It's a King Thing

A Lifestyle Blog by Mwahaki King


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Monday 5 August 2019

A Masterclass in Sacrifice & Self-Discovery: Nicole Dennis-Benn’s Second Novel Shines

Nationally celebrated novelist, Nicole Dennis-Benn is back with a gripping new novel! This time it is the tumultuous tale of Patsy (PATSY, Liveright Hardcover $26.95, 432pp, ISBN: 978-1-63149-563-2); a Jamaican woman who has finally received her long-held dream of a visa to America. She intends to use this visa as an opportunity to escape the poverty that surrounds her in a Kingston ghetto and reunite with her oldest friend-turned-lover Cicely; who left the island years before under a shroud of mystery. However, this escape plan does not include Patsy’s five year old daughter, Tru. 

“She squeezes her daughter in a tight embrace, wishing she could be satisfied with the simple pleasure of feeling the sun on her eyelids and the embrace of her daughter. But as she inhales the smell of Blue Magic hair oil she uses in Tru’s hair, which mingles with the smell of beef patties and exhaust fumes from the traffic, and as she listens to the sounds of rush hour on Half-Way Tree Road clamoring around them, Patsy only feels her secret yearning for more deepening. (pp.32-33)

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Wednesday 13 February 2019

Valentine’s Day Reading: A Review of Josie Silver’s “One Day in December”

Photo Credit: Mwahaki King Photography
Now you may be wondering why I would recommend a book for Valentine’s Day if it has December in the title, but trust me Josie Silver’s debut novel is full of enough charm, realism and tender moments to melt even the iciest hearts this Valentine’s Day. Across London, Scotland, Bali and Australia, we follow the friendship and foibles of Laurie, Jack and Sarah for almost ten years. While the central story is an emotional connection between Laurie and Jack with the romantic fervour to rival Love Actually;“One Day in December” is so much more than a simple love story. It is a highly relatable tale of one’s twenties, wherein Silver expertly addresses the themes of friendship, change and overall turbulence the decade carries in shaping the people we become.

Saturday 10 February 2018

Top 10 Songs to Add to Your Valentine’s Day Playlist

Image Source:  Mwahaki King Photography
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and if you’re a romantic like me, you are probably getting a bit excited. I know that some people have rather a dim view of Valentine’s Day these days, but I think any excuse to make the people you love feel special is a good one. Of course, you shouldn’t wait for one specific day to show people that you care; and spontaneous acts of love and kindness are some of life’s greatest joys. However, Valentine’s Day provides us with a great chance to show the people in our lives how much they mean to us; be it a significant other, a family member or your best gal pals!

During university, one of my best friends used to hand-make cards for our whole friend group and slip them into our mailboxes or under doors, every Valentine’s Day without fail. Even after we’ve graduated she still makes them and posts them to wherever we are in the world. That is the sort of thing that I will always cherish. On the romantic side, I’ve definitely been known to buy champagne and decorate a whole room with rose petals and candles just to surprise someone I loved. Valentine’s Day can be a world of fun, it’s just up to you to decide how you want to celebrate it!

I am massive music lover and now that you know I’m also a bit sentimental, it should come as no surprise that I’ve compiled my top ten songs to get you into the Valentine’s Day spirit. I’ve picked favourites from a range of genres, including pop, reggae and modern country. So if you’re having an intimate dinner at home, or if you’re just a sucker for a good love song; these ten songs are sure to get you in a romantic mood and boost your Valentine’s Day spirit!

Saturday 15 July 2017

MEJU: The Captivating Culinary Delight in Davis Square

A short walk down the hill from Tufts University, on the outskirts of Boston, brings you quickly into the bustling streets of Davis Square. There you will find the welcoming aroma of freshly brewed coffee, mingled with the sweet and spicy scent of enchiladas wafting up from the Painted Burro Mexican restaurant. Into this delightful mix of sights and sounds comes a Korean restaurant to rival any of the culinary competition on the block.

Aptly named "Meju" due to its prevalent use of the popular ingredient throughout its menu; the dishes that come out of this kitchen are so delectable they’ll have you planning your next visit before you've even finished the appetizer. Speaking of starters, Meju has a great selection ranging from traditional dumplings to scallion pancakes, spicy rice cakes and sweet potato fries. A personal favourite is the restaurant’s fusion take on Korean buns. These fluffy, feather-soft buns are dripping in bright orange sauce filled with succulent pork and delectable cream cheese and pickles.

Friday 17 March 2017

5 Songs I’m Loving Right Now

As I write this, large parts of the world are enjoying the start of Spring. Birds chirping, flowers blooming, sun shining! Here in Boston however, we are still deep in the throes of winter, having just emerged from yet another massive snowstorm. I’ve been listening to a lot of new music lately, so I thought it would be good idea to share some of these tunes; to either complement your joyful springtime vibes or to help you combat the lingering winter blues.

First up:
Leave Me Alone - Calypso Rose ft. Manu Chao (Kubiyashi Remix ft. Machel Montano)

This energetic new installation from the queen of Calypso herself, the indomitable Calypso Rose, has taken the Carnival 2017 season by storm. The living legend joined forces with “King of Soca”, Machel Montano and Franco-Spanish musician Mano Chao to produce an exhilarating song, full of the vibrant pulsating rhythms for which the genre is known.

The institution of Carnival has come under scrutiny in recent months, given the sexual harassment of women during parades and the wider discussion regarding violence against women in the Caribbean. “Leave Me Alone” has come at the right time, emerging as an anthem for women who just want to have a great time and celebrate the effervescence of Caribbean culture in peace.

“Leave Me Alone” has old school calypso vibes, new school swagger and an international dimension that makes it both familiar to soca junkies and a perfect introduction for Caribbean Carnival newbies. Manu Chao’s gentle guitar and subtle Spanish inflections complement the exuberance of Rose and Montano; culminating in a song that is at once comforting, fun and ultimately thrilling – the true spirit of Carnival!

Monday 27 February 2017

Stormzy’s Stunning Debut Album – A Review of Gang Signs and Prayer

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Michael Omari a.k.a Stormzy a.k.a The Problem a.k.a Wicked Skengman, dropped his much-anticipated debut studio album “Gang Signs and Prayer” this past Friday to the excitement of grime fans everywhere. After a surprise performance with Ed Sheeran at the Brit Awards earlier in the week, there was a great buzz around Stormzy and this new album does not disappoint. “Gang Signs and Prayer” not only excellently captures the South London youth experience, but also takes the listener on a compelling journey as the album tackles issues of love, race, religion and urban culture at large.

Saturday 25 February 2017

What's for Dinner? | Jamaican Curry Chicken & Basmati Rice

Hello everyone! Today, I’m sharing another childhood favourite: Jamaican Curry Chicken. I can still recall many Sunday afternoons sitting on a veranda in suburban St. Andrew with a plate of curry chicken and rice in my lap as Beres Hammond’s melodious voice drifted over from a neighbour’s radio, crooning out hits like “I Feel Good” and “Rockaway”.

Jamaica has a sizeable population of Indian descent given the history of indentured servitude which began in 1845, due to the social and economic changes that arose after the emancipation of slaves in 1838. Between 1845 and 1917 over 36,000 Indians came to the island, and after this period smaller numbers came to Jamaica in the twentieth century as merchants rather than labourers.

Fast forward to 2017 and it’s safe to say that the varied ethnic cultures in Jamaica have influenced each other greatly. As a natural product of this passage of time, recipes have evolved accordingly. Thus, the Jamaican Curry Chicken we see today is distinct from the original chicken curry seen in contemporary India. It has become a Jamaican culinary classic that embodies the nation’s motto “Out of Many, One People.”

Traditionally, Jamaican Curry Chicken is served over white rice, with curried Russet Potatoes (or Irish Potatoes as they are known in Jamaica) mixed in with the chicken. However, in the recipe below I have made a slight change and replaced the potatoes with red bell peppers. Don’t get me wrong, I love the conventional way of cooking curry chicken; but as we’ve seen culture is fluid and there’s always room for innovation. As such, I thought this would be a fun and delicious tweak on tradition. Plus, the sweetness of the peppers compliments the curry sauce beautifully; providing a depth of flavour that the potatoes can sometimes lack as they tend to absorb the sauce and blend in with the rice, rather than add another dimension of their own. So, whether you’re a Jamaican looking for a taste of home or a foreigner looking to experience the cultural complexity and flavours of our island paradise, this dish is for you! Let’s get started: