After Carnival comes Lent; an observance of many Christian denominations, lasting for a period of approximately six weeks from Ash Wednesday until Easter. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, penance, repentance, alms giving, and self-denial. During Lent, many commit to fasting or giving up certain types of luxuries as a form of penitence.
Fasting is a truly unique, moral, and spiritual characteristic of Islam. Literally defined, fasting means to abstain "completely" from foods, drinks, intimacy, and smoking; before the break of the dawn till sunset, during the entire month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic year.
Hinduism fasting denies of the physical needs of the body for the sake of spiritual gains. Fasting helps establish a harmonious relationship between the body and the soul. This is important for the well-being of a human being as it nourishes both his/her physical and spiritual demands.
In most forms of traditional fasting flesh of an animal is not consumed. Some practitioners make it a good time for weight loss, getting back into shape physically as well as spiritually, some give up sugary sweets and others tobacco products or the vices of alcohol. My family always gave up everything. When we fasted we did without flesh, sweets, and didn't ever get caught with a cigarette or a sweet drink, let alone a beer!
Living in Felicity we ate a lot of fresh fish. Now as soon as Carnival winds down Fat Tuesdays fish vendors prices skyrocket for Ash Wednesday. Fish for many people is an extravagance, too expensive for a weekly meal. There are a couple of ways to lower that cost; catch your own, and/or eat canned fish. Today fish with head, tail and bones—all of which can be used to make a good broth—usually is $20 a pound or more. If it's during the Lenten season, it is a safe bet the cost will be much more. You can't blame the fishermen as they must make a living and costs of operation keep rising.
Fish is exceptionally good for your nutrition. Fatty fish contain a type of fatty acid—omega-3s—not found in most other foods. Eaten on a regular basis of once or twice a week, these fatty acids protect the heart from unstable heart rhythms. They reduce the chance of sudden death and stroke. Omega-3 fatty acids are also beneficial in type 2 diabetes, immune and inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Omega-3s are crucial for foetal and infant brain development.
The human body cannot produce omega-3 fatty acids. Seafood, particularly pink and red Alaska canned salmon, is the richest source. Eating canned is a convenient and effective way to boost your intake of omega-3s all year round. Nutritionally good fat provides the body with a concentrated source of energy, and is needed to produce some hormones.
Eating healthy even on a budget you should have no more than 70 grammes of fat a day on a basic 2,000 calories daily diet. Choose foods which contain the right sort of fat and are also packed with nutrients as oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, or avocados, fresh nuts and seeds, and try to use olive oil. Remove empty foods with plenty of fat, like chips, snacks, and fried foods from your diet.
SALMON POTATO CAKES
Ingredients: one (14.75 ounce) can salmon, drained and flaked, two eggs beaten, quarter cup garlic and herb seasoned dry bread crumbs, (If regular bread crumbs are used combine with half TS each of garlic powder, dried basil, and oregano.) quarter cup dry potato flakes, one medium onion chopped small, one garlic clove minced, two stalks celery chopped small, salt pepper and spices as dill and basil to taste, two TBS oil for frying
Method: In a bowl, mix salmon, eggs, garlic and herb seasoned dry bread crumbs, dry potato flakes, onion, garlic, dill weed, celery, salt, and pepper. Form mixture into two inch balls, and flatten into patties about half inch thick. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Fry four to six patties at a time depending on the size of the frying pan. Fry patties about five minutes on each side, until lightly browned.
TUNA TOMATO PASTA
Ingredients: Two cans flaked tuna in oil, one large onion chopped small, two garlic cloves crushed, one sweet bell pepper seeded and chopped small, two seasoning peppers seeded and minced, two stalks celery chopped small, one hot pepper seeded and minced optional, four very ripe fresh tomatoes chopped small or two large cans peeled chopped plum tomatoes, one pound pasta, elbows, or springs work fine, two TBS oil for frying, salt, pepper and herbs as basil and oregano to taste, half cup grated cheddar cheese
Method: Separate and save the tuna flakes while draining oil into a large frying pan a with additional oil and fry the onion, peppers, celery, and garlic gently until softened. Add tomatoes and simmer for about until begins to thicken. In another suitable pot cook pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Stir the tuna with spices in to the tomato sauce and heat - taste and adjust herbs and spices. Serve the tuna/ tomato sauce spooned over the hot pasta. Sprinkle with grated cheddar.
EASY TUNA CASSEROLE
Ingredients: Half pound dry pasta as maca-
roni or springs, two cans tuna flakes, one can cream of mushroom soup, one medium onion chopped small, three quarter cup milk, grated cheddar cheese, salt, pepper and spices as basil and oregano to taste Vegetables like peas, carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, corn kernels, peppers can be added.
Method: Cook and drain the macaroni just slightly soft. In another two-quart pot heat the soup with the milk, onion and a dash of pepper. Drain cooked Mix the macaroni into the soup mixture. Drain and mix in tuna. Stir in additional chopped vegetables if available. Pour into a greased casserole dish. Sprinkle top with grated cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 for half an hour uncovered.
CHEESY SALMON PASTA
Ingredients: one half-pound package uncooked spaghetti, one large onion chopped small, one garlic clove minced, one stalk celery chopped small, one bunch chives chopped, one TS basil, one TS oregano, salt and pepper to taste, one large can of salmon drained and flaked apart with a fork, one half cup grated cheddar cheese, two TBS oil for frying
Method: Bring a large pot boil pasta in lightly salted water for ten minutes. Pasta should be firm, but not soft. Drain. In a frying pan over medium heat add oil and stir in onions, celery, chive and dried herbs. Mix in salmon, and cook until heated. Stir in half of the grated cheese. Continue cooking for five minutes. Toss with cooked pasta, and sprinkle with remaining grated cheese to serve.
Ingredients: one can sardines in oil, one medium onion sliced thin and chopped, one small sweet pepper seeded and chopped, one half hot pepper seeded and minced (optional), two leaves chadon beni chopped small, two seasoning peppers seeds and all chopped, two garlic cloves minced, one medium-ripe tomato chopped small, one TBS curry powder, one TBS sesame or peanut oil, juice of half a lemon or lime
Method: Drain the oil from sardines into a hot frying pan. Add two TBS either sesame or peanut oil, and heat until the liquid sizzles. Add minced garlic and cook until it begins to turn brown (about 15 seconds). Stir in curry powder with the hot oil. Then add onion, peppers, chadon beni and tomato. Stir-fry for two minutes before adding one cup of water to frying pan. Cover and simmer over low heat for five minutes cover the pan, Chunk sardines and mix into stir fry. Simmer until sauce is thick about three to five more minutes. Remove the pan from the heat stir in the juice of half a lemon or lime. Eat over cooked rice or pasta.
Shirley Hall is the author of The New Caribbean Home Garden Handbook