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Christina Hendricks once, in Esquire magazine, wrote an open letter giving men 9 tips on love and life with women. Most of the things on the list I can definitely agree with; particularly the point that women love men’s bodies – fat, thin, tall, short… One thing that she blatantly omitted, though, was that size is NOT everything. I know, I know, you’ve heard it before… I’m not referring only to body parts here; but love in general…

Ok, so there will be that group of women whose happiness is positively correlated with the size of the rock that you bestow on her; but – lets take flowers for example. Most women love to receive flowers. But I dare say that most women will raise her eyebrows  should you turn up for a date with a bunch of the world’s largest herbaceous flower: the banana plant. Yes, the term banana “tree” is rather a misnomer, as the “tree” is actually a plant. Each banana stem (that part that is mistakenly referred to as the trunk) usually produces one banana blossom (aka banana heart). The banana blossom spawns the banana fruit. The banana blossom is often used in South East Asian cooking. It is tart and I use it for texture rather than flavour: usually in a salad or thrown into sour soup or an eel hotpot.

The banana blossom is comprised of layers of "leaves" - the outer layers are purple and the inner layers yellow

A white sap seeps from the inside when you cut the banana blossom open. Soak the banana blossom in water and vinegar to prevent the beautiful purple and yellow turning brown

Despite the temperamental weather this summer, our home garden has done very well in the banana stakes and we’re currently watching our second huge bunch of bananas ripen on the plant.

Organic banana blossom and bananas from our home garden

Meanwhile, I’ve picked the banana blossom and today I made a chicken salad with poached free range chicken and organic home-grown Vietnamese mint (“rau ram”). The bright purple and yellow of the blossom look beautiful against the green and purple of the mint. You can serve the salad on it’s own (with a vinegary fish sauce dressing). Today, I served it with minced pork and scallion congee and a side of chilli and garlic fish sauce.

Comfort food: minced pork and scallion congee; organic banana blossom, poached free range chicken and Vietnamese mint salad; chilli and garlic fish sauce

The vibrant colours of the banana blossom make a very pretty looking salad

Minced pork and scallion congee, with fried garlic and cracked pepper

So, while your date may not be impressed by a banana plant in place of roses, she may forgive you if you turned the banana blossom into a lovely home-cooked meal…after which, she may prove to you that size indeed does not matter 😉

Sending you loving Friday nothings…