Monthly Archives: April 2016

Focus 12: Feel, Smell, Eat What’s in Season at the Market.

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Farmer’s markets, supermarkets and street markets often say the seasons. Come summer, colourful fruit and flowers deck up stalls. Come winter, crunchy nuts, root vegetables and preserved food find their space. There is always an air of excitement and curiosity that beckons one to buy that ‘first’ stock of season’s produce.

Season’s show Nature’s mood. They add colour and variety to our life. Our food habits, cuisines and traditions often evolve around the season.

“A thriving household depends on the use of seasonal produce and the application of common sense.”
                                           Olivier de Serres (1539-1619)

Europe’s spring and summer markets, set up on sun filled streets are particularly popular. Colours that warm you up -Punnets of red strawberries, golden melons, green guava, leafy vegetables, yellow lemon. Bunches of freesia, lilies, geranium, marigold add that extra hint whether at table décor or strokes of an artist’s brushes.

In India and south-east Asia, mounds of tangy brown tamarind pods, green yellow lemons, sour amla (gooseberries) fill the markets. It’s the season to make pickles and chutneys.

Tamarind Pod. Courtesy: Internet

Tamarind Pod. Courtesy: Internet

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mango mania becomes the talk of town during tropical summers. Markets stock up crates, cardboard boxes, pushcarts, door to door sellers with this ‘king of fruit.’

Seasonal Banganpalli mangoes sold on a pushcart

Seasonal Banganpalli mangoes sold on a pushcart

From the orchard to the market. Every seasonal fruit and vegetable makes its way into regional cuisine. Jam, tomato puree, dried fruit compote, fruit tarts, jackfruit wafers, juices and summer drinks – the kitchen knows best what’s in season.

Did you ever stop to taste a carrot?  Not just eat it, but taste it?  You can’t taste the beauty and energy of the earth in a Twinkie.

Astrid Alauda.

Markets aren’t just about food. They are a wonderful showcase of seasonal culture and clothing too like the Christmas markets. Colourful winter woollens, handmade crochet shawls and quilts, balls of lambs wool, acrylic wool and yarn all find their spot in winter stalls, roadside markets from Tibet to Mexico!

Stall selling winter woollies

Stall selling winter woollens

 

Stall selling wool items

Stall selling wool items

Christmas markets are very popular. Whether its ginger ale, apple cider, crunchy roasted hazel nuts or hand-made products like soap, wax candles, delicate lace and quilted dolls ….the market show must go on!

At spring time, what do you buy at the market? 

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer

 


 

 

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Guest Post: Wandering Around in Ho Chi Minh City and Market

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As a guest post, here is a delightful fruit tasting experience narrated by  my warm and vivacious friend, Kiran Shah. Kiran recently returned from a story telling conference in Vietnam and agreed to write-up a guest post for me. Thanks Kiran.

Our friendship blossomed in Singapore, she a story-teller, me a teacher.  Kiran has conducted story telling workshops in Singapore, Malaysia, India, Vietnam and in Australia, her new home. Contact her at kiranstoryteller@gmail.com.

  Wandering around in Ho Chi Minh City, February 2016

The Vietnamese work day starts early at 7.30am. I was staying at a guest house opposite a university, tucked away from the tourist belt. At 7am, I walked around in search of breakfast and to explore the area. The traffic was heavy, with scooters and motorbikes leading the way. Other vehicles trailed behind, all moving perilously though somewhat harmoniously. I was impressed by the 2 sets of traffic lights to suit both road users.

Speed on scooter while going to work

Speeding on scooter while going to work

 People were dashing as I strolled leisurely along the main road at first. They were much too busy to smile, except for the delightful bicycle repairer who was happy to pose for me. Look at his travelling box trolley.

Vietnam bicycle repairer

Vietnam bicycle repairer

Food was everywhere- in the market and the street. Whether it was fish openly cooking in pots in some rich curry, or baguettes (a legacy from the French), or soupy noodles with fresh herbs and meat. As people pulled over to frequent the carts or other eateries dotting the pavement for a quick bite or a takeaway, I ventured into a little lane as the vegetable and fruit sellers beckoned. Never have I seen such tiny garlic nor so many varieties of fresh fish.

Fresh seafood on sale in Vietnam market

Fresh seafood on sale in Vietnam market

 

But what attracted me was a fruit I had never seen before! Of course I had to buy one with the help of a customer who spoke English! She called it Vu Sua (meaning milky breast), botanical name Chrysophyllum Cainito and also called milk fruit or star apple.

An apple with a reddish tinge? Or was it a soursop? This star apple or Vu Sua was juicier and sweeter!

Guava and star apple fruit

Guava and star apple fruit

All I can say was I wished I’d bought more. Absolutely divine!

Cut star apple ( Vu Sa)

Cut star apple ( Vu Sua)

Watch this video to find out how it looks like:

Hope this inspires my readers to sample exotic fruit and share some interesting anecdotes. Till then, relax.

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer

 

 

Landscapes – Natural and Man made

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In my entry for Daily Post Photo Challenge :Landscape, I bring out two  perspectives, natural and man made.

The dictionary meaning of landscape is:

  1. The detailed view of geographical terrain like rivers and mountains.
  2. A branch of Art dealing with representation of natural scenery like trees, grass, river streams etc. (landscaping)

The word itself originated from Dutch or German ‘landskap‘ (wherein terrain or region is land and its state is skap).

Mountains are the beginning and the end of all natural scenery.’        

John Ruskin

Mussandan, lies at the northern most tip of Sultanate of Oman. It’s geography is stunning! The rugged Hijjar mountains rise up almost 2,000 ft. from the sea level. A small strip of coastline separates them from the emerald blue waters of Straits of Hormuz (Persian Gulf). Many an archaeological site is hidden in this barren landscape.

Dolphin watching at Mussandan, Oman

Dolphin watching at Mussandan, Oman

In contrast, the man made landscaping in the Gulf region is very specialized and time consuming. The extremes of the climate immensely affect the performance of the plants, often which wither away. Gardens and plants also need a high level of maintenance and the soil irrigation. Transforming the beauty of vast expanses of sandy terrain in to a lush green landscape dotted with Date palms comes at a steep price and effort!

Landscaping of a residential compound

Landscaping of a residential compound

 

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer

 

Crochet to Heal: Therapy

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Phew! The past few weeks have been mentally exhausting caring for an aged geriatric member. I feel so drained, but thankful that I did a service. The well deserved ‘quiet’ time was very essential to keep my own mental balance:) and help me re-energize.

I definitely found therapy in doing crochet. My time to sit down and do nothing – just twiddle with soft balls of yarn between my fingers. I had no goal or patterns, no deadline. Just crochet away anywhere – on the balcony of the apartment, kitchen, relaxing on the couch or even taking the yarn to nearby restaurant and the playground. In out, in-out …went the needle.

Crochet had a calming, centering effect on my mind. It helped me concentrate, meditate and even improve my posture. Making projects for ‘others’ was a way of reaching out to friends and family, building my own self esteem that ‘I can’ which was very important to nourish me. 

The stack began growing. Wonder what this will become?

Cushion? Blanket? Baby dress? Tea Coasters? stack of squares

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bored of repeating? Work with new colours. Work on small projects. Practice. Meditate.

Granny square using left over yarn.

Granny square using left over yarn.

Vary the colour, thickness of yarn, practice with wool, cotton or jute. Granny squares are so versatile and can be turned into just anything – a big blanket, a vest, a small shoulder bag or clutch purse. Endless options, so be creative!

Multi colour granny squares

Multi colour granny squares

 

              PEACE    LOVE   CROCHET

May your day be wonderful and sunny!

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer