Week 57. Guyana. Coconut Fish and Pilau.

Sitting in the office I feel like I’m in a computer game in which the challenge is to dodge the illness bugs and each week in which I do I get onto the next level. The last level was particularly difficult as Laryngitis splatted the guy opposite. His neighbour was ‘Game Over’ when she was knocked out by a horrible infection and two guys behind me have been smashed with the Novovirus. I’m just sitting there each day watching them fall one by one. I feel like in about a week it will just be me and an empty office, and when I head out of the office onto Trafalgar Square I will have to step over the tumbleweed.

I’m a bit self-righteous when it comes to being healthy as I think so many people invite illness on themselves by being overly careful and trying to avoid bugs. I will use an example of the rugby from the weekend to explain my theory. Imagine one of the opposing players represents illness and they are going to run towards you and smash you. If you train for that impact it isn’t going to hurt and you are going to stand right back up. However, if you spend your life trying to avoid being hit then when you do, you will be smashed so hard you won’t be able to take it. I therefore train for the hit of illness and take every opportunity to take on small levels of illness to make me stronger. If someone is ill then I don’t avoid them, I want their germs to destroy. If I drop the occasional bit of food on the floor I will still eat it. This is my training. I take on dirt. Other people don’t and they get sick. Why would you do that to yourself?

Blog wise, I am happy with the result of the dish this week but think the photo was a bit rubbish. My training in photography is non existent and turning something which is delicious, but looks like mush, into a good photo is really hard. Perhaps in the future I will take a class but I worry that the result is that I will have to spend thousands on more equipment. Until that date I am stuck with either fluking a great shot (see Turkey and Peru) or putting up something like this week. Highly average.

 I know of Guyana predominantly from my love of cricket, but here are a few facts you might not have known about the country. Guyana is actually in South America, despite many believing it to be a Caribbean country. It is still regarded as a West Indian country but is not an island as the other countries are. The official language is English and the influences are considerable and highlighted when you look at the other recognised languages which include Portuguese, Hindi and Spanish. Cuisine wise there are clear Caribbean, Indian and Chinese influences and I chose to go down the Indo Caribbean Route.

I’ve not cooked much fish to date in my journey to date, so took on this coconut based curry.

 Recipe (for 2)

  •  2 Large Cod Fillets
  • 20 Shrimps
  • 1 Tsp Turmeric
  • 1 Tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1 Tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 Can Coconut Milk
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Cloved Garlic

I served it with a traditional Indian pilau rice, but the basis of the curry was very simple. In Guyana it would probably be eaten with Hussars, which are a form of CatFish, but I used Cod as it was easily available and wouldn’t flake too much.

I sautéed an onion in butter and then added garlic. I added a spoon of tomato puree and then added in some coriander, cumin, turmeric and garam masala to make a paste. I added in a can of Coconut Milk and warmed it through with a squeeze of lemon juice.  I took my cod and fried it for 1 minute on each side in a hot pan to brown it and then put into an oven dish with about 20 uncooked shrimps. I covered the fish in the sauce and then baked it for 20 mins whilst making the pilau. The result was very good. You can taste the Caribbean influence (lifted out with the lemon) and the fish is deliciously light with the coconut.

Right – I’m off to eat some dirt.


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