[Leaders’ note: shortly after Sam’s first blog, he was banned from entering any kitchen in Madagascar. This is for the health and safety of our entire contingent, and anyone within a 3 mile radius]
So following a minor setback due to my expulsion from the kitchen, I launched headfirst into exploration of Malagasy cuisine. I have noticed that our Malagasy Scouts appear to be trying to present us with more Scottish food. This primarily consists of serving us potatoes with our rice, and a dish that very much resembled bubble and squeak, if it had been explained through an extreme language barrier. We have also had some Malagasy cottage pie, which looked very nice to me, while I enjoyed the vegetarian option of a mashed tattie piece.
I thought that the Malagasy had the most sweet tooths of anyone I had ever come across – until we presented them with some home made Scottish macaroons, which they thought was much too sweet. Moreover, last night I witnessed Alex’s orgasmic expression as he drank a cup of condensed milk.
I have had the chance to sample more Malagasy tea. One interesting example of this was vanilla tea. This is undrinkable taken black, but best enjoyed with a small teaspoon of sugar. It’s more of a treat tea than an everyday tea. I’ve also found that green tea and condensed milk (or condensation milk as Matthew insists on calling it), although very sweet, is quite comforting, particularly in the cold weather we’ve been having recently.
I’ve been very pleased to try more Malagasy pastries. On several occasions we’ve been served a soft, custard filled pastry which Fisher says is creme patisserie. As well as some very, very, very dry cake which works quite well dipped into the chicory coffee, we have enjoyed numerous shallow and deep fried rice dishes. One was a bundle of rice stuck together, fried in oil. This came in sweet and salty varieties, both of which were yummy yummy.
On a few occasions at Akany we have eaten a dish that resembles boiled cabbage, although we have been informed that it is a local leaf, rather than the cabbage we are used to. Brian has quickly learned to excuse himself from the table when this is served. The resourcefulness of the girls is demonstrated in the way that his leftovers are fried into something not too dissimilar to a pakora ring and served as our 10.30am snack the following day.
One of the nights at Akany, there was much excitement when several jugs of green fluid were produced. Upon further enquiry this was discovered to be avocado juice which was quite pleasant, even if it had a distinctive smell.
On a few lunches and teas, the vegetarian option has been rice with a heavily favoured pasta. This flavouring has added a much needed dynamic element to the meals. Egg is often a participant in the meals. It comes in a variety of forms, boiled and chopped (although without salt water), scrambled, salted omelette, fried, and an interesting half scrambled dish which contained an assortment of chopped vegetables.
Today’s lunch was a cheeseburger in a brioche bun. As well as the regular burger patty, there was a meat that much resembled spam, chopped into slices. The vegetarian burger contained two different cheeses, one of which was a hard, salted cheese which had just enough self integrity to break up in the mouth without becoming an inconsistent mush. The second cheese was infinitely softer and resembled a cheese that had been slightly melted, although it was served at room temperature. This was a creamier cheese which was likely produced with a significantly lower rennet concentration.
Last Sunday we attended a fundraiser for the Tily AGM. This meal consisted of four courses, spread over an unusual amount of time. One of the main courses that I had was Croustade à la sauce Terre Mer. This was a small pastry covered in a cold, creamy sauce with slices of mushrooms throughout. These mushrooms were unusually tough and could have been mistaken for a foreign root vegetable. At one point in the night I won a raffle and was gifted with a cake. This cake was only slightly chocolatey and was most pleasant to eat.
Now we’re starting R&R it will be interesting to see what new food adventures await.