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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Cake and a view

La Palma has lots of spectacular viewpoints, (mirador in Spanish). Most people’s favourite is the at El Time, which is perched on the northern edge of the Angustias ravine in Tijarafe. It’s easy to find. Coming from Los Llanos, you drive down and down and down, round some pretty steep bends. After you cross the river, almost at sea-level, you drive up and up and up and up and up,…

April 2, 2017
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Gofio

September 12, 2016

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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Star Quality Malvasia Wine – heaven in a glass

Malvasia is a white dessert wine from the south of La Palma. The grapes are harvested late, when they’re half way to raisins, so the juice is very concentrated and very sweet, and the wine they produce is to strong and too sweet to drink with fish (or to drink like a fish). In fact it’s similar to Maderia or a sweet sherry – more something you’d have at the very end…

April 16, 2016
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