Sunday, September 21, 2014

Globalised Food Monoculture and the Colonial Legacy in the Pacific islands


Micronesian and Polynesian people settled early on the islands in the Pacific Ocean. Both in Nauru (Pleasant Island) and the Cook Islands they practised aquaculture and grew coconuts and pandanus fruit. A self-sufficient way of life in the Pacific flourished and inspired Western dreaming and art in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Successions of colonists made an uninhabitable quarry out of Nauru, ruined arable land and 'educated' the indigenous population to like imported foods. In this denuded land islanders became dependent on the boats arriving for sustenance. Colonial rule and Christian missionaries made Western style food appear palatable. Out of independence came dependence and a long time health legacy.


"Anthropologists Dr Amy McLennan and Professor Stanley Ulijaszek found that islanders lost many of their traditional food cultivation, preparation and preserving skills after settlers insisted that they learn western ways of eating." (source)

"Dr Amy McLennan said: 'Under colonial rule, much changed in how food was sourced, grown and prepared and the social change was swift. What happened to the land also changed as colonial agriculture and mining industries expanded. There was an increase in family size meaning food was increasingly imported. The good news is that if obesity is tackled across the whole community not just amongst people labelled as 'obese' -- dietary habits could change quickly again. Lessons learned from the experiences of these smaller nations could also help us to think in new ways about social change and obesity in larger societies.'" (source)


The colonial legacy and social changes lead to an unhealthy diet and hence to obesity. "Islanders on Nauru and the Cook Islands in the Pacific have the highest levels of obesity in the world." Imported and nutrient-poor food products are associated 'civilisation' diseases. Metabolic diseases such as diabetes are only one out of the array that globalised monoculture brings about. The production of unhealthy and dependent customers is not confined to Pacific Islands.

Source 
Obesity in Pacific islands ‘a colonial legacy’ of settlers trying to civilise the locals, University of Oxford. Amy K McLennan, Stanley J Ulijaszek. Obesity emergence in the Pacific islands: why understanding colonial history and social change is important. Public Health Nutrition, 2014


Images
Paul Gauguin,
Under the Pandanus, I Raro te Oviri, 1891
The Mysterious Water, Pape Moe,1893
Tahitian Woman with a Mango, 1892 (detail)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Black-eyed Peas with Tomatoes, Chili and Quinoa


GET
500 g Black-eyed peas
10 tomatoes
2 large onions, chopped
6 carrots
10 Bishops Crown Red (Barbados)
or 2 capsicums
1 cup of shelled peas
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups of stock
6 Bird's eye chilies, hot!
10 black pepper corns
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon of pure cocoa powder
1/3 cup uncooked quinoa, well rinsed
fresh coriander
:all organic

DO
Soak peas overnight, drain water and cook till soft.
Chop and fry onions for 5 min. Add chopped carrots and capsicums, stirring occasionally. Make a tomato sauce, add the garlic, pepper corns and chilies. When the sauce has a thick consistency, add the cooked black-eyed peas without the cooking water. Set it aside (stock). Simmer for some time. Add the vegetables to the peas. Mix the cocoa with a little boiling water until dissolved and stir in. Add the well washed quinoa, the green peas and cook for another 20 min. Should it get too sticky stir in some hot stock. Sprinkle with chopped fresh coriander before serving.

The dish can be served with rice and some avocado slices decorated with finger limes.

This legume is a crop of the tropics. The peas are commonly used in the South of the States and India.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Macadamia cookies

get (all organic)

100g fine macadamia nut flakes
100g butter
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon powder
200g light spelt flour

do

Preheat oven to 180°c.
Mix butter and maple syrup with a wooden spoon until smooth.
Mix in cinnamon.

Grate the nuts with a medium hand grater into thin flakes and mix in. (See grater type in image)
Mix in enough flour gradually so that the mixture is not sticky.


Roll out the pastry on a tea towel. Use a cookie cutter to form cookies. Place them on a buttered tray. Bake on the second shelf from the bottom for about 15 minutes depending on the thickness. Remove from the tray and cool. Store in a tin.
This recipe is similar to apricot macadamia cookies but with a fine, light texture attributable in part to the nut flakes and not at all chewy.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Baked cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts


get
1 whole small cauliflower
250g broccoli
250g brussel sprouts
200g vegetarian cheese for baking, e.g. cheddar
4tbsp spelt flour
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp butter
boiling water
200 ml milk
½ nutmeg

do
Clean, then steam the vegetables together until soft (not mushy).
Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan with the butter. When the butter has melted, add the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon. Fry for a short while but do not let it brown. Add the boiling water a little at a time while stirring. Do not allow it to go lumpy. When a thick sauce forms start stirring in the milk. Add enough milk for a smooth sauce to form. Cook it for about 15 minutes adding more milk if necessary.
Butter a baking dish and grate nutmeg onto it. Grate some nutmeg into the sauce too.
Arrange the steamed vegetables on the dish and pour the sauce evenly over them, covering them all.
Grate the cheese coarsely and evenly cover the vegetables with it.
Bake at 170°c on the bottom shelf of the oven for 20-30 minutes until it starts to change colour (golden).
Serve with steamed potatoes and a salad.
Any combination of these vegetables works well with this recipe.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Curly Kale with Soba Noodles and Sesame seeds

Get
2 heads of curly kale
1 cup of sesame seeds
3 cloves of garlic
400g Soba noodles
150 ml vegetable stock
2 Tbsp roast sesame oil

Do
Wash the curly kale leaves well. Discard outer leaves and dry well. Cut the leaves from the stem by sliding a knife along them and keep separate. Heat oil in a large pot as the initial amount can be rather bulky. Fry the chopped kale stems and garlic for 5 min. Roast sesame in a dry pan. Chop the vegetable rather finely. Add small amounts to the pot successively and stir. Start to boil the noodles. Pour on (some of) the hot stock, cover and allow to simmer for 15 min. Use more liquid till the kale is cooked to your liking. There shouldn't be too much stock left in the pot when you mix the noodles with the kale.
Serve immediately with the sesame seeds to be sprinkled over the dish.

This self-similar 'Australian' kale (click image) seems to be milder than the following European variety:
Curly kale and savoy cabbage

Make your own buckwheat soba noodle in silence, video

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Quinoa Salad with Finger Limes

This Quinoa salad is very similar to Tabbouleh made with bulgur wheat.

GET
1 cup uncooked quinoa
½  red onion
2 tomatoes
1 small red bell pepper
1 small 'Lebanese' cucumber
2 large bunches of flat-leaf parsley
1 bunch of fresh coriander
3 pieces of garlic
olive oil
lemon juice
2 Tbsp. Finger lime (Microcitrus australasica)
1½ cups water 

DO
Boil the water. Place quinoa in a fine sieve and rinse well under running water. When the water is boiling, add the grain and cook for 5 min. Turn down the flame, cover and simmer for another 10 - 15 minutes. When the quinoa is cooked, turn off the heat and allow to stand for a while.

Chop the onion and pepper very fine, peel the tomatoes and cut them and the peeled cucumber into small cubes. Chop the green herbs finely.
Mince the garlic and make a rich dressing from the oil, lemon juice and the garlic.

Cut the finger limes lengthwise and scoop out the pulp.

Fluff up the quinoa in a bowl with a fork. Add the dressing, mix and then add all the vegetables and herbs and mix gently. Allow to settle for a while, mix again and sprinkle the citrus caviar over the dish. Serve hot or cold.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sweet Potato, Carrot and Turmeric Soup

Turmeric peeled
Get
2 large red sweet potatoes / kumeras
2 large white sweet potatoes/ (Ipomoea batatas)
1 bunch of young carrots
4 parsnips
1 leek/ shallot
Turmeric fresh and unpeeled
3 Turmeric roots (fresh, each small finger sized)
5 Garlic cloves
1 Chili pepper
1 Lemongrass bottom white of the stalk
3 Kaffir lime leaves (Citrus hystrix)
Fresh coriander and flat parsley
Some black pepper seeds
Olive oil
White sweet potato
Do
Stock
Boil 1 liter of water in a pot, add black pepper, chopped lemon grass, 1 kaffir leaf
Add clean peelings and vegetable off cuts as you go. Simmer while preparing vegetables.

Soup
Clean, peel and chop leek, carrots, parsnips and turmeric. Keep the tender tips of carrots and turmeric aside. Fry leek, add turmeric in large pieces and fry, till all is golden. Add the chili pepper and the carrots/turmeric, stir. Strain some of the hot stock on to the vegetables, cover and simmer for 10 min. Cut the peeled sweet potato in large chunks, keeping a few pieces aside. Add 3 garlic and 1 kaffir leaf. Simmer in covered pot. After 40 minutes add the remaining tender vegetable bits, the remaining sweet potao pieces, and some chopped coriander/parsley.
Just before serving add the keffir lime leaf for fragrance and the last bit of coriander/ parsley.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Infusion of Raspberries and Passionfruit

get
5 ripe native raspberries
1 ripe passionfruit
Some lemon juice
4 mugs of filtered boiling water

do
Wash berries, scoop out passionfruit and put into a jug. Add a few drops of lemon and pour over the boiling water. Mash fruit a bit with a spoon and allow to stand for 3-5 min with a cover.
Strain into cups (hot) or glasses (when cold) and decorate with some extra berries or lime wedges.

The drink is nice as a hot 'tea', but can also be served cold with endless variations.


See
Queensland Raspberries
Native Raspberry Leaf Tea and Fruit (Rubus rosifolius)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Apricot macadamia cookies


get (all organic)

80g finely chopped unsulphured dried apricots
80g finely chopped macadamia nuts
100g butter
2 tbsp maple syrup  
1 tsp cinnamon powder
200g light spelt flour

do

Preheat oven to 180°c.
Mix butter and maple syrup with a wooden spoon until smooth.
Mix in cinnamon.
Mix in apricots and nuts.
Mix in enough flour gradually so that the mixture is not sticky.

Roll out the pastry on a tea towel. Use a cookie cutter to form cookies. Place them on a buttered tray. Bake on the second shelf from the bottom for about 15 minutes depending on the thickeness. Remove from the tray and cool. Store in a tin.

Friday, July 11, 2014

How coffee could help against neurodegenerative diseases in a world of ubiquitous pesticides

In a world doused with pesticides living beings suffer from neurodegenerative diseases. A study has found that drinking a lot of coffee might protect against Parkinson's, a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system.

Naomi Yamada-Fowler, Mats Fredrikson, Peter Söderkvist. Caffeine Interaction with Glutamate Receptor Gene GRIN2A: Parkinson's Disease in Swedish Population. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (6): e99294 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0099294

more on
Slow Coffee

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Queensland Raspberries

Rubus probus is a widespread tropical raspberry that occurs in Queensland and in Papua New Guinea. Like the NSW Rubus rosifolius it is edible. It can be used like all other raspberries either raw - it has a slight crunch - stewed or in cakes. It also is cultured on the north coast of NSW. It is rather prickly and can form impenetrable thickets if left unpruned.

see
Native Raspberry Tea and Fruit (Rubus rosifolius)
Infusion of Raspberries and Passionfruit

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Asparagus eggs

get

3 sticks raw white asparagus
3 eggs
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter

do

Wash and peel asparagus, paying special attention to washing the head. It may have sand in it.
Slice them into thin diagonal slices, the head lengthwise.
Fry them in the heated oil - butter mixture till soft.
Beat the eggs with the water. Move the fried asparagus to the edge of the pan. Add the egg mixture. Cut into 2 pieces and flip when it is set.
Serve hot.
Sufficient for 2 people.
This recipe also works with uncooked green asparagus, but it is not necessary to peel it.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Artichokes

get

2 -4 globe artichokes depending on the size
2 cloves garlic
6 tbsp olive oil

do

Cut the stems off leaving about 2 cm. Remove a few petals near the stem.
Wash artichokes thoroughly especially between the petals.
Steam them for 30 - 60 minutes depending on the size until the petals can be easily pulled off.
Crush the garlic into the olive oil and mix. Place in 2 small bowls.

Eating

Discard the first petals. Place the artichoke on a plate and remove some petals. Dip the base of each petal in the garlic oil, bite into the soft fleshy part and eat it. Discard the hard part. Repeat with all the petals until you reach the heart. The top may be fluffy or thistle-like. With small artichokes this is soft and can be eaten but with large ones it has to be discarded by scraping it off with a knife. Then you come to the base which is like a small plate. This is also eaten after dipping in oil.

Sufficient for 2 people

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Hot chocolate

Get
1½ heaped tbsp organic pure (100%) cocoa powder from fair trade
⅓ l organic milk (or unsweetened soya milk)
½ l water

Do
Boil water.
Mix dry cocoa powder in a jug to reduce lumps.
Mix boiling water into the powder.
Heat milk in a small saucepan until it rises.
Add to the liquid and mix well.
Serve hot.

Sweetness
Hot chocolate tastes best unsweetened. It is important not to use too much cocoa powder or it becomes bitter (rather than stronger). Soya milk is naturally a little sweeter than cow milk. If anyone requests it sweeter they may add a sweetening agent to their cup.

Sweet Cacao & Vanilla