The past few days have been a wild ride.

The adrenaline that carries you through moments of uncertainty and fear has gone.

I'm left with emotions that swing wildly from anger to sadness to mourning to defiance.

The embassy was breached. Our flag was burned. There were terrible videos and photos of angry young men posted to Facebook. They were unsettling.

Photo from

Our school was set on fire, looted, vandalized. Again, there were terrible videos and photos of angry young men posted to Facebook. They were maddening.

Photo of a looted and burned classroom

Opportunistic looters. Nearly every computer from the school was stolen.

And then, yesterday, our flag was raised yet again over the embassy. Our school is being cleaned up. There are pledges of help.

Photo from the American Embassy Tunis

There is hope.

During this rough time we had many friends staying with us. We were glued to the TV, the internet, and each other.

Over glasses of wine and mint tea and tears and laughter we shared this meal.

Moros y Christianos, simple, humble black beans and rice. The name translates to Moors and Christians. I didn't make my usual recipe for this dish, this was made on the fly with what was in the pantry. I had brown rice, cans of black beans and some homemade salsa in the fridge.

Moros y Christianos
2 cups brown rice
2 cans of black beans rinsed and drained
2 cans of diced tomatoes in puree
1/2 of a red onion finely minced
1 heaping tablespoon of cumin
2 teaspoons of chili powder
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2-1 jalapeno seeded and finely diced
1 teaspoon salt
juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cups finely chopped cilantro

Cook the rice according to the package directions. While the rice is cooking combine in a mixing bowl the tomatoes, onion, cumin, chili powder, olive oil, jalapeno, salt, lemon juice and cilantro.
When the rice is cooked stir in the beans and salsa. Heat through and serve with diced avocado.


We've been back in Tunisia for a couple of weeks. Enough time to acclimate to the heat, (Sort of. Okay, not really at all), clean out the tumbleweed sized dust bunnies that grew during our absence, and take in whats available at the markets.

Going to the market is a once or twice a week affair, lots of inspiration to be had except at this time of year.  There really isn't a lot on offer. There is a pretty reliable supply of eggplant, zucchini, and plum tomatoes, but not many other vegetables. In another week or two the markets will be busting with goodness but for now....ratatouille and baba ghanoush rule. You can also find piles of stone fruit and heaps and heaps....and heaps of figs.

If you find yourself with kilo, upon kilo of figs, make this cake. It's rich, slightly crunchy around the edges from the brown sugar caramel, and has great texture from the cornmeal in the cake batter.

I think I'll have another slice and google some zucchini recipes.

Fresh Fig Upside Down Cake
Adapted from Food Blogga
Serves 12

1/2 cup butter
1 cup bron sugar
6-8 figs cut into quarters
12 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Plain Greek yogurt or creme fraiche for serving

Preheat oven the 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch round cake pan and line with parchment paper.
Melt the butter over medium heat, add the brown sugar and stir until melted. Pour the caramel into the prepared pan. Place the figs in a concentric circle around the pan.

In a medium bowl beat the butter, sugar, and honey until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and the eggs and beat until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed until just combined.

Gently spoon the batter over the figs and spread to cover the pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a tester comes out clean when poked in the center of the cake.

Remove the cake from the oven, allow to rest for 10 minutes. Run a blunt knife around the edges of the pan and carefully turn the cake out onto a serving platter. Serve with the yogurt or creme fraiche.