Everyone loves to go to the market. It claims to be the place where we can get garden fresh produce at reasonable prices. This may be true to a certain extent. There are, however, countless instances that I have encountered where vendors sell you substandard produce at regular market prices. This happens mostly with ground/root provisions that do not cook properly, and breadfruit that is picked too soon and never cooks properly. Tomatoes that are fertilised so much that they actually start to disintegrate on my kitchen counter. And beware of some cabbage vendors. One gardener was overheard telling another that his cabbage was so worm infested that he had to drown it in pesticide. And then we put this poison into our bodies.
Before you buy cassava, ask your vendor to cut it for you to see the inside. It must be lily white. If not, then don’t buy. Local “blue” dasheen is usually sold from Friday to Sunday. It is very dark and hairy and when knocked with your fingers will sound somewhat hollow. This indicates it is good. Sweet potatoes are usually very hardy and will stay for at least two weeks in our kitchen. Cassava and dasheen must be consumed right away. There is some local organic produce being offered right now at certain supermarkets. These seem to be quite good, so if you can, go for that as well. The least amount of pesticides and fertilisers we ingest, the healthier we will remain. Also, to you market vendors that sell substandard produce, don’t you all realise that you may get a customer one time, but he/she may never return to buy from you. Who loses then?
These can be served as an appetiser with an avocado or tomato salsa or as a side dish in place of French fries.
1 medium sized breadfruit
oil for frying
Peel and cut the breadfruit into quarters, remove the seed and slice each quarter into 1/4 inch thick slices length-ways.
Heat oil in a deep frying pan, when hot drop breadfruit slices into hot oil and fry in batches turning occasionally until golden in colour on both sides, drain and sprinkle with salt.
• Serves 6
SWEET POTATO SALAD
1 lb sweet potatoes
1 cup mixed fresh herbs, basil, chives, chadon beni/cilantro or parsley
1 large red or green bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
Juice of one lemon
Or 3 tbs fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients for the vinaigrette and set aside.
Boil or roast sweet potatoes until tender, drain, and cool. Peel and cut into one inch cubes.
Combine herbs, peppers, and potatoes, toss with vinaigrette and season to taste with pepper and salt.
• Serves 4 to 6
1 3 to 4 lb breadfruit, boiled, cooled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/3 cup chopped chadon beni
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped chives
1 cup low fat mayonnaise
juice of 1 large lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
Place breadfruit in bowl add pepper, combine mayonnaise with all other ingredients, stir.
Add to breadfruit and combine, cover and refrigerate until ready for use.
• Serves 6 to 8