Sunday, June 21, 2009

Once I started thinking about Trinidad I remembered various things like Hops Bread, these are big round rolls, crusty on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside.

The smell of Hops Bread is different to any other bread smell, don't know why that is but it is true.

Smelt it again, that unique smell in 1997 when I visited Trinidad for the first time since we left in 1962.

Once I started thinking about Trinidad I recalled the first time I had eaten Trinidad food since our departure in 1962, was when I visited my half sister Carole in 1975.

I went to stay for the weekend at the house she was living at in Barnes, London.

Her ex had also just arrived from Trinidad, he had amongst other things avocados and mangos and rum and lime and tamarind balls with him plus chickens and okra and plantain.

He had most of the ingredients for a good Trinidad meal with him.

Carole made curried chicken properly; she burned the sugar, and then added the curry spices and chicken pieces.

She made coo coo which is a okra and cornmeal pudding left to set and either turned out of cups or one pudding bowl.

She also made rice and peas, with pigeon peas and side dishes of fried plantain and dhal and avocado and chopped cucumber with salt and pepper and vinegar.

Carole had also made my favourite mango pickle, which is mango and salt and pepper and vinegar and there was Matauk’s Pepper Sauce (Trinidad Hot Pepper Sauce)

This was a feast for me like I had not had for ages, this was down home food and after dinner we ate mangos and drunk rum punch and ate hot channas (roasted spiced chick peas) and tamarind balls (tamarind with hot pepper and sugar).

Will never forget this feast, this was such an important event for me when for awhile I felt a real connection with the place I was born.

That was also the summer my half sister’s took me to a Trinidad Gala Dinner and Dance party to celebrate the visit of Sir Garfield Sobers to England.

He had been the West Indian Cricket Team Captain, and was the best cricketer ever.

He was in the country to receive his Knighthood from the Queen.

The party for him was spectacular, Trini food and drinks in abundance plus I was introduced to the great man himself by my sisters and he asked me to dance.

Well Wow! I danced with Gary Sobers, the best cricketer ever.

These two things gave me back a tiny part of my Trinidad identity and in 1997 when I got back to my Little Island in the Sun I discovered it was really as beautiful as I remembered and still remember.


Amrita said...

Wow Herrad, that food is ravishing, very close to home, the mangos and curries, avacado is not native toIndia, but we are growing it in places. it is very expensive here.

You mentioned channas, we have lots of it here, I love it. Dry roasted channa is the poor man 's snack too.

Sir Gary Sobers was my Dad 's fave.
Do you follow cricket?

Anonymous said...

Hi Herrad! That's a nice memory! I can't get off that chicken photo, oh my it looks mouth-watering! I got up way too late today, thrown all off track too! It's almost 1pm and I haven't had brekkie yet!!! Bad me! So you're probably getting ready for dinner now. First day of summer in these parts and it's hot and humid, I really like it! The dogs, not so much, but they are loving the cool kitchen floor.

Stephany said...

Wow what a feast! mmmm

Have a lovely evening

Richie said...

Sir Garfield was a lucky man to dance with you!

Herrad said...

Hi Amrita,
Thanks for coming by lovely to hear from you.
I love dry roasted channas my favourite.
I do watch abit of cricket especially when the West Indies are playing.
Richie is a real cricket fan and used to play himself.
I played rounders at school in Trinidad.

Hi Rain,
Glad you could get onto my blog today.
I was telling Richie about eating Trini food for the first time after years and he said write about it.
The food we ate that day really stuck in my mind.
It was quite emotional.
Hope you had a good morning and have a great afternon and evening.
Hope the dogs are doing well.

Hi Richie,
Thank for the sweet comment.

Thanks for comng by everyone.

Sita said...

Such a wonderful post, Herrad and loved the pics--I love the spicy roasted split channa...and as for that hops bread with cheese--ooh boy..we had a 'chinee' bakery around the corner--the best smell ever! As for 'zaboca'--I like it with a touch of lime, salt and hot peppers mashed up with bread or good...see how yuh bringing up dem memories...thank you!

And as for dancing with THE Gary Sobers--girl, yuh well reach! Ever since that hard ball hit mih as a chile, I done wid cricket...but my parents love it and my nephew who lives in England is quite a good cricketer...

and I agree, what a sweet thing for Richie to say...
blessings to you this cool night here in TO..
Love, Sita

awb said...

Why is it that so many memories are tied into food? I can smell certain things and immediately be a small boy in my grandmother's kitchen. I'm glad I'm able to remember things that way, glad for you too.


Herrad said...

Hi Sita,

Have to have Hops bread soon going to get Richie consult the Trini recipes.
Want him to make aloo pies soon too.
What is zaboca? sure it is something familar but a different name.
In 1997 was in TnT for a visit it was Novemebr but we found some mango July in my friends garden as well as pommseterre?
Ate some great pepper jelly there would love to know how it is made.
When I was there learned how to make rotis which made food much more interesting onced I got home.

Hi Andy,
It is good that we have such good and vivid food memories.
If I smell plum cake I remember making cakes with two aunties in Bad Godesberg, Germany when I was 5 years old.
It is a great to be able to remember scents so well.

Have a good day today.

Sita said...

Hey Herrad,
'Zaboca' is the Trini name for avocado...

Herrad said...

Hi Sita,

Love avocado used to mash it and eat on bread in the mornings, like it with pepper sauce will try it with lime bet it is delicious.


Chekoala said...

ooh idyllic

Herrad said...

Hi Chekoala,

It is isn't.

Hope you have a good day.