Category Archives: Tropical Friday

Tropical Friday…Banana Flower…

Purple in colour, this heart-shaped male bud,  is commonly seen for sale on the markets in Asia where it is considered a vegetable.  It’s a very good source of fibre and has many medicinal values.

The banana bud/flower is the large purplish bud growing at the end of the banana stem. The mature bud often has hard husks on the outside.

After female banana flowers get pollinated, they form bananas. After bananas are produced, the male flower still remains at the tip of the bunch which is what is used in cooking. It is loaded with fibre, antioxidants, iron, potassium, calcium and other vitamins.

When the husks have been peeled away, the leaves in the middle can be used and eaten… They can be steamed whole and eaten with a spicy dip. It is also be used to make a salad…a stir fry added to curries or a soup is very popular here always loaded with lots of vegetables and herbs…delicious and nutritious.

Finely sliced It makes a healthy delicious stir fry...just peel off the outer leaves to get the tender middle…finely slice and wash carefully then sauteed the chopped parts of this veggie in olive oil, onions, ginger, garlic, and red pepper with a 1/4 tsp turmeric, a few curry leaves and a tsp of masala powder. then serve it on a bed of spinach with an egg on top…cooks quickly tastes delicious and is so nutritious.

Chopped and mixed with some sweetcorn, a little red curry paste some shredded kaffir lime leaves dipped in some tempura and fried these little patties are lovely with a sweet chilli sauce…add some to your tom yum soup…delicious.

For true authenticity serve on the outer flower bud leaves…it also saves washing a plate…

If you are about to buy some for cooking, you should make sure to choose the fresh ones which are tight and undamaged. The outer husks should be closely overlapped with each other for freshness purposes…anywhere where bananas grow you should find these flower buds for sale …Dried banana buds can be purchased in Asian stores around the world…

If you study the picture I took of my banana tree then you can see the intricacy of the structure this video is great for showing the banana flower in closeup and how it is used to make soup…Mark Weins is one of my favourite food bloggers I love watching his face as he tucks in to his food he certainly enjoys his food…I hope you enjoy the video…

Do you prepare the banana flower?  Is it used in your culture? Please let me know in the comments.

See you tomorrow for Saturday Snippets where my word of the day was suggested by Clive over at Take it Easy… where the music rocks…Thank you, Clive…If anyone else wants a mention just send me a word… xx

Tropical Friday…The Orange…

Oranges ... I’m sure all of you know what an Orange is and how good they are for you so today let’s look at the Orange, of course, they are different and sometimes the same around the world we have all enjoyed and Orange or OJ…

There are over 400  different types of Oranges in the world…however they all don’t belong to the citrus family whose Oranges are a rich source of citric Acid plus Vitamin C…

Sweet oranges (C. Sinensis) are one of the most popular oranges around the world…then we have the Common Orange these varietals make up two-thirds of the worlds Orange production and are generally what is used to make our OJ.

Blood Oranges…One of my favourite oranges and they sure make for a delicious Mojito…they are also jam-packed full of anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant. These are the pigments that give them their dark red colour.

These antioxidants are known for their anti-cancer properties. They help your body reduce damage from free radicals, decreasing the chance that cells will become cancerous.

Navel Oranges…Navel oranges are one of the healthiest fruits you can eat, filled with Vitamin C, fibre, potassium and low in calories. It is always better if you can opt for whole oranges over juice whenever possible…

Bitter Oranges…Native to eastern Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Syria, and Southeast Asia, bitter orange now is grown throughout the Mediterranean region and elsewhere, including California and Florida.

Bitter orange has for years been used in traditional Chinese medicine for indigestion, nausea, and constipation.

Today, various bitter orange products are promoted for heartburn, nasal congestion, weight loss, appetite stimulation or suppression, and athletic performance. Bitter orange is also applied to the skin for pain, bruises, fungal infections, and bedsores. Bitter orange is used in cooking and for adding flavour to beer and spirits.

Tangerine…The Tangerine is a type of Orange…Like all citrus fruits, tangerines have an abundance of vitamin C. They also have a moderate amount of vitamin A, with 100 grams of tangerine providing you with approximately 14% of your daily recommended vitamin A intake.

Mandarin…Mandarins belong to the Citrus genus. It’s believed they originated in ancient China, which is how they got their name. Their peel is deep-orange, loose and slightly leathery. Unlike oranges, mandarins are not round. Rather, they’re oblong, resembling a sphere with a flattened top and bottom. easy to peel.

Clementine...Tangerines and clementines are both hybrids of the small-sized mandarin. They share many of the same characteristics as other mandarins, such as a smaller size compared with navel oranges, few to no seeds, a sweet flavour, and a thin, soft skin that’s very easy to peel.

Tangerines and clementines have a similar appearance, so it’s easy to get them confused or think they’re one and the same.

Seville Orange…Seville sour orange is the variety of sour orange traditionally used to make orange marmalade. The fragrant flowers are used in China to flavour tea, and in Europe, the flowers are the source of oil of neroli, used in perfume manufacture.

Bergamot Orange…That is one strange-looking orange! Or is it lime? Meet the odd fruit that gives Earl Grey tea its signature flavour and aroma. But unlike other citrus fruits, they cannot be eaten fresh. Bergamot oranges are sour, despite the fact that the fruit is a good source of vitamin C, potassium, vitamins B1, B2, and A. In addition to being the star flavour of Earl Grey tea, the zest and flesh of the bergamot fruit are used in Europe as a flavouring in cookies, custards, marmalades, syrups, and cocktails. It is also mixed with mayonnaise or pesto and served as a condiment with fish or meat entrees.

Thai oranges… are among the juiciest of oranges with a yellowish-green peel and bright orange flesh; the segments are generally eaten fresh or squeezed for juice. The overall season for Thai oranges is September through November, although they can be enjoyed year-round.

Orange in the Thai Language is called SOM…

Did you know?

Oranges are currently the largest citrus crop in the world and actually originated from China. Now, Brazil is the leading orange producer in the world, producing about 30% of the world’s output. The United States comes in second, accounting for about 10% of the world’s production.

About 70% of the oranges grown in the United States are grown in Florida. California, Texas, and Arizona are also large producers. Orange trees, though they require tropical climates, are actually classified as evergreen trees.

Cooking with Oranges…Orange zest added to baking or savoury dishes always adds that zing…Duck A La Orange is a classic French recipe featuring a whole roasted duck with crispy, crackling skin along with an aromatic sweet-sour sauce known as sauce bigarade. The original sauce bigarade is made with bitter oranges (sometimes called bigarade oranges, sour oranges, or Seville oranges), and it’s finely balanced, with just enough sweetness to offset the intensity of those oranges. One of my favourites…

Segmented and added to a salad…oranges and Mozzarella make a good pair…add the juice when you are cooking couscous…roasted carrots with orange juice taste sublime…Candied Orange Peel…Sticky Jerk Chicken with Blood Oranges, Beetroot and Orange smoothie is one of my favourites…Orange and Mint…think Mojitos…Marmalade Muffins…Gluten-Free Orange and Almond Cake, a lovely shredded duck, watercress and Orange salad..delicious…Orange Pork with Watercress Rice…


  • 1 1/2 cups of rice
  • 1 ¼ lb Pork tenderloin cut into cubes
  • 3 cups of coarsely chopped watercress reserving a few sprigs for garnish.
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 tbsp of oil
  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2/3 cup Orange marmalade
  • A ½ cup of finely julienned ginger
  • Salt and pepper to season

Cook the rice and toss in the watercress with ½ to 1 tbsp oil, cover and leave to stand for at least 10 minutes.

Season the pork and with the pan on medium heat add the oil and add half of the ginger and cook until the ginger is golden, drain and set to one side.

Add the pork and brown for 3-4 minutes and then remove from the pan. Add the remainder of the ginger and the garlic and cook for 30 seconds add the marmalade, fish sauce and lime juice bring to a slow rolling boil stirring until it is syrupy then return the pork to the pan simmer for 1 minute and serve over the rice.

Garnish with the crispy ginger and watercress sprigs.

This was very nice I wasn’t sure about the watercress but the heat of the rice just wilted the watercress and it was very nice even hubby liked it….Me, I might add some chilli flakes next time…Just saying…

Those are some of my favourites ...what is your favourite dish with Oranges?…

Thank you for joining me today I hope you have enjoyed this post on Oranges and I look forward to your comments and hearing what you make with Oranges…

See you tomorrow for Saturday Snippets I  invite any of you to give me one word as I am running out of ideas…Last weeks word was Rainbow and I had fun with that without the unicorns…x



Tropical Friday…Guava…

Guava fruits are typically classified by their coloured flesh.

Guava tastes anywhere from super sweet to tart, depending on the variety. It does have a unique fruity taste similar to a pear and a strawberry.

I have so far only eaten the pink Guava that is until my neighbours gave us some of the green guavas which had white flesh.

The Guava also comes in the following 4 colours…

  • White guava or tropic white guava
  • Pink guava
  • Yellow guava or Yellow strawberry guava
  • Lemon guava

White guava seems to be the only guava I have seen thus far this season I will have to keep my eyes open for the pink-fleshed Guava…

Thai guavas are generally the size of a softball with apple green skin that can range from bumpy to smooth. The flesh is white with pale yellow seeds and tends to be drier than the pink type of guavas. Thai guavas are only mildly sweet and have very little fragrance. The crunchy flesh and hard seeds are both edible.

The name “Fa-rang” in Thai refers to guava being introduced into the Thai region via European traders in the 17th century. – Guava is a common tropical fruit and is very popular among Thais.

The Thai government encouraged farmers to grow Kim Chu Guava due to the high demand and price. In the old days, Thailand was abundant with pink guavas. As many guava trees grew from the seeds found in bird droppings, Thais referred to this pink-fleshed guava as farang khi nok, “bird dropping guava”. The fruit of this variety is smaller, with a softer pink flesh and a floral smell when ripe, making it ideal for juices and jam.

An intriguing fact about a guava plant is that it can be grown and bear fruit in a pot indoors- something that only a few tropical fruit plants can do.

Typically, if grown from a seed, a guava tree bears within two years and can live to over 40 years!

Guava fruits are amazingly rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium, and fibre. This remarkable nutrient content gives them many health benefits.

The guava is considered one of the old Thai fruits, imported into the kingdom during the reign of King Narai almost 300 years ago.

Every part of the plant of the fruit, the leaves, trunkbark, and roots all had qualities that made them useful. Its roots are believed to be effective against nosebleeds and the bark yields a dye. The wood of the branches and trunk is extremely tough. Larger pieces can be used to make handles for knives or other tools.

Children like to take the Y-shaped joints where branches divide to make slingshots they use to hunt small animals or use as a toy.  

The leaves of the guava tree have an amazing ability to absorb odours. Archaeologists would throw branches from guava trees into the pits they dug to absorb old and musty smells.

Drunk husbands used to chew some guava leaves before they arrived home to their wives and family to get rid of the smell of alcohol on their breath

How to eat the Guava:

Simply rinse the guava off and dive in, eating the rind and the seeds. In fact, the rind of guava has more vitamin C than an entire orange.

If you’d like to cut the guava, place it on a cutting board and halve it. Then slice it into wedges as you would an apple.

If you prefer not to eat the rind, halve the guava and use a spoon to scoop the flesh from the rind, as you would an avocado. Then, you can slice the flesh if you’d like.

Some guavas have pink flesh and some have white flesh. Sometimes they have tougher seeds that you may find unpleasant—though they are completely edible. You can remove these using your fingers or the pointed end of your knife.

Guavas are also a great way to get out of your boring smoothie routine. Blend it with other tropical fruits to give your portable morning breakfast an island feel. Or slice up and just give it a spritz of lime juice.

They’re especially delicious in a tropical fruit salad or layered in a trifle.

To add a spicy kick to the fruit, Thais dip it into a Prik Gluea (a condiment with a salt, sugar and chilli blend), but for people with tame taste buds, the sweet and sour zing of a salted plum powder dip can also be offered…

Thank you for joining me today...I hope you join me tomorrow for Saturday Snippets which will be a fun and informative post…x




Tropical Friday… Longan Fruit…Dragon’s Eye…


Welcome to Tropical Fridays…

This week we have been gifted so much fruit our neighbour dropped us in some Chinese pastry’s some Longan Fruit plus Custard apples and Guava Fruit…then my Thai family turned up at the crack of dawn and left us a huge bag of rice, bananas, limes and lime leaves, mangoes, big fresh squash and lemongrass from the farm…we are so lucky all this freshly picked produce.

We certainly will be getting our Vitamin C and other vitamins in spades this week…Lovely banana shakes all-around first thing for a few mornings running although I did share some of our produce around the neighbours…and then today one of the neighbours gave us some lovely coconut ice cream…Sharing does have its bonuses …

Today I am looking at Longan Fruit …

Longan Fruit.

Close up they have a very slight mottling on the skin Also spelt lungan, this tropical fruit tree is of the soapberry family (Sapindaceae), native to Asia and introduced into other warm regions of the world. The edible white-fleshed fruits are somewhat similar to the related lychee and are commonly sold fresh, dried, or canned in syrup.

Longans grow in clusters on trees …it is very round and the size of a large grape…although it has a toughish shell it can be peeled quite easily to reveal  translucent white flesh with a black pit which is why it is often nicknamed “dragons eye”

Tastewise it is similar to a grape in taste and texture but with a slight muskiness…it is also one of Lily’s favourite fruits…

Like many fresh fruits, the Longan is high in Vitamin C and high in antioxidants making it a wonderful and healthy snack eaten by itself but is also wonderful in sorbets, jellies, salads, smoothies, desserts, and puddings.

Longan is lovely with a chicken salad with a nice lime and mint sauce…

For a wonderful treat on a hot day, pop the whole fruit in the freezer – shell and all.

Traditional Chinese medicine has used the fruit and its seed for healing and general health.

A short post me today…my concentration is waning...Our darling daughter has her second operation tomorrow  I am a tad preoccupied…

Thank you for dropping by see you tomorrow for Saturday Snippets…xx









Tropical Friday…Snake Fruit(Salak)…


This lovely but sort of weird fruit produces fruit all year round but because it grows close to the ground it is often quite muddy and sometimes needs a thorough clean but it has a good protective shell which although can be opened quite easily when you know how doesn’t break open when the fruit is washed…

I walked on by when I first saw this fruit and then my natural curiosity took over it truly is a lovely fruit…

The outside of the fruit is scaly like a snake and prickly like a cactus, but the inside is sweeter than honey, sour like pineapple and incredibly juicy. Its flesh is slightly acidic, giving your tongue a citrus-like tingle.

Salak fruit or snake fruit is a fruit that is very common in and around South East Asia. The skin is very like the markings on a snake I tend to call it snake fruit rather than salak…


Salak is a species of palm tree native in Indonesia. it belongs to the Arecaceae family. The fruits grow in clusters at the base of the palm. It is also known as snake fruit because of its reddish-brown scaly skin. The fruit inside is sweeter than honey and sour like pineapple and very juicy.

Because the flesh is slightly acidic it makes your tongue tingle. The fruit grows around the base of the tree so often when you buy it fresh they can be covered with dirt a little like potatoes when you dig them up…

They are also quite prickly to the touch and there is a knack to opening them but like everything once you have mastered that it is quite easy. Just be careful as this fruit has fairly hard albeit thin skin it is just getting your nail in the right place and pressing quite hard. Like everything, once you get the nack it is easy…

This evergreen tree produces fruit all year round.

Facts about the Sala fruit:

It is quite beneficial as eye medication due to its high beta carotene content and is also known as the memory fruit.

It can be eaten fresh or cooked. It is also sold in cans, like candied fruit or unripe, it can be pickled or added to a Thai spicy Salad with Papaya.

To pickle Salak.

Let’s Cook!

It must be peeled and deseeded. Soaked in a water and salt solution for 1 hour, then rinsed and drained.

Resoak again for 1 hour, then wash and drain.

Put in a vinegar, salt and water solution which has been boiled and cooled and let to stand for 1- 2 days before eating.

N.B. Make sure your fruit is very fresh or the jam will have a dusty taste..not nice at all.

I struggled to find many recipes for Salak… many Indonesian recipes have Salak in the name but do not use the fruit…they use sweet potatoes and shape them like the salak fruit…This Salak salad is from one of my favourite youtube channels…Mark Weins…Enjoy!

Did you know?

The salak Salacca glabrecens was featured on a Malaysian stamp, issued 27 February 1999 under the rare fruits series of stamps.

It is also a favourite of monkeys found in the famous “Monkey Forests”, in Malaysia which often
steals fruit from people.
Salak Gula Pasir is a smaller sweeter variety often known as Sugar Salak that when fermented is
a similar wine to a grape wine… Salak wine is a sweet dry wine brewed in Bali…
Thank you for joining me today for Tropical Friday…See you tomorrow for Saturday Snippets xx




Tropical Friday…Watermelon…

The Watermelon is very plentiful here at the moment and a fresh fruit platter is very nice and refreshing. Fruit is generally always served after a meal here in Thailand and generally fruit in season is a lovely end to a meal.


At the moment it is very plentiful here but not only is it a lovely fruit but it is also packed full of goodness.

Originating in Africa watermelons are pretty much available worldwide, prized not only for their water content in many countries it is also used medicinally and records show used as far back as the Egyptians.

Packed with vitamin C it is like the tomato packed with Lycopene which is a powerful antioxidant.

It is also lovely either as a shake on its own or with other fruits.

I am really getting into this smoothie making and today I think is one of my favourite smoothies. I am learning to get the right amount and what I do is take the glass I am going to drink it from and fill the glass with my fruit that way I make just enough and if I am making more than one glass then I double up but it eliminates the guesswork.

Today’s smoothie was a mixture of fruit and vegetables. Try as I may as I know how healthy it is and we have so many watermelons we grow them on the farm our neighbours grow them and are always passing one over the garden wall…I am not a fan of watermelon which is why I always add something to mine which takes away the inherent sweetness of the watermelon.


I used a large chunk of  Pineapple, Watermelon, yellow melon. A slice of tomato, a slice of beetroot, a piece of carrot and a little ice.

Then into the liquidiser and a blitz for a minute and voila a lovely smoothie.

Waste not want not has always been my aim and motto I also love pickles… how often have you bought a watermelon and thrown away the rind?? Hands up! I have or I did until I discovered a lovely recipe for Pickled Watermelon Rind.

Now I make a lot of pickles and this one thing I hadn’t thought of pickling… you live and learn, don’t you?


  • 4lb of Watermelon
  • 1 chilli thinly sliced
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger finely sliced or diced
  • 2 Star Anise
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 4 tsp salt I use fresh mineral salt dried here
  • 1 cup of rice vinegar
  • 1 cup of sugar

Let’s Cook!

Using a vegetable peeler remove the outer green rind and slice the watermelon into I inch slices. Cutaway all but 1/4 inch of the flesh (it is) the white part we are pickling. The red flesh I keep for smoothies or ice cream or a nice salad with feta cheese.

Then cut the rind into 1-inch pieces.

Add the chilli, ginger, star anise, salt, pepper, rice vinegar and sugar plus ½ cup of water together in a pan, bring the mixture to a rolling boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar then turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the watermelon rind and bring back to a rolling boil and then again reducing the heat to a simmer for 5 mins or until the rinds are just tender. Remove the pan from the heat, and leave the liquid to cool down. You may need to weigh the watermelon down with a plate or lid, as it needs to stay submerged in the liquid until cool.


Once cooled then transfer to a container with a well-fitting lid and refrigerate for at least 12 hours before you eat…This will keep refrigerated for about 2/3 weeks if it lasts that long…lol

My daughter in law took some of this to her village and they loved it …I thought maybe it would be too vinegary for them but no although they did suggest that next time I made it add some tamarind which I think( as) I love Tamarind is a great idea.

Watermelon, Feta and Mint I love again the feta and mint take away the sweetness and adds a saltiness from the feta and the freshness of mint it is delicious and so refreshing…

I love this as you make to order as little or as much as you like can either cut your feta into cubes or just crumble it over the top…Finely shred some mint leaves a little grated lime zest…

You could add a twist or two of black pepper, some thinly sliced chilli pepper, thinly sliced shallot, how about a few thinly sliced olives …cucumber watermelon will take all this on board and makes such a lovely refreshing salad…You can assemble it all pop it in the fridge and add the feta just before serving…

I am lucky I can pick mine but if you are buying from the supermarket then here are a few things to look out for:

  1. Look for watermelons that feel relatively heavy for their size. Watermelons that grow too fast or big can end up with hollow cracks and crevices, making them feel lighter. These watermelons typically also have a more watered-down flavour. Dense watermelons should taste sweeter and have a better aroma.
  2. Look for melons that show signs of a clean break at the stem. Watermelons, like all fruit, are attached at one end to their parent plants. When they reach peak ripeness, the stem will often automatically detach, leaving a clean crater behind. When the melons are picked less ripe, the stem often refuses to break free cleanly, leaving behind part or all of itself at the attachment site. This doesn’t mean all watermelons with some stem attached won’t be good—many still are—but a clean stem crater is generally a very good sign.
  3. Rap the watermelon with your knuckles. Watermelons that sound very hollow…probably are. Don’t put them in your trolley…
  4. Look for smaller varieties. Smaller melon varieties often (but not always) have a more concentrated flavour.

That’s all for today enjoy your watermelon…