One of the great things about going to see Jo this year, was hanging out in the kitchen with Jo. Jo is a great cook and on the last day of my holiday, Jo and I made roast dinner for the Americans. ('cause when you're in sub Saharan Africa, roast dinner is so what you want to cook and eat!!)
Not all of my kitchen time was with Jo though, I spent an hour watching her boyfriend, Lazare make bissap. Bissap is made from hibiscus flowers, in the Carribean they call it sorrel. But I was in West Africa so bissap it is.
Making it is great and can be messy
You start off by making a 'tea' of the dried hibiscus flowers and some mint. Let it steep and then mash it a bit. Then sieve and strain it for a bit until you are left with a big bowl of warm, red/purple liquid, add some orange blossom water and sugar, when it tastes right (slightly too sweet – you serve it cold and cold mutes the favour) pour it into bottles, cool it and bung it in the fridge. You can drink it neat, with ice, tonic or use it as you would cassis for a 'bissap royale'.
It's a nice thing to be able to make and it's also nice to have learnt a skill while I was on holiday. I hope Lazare approves…