My Dear friends

This site not work anymore .I have a new site and you can go there visit me. I dont go put more post here anymore ... If you like this blog go there .. I will be there for you ... Olá meus queridos amigos ... agora tenho um novo blog Este site nao funcionará mais , tive alguns problemas. Agora tenho um novo endereco de blog. Nao irei mais colocar post neste blog .. Todas as atualizacoes e novidades estarao no outro endereco .. Acessem... estarei lá pra vcssss Se vcs gostaram desse blog irao amar o outro .. mais atualizado e lindo ... Vamos láaaa .... visitem-me lá .. Beijinhos Lili

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quarta-feira, 24 de fevereiro de 2010

Pineapples: The best fruit under the sun

Now is the time to snap up pineapples, if only to brighten up a winter's day

By Rose Prince
Published: 7:03AM GMT 24 Feb 2010

Exotic pleasure: pineapple juice makes an excellent marinade for shellfish Photo: ALAMY

Saturday is fruit day. If we've had a reasonably early night on Friday, I am up and out to find fruit for the following week. I want it in paper bags, not plastic from the supermarket. And I want to be shopping at my local greengrocer or farmers' market.
In early March, there is nothing in the farmers' market except a few apples and pears that growers have managed to store through the winter. At our local greengrocer in Battersea High Street (the last remaining one after the other three in the area closed down), Bill and Terry Raynsford sell the freshest British vegetables, bought early that morning in the London wholesale markets. Yet apart from the occasional very welcome box of pink forced Yorkshire rhubarb, there is little newly harvested British fruit.

In the depths of winter when the choice of home-grown fruit is so limited, I don't beat myself up about food miles. The children hate rhubarb, and Bill and Terry sell good-quality mangoes and pineapples, which are a source of huge pleasure. Aside from a reminder that the food world is not flat, a glimpse of exotica is a reminder that the sun may not be shining where we live but it does somewhere else – often a place where a fruit trade with Europe is an essential business.

This year, for the first time since before our children were born, we had a taste of what that really means, in the place where it is able to grow. The guilty pleasure of a midwinter week in the Bahamas is one I hardly dare share. But over a breakfast of exotic fruit on our first day on Harbour Island, with the Atlantic beside us crashing onto a beach where the sand was like pink sherbet, I forked a piece of pineapple into my mouth and asked if it was local. It wasn't.

To be fair, it is a little early in the season for this fruit, but later that day the chef at the Coral Sands Hotel, Ludo Jarland, explained that the Bahamas produces a shockingly small amount of its own food. "Aside from the fish, which is excellent, I find it very hard to buy anything," he says. "Most of our food comes on a boat from Miami."

Jarland is French but his kitchen is staffed by local people. He uses the mahi mahi, lobster, crab and grouper that local fishermen sell him in dishes that combine European influences with Caribbean. His lobster bouillabaisse with jalapeño aioli was one of the best bowls of food I have eaten in a long time and his crab fritters are a naughty pleasure.

Jarland admitted, however, that all was not lost. "Recently I have been able to buy fruit from Eleuthera, the next island," he says. I investigate further and the tourist board tell me that the island is more than 100 miles long, yet no more than three miles wide. They also tell me about a farmer who is reviving agriculture.

Enter Diana Thompson, a larger than life she-farmer bumping down a track in a pickup towards her farm near Gregory Town on Eleuthera. Her farm has received a grant from the Bahamas Agriculture and Industrial Corporation (BAIC), set up by the Bahamian government who are concerned that their farming industry has been lost.

"Eleuthera pineapples were always famous for their white sweet flesh and I have three acres growing here," she exclaims delightedly, showing me a plot of dark green cactus-like plants. At the centre of each, tiny young pineapples are sprouting. "The BAIC help me with money to buy fertiliser and plastic sheeting to keep out weeds," she says. "I have pineapples growing here worth $40,000 and that should encourage other Eleuthera people to get back to farming."

The high cost of oil has been a wake-up call for the Bahamas. I later learn that high freight costs to the islands are resulting in a genuine mushrooming of new farms and the hope is that island chefs like Jarland and local Bahamian people, too, will have access to fruit, salad and vegetables, including high-energy roots like sweet potato. "Bahamians need to get serious," insists Thompson. "We are importing $9 million worth of bananas at the moment that we could grow here."

Britain has its own food security problems; we depend on imports to meet public needs. We too are not using our land properly to produce more food that we can eat and recent price rises indicate an urgent need to change this, something the British Government has at last addressed with Hilary Benn's Food 2030 strategy.

One thing we will not be able to do, though, is grow our own pineapples, mangoes, papayas or bananas. Next month, when British land may just as well be a desert for all it can yield, I will be down at Bill and Terry's shop in Battersea, buying fruit that reminds me of the sun.

Okè Fairtrade Pineapples: pineapples from producer groups that receive a fair wage are available from Asda, Tesco, Marks & Spencer and the Co-operative. Look out for the Fairtrade logo on the label.
Coral Sands Hotel, Harbour Island, Bahamas (001 242 333 2350;

We stayed for a few days at this lovely country-house-style hotel then moved down the beach to its sister hotel, the Pink Sands (001 242 333 2030; where we ate equally good but different food, including excellent sushi and sashimi made from local fish in chef James Van Dyke's brilliant kitchen. You can also take cooking classes there. We arranged our trip with Bahamas Flavour (

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