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Sugar Apple

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    http://www.abigailblake.com/sugarapple

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    British Virgin Islands
  1. I'm with the canned tuna fans. I like either fresh raw tuna or canned. Don't really like it cooked.
  2. Never been to Haiti, but secondhand from some Haitians here in the BVI and my trusty Elizabeth Lambert Ortiz, a few Haitian dishes are: 1. Chiquetaille de morue - as in all the islands, saltfish is a staple and this is a saltfish salad 2. Marinades - simple fritters that can be either sweet or savory 3. Picklises - pickled vegetables 4. Griots de porc - pork cubes which have been braised then fried 5. Poulet a la creole - chicken creole 6. Poulet farci - stuffed roast chicken 7. Fried plantains - all the islands have fried plantains 8. Pois et riz - rice and peas (another Caribbean staple) 9. Riz au djon-djon - a Haitian specialty of rice with local black mushrooms (always wanted to try this one) 10. Sauce ti-malice - should probably have put this first, this is the Haitian version of hot pepper sauce 11. Gateau de papate - sweet potato cake 12. Figues bananes fourrees - stuffed bananas 13. Pain de patates douces - sweet potato bread I don't imagine your DH will run into many (if any) of these dishes now of course...
  3. Katie - I looked at what I have in the house to see if I had any but the flowers have been separated down into individual leaves. We usually get beautiful whole flowers in the local supermarket this time of year but nothing yet. Good luck with your hunt.
  4. Being a locavore is close to impossible when you live on an island in the Caribbean. And my particular island doesn't grow much compared to some. We have a lime tree and a passion fruit vine at home but our hill is very windy and salty so it's not a terribly garden friendly spot. I do get local vegetables like tomatoes, cabbage, bok choy, beautiful peppers and ground provisions (starchy tubers). And of course tropical fruits, though a rather high percentage of that is shipped in also. Also, there's locally caught fish available at a market run by the government fishery. And we have eggs that come from chickens tended by the prisoners at the jail (so probably not so free-range). But those eggs aren't as good as the organic free-range ones that are shipped in. There's local goat and local beef, but the beef isn't very good. It took me a long time to warm up to local chicken because you never see a garbage tip here without its resident chickens. But they are farmed now and I buy them sometimes. They have good flavor but can be really tough so it's kind of a toss up. A funny thing here in the BVI is that until fairly recently almost everything grown by the local farmers and caught by the fishermen went straight to the restaurants and never hit the consumer markets. That's changing slowly and I'm very vocal at the market about my love for the local stuff and I always buy it when I see it, even if it's more expensive. The government is trying to help the local farmers but they seem to be going about it the wrong way. They set up a space where local farmers could grow produce but didn't provide for water. So it's all overgrown and unused now. Their idea lately is to build a bunch of greenhouses. But the local farmers don't want them and they'll likely blow down in the next hurricane. I've spoken with a few of the farmers and what they want is reasonably priced water delivered to their farms. Water can get pretty expensive here. But, as usual, government doesn't seem to be listening. I'd say maybe 5% of what I buy is local. The rest is imported. Tropical fruits are great but my diet would be very limited if I stuck to what was locally produced. You can only eat so many mangoes (which are only in season a few months anyway). I'd love to be more of a locavore but I'm not yet willing to trade in my ocean view. And most of my rum is produced fairly near us. Some on island and some from down island. The rum is good.
  5. Katie - this is how we make sorrel drink in the Caribbean: Sorrel Drink You can usually find dried sorrel in shops that sell West Indian products or in Latin shops, where it may be called flor de jamaica. Feel free to play with the spicing according to your personal preference. To make Mexican agua de jamaica, omit all the spices and use 2 cups of sorrel/jamaica, 2 quarts of water and 3/4 of a cup of sugar. It will only need to steep for about half an hour. 3 cups of dried sorrel a one inch piece of ginger, peeled one or two pieces of orange peel 2 cinnamon sticks 8 whole cloves 1 1/2 cups of sugar Put the ingredients in a large pitcher and pour in 6 cups of boiling water. Cover the pitcher and let the drink stand at room temperature overnight. Refrigerate for another 2 days. Strain through a fine sieve and put in a clean bottle and refrigerate. At this point you can add a quarter to a half a cup of rum and then let it steep again for 3 days or so. Serve over ice, diluted to taste with water or club soda, or rum to taste. I've never rehydrated the whole flowers but would probably try it after the drink has been made so they don't overhydrate. Good luck!
  6. Sugar Apple

    Fat!

    Another source for leaf lard is Prairie Pride Farm located in Minnesota. You can order online and both the lard and their customer service are excellent. The website is: http://www.prairiepridepork.com/
  7. Here in the Caribbean we call it sorrel and it's traditional at Christmastime. I have a bottle in my refrigerator now and a supply of dried sorrel for making another batch before Christmas. Rum is often added after the first steeping but I usually leave that out so it's kid-friendly and then make cocktails with the sorrel for the grownups. We make it fairly rich and syrupy so it needs to be diluted before drinking if there's no rum in it. I serve it three ways. First way is as a liqueur (if it has rum) after dinner or in the afternoon with a thin slice of really rummy black cake. Or, if it's non-alcoholic, I dilute it with club soda or water and serve it over ice. Very refreshing. Or I make a cocktail with rum and a splash of club soda...serve on the rocks with a squeeze of lime. All are fantastic. My recipe for making sorrel is here. I also used sorrel to make a sorrel and sorghum glaze for my Thanksgiving ham this year and it was lovely. That recipe is here. I would think any shop that catered to a Latin American or Caribbean clientele would carry dried sorrel flowers, especially at this time of the year.
  8. I agree with the anchovies, I add one or two to so many stews and sauces I made. Nobody knows they're in there but they add depth somehow. And onions, I can't imagine cooking without them. With regard to curry leaves, they're a favorite in our kitchen and we use a lot. If you have a green thumb, try growing your own. We haven't been without a plant for about 15 years now and it requires almost no care. It also puts out suckers like you wouldn't believe, so you have lots of seedlings to give to friends, so you'll be really popular with your foodie friends.
  9. There are only two brands I can think of that I'm completely loyal to: Duke's mayo (I have to ship it down but it's worth it) Heinz ketchup (I'm not a ketchup person but my daughter uses a lot and Heinz is definitely the best) I'm also partial to Edwards country ham, but I've never turned down a country ham of another brand. My husband is English and the baked beans have to be Heinz also. I don't worry much about the paper products except for foil because the shops here only carry Reynolds wrap and a really poor off brand that tears if you look at it wrong. I stick to the Reynolds wrap.
  10. We collect rainwater in a cistern so I figure that's good enough for anything I cook. I do filter it for drinking.
  11. Hard to narrow it down but my favorites are: 1. Goo Goo Clusters (I might have to start eating at Cracker Barrel if they sell them) 2. Heath Bars 3. Cadbury Fruit and Nut
  12. Part two is out now. He seems to be trying to pad out the list and there are a few I don't agree with: 76. Do not ask if a guest is finished the very second the guest is finished. Let guests digest, savor, reflect. I prefer to digest, savor and reflect without a dirty plate in front of me. 97. If a guest goes gaga over a particular dish, get the recipe for him or her. Is he kidding?
  13. A few of the non-American titles in my cookbook library that I use (many of these I bought secondhand or came from family in England so I’m not sure if they’re all still in print): The Cookery of England - Elisabeth Ayrton Naparima Girls' High School Cookbook – A fantastic resource on the cooking of Trinidad & Tobago and a must have for fans of Caribbean food. You can get this one on Amazon I think. Caribbean Cookery - Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz The Frenchwoman’s Kitchen – Brigitte Tilleray Normandy Gastronomique – Jane Sigal (published in the UK, I think it’s part of a series but I only have this one) The German Culinaria series is wonderful, though some volumes are better than others. It’s been translated into English but the books are very expensive and can be hard to find. Worth searching out though. Funny that Marguerite Patton is mentioned here. I’d never heard of her but bought one of her books this summer. It’s called The Invalid Cookery Book (And for Children with Dainty Appetites) and it’s hilarious. I hope never to be an invalid in England. My husband was in NZ a few years ago and picked up a few of the Australian Women’s Weekly cookbooks. Most of them are really pedestrian, boring and not worth a second look. But the Malaysia and Vietnam volumes are very good. I know we’re talking about English language books, but if you can read Italian, look for Il cucciaio d’argento. It’s been translated into English but as I’ve heard the English translation is not very satisfactory. I don’t really speak much Italian but do okay reading cookbooks, recipes, menus, etc. Regarding Amazon in the US, I’m a big fan. It’s been my experience that they’ll ship almost anywhere in the world (though I can’t say how much it might cost to ship to any specific country, could get expensive). Otherwise, I wouldn’t have any books or DVD’s (we’re located in the BVI and can’t buy things like that here). I’ve also had good luck ordering with Amazon UK. I ordered all the Harry Potter books from them because they’re edited for the American market and I prefer to read them as they were written. Apparently Americans would not buy a book called Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone but would rush to the bookstore if the philosopher were a sorcerer. Sort of off topic, but it might explain why none of Nigella’s recipes that I’ve tried ever work. I used an American edition of the book and maybe someone got the conversions wrong. Or maybe it's just her recipes.
  14. According to the OED, one definition of plum is "a dried grape or raisin as used for puddings, cakes, etc. Now rare except in certain combs." I've never seen a recipe for Christmas pudding that had prunes in it but most, if not all, have raisins or sultanas. Funny, I've never actually heard anyone from England call it plum pudding, all the Brits I know (including the one I married) refer to the dessert as Christmas pudding.
  15. This is how my friends from Milan taught me to do it (we used Caribbean pumpkin but butternut squash would work): Pumpkin Filling This amount of pumpkin should fill make enough to fill about 600 grams of pasta, definitely enough to feed 6 hungry people. 1 1/2 pounds of pumpkin or butternut squash, seeded and cut into wedges 10-12 amaretti cookies, crushed dried unseasoned breadcrumbs, as needed 1 egg, lightly beaten 1/2 cup of freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano salt and freshly ground pepper to taste Roast the pumpkin or squash in a moderate oven (350° to 400°) until soft. Let the pumpkin cool and then scoop it out of the skin and into a bowl. Mash the pumpkin well, then add the crushed cookies, the cheese and the egg. Mix together well. The filling should be quite dry and firm; if it seems wet, add a few tablespoons of breadcrumbs. Add salt and pepper to taste, then taste the mixture for balance and adjust if necessary. Reserve until needed to fill the ravioli. And thanks to Maggie for the amaretti link. They're not easy to come by here.
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