There are a number of exciting food items to try every day, if you are the adventurous type. Some of these delicious items you have already seen here, unfamiliar fish along with fruit and vegetables that get you wondering which part, exactly, should be eaten or thrown away. With the summer-time heat blazing away and the inside walls of the villa radiating heat like a tandoori oven, energy levels sap and there is not much to do other than to meddle with eatables that are often strange.
This little beauty is a ‘Custard Apple’ however, it neither resembles custard nor does it look anything like an apple. It does have the taste of both when you eat the soft, white fleshy part and spit out the black pip but it is a subtle taste and it could easily be mistaken for wallpaper paste. It is said to have healing properties for certain diseases, it’s expensive and fun to try in a messy sort of finger-food way.
One of the great additions to our range of electrical items is a juicer. When we find we are not quite sure what to do with our fruit and veg, we blitz it all and drink the juice. It is a messy business to prepare, involves a fair bit of cleaning up afterwards and produces a frothy liquid that can be difficult to swallow but we are told it is good for us and who are we to buck the trend. Oranges are always readily available so they are a regular item in the smashing, slicing, dicing , blitzing game that is our juicer.
A word of warning! Juicers are fine for immediate consumption. The juice will NOT keep. It immediately begins to separate into froth at the top and clearer juice at the bottom and even though it is chilled and kept in a glass container, the taste will quickly mar and a certain bitterness will set in. It is pointless keeping it in plastic containers as the deterioration is even quicker. Had we known this, we would have gone for the more expensive ‘PRESS’ system, shunning the centrifugal job we have now. Pressed fruit and veg will keep a day or so in the fridge so you can enjoy that healthy drink in the mornings without the work to prepare it. Unfortunately, we can’t be bothered with it all that fuss in the morning so it is a weekend fiasco for us.
Having spent a lifetime thinking that dates only came in a long, thin wooden box with ‘EAT ME’ labelled on the front, I for one was surprised to learn that dates are not only a Christmas delicacy but an all year staple food item in these parts. The varieties are plentiful with many unpronounceable names. They are stuffed with nuts or fruit, covered in chocolate or sprinkled with herbs and spices. You can even pick them from the tree and eat them fresh, which is very often done and encouraged as a way to feed the poor. There are specific roadside trees planted exactly for the purpose of subsidising the needy in terms of food. Why give them money when you can plant their food for them. Brilliant! One of the best varieties are called Khallus (sic) and covered in cardamom – they are a real treat. For so many years these things were despised but now they are revered but too often the cause of a runny bottom due to over indulgence. There’s always a drawback!
They may not look too appetising but by goodness they are sweet (with a hint of cardamom in this instance).
That’s it for today, because it’s eight-thirty in the morning and already 42 degrees C. outside and too hot to venture further than the front door – from the land of the pomegranate where they grow on tress in the mountains and can be bought for less than loose change; the secret to getting the lush red seeds out without having to eat the bitter pith is finally revealed. No need for a pin and patience. With this method you can shovel the juicy nutlets into your mouth by the spoonful – or stick them in your juicer for some interesting sound effects!
Slice into quarters and separate the peel and inner pith from the juicy red seeds in a bowl UNDER WATER. Keep it under the water’s surface whilst working and this prevents any squirting, splashing, staining red juice on your best pinny. The seeds sink and the pith floats. AMAZING! Skim off the pith then rinse the seeds whilst gently rubbing between the hands to separate any stubborn pith and ENJOY! I recommend the juicer again as the seeds can be a bit chewy and, after all, it is only the juice that we are interested in; right? Don’t suffer the expense of the commercial ‘Pommejuice’. Make your own with no added chemicals. As you can see, there are some cheeky Lychees here just waiting to be peeled. Oh, the anticipation!
Live lobsters are readily available so having mastered the art of crab cooking (see previous posts) I thought it was time to despatch one of these sea crustaceans and advance my knowledge of seafood preparation and cooking. Rude not to in this land of plenty. There is a plethora of squid and cuttle fish here too but I really do have to draw the line somewhere, at least for the moment.
Hoping to keep it all down…
Ramadam approaches fast!