Thursday, February 24, 2011

It's mango season!

Oh how we love mango season here in Mexico. There is a good variety of mango that grows here, but the juiciest, tastiest, mango-juice-running-down-your-elbow mango is the Mango Manila, pictured below.

Mango season in Mexico runs from early February through to about June, with the Manila type first one off the trees. When I lived in Acapulco, we had four mango trees on the property, one of Manila and three of the Paraiso type, which I don't like very much. Come February and March it was positively raining mangoes.

The paraiso mango. I don't find them nearly as juicy.

My daughter loves mangoes and it was one of the first fruits she tried. Full of iron, mango fruit is rich in pre-biotic dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and poly-phenolic flavonoid antioxidant compounds.

Mangoes can be a bit of a pain to cut up and serve. I'd normally just peel them and chew around the pit but that's extraordinarily messy for a 20 month old. Here's a way to cut mango into cubes to more easily serve to a bowl with natural yogurt and granola in our case.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The 100 favourite fictional characters

From The Independent, The 100 favourite fictional characters as chosen by the literati.

The story is from 2005 but I just found it. Some interesting choices in the list.


Chosen by Terry Pratchett (the Discworld series)

Harry Flashman, that fictional reprobate - wenching and dodging his way through the major military engagements of the 19th century - is funnier, more honest and certainly less harmful than many of the real brave fools whose paths he double-crosses. You just can't help liking the amiable cad.


Chosen by Mary Hoffman (Stravaganza City of Flowers)

JRR Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings boasts the best white wizard in fiction - not morally ambiguous or neutral like Merlin, but not infallible either. Always wise when present and strangely comforting even when predicting doom and destruction.

Dr Watson

Chosen by Judith Kerr (The Tiger Who Came to Tea)

There is something appealing about a man who stows his stethoscope under his top hat. Modest to a degree, Watson does not bother us with facts about himself, since Sherlock Holmes is so much more important. His only irritating habit is the way he refers to some of Holmes's cases without telling us the full story.


Chosen by Michael Marshall (The Lonely Dead)

Polymorphic, unpredictable, unaccountable; omnipotent yet negligent, kind yet vicious. Suitable to any genre or period. Able to hold centre stage in plot, or work subtly in deep background. Never requires a deus ex machina. A character you can immerse yourself in, forever.

See the full list at the link above.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Hottest Chili Pepper - A New Record

The hottest chili pepper in the world is not from Mexico, despite the regular scorching I get at local taco stands. It is not from India whose military apparently uses chili peppers in hand grenades. No, it is British.

The BBC has the story.

Experts have pronounced a chilli grown in the market town of Grantham, Lincs, as the hottest in the world.

Tests have revealed the "Infinity Chilli" to have a Scoville Scale Rating of 1,176,182 - hotter than chilli reportedly used in hand grenades by the Indian military. But what is the attraction of this insanely hot ingredient?

The story of the world's hottest chilli begins not in Mexico or Bangladesh, but next to the barbed wire at RAF Cottesmore in Leicestershire.

Nick Woods, working shifts as an RAF security guard and considering his growing family, decided he had to do something more entrepreneurial with his life.

That was five years ago. What was Nick's hobby - cooking up hot sauces in his kitchen - developed into his Fire Foods sauce business, and now the 38-year-old Grantham man finds himself literally in possession of hot property.

Like many great discoveries Nick says he developed the Infinity Chilli accidentally.

more at the stroy link above

Monday, February 7, 2011

Stella and Dog Training

My significant other and I have two dogs, Tequila and Chela (I didn't name them!). Tequila was picked up as gift in Honduras as a pup and is better traveled than I am. Chela was a Mexico City street find. Both have been great though not without some housebreaking problems.

When Stella came along, I was something nervous as a new and overly protective father. How would the dogs adjust and would they present a danger to newborn Stella, either by being rough with her or from allergens in the air. None of my concerns was ever warranted thankfully and Stella loves them both.

Stella is old enough now at 19 months to help daddy put out the dog food dishes and pick them up, in fact she insists on helping. She likes to give treats to the doggies and is learning hand signals and commands, to tell the dogs to sit and lay down.

Here's Stella learning how to do it.