Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 24th 2013 Contents A34
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, August 24, 2013
Cynthia Clovis developed her cookbook, Cooking Kariwak Style, after years of
writing down notes and fragments of recipes.
over the kitchen. Something I could
have never done without the sup-
port of one of our directors, Arlen
Messiah, a nutritionist by training
and foodie at heart."
Her early experiments were a
process of trial and error.
"I learnt the hard way," she
laughs. "I thought maybe I could
make a salad with dasheen bush,
which of course didn t work."
She was hugely influenced by
the Kariwak staff, who introduced
her to their home cooking and the
generous use of fresh seasonings,
coconut and ground provisions.
She was also inspired by the two
years she spent in Port-of-Spain
surrounded by Syrian, Chinese,
French, Spanish, Indo- and Afro-
"I would smell something and
tell my neighbour, When you re
cooking that again, let me know.
And they d say, Yeah, all right, but
they never would.
"Eventually they realised I didn t
know anything about anything. I
was trying to eat plantain raw, my
hands and eyes were stinging from
trying to make pepper sauce. And
when they realised I was interested
and curious they d say, Well,
tomorrow I m doing pelau, tomor-
row I m doing saltfish, making bake.
And I learned a lot from them."
Her cookbook, Cooking Kariwak
Style, was developed over years of
writing down notes and fragments
of recipes. Begun in earnest after
her two children had left home for
university, it took 12 years to finish
and she admits there were many
times when it felt she would never
get it published. At one stage she
gave up completely.
Thankfully her brother stepped
in, took all of the notes and recipes
she had compiled and for the next
year they painstakingly edited,
arranged and adjusted photographs.
Finally they had it self-published
and printed through a small com-
pany in British Columbia, Cana-
da.The book has illustrations by
artist and friend Jackie Hinkson,
including sketches of armadillos---
matching the wooden sculptures
that sit on the bar of the restaurant.
Does Clovis ever cook armadillo or
other wild meat? An emphatic,
She s actually pescetarian, even
though the menu embraces every-
thing from fresh vegetables to meat
Is the cookbook, subtitled Tastes
of Tobago, typically Tobagonian
"No, I wouldn t say that. It s the
recipes that our regular guests have
most often asked for, the things
people e-mail me afterwards to ask
the recipe for."
Clovis is naturally very modest
and doesn t feel like she s created
"I guess, like poetry, it s the same
words or flavours but put together
The herbs that flavour the food
all come from her abundant garden,
lovingly tended by the gardener.
Rather than using all of them at
oncefor seasoning, she focuses on
picking them individually when the
time is right for each plant.
The rosemary bread that accom-
panies the weekend s buffet dinner
is heavenly, a great example of her
Her generation "all grew up eat-
ing what was in season, it s nothing
revolutionary," she says. "Herbs are
Too much sun or too much rain
they ll die. People say, If they don t
like the hand that picked them,
they ll die. Having fresh herbs con-
sistently can be a challenge in itself.
Taking a walk around Kariwak s
herb and vegetable garden you ll
find parsley, chives, celery, thyme,
basil, rosemary, oregano, lettuce,
pak choi, mint, chadon beni, dill,
fennel, marjoram and sage, all
growing in their ownv environ-
ments with just the right soil and
sprinkler settings. There s some-
thing really satisfying about seeing
ingredients growing that you know
will be on your plate later that
---From Cooking Kariwak Style
From Page A33
1 peeled melongene, about 5 oz
1 small potato, about 4 oz
2 tsp butter
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2-3/4 tsp shadon beni/coriander
1/4-1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 large clove garlic, minced
Salt, black pepper and pepper sauce
1 small tomato
1/2 green pepper
Cut the melongene into 1/4-inch
cubes; they will shrink when they cook.
Dice the potato into 1/4-inch cubes.
Saute the spices and in the butter over
medium heat for a few minutes. Add
the melongene and potatoes. Add just
enough water to keep vegetables from
sticking to the pan (do not cover the
Season with salt, pepper and pepper
sauce to taste at this point,
remembering that this dish is meant to
be somewhat spicy. Bring to a boil,
reduce heat and simmer until the
melongene and potatoes are cooked,
stirring often and adding more water if
Chop tomato and green pepper into
1/4-inch cubes and stir in just before
serving, keeping some aside for
Her early experiments
were by trial and error
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