Wednesday, 6 March 2013

It's Raining! (Some thoughts on a rainy Wednesday evening)

It's early evening and it's finally raining after days of threatening skies. This is good and I welcome the rain as the grass is very dry and sparse and my plants are looking tired as we struggle through the drought filled days. My list of dependent plants and trees has grown so we need all the water we can get.
The three banana suckers that were planted in the backyard two months ago are growing nicely. The first papaya tree that I planted seems to be holding its own; there are leaves all bundled at the top but it's gotten quite tall. The other one that was only recently transplanted from amongst the flowers seems to have perked up as well. Of course the most remarkable is my apple tree that has grown in leaps and bounds. Last year it bore two little apples that fell off. I had been lamenting that it wasn't doing anything this year but lo and behold one morning recently as I walked by I saw lots of red 'needles' around it. On closer examination I realized that there were quite a number of apple blossoms but they were knee high on the lower part of the tree surrounded by leaves. I was so excited I went in search of someone to share the joy and await the appearance of apples. (Please note, this is an otaheite apple tree.) Then there's my ackee which had begun to send out large new leaves at a fast pace. It grows in the shadow of my neighbour's ackee tree which towers over & above the partitioning wall. I actually picked a half dozen open pods that were hanging over the wall yesterday. How things have changed; It was only two or three years ago that said neighbour offered some ackees as he was picking and I told him that I did not eat them. In fact, I had never even tried them.  I've become more appreciative of the bounty that the land offers and  more open to trying foods that I never ate before, including ackee which is definitely on my new healthier diet, both cooked and uncooked. Thankfully, as I wait for my ackee tree to come into it's own, I am able to partake and share the bounty of my neighbour's trees. I sometimes see ripe fruit falling and spoiling on trees in some yards; what a waste.  There are too many hungry people in this country for us to waste food. Share what you don't or can't eat with others. 

Open Ackees On a Stick

Evening has slipped into night and the rain continues to fall; slower than before but sufficient to quench the deep thirst of the parched earth; for a while at least.  I wish I had a very large container to catch all this free water pouring from the heavens. I did put out a couple of buckets to catch some of it to water the plants in coming days but this will be a drop in the bucket compared to the amount that goes running down the streets and gullies unchecked. I pray that the farmers and the water catchment areas are getting some of it.

My wish is that you are able to capture some of this lovely rain for your own use and that your garden
will benefit. Having a backyard garden is high on the green agenda, so if you haven't started one yet
all this delicious rain would have been wasted; but wait, all is not lost. The rain would have moistened the earth sufficiently for us to dig some holes and plant something tomorrow when the sun comes up.
What do you have to plant? I have a recently acquired avocado (pear) plant that needs to be put into the ground. Happy planting!

What I did with the ackees!

I picked them out of the open pods, popped out the seeds & scraped off the pink membrane .
Then I washed them really well under running water, then dried off some of the water
before putting them to marinate in a very basic salad dressing that I made earlier.
I put them in the fridge & the next day topped some boiled yellow yam with the mixture,
heated it up in the toaster oven & ate it. The ackee was like melted cheese!
(Easy Cheesy Ackee  from Lorna's Experimental Kitchen)
This particular salad dressing consisted of :

1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)*
2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Juice from 1/2 a small Lemon
1 Tbsp coconut sugar
1/2 tsp celtic sea salt (I skipped the pepper)

Original salad dressing recipe from
*Normally, I would use Extra Virgin Coconut oil, especially If I intend to add heat to the dish 
and reserve the olive oil for totally raw salads. Olive oil should not be used in high heat applications.
On other occasions I've added garlic, turmeric, basil, chives & scotch bonnet pepper to the mix.
Sometimes I'll cook it & sometimes I'll have it raw with quinoa or millet or even a salad.
Here's another salad dressing recipe just because ...

Brawta! (Extra)

Moroccan Vinaigrette

2/3 Cup EVOO
2 Tbsp Lemon juice
2 Tbsp ACV
1 1/2 tsp Paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 generous pinch cayenne pepper, ground
1/3 Cup tightly packed fresh parsley, minced (or 4 tsp dried)
1 tsp natural salt or to taste
lots of freshly ground pepper (optional)

Combine & Mix well. Taste & adjust seasoning.
Will keep for two weeks in the fridge.

Recipe courtesy of Whole New Mom :

If you try this much with the ackee you might need a dozen or more.
The most important thing to remember about ackees is that they are poisonous if they  
are not allowed to open naturally. They should also be cleaned & washed properly before use.
After that you're free to experiment!