Fried Lady Fingers, Baby Corn and Coconut

Somewhere in the mid 1960’s if I remember clearly, there was a trend in European countries to experience Holidays outside of the country you lived in.

A trend that was very well lived in the northern parts of Europe where people were desperate for some sunshine after months of grey, rainy autumn and winter weather that made whole societies all of a sudden depressed, a feat that never happened before, but the sixties were the years of soul searching and we all discovered our inner selves and depression was declared a climate related syndrome.

Psychiatrist and other soul searchers jumped on the band wagon and described holidays to countries with more sunshine and happier people, the whole thing became so popular that in some countries social security paid for these trips in order to prepare beneficiaries better for the job market.

Flocks of depressives booked early spring trips to the south of France, the Spanish resort cities of  Marbella, and Tenerife, parts of other southern European countries, just to taint themselves in preparation for a summer back home with hopefully some sunshine that would make all the effort of getting a taint worthwhile.

Those who could not afford the treat, or had the means but not the time, bought an artificial sun, or how do you call these things, and spend a couple of hours a day getting ‘brown’.

They looked as artificial as the fake sun I remember, inviting raised eyebrows at their respective working places, but then again Western Europe is a free democratic place to live and you can have the appearance you desire, brown, white, tainted or burned for those who fell asleep under the browning machine and forgot it had a timer.

Altogether I believe the whole affair made loads of people happy and happy people make this world a better place I believe, so no qualms.

Many of these travellers brought food from the happy countries they went to holiday and all sorts of foreign food started to travel over Europe.

I remember the first time I saw ladyfingers at the green grocers, the shop owner told me that they were imported from Morocco and called ‘Okra’s’.

Those days nobody ever heard of food miles and other issues we now blame for excessive chemicals on our food to keep it in good condition. What came from far was good, simple as that.

The first time I tried these angled beans I boiled them, that’s what you did with vegetables. They turned out quite slimy and didn’t seem to fit in the ‘what comes from far is good’ category.

Only many years later I heard about the health benefits of ladyfingers and also that frying stopped them from becoming slimy.

In this warm salad, fried ladyfingers are combined with baby corn, another vegetable that is delicious when fried and crunchy.

The beansprouts, peanuts and toasted coconut complete this dish that makes a delightful lunch salad.

Sample 2

Orange and Mango Crumble

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, don’t we all know that saying.

Obviously this old saying was meant to make people eat more fruit. Fruits are nice, full of vitamins and if you can eat the skin, like with apples, they offer lots of fibers, beneficial to your detox.

Most probably this is the most plausible explanation to the expression.

When you had the flu, you were given fruit juice, usually orange juice, when you were luckily enough you got fruit for dessert. Fruits are believed to be healthy and good and they are.

Look up any diet and it will say that you can eat as much fruit as you like.

So how did the crumble come about? Like many other dishes we know from grandmothers recipe books, crumble came about for a reason.

Crumble is actually a British dish called ‘Brown Betty’ , said to be invented because of food rationing during WWII., Everything was scarce and a little flour, a little butter and a little sugar, just not enough to make a dough went on top of fruits available, often apples, then baked and the crumble was born or is it re-born?

Other accounts say that crumbles already existed at the end of the 19th century. A Brown Betty recipe apparently appeared in an American magazine which shows that the dish was introduced in North America during colonial times. Born or re-born is not so much the issue also, we love desserts and crumbles are absolutely delicious.

Overripe extra sweet fruit, a little sugar and flour made the crumble hearty and filling, very helpful during tough times of a country at war. A forced situation in desperate times made a humble dish a famous dish.

Crumbles went all over the world, being British at first, crumbles reached Commonwealth countries like Australia, New Zealand and Canada first, but are now known all over the world.

In this recipe I have used oranges and mangos for a reason, like all great dishes came about for a reason.

Oranges and mangos contain lots of vitamin C, work very well together and become a lovely combination when ginger and raisins are added to the mix. Both fruits release juices during baking time that function as a sauce when the dish is served.