Saturday, January 23, 2016

Last painting before we sail

January 23, 2016
Here's an update on our current adventure:

Grenada is one fine place for so many reasons.  We're on the water on the lee shore (quiet side) on a very private section beach cut off from the rest of the masses due to private property, rocks and a cliff.  We swim everyday and catch plenty of rays.  We're also on the bus route into town so there's easy access to shopping.  The island is very clean, no litter, and the people are friendly and not trying to hassle you with selling stuff.  You simply say "no thanks" in a nice way, and they leave you alone.  Anyway, we leave tomorrow for a week long sailing voyage up the Grenadine Islands.  We've never done something like this before, so it should be quite an adventure.  There's a full moon tonight which will be amazing to see from the water.

Jean is working on her 7th painting since we arrived two weeks ago.  I've written two pretty good songs and am writing lyrics, as well.  All is good here.

Peace and Music,

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Black bean Burger with Avocado salsa

Lunch today for the two of us
1 1/2 cups black beans slightly mashed
1 egg
2 slices white bread crumbled
1/4 c West Indies green seasoning
1 large clove garlic minced very fine. 
Form into patties and fry in coconut oil medium hot. Turn after a couple minutes and cook until both sides are golden crisp. Plate and top with

Avocado Salsa

Combine gently
1 lg avocado cut into 3/4 in cubes
1 tomato cut into 1/2 in pieces
3T Tabasco or other hot sauce
1 T honey

Monday, January 18, 2016

One of our Most Freaky Travel Experiences

We were woken on Saturday morning by our neighbor Noel who were  going to go to the Honey Nursery with; he and his wife Lorna. Noel's first words that day were, " I think Bev is dead". What?
Are you sure?  "I touched her, she's cold".  What a strange, literally shocking thing to hear.  

Bev or Beverly Modder was our landlady, living upstairs.  She was about 65 years old, slim, medium complected with dyed black hair.  She was originally from Sri Lanka but currently a resident of Canada with a home in Vancouver.  Lorna had heard from Brian, the caretaker here, that Bev had been blacking out periodically and wouldn't go to the doctor.

Bev had taken Lorna and Noel's laundry to wash on Friday afternoon and would normally have returned soon thereafter to hang it on the line.  But Friday night there was no appearance of Bev or laundry.  Lorna tried calling via phone and emailing to no avail. They could hear the television though.  In the morning after having knocked on the front door with no answer, they jimmied the locked door from their apartment to the laundry and Lorna went upstairs to find Bev on the sofa apparently deceased.

It's a couple days later now. The police have been here to investigate and remove the body.  We've all been somewhat concerned for security as the police hadn't secured the upstairs back doors very well and we thought it'd be too easy for someone to break in up there and get into our apartments.  And what about guests who are coming this week to stay in the room that Lorna and Noel will be vacating?

We've heard that the autopsy said she had a massive heart attack. Brian arrived this morning and says that Bev's daughter from Canada is coming and that he will take care of our accommodations for now. 

So maybe it will all be status quo while we are here, til March 8th.  We leave to sail for a week next Sunday.  Kay and Dwight, our fellow sailors, arrive tonight

Rest in Peace Beverly

Jessamine Eden

We've come to Jessamine Eden with our neighbors Lorna & Noel, our Irish neighbors at the Seaglass place. It is in the Grand Etang Valley, a multi acre apiary/ nursery. Jessamine Eden won the UK NHS Best Honey of the world! So nearly every dish has some touch of this liquid gold. There is also beautiful grounds, where the nursery started from chaotic bush just six or seven years ago!

Jerry took us on a hike of the grounds while Val prepared lunch.  We were seated in a what appeared to be a long greenhouse in the shade nestled next to a bubbling stream just 20 feet away.

Lunch started with 3rd*** season honey with lemongrass and nettles tea. Next was Cream of Tania* soup topped with fresh thyme. Everything so well presented and intriguing.
Third course is: avocado, goat cheese drizzled with honey hot sauce on a bed of fresh spinach leaves.
So good I feel a hint of guilt! What?

Avocado, goat cheese salad
Main course is  fish baked in a banana leaf with okra & Calaloo**.  Sides of  white yam, pigeon peas, home maid whole wheat bread. 
Baked fish with star fruit and tomato garnish.

Dessert includes Nutmeg Honey Cake with nutmeg flesh (the outer layer around the nut) preserved in honey .  It is soaked for one year creating a slightly fermented flesh and liquor. 

We were fortunate to be served in the large kitchen/family table instead of the public area. It's a real way to be introduced to the culture here in a foodie heaven sort of way. 

Now the honey tasting. We tried the 1st , 2nd and 3rd extractions.  Each gets darker and more complex.  Only the first, the honey of the Glerry Cedar tree and wildflowers, mostly was as light as we are accustomed to getting in the US.  The 2nd seemed just perfectly balances. Not to heavy or strongly flavored. But then I suppose it depends on how you are using it. It's one thing to taste in on it's own but another to combine it with other foods, right?

After this the hosts, Jerry, a compliance lawyer for a day job and honey man with Val Jessamine, an ecological engineer for a day job, hosted us on the verandah with wine and Yata's songs about islands (Cocobutter) and Ireland (I am of Ireland & The Lake Isle of Innisfree, where there can be found 'a bee loud glade') on Val's guitar. A local wren sang harmony!

*Tania is a root a type of Taro root.
** Calaloo us a leafy spinach like green used extensively in southern Caribbean cooking.
*** Third season means its the third extraction of the growing season, when many plants are in flower for the bees. It's darker and more complex in flavor. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Tomato Remoulade on Cornmeal fried Fish Steaks

I'm not sure where these culinary inspirations are coming from, but then again I am gleaning from some of the best things I've prepared in the past year or two and then tweeking things towards a West Indian touch.  This remoulade is similar to one I found in a book of New Orleans cooking I brought back from the The Big Easy last April.  That was a green tomato fried in cornmeal with a remoulade.

I also served this with a salad in the Jessamine Eden style where I put larger than bite sized pieces of Avocado, Tomato and Papaya on the plate and drizzled with the Worldwide winning Grenada Honey and lime juice.  One thing I realized about the large avocado chunks is that avocado is a subtle flavor and if the bite is too small or mixed with more powerful flavors it looses out.  So a large hunk, with the honey and lime was heavenly.  I also served the fish with a piece of toasted whole wheat baguette to sop up the sauce.  Sitting on the verandah with the strong ocean waves striking the shore and the sun baked my bare feet while eating this lunch was definitely a slice of the good life.  I wish the same for all readers of my blog.  Truly!

Cornmeal fried Fish Steaks with Tomato Remoulade

Blend in food processor/blender til small chunks remain:

1/2 red onion bluntly chopped
1T fresh thyme
1/2 tsp fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 T olive oil
1/8 c. hot sauce
1 T tomato paste
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 T lemon jc. 

Fish Steaks:
Wash and dry four small fish steaks
Dredge in egg/milk wash
Roll in a mixture of:
1 c. fine ground corn meal
1/2 t curry powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 course ground pepper

Fry fish in med high heated oil ( I used coconut oil) until golden on all sides; about 8 minutes but depends on thickness of steak.  

Place fried fish on plate, pour 1/4 c. of remoulade over and serve immediately.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Lunch: Rice Lentil Salad with Green Apple & Almond

This is a variation on a salad I make with Quinoa.

Rice, 2 cups cooked brown rice
Lentils, 1 cup cooked lentils
Cucumber, 1 cup  1/4" dice
Granny Smith Apple: 1/4" dice
Red Onion, 1/4 c. dice

3 T plain yoghurt
1 T Olive Oil
2 T lime juice
1 t. hot sauce or cayenne powder ( to taste), optional
1/2 t.salt
1/2 t.sugar
1/4 c. chopped cilantro (or to taste)
Mix and combine with rice/lentil mixture

Serve sprinkled with 1/4 c. chopped roasted salted almonds per serving.

Tonight we have fresh fish again and I'm thinking of making a Creole Sauce (coconut milk, etc.) to poach the fish.  I'll post the recipe if it's good!

I've been painting everyday.  I tend to go with subject that is readily accessible like the sea, waves and rocks just below my verandah studio.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Fresh Tuna with Golden Apple Salsa

Oh, my...fresh tuna!  Brian, the handyman on the property where we're staying, got us some fresh Tuna today.  Lots of it, about 8 pounds of fish for only $24!!  So I froze some and tonight made:

Fresh Tuna with Golden Apple Salsa

Saute with 2 T butter and 2 T canola oil: 1/4 c. red onion and 1 lg. clove of garlic
When onions are softened and oil is med high, sear the tuna (1 1/2 to 2 pounds). Lower temperature to low and continue to slow cook for about 5 minutes, turning once.

Meanwhile plate up lentils:
2 1/4 c. broth (chicken/celery/onion/asstd. herbs)
3/4 c lentils
simmer til liquid is absorbed (about 30-40 min)

Place tuna on 1c. of cooked lentils, top with 1/2 c. salsa

2 Golden Apples (Pomme Cythre) or peach/pineapple/mango
2 T lime juice
1/4 diced red onion
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. sugar/honey

Top all with chopped fresh mint leaves.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Waves & Water

I have so many ideas for paintings. Thank goodness I brought plenty of supplies and a couple of stretcher bar sets. So I work back and forth between a 12x12 and a 24x36.  This is a 12x12 abstract. The next was actually the first painting here so it's titled First Impressions. It's also a 12x12. 

Friday, January 8, 2016

Second Morning

We woke to a sunny day today. It's lovely here in Grenada. It's charmingly small and less developed than some of its bigger sister islands in the Caribbean   Although it does 
have a cruise port with the big cruise ships and yet even when the cruise ships are in it doesn't feel like Cozumel or those bigger cruise ports. 

The Flamboyant tree  that's in the picture here,I hear that a week ago it was covered with bright orange flowers. It's also called the Poinciana and it's actually beautiful when it's not flowering. It has a Fern-leaf and it's hanging over the water creating a shadow on the sand. Waves are coming in underneath it creating a lacy foam, couldn't be lovelier.