I have just got back to the ship, exhausted and absolutely covered in dog hair (and also a little dog urine) after a day spent helping out at Si Ma Bo in Mindelo, Sao Vicente, Cape Verde. The day started with me and Jeannie, my sous chef for the day, making 25 Mini Pizzas, a Carrot Cake, a Peanut Butter Brownie Pie and Black Bean Salsa to take for a vegan awareness lunch organised by the amazing Silvia Punzo who founded Si Ma Bo (which means ‘like you’ in creole) in 2008.
Over the last 3-4 years, which the very few resources they have they have managed to spay and neuter over 7000 dogs and cat. The animals picked up are given any medical treatment required, given the time and space to recover from surgerys before either attempting to re-home them with loving families, giving them a home at the shelter, or returning them to their homes on the streets.
The day was such a success and we got to meet many people involved with Si Ma Bo, from the volunteers who walk the dogs daily, one of the vets who helps to make sure all the animals get spayed and neutered, to the people who donate their buildings and resources so that Si Ma Bo can survive.
But they are in desperate need of help. Soon the money runs out… with only enough currently in the bank to feed the animals until Christmas. The also have to move…. the building they currently use for the shelter is being taken back by the owner at the end of this month, a place where they did not have to pay rent. This puts the future of 87 Rescued dogs, some still in need of regular veterinary treatment and care at risk of nowhere to go! Cape Verde is still a very poor country and they really do rely on public donations… the majority of which come from people outside of Cape Verde.
It’s not often I would write about an organisation to plea for people to donate to them, as there are just so many organisations like this one in desperate need of help.
But after spending time there walking and meeting the dogs, meeting the people involved and seeing first hand how they are trying so so hard to give the animals a life free from pain and hunger it’s impossible not to want to help in every way possible. The culture and poverty here does not make it easy at all. The few animals that do managed to get rehomed will often end up back at the shelter, especially if they get sick and the family are unable or unwilling to pay for treatment.
So if your are having a generous kind of day, or would like to organise a fundraiser for a good, honest charity where every penny goes straight to the care of the animals and not towards high salaries or admin costs…
…or maybe you are or you know a vet who may fancy a holiday in Cape Verde and would like to volunteer some time and vetinary skills…
As for the food… Silvia is a passionate vegan trying to advocate in a very non vegan environment, and I was honored to help her with this at the lunch today.
One of my favourite things I made today were the mini pizzas. I have decided that from now on all pizzas I make should be mini!! I wanted to make sure everything I cooked today was using ingredients that are available locally in Cape Verde. There did not seem much point making anything fancy using ingredients I bought over from UK to try and show local people how easy veganism could be, when none of the ingredients would be available to them!
The pizza cheese I used is made up of things like soy milk, vinegar, ketchup etc… ingredients I have found are available in most places around the world. It is especially useful when you really really want to eat a cheesy vegan pizza but cashews, nutritional yeast or store bought vegan cheeses are simply nowhere to be seen for thousands of miles.
I kept the toppings pretty simple with these, just using some sliced tomatoes, green pepper, chilli flakes and mushrooms, along with a marinara sauce base and the bubbly cheese sauce. They make a good little snack for parties and are still good after they have cooled. Pizza for breakfast anyone?
Double recipe no rise pizza dough
1 recipe marinara sauce
1 recipe Bubbly Cheese Sauce, recipe below
- Once you have made up your dough, set aside whilst you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Make up you marinara, or you can use sieved tomatoes straight out the bottle.
- Prepare your cheesy sauce and chop up any vegetables or other toppings you want to use. I used mushrooms, peppers, sliced tomato, chillis and onion. Get creative and use whatever’s your favourite!
- Preheat oven to 220°c-230°c.
- Take approx ¾ cup measures of pizza dough and roll up into a neat ball with your hands. Then either with a rolling pin or your hands flatten out into thin discs. Place on a lightly floured baking sheet.
- Add first your tomato base, then about a tablespoon of chessy sauce, then your desired toppings. You should be able to get about 4 on the baking sheet at a time. Bake for 10 minutes or until the crust is golden. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving and enjoy.
To essemble mini pizza’s…
Makes approx 24 mini pizza’s.
- 125ml unsweetened soya milk
- 100ml sunflower oil
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp ketchup
- 1 tsp mustard, preferably dijon if available
- 1 tsp vegetable stock powder, or yeast extract
- 1 Tbsp maize, chickpea or plain flour
- Heat the soya milk in a small saucepan until not quite boiling. Whisk the milk as you slowly pour in the oil. Lower heat and kept whisking as you add the apple cider vinegar.
- Whisk in all remaining ingredients, keeping the saucepan on the heat. Bring the mixture to the boil, simmer for about 1 minute and then turn off the heat. Now it’s ready to use!