Tuesday, 20 January 2015

9. Banana, Cranberry and Apple Chutney

Photo Fairtrade.

    Finding a surfeit of ripe bananas and fresh cranberries in my kitchen larder after the Christmas festivities, I decided to make a chutney with them. The recipe I created produced a spicy sweet and sour chutney that will make a perfect accompaniment to cold ham, chicken or cheese – or even stand alone as a piquant spread on an oaten biscuit or crisp bread.  The use of fresh cranberries in this recipe, rather than the more usual dates, raisins or prunes, gives the chutney a pleasing added bite. 
Ingredients. Makes approx. 3 x 450 jars
6 ripe Bananas, sliced; 1 medium Onion, diced; 1 sweet eating apple, peeled, cored and diced; 2 red Chilies, deseeded and diced;  100g.  fresh Cranberries;  1 tsp. Cinnamon;  1 tsp. Cardamon;  3 ground  Cloves; 1 tbs. Salt;  1 tbs. mustard seed;  50g. root Ginger, diced; 250g. Light Brown Muscovado Sugar; 300 ml. Cider Vinegar.

Method.  Preparation: 20 minutes. Cook 30 minutes.
Place all ingredients into a saucepan, bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer gently for approximately 30 – 35 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened. The bananas will reduce to a smooth pulp. Spoon into sterilized jars, seal and label. Store in a cool dark place for one week. Refrigerate after opening. 

     I have not cooked with bananas before as I don't normally eat puddings or cakes. However, this culinary foray has whetted my appetite for more and there are a number of Indian and Asian dishes using bananas that look interesting. I also like the idea of combining bananas with fish as per a Portuguese recipe.  I remember dining on Dover sole done in a banana and white wine sauce many years ago at the famed Wheelers Restaurant in St. James, London, (a restaurant now reincarnated by celebrity chef Marco Pierre White). A wet fish shop selling fish and seafood caught locally by the proprietor, has finally opened in my home town on the Isle of Wight after a hiatus of more than a decade since the last one closed its doors, so I look forward to recreating such a recipe with fresh, locally caught, sole in the near future. 

     The banana has many healthy dietary attributes.  It is packed with natural fructose for energy and is a good source of vitamin B1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 9, potassium and manganese.

Further Reading:  

Botanical-online  The Medicinal Properties of Bananas
Food Matters  25 Powerful Reasons to Eat Bananas

Food for thought: There are neither raptures nor ecstasies, nor transports of bliss in the pleasures of the table, but they make up in duration what they lack in intensity, and are distinguished above all by the merit od inclining us towards all the other pleasures of life, or at least consoling us for the loss of them.
Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.
La Physiologie du gout  1825

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