Juicy and tropical, Pineapples make you think of holidays but also of enjoyable time. First I will mention the quintessential New Year's eve dessert upon my Mum which was a fruit Salad: Minimal efforts yet crowd pleaser. She did more tin can opening rather than anything else at that time of the year and did add some Rum within the Fruit Salad in order to get everyone happy for the counting down at the end of the year from ten to celebrate the Happy New Year!
Pineapple in pieces was always a part of the party. But it came mainly from a tin however it was enjoyable. Preserving food in any way shape or form, we can can (forgive me the pun) has always been essential to us as humans.
Pineapple Tin Pieces.
The convenience of it is that any can keep that precious fruit for longer. There was a time, a little more than a couple of centuries ago when to have an entire Pineapple or a fixture made with Pineapple upon a dinner table signalled your wealth. It was a luxury fruit par excellence for one main reason, because it came from far away but also it was hard to get one.
The ingredients for a Tropical Roasted Duck.
Efforts were made for Pineapples to be grown in England but also France from the eighteenth century. Between 1714 and 1716, a Dutch Gardener working in Great Britain Henry Telende succeeded to grow, in a sustainable fashion, Pineapples. Louis XV king of France was presented his first Pineapple grown at the Palace of Versailles in 1733. The fact that it was harder to get and grow in temperate climates unless you had the proper equipements (they called the first heated veranda 'stove' at the time) made the pineapple a luxury symbol as per say due to its rarity.
From the 'Vanity Fair' days of the 1800's but also the advent of the tin can, preservation of such a fruit within its juice was rendered possible but even with its readily available 'Cachet', the Pineapple never lost its meaning for ostentatious pleasure to be add. Think of a Pina Collada... when you think of that cocktail you think of a treat...
There is also the scene of the 1970's and 80's with the Pineapple and Cubed Cheese cocktail sticks which nowadays seems very nostalgically Retro. But it still showcases Pineapple as a part of an entertainment fruit as per say.
But as I always say the fact of the matter is 'What will we do with a Drunken Sailor...'. Well there is plenty of things to do with a Pineapple either Sweet or Savoury from early morning till dawn, you have an all around the clock fruit on your hands.
You can have a very nice breakfast with Pineapple, Banana, Coconut milk and shavings and Vanilla flavoured Oatmeal. Put in the oven for five minutes up to ten, in a baking dish, you will then have a lovely healthy breakfast to share with your family.
Bananas do pair well with Pineapple.
For a Brunch with a sense of pleasure you can do American Pancakes with a little dash of Rum in the Batter. Serve them with caramelised Pineapple, sliced fried Plantain, and sautéed Pecan Nuts. Finish off with a lavish drizzle of Maple Syrup. This is an Indian Summer Brunch when the warm days are about to turn to cold.
Pecan Nuts do add texture to that fulfilling Pancakes Brunch.
As for lunch I will go to the very controversial Pineapple upon a Pizza dilema. It does still make me laugh. To pay for my University studies I did work for Pizza Hut and made many Pizzas during my time there. Since I was good, accurate and fast but also hardworking I was put at the making table. I was working with another University Student Leon at the making table and I loved the conversations we had there which were most of them like intellectual debates during a busy Friday night... making Pizzas. (By the way I was runner up in one of the Pizza Hut Competitions for the entire Uk representing London, my one was a bit more cheesy, but settling for number 2 that year was good enough for me). Anyhow I absolutely like a Hawaiian Pizza with Ham and Pineapple and I find that combo perfectly fine. I actually quite enjoy it. For the purist who says Pineapple has no place upon a Pizza, I can giggle back and replied I had very decent Lunches with plenty of them...
Just a Giggle.
We can think of Supper time with a quirky Soup made with Pineapple. You will need to think of a Chowder going the Vietnamese way on that one. Sauté together strips of lean Pork, strips of Ginger, minced Garlic, sliced Spring Onions and diced Pineapple within very little Chilli Oil. You can add an entire Chilli, chopped, dried, or whole later on to flavour the Soup further when the liquids are poured upon your principle ingredients. You are looking at 1/4 Chicken Stock and 3/4 Coconut Milk. Add some Sweetcorn Kernels and some split Nori Sheets for saltiness. You can finish everything off with a little drizzle of Soy Sauce, and chopped Coriander for decoration.
Coconut Milk, another ingredient which does combine well with Pineapple.
A Starter which is a crowd pleaser is a twist on the Cocktail tooth picks of Pineapple and Cheese from the Seventies party scene. However those are proper long skewers to be either grilled, griddled or Barbecued. They only takes minutes to be done and cooked. They are composed of Pineapple Cubes of course but this time dice a fresh Pineapple instead of using tinned Pineapple. The reason is that you need the flesh of your fruit to be firmer and more dense to be grilled. Now to create the skewer you alternate your cubed pineapple, a Thai Basil Leaf (or a fresh Kaffir lime one), a cube of Paneer Cheese, and a Tiger Prawn, then repeat until your skewer is done. You are looking at serving at least two skewers per person. This is a very good Starter for BBQ parties. One more note to add is to provide a Sweet Chilli Sauce Dip, another Dip of Soy Sauce, Rice Wine Vinegar, Sesame Oil, a dash of Honey, toasted Sesame Seeds, and a fresh chopped red Chilli. Two Dips for an enjoyable Starter but do not forget to serve as well half of a Lime for every guest's plate.
Limes are essential for the presentation of that Starter.
As I said Pineapple is so versatile that can also use it as a main. One can only mention the realm of Sweet and Sour Chicken and Sweet and Sour Pork to understand the start of the extent of it all. But you can also use Pineapple Chunks to a Roast: This is a roasted spiced Duck I did on a bed of Pineapple to great effect.
Tropical Roasted Spiced Duck on a bed of Pineapple.
Then of course as a Fruit Pineapple lands itself perfectly when we are speaking about dessert. I told about my Mum Fruit Salad but I dare say a Pineapple Upside Down Cake can impress especially if you flambé it with a little Rum in front of your guests. For that number there is usually no leftover.