São Tomé  and Principe

Food 1

the Voyage of Flavor

Ahoy matey!
Thanks for coming on board!
*read with the voice of an old pirate with 2 wooden legs and an owl on his shoulder*

Cooking is fantastic.
Cooking is a creative way to find peace during a busy day or period, but that is personal, obviously.
During the process, for example, my vessel drifts away in as many directions as there are possibilities to work with the recipe that is in the making. For that reason I always tell others to let that vessel flow in the direction it’s heading. Keep tasting between every step and let every time you taste count as a fresh wind in your sail, that might redirect you to a new destination.

It’s very important for me to keep triggering my creativity and for that reason, I like to cook something else every single time. So passed week I’ve been thinking about how to step up that game and came up with a fantastic plan: I’m going to try and find recipes from “forgotten”countries, or at least countries that I have not heard from, that I have forgotten or that I never ate anything from yet.

São Tomé  and Principe.


Sao Tomé and Principe!
Translating to “Saint Thomas and Prince”, is a country in front of the west coast of Africa, formed by several islands of which São Tomé is the biggest, followed by Principe, while the others are mostly rocky islets.


Knowing absolutely nothing about this country i’ve spent my afternoon reading about it:

Now knowing all about facts and numbers, I still know nothing about the one thing I wanted to read in about: FOOD!
(Cheers to you who also wasted time following the link above! Now I don’t feel so alone and silly anymore!)

For that reason I decided to search a couple of recipe’s and noticed that it’s quite common to use coffee as a spice or in another way to cook with it! Aweseome! So hyped as I am and willing to play with that I chose the following recipe:
Chicken with Coffee sauce (<- click it!)
Note: I tweak a lot

Personally, it works best for me to prep everything into the right measurements according to the recipe, so I start doing the mise en place: cutting and measuring everything.

My mise en place

The recipe isn’t covering everything, so when I got to the garlic, I had to decide the way I treat it. Since it’s my first go on this recipe I decide to chop it. Not too fine, not to coarse, so it does deliver the garlic kick, but it doesn’t stomp you in the face. Normally I would have grated it, since I’m the opposite of vampires, I LOVE garlic but again: first go on this recipe and I can always add more! For that last reason I always keep a little extra of every ingredient close to my cooking station.

Now do not worry, i’m not going to walk through step by step, since this blog is all about the result, but one thing I instantly changed is the use of instant coffee. Instead I used freshly grounded coffee and put that in a filter, folded the filter shut and dumped it in the pan. During the cooking process I stirred every now and then, tasting until it was of my likings and then took out the filter (containing the ground coffee, duh).

Not exactly happy with the thickness of the sauce I reduced it a little more and added some cornstarch and after plating up the rice (decided to serve it with buttery rice) the consistency of the sauce is to perfection.

Sey scallions help a lot, visually
I mean: look at that!

I cooked something from a place called Sao Tomé and Principe! Never would I ever have guessed that in the past!

First bite in, a piece of chicken that soaked up the flavors of the sauce: slightly sweet, gently spicy, bitter, coffee in a recognizable way but not overpowering, a gentle acidity of the wine beautifully balanced out by the sweetness of the suger that comes back in the aftertaste. Oh JOLLY this is fun! Cooking with coffee, not something I would think of straight away but will deffinately keep in mind for the future! Sure, desserts, but main dishes? Think of a nice chili with some elements of smoke and coffee picturizing those nights at the campfire with a sadle as a pillow and your boots drying on a stick after crossing a river hurding cows!

Cut ’em out, ride ’em in
Ride ’em in, cut ’em out
Cut ’em out, ride ’em in, rawhide!!!