Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Amazon Rain Forest, Eating Sensations,

This morning's BIG was the Amazon Rain Forest which is something like 1.4 million acres click here to see Sam Champion's adventure or here for three video links. A lot of the emphasis was on the things which are as yet undiscovered in the Amazon and of the tribes who, although having been discovered, wish to remain as they were and not sample the "delights" of modern civilization. These peoples are likely to be devastated by illnesses we take for granted, the common cold, measles, etc. etc. so they are being protected as much as possible. A lot of the forest is being systematically destroyed by logging or by people clearing the forest to plant foodstuffs. I read, somewhere, that areas the size of Germany are being destroyed every day. The discovery of many plants the native peoples take for granted and use for food and medicines is something which excites scientists. Some of the discoveries are gradually creeping into our stores. The forest is home to more species of plants, animals, birds and insects than anywhere else in the world and is also described as the lungs of the world, providing 10% of the world's oxygen and absorbing massive amounts of carbon dioxide. On World Wide Recipes the chef is currently asking people to write about their momentous food moments and I was trying to think of a particular one for me. I guess I am lucky to have had a lot of them. Two that stand out in my memory involve crab, not the little crabs found in most of North America but the big crabs we get in Europe which have lots of meat. One of these experiences began in the West Country (Cornwall) when we were on a kind of honeymoon trip. The day we were leaving, we bought two huge crabs from a local fisherman, one of the many with whom we had got very friendly that week. We took these crabs home (we only lived a few hours away) and gave one to Matt's parents and kept one for ourselves. The claw on one of these crabs was as big as Matt's hand. The crab was something like 12 inches across its back. We cleaned and 'dressed' it and stuffed ourselves on crab for two days. It was wonderful. Matt was working in a Young Offenders prison at the time and he took the sterilised claw which was set onto a board along with another board which had a new diaper pin. The inmate with the dirtiest cell got the crab claw awarded to him, obviously the new pin went to the best cell. The second crab episode took place in France. We were cruising the coast on my father's boat, which was also our home and were in F├Ęcamp. We had met a restaurant owner who was once a British soldier in the first world war - he had fallen in love with a French woman and decided to stay. He had also learned to cook like the French and my father asked him to prepare a typical French meal for us. It consisted of seven courses of the most wonderful food, but the highlight to me was the huge crab we were served for our second course. There were eight of us and we still couldn't finish it. One of the most delicious crabs I have ever eaten. Unsurprisingly one of the best lobster meals I ever ate was also in France. In those days, certainly, you couldn't go wrong with food wherever you ate. As a young woman I spent a lot of time in France and never once had a bad meal anywhere. Not having been to France in many a year, I assume the food is still as good, but of course, I don't know from experience any more. I should really add another crab experience, this time in North Carolina, where we had a friend who used to have a shrimp boat and incidentally caught lots of blue or back fin crabs. Every so often he would invite us over and we would sit outside at a picnic table with a load of these crabs picking to our heart's content. They really are something of a pain to eat, but the meat, when you get it, is delicious. Matt could never be bothered with them. The women in the picture are actually in a tournament, but this is more or less what it looked like with newspapers on the tables and us picking, sucking, stuffing and enjoying the pile of crabs put in front of us. Of course there were shrimp available too, but we got those more often. In NC I first ate soft shelled crabs too. If they are done properly, those are delicious. They can also be like eating leather. Yesterday I was talking about GMA's trip to Mumbai in India. So today I thought I would give you a basic recipe for chicken curry. Robin Roberts of GMA was in London this morning and told us that fish and chips was making a comeback because it is cheaper (which surprises me) than Indian food which has been so very popular and had almost totally ousted fish and chips. She showed us food prepared by the chef at the Taj Mahal in Mumbai all of which looked delicious and caused Robin to say it was so good it made you want to "slap yore mama". Chicken Curry Indian Food Forever
1 tbsp butter 1 cup chopped apple 1 cup sliced celery 1 clove garlic, minced 1/2 cup chopped onion 2 tbsp cornstarch 2 to 3 tsp curry powder 3/4 cup cold chicken stock 2 cups milk 2 cups cooked chicken, diced 1 (3 ounce) can mushrooms, drained Salt To Taste Rice Ring 1/4 cup butter 1/2 cup chopped onion 1/4 cup slivered almonds 1/2 cup light raisins 6 cups hot cooked rice 6 1/2 cup ring mold
How to make curry chicken :
  • Melt butter in saucepan; add apple, celery, garlic and onion. Cook until onion is tender. Combine cornstarch, curry powder, 3/4 teaspoon salt and broth.
  • Stir into onion mixture; add milk. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Add chicken and mushrooms; stir and heat through. Serve over rice ring.
  • Rice Ring : Melt butter in skillet; add onion and almonds (until golden). Add raisins; heat until plump. Add all to rice and mix.
  • Press mixture into greased mold. Unmold at once on platter and fill with indian chicken curry.
My note: the rice ring is not a necessary adjunct to this dish. You can just serve the curry with plain rice if you wish. I usually serve poppadums and chutneys with curries and if I am entertaining I often serve a dahl as well. Have a great day.


  1. This forest is really having some bad times... We are robbering this. This morning a chemist asked me some pau d'arco, also called Lapacho plant for stomach aches (one of the uses). He did'nt know the plant, i'm not sure he will remmeber about it and where it's coming from, nor even if he does even realize how many wealth are coming from this far away forest.

    I love your crab stories ^^

  2. That's so true Gynie, people don't know where such medicines come from. It would be so sad to strip the forest of the sources of such things. But then they way they are cutting down the trees, there won't be any sources left anyway.

  3. I'll go for the Chicken Curry rather than the crab...

  4. You don't like crab Marilyn. I love it as you can tell. Not much I don't like I guess.

  5. I'd love to try exotic foods too!

  6. Thanks Mizzy, but looking at your website it appears you specialise in what I call exotic foods. Check it out folks