Fire Balls, Fungi Music, Moko Jumbies ~ Full Moon Party!

West Indies


~  Menu  ~

Mozzarella stuffed Fungi Cakes
Spicy Tomato Salsa
Glass of Amstel Light

Friday night was full moon and what a beauty it was.  We sat in the pointy end romantically eating our leftover pizza dinner and watching her rise and form a silver path across the sea straight to us.  Great, but …

The bay was heaving with boats, overloaded rubber dinghies full of people whooping Americanly (no offence, Americans, but many of you are a bit on the whoopy side!) criss-crossing in front of us, almost hitting each other.  Long term liveaboards like us scurrying home to their boats, hoping not to get run down.  “It’s gonna be a rough night” they say, scowling (many liveaboards are middle aged).  

Every month Trellis Bay holds a Full Moon Party and it’s pretty good, actually.  Great if you are a visitor with all sorts of interesting delights; limbo dancers, fire jugglers, live music, mocko jumbies * – I do like a nice moko jumbie, me! – and large sculptured metal balls in the sea filled with fire.

Aragorn's fire ball

The live music can also be both pleasant and interesting especially if a fungi ** band is performing.  Unfortunately for grumpy people such as us the recorded music which fills in between live acts can be, to our old ears, crap (to use a musical term).  That rhythmic beat with indecipherable talking over it, interspersed with the relaxing sound of sirens or, possible, a guy going “Yeeeeeeeeeaaaaah” does nothing for us so after the best bit of the show we batten down the hatches and try to get engrossed in a good book.

Still, mustn’t grumble – it’s a great evening, well worth a visit you happen to be in the area.

Moko Jumbies

Jumbies are spirits and moko jumbies are human beings dressed up and dancing (brilliantly) on high, high stilts with the purpose of mocking the spirits although I’m not sure why!

Caribbean moko jumbies

Fungi Music

** Nothing to do with mushrooms this is traditional British Virgin Island Music, sort of skiffley, using homemade instruments such as gourds, bottles, washboards etc. and usually telling a story either from folklore or real life; maybe a bit of gossip.  It is apparently a “mix up” of African and European music; the beat of Africa combined with the Waltz, 2-step etc. as overheard by slaves!!  Strange but true.
The music is, apparently, named after the traditional island dish of fungi which also has nothing to do with mushrooms and is also a “mix up”; cornmeal mush with vegetables, usually including okra, mixed into it.  Cornmeal mush (variously called polenta, fungi, milho, etc.) is a staple dish all over the world.  Down island it is called coo-coo which makes B.V. Islanders snigger as this means poo here!  On that unappetizing note here is a recipe for a particularly delicious fungi …

Fungi Recipe

4 spring onions or a small red onion
½ a red or yellow pepper
6-8 pieces of okra
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp vegetable oil
750ml water
125ml milk
170g coarse cornmeal
40g butter
salt and white pepper

~   Coarsely chop the vegetables and sauté in a saucepan in the oil till softening and browning. 
~   Remove and set aside.
~   Use a little of the water to moisten the cornmeal so that it resembled wet sand. 
~   Put the rest of the water and the milk in the pan and bring to a boil.
~   Add the cornmeal, in as much of a slow stream as you can manage with wet sand, to the pan and return to a boil, whisking. The mixture will thicken considerably, but …
~   Turn the heat down and simmer and stir constantly for about 10 minutes till thick and creamy.
~   Taste and season and stir in the cooked vegetables. 
~   Simmer for a few minutes more and serve as a side dish to something tropical – grilled fish or jerk chicken, for instance.

3 Notes on Making Polenta ...

~   I am inclined to use stock instead of water but this isn't traditional.

~   If you just want to make polenta leave out the vegetables and instead stir in a knob of butter and 30g finely grated Parmesan.
~   The moistening of the cornmeal is handy hint, told to me by a fine cook who worked with me; Cardella.  It stops the cornmeal clumping and makes for a smooth polenta/fungi/coo-coo or whatever.

And so to lunch …

Cold leftover fungi is delicious fried – for lunch I rolled cold fungi into balls and stuffed them with a nugget of mozzarella.  Flattened into cakes, coated in cornmeal and fried to crisp they made a fine lunch together with some spicy tomato salsa and a refreshing glass of beer


Island Vittles said...

your spontaneous polenta cakes for lunch have made me suddenly hungry...Theresa

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