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Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Banana? Tree

I completely forgot that we have a Banana (or it might be a Plantain) tree in the new house (it is in the front garden and my focus to date has been on the goodies in the back garden).  Last summer we decided to pick off a bunch which had a  flower attached.  The bunch of green fruit was hung up in the shed to ripen and I went to work on the flower.  This is a delicacy in some parts of the world.  The recipe for Banana Flower salad follows for those who would like to try it.  I would love to hear from my regular readers who might make similar dishes with Banana Flowers and get some different ideas from you.

When the fruit ripened I tried to eat one, but found it was quite chewy and had a much heavier texture than the bananas that we buy commercially.  So instead of letting them rot in the fruit bowl and end up in the bunnies breakfast I used them to make a Banana bread.  The recipe I used had natural yoghurt in it - I only had a black cherry flavoured yoghurt at the time which worked quite well with the banana taste.

Banana Flower Salad:
Take the outer darker leaves off the banana flower, only use the pale inner leaves. Place the leaves in water with juice of 1/2 lemon to prevent discolouration. Rinse thoroughly and thinly slice.  Finely slice 1 red onion, 1 red chilli, 1 small bunch Thai basil and some mint.  Add to a large bowl with prepared banana leaves, cooked shredded chicken and cooked prawns.  Make dressing with fish sauce, sugar and white vinegar (adjust to suit your taste - I also added some lime juice), then toss through salad and allow to stand for a while for flavours to develop.

Banana Bread:
Grease and line a small loaf pan.  Beat 50 grams butter and 90 grams brown sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in 1 egg.  Sift in 100g plain flour  and a pinch of salt.  Mash 1 large banana with 2 tablespoons yoghurt.  Mix all ingredients together then stir in 50 grams sultanas.  Spoon into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour in a moderate hour.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Rosehip syrup

Well winter is well and truly here in Australia.  I have been very busy but finally got around to pruning the roses (at the very end of the rose pruning season).  As I was doing this I decided to keep all of the rosehips to try to make something edible.

For this you need 500 g rosehips, 500 g sugar and 2 litres of boiling water.  I tried to crush the rosehips in my coffee grinder (but only succeeded in breaking the coffee grinder) so instead I roughly chopped them.  They were then steeped in 1 litre of boiling water for 1/2 hour then strained through a colander lined with a piece of fine cloth.  This process is repeated again with the rosehip pulp and the second litre of boiling water.  The rosehip infused liquid is then placed into a small saucepan and boiled until it is reduced to about 1/2.   Then add the sugar and cook for about 5 minutes.  When it cooled, some of the syrup went into a bottle of vodka (which I will taste test in a few months time) and the rest I used to make rosehip syrup cupcakes. 

Rosehip Syrup Cupcakes:
Beat 110 g butter with 110g castor sugar until light and fluffy.  Add two eggs and 3 teaspoons rosehip syrup and mix well then fold in 110 g SR flour.  Mix and spoon into patty pans and cook in a moderate oven for about 20 minutes or until cooked when tested.  Ice with a pale pink icing and place a candy flower decoration on each one.