Summer again

It is December and we are into summer, and it is going to be a long, hot and dry summer. At least we have all that lovey summer fruit to look forward to: watermelons, peaches, nectarines, apricots, mangoes, melons, grapes, strawberries, lychees, starfruit and pineapples. I’ve also seen ripe jackfruit at my local fruitmarket. One of the benefits of changing seasons is the produce that becomes available, and I always like what the seasons bring as we can enjoy them whilst they last and are plentiful. Summer brings a huge variety of both stonefruit as well as tropical fruit.

Pineapples are delicious and cheap at the moment. I was looking for something to illustrate and decided to buy one as I had never illustrated one before. They look great – all knobbly and prickly and once I started drawing I regretted my decision as it was one of the most difficult fruit to draw and paint. However, I kept at it and was very pleased with the result and actually the challenge was worth the effort.

I had no idea what I was going to use it for and wanted to cook something different. In Sri Lanka pineapples are eaten ripe, skinned and cut into wedges and sprinkled with salt and chilli powder and eaten as a snack. They are also served sliced and chilled and served again with a sprinkle of salt and or sugar, which compliments the sweet/sour flavour of the fruit. They are stewed and grilled as well but I remembered the curried pineapple we used to have at lunch time- in fact it was popular to have curried fruit either mango or pineapple. People are often amazed that fruit can be curried, but in fact it is a lovely way to use fruit, unexpected yet so tasty. The curries are light and refreshing and don’t take long to cook.

Select a pineapple that is fairly firm and green and not too ripe. This has a slight tartness to it and also is firmer when cooked and holds together, the mustard seeds that are ground up and added to the cumin and coriander seeds make for a very tasty dish. Check out the recipe for an unusual and very tasty and easy to do curry. It is a great accompaniment to a ‘rice and curry’ lunch of meat or fish curry, dhal, and red rice.