Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Eat Local Challenge Day 5 and 6

Day 5
Holy Smoke!  I love tropical climates!  This morning we had a Ninja smoothie of half a papaya, a quarter pineapple and a banana each!  This is Liquid Love!  The Taste of Sunshine!
Liquid Sunshine
A morning of lounging at the pool, soaking up Vitamin D – bliss.  We decided to treat ourselves to a lunch at MamaCitas, the on-site Mexican restaurant.  After pouring over the menu for some time, consulting the waitress at length, calling the chef and appealing to him to cook up a rice dish with some sauteed veggies – impossible!  The menu at these big resorts are set, and they cannot rely on local veggies, as ingredients need to be available all year round, so THEY IMPORT ALL THEIR FRUIT AND VEG!! Shocking!  With all the subsistence and market farmers here in Fiji, apparently the fruit and veg availability is governed by the weather, so it is more reliable to import food rather than change the menu!  That was a shock!  We left feeling frustrated and also, VERY VERY hungry!

Back to the unit we rushed, and I hastily rustled up a quick meal of rice pancakes – one with local cheese from Suva (112km and mango chutney (from Lautoka- closer than Suva).  2 other pancakes with butter (from same Suva dairy- 112km from Nadi) and drizzled with honey (from the Highlands of Ba in Fiji- 62km from Nadi).   We brought a jar of honey with us from New Zealand, but it was of course, confiscated at the airport on arrival!  Silly us!  
I also chopped 2 bananas in half, lengthwise, drizzled my NZ powdered milk over, with a knob of butter and the remainder of the rice batter I poured over the top.  I nuked it, due to the urgent appeal of our growly tummies – wow!  We were blown away by our inventiveness and the flavour of that simple meal!  Stunning!  We will definitely repeat that!

Rice pancakes and papaya
Banana, rice and honey dessert
After all that sweet food, we are treating ourselves to a drip filter coffee from Lami (in Suva), well within The Zone!

Evening Meal:
Rice and a good veg stew with local canned tomatoes, onions, eggplant (crazy-cheap here!) and some garlic and ginger – all local, within our zone.  We shall have to catch the WestBus tomorrow (even tho’ it is  Easter Monday) and replenish our supplies.  An Indian maintenance man, Atish, who has just fixed our blind cord, told us he comes from the Highlands of Ba, where our honey is sourced from and that the fruit market will be closed on Monday, but sellers will still sell from stalls outside. 

We really miss having our usual treats – biscuits (wheat) and snack foods (many with wheat or imported ingredients).  We did spy a buja mix in the store, with rice and locally made – seems a good option now.
We keep on reminding ourselves: to stay in The Zone!  Sounds like a Zombie Apocalypse movie!

We thought back to the time we stayed in this resort before, and happily ate at MamaCitas, completely oblivious to the fact we were eating imported food!  I wonder how many other guests would ever toss a thought to the origin of the food in their restaurant meal.  We are pleased to discover this, through The Challenge.

Day 6

Liquid Love
After a smoothie (papaya, banana and pineapple), and our usual morning drinks, we set off for our timeshare presentation  (yep, we were obliged, due to using a timeshare voucher which cost us $99 for 5 days).  That took the whole morning (as it seemed to be a great idea and we asked far too many questions) and then we returned to our unit to rustle up some lunch.  Life Before The Challenge would have seen us grab a couple of pieces of toast, cheese, tomato or some such ensemble.  Staying in The Zone requires a lot more thought and resourcefulness.  I first boiled then baked some potatoes in coconut oil (olive, our usual taste in oil, comes from Italy, so we went loco and bought coconut – not my favourite oil to cook with – but then it’s not called a Challenge for nought!).  A carrot cut into sticks, half an avo with salt, course black pepper and lime juice as an accompaniment, local cheese slices and a sauce made with local tomato sauce, garlic paste and lime juice.

The verdict – delicious!  Amazing how we can be satisfied with such basic foods.
Soaking up some Vitamin D at the end of the day, looking over the ocean and reading a book – what a great way to spend holiday time. 
We treated ourselves to an evening meal at Bulaccino – a restaurant just 10 minutes walk from our resort.  We had cassava wedges with spicey chilli and garlic, pumpkin soup for me, dahl soup for Mike (we had to decline the garlic bread accompaniment - blast!), and a side dish of spinach cooked in coconut milk.  Total cost – F$38.20.  They initially charged us for only 1 soup before we pointed out their mistake. It is tricky eating out for non-egg-eating vegetarians, add the 200km zone restrictions and staff are left scratching their heads in bewilderment! Before leaving NZ, we discovered that Bulaccino supplies much of their veggies from their own certified organic farm, so we contacted the owner, Eileen, and asked if we could visit the farm.  She was most generous and offered to collect us from the restaurant and give us a tour of the farm!  So we have made arrangements to connect on Wednesday.  Tea and bed.

Very difficult to eat out at a restaurant, as a vegetarian with egg allergy.
Extremely difficult to eat out at a restaurant, as a veggoe, and eating in The Zone.

We are still alive.  There is still plenty to eat, even if it is limited, and we have to prepare all of it!
We met an Indian Ice Cream Parlour owner, who offered to make us chocolate muffins with rice flour!
Our maintenance man Atish, has offered to get his wife to make us a local vegetable curry.
One of the staff has offered to bring us breadfruit for breakfast on Wednesday!

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