Black Magic


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Oceania » Vanuatu » Ambrym
May 15th 2007
Published: May 15th 2007
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Black Magic

I know it has been a long time since I’ve written my sister to update my blog. Life here has been a bit mad. Still waiting on a new house and to build a school. So there are days when I am just “kranky” (crazy) but there are also days when I’m very happy-often both occur in the same day.

There has been a lot of things happening, earthquakes, tsunami (warnings), very active volcanoes, a cyclone. Yes, Mother Nature has been very busy this past month! Try sitting through a cyclone in a house made of nothing but coconut palm leaves! But this is all normal for this chain of islands and we all remained safe. There have been other disasters unrelated to Mother Nature, unfortunately.

Black Magic occurs on islands with volcanoes, and the strongest being Ambrym. So when a woman from Tanna passed away, a rumor said it was because of Black Magic from Ambrym. Natural causes are not considered. Very soon afterwards, on the island of Efate all “man Tanna” sought out “man Ambrym” and the trouble started. Man Tanna managed to kill (with a knife) 2 men from Ambrym before the police were able to gain control of the situation. This caused all “man Ambrym” who live on Efate to flee their homes and hide out of fear. The situation was so severe that the government called a state of emergency and countries like neighboring New Caledonia sent aid to the displaced people. Now there is a rift between “man Ambrym” and “man Tanna” which Tanna vows will not end until 2010 and there is talk of them coming up here.

Since then two children (teenagers) from Ambrym have unexpectedly died. So as I said, no one dies of natural causes, so man Ambrym thinks it is Black Magic from Tanna. Part of their custom is when someone dies in such a way they become a shark. At the moment no one is to go into the salt water for something like 6 weeks because a shark is making it’s way down from North Ambrym to Efate. Which spoiled Easter for the kids as their tradition is to walk (2 hours each way) to the salt water to camp out, build a huge fire and eat fish all weekend.

Man Ambrym-men from Ambrym
Man Tanna-men from Tanna



These are the customs of people, I respect that.


Recipes from Vanuatu

1. Apple Radish BBQ Ribs


4 lbs. spare ribs
2 qts. Apple juice
3 c. bbq sauce
½ c. horseradish
3 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. garlic salt

Place ribs in a stock pot, and cover with apple juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 to 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a medium bowl, mix together bbq sauce, horseradish, worchestershire sauce, and garlic salt. Stir in 3 tbsp. of the apple juice from the ribs.
Brush underside of ribs with 1/3 of the sauce. Turn them over, and place in roasting pan. Brush tops with remaining sauce.
Bake in preheated oven for 25-35 minutes brushing occasionally with sauce.



2. Bread and Butter Pickles


Slice thinly:

6 qts. Cukes
6 onions
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
Cover with ½ c. pickling salt and ice cubes and set for 3 hours.
Drain well.

Heat to boiling point the following:
3 c. white vinegar
6 c. white sugar
1 ½ tsp. tumeric
1 ½ tsp. celery seed
2 tbsp. mustard seed (yellow)

Add to large cooking pan with sliced veggies and heat through. Do not cook long. Seal in hot jars.
Note: 10 kg makes 18 pint sized jars. Approximately= 1 2/3 recipes of this.



3. Banana Salad Dressing


1 ripe banana
1 tbsp. lemon juice
½ c. mayonnaise
¼ c. milk

Mix banana and lemon juice. Stir in mayo and milk. Serve on fruit salads.



4. Curried Rice Salad



2 c. cold cooked rice
1 c. chopped celery or Chinese cabbage
¾ c. mayonnaise
¼ c. chopped green pepper
1 c. pineapple chunks
1 ½ tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. finely chopped onion
¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. dry mustard
1/8 tsp. salt



5. Banana Waldorf Salad



1 large red apple (unpeeled)
½ c. celery, diced
¼ c. mayonnaise
2 medium sized bananas
Crisp salad greens
½ c. walnut halves



6. South Pacific Mango Chicken Salad



3 lbs. chicken
3 sticks celery
4 shallots
4 oz. cashews
1 green pepper
1 mango
1 tsp. chopped parsley

Mango dressing:
1 mango
½ c. sour cream
1/3 cream
3 tsp. curry powder
Salt and pepper

Cool and cut cooked chicken into small pieces. Mix all ingredients together with mango dressing.
Mango dressing -Peel mango and chop finely. Put into a bowl with sour cream and cream. Add curry powder, salt and pepper and mix well. Pour over chicken.



7. Pineapple Meat Balls



1 ½ lbs. ground beef
1 tbsp. oil
2 sticks celery
1 carrot
1 cucumber
1 green pepper
Salt and pepper
1 tsp. soy sauce
15 oz. pineapple pieces
1 onion
½ c. vinegar
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tbsp. sherry
1 ½ tsp. arrowroot
Little water
¼ c. brown sugar

Season ground beef with salt and pepper. Roll into small balls. Heat oil in large frying pan and add slowly until cooked. Remove and drain fat. Drain pineapple and save juice. Slice celery and carrot, chop cucumber, green pepper and onion. Add vegetables to the pan and sauté for 3 minutes. Combine vinegar, sugar, pineapple juice, soy sauce, sherry, ginger and seasonings. Add vegetables, pineapple pieces, and meatballs. Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes. Blend arrowroot with a little water and then add to the pan, stirring until mixture thickens.



8. Polynesian Chicken



2-3 lbs. chicken cut into pieces
½ c. flour
1 tsp. salt and pepper
4 oz. butter
½ c. orange juice
1tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. soy sauce
½ pineapple, cubed
½ papaya, cubed
Parsley or strips of green pepper
Sesame seeds
¼ c. brown sugar
1 tsp. cornflour

Shake chicken in a bag with flour, salt and pepper. Melt butter. Grease oven proof dish. Brush remaining butter over chicken pieces. Bake until browned. Combine juices, sugar, soy sauce, and cornflour in a saucepan, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. When thickened, add fruit. Pour over chicken, bake a further 10 minutes. Serve garnished with chopped parsley or green pepper and sesame seeds.

Disclaimer: The contents of this blog are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps.

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16th May 2007

Wow. And Yum!! (to the food) I'm a bit surprised to hear about the mystical beliefs in Black Magic- it seemed there was a such a strong Christian basis. Hang in there sweets- i can imagine it must be a bit frightening and sad. Where are you getting these wonderful recipes? Can you get all these ingredients where you are? xoxo

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