Sunday, 5 April 2015

Eat Local Challenge Day 3 and 4

Day 3
Smoothie:  2 Monty's Surprise apples, 2 red apples,  20 feijoas roughly, 2 golden kiwifruit all blended with 1 cup water - locally grown in our backyard.

Mid morning snack - 1 carrot each (Hawkes Bay - 28km out of zone).
Googled rice flour pancake recipe:
1 cup rice flour
2 Tspn baking powder
2 tspn egg replacer (Mike allergy to eggs)
3 tspn sugar, 1/2 tspn salt
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup milk
Blend and fry in little oil

Great!  Can be used as sweet or savoury pancake

We had a visit from Ben and Sarah, the French couple living in Katikati, who have generously offered to work in our garden in return for fresh organic food.  We shared a bag of feijoas and some apples with them, they will collect fruit a couple of times a week while we are away, to help our young German helpers consume the plentiful supply.  We shared a smoothie and lemongrass tea (all from the garden) to celebrate our impending holiday.

After lunch, we had a cuppa tea, a final pack and hit the road to Auckland.
Driving 2  1/2hrs  to Auckland, we discuss how we both miss having lollies to chomp – a mini sugar rush to take us through our day.  I have packed Road Food – some of our previously dehydrated apple rings.  We have a few pieces and feel the fruit sugar rush – not quite as satisfying but still good.  Mike actually says he feels better for the limited selection of food we have.  We usually have a far greater variety of food in our daily diet.

I had brought a selection of fruit for breakfast but only a small stash of veggies – in case we need to make something.  Providence!  We plan to stop and buy some cheese – Auckland should have some supplies that come within the 200km zone – alas, alack and woe!  It is Easter Friday!!  We discover the bustling hub of shops and supermarket near the airport is deathly quiet.  Not a shopper in sight, save some frustrated consumers who sit in their cars, as if willing the stores to open as they wait.

We find the airport motel has a microwave only – anyone who knows me knows my suspicion and dreaded fear of the nuclear-irradiated food cooker!  We have no choice!  It’s use it or go hungry.  There are no shops open – so I assembled all the veggies, chopped them with the terribly blunt motel knife (my pocket knife is tucked deep within the belly of my hold baggage, so I hack up 2 courgettes, some beans, 2 tomatoes and sprinkle with tamari sauce and juice of a lime (all from our garden) – irradiate the hell out of them, halve the avo and olives I brought, in case of emergency, and we soak the 5 rice wraps.

Our humble motel-assembled meal
Once assembled, we feel a little more chipper, the appearance is peasant-like, but the taste is the stuff of royalty!  We hungrily devour our simple meal, giving thanks to the blessings of home-grown food!  And to think we had thought longingly of cheese, or even an Indian veg curry for our pre-holiday treat!  Amazing how simple foods can sustain and even delight you when you are hungry and have no other choice!
Locally sourced-veggie rice-flour wrap

A cuppa tea before bed will have to suffice for dessert.


  • Missing those lollies!  We did pack some jelly beans before our hasty decision was made – it is in the bottom of Mike’s luggage – Hmmmn, maybe we should unpack and retrieve them!  They are listed as being made in Auckland.  
  • We are trying to drink less cups of black Ceylon tea, and supplement with herbs from the garden.  Bay leaves – 6 in a pot of water, bring to the boil and add a teensy dash of honey.  I think it has anti-bacterial properties and anti-cancer properties.
  • Lemongrass tea – a 6cm piece chopped up in a pot of water, brought to the boil and sweetened with a smidgeon of honey – rather a nice lemony-snicket-tasting tea. It is an anti-fungal tea, as well as a stress reducing tea, lowers cholesterol and is also anti-inflammatory.
Planted some lettuce the night before we left, so we have salad ingredients to come home to.
Day 4
Woke at 4.30am in motel, had our usual morning hot drinks – 2 coffees for me, 2 teas for Mike.  I chopped up the fruit I brought from our garden, 1 Monty’s Surprise apple, 8 feijoas, half a pear.  Put them into the 2 Ninja cups (we bought a Ninja blender for the Challenge – figured we are staying 5 nights at the Tanoa Hotel and we negotiated free breakfasts which usually cost F$15 each, so that would have been F$150 for us both for 5 days – so we went and bought the travel-light Ninja blender for $100 as the Tanoa does not have a self contained kitchen, and we will blend some of our meals rather than cooking.
We ate our fruit salad at the airport, and shared half a left-over carrot.  I felt a little lightness of being, with no carbs, so we stopped at an Asian outlet and bought Made in New Zealand Milk biscuits – it was just what we needed!  There was no actual area listed.  We bought some Allens Mackintosh toffees – also just listed as Made in New Zealand, but I suspect there are some imported ingredients used!   We snacked on a cup and a half of Chilian guavas I picked before leaving home.  On board the plane, we snacked on half a Ceres raw fruit bar (made in Auckland from imported ingredients - the food miles would be as long as my arm for that little bar!).  What we had not realised was that Fiji Air provides breakfast for all on board, so being egg-free veggoes, we declined the cooked egg option and had a Made in New Zealand fruit yoghurt and a small pottle with 2 bites of pineapple and papaya – origin unknown.  Possibly a tropical location.

It is a little tricky travelling with this 200km radius food rule, but it makes life a little fun too – figuring out what is okay and what is not.  We were picked up by a friendly Indian taxi driver Narayan, in Nadi, who kindly took us to the Vodafone store to sort my internet toggle (so I could keep up with The Challenge!).  At first they kept on coming up with a firewall, so sent us off to a PC shop to help us, they figured out that all was fine, so back to Vodafone we went to get the toggle set up.  It took some time, until they finally figured out that they hadn’t changed the time or country!!  So now all is fine and I am back online!  Sort of.  Can't seem to load any of our photos - shall have to do that later. 

I found the Shrine of Existence – a local fruit and veg market – a veritable Aladdin's Cave of Splendiferous plant foods!  I was in Heaven!  Unfortunately, I could not carry all that my heart desired (we abhore plastic bags and try to use our small re-usable shopping bags), but I managed to purchase green sweet bananas, guavas, eggplants, half a small pumpkin, carrots,  pineapple, ginger, 4 papayas, avocado and limes and a large coconut which we drank straight away!  All for $25!  Such is life – pleasure and pain!  The pain of travel and the digital world, the pleasure of tropical heat and tropical fruit!

We were still feeling light in the stomach, with so much uncooked fruits, so we bought some street food – suggested to us by Narayan; 2 potato-filled rotis, and 6 pea flour gulgans (or some such name) – basically fried spicey pea flour balls.  They went down a treat – though we felt a little overcome by the sudden overload of wheat and fried foods!  Apparently Fiji has NO grain grown here – much of the packages state that it is the Product of Fiji – but Narayan explained it has simply been processed here – e.g – Product of Fiji Rice – is rice from Australia or Vietnam, de-husked and packed here.  So our wheat rotis, though made here – were sadly not a grain of Fiji.  So that snack cost us plenty food air miles (not sure where it comes from, possibly India, at a guess).

We are staying in a well-appointed, self-catering unit in Wyndham Worldmark Denerau.  In the afternoon of our arrival, after settling into our unit, we realised we will not be able to cook much since we don’t have the basics – oil, onions, spices and water!  So we caught the WestBus to town, which seems to be mostly to ferry all the resort staff back and forth, instead of catching a $10 taxi, it costs us $2 on the bus.  We were warned that on Sunday and Monday all the shops are closed for Easter, so we rushed off at 3.30 and were back at about 5.30 for a quick dip on the pool before our dinner.

Tonight, we shall dine on the flesh of our drinking coconut (good source of protein) and papaya and guava.  The smell is driving me wild!!  In fact, I think that’s why the average Fijian family has so many children – this local food is clearly aphrodisiac!! 

Mike is complaining that he needs more carbs, so a milk biscuit does the job of grounding us!  Travelling creates challenges which are difficult to control.  We look forward to having an onsite restaurant meal tomorrow, with local foods.
REAL FOOD, feel it, smell it and taste it!!  Alive Food!  Oh, Fiji, we love you!

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