A day of hot weather has turned my pristine skinned but under-ripe bunch into this...
I will admit that these are not the most photogenic bananas with their mottled skin but underneath is what counts and nothing tastes as good as a ripe banana.
You may have noticed over the course of last year that we Australian's suffered from serious banana withdrawals. The crops were devastated by Cyclone Larry which resulted in shortages and prices going upwards to $17 a kilo. True to the growers word they assured us that come Christmas time the prices would come back down and behold, for once it was true. At less than $2 a kilo, it's time to celebrate!
I didn't realise this until I started looking into bananas but they are they a herb and actually are the biggest herb in the world.
Bananas are well-known for their high levels of potassium. The also contain Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin B in the form of thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B6 and folic acid. On the mineral front you'll find Calcium, Magnesium, Iron and Zinc.
Medicinally, it seems that bananas are like an all-purpose feel better pill. They can help with anaemia, blood pressure, constipation, depression, hangovers, heartburn, morning sickness, PMS, stress, strokes, ulcers and warts, just to name a few. One of the more unusual uses is in the treatment of mosquito bites by rubbing the inside of the banana skin over the bite - something to keep in mind during summer.
When deciding what to make I turned to the pages of Philip Johnson's latest book Classic E'cco where I found something quick and easy to make yet scored big on the luscious factor. Really, who could go past Rum Bananas?
[sourced from Classic E'cco]
200 grams caster sugar
125-ml/½ cup water
60-ml/¼ cup dark rum ( I used Bundaberg Black)
3 bananas, cut on the diagonal into 3 slices
A deep-sided fry-pan works best for this recipe.
Place the sugar and water into the fry-pan and stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Allow it to come to the boil and boil without stirring until the syrup becomes a deep golden colour. This will take a good 10 minutes or more but once it starts to turn, the process happens very quickly and you can end up with burnt caramel.
When you see some colour, take it from the heat and just give the pan a shake, you'll notice the darkness spread. If it's not quite dark enough, return it to the heat and continue giving the pan a shake until it reaches the right point.
When it's reached that golden colour add the thickly sliced bananas in batches. Make sure both sides are coated with the caramel. When all the bananas are in the pan, remove it from the heat and add the rum. Stir it through before placing it back on the heat.
Continue to cook until the bananas soften.
This is a step I didn't take but I will add it for those who want to do this.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the bananas. Return the pan to the heat and add 50-ml of pure cream. Bring this to the boil before straining into a serving jug. You would then serve the rum bananas with a good drizzle of this mixture.
In my case, I haven't added the cream but I did partner them with some simple buttermilk pancakes. Which in the scheme of things, wasn't a bad way to start the day.