It’s been over three months, and I am back in the DR at last. Like so many other returning Dominicans and Dominicans-by-adoption the first thing I did was treat myself to a ‘fria’ from the first petrol station on the road from the airport to Santo Domingo. My sensible side tried to remind me that drinking beer was not the wisest course of action after almost 24 hours on the go as well as on an empty stomach, but there are times when my better judgement has to be put in its place and firmly ignored. So clichéd, but that first beer was oh, so wonderful!
In my first few days back I have savoured several of the pleasures that I missed out on during my months of exile. This morning I made my first jug ofjugo de chinola (excuse me while I go and pour myself another glass). This was one of the ritual parts of my life here that I had to renounce completely while I was on my annual holiday. Anyone who has seen what they sell under the label ‘passion fruit’ in a European supermarket will understand why, and as for commercially prepared passion fruit juice, I won’t even go there.
Yesterday we started the day with my favourite Dominican breakfast, a plate of lechoza (papaya) and banana, followed by a strong Dominican coffee. This year I am happy to say that my coffee supply held out for the whole time I was away, thanks to my husband who brought replenishments when he joined us half way through our time abroad. Again, I resort to cliché, but there is something extra special to be said about drinking Dominican coffee in its natural habitat, with all the familiar sounds and sensations of a fresh Santo Domingo morning, with the city rumbling in the background just before the steamy tropical heat sets in.
The same goes for all my favourite Dominican foods. I made Dominican white rice, moro de habichuelas negras, camarones al coco and tostones while I was away, and with reasonable success, I am proud to add, but there is no comparison with eating a hearty Dominican lunch cooked by my Dominican mother in law in her house in the campo, under the shade of a mango tree, as we did on Sunday.
Mazamorra (Dominican West Indies pumpkin puree) is a delicious recipe that can very well make your breakfast a unique one, and it’s a great choice for those on low-carb diets.
- 2 lbs of auyama (West Indian pumpkin), peeled and cut into small pieces
- 2¼ teaspoons of salt, divided
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 large red onion
- 1 tablespoon of fruit vinegar
- ¼ teaspoons of pepper
- Boil the auyama adding salt to the water. When the auyama is cooked through remove from the heat. Mash the auyama until it is very smooth. Mix in 2 tablespoons of oil.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan over low heat. Cook and stir the onions until they become transparent, add the vinegar and a pinch pepper and a pinch of salt and stir. Remove the onions from the heat. Reserve.
- Garnish the puree with the onions and serve with sunny-side up eggs.