Friday, November 11, 2011

Samba's Beach

It is only a 5 minute walk to a local beach from our house (or 45 minutes if you walk with the boys). There are 2 names for this beach: Les Prieres (The Prayers) or Marabou Wall Beach.

In our house, we call the beach 'Samba's Beach'.

We have been going to this beach since we moved into our house...almost two years. During these two years, we have seen the beach improve in terms of cleanliness and access. Last year, 2 different groups of men took over the beach, providing drinks, parasols, and matts for a nominal fee. They also began to clean the beach, remove trash, and create stairways for easy access down the steep cliffs.

The Samba Brothers run the right side of the beach. They are Bi-fals, a local tribe here, know for their 'rasta-like' appearance. They do not pray 5 times a day like other muslims, they can eat pork, they can smoke and drink if they wish, and they do not fast during Ramadan. They are particularly known for their singing, drumming, and chanting as they carry the word of Allah across the lands.

The Sambas are at the beach everyday. I believe they live there, although, I am not certain. They clean the beach in the morning, set up parasols, serve cold drinks, and then sing and drum throughout the rest of the day. The Samba's are gentle, happy, and always smiling.

The boys ADORE the Sambas.... And I have no doubt, the Samba's adore the boys. They teach the boys drumming, Wolof, and walk with them up and down the beach. The last few days we have gone, the boys did not want to sit with Mom on the beach as they preferred to drum with the Sambas.

Samba and friends at the drum circle.

Ummmm....Dylan doesn't look happy at all.

The boys trying to follow along to Samba's clapping.

Beach walk with Samba

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Banana bread

Unlike our lime tree that has only given us one lime in two years, our banana tree blesses us with two separate crops of bananas each year....with each crop having at least a few bushels. Twice a year, we have at least 50-75 bananas that are ripe all at the same time. After giving a lot away, we are still left with a freezer full of bananas.

Here is a pic and link from our first banana cutting last year.

What to do with tons of frozen bananas? Banana bread, of course.

Since we have lived here in Senegal, I have made 1-2 loaves of banana bread each week. We usually have one on hand in our house, and the others we give to our staff, guards, or neighbors.

Statistically speaking, that means I have made about 150 loaves of banana bread in the last two years. I have tried dozens and dozens of recipes. I have used recipes from my favorite cooks and chefs.

In my '150 loaves in two years' opinion, banana bread is best when it is kept simple.

In my recipe box, I have kept an old folded piece of paper with a banana bread recipe written on it. I have no idea who it is from. I thought is was Betty Crocker, but it's not. Maybe it's my grandmothers....I don't know. But it's simple, and delicious.

Banana Bread:
4 ripe bananas, mashed *if using frozen bananas, you will need to add 1 more cup of flour
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar, + 1 tsp to sprinkle on top of loaf
1 beaten egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350. Mash bananas in a large bowl. Add sugar, egg, vanilla, and sprinkle in salt and baking soda. Add flour and stir well.
Butter a loaf pan and pour in. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

**Chocolate chunk banana bread: Crumble 1 chocolate bar and set aside. Follow recipe above, then just pour 3/4 of the batter into pan. Then sprinkle in chocolate. Top with rest of batter and sprinkle with sugar.