Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lambi Cooking Class & Food Festivals in Grenada

September 22, 2011

Our Summer Camp for the AARP crowd continues, with more and more creativity!  Dockside, the get togethers continue on a weekly basis at a minimum.
Dockside Cooking Class
Martin & his sister

This week we’ve learned all about conch - lambi as it’s called in these islands.  Our friend, Martin and his sister demonstrated exactly how to catch the conch in the sea grass; taught us how to poke the hole in the shell and slip a knife in to release the 'animal'; how to skin and clean the conch - what to eat and most importantly, what NOT to eat.

Showing how the inside part & how the conch is attached inside

Various type of conch - To my surprise -some are poisonous 
'Skinning' the conch 'animal'
Conch before cutting it and hammering it to make it tender

Conch MUST be tenderized

Pounding away with a hammer to tenderize the conch

Green & red peppers, onion, carrot chopped to make the Lambi Fritters& Lambi Salad
Lambi fritters being stirred up

Fritters ready for the pot

Deep frying fritters - the best I've eaten as these had lots of 'stuff' added

Cracked conch - conch rolled in flour w spices & deep fried

Lambi Water - we call it Conch soup! 

 We all pigged out on the Lambi Salad (like a civichi),  Lambi Fritters, the Cracked Lambi and finished our meal with Lambi Water.  To say we were stuffed would be an understatement!  We had a great time watching, learning and especially eating!

Afterward, Martin & Bill from the catamaran 'Ultra' showed us how to further make holes and cut the conch shell so one would have a proper horn to blow.   There is an art form to making a proper conch horn and practice and skill is needed to make it sound like music.

That little piece must be cut out to make a proper horn

Listening to the boaters 'making music' with the conch horns, it was tough to determine whether we had (a) moose in heat (b) stuck pigs (c) boaters with bad gas on the dock.  Hilarious!

The colors inside a conch shell are beautiful

Awaiting our bites and tasting samples of it all

The drinks along with the recipes

              UNIQUE HAPPY HOUR
We celebrated something - whatever/anything - with a unique Happy Hour on the dock last night.  Each boat brought their favorite drink in a pitcher to share with all, including the recipe and also brought a food dish to share.

Finally!  I got rid of Vodka and got rid of Melon Liquor that I’d had on board for nearly 4 years....bottles purchased for some long ago party and never opened.
Sooo many tasty foods!

My Melon Breeze is equal parts vodka (used Citron) & melon liquor plus equal parts pineapple juice and cranberry juice.  I doubled the amount of juice vs the liquor.  Serve over ice.  Many thought the drink was a rum based one.  Amazingly, this was one of THE hits of the party, along with every other drink made, including PainKillers, various Margarita drinks, White Russians, Sangrias, Bloody Mary type drinks and on and on...whatever was in the bilge of a boat needing to be used up.  Imagine, so many pitchers on a table and so many boaters sampling, sampling, sipping, sipping.  I worried about boaters trying to get back on their boats from the docks after sampling so many drinks!!!
Most of us have to walk a narrow plank from the back of the boat to the dock - scary when sober.

                                                 LOCAL   FOOD    FESTIVALS
Food Festivals abound on the island.  Each week in Gouyave, a 30 minute drive from here, is Fish Friday. a seafood culinary event attended by many from all over Grenada.  One wanders the street full of vendors cooking up all kinds of seafood in all kinds of ways.  One can purchase a bite or an entire meal.  We sampled small platefuls, sipped a rum drink, a beer or water and just enjoyed the ambiance! (See my earlier blog in July regarding our visit there.)

Once a month, not to be outdone, the little town of Victoria, further up from Gouyave, hosts their Food Festival.  Ah, all kinds of food is to be had, including some things one might not want to know you’re eating, such as male body parts off strange animals.  Ah, all was delicious, including a plate of liver I got!
Our group chatting with the locals

My favorite - the drums

Even played a couple of USA songs for us!

Everyone had a great time!

At one of the food booths

Food, Food & More Food

Friday, September 16, 2011

Summer Camp for AARP Folks in Idyllic Grenada

September 16, 2011
Family at Fort George's
Ah, Lindsay & family flew back to Florida after a wonderful 10 days in Grenada.  They are so missed.  The boat is too quiet!  Fun filled, busy days spent sightseeing, snorkeling for the grownups while Andy babysat, dingy rides to town to shop and sight see; bus rides to town and hours spent in the pool consumed our days.   See all the photos of Babies on Board in an earlier posting for all the fun we had!
Even though we are stuck tied to a dock, I must say we are certainly enjoying our time in Grenada. 

The Port Louis Marina (PLM) is nearly full; the anchorage outside of the marina is loaded with boats, as are the other marinas and anchorages around.  Sailors from all over the world and a few of us cruisers in trawlers are sitting out hurricane season,  getting postponed repair work completed and in general, just working slowly through To Do lists.  The majority of folks are retirees, but there is a good mix of 40ish folks with and without children.  The afternoon conversations in the pool are a great way to practice a new language, make new friends or  just  learn something new about boating or boats from someone who ‘has been there/done that’. 
Each morning at 7:30 on VHF Channel 68, folks on Cruiser’s Net chatter away, asking questions & gaining Need to Know information, as well as where to go for what; what gathering is happening where; etc.  Cruisers also recently started a Facebook Page, "Grenada Cruisers", to capture much of the same information for those that cannot hear the VHF radio well. No one can say they are isolated here.

Twice weekly volleyball games on the beach
Let me tell you, by the age of retirement,  folks have mastered the art of How To Have A Good Time.   Someone is always planning something - an island tour;  a hike; volleyball games twice a week; cookouts on the dock; cooking classes on the dock; established times and places for folks to gather to play games such as Mexican Train Dominos; always searching out local restaurants and bars with big TVs so all can watch rugby, watch USA football, the Tennis Open, or what ever else strikes your fancy.  Happy Hours abound around the island, serving as the local Meet and Greet for cruisers.   All of this reminds me of summer camps I attended as a kid - reading the list of activities each morning so one knows what to expect -- "Do you wish to hike or do you wish to go snorkeling?"  Tough choices and so many of them!

Fun Times every day - as much or as little activity as one wants to participate in.  Take a look:

Impromptu sharing of food & companionship at the dock.  Sailors put their unused sails to good use, making a sun shade for all!

Bringing a dish to share & your own drink is the norm

Not all is play with no work.  Fueling Finally Fun ($4.19 gal US) with fuel hose snaking thru the fence.  We're ready to go if need be!

A wonderful 9/11 Memorial Service put on by cruisers

Cruisers in tears at the 9/11 Memorial

Cruisers gathered on the dock on a Sunday morning to learn how to make the Oil Down, Grenada's national dish.  See my previous blog about this dish.  We had a great time learning, helping & then EATING!

Cruisers gathering around Martin, a local Grenada, who taught us how to make this dish

Red & Yellow Peppers, onion, garlic, spicy peppers, thyme, are added

Breadfruit being added (tastes like a potatoe & grows on trees here)
Okra is added

Corn added to the mix

Land Crab, yucky chicken parts. pig parts such as snout, feet, tail & salt fish are added

Pouring in the coconut milk which is coconut meat & coconut milk pureed in a blender

Dumplings are shaped into flat rounds and long cylinders & added

Nearly finished dish with dumplings on top

Callallo chopped & added - Callallo is like a collard green, but tastes more like spinach.  Gotta cook it 30+ minutes or risk slicing your throat as you eat it!

Hungry boaters waiting for the oil down to cook completely
Boiling Down - get it - OIL DOWN - Oil is from the coconut

The finished dish - serves an army cheaply...very starchy but tasty.  Spit out the pig parts if you are not a native Grenadian.

Learning new games to play is always fun!
Learning how to play Mexican Train dominos

Andy wants to buy a machete so he can do this!

Martin showing us how to cut up a green coconut for its water.  The flesh of a green one is soft & eaten with a piece of the coconut shell.  It's like eating sweet yogurt.

Any one of us would have lost their hand in a whack

Coconut water is in the green coconut.  Coconut MILK is in the more mature, brown coconut!
Really - DRINK it????
Humm, pretty good flavor!
Whacking the brown one is the same as whacking the green coconut!
Coconut milk is inside. Drink it, then peel the coconut & grind down the coconut meat for a recipe.

Martin is so super!  A 'jack of all trades'.  He waxed our hull, cleaned the bottom AND taught us how to COOK!


 Each Saturday there is an island wide hiking event called The Hash.  Grenadians, cruisers & tourists show up at a designated spot, which changes weekly.  The fun of the hike is that no one knows the difficulty ahead of time; no one knows the trail - often barely a trail is even visible.  The organizers gain permission for all to tramp through private property.  The trail is marked with an agreed upon set of stones, sticks, paper or whatever.  Some markers are set to deliberately mislead hikers down a wrong trail.  Some yards/miles away, the hiker will realize via another marker that he’s been the victim of a ‘gottcha’ and has to turn back.  The Hash Hikers are a rabid group, eagerly looking forward to each week’s event.  Returning late, they regal us all with their stories, show off their wounds, their muddy clothing and their descriptions of How Bad It Was.   One friend has already broken 4 ribs and another was lost until found by a search party after having fallen down a cliff, injuring himself.   Both recovered and are back in the game.  I love to hike, but not that way --- suicide marches don't excite me.  Maybe what these folks really enjoy is the party afterward where beer and oil down are served!
Recently, cruisers organized a 'picnic' and hike to Black Bay Beach.  Sounded like fun so onto the bus we hopped.  No one told us we had to hike 2 miles DOWN to the beach which means we had to hike 2 MILES BACK to the road at the end of the day.  Ah, well it wasn't as bad as a Hash.

Our first glimmer of what we were in for was the appearance of two guides, both holding those big machete knives.  You KNOW you are in for it when the guides take off, motioning for you to follow as they whack their way through the brush so we could follow!

Our guide got us through - sometimes hauling me up..."put your foot here"  Don't think so...that foot had to be placed beside my ear.....

They did not mention we would be crawling through a cave!

Hauling a cruiser up thru the cave exit

We got pulled out, one by one.
John is OUT
There is a boater in that hole waiting to get hauled out!

The view is spectacular & allows one to catch your breath!
Wack,Wack Keep Walking         

Goats are everywhere!

Down the trail one by one

Bamboo grows BIG here

Andy is still smiling - early in the day!
More beautiful scenery along the way
Yes, Andy, up this little hill and you are THERE
Oil Down meal awaited us all

Hiking the beach and swimming made the day for me!
Oh lordie - the sun is going down & we need to be outta here back up that trail!
Hiking back up the trail in the dark.  Dog led the way!
Magnificent end to a great day!