Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Telesa - The Covenant Keeper

She's the tireless blogger of Sleepless in Samoa. Mother of five, born and bred in Samoa, she's the author of Pacific Tsunami Galu Afi about the tsunami that devastated Samoa in 2009. She's written short fiction that has been widely published in various journals, magazines, newspapers and professionally recorded for radio broadcast in over 30 countries. Her versatility also extends to children's stories that are used in primary school reading programs. I loved, loved, LOVED her short story entitled A True Samoan Woman. She's here today to promote her most recent work, the first in a young adult urban fantasy series, called Telesa - The Covenant Keeper. 
It is my honour to welcome to our virtual kitchen the award winning author, Lani Wendt Young!

I feel  like I’m in the presence of a rock star – because that’s how I think of the amazing owner of Panipopo’s Kitchen. I am constantly in awe of her recipes and every time I leave her blog – I am inspired to try cooking something new in my own kitchen. (Doesn’t always work like her cooking does though.) Thank you for welcoming me into your kitchen today.

The first thing my copy editor said to me after she read the TELESA manuscript was – ‘reading this made me soooo hungry! The rich descriptions of all the yummy Samoan food in the book really made me wish that I was taking a trip to Samoa, just so that I could try some of the delicious things that Leila was having.’

I love to eat and I enjoy cooking so it’s no wonder that a lot of food found its way into the TELESA book. Eighteen yr old Leila has come to Samoa from America in search of her ‘roots’, her culture, her family. Raised by her Dad and used to living on junk food, Leila is introduced to a delectable array of Samoan delights, everything from crisp, sweet panikeke with sinfully rich and sweet kokoSamoa for breakfast - to faiai fe’e octopus baked in coconut cream, oka raw fish soaked in lime and coconut chilled to perfection, chop suey redolent with garlic and ginger. And the desserts! Leila’s Aunty Matile makes a pineapple pie with a crust that melts in your mouth, sticky sweet caramel faausi dumplings and pani popo coconut buns luxuriating in a sugar-laden coconut cream sauce.

One of the best things about food in Samoa – is that so many of the ingredients are fresh and sourced right from out the back door. The best fruit salad I will ever eat is one made from papaya and mangoes that my children have picked from trees in our yard, ripe bananas we ‘borrowed’ from that bunch hanging over our neighbor’s fence, and pineapple bought from the produce market at Fugalei.  In my book the Telesa are a kind of ‘environmental warrior’, closely in tune with the earth and all her bounty – which means they have a gift with plants and draw on a rich treasure of ancient knowledge to make medicines, poisons ( they are telesa after all!) AND food, glorious food. 

Telesa - The Covenant Keeper  is the first book in a Young Adult fantasy romance series set in modern day Samoa that draws on the legends of teine Sa but with a huge amount of creative license and imagination. It’s got action, intrigue, elements of the supernatural and (of course) it’s got romance with a gorgeous male lead character, Daniel… And woven into all that, is lots of food!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A guest, some comments and another pie

By panipopos

Tomorrow we have a special guest!
A who-duh-whatwhat?
Yeah, you heard me right - a special guest!

When I faikala (have a nosy) on people's blogs, I invariably find myself on this talented lady's site. I've been lurking on her blog for well over a year now, and her writing never fails to entertain me. It's laugh-out-loud funny, and so relatable.

Who could it be? Who could it be? You'll have to tune in tomorrow to find out. 

Now, sometimes, for one reason or another, Blogger doesn't work like it's supposed to. As it's a free service, I can't really complain. But if Blogger won't accept your comments, feel free to email them to me. Please understand that I can't post your comments up under each recipe because that'd look like I'm leaving feedback for myself, and in Samoa, that would qualify me as a vale.

So here are two comments that were rejected by Blogger but landed in my email box:

Jay wrote
Hi, I tried to post a comment but not sure if it went through so am e-mailing. “i am no cook but this was so easy to follow and i'm so proud of myself - they were delicious!!! faafetai tele lava!!
Not sure which recipe that was for, but very happy that even a novice cook could follow my recipes. 
And Nydia wrote:
Hi Panipopo, 
I can't seem to comment on your blog but I had to email and let you know that I tried the pai fala recipe and it was HIT! It was much better than the stuff we buy from the store. I cut down a bit on the sugar though because the fala made it quite sweet. I would try your panipopo recipe, but I'm a lazy baker and it seems less work to buy it from Siaosi's store down the road....but thumbs up to pai fala. Next up is your fruit pie. Will let you know how that goes. 
Thanks for such an awesome blog! 
Thanks guys! Always love getting feedback.  

Finally, I made something that I think deserves to go in the 'Samoan-inspired' file. They say that 'Necessity is the mother of invention'. Well, it was a 'necessity' for me to get rid of a whole bag of limes that some well-meaning neighbor had left on my doorstep. People around here love to grow things and when the harvest is bountiful, I start getting mystery produce left in shopping bags outside my door. So to the person that left me 50 limes, I say, HA! I made a pie! 
44 more limes to go...

Lime Mousse Pie (serves 12)
makes an 8" (20cm) square pie

Make the pai crust and prebake.

Filling and Meringue topping:
4 large eggs, separated
14 ounce (400gr) can sweetened condensed milk
¾ cup (180ml) fresh lime juice
1½ teaspoons finely grated lime zest
⅓ cup sugar
green food colouring (optional)

Put the egg yolks and condensed milk in a bowl and whisk together. Beat in the lime juice and then the zest.

Next, beat egg whites and the sugar until they are stiff but not dry. Fold about half of this meringue into your filling mixture. Add 2-3 drops of coloring if you want a limey look. (And easy on the colouring. It doesn't take much to go from tropical lime to dark forest green.) Pour the filling into the pre-baked crust and bake it for 15 minutes at 350°F (180°C).

Take the pie out of the oven, and turn the heat up to 375°F (190°C). Spread the rest of the meringue over the hot filling and use the back of a spoon to decoratively make peaks and swirls. Put the pie back in the oven for 5-10 minutes until the meringue is golden brown.

Remove the pie from the oven and cool. Then put it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or overnight.

Because this pie is very rich, cut it into 12 rectangular pieces. Although the filling is a creamy light mousse, it carries an intense lime flavour. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pai - Fruit pie

By panipopos

If I say the word "pie", what image springs to mind? 
For most people, it's a double crusted round pie with a little steam vent in the top crust or a latticed fruit pie. The crust is made of flaky pastry which has a fluted edge, perhaps dusted with sugar. One serving is cut into a wedge-shape that fits nicely onto a silver cake server, and it's eaten either hot or cold with a scoop of ice-cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

If you said the word "pai" to me, the image that immediately pops into my head is a deep rectangular roasting dish half-filled with square pieces of pie, that are quickly disappearing as they are being lifted with an egg spatula onto saucers standing nearby. The bottom layer is like a thick crumbly buttery cookie. Above that is a moist fat layer of fruit and custard. This is topped off with light and fluffy meringue or chantilly cream. Three layers of yumminess. One square of heaven.

When this pai is put in front of me, the custard barely has time to stop jiggling before I've finished it off and taken my saucer back for more. If we've brought some pai home from some event and it's sitting in the refrigerator, then late that same evening, I'll creep into the kitchen, make sure no-one's about, and then eat that pie straight out of the roasting dish with the biggest spoon I can find. I don't even bother turning the kitchen lights on. Just use the light from the refrigerator.

Yes, this is one of those foods that makes a glutton out of me.