Wednesday, April 03, 2013
CORNY AS A KERNEL; FRUITY AS A BAT; NUTTY AS A FRUIT CAKE!
Oh! My Gourd! It’s a-maizing! I think I’m going bananas, particularly when everything around me is going pear-shaped; but no one else appears to give a fig; so, why should I?
It gives me the pip when my voice gets husky from sprouting forth too much; or, more appropriately, from not having spoken to a fellow being for a while. There are times my eyes feel a little grainy; there are even moments I feel a bit seedy. My wild oats were sown years ago, during which time I stumbled over a few forbidden fruits; and enjoyed the stumble! I didn’t need a gooseberry as chaperone.
When the last mangoes at season’s end I’m distressed; but I blow a raspberry; and then, move on.
Don’t upset the apple cart by misguidedly prejudging me. I might appear to be as withered as a raisin in the sun or as a dried prune, but nuts to that idea! My pulse continues ticking over at a regular rate proving there are still signs of life in this old sugar plum.
I’m as cool as a cucumber. I’m no damson in distress.
I have no fear of turning into a pumpkin because I’m never out late nowadays; nor am I out late now at night. Come to think of it, I’m not out late afternoons, either. In other words - I yam what I yam; and I don’t give a jackfruit!
I always turnip early! I’m not a bad apple, and, if you must split peas rather than hairs, I’m not a tough old chick. I’m not always an angry old broad, either; only when I get cranky; and then I’m as prickly as a prickly pear!
There are times I’ve a few sour grapes, but I’m no melon collard, baby! I can have my cake and eat it, too. I use my coconut, and triple the quantity; and then, everything is just peachy!
The point is - I love fresh vegetables, fruit, raw nuts, pulses/legumes/lentils, sprouts and grains. I have done so since I was a kid; nothing has changed in that department. All have starring roles in my day-to-day menu.
As a child I needed no cajoling, coaxing, blackmailing, duping or tricking into eating the wide variety of food types placed before me. My brother and I had absolute, unfailing faith in our mother and grandmother. We knew they had no evil intentions of poisoning us. Our little family unit may not have had a lot of money in the coffers, but our cupboards were always full (as were our stomachs); there was always food on our meal table.
Refrigeration and refrigerators were what other folks had; in our home, we had an ice-chest. The "iceman cometh" every other day. Protecting his shoulders from the hessian sugar bags filled with the cold, damp block ice was a piece of leather. One important chore for us kids was to keep an eye on the tray underneath the ice-chest that caught the melting ice water. If our diligence slipped we all were in danger of slipping on the water-drenched floor!
Always, during our formative years, there were healthy productive vegetable gardens out the back and down the side of our house, along with a few fruit-bearing trees. In the backyard, an orange tree grew at one side of the laundry shed; a lemon tree on the other. Of course, a choko vine crept over the chicken coop. The chicken poop fed the vegetable garden; the vegetable scraps fed the chickens; around and around cycle cycled. As well as the backyard orange and lemon trees was a mulberry tree; and keeping it company was a peach tree. The peaches were hard little bullets. My brother and I ate them, anyway. Our silkworms ate the mulberry leaves. In the front yard was a loquat tree; the fruit flies’ favourite. A war continued between the pests and us to see who’d get to the fruit first. I think it was a draw each loquat season! My brother and I were fair combatants in the battles.
Loquat jam and chutney, as well as loquat crumbles and tarts were constants on our table.
Now I pine for an apple. Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana. On that note, I’m going to make like a banana and split…bye!
Chickpea-Corn Rainbow Salad: Steam 240g green beans, chopped into thirds, 2-3mins; immediately place under cold water to stop cooking process; put in salad bowl. Sauté 340ml drained corn kernels (or fresh) until browned; about 8mins; add to beans. Add 1 can drained, rinsed chickpeas (or cook your own), 1 large red capsicum, diced, 1/2c diced red onion, 1 diced avocado, 10 torn spinach leaves, 2c halved cherry or grape tomatoes, 4 sliced shallots and a 6-8 torn basil leaves. Add 1c cooked quinoa – optional. Whisk together 2tsp lime or lemon zest, 3tbs lime/lemon juice, 3tbs olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper; pour over salad; toss gently. Toss in some sliced, pitted black olives if you like.
Grilled Vegetable-Chickpea Salad: Cut 1 eggplant and 2 zucchinis lengthways into slices (not too thin); core and quarter a red and a green capsicum so pieces are relatively flat. Toss vegetables in olive oil; season. Heat a grill or hot pan until quite hot; cook the vegetables until just tender and caramelised. Cut vegetables into equal-sized pieces; toss with well-drained can of chickpeas, crumbled feta, to taste, 1 crushed garlic clove, sliced fresh parsley; season; drizzle over olive oil and juice of 1 lemon.
Kale & Sweet Potato Salad: Cut 450g sweet potato into 3/4-inch cubes; toss cubes in a little olive oil, 1/4tsp thyme; season. Spread cubes on lined baking tray; roast in 200C oven until light golden on edges. Grab a bunch of kale; tear leaves from stems. Chop a few at a time into thin strips; place in colander; rinse and drain well. Put into bowl; add dressing; toss to coat, making sure all the curly bits are dressed. Pile roasted cubes on top; sprinkle 1/4c each sunflower seeds and dried cranberries over top; serve.
Sprout-Spinach-Rocket Salad: Combine 4c sprouts (any combination e.g. mung, lentils, chickpeas, quinoa, alfalfa etc.), 3c spinach leaves and rocket, 1 small red onion, diced, 4 carrots, grated, 3 mushrooms, sliced and 1 sliced red or yellow capsicum; toss with dressing; top with 1 cucumber, sliced, and 1 diced tomato.
Loquat-Srawberry-Macadamia Nut Crumble: Preheat oven to 175C (350F). Toss 2c peeled, seeded, halved loquats and 1c halved strawberries with 2-3tbs chopped crystallized ginger, cinnamon, 1/4tsp ground cloves, 1tbs lemon juice and 1/4c raw sugar. Place in oven-proof pie dish. Combine 3/4c raw sugar with 3/4c plain flour, 1/2c or so of chopped macadamia nuts aka Queensland nuts. Using your fingers, rub in 1/2c cold butter (or use processor on pulse); until mixture resembles semi-moist breadcrumbs. Add some dessicated coconut if you like...and balance out the butter etc. Sprinkle evenly over the fruit in the pie dish. Bake around 35 minutes. Serve warm with custard, whipped cream or ice cream (or all)!!