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A food holiday in Cuba

So, I've been set free from exam hell. I'm free to run into my kitchen and go mad, get out the pots and pans, and go wild. What do I cook? From the looks of the photos on my camera, a lot of the same stuff I cooked when I had my nose in the books.

There was a lot of gnocchi. While I can take or leave most pasta, I'll happily rhapsodise about the humble gnocchi as long as you want. It's squidy, it cooks in a couple of minutes, and it somehow manages to make me think I'm cooking fancy food, even when the gnocchi comes out of a packet that's aged gently in my freezer. Let me enjoy my delusion for a bit, eh?

Here's one example of my gnocci fandom:

It was a stab at doing something late summery with yellow and green courgettes, mint and pink peppercorns, which I like so much I covertly sneak a couple out of the jar and crack them between my teeth when no one is looking. (I'm not sure who I think is going to come after me for my spice-sneakery - the peppercorn peppercops?)

Things I discovered while cooking this dish a) yellow courgettes are incredibly watery and reduce to slime if you don't pay attention. b) that slime is still tasty.

There was more to be found gnocchi to be found here:

I don't know why, but this dish looks kind of spooky, doesn't it? It was just meant to be a sort of autumnal gnocchi (well hello, gem squash and spring greens) but it looks more like a science experiment that's been caught under a spotlight while trying to escape from custody. Again, it tasted pretty nice. Probably needed a spot of tidying up though.

After my gnocchi Stockholm syndrome subsided, I was seized with a desire for one dish which I'd mentally bookmarked on another blog (mentally bookmarked = another way of saying I can't for the life of me remember on whose blog it appeared). I'd been craving it desperately, and finally got a bit of time to do the necessary veggie pampering: a spot of roasted greens (featuring windowsill chard!), yellow beetroot cut into chunks that look a bit like some Easter Island heads, avocado and rice. Holy moly, it was good.


Normally I tend to avoid the cravings that my body has as typically they're for cake, but sometimes, just sometimes, it comes up with the goods. This was so simple and delicious, I was very full, very happy, and very satisfied afterwards. I had it again the next day. I would probably have had it the day after that, but for the fact that I'd run out of 'root.

But (wo)man cannot live on gnocchi and beetroot alone. Me and Mr Flicking the Vs went out for lunch to a Cuban restaurant near us that we kept walking past and not going in.

Big mistake.

Casa Cuba in Crystal Palace has two vegan options for main meals on its menu, and a few vegan sides to boot. Mr Flicking the Vs and me got one each and shared (by sharing I mean we divided each in half, then I ate my half and kept taking crafty bites of his half for good measure). I got the vegan black bean burger and he got the beans and rice plate.

I've not been to Cuba, so I can't make any claims about the authenticity of the food, but I can definitely vouch for its tastiness. The cassava fries on my plate and the fried plantains on his were things that I don't eat often enough. The rice-plus-beans-plus-avocado combo reminded me of the food we got a lot of in Central America - I loved it there, I loved it in Crystal Palace. We're definitely not leaving it so long til we take another food holiday with Casa Cuba.

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  1. Haha I'm the same way about gnocchi! It's my fave pasta and it feels so fancy! The Cuban restaurant sounds awesome! I really want to go to Cuba.

  2. You have convinced me that I need to rediscover gnocchi. It has been years since I've had it, and never as creatively as you!

  3. I always feel I should make my own gnocchi and rarely buy it but I am coming round to it (after all I never make my own pasta either despite having bought a pasta machine) - amazing that you are over exams and you eat so healthily - no celebratory cakes :-)

  4. From the looks of it, I apparently do not eat enough gnocchi. I didn't know what I was missing. :-) I've only had vegan Cuban food once before but I remember the rice and beans were surprisingly good.

  5. Hiiii Joey, thank you so much for your comments while I was away. I’m back and catching up with your blog. Congratulations on being finished with your exams, well done, Joey! I love gnocchi, they are so delicious with anything and hard to live without! Dishes at Casa Cuba look pretty good, I have never been to Cuba either…not sure if that’s supposed to be Cuban food - but the beans and rice plate seems to be Cuban! Enjoy cookin' away in the kitchen! :)


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