Last March Cyclone Barry, or was it Larry, wiped almost the entire Australian crop of bananas, which obviously only grow in the path of cyclones.
After a battered Queensland emerged from under a giant smoothie, banana prices shot up to $17 and at that price you’re not buying the hand. It was a long wait for prices to come down again. But we were patient.
Now, huge truckloads of bananas have been seen rolling down the Bruce and the Leichhardt (passing through the town of Banana, which is in Banana Shire*, a beef-growing centre) and the Pacific and the New England and the Newell and the Hume and over the Great Dividing Range and rumbling into Melbourne. Then, last week, bananas finally broke the two dollar barrier, heading south.
Here’s a recipe to celebrate the return of the affordable banana and to mark Lady Lunchalot's Banana Sunday, February 11.
I have adapted the recipe, using Queensland ingredients, from Steven Raichlen's Barbecue Bible and renamed it to recognise not just the year-long wait for bananas after Larry, but also the three hours you have to endure in between grilling the bananas and actually eating them, because of the marinade. Also, it would be a good name for a post-modern play in which nothing happens, causing the critics to rave.
Waiting For Bananas: a recipe celebrating Queensland.
You will need: four slightly green bananas, one cup of maple syrup, half a cup of dark rum, a quarter cup of Queensland sugar, half a teaspoonful of cinnamon, a quarter teaspoonful of fresh-grated nutmeg, macadamia icecream (or substitute any good commercial vanilla icecream), cream, a cup of toasted Queensland macadamias and half a cup of roasted shredded coconut (a few minutes in a hot oven until light brown).
1. Make the marinade. Combine the maple syrup, dark rum(let’s make it Inner Circle, Australia’s most highly awarded rum), sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk until the sugar dissolves. (That is a seriously yummy marinade. I wonder how it would go with steak?)
2. Grill the bananas. Brown the peeled bananas on a very hot pre-heated and oiled grill, turning carefully. Six to eight minutes should do it. Remove, slice the bananas into bite-sized pieces, drop them into the marinade and leave them for a few hours at room temperature.
3. Serve. Line four bowls with a generous layer of icecream, place the banana sections on top, pour the marinade over the bananas, top with cream and macadamia nuts and sprinkle with coconut.
For the kids, omit the marinade and have the maple syrup jar handy.
*Interesting Historical Fact: Banana, the place, was named after a bullock called Banana.