I wonder what Mate and Shawn are doing in Fiji now. I sure have missed her these last few days. I learned from Mate that Fiji prides itself on being a secluded getaway, so there are no phones and no Internet access. Or, at least where they are. I am ready for her to move on so we can communicate again.
Do you know anything about Fiji? I did not, but I do now. I learned quite a few things. Some interested me and some, I just skimmed over (politics, etc). Here are some of the things that interested me:
- The official name of this country is the Republic of the Fiji Islands. It is an island nation in the South Pacific Ocean and is comprised of 322 islands. It covers 75,000 square miles, 10% of which is land. The 2 major islands account for 87% of the population.
- It was settled somewhere between 3500 - 1000 BC (that's quite a time span) and was settled by Europeans that were beachcombers, missionaries and whalers.
- Constant warfare and cannibalism gave Fiji its early name - The Cannibal Isles. YIPES!!
- The islands are mountainous and are covered with thick tropical forests. The climate is tropical and warm most of the year (we have 3 inches of snow here).
- The national sport is rugby.
- The islands get most of their revenue from sugar and tourism.
- Their cuisine is a mixture of Melanesian, Polynesian, Indian, Chinese and Western . Their staples are: breadfruit, yams, cassave, taro root, leaves, beef, pork, poultry and seafood.
I also found they use a lot of spices. Here are the things I made...
Fijian Chicken Wings - Serves 4, 7 Weight Watchers Points, 7 out of 5
16 - 20 chicken wings, 6 oz soy sauce, 6 oz cooking sherry, 2 oz coconut milk, 2 tbsp sesame oil, 3 tbsp brown sugar, 2 tbsp ginger root, 2 tsp cardamom, 2 garlic cloves (minced), 3 chili peppers (chopped)
- Place all ingredients, except chicken, in a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Marinate chicken in mixture overnight, turning a few times.
- Remove chicken from marinade and bake at 400 for 30 minutes, turning twice and basting each time.
I would like to state for the record that my husband gave the chicken a 7 out of 5. (He ranks everything I cook on a scale of 1 - 5 and he says this is the best thing I have ever made for him in our 4 and a half years of knowing each other!) I will definitely try this marinade on some tofu. I dipped my finger in before I added chicken and it was delicious!
Spiced Dahl Soup - Makes six 1 cup servings, 3 Weight Watchers Points, 5 out of 5
water, 7 oz lentils, 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds (I had never heard of these), 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 40 oz vegetable broth, 1 tbsp olive oil, 4 garlic cloves (chopped), 1 onion (chopped), 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, 2 carrots (chopped), 2 celery stalks (chopped), 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp curry powder, 1 tbsp soy sauce
- Place lentils, fenugreek seeds and mustard seeds in a large pot and cover with 2 inches of water. Soak for 1 hour until the lentils are soft. Drain and rinse.
- Return the mixture to the pot and add broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil and lightly brown onions and garlic.
- Add onion mixture, red pepper flakes, carrots and celery to the lentils. Mix well. Cook for 15 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.
- Add salt, turmeric, curry powder and soy sauce. Heat through. Serve warm. YUM!!
I loved this soup...and I have not had such great experiences with lentils in the past. Another good thing about this recipe is that it is detox-friendly. So, when I do my detox diet 4 times a year, this will be a new recipe I throw into the mix. Sweet!
And, some Potato Curry we threw in the trash. I will not waste time typing in that recipe.
Mate leaves Fiji on February 18th and heads to New Zealand. I will see you there!