The Uga (pronounced “unga” in Niuean) is also known as the coconut crab or robber crab. This is the largest land-living arthropod in the world and is cherished and prized by the Niuean people (they even have crab races).
The Uga is a crab which lives on land for its adult life, indeed it cannot swim, and yet the eggs are released into the ocean to start their own circle of life. It grows to a fair size for a scavenger…and I have to confess to having tried it in a restaurant, wherein I found that it tasted really good too.
Please note that I did not eat the crab I am holding, and indeed these particular crabs are trained to be tame (by the chap with the dreadlocks) and are used to being handled. You have to be rather respectful of anything with pincers of that size (and slow down if they are crossing the road)!
I was at Auckland Zoo recently and noticed a sign regarding the desire to try to eliminate the containing of palm oil in the products we buy on a day-to-day basis. The intention of this is to help mitigate against the clearance of native forest in countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and more – simply to allow space for the farming of palm oil. This forest clearance is removing habitat for many species such as the well-known Orangutan.
Some people may say “Why should I care?”, to that I would suggest that if we continue to rape the natural world without a second thought then our surroundings will be particularly desolate, dull and colourless one day in the future – and who knows if we might just need one of these species one day? Don’t other species have as much right to their little corner of the Earth as we do? A more selfish angle might be to think about how bacteria are fighting back against antibiotics…who knows where the next magic drug will come from.
Of course, often the countries supplying such products and the people living there are in want of the money that rich western companies and countries will provide, so the most important thing is to try to strike the right balance to give everyone and every species a fair go. Sustainability is everything.
So how do you eliminate palm oil from your shopping? Please look at the photo below and do some research for your own country’s labelling. To start with, try to buy alternatives where any ingredients show something relating to “palm” in them. I guess that is the end of my palmolive soap purchasing for a start…and Bisto gravy granules too (a sad day indeed).
Together we might all make a difference for our and for future generations to enjoy.
When you buy a bag of the cheapest peas in the supermarket, the question has to be asked…why on earth do you need to have a slogan on the packet?
But I must say, I think “…one, two, pea!” could catch on, for all the wrong reasons!
While watching a cookery show of some description on TV recently I was wondering why on earth we, as people, are so obsessed with watching shows wherein a large part of it is people stuffing their faces and telling us how good it tastes (some of whom have cooked it first)?
Does this seem strange to anyone else?
If I sat you right next to someone and asked you to watch them eat, complete with the sound effects, you would probably think it was disgusting, so why do we have so many TV shows about it? Most of the time you won’t be trying to cook it yourself anyway. It doesn’t really make sense.
When I arrived in Rarotonga, in the Cook Islands, I had the pleasure of eating some locally grown bananas. In itself this is nothing spectacular. The bananas were rather small (maybe not even half the size of those you normally see in a supermarket) but they were BY FAR the most flavoursome and fantastic bananas I have ever eaten. It really makes you realise what average standards we put up with on a day-to-day basis. The paw-paw, coconut and pineapple were popular and used in a number of dishes (and cocktails – below is a “spiked nu”) and were also fantastic.
Also, I heard of the locally grown Noni fruit which I was unaware of before this visit. This fruit is apparently the best thing going for dealing with stomach and digestive upsets (in other words, it clears you out) and has high doses of the electrolytes that the body needs. Better than any over the counter remedy apparently.
I had the dubious pleasure of smelling and tasting one of these fruits. I thought it looked a little like a potato and it was probably over-ripe but I can best compare the smell to that of blue cheese and the taste was not much better (slightly sweet and slightly off) with the added effect of acting as a local anaesthetic in that it numbed the tongue. Amazing! You have to love nature!
Merry Christmas, Everyone! The Christmas kiwi is brought to you once more!
On this fine day, I wanted to wish you all a happy time…and I wanted to depart the regular Christmas food over-indulgence craziness (when combined with the excessive spending on gifts most people don’t really need it is all pretty disgusting when you think about it!) to reflect on pizza.
I had a pizza in a restaurant recently which had the following toppings…chorizo, prawns, squid, anchovies, tomatoes, aubergine/eggplant, red onion and of course mozzarella. There was also a little black pepper ground on the top.
The ensemble piece was nice enough but I couldn’t help reflect that less is sometimes more. Prawns, squid and aubergine do not really taste of much at all and I felt they did not really belong on the pizza…the taste was provided by the anchovies, onion, chorizo and tomatoes which could have been there without the others.
When the same three toppings do not provide much in the way of texture to the experience either I thought that the chef really did need to calm down a bit. To continue the Christmas theme, it is a bit like wishing you hadn’t invited certain members of the family round because they inevitably cause a scene and spoil the occasion for everyone else. 🙂
Anyone got any favourite topping combos? How about Christmas pizza toppings that work?
I am not entirely sure where the phrase “Going Dutch” comes from…perhaps the Dutch were famed at some point in history for sharing the cost of meals…or maybe you had to wear orange while eating?
Anyway, I must tell you that in New Zealand, paying for meals on a shared basis is a breeze. When everyone has finished eating, you don’t ask for the bill, instead you go to the till on your way out and everyone pays for what they had individually (and generally by Debit/Credit Card).
I have never seen this in the UK, where instead you end up with the utterly ridiculous scenario of people passing the bill around the table and putting down enough cash to cover their part of the bill (and of course many don’t have the right money and so need their own bit of change)…it takes ages and is crazy by comparison.
The only downside to the NZ way, however, is that if you are last to pay and have dined with less-than-honest folk, you might get stung with a larger bill than you expected…