Posts filed under ‘Travel’
First here are the last few images of part of the bathroom reveal. I just haven’t finished the last project – sigh. So sorry, but I’m going to postpone the reveal and instead tell you a bit about how I avoided the bathroom restoration in March. I’ve also had a few issues that have kept me from blogging – but I’m back!
In March 2010 we spent two weeks cruising around the Caribbean. The most relaxing part of the trip for me was not seeing the bathroom renovation day in and day out. We visited nine ports over 11 days. My two favourite islands were Dominica and Grenada. I plan to write about all of our adventures, but this post will focus on Grenada: the Isle of Spice and more specifically, nutmeg; my favourite spice.
If you are planning a trip, I do recommend Grenada. Not only are the people friendly, it is a “choose your own adventure” type of island. I would like to spend a week there (or just simply moved there). My stepson and I went on a tour that took us to the Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Cooperative, the oldest operating nutmeg facility on the island, and to the Concord Waterfall, which, for me, was equally as interesting as the nutmeg facility. But first, let me show and tell about the nutmeg facility. On a regular working day you are not allowed to take pictures, but we were there on a Sunday so we were allowed to take as many photos as we liked – hurray for us! A brief description of the nutmeg facility can be read here and Michael Smith visited the facility on Chef Abroad.
Everything is still completed by hand at the facility. The mace is removed from the nutmeg after it is dried, and then the nutmeg is roasted in the sun. Each and every nutmeg is hand sorted by a handful of ladies who sit on the most uncomfortable chairs; they must all have impeccable posture. After the shell is removed, which is helped along with a giant cracking machine (operated by hand); the ladies place the nutmeg in water. The better quality nutmegs sink to the bottom; those of poorer quality float to the top. They are sorted by quality, and then by size, and dried a final time before being packaged. Seems like a long process for such a small little nugget of deliciousness, but aren’t all great things worth waiting for (including, I guess, my future bathroom)? This experience has really made me appreciate my favourite spice in a whole new way. In the shop at the facility you can buy a slew of nutmeg products including nutmeg wine… yes, I bought some, but haven’t tried it yet.
As part of our tour, we also visited the Concord Waterfall. We took a few pictures, drink some nutmeg infused rum punch, and pick a nutmeg off a tree (our tour guide said it was okay). There was a deep pool at the base of one of the falls where the locals and tourists were enjoying a swim and some cliff diving! However, what really interested me was the bamboo pipe a local farmer had constructed to bring water to his vegetable crops downstream. Most of the Caribbean had been experiencing drought conditions with little or no rain since December, and their crops were really suffering. Of the islands that we visited, I think the worst was St. Lucia. It was very dry and brown and they were in the process of trying to buy fresh water from Dominica. I only w
ish we would have had the time to visit with this downstream farmer and learn more about his farm, water accessing laws in Grenada, local adaptation to climate change, and so forth. But, alas, we had to get back to the ship… I will learn more on my next trip to Grenada, where I will choose my own agri-adventure and see first hand what farmers are doing.
And of course a recipe: Plums + Nutmeg = True Love
I found a plum tart recipe in the Practical Encyclopedia of Whole Foods that sounded kind of good; at least the concept sounded good to me. I decided to change it up quite a bit to make it a healthier dessert (aka – no butter and easier on the sugar) for a recent family function. Of course, I also wanted to sneak some of my Grenadian nutmeg into the recipe! Did you know that consumed in large quantities nutmeg is a hallucinogen? However, in small dosages nutmeg can reduce flatulence, aid digestion, improve the appetite and treat diarrhea, vomiting and nausea. Who knew?
- 1 cup all purpose flour (or substitute with rice flour)
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup + 1 tablespoon fine cornmeal, divided
- ½ cup + 2 teaspoons palm sugar, divided
- 1 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 3 ½ ounces of coconut oil
- 1 egg white
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup rolled oats
- 1 tbsp demerara sugar
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 5 to 6 large black plums
Preheat your oven to 350Fdegrees. If you don’t have a 9 inch non-stick tart pan, prepare your pan by greasing it with a light coat of coconut oil. Set aside.
Sift together the flours, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Using your fingers, rub the coconut oil into the mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the egg white, olive oil and enough cold water (about 2 tablespoons) to form a smooth dough. Press two-thirds of the dough into the base and up the sides of your tart pan. Wrap the remaining dough and put it in the refrigerator.
Sprinkle the dough in the tart pan with 2 teaspoons of palm sugar, 1 tablespoon of cornmeal and 1 teaspoon of nutmeg. Halve the plums and remove and discard the pits. Place each plum half cut-side down on top of the tart.
Remove the remaining dough from the refrigerator and crumble it with your fingers. Add the oats to the dough and mix them in with your fingers. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the tart, and then sprinkle 1 tablespoon of demerara sugar over the tart.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden. Leave it to cool for about 15 minutes in the tart pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.