Saturday, 6 October 2012

Tannia: the beginning of something good.

Apparently I eat too much because we emptied our propane tank suddenly one night last week. After a consultation with our neighbour and several days of procrastination, I now have a working range. Sort of. The range is functional however the smell of leaking propane is throwing off my groove, to quote the Emperor. We've set up a little fan to blow the poisonous fumes away from the lighted flame. I'm sure this is completely safe.

Our neighbours have been incredibly great to Justin and me. The family of five is a wonderful group of people to have living next door. The three boys love to play with Zoey, and she with them. Kai (the six year old middle child) adores Zoey and has decided that I must make Zoey a birthday cake with kibble icing. Jay (he's seven and in charge) enjoys playing with Zoey but prefers bossing Kai around. Coco (2yrs and such a cutie) is currently afraid of my puppy but has moments of bravery while his big brothers are nearby. Kesha and Devon, the parents, have been open and welcoming to us, helping us in any way they can.

Last night I decided to make a wonderful Grenadian food: Tannia log! Strange sounding, I know, but it tastes oh-so-good! I first tasted tannia log at a hash (I'll write more about hashes, later) and after tasting the warm, coconuty goodness I decided that I needed to learn how to make it. Tannia log is a porridge made from the tannia root. Tannia root looks like a hairy parsnip but has a milder flavour.

Tannia being peeled

After searching google for hours (not really, but a long time) I found the semblance of a recipe. I was excited as I headed to the grocery store last week. My confidence was high as I walked up to the root section of produce but faltered a little bit when the roots looked rather small. A Grenadian woman was next to me so I confirmed that I was choosing the correct vegetable. She kindly told me that I had indeed chosen the correct pile of ugly roots. Since she was so friendly, I thought I'd ask her how to make tannia log. It couldn't hurt, right? She proceeded to explain the process while piling the tannia into my produce bag. I ended up with two pounds of tannia, a coconut, and instructions to pick up a can of condensed milk. I didn't make the tannia log immediately as I wanted. We don't have a machete to cut open the coconut so my plans were at a standstill. A few days ago I was talking to some friends in the US who had grown up in foreign countries (Brasil and Fiji) and they explained to me the precise method of opening a coconut. Throw it on the cement! Since I wanted to save the coconut water, they recommended that I use something sharp to pierce the softer places in the coconut. Apparently those three holes depicted in cartoons are good for something!

Pre-smash
Success!


I smashed my coconut and pulled it apart into multiple pieces. Not cutting myself on the sharp shards of coconut husk was more difficult than I thought but finished the job unscathed. I peeled and grated the tannia which was a slimy and equally dangerous job. The coconut flesh was harder than I expected it to be so when I grated it most of the flesh did not come off. Oh well. I ended up with a big pile of shredded, white flesh ready to be boiled! My online recipes conflicted on how much water to add so I added enough water to cover the tannia plus an additional two or three inches of water. A bit of freshly grated nutmeg and some ground cinnamon completed the soup. I was warned to be ready to stir the porridge for a while. Justin had finished studying for the night so stirring the pot was a welcome break for him. He brought his laptop into the kitchen and we watched a show while stirring the thickening pot of tannia and coconut. This Friday night compromise worked out perfectly as we both had our entertainment fix while cooking! The timing worked out perfectly; the porridge was thickening up just as the show ended. I added a can of sweetened condensed milk to complete the porridge and we were ready for a snack! And yah mon, it tastes great!

I just took Zoey outside and told my neighbour about making tannia log and my attempt to add shredded coconut to the mix. He laughs and tells me I should have added coconut milk, not the coconut itself. Ha. Well, I guess that's why we have the unexpected crunch. The grocery store tricked me by placing the tannia root and coconuts side by side. I blame the system. However, all-in-all, I believe that the tannia log making attempt was successful. My recipe made a little too much for two people...and by "a little" I mean that we'll be eating this stuff for two weeks. I'm ready to enjoy! :)



Shredded tannia. Slimy stuff!

Tannia log porridge thickening

Finished product! Yummy midnight snack.