I love a book that is easy to read and straightforward in its plot. Hope & Glory follows Glory, a woman has just left her LA life to come to London to bury her dad and be closer with her family. On the funeral day, she begins to uncover a secret about a long-lost family member and dwells further to find out the truth.
One thing that I love is Jendella Benson’s writing in general while reading Hope & Glory. I was easily absorbed by how the characters felt including Glory, Faith and Julian during the story through the amazing description of places and their impending thoughts.
There were times I sided with Faith for Glory’s constant questions (understandably because she’s been away for so long and has no idea what’s going on) and clearly digging into the past just after their father died without understanding how Celeste was coping with things.
The realism that Hope & Glory brings will really resonate to South Londoners most of all. Not just the setting being in Peckham, but the language used between Glory, her brother Victor and other friends and family in the book. As more secrets come to light, the plot gets more tense and interesting so eventually readers will immerse themselves in Glory’s life and how she navigates the relationships she has with the people around her. I look forward to Benson writing more stories like this in the future!
While talking to Benson, Efo Riro (traditionally known as Ẹ̀fọ́ Riro) came to mind. Known as a traditional Nigerian spinach stew that uses a range of spices such as red chilli peppers, Efo Riro is a very popular dish in Western Nigeria. Of course the spinach which is the main ingredient gets transformed with the inclusion of the spices and broth to make it an irresistible dish.
The fragrant stew is perfect to eat for the evening and authentically most people who cook the stew add beef. It’s also a perfect dish to go with the book as Glory herself cooks Efo Riro for her family. Today’s dish comes from Forest from Craving Mad who has kindly let me recommend their Efo Riro recipe to be paired up with Hope & Glory. Additionally, the recipe also adds iyán (pounded yam) – also known as poundo yam.
- 2 lb of Chicken Breast/Thigh, cubed
- 1 lb of Shrimp, peeled
- 3 Red Bell Peppers, diced
- 1-2 Habanero/Scotch Bonnet Peppers, minced
- 2 Onions, diced
- 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 4 Cups of Collard Greens
- 4 Cups of Kale
- 1 Tbs Dried Crayfish
- 1 Tbs Miso Paste
- 1 Tbs Onion Powder
- 1 Tbs Coriander Powder
- 3 Tbs Palm Oil
- 4 Cups “Poundo” Yam (Yam Flour)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Place a pot on medium-high heat. Season meat with salt, pepper, and coriander, then sear on all sides, and set aside.
- Blend tomatoes, onions, and peppers into a smooth puree, then pour directly into the hot pot. Add palm oil, and stir well. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer.
- Once the oil begins to separate, and the stew darkens, season with additional salt, and add onion powder and coriander. Turn the heat back up to medium-high.
- Add the spinach, and stir. As it wilts, add kale, and stir to encourage the water to evaporate.
- Add the meat from step one, and stir to mix. Turn the heat down to low.
- Transfer yam flour to a large pot or metal bowl, and mix in boiling water until a uniform paste forms. mix continuously to get rid of lumps, and activate the starches so that it becomes slightly “stretchy”.
- Plate and serve.