Travel and food influences

Varied Ingredients

At Kalukanda House we know that travel is a transformative experience. Our global mindset encourages a mingling of cultures and we love nothing more than being inspired by blending different people and influences together to create beautiful experiences for all our senses.

Humans are nomadic - it is what we do. Our editorial celebrates and shares a multicultural world and this article will fire and inspire your tastebuds to hang onto the soul nourishing moments we have created in our kitchens during lockdown.

A fresh recipe for Basil Mojito and dried Mango chutney both created from home made base ingredients, courtesy of Bobbi Garbutt of The Sustenance Collective, are a perfect last minute combination for al fresco moments with friends - just add French cheeses, Spanish cured meats and some global tunes.

We are looking forward to creating the mango chutney using our very own Sri Lankan mangoes!

Sustainability in practice

bobbi garbutt

Bobbi left London and a fast life catering for fashion events and supper clubs, to head back to her family home in Grenada to breathe life back into their organic cocoa and nutmeg farm. Raised by a Grenadian mother and British father her early years and visits to Grenada sparked her appreciation for the natural landscape, an understanding of where food comes from, and a more intentional, slower way of living. Bobbi is an advovate of slow living and adventure and has built a beautiful business that charts the provenance of all ingredients from soil to table.

Periods of immigration throughout the world have signalled the movement not only of people, but of cultural traditions. In Grenada’s case, the advent of the Indian indentureship to the island in 1857-1885, following the abolition of slavery saw a number of Indian immigrants sail to the Caribbean. They brought with a skilled workforce and their cultural heritage seeped into the DNA of Grenada and surrounding islands, Trinidad and Tobago. The binding of the two cultures formed hybrids of many foods found on tables today.

Bobbi shares a little of her journey starting out and some easy ways for us to practice making a few of our own base store cupboard items using organic herbs and fruit.

Her approach to her life and the recipes on her website are inspiring and aspirational - read on to find out more.

From Garden to Pantry:

Alternative ways to preserve the best of your home-grown bounty

bobbi garbutt

It really is true what they say : growing food is the most rewarding, yet tortuous activity one can endeavour into. For years I admit I was more of a ‘back-seat’ gardener than anything else. So in love with the idea of growing your own but never really set the wheels in motion. Instead I invested in an encyclopedia of seeds and palmed off all the hard work of nurturing to someone else. I just couldn’t face the heartbreak of seeing sad seedlings and the relentless daily task of remembering to water. My impatience too possibly also a contributing factor, I wanted bountiful herbs and vegetables at my disposal the moment I sowed that seed.

Our garden now grows basil, rosemary, thyme, spring onions, lemongrass, mint and parsley in abundance amongst leafy greens, tomatoes, courgettes and every type of melon you can imagine.

Arriving at the happy predicament of growing more herbs and vegetables than we could consume got me thinking of inventive ways in which to preserve them that would allow us to enjoy their flavour year-round. For the budding growers amongst us, I’ve compiled a list of simple preservation methods.

These are straightforward tricks that will lock in those wonderful flavours, forever reminding you of that endless summer in your garden.

Simple Syrups

An easy method. Take equal parts sugar to water (I use about 2 cups each). Bring to the boil in a medium saucepan then reduce to a simmer. Drop in your washed herb of choice and remove from the heat immediately. Cover and allow to steep for up to an hour. Remove the sprigs of herbs and decant into a warm, sterilized glass jar. Store in the fridge where it will usually last up to 1+ month. Herb syrups are particularly great in cocktails (hello mojitos), or iced tea.

*Best garden bounty: basil, mint, rosemary and lemongrass*

Example - Basil Mojito

(recipe and image credit to Drizzle and Dip)

Mojito

Recipe | makes 1 large Mojito

  • 2T sugar syrup or 1 T sugar
  • 1 lime (half juiced, and half cut into wedges
  • a shot of white rum (as much as you like but 25ml is good)
  • 6 – 10 basil leaves
  • soda water
  • extra slices of lime to garnish

Place the sugar / sugar syrup, rum, lime juice, basil leaves and wedges in a tall sturdy glass and bash with a muddler to release the flavour. Fill the glass with a lot of ice, and top up with soda water. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and slices of lime.

For anybody wanting a refreshing tea, head to Bobbi's webbsite to find this delicious Basil blossom and Lemongrass Tea.

Basil Ice Tea

Dehydrate

This is a particularly great method as dehydrating intensifies the flavour of fruit in particular. Set your oven to 100C on fan. Cut your chosen fruit if using into slices or quarters according to preference. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper and place your produce on, ensuring that it is well spaced out.

Leave on the middle shelf in the oven for up to 6 hours, turning once in between to check they have reached desired dehydration – once the edges have shrivelled and the centres are still juicy is my preference.

*Best garden bounty: any stone fruit – plums, apricots. Also citrus, apples, pears and cherry tomatoes.*

Example - Mango Chutney

(recipe credit to River Cottage)

Mango tree

Makes five 340ml jars

  • 500g dried mango slices
  • 1 garlic bulb, cloves separated and peeled
  • 2 medium-hot red chillies, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 25g piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower or rapeseed oil
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 500g cooking apples
  • 4 onions, chopped
  • 350g light brown sugar
  • 500ml cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly
  • Ground black pepper

Method

Put the dried mango slices into a bowl, pour over 1.5 litres water, cover and leave to soak overnight.

Put the garlic, chillies and ginger in a food processor with the orange zest and juice and process to a paste. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the mustard and fenugreek seeds and fry for a minute or so until they start to pop.

Add the garlicky paste and fry for a couple of minutes, stirring so that it does not burn. Add the ground spices and fry another minute.

Tip the mangoes and their liquid into a large, stainless steel saucepan or preserving pan. Peel, core and chop the apples and add to the pan with the onions, spice paste, sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil. Simmer, uncovered, for 1.5–2 hours, until rich and thick, stirring frequently – particularly towards the end of cooking to ensure it doesn't stick.

Ladle the chutney into the hot, sterilised jars and seal with vinegar-proof lids. Store in a cool, dry place and leave to mature for at least 8 weeks before using. Use within 2 years.

Cheese platter

Dried Herbs

vegetable garden 050520 21

Firstly cut the branches/leaves of the herbs you’d like to dry (ensuring they all look healthy). Rinse the herbs in cold water in the sink. Pat them dry with kitchen roll and separate into small bunches (about 4/5 stems).

Tie each bundle with some hardy string at the end branches and hang them in a warm, airy room for up to a fortnight. Alternatively, you can lay them flat outside or inside where they won’t get in the way. A paper bag with holes punched into it wrapped around the bunch of herbs will help prevent falling leaves in the house!

Once your herbs are completely dry, use a mortar and pestle to crush each sets of herbs to your desired size and place in a sterilized glass jar with a label and date. Ensure you store these in a cool, dark place away from sunlight to ensure longevity. These should keep for up to a year.

Dried herbs such as thyme and rosemary are particularly great for roast meats and vegetables.

Best garden bounty: Any hardy herbs, particularly bay leaves, thyme & rosemary

Extra Tips

Ensure that you harvest your herbs before they flower in order to get the fullest flavour. (Later in the summer is usually the best time) Also make sure that you don’t cut the entire plant. Aim to cut maximum about half of the plant to ensure plant regrowth if this is your intention.

About Bobbie

bobbi garbutt

Bobbie is a food activist and educator, working to create sustainable supply chains within the food industry.

Living on both sides of the Atlantic between London and Grenada, she has taken on the task of transforming her family’s 200-year-old organic cocoa and spice planation on the island, making the direct link to international customers and regenerating the estate for experiential tours and workshops.

She is also founder of The Sustenance Collective Ltd, a London-based food company and online platform sharing recipes, recommendations and tips for earth-inspired living.

Instagram: TheSustenanceCollective

Image Credits

Bobbi Garbutt, Jakob Owens, Joanie Simon, River Cottage, Sip and Drizzle