Tag Archives: Cuban Food

Rocking Dog Recreates Cuban Moors And Christians

Rocking Dog's Moors & Christians With Lamb Kofte's, Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog’s Moors & Christians With Lamb Kofte’s

Rocking Dog was keen to recreate Cuban Moors and Christians- how lovely it is to get cooking again! I must admit I felt incredibly guilty about the choice, quality and quantity of food on offer to me at the supermarket following our Cuban trip. A Communist country, the Cuban people are still in receipt of rationed food. The system was initially introduced by Minister of Economy, Che Guevara in 1962. Rather like Great Britain in WW2 the main householder has a ration book listing additional family members and their ages together with any dietary/special requirements (i.e… vegetarian or particular health problem). One shop (a Bodega) is allocated for a householder to pick up their rationed goods with each ration book (Libreta) lasting one year. With the average Cuban earning around $20 dollars a month the ration book allows the right to purchase basic foodstuffs for nominal prices. Prior to the Soviet Union stopping financial aid to Cuba in the 1990’s there were many more items which could be bought using the Libreta. Giving you a rough idea of the items currently on the list.. (one persons allocation per month) 5 Eggs, 1/2 lb chicken, 5lb rice, 10oz red beans, 1lb white sugar, 1lb brown sugar, I bread roll (daily), cup of cooking oil. Children until the age of seven together with the elderly are allocated 1 litre of milk a day.

These allocated rationed goods last the average individual about 10 days. To cope with the shortfall the householder needs then to buy food at significantly higher prices than the prescriptive rationed goods. There is a rife black market, especially for milk which is notoriously difficult to purchase.

Staying predominantly in Casas Particulares (a room in a private family home) the families looked after us very well. To buy food to give us for breakfast and on occasions an evening meal, hosts used their family rations together with food bought using income from hosting travellers. I presume tips would also be helpful in keeping things ticking over. Fruit, bread and omelettes commonly featured for breakfast. Evening meals eaten both in the Casa P’s and restaurants almost inevitably included rice (imported generally from China and Vietnam). The rice often included beans, Moors and Christians.

The Moors refers to the black beans whilst the Christians applies to the rice. For seven centuries the Moors and Christians fought each other in Spain and this staple of Cuban cuisine brings the harmony of these two simple ingredients together. There are various versions, some recipes where the beans and rice are bought together towards the end of the cooking and others where the beans and rice are cooked together resulting in a darker looking dish. I served my Moors and Christians with some easily prepared Yotam Ottelenghi lamb Koftes with a tahini sauce. Delicious!

Two Cuban meals really stand out for Andyman and I. On our second last day we went in search of Cafe de los Artistas which was recommended by The Guardian. It was tucked away in a shaded leafy little street in Havana and we ate a delicious bowl of tender octopus together with some roasted vegetables. The other memorable meal was one at San Cristobal, a Paladar (a private home run restaurant) in a rather rundown neighbourhood of Havana. We had been told that the Obama’s had been there a few days earlier for lunch. The surroundings were amazing with Art Nouveau wall tiles, antique clocks, eccentric pictures and posters, chandeliers, wooden toucans etc.. even the bathrooms were worthy of being photographed! We shared battered lobster with aioli, and then went on to have steak with pepper sauce and country style potateoes. Lola’s Cup followed, vanilla ice cream with creme caramel. I wonder who Lola was! The staff were truly lovely and it was a magical way to end our trip to Cuba.

The Bodega, Rocking Dog

The Bodega

Bodega Price List, Rocking Dog

Bodega Price List

Crocodillo's, Rocking Dog

Crocodillo’s

Cuban Snack, Rocking Dog

Cuban Snack

Stairway To Eat, Rocking Dog

Stairway To Eat

Delicious Dish, Rocking Dog

Delicious Dish

Obama's Haunt, Rocking Dog

Obama’s Haunt

San C' Dining, Rocking Dog

San C’ Dining

Lobster To Share, Rocking Dog

Lobster To Share

Rocking Dog’s Amazing Cuban Odyssey!

Backstreet Che, Rocking Dog

Backstreet Che

Yes, Rocking Dog has buzzed on back having been on an amazing Cuban Odyssey! I am somewhat jet lagged, but relieved to be back from the heat and 86% humidity levels. I just wanted to post a few photo’s to give a flavour of this amazing country. I’d love to do a few posts to give more detail of this complicated country, but in short hand I was expelled from a Salsa lesson, had a gecko adhered to my face in a busy restaurant, Andyman fell in love with ALL the classic American cars and we shared a B&B with some live crocodiles! Oh, and did I mention that we went to the historical Rolling Stones concert. Those boys despite being able to draw their pensions rocked the audience almost non stop for 2 & 1/2 hours in the Havanian night heat…amazing! I have to report that a large number of Cubans had no idea who the Rolling Stones were.

The food i’m afraid will not require numerous blog posts. In fact there was a great deal of Imodium passing hands between the group we travelled with. It’s funny but unlike an American group who were coming to blows on their bus about US politics (I wonder why!) we were very reserved about politics, sex and religion. On the other hand our ablutions were completely another matter! Love to all the fellow Explore travellers who came from all walks of life and ranged through from twenty somethings, to adventurous baby boomers. It was a real pleasure to rub along together ( and very literally, in the Russian truck!) and to share a Mojito with you.

Thank you so much to Explore for a wonderful trip and thank you to Wendy Dowe at Dorchester Travel who valiantly wriggled us out of a posh hotel and all inclusive resort (phew!). Experiencing and seeing the real Cuba with Explore was a true privilege. Thank you also to the Tropicana Penthouse for accommodating us either side of the trek, the sunrises and sunsets on the roof terrace overlooking the sea and Havana were breathtaking.

A bed without a shiny satin cover and lace pillowcases looks seriously appealing, as does a night without cockerels cawing at 1 am onwards!

I hope you’ll allow me to share a few more photo’s over the next couple of days.

Grazias for tuning back in.

Love a cooler (heat-wise) and seriously inspired Rocking Dog x

Cruising Che, Rocking Dog

Cruising Che

Sunrise Over Havana, Rocking Dog

Sunrise Over Havana

Breakfast In A Basket, Rocking Dog

Breakfast In A Basket

One Man's Madness, Rocking Dog

One Man’s Madness

Daily Dose Band, Rocking Dog

Daily Dose Band

Farming Cuban Style, Rocking Dog

Farming Cuban Style

Obama Woz 'Ere!, Rocking Dog

Obama Woz ‘Ere!

Deity, Rocking Dog

Deity

Can You Salsa?!, Rocking Dog

Can You Salsa?!

B&B Crocodile!, Rocking Dog

B&B Crocodile!

The Butchers, Rocking Dog

The Butchers

Banana Bloom, Rocking Dog

Banana Bloom