Gofio

September 2, 2018

Gofio is sort-of cooked flour (you toast the grains before you grind them) and it’s been a staple of the Canarian diet since pre-hispanic times. In principle, you can use just about any grain, although the commonest ones are wheat and maize. In times of famine, there’s even a fern root you can use, although I believe it’s very bitter, and not something you would chose to eat if there…

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Santa Cruz Market

The inside of Santa Cruz Market
August 10, 2018

Santa Cruz market is on the Avenida del Puente, the main shopping streeet which runs uphill, perpendicular to the sea front. It was built in 1886 on the site of the hospital of Our Lady of Sorrows, founded in 1514. I think it’s a decidely nice building, with classical lines, and lots of light inside thanks to the big skylight. There are six little side markets plus a big open…

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Mulberries

July 24, 2018

  Mulberries were originally introduced to the greener parts of La Palma to feed silkworms for silk production. The fruit is a delicious side-effect. Sadly, you rarely see it on sale, because it’s fragile and doesn’t keep. It’s also a strong, natural dye (and is used as such). If you pick your own, expect stained fingers and watch your clothes. In fact, if you’re staying near a mulberry tree in fruit,…

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How to cook Caigua

Cyclanthera pedata, known as kaywa or caigua
July 11, 2018

The plant Cyclanthera pedata has a lot of names: Caigua, kaywa, caihua, caygua, cayua, achuqcha, achocha, achogcha, achojcha, achokcha, archucha. It’s a herbacious vine which originally comes from the Andes (Bolivia to Columbia). You eat the fruit, but cook it like a vegetable. Slice each fruit opem, remove the seeds, fill with whatever you fancy, and put it in the oven for a bit. The traditional filling is minced beef,…

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Persimmons

Persimmon tree in Las Nieves, Santa Cruz., La Palma
February 26, 2018

The persimmons are ripe. On La Palma, persimmons are called Kaki or Sharon, and I believe the tree comes from Asia originally. They’re much nicer when really ripe. The catch is that by the time they’re ready for eating, they’ve gone squishy, so they don’t travel well. Personally, I love them with Greek yoghurt.

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The gofio museum at Buracas

A wooden windmill
January 24, 2018

Gofio is the traditional staple food in the Canaries, like potatoes in Ireland or rice in Japan. It’s made by toasting cereal grains and then grinding them. You can use almost any cereal: wheat, barley, rye, maize, oats. You can also use lentils, chick peas or lupin seeds. My personal favourite is the 7-grain wholemeal variety. It’s such an important part of Canarian culture that I wasn’t surprised to find…

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