I was initially going to post a picture of the (triple layer cheesecake with brownie crust topped with chocolate cake) cake, but I thought that this was way more appropriate.
Sahih Muslim 442 : Book 4, Hadith 885
And the Sun runs to its resting place. That is the decree of the Almighty, the All-Knowing. And We have decreed set phases for the Moon, until it ends up looking like an old palm spathe. It is not for the Sun to overtake the Moon nor for the night to outstrip the day; each one is swimming in a sphere.
(Surah Ya Sin, 38-40)
Earlier this year, Brother S wrote of his bucket list and included his wish to visit Culpepper Island, Barbados. He did so visit, and in late August organised a family & friends trek to the Island with himself as guide. Ok, I use the word ‘trek’ (which is what it turned out to be) but Brother S’ invitation said ‘walk’. Amongst the items to be brought on the trek was a 50 foot length of rope. That alone ought to have warned me.
My photos end with the trek, and not with our scaling of the Island and not planting a flag atop. Why? Because the terrain became ….. rough, and I needed both hands – threw my phone to NoS who along with BH acted as my anchors along the treacherous path. Treacherous? Well, yeah – at one point I fell to my knees, and had to settle myself because I could not arise immediately – I could not find my left foot which had been placed on a deceptive clump of grass which apparently was growing aerially outwards and not upwards!
The walking journey began in Skeetes Bay, then uphill, onto a plateau with fantastic windy views. Next we began the trek along the hilly terrain, with marl and mud. At one point, my only way down was to brace myself crab-style on my hands and feet and slide down a gravel filled basin with BH bracing himself to help me. (Others slid down that basin like skateboarders on feet).
We made it to the small beach and I stood while my legs trembled. Brother S was first into the water carrying with him one end of that 50 foot length of rope. It ought to have been 60 to 70 feet because the other end (on the beachside) did not reach land. His initial invitation said walk to Culpepper Island. To be fair, his expanded invite said “Walk cross the beach and then wade out to Culpepper Island..” I think I missed the ‘wade’ part and saw ‘walk’. Anyway, by the time I had reached the beach, Brother S was in the water, up to his neck (and he and BH are roughly the same height). Trepidation – I have to remember that I can swim and I really prefer my feet to be firmly planted on solid.
BD told me I had misled her – she had flat-ironed hair and she is the shortest in our family. Her friend S/ha didn’t walk with wet clothes. (We all thought we were walking through the water – at not less than knee high). Nevertheless, we all proceeded to cross the water, holding onto the rope, BD behind me and reminding me he can’t swim when I stopped suddenly having lost traction and indeed, touch with the seabed. At the Island end, I put my footwear back on, and negotiated the very sharp rocks, did not clamber up the side but made it to just about 5 feet below the top of the Island. There faced me a chasm about 1/3 of my width (I could hear the wondering voices from the acme – how was I going to get up that?). BH literally had to haul me vertically up that final Island face. When I topped that Island, everything except my head was a-tremble. The views were panoramic. From every side of the 100 x 70 square foot top of that Island. And watched villagers run down the path we had walked and jump off a ladder into the sea.
And then we had to make our way down.
I stood and wondered. And pondered. And finally had to make that step of fate/faith by grasping Brother Y’s shoulder and getting off the plateau. Made it down, and across the sea. (NoS carried BD on his back across that water – Youngest had long abandoned us in disgust at the puny figures we posed.) And then back to Skeetes Bay.
Surat Aale Imran: “And to Allah belongs the dominion of the Heaven and Earth, and Allah is over all things. Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and earth, and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding.” [189-90]
Surat Ghaafir: “It is Allah Who has made for you the earth as a resting place, and the sky as a canopy, and has given you shape and made your shapes beautiful and has provided for you sustenance.” [40:64]
Don’t be misled by the Title to this post – visiting it wasn’t on my bucket list (not sure I have one) but we are grateful to Brother S for his invitation, and for having been there, done that.
My posting has indeed been sparse this year, but I was going through my photos and voila – we have a post. Sister H ever so often has specials on imported strawberries, blueberries & cherries. This year, these played a major role in our Eid ul Fitr celebrations – part of the usual impromptu potluck buffet for the post-Eid salaat, part of the food gifts for various friends. I think BD baked a pineapple upside down cake or three, but memory is a little hazy on that part this year. Sawine (boiled and sweetened and spiced vermicelli pasta) is part of my Trinidadian heritage. Each year at Eid ul Fitr, my mother, whose culinary extents were limited by herself but whose flavours remain my favourite, cooked up and distributed pots of sawine to the neighbours on our street. Elaichi (cardamom), clove, raisins, sweetened milk (condensed milk), and the vermicelli. And at every Muslim home sawine was a given, and expected. Some added finely chopped nuts, some boiled with the fruits, some put out individual little bowls of the fruits & nuts so that you could garnish to your taste. My middle maternal uncle made the sawine in his house. My children expect it, and sporadically over the years, I have been prescient enough to obtain it and prepare it. Nowadays, you can purchase already parched sawine in the supermarkets in Trinidad. (Already parched (or is it patched?) sawine means that some ghee or butter or oil has been heated in a wide bottomed pot, the elaichi and sawine added and sauteed, then removed from the heat, allowed to cool, and bottled until ready to boil on Eid morning. Ah ha – it is toasted, or braised!) This year, I had to check with my Trini sources on what to add as my trusty Naparima Girls’ High School cookbook (the staple of Trini cooks:)) suggested cinnamon sticks – I did not remember that as an ingredient my mother added, and she either forgets or pretends to forget her recipes since she has happily given up cooking since my father passed away. And neither of us could get to her recipes – handwritten from her two extremely domesticated friends who wrote down the recipes for her when she moved to live independently of her parents – and which are kept in a clasp purse in one of the kitchen drawers.
So this year, Mum brought up a packet or two of already parched sawine, and I proceeded to prepare one on Eid morning. So BD, NoS, Youngest and I, partook of the sawine, and probably Aunty D. too. I added strawberries (now you see the link between Sister H’ specials and my post, don’t you?:). Enjoy. (I see that some cooks add grated ginger to the parching process as well – may try that – and we use a thicker (as if that were possible) vermicelli than the rice vermicelli or mung bean vermicelli. Some trivia – vermicelli is Italian for ‘little worms’, is thinner in diameter than spaghetti, is sometimes referred to as angel hair. Some cultures include sago in the sawine mix as well.
At Barclays Park, East Cost, Barbados
Photo compliments SAJPICS