Thursday, December 17, 2020

A Month of Groceries, 7 Days of Water

 It's Cyclone Season again! I've already followed everything on my cyclone prep list so now I'm trying to settle the anxiety moths in my stomach by writing. Tropical Cyclone Yasa is headed straight to Fiji with landfall expected in about 36 hours. 

So, the basics. This is mostly a recap of my tried and tested Cyclone Prep List  with a few additional items and explanations

Things to do: 

  • Establish a communication plan with family and friends. For example, if you are conserving power, you may want to post updates once a day at 10 AM, or twice a day on the 8s, and so on. Have an agreed on platform and identify alternate contacts in case you can't be reached. Make sure your emergency contact list is up to date and in the hands of those who may need it. 
  • Charge everything, phones, computers, ereaders, power banks, portable radios. 
  • Fill the fridge and freezer with as many filled and burped water bottles as you have space for. This helps keep food cold in case of a power outtage and is an emergency water supply. These are good to always keep in the freezer/fridge as they help your appliances run more efficiently; if you always have frozen water bottles in the freezer they're easy to throw in a cooler bag if you're heading out for the day.  
  • Check drains/gutters to make sure they're clear
  • Cut back any trees, branches that could be a danger in high winds 
  • Have cash on hand in case of emergency expenses


  • Bottled water – 4 litres per person per day 
  • Fill up bathtubs, bottles, buckets and other available items with tap water for use bathing and flushing
  • Have a way to boil water before use 


  • 7 day supply of non-perishable food items

Non-Food Items

  • First aid kit and medications and copies of medication prescriptions
  • Gas, cooking utensils, can opener, stovetop teakettle, coffee maker, paper napkins and disposable utensils 
  • Matches or lighters. candles, torch and spare batteries
  • Soap and personal hygiene supplies (toilet paper, sanitary products, tissues etc)
  • Garbage bags and cleaning supplies (including bleach), cleaning brushes, buckets
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Card games, board games, and other activities 

Communications Equipment

  • Cellphone
  • Radio (preferably wind up)
  • Spare batteries for all communications equipment, fully charged at all times (wherever possible)

But what do you do if you're going to be in a situation for a longer than a week? Here's what I've got for food and other supplies for a month. Water and electricity are out of my capacity right now, but they're first on the list as soon as I can buy land. All of this is for one person, and assume that you have a mostly plant based diet. 

  • grains - 30 lbs, some items in this category are pasta, rice, barley, quinoa, flour, oatmeal, ramen noodles, popcorn, crackers, bread (frozen) 
  • beans and legumes - 7.5 lbs including chickpeas, kidney, pinto, lentils, peanut butter, tahini
  • milk/dairy - 6.25 lbs powdered milk, UHT milk, cheeses 
  • meat - 2 lbs including eggs canned tuna, mutton, bacon 
  • fats/oils - 2 lbs, we use mostly olive oil, vegetable oil, and butter, but there's also ghee, peanut oil 
  • sugars - 5 lbs, your list might include sugar, honey, hard candy. I also use dried fruits in place of sugar, like adding soaked dates and raisins to my oatmeal.  
  • fruits/veggies - 7.5 lbs, including potatoes, onions, canned tomatoes, canned fruits, pasta sauce, raisins, cranberries, dried pineapple, dried mango, dried apricots 
  • seasonings absolutely essential! This is your garlic, ginger, dried herbs and spices, bouillon cubes, salt, pepper, spice mixes, white vinegar, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, cinnamon, vanilla, nutritional yeast 
  • beverages - these make it so much easier to start and end the day. Definitely have some nice beverages on your emergency packing list, like coffee, tea, cocoa powder, and other beverage mixes
  • leavening agents turn your ingredients into food. These are baking powder, yeast, baking soda  
  • hygiene - lay in extra soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toilet paper, tampons/pads 
  • medications - a partial list might include panadol, soov, nurofen, topical antibioitic ointment, topical antifungal 
  • household - laundry detergent, bleach, fabuloso, portable radio, lighter, mosquito coils, can opener, paper towels or cleaning rags, candle holders
  • junk food - these days are stressful. A bag of chips can be just the thing at lunchtime. Definitely have the non-perishable things you crave on your list. 
I started writing this before the storm got here, after many interruptions I'm finally posting it. Tropical Cyclone Yasa is here, we'll see how this list does.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Moringa Pod/Drumstick Curry

Moringa Pod Eggplant Curry

I ran across these in a market and brought a heap home with no idea how to cook them, the washing machine repairman and his wife showed us their favorite recipe, they're delicious! 


  • 1 heap Moringa Pods "drumsticks", cut into 3" pieces and stripped of fiber (technique at
  • 2 eggplants, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • pinch Jeera/cumin
  • pinch methi/fenugreek seed
  • pinch sarson/mustard seed
  • 2 clove garlic
  • 1 small chili pepper
  • 1 tsp haldi masala (turmeric spice mix) 
  • 1 tsp hot masala (chile spice mix) 
  • pinch tamarind paste
  • oil for frying
  • water for the pan 

  1. Cut the moringa pods into 3" pieces and strip them of their fiber. Roughly chop two eggplants and the onion. 
  2. Fry the onion, jeera (cumin) methi (fenugreek seed), and sarso. While this is cooking use a mortar and pestle to make a paste with two cloves of garlic and one chile pepper, add as needed to make the paste.  
  3. When the onion is translucent, add in the garlic chile paste along with the haldi masala and hot masala. Stir. 
  4. Add the chopped moringa pods and eggplant, cover with water and bring to a boil then lower to a steady simmer. 
  5. Let cook until the eggplant breaks down, about 15 minutes. 
  6. Add in turmeric paste to taste, stir to combine.
  7. Serve hot with rice or fresh roti.  
The story! 

I was helping out with a charity booth at the Rakiraki market, at the end of the day I wanted to buy some vegetables for dinner that night. As I walked through the market I came across this interesting looking vegetable and asked what they were, a customer at the stall was so excited to tell me about them and convinced me to buy them. My Canadian friend and I had no idea what to do with them, so they sat on the counter until her washing repairman came by. While the washing machine ran through its cycles he and his wife showed us how to prepare the moringa pods and fix their favorite drumstick recipe. At the end of the night we had clean clothes and full bellies, it was so much fun!