cake is our absolute most popular recipe!

This time I just want to keep you updated on what is going on. So, 2009 new years' commitments' results will be counted soon. Or not. I am still considering what I should focus this year on. I have so many ideas that it looks quite unfeasible to fulfil all of them. For sure I need to lose weight and limit the sweets. It is sad but necessary before the situation goes to far. There is also no more excuses for exercises. Today I did my first workout and I feel something strange in my knee on completing three hundred skips. But I guess this is a good way to release the daily stress. Of course changing the diet is necessary. Uh, tough question for a cookie monster and a meat lover. For now I am drinking up all the milk and cleaning my cupboards of the remains of different products. I have no idea what to do with a gift vodka since I don't drink. With all the jellies it will be the same situation as with miso - we'll be eating jellies and jelly cakes every week... Than this year's spring should arrive and everything will be much more easier than now!

Well, as to strictly culinary development I seriously consider two projects: BREAD A WEEK or challenging my Australian and New Zealand Complete Book of Cookery. I haven't decide yet. Well, I could say that I am going to write a book but then again I get an absorbing job and won't be able to manage it. Or maybe... For now I polish up the paper on the Tuvaluan cuisine which was presented only in broad outline due to lack of time during the latest conference of ANZORA. Cannot complain on the lack of goals.

Finally, small news from the kitchen: I have developed an interesting recipe for a yeast cake.


400 ml warm water
100 g wheat flour
20 g baker's yeast
80 g red secret ingredient (guess what!!!)

Mix well all the ingredients, rubbing them if needed to a smooth liquid, cover with a wet cloth, set aside in a warm place, wait till it doubles the size. Very important: must be frothy.

Add one by one:
1 slightly beaten egg
30 g vegetable oil (around 6 Tbsps)
2 Tbsps sugar
1 flat tsp salt
540 g wheat flour added gradually, partially used while kneading

1. Form a flat cake with your palms and place in the baking form (of whatever shape, minimum 20 cm in diameter for a round one or 20x30 cm for a rectangle).
2. Cover with a wet cloth and place in a warm place until it doubles the size and become light and delicate under touch.
3. Bake in preaheated oven in 180 Celsius degrees for 35-40 minutes.

It gets the darker coluour due to the secret agent, rises beautifully, great with butter even on the third day. Nice smell because of the secret agent. One bread was eaten immediately, second was offered. No photos this time except the previous straciatella cake, we will talk about that one later. Ci vediamo!



This was an amazing year (again, yeah). A year full of strange and beautiful little things that has happened. I love looking at my photos while listening to the music! I guess I am a pretty lucky lady!

January.... Working on my first official wedding cake! The couple is happy and their newborn babygirl is perfectly fine. It was white chocolate cake decorated with pink petals.


Wonderful London's vacation. I get hungry looking on the muffins' photos. Food was found even in the British Museum together with the ancient tombs. So many things you realise while travelling. Sprouts festival. Bloody red Pavlova.


Cooking festival is running. There are many photos of different dishes from March. That was the time of challenging new muffin recipes, tasting Austrian bread and Swiss chocolate brought home by my husband. Culinary warming up.


My first hot cross buns baked in Poland. Ultimate! Experiments with sourdough and chocolate. Easter bakes. Easter fair in the Krakow main square. Pascha, beetroot soup, rhubarb tart.


Wine, aubergines, knots, dandelions in the kitchen, strawberries. Fresh produce and celebrating. That was impressing, but there were so many things to come!


Strawberry-chocolate muffins, yeah yeah. Light breads. Pasta with sorrel - never again and don't do this at home. Even don't check if I am right. Jelly party. Bread festival in Krakow.


Checking out fresh fish. Apricots. Till this summer I didn't understand why the Brits are so crazy about this fruit. Now I am one of them. My husband's obsession with strawberry Swiss roll. Watch these wonderful photos: fruits grown in Poland, photos with no photoshop.


Aboundance of fruits. Blueberry brioches of grandma. Pikeperch. Krakow Taste Festival. Here I also realise that a one kilo package of the white miso paste from Gosia is going to pass its expire date shortly. I formulated the first right of the cooking friends: If you want make your friend adventurous in the kitchen, present him or her an exotic ingredient in large quantity. Cucumber miso soup - miso nr 1.


Picking up plums and making jam. Mushroom time. Seabass revealed. Dorade. Green vegetables miso soup (2). Carrot miso soup (3). Graden bearing fruits. Plus peppers. Muf muf muffin!


From cucumbers in butter - challenging the book of Julie Powell. Than fighting with the cheesecake. After all, I compare it to driving, it's the matter of loosing the fear. Also first signs of this year's autumn. Cheese miso soup (4). Coconut walnut cake. Another coconut cake. Our second wedding anniversary and a nice Chinese dinner. Seaweed salad. Seaweed miso soup (5). Sweet potato baked.


Miso soup (6) ... Spicy pumpkin tart. Coconut and muffins. Pineapple tea. Vitamin banana tartalettes (?). Culinary fair in Krakow... Polish wine tasting!!!


Cooking for the guests of the international scientific conference Aid for Tuvalu. Huge public response. Recognition of the honorary consul of Tuvalu in London. Only empty dishes left. Fish&coconut soup, banana drops, mango and chicken meatballs, coconut jelly, jackfruit chips, banana&sweet potato salad, coconut chocolate muffins, fresh manogoes, coconut flesh, papaya, kiwano, longans, star fruit, palm heart,s tapioca pudding, fruit poke and tropical juices. All this in Poland, at the opposite side of the globe. Topped with sweet style herrings. Thanks guys! That was a pleasure to cook and write for you!


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