Banana Love

Centre of the stage right now of our local produce, is the one, the many varieties of BANANA.Bananas

Now this is a very short post on a very large subject, but as you all may know (in the NT) our bananas have been ordered to be destroyed by April in a very large eradication zone from Darwin to very near Adelaide River township because of Banana Freckle. Some people are outraged, some sad- I mean who doesn’t have bananas or love bananas in the Darwin region?

We will post some more information and maps here very soon, but would like to share with you our love for the banana, our sadness that it needs to be destroyed and the many wonderful uses it has for us in our community!

On Sunday March 8th we will be celebrating the Banana at a Community Banana Festival at the Mulch Pit, Nightcliff. We will be having cooking demonstrations, art and craft, including banana fibre weaving, banana fibre paper making, banana theatre, music and talks about how amazing the banana is and some more info on how it has come about we need to get rid of them (for a while). The festival will be a wake for the banana and accumulate in shared banana dishes and a farewell ceremony!

The poster for this is released tomorrow!

The banana is an incredible plant, infact a herb in Musaceae family and there are hundreds of varieties, all growing in the tropics and sub tropics.

For now we will share just a few images from The GULP project of the diverse banana as food and friend from our community!

IMG_0056

Nick in Alawa loves his bananas and is waiting for his last ones to ripen.

Hannah banana

Hannah, also of Alawa is not very happy her backyard bananas have to go, she loves bananas so much that she is know as Hannah Banana! (pronounced so it rhymes!)

Banana shower love

Jon even showers in his bananas everyday (in a banana circle) and things could be quite exposed without them!

Anyway onto the banana parts and how interesting they are-

Banana flower salad kate

The flower of the banana is used for so many delicious dishes. Above is Kate (from Alawa)’s banana flower salad, where parts of the flower and boiled and chopped into a wonderful Asian style dish!

Sandar Tun and banana trunkThe young trunk of the banana can be made into many dishes, including this Bhurmese dish, cooked by Sundar Tun of Bhurma (above) and below a soup with Banana trunk made by Sandar (also of Bhurma) both of My Sister’s Kitchen in Karama.

sandar soup best

An Indian style curry can also be made from Banana trunk, like the one below, made by Erin of Fannie Bay.

Banana shoot curry

Many sweets are made from the ripe fruit of the banana, including this frozen banana desert made by Bhavini in Rapid Creek-

Banana and coconut frozen desert 2Banana cakes are a classic and most people in the Darwin area would have a recipe! The one pictured below with a native bushtucker fruit (Meiyogne or Bush Apricot) was made by Grusha of Nakara.

Banana Bread and Myogynie

Bananas that are green can be used for curries like the two below (one just banana, one with snake gourd in too) The plantain variety is best to make this, but most larger bananas can be used green. The curries below were made by Emma in Alawa, of Taste of The Top End.banana curry snake guord curryBanana leaves are used to wrap so many things, to be cooked in a fire, steamed or baked in an oven. INcluded are the wonderful banana leaf wrapped sticky rice banana sweets from Rapid Creek market.

sticky rice banana 2Bananas are used for weaving, as fibre and are pretty much found in everyone’s yard! Watch this space for more of the banana. Please send in your recipes and why you love the banana!

Fair food Week food Share

Fair food Week is all about food produced fairly, locally and with as little waste as possible.

ladies eatingThe GULP project invited community members to join us for a fair food share in conjunction with the Mulchpit to highlight the great food system of local food we grow ourselves. A group of 1local produce cooks met and shared their local dishes on a sweaty Sunday afternoon

georgia chili eggsGeorgia of Alawa made curried eggs from her backyard chooks and garden chillieschili eggs

Penny of Nightcliff brought home made bread to go with locally grown Mango jam, that she made with ginger.

mango marmaladeZohara made a wonderful Garden Greens stir frykang kong dishEmma made a local watermelon, sweet leaf and coconut mint saladWatermelon, sweetleaf and coconut saladLauren bought along some crunchy and delicious home made and grown pickled Okra

okra- pickledThere was a wonderful selection of dishes to enjoy…Zohara eats

All washed down with some garden tea

Garden tea

After a garden tour

in the garden

Fair food is the way forward and Growing and Using Local Produce!

Rod’s Cane Toad Canape’s

It’s happened again, the cane toad eating has hit the headlines!

Professor Phillip Hayward, from Southern Cross University has been promoting the eating of cane toads (and our site) 

This seems appropriate as the rain starts to come again and the ugly reptiles begin to come forth and multiply and mess with the ecological integrity of the native landscapes.

Cane toad legsThis is Rod (from Humpty Doo/ Nightcliff)’s recipe of Cane toad Canapés- little morsel’s of cane toad leg sautéed in garlic butter, made with local garlic chives and on bread. This was demonstrated at the Tropical GArden Spectacular GULP cooking stage earlier this year to a very large and curious crowd!! Many people tried them and enjoyed the taste!

Rod cane toad

rod cooking cane toad

Canapés of toad legs in garlic butter (Rod)

Ingredients

8 toad legs with skins removed
3 cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
1 fresh baguette sliced
Garlic chives, finely chopped

cooking cane toad Melt butter in a heavy based sauce pan and fry garlic or garlic chives until softened, add cut capsicum or optional extras
Add toad legs and cook in butter until tender
Lightly toast the baguette

Em cane toad Serve two toad legs on a piece of baguette, drizzled with garlic butter and garnished with chives.

Click here for a PDF version of the recipe- cane toad leg garlic canapés

We have some recipes involving more local ingredients to compliment the legs too and will post these shortly!

Indian roots- A cassava curry

CassavaEarlier this year we held a fabulous roots workshop at The Mulch Pit (in Nightcliff, Darwin).

The cooks

We had over 30 people attending, some cassava harvesting and wonderful presenters sharing their food stories and recipes of the easily grown roots- Cassava and Taro, they included-

  • Matumba and his Cassava pone and Taro chips
  • Grusha and Cassava gnocci
  • Pascalini and Shirley and wonderful cassava leaf dishes
  • Emma and a Pacific taro leaf dish and
  • Bhavini and her cassava root curry.

So a full update of the day and recipes is being worked on- but for now here is Bhavini’s story. Bhavini has lived in Darwin for over 15 years and is also part of our GULP events team, she grew up in England in an Indian family and was passed on many recipes from her mum. In England many ingredients for these needed to be imported, so she is happy to live somewhere they can be grown, and she eats a lot of local produce, growing it and buying it from Rapid Creek Market.

Bhavini explains

Above Bhavini explains the Cassava plant and how it is grown and used..

Bhavini explains2

Below she explains all of the ingredients used for a cassava recipe learnt fro her family; the recipe has a tomato base, so to keep it as local as possible make this when tomatoes are harvested (August- October)

Bhavinis spices

Indian cooking uses a lot of dry spices and each bride is given this nifty looking tin set to store them in on the time of her marriage! Some of these spices can be grown in Darwin, like turmeric and chilli and cardamon and mustard seeds (dry season), of course many of these are very fiddly to harvest and imported cheaply from Asian countries; others are a little harder (like cloves and star anise) as they are from large trees.

Tamarind features as the zingy flavouring to the curry and is a large tree with a pulpy pod and can be found happily growing in the Darwin region, or bought processed from Asian shops.

The cassava root is peeled and cut into pieces and all of the other ingredients chopped.

Here is the full recipe- 

Ingredients

1kg of cassava skinned and cut into 1inch cubes
4 fresh tomatoes roughly chopped
1 large brown onion roughly chopped
6 cloves of garlic
2 inch piece of ginger
3 bird’s eye chillies (adjusted to taste)
6 curry leaves
2 tea spoons of tamarind concentrate/2 tablespoons of tamarind pulp
2 tea spoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoon of garam masala
1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 table spoon olive oil
6 leaves of Thai coriander finely sliced

cassava cooking

 Method

Boil cassava in lightly salted water (1/2 teaspoon of salt in 1L of water) until tender.

Drain liquid and reserve.

Pound garlic, ginger and chilli’s into a paste using a pestle and mortar.

Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan, add cumin seeds and wait until they start to “pop”.

Add onions and curry leaves and sauté until softened (5 minutes).

Add curry paste and dry spices and fry until aromatic (you will feel a tickle in your nose).

Add chopped tomatoes, tamarind paste/pulp and sauté until tomatoes have softened, add 500ml of water and bring to the boil.

Add cassava and cook for 30-40 minutes until sauce has thickened.

Garnish with coriander

Serve with rice and riata

Bhavini curry

For PDF version of Bhavini’s recipe click here

Sapodilla dessert

Delicious Sapodillas are ready and available at the Rapid Creek, and probably other local food markets.

Sapodilla, or Manilkara zapota, is a small brown rough skinned fruit resembling a (soft) small potato. It has a rich sugary malt like flavour and is from the Americas. It is grown in the Darwin region.

I have now put up this recipe, in the recipe section, which came from Erin, at our last workshop- it is a raw dessert with coconut cream and oil and is delicious…

Raw food seems to be all the rage, so here is a truly yummy recipe with a special locally grown fruit. I am sure you could also experiment with Black Sapote (a totally different species of yummy goopy fruit) and other fruits that catch your fancy with a similar texture.

Raw Sapadillo tart 2

Ingredients

For the filling

 2 cups sapodilla flesh
¼ cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg powder
1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
3-4 banana flesh
¼ cup coconut nectar (optional)

For the base

 ½ cups coconut meat
2 cup activated raw almonds
(soaked in filtered water overnight)
1 tbsp. Organic Honey
1 tbsp Almond butter
¼ cup Organic Virgin Coconut oil
1 pinch of Himalayan Pink Sea Salt

The base

 

  • Place the base ingredients into the food processor and blitz until well combined.
  • Using a flan tin, scoop out the mixture into the tin and press firmly until the mixture is tightly packed. Place into the fridge to set.

 

The filling

 

  • Make sure all the seeds and skin is removed form the fruits, place all ingredient into a blender or food processor and puree until no lumps are present.
  • Pour the mixture onto the base and pop it in the freezer until set.
  • Dust with cocoa powder and serve.

Download recipe here- Raw Sapadilla dessert recipe.

The Face of Healthy Darwin

GULP and Healthy Darwin (City of Darwin) have teamed up and launched a competition to create a healthy face using locally grown fresh produce!

The winner will receive a 50 swim swimming pass and also their face of yummy fruit, veggies and greens will become the face of healthy Darwin-

 

So get creative and email your entries to us or our face-book page or email Healthy Darwin (see flyer below for details!)Face of Healthy Darwin Flyer

Erin’s GULP workshop in Alawa

So our GULP project is all about tapping into the amazing community we have here in Darwin that use produce that grows here and sharing the knowledge.

A couple of weeks ago we held a GULP workshop  at Alawa Primary School, facilitated by Erin Vaid.  Erin runs the kitchen part of the kitchen garden program at Alawa Primary School and knows a lot about cooking local tropical produce.  Children at the primary school, in yrs 3-6 have a kitchen and garden lesson every week. The garden is part of the farm and there are also goats, chickens and at the moment cows.

A lot of Erin’s inspiration comes from India, where her husband is from and her background as a chef. She lives with her husband and daughter in Darwin.

Erin and Family

20 enthusiastic people from the Darwin community joined us in the kitchen to cook  delicious dishes in small groups and then eat together and share local cooking ideas. It was really lovely to bring everyone together and share ideas, and learn from Erin.

Jackfruit curry cooks

Recipes are now on the recipe page, or click the photos below.

Recipes included a green Mango salad, what better way to enjoy the start of the mango season-

Green Mango salad2A jicama salad with local herbs and peanuts….

Jicama salad 3Jicama salad

 

Jackfruit curry with local tomatoes and coconut milk ….

Banana trunk curryJackfruit frittas with Asian dipping sauce

Jackfruit frittasBrazilian spinach parcels

Brazilian spinach and feta triangles

A taro curry….

Taro curry (Erin recipe)A banana trunk and chicken curry

Banana shoot ingredients

With these ingredients above, cooked with laughter …

 

Banana curry stiring

Banana shoot curry

and last but not least an amazing raw sapodilla and coconut tart.

bindi Sapodilla

 

Raw Sapadillo tart 2 What a feast!

Table fullWe can’t wait till next time, Thanks Erin… and remember we are always looking for your input, so contact us, even if you would like to share just one recipe! Lets celebrate what we can grow in our back yards, schools, nature strips and cook together!