Every term one of the girls in our Bible study 'hosts a country'. Instead of a normal Bible study we go to someone's house and they cook traditional food, we learn about the country and then pray for the country.
Of course, when asked if I would like to do one I jumped at the chance to share my heart country with my Bible study .
I went to the fruit and vegetable markets near my place, and was so excited to find banana leaves! Closest thing I would be able to find for laplap leaves. I knew banana leaves would burn a bit more than laplap leaves, but I was hopeful that it would give a bit more authentic flavour to the food. It took forever to find yam - lots and lots of taro, but I really wanted to find yam. Yam laplap is sooo much nicer than taro laplap. Almost did a happy dance when I found the one little stall that had yam.
I made coconut cream fish, 'soup and rice', yam laplap and banana laplap. ('soup' in this case is a beef stew like dish cooked with lots of beef stock, oil, some 'island cabbage' and 2 minute noodles added)
My biggest triumph was that I think I finally cracked making laplap in an oven rather than between hot stones.I blended raw yam until smooth (I recently purchased a crazy powerful blender) and preheated oven to 200 Celsius. Put thick oven dishes in oven to warm up. Lined one dish with Banana leaves and grease proof paper. Poured in yam mixture (I would normally add coconut cream on top but one of the girls is allergic to coconut). Covered with more paper and banana leaves. Added another dish on top to put pressure and also a solid heat above. Lowered temp to 180 and left for 2 1/2 hours. I think could have gone for longer (another hour?) or higher temperature but was still good, just not quite 'set' enough. We then put warm coconut cream on top to serve.
We sat on a mat in the lounge room, clapped after grace, listened to string band music and prayed for Gods work in Vanuatu.