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It’s nicer when it’s local
Pure foods have become the topic of many conversations recently. Organic is a term that is probably overused and in the wrong sense, it’s become a buzzword by many for prosperity reasons. The state of our foods right here in the Caribbean needs some attention, many farmers continue to use harmful pesticides and continue to pump fertilizers into our veggies and fruits.
Notwithstanding all this, there is still a light at the end of the tunnel in that we are privileged to have ideal conditions in which to grow our crops. The travel time from field to market stand is a few days if that much compared to weeks of travelling in cold storage across land and sea for many of our neighbours in the north. Free trade has allowed us to be exposed to many imported veggies and fruits in our markets and supermarkets but we must bear in mind what these foods must have been treated with to withstand the rigours and length of travel to get here.
If we all make a concerted effort to buy and eat local foods then we all stand the chance of improving our health, and or remaining healthy. Caribbean foods are so delightful in colour, taste and texture that creating a meal can indeed be quite a fabulous thing. Our market stall recipes using pumpkins, showcase beautiful bright yellow pumpkins that impart their glorious colour to decadent flans, savory breads, rice pilafs, soups and a myriad of appetising dishes.
Our fresh fruits, the glorious sunset-coloured paw paws; vibrant, rosy watermelons; juicy orange-fleshed mangoes; succulent caimate and sapodillas bring wide grins of delicious anticipation when we are presented with them. Why then do we need to purchase the bland tasting foreign fruits? When in season, all we need to do is puree our fruit and freeze the pulp to enjoy them all year round in fresh fruit punches, ice creams and desserts. And last but not least I must mention the alluring texture and flavor of the sugar apple. So let us all get together and support our local farmers, and revel in the glory that was and still remains Caribbean foods.
CARIBBEAN LIME MOUSSE
Fast, fresh and definitely refreshingly light, a true taste of the Caribbean.
1 2/3 cups water
1/3 cup cornstarch
11/2 cups sugar
4 egg yolks
4 egg whites, beaten to stiff peaks, or 1 cup whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla essence
1 tbs lime zest, chopped
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup evaporated milk or pourable cream*
Heat water in a saucepan, whisk in sugar, cornstarch and salt, stir until mixture thickens.
In a bowl beat egg yolks with vanilla, add a spoonful of the hot liquid to the eggs then add the egg mixture to the hot liquid in the pan, stir constantly over a slow heat for 2 minutes, add the lime juice and milk. Cool mixture and fold egg whites into lime custard. If using whipping cream, whip to soft peaks and fold into lime custard. Spoon into glass stemmed glasses, garnish with chopped zest and top with a dash of aromatic bitters.
n Serves four
* As a lighter option, use low fat milk and or cream.
GRILLED PINEAPPLE WITH BROWN
SUGAR AND RUM
There’s something to be said about grilling fresh pineapple, the fruit becomes succulent and juicy absorbing all the flavours they are infused with. Serve with ice cream or on its own for a perfect fat free dessert.
1 large pineapple
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup dark rum
1 tsp bitters
Preheat grill or broiler. Peel pineapple, remove eyes then cut into half lengthways. Now cut these lengths into eight lengths. Remove centre core. Line a shallow baking pan or dish with foil. Place pineapple into this, sprinkle with sugar, bitters and rum. Grill or broil until pineapple turns brownish and sugar starts to bubble and caramelize. Serve warm as is or with ice cream.
n Serves six to eight
1 cup coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lime zest
1 cup full cream milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
Beat eggs with coconut milk, vanilla, lime zest, milk and sugar until well blended, strain mixture. Pour flan mixture into individual dishes, place into a large baking tray and fill the tray half way with water. Bake until firm about 45 minutes. Remove and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Preheat broiler. Soft brown sugar to cover the tops of the coconut custards and grill until sugar is melted. Refrigerate to chill before serving.
n Serves six
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