On this day in particular, I feel there's a contemporary reference that I ought to make to someone who'd been eluding capture for close to 10 years......
Rice'n'beans is really one of my favourite things to make. I love how simple the basics are, but yet there's so much complexity to the flavour in the end. It's for that reason, I believe, just as much as geography that there are so many variations on this recipe. Essentially, it's kidney beans and rice - no kidding Sherlock! - but I like to add onion, sweet pepper and tomato purée. Once you've sweated the vegetables (Figure 1) add the rice, liquid and all your spices (Figure 2) and then cover and leave it for as long as you can. My patience normally runs out after half an hour... but by then it looks like Figure 3 and it's ready to eat. (N.B. I find this dish is better the day after you've made it.)
However, as I was saying before, as simple as the essence of this dish is, getting the right balance of spices is a lot harder! It's taken me two years to get to this stage... although I do make life more difficult for myself by trying to make this dish in different countries where I'm not nearly as familiar with the ingredients.
But, for the sake of my friends who might get rather sick of it, lets hope I will be faster than the Americans in capturing my goal and that it doesn't take me eight more years to perfect that balance!