Mango & Ginger Compote

IMG_9079The first time we travelled as a family to Maui, we wanted to show the girls all the little experiences that can make a Hawaiian vacation an adventure.   Ready to explore those things that were different from home, we stopped at a VW bus parked at the side of the road with fruit for sale. The ancient hippy in his bleached-out tank top, led us into the back of his van to show us boxes of fruit. He took hold of my wrist, and placed two of his fingers on the top of my fore arm and gently pressed down, “this is how a ripe mango should feel, firm, but giving”. I’ve never forgotten that simple little lesson, and use it unconsciously when shopping.

During the same early March trip, we were buying fresh fish burritos for supper, and I asked the time of year that mangoes ripen. We were told that they usually started ripening in May. After just having bought some “local” ripe mangoes from our friendly neighbourhood hippy, I realized that he was just another huckster using a line for a sale. Although, the mangoes were delicious, and we ate them happily believing that they were handpicked from a tree somewhere in the jungle.

The burrito maker told us about a tree loaded with mangoes, which was going to be removed in a vacant lot. We headed out following the directions for the lot, with one daughter full of excitement, and the older one in disbelief that her parents were actually going to go pick mangoes in a vacant lot. She was old enough to continue on, while the three of us made good use of our climbing and reaching skills and picked many hard green mangoes.

Packing to return home, the mangoes were tucked in amongst our clothing to prevent bruising. Once home, they all eventually ripened, and were perfect. Just firm enough, yet giving, as I’d been taught.

Here’s a simple little compote to dollop on rice pudding, tapioca, custard, or Panna Cotta. Continue reading

Banana Bread with Cinnamon Sugar

IMG_5187I figured that this weekend I would start the last round of lawn mowing as the grass stops growing for the year and before the ground becomes saturated with rainwater.  We have a fair bit that gets mowed, and all of it is simply native meadow grass that we’ve been cutting for years.  Unfortunately it is a typical island lawn, and is broken up with stands of berries & bushes, pathways, driveways, orchard trees, gardens, and so on, so it is unsuitable for a ride-on lawnmower.  It is all done using a push mower.

While I was working on my two-hour bit today, the lawnmower told me it was fed up with the whole thing, and broke a spring and a cable within minutes of each other.  I suppose that I was fed up, too.  I abandoned it (I have no skills in the fixing of machinery) and fled to my sanctuary, the kitchen.

Three bananas were sitting looking quite forlorn with their brown spots starting to become blotches.  I suppose we’ve been eating apples off the trees, and have been neglecting other fruits.

When things are going awry, cooking calms me.  So I took those three bananas and gave them the attention they deserved.  Later my husband came in having fixed one of the two problems; I would need to pick up a part on my next trip to town to fix the other.  Hurrah!  No lawn cutting for a few days!

Maybe I’ll just read, drink tea, and eat banana bread.  Maybe I’ll let him have some, too. Continue reading