Pandan (Pandanus amarylliifolius) has long been a staple in tropical food gardens in South and South East Asia. Its leaves impart a unique aroma and flavour to drinks, rice, cakes and desserts. As with all garden produce, the quality of freshly picked pandan surpasses that of the dried or the frozen equivalent. Fortunately, pandan is easy to grow in a subtropical or tropical climate, they make an attractive display, it is an easy plant to propagate and maintain in a kitchen garden.
“Let’s keep planting the right lilly pillies for trouble-free hedges and a diversity of Syzygium species to enhance our environment and keep our culinary traditions alive.”
When cooking in a hot kitchen doesn’t appeal, there’s a flavour-filled alternative: king’s salad – Vietnamese style. Popular in Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. Whatever you decide, the complex, zesty flavour of king’s salad is delightful on its own. Use it for breakfast, lunch or dinner…
“Salsa verde, chilled and freshly made from home grown tomatillos (Physalis philadelphica), is great on a hot day. An excuse for not cooking on (another) one of those sticky subtropical summer days”.
“I planted Aloe vera so I can use its juice to soothe sunburn. It grows effortlessly in my nature strip. People also use it to relieve the itching caused by eczema. I also enjoy cooked Aloe vera as a dessert.”
I invite you to join me in calling the Kaffir Lime a Kaffir Lime. Researchers and editors take note: it’s hip and more accurate to call the Kaffir lime by its original name!
“Young Australians need to be educated about what a Bunya tree looks like, what the sound of snapping cones and breaking branches sound like, and to avoid lingering underneath them in high summer. When I was at primary school, we had a Bunya in the schoolyard. We knew what to do, how to harvest them, and no one was ever hurt.”
After gardening in the heat and humidity of a Brisbane summer’s day, I find Turmeric Tea (Curcuma longa) most refreshing, especially if chilled and served with fresh, finely chopped mint leaves or lemongrass… Continue reading
I imagine everyone is outdoors, harvesting their mangelwurzels (Beta vulgaris subsp. maritima) today like me. A friend is thinking about brewing mangelwurzel beer, they’re supposed to make a potent drop. Alcohol is not… Continue reading
What do you do with an embarrassment of chillies? Normally, I deep freeze chillies and keep a year’s supply to hand. But when I picked 500g of ‘Piri Piri’ chillies from a single… Continue reading
There is so much to learn about growing and preparing tropical food plants. What fascinates me is that many of the fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices growing in south east Asian food gardens… Continue reading
This damper recipe includes green pawpaw (Carica papaya) and Warrigal greens (Tetragonia tetragonioides), which are currently abundant in my garden. Both are self-sown crops. Served either as damper or used as a pizza… Continue reading