Plantains are delicious, a variety of banana that is eaten while green. India uses them a lot, far more than Western cuisines which tend to ignore them completely. Enjoy these spicy dishes and snacks.
From the moment that pineapple hits the shops in late Spring or Summer, it is a regular feature in our kitchen. Salads of course, or just wedges to suck at. But then there are curries, grilled when BBQing, and endless cooling juices.
Persimmons are so divine, and a beautiful, Autumnal colour. We don’t use them much, preferring to eat them just as they are. But I have one recipe for you – look at that colour!
Peas have been part our diet for hundreds of years and are used all over the world. Strictly speaking, green peas are not vegetables. They are part of the legume family, which consists of plants that produce pods with seeds inside. Lentils, chickpeas, beans and peanuts are also legumes. There are many varieties of peas, but here we are focusing on the humble, oft overlooked Green Pea.
Pears are as ubiquitous in Autumn and Winter as stone fruits are in Summer. They are my afternoon snack in these months, and my preference is the brown beurre bosc. The yellow pears of my childhood are no longer the same – mushy when ripe instead of gorgeously juicy with a touch of crispness. I do miss them. But there is now a wide variety of pears from which to choose – red, green, yellow, and brown. Nachi, William Bartlett, Packam, Corella, Anjou, Asian and more.
Summer means Peaches, the loved stone fruit above all others. The gentleness of the white peach and the juiciness of the yellow peach. The joy of eating them as they are! They are suitable not only for sweet temptations but also for salads, salsas, chutneys and drinks.
I adore pawpaw in the tropics – pawpaw for breakfast is divine. But here, we don’t indulge so much.
Green Mangoes are a real gift, and available from Asian groceries almost year round. It is amazing to track the different varieties across the year, many of them unlabelled. In the market today, one variety was labelled Crunchy Green Mango. I loved the images that it conjured up.
Green mangoes are refreshing and tart. Some are sour-tart, and others are sweet-tart. They are particularly good in salads and surprisingly good in dals and with yoghurt sauces. I have included a particularly delicious drink in this collection – one where the green mango is roasted or boiled then mashed with spices to make a cooling and refreshing summer drink.
Passionfruit. Sigh. My granddaughter takes after me and loves them. She will eat them straight from the shell.
Oranges – the darling of Winter and Spring, with varieties that stretch through Summer and into Autumn. We are lucky to have 2 trees that bear well and provide us with oranges year-round.