2020: Recipes With Miss Rona... Part 1!
Recipes with whom? No! So, I chose my battles carefully, Miss Rona had to play it nice, otherwise! At first I took some time to create some 'Rona Rhymes' to use humour within this dark 2020 time. Merging from one form of writing to another, I found myself making up 'Rona Recipes'. Creating an exotic escape at home, channelling Cuba and Puerto Rico! Rona, let's cook!
Before I came back from China I had been eating takeaways pretty much everyday for my evening meal, to add insult to injury I didn't have access to a kitchen until my unplanned arrival back into England in February 2020. Cooking had become something that I hated doing during those final months when I lived in my then Beijing apartment. Finding myself in a second lockdown at home, I half enjoyed the British foods for a period of time. Yes, I cooked one or two rice meals but if be told my heart wasn't in it. Fast forward to the end of September 2020, I found myself in my seventh month at home. I was craving some internationals foods. I had wanted to cook up some 'plátanos' after I had unknowingly cooked up some banana, chorizo with some white rice for lunch one day in September. Craving some serious culture I got my cook on, starting with a Puerto Rican breakfast feast I cooked up my plátano, chorizo y huevo con arroz blanco! Making all the right choices I enjoyed my breakfast very much! Que rico, baby!
Oh, 'plátano' is Spanish for plantain! Getting into those 'plátano' vibes I knew that versatile cooking banana would allow me to cook more adventurous dining options! Consulting some 'recetas alternativas de plátano' through the medium of YouTube! I wanted more 'comida sabrosa' in my life because Miss Rona had done her best to ruin my pre-Covid life enough! Checking out 'Chef Zee Cooks' I studied those food recipe tutorials because I needed that culture injected back into my life! Holding pause for one moment, bear with me! I will always be appreciative for all the cooking my family has done for me since I had to come back from China unexpectedly, I was seeking something different though because English food is like a holiday food that I don't eat very often when I'm overseas. Do not get this twisted, I love English food but everything in moderation since I've become used to rice, noodles and other world foods. Staying at my aunties gave me the chance to have foods with more spices such as 'jambalaya!'
Back to 'Chef Zee Cooks', I found her channel after I searched for some Dominican recipes. I had my eyes opened to what 'Mangú Dominicano' actually was, for those who are unclear I am talking about a dish that's made from mashed plantains. I tried to cook 'mangú' for the first time and it looked awful, I had no idea how to season it because I rushed the process. Consulting my Dominican friend, Mariam shared her cooking tips with me regarding the art to make a more authentic 'mangú'. Taking my time second time around, I used red onion with five spice. I allowed the plantains to cook through properly because I used two instead of just one. Adding more butter and seasoning properly I mashed all of the ingredients together well, resulting in an extremely delicious serving of 'mangú Dominicano' that I served some scrambled eggs with chorizo on the side. Was I going a bit chorizo mad? Absolutely not, I enjoyed using the spiced Spanish sausage, it gave me something different. ¡La comida caribeña me hace sentir feliz! Yes!
It wasn't just food that had me on that Spanish Caribbean hype, no! Miss Rona had ground me good and proper but with that lockdown time I had the chance to discover a lot of 'Cubaton' music that inspired me to make some Cuban coffee, just because I could! From 'Gente De Zona' to 'Divan', the music of Cuba has given me that spice, something extra that I have been able to tune into when the noise of this year has gotten me in my feelings. The music was also on a Puerto Rican vibe, having a connection back to the 'enchanted island' allowed me to float away from the groundhog day nothingness of 2020. Needless to say those meals have been cooked with those Cuban tunes blaring out. With similar foods cooked with plantain between the islands, the infusion between Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico have had me on island time with my stomach full and senses on the right vibe! No, I might not be Cuban but 'Siedy la Niña's' 'Cubana' had me understanding her Spanish! Yo soy Cubano? ¡Puedo soñar, R!