Greece

Photography, Travel

About a month ago, my grandparents, mum, best friend and myself were immersing ourselves into island life – Greek-style – and I thought it was about time some of the beauty we witnessed was properly shared.


 
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Windmill

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Athens

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All photographs are copyright of Kelsi Farrington 2015 unless otherwise stated. All photographs were taken with an iPhone 4 (normal camera still out of action). 

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Just Touched Down in London Town

Photography, Travel

After successfully being offered an internship in The Big Smoke (aka London), I have recently had to leave my idyllic island life. I’ve made it through one, full week here in London Town and believe me, it’s taking a lot of adjusting after nearly 4 months of being in the Bahamas – a completely different way of living in all sorts of ways!

My work experience begins next week at a Brixton-based company called City Pantry who get the delicious street food of London to the offices of the city’s workers. I’ll be in charge of the social media for the company and although nervous, I’m excited to be getting my teeth into a job that works so closely with food. Although it is going to take me quite a while to get settled, mainly because I’ve yet to have a permanent base (literally from one B&B to another), I feel grateful for all the big opportunities here. It’d just be great to have a home! But luckily, I’m not doing it completely alone – my cousin has also made the move to London and we’ve had a blast exploring and getting the most out of life here already:

A day trip to Kensington 

Our day in Kensington included a trip to the V&A Museum – what a beautiful place. We then met up with a university friend of mine, Omari, and made a crucial decision: where we were going to eat for lunch…

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We chose Muriel’s Kitchen – an excellent place for lunch & dessert. I’m in love with so many of these small cafes that offer homemade and well executed dishes. As I said on my Instagram with a photo of the savory food at Muriel’s, I felt like what they served was akin to the type of food I would personally serve. Such an enjoyable experience to feel totally good about what you’ve ordered.

Buckingham Palace & Big Ben

We hopped on the tube and headed a few stops down the line until we could have a good walk around the capital and see all of those iconic tourist sights.

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Visiting and seeing all of the ‘iconic’ British monuments and scenes is definitely a big benefit. I love being able to spot where I am just by seeing the Shard or the London Eye in the distance. The mixture of old and new is something I really like as well. It feels like I’m 12 years old again, on my first trip here.

South Bank
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I definitely know South Bank and the ‘Queen’s Walk’ better than any other part of London. It was my previous trip to London last year that brought me to London Bridge and along the Thames and it has some really positive connotations. South Bank planted the first idea of moving to London. There’s so much energy here at peak times and it’s a great place to go with friends and even some quiet time alone.

South Bank’s Food Vans

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There’s another idea that’s been planted recently – the prospect of running a food van. Because London is joining the big cities in the US with the street food van scene, I can’t help but think of no better band wagon to jump on than this. Some of you know that I’ve worked on creating a Bahamian cookbook that has a British twist – well why not make that into something more? My cousin and I are both into our food (and good food at that) and we’ve made the move here together so we’ve started doing some research into the food van industry. We’ll see what progresses – could be very exciting!

St Paul’s Cathedral 
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I love being able to walk for hours with no real destination in mind. The idle chit-chat and the ability to arrive at the steps of astonishing buildings like St Paul’s Cathedral is only slightly relatable to my time in Rome. Amidst all the chaos and frequent changes of a busy city, there are these historic structures.

Islington 
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Cabana Brasilian Barbecue – my first experience of Brazilian food and it was great. Cassava chips are definitely worth getting!

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All images are copyright of Kelsi Farrington, 2014 and taken with a Canon Rebel DSLR and a 40mm ‘Pancake’ lens. 

 

Recipe Sharing: Bahamian Coconut ‘Trifle’ Cake

Bahamas, Food, Home, Photography

 

One incredibly Bahamian dessert is Coconut ‘Trifle’ Cake. Now, for my British readers, trifle has an entirely different connotation. However, this recipe is essentially a moist pound cake recipe that can be adapted to suit any preference. You swap the coconut for chopped pineapple, bananas… the list goes on!

Mrs. Robertha is one of Green Turtle Cay’s beloved women. She also makes a famous Coconut Cake and does it in record speed and everyone adores them just as much as they love her. Moist and flavorsome, I asked her for the recipe. Her reply: “That’s going to be hard… I don’t have a recipe. I just know how to do it.”

I couldn’t help but giggle because I knew that was coming so I arranged to stop by a day when she was making them and revisited my Ma’s recipe. When Josie, one of her friends, agreed that Bahamians do have the gut instinct of knowing what looks and smells right, they’re always taking that “gamble” and hoping for the best outcome. “You can never make something the same way twice,” she said.

It makes this very specific task of sharing Bahamian recipes an exciting and challenging one. It also takes someone like me who has both the natural, annoying tendency to ignore a recipe and just ‘wing it’. I also have a genuine love for sharing what I’ve made with you. And if I can’t share it with you in person, I’ve got to get it down in words!

With the combination of my grandma’s recipe and photographs of Mrs. Robertha making hers, I’m pleased to share with you a common and delicious Bahamian recipe – Coconut ‘Trifle’ Cake:

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This recipe makes one cake and makes no promises to be healthy!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound [225 g] of butter
  • 1 cup [8 ounces / 200g] of packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup [4 ounces /100g] of white (caster / granulated) sugar
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups [11 ounces or 525 g] of all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla (Mrs. Robertha also adds 1 tablespoon of almond extract to hers)
  • 2 bags of 7 ounce [400 grams / 4 cups roughly in total] of shredded coconut (I’d recommend unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup [125ml] of  double cream or what Bahamians use – evaporated milk (this is where the ‘trifle’ aspect of the cake comes in)

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a bowl with a large spoon and then ‘blend’ thoroughly with either a hand mixer or processor. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit / 175 degrees Celsius in a lined and slightly greased loaf tin (preferably a small 3″x5″).

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Make sure to visit Mrs. Robertha at her little grocery shop offering Bahamian necessities and her baked treats like this Coconut Cake right in the center of Green Turtle Cay.  robertha6All photos are copyright of Kelsi Farrington, 2014.

Tranquil Turtle’s Sunday Fish Fry

Bahamas, Food, Home, Journalism, Photography, Published Work, Travel

As one of Green Turtle Cay’s oldest resorts and marinas, Bluff House has had a major revamp in the last three years. With new owners and a fresh set of staff, they are taking on new projects and events and one of particular success is their Sunday Fish Fry.

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Tranquil Turtle Beach Bar’s Sunday Fish Fry was an idea from Bianca Curry, a familiar face working at the Bar, and although it is only in its first few weeks it’s already had a great start. Attracting around 100+ people every Sunday from 2pm onwards, the focus of this weekly event (which aims to carry on for the rest of the season) is bringing people together for a local treat and Bahamian tradition.

Michael Withers, one of the new owners at the Bluff House explains the secret behind the Sunday Fish Fry which is all prepared from scratch in the Beach Bar’s kitchen:

“It’s all thanks to our staff,” Michael explained. “We’ve got great girls with great ideas and personalities. Bianca ran with this idea and so far so good! We also have other things like our burgers, cracked conch and fritters besides the 60-70 perspective orders of the main attraction.”

The great food and fun atmosphere is helped by the sounds of a local DJ and of course, the star of the Sunday Fish Fry is in the name but it is done with a difference. Crisply and lightly battered whole snappers are served with homemade banana pancakes providing a perfect balance of light and filling for just $12.

Coming from a traditional Bahamian breakfast – fried fish and ‘panny cake,’ the fresh snapper with the hint of sweetness and the chef’s addition of “a little nutmeg” to the pancakes ties the flavours together really well.

For the tourists staying in the hotel rooms and villas, it provides the perfect combination of a beautiful beach location, great food, drinks and music all with a buzzing and unique atmosphere which draws in locals and other vacationers alike.

One GTC local for example, Maxwell McIntosh, approved of the event and expressed his hope for some of the “money to stay on the Cay rather than everyone going to Nippers every Sunday.”

A regular visitor and sailboat owner, Pat Phelan said that Abaco (and Green Turtle Cay in particular) was, out of all the other places in the Bahamas, the place he spends the most money. “There are so many nice things to go to like this. It’s fun and it’s a happy medium here. It’s nice to get everyone together.”

So, whether you’re carried by golf cart, boat or foot, Tranquil Turtle’s Sunday Fish Fry is a Sunday well spent and you’ll leave with your belly full, your dancing-legs sore and maybe some damaged pride after a game or two of corn hole toss or volleyball on Tranquil’s beach.

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As seen in The Abaconian newspaper, published March 15th 2014. 

An Interview with an Artist: Rett Sturman

Bahamas, Home, Journalism, Photography, Published Work, Travel

Green Turtle Cay had a new face that became quite familiar recently. Usually found with his easel propped opposite his muse – one of the cay’s street views, homes or beaches, Rett Sturman has created a growing collection of oil-painted scenes like the Albert Lowe Museum he’s recently completed.

Rett Sturman

After a Google search for beautiful places in the Caribbean, Rett Sturman fell in love with the array of turquoises that New Plymouth’s harbour had to offer. Hailing from Vermont, which is currently experiencing -20 degree weather, he sought refuge on the 3-mile-long island for the past 8 weeks.

Rett, 67, studied for his Masters in Architecture in the 70s at the University of Pennsylvania. There, he realised that he wanted to paint. After “starving for a number of years,” he spent a lot of his time visiting some of his old teachers with his progress and they’d in turn offer their criticism.

One in particular would ask, “Are you feeling strong?” before laying the blows. “But,” he said laughing, “there was some good criticism there and a lot of the time, there would be a little pearl to take home.” So, the then 20-something-year-old wouldn’t be too discouraged. “I felt pumped up and I’ve been doing it for 40 years. It’s taken a lot of practice.”

When home, Rett has someone who takes his soft canvas sheets and makes them into giclee prints, a process of printing paintings via an inkjet printer, which he jokes “makes them look nicer than the actual paintings!”

His work (which in the past has ranged in price from a few thousand to sometimes $25,000 depending on the subject) has been sold in galleries, but after so many years, he began feeling pigeon-holed. “I just burned out.”

Stepping away from the ‘factory-line’ style of working and attracted by the unmodern, loyalist homes of Green Turtle, it’s provided a calm and warm environment to do some of his work that’s “not like anything else [he’s] really done before” and he’s “really having fun.”

Rett has no aims to make a living off of these landscaped canvas prints of predominantly the homes in New Plymouth, he spoke of keeping them and some of his other work in a “treasure trunk” styled file for his 24-year-old son, Evan, to come across.

It’s a beautiful idea that would allow his son to stand in his shoes while taking in the lighting, the people and the surroundings of a paradise unlike anywhere else. He explained how nice it was to have people chatting to him rather than the empty silence of a studio, admiring his work (only a distraction when he’s trying to get the lighting just right). Some of his favourite moments on the Cay include what some of the island people have said.

For example, a quote from one local: “You could’ve built that house by now!”IMG_7720

The capture of the Albert Lowe Museum has taken him about 2 weeks to complete. His cross-handed style of painting professes someone who wants a reassured, steady hand to follow the imperfect lines of the homes. His architectural background brought distaste for the use of rulers to produce lifeless straight lines. “I like to follow the hand of the painter.”

Our ‘artist in residence’ was here painting the different scenes of GTC (from one end to the other) until the 25th of February. His oil paintings, all dried on the self-cut sheets of rollable canvas have travelled in a hard case back to the US. His overall experience on Green Turtle Cay “has been heavenly…it really has. And I’ll be back next year – very happily so.”

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All photos were taken by Kelsi Farrington 

Original article seen in Vol. 22, Issue 4 of The Abaconian newspaper published March 1st 2014, pg. 15:
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All About This Island Life II

Home, Photography, Travel

From town to ‘down through’ to its people (and their fish) to its houses, this is life on Green Turtle Cay in pictures: 

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Wrecking Tree Beach IMG_7939The Older Fishermen IMG_7940BiscuitIMG_7936Fish CleaningIMG_7930Lincoln and Ruth IMG_7927MaxwellIMG_7926 2LincolnIMG_7921Waiting for the Big MoveIMG_7925Pa Vert and CarterIMG_7894Mrs Evelyn’s House IMG_7890Down ThroughIMG_7914Ready for Lobster SeasonIMG_7887All images are copyright of Kelsi Farrington and were taken with a Canon Rebel w/ a 40mm lens.

All About This Island Life

Bahamas, Home, Photography, Travel

Two weeks have just about passed since arriving back in the Bahamas. Island life has taken a bit of adjusting, particularly when I’m in that intensely eager mentality to get myself into a city and working and writing. That’s not happening as yet, so I’m blessed to be in such a beautiful place to patiently wait for replies and to be with family makes it even better.

Here are some shots on my iPhone of my time back home on Green Turtle Cay so far:

‘Down Through’

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‘The Pink ‘n White House’

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‘Road to Sundowners’

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‘Town’

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‘Harvey’s Benches’

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‘Sunset’

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‘Local Lizard’

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Dinner at Leslie’s

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‘Paradise – Gilliam Bay’

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And a trip to Pete’s Pub, Little Harbour:

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I’ve also been working on some recipes that I’ll be posting soonish! One of which being Minced Crawfish with pumpkin and rice and Guava Cake:

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 And with the arrival of my new 40mm lens (a 2-week early birthday present), I’m really excited to get some food photography done… maybe even some that’ll be used for my cookbook! Can’t wait to really practice with it. It even has a great name: ‘Rocketfish’. 

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All images are copyright of Kelsi Farrington, 2014. 

Bits of 2013 via VSCOcam

Falmouth, Hay, Home, Photography, Travel

Here are a few shots I’ve taken with my iPhone. They’re from most recent locations, like being back home in Wales and range from days out with friends, to family and food in Cornwall and the streets and sights of Rome and Venice.

I usually dislike the quality of phones yet have so much fun getting such different photos compared to my SLR. VSCOcam hasn’t got a zoom feature but you can choose where your exposure is and where you want the focus to be. It also offers some excellent ‘filters’ and effects for the best of your high-quality shots taken on the move.

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Cornwall’s Caribbean Connections

Falmouth, Food, Journalism, Negotiated Portfolio, Photography, Photojournalism, Published Work, Reviews, Travel, University Work

Falmouth might not appear to be the obvious location for a Caribbean restaurant but chef John Duncan challenged that assumption when he opened Cribbs. Six years ago, the St Vincent-born chef brought his Caribbean roots and background as a head chef to the small seaside town and has since built up not one, but two successfully received Caribbean-oriented establishments.

Having moved to Cornwall in 2000, John had built up experience as head chef in St Ives’ Onshore and Truro’s One Eyed Cat. Cribbs Caribbean Restaurant was John’s first establishment which opened its doors April 2007 and focused on creating a unique and sophisticated dining experience within what he described as a “dilapidated building.”

Starting with immediate repairs on the roof, walls and inside seating, John focused on making his food a memorable experience. “When I first came here, it was bad. One day I just maxed my credit card out, I called someone to sort the sign out, then I got a guy to give me a quote on new seats – cost me ten grand! I did all of that, then I focused everything around this painting. All the colours in here go with it and I also have a picture of home, my house, it’s all there.

“I think the main reason I opened up my own place was because I got tired of being promised so much by other bosses…so I just decided to do it myself,” he explained. “I don’t walk around in the nicest clothes, the nicest car…but that’s because I have a dream beyond that. Once I’m there, I’ll have all of those nice things.”

Business steadily took off and his most popular dishes: Caribbean Lamb Curry and Jamaican Jerk Chicken became quite the talk of the town. Because of his success with the local and student population at the restaurant, John has been supported with his newest venture, Cribbs Cafe-Bar. Both give anyone interested in trying Caribbean cuisine, dishes full of flavour and fresh ingredients.

Before finding a company to deliver these ingredients, John would travel nearly 200 miles to Bristol during off-peak days, filling his car with his kitchen necessities to create traditional, true-to-home centerpieces (like Jamaica’s national dish: ackee and saltfish.) Ackee, a tricky fruit to prepare, is boiled then served with the salted white fish along with sautéed onions and Scotch bonnet pepper. John plates his with chips of fried plantain and plain white rice.

“What I do is use whatever seafood we have here in Falmouth and just give it a twist. Things like fresh thyme, coriander, curry seasoning and cloves…all of these little bits and pieces that make it authentic Caribbean.”

His experience as a chef on a cruise ship is reflected in the styling of his plated food, regardless of the course by focusing on colours and delicate presentation. The main selections are served on white, heavy, bowl-like dishes that allow the flavours to soak down from the fried plantain on top to the rice ‘n peas at the bottom, whereas lighter dishes are served on simple, wooden boards.

When he talked about what Cribbs represented he said that: “I think for me, it’s all about representing not my island but the Caribbean as a whole because Caribbean food is at the back burner where cookery is concerned.”

As owner and chef of both places, John is spending a lot of his time back and forth but still makes a genuine effort to bring a smile to work on a daily basis. Another thing he never forgets is his knitted beanie which replaces a traditional toque paired with chef whites.

“Growing up as a kid I always had dreads… It’s like a woman changing her hairstyle. I just put the hat on and still feel pretty,” he joked. Known for coming over to chat to his customers, he makes sure that he is known foremost for what he is, a chef and someone who enjoys plating up food worth coming in for.

Specialising in take away food, Cribbs Cafe-Bar officially opened May 1 and serves some of John’s roti wraps and other grab-and-go snacks that are available all day and into the evening. John and his ‘crew’ have also taken their atmosphere-enhancing cocktails like ‘Koko Kolada’ that transport you to a tropical paradise in one sip and with its history of being Q-Bar on the Moor, John has given the venue a new life, leaving its graffiti-grunge past behind.

His secret? Determination and choosing your company wisely. “People that you can trust and be able to delegate to them and them come back and delegate to you with the best possible answers for the scenarios or situations.”

“I think fixing up places is my niche,” joked the chef. “If I’m going to be a millionaire, it’s going to be from finding old dilapidated places and turning them into something special!”

Published in Cornwall Today (The Summer Issue, August 2013)