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Newsletter #79  - Jun 30 ,2004

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  Hi there!

Well, we are back with bananas! After I received the banana facts below from Shawna in Canada, I decided to feature bananas once again.

We had my fav banana sarmies last night. Peel a banana, slice it and pack the slices on a slice of bread. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, cover with another slice of bread and toast in sandwich toaster!
For a variation, omit the cinnamon sugar and replace with strips of fried bacon, then toast in toaster.

Here are some interesting banana facts:

Bananas. Containing three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber, a banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is
the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes. But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.

Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your
mood and generally make you feel happier.

PMS: Forget the pills - eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

Anemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

Herb facts - Sage tea is a proven cure for fevers, colds and sore throats

Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it the perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system. Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in  Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and crisps. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report
concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the  stomach.

Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a "cooling" fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand, for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer, tryptophan.

Herb facts - Rosemary, taken as a strong tea, sweetened with honey,  is used to treat high blood pressure

Smoking: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking.  The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium
banana snack.

Strokes: According to research in "The New England Journal of Medicine,"eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!

Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!

Herb facts -  Wild olive, twigs and dry leaves make an excellent fumigant when burned

So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the
best value foods around. So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, "A banana a day keeps the doctor away!"

In my next newsletter I will be featuring Chuck wagon cooking. Chuck wagons were used in  America during the big cattle drives to provide food for the trail hands. Many of those outdoor trail recipes can be used here in South Africa...watch this space...

Thanks to everyone who has mailed us fridge magnets depicting your State, City or Country. If you collect fridge magnets, I will mail you a South African one for every one I receive from another country. Please email me and we can make arrangements. Thanx a lot!

My website is interactive, there are a few pages you can contribute to:

Elephant Stew - add your suggestion
Wacky Sarmies - add your fav sarmie (some great sarmie ideas here!)
Animal Facts - Some interesting stuff here
Discussion Forum - Add to a current discussion or start a new thread.


Why not post a message on the Discussion Forum. The topic can be food, wildlife, travel or photography related, or anything else of interest. Let's see if we can get some interesting discussions going


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Looking for a specific South African recipe? Email me and I will do my best to find it for you!

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I have just completed, with some help from Petunia, my first e-Book! It is dedicated to Minette Brink and features 20 of her Afrikaans articles. You can download it by right clicking on the book's cover below and saving it to your puter. My next project will be an e-Book of Traditional South African recipes

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When you have had a look at the recipes below, click here to visit the main recipe page on my site. 

Any comments, positive or otherwise on this Newsletter will be appreciated!

That's it for now




The Recipes
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  Gingered Bananas

Turn a simple ice cream plate into a tropical delight. Bananas marinated in caramelized ginger and topped with a lime sauce.

1 tablespoon margarine or butter, melted
1 tablespoon grated gingerroot
3 bananas, peeled and cut into chunks
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon lime juice

Combine margarine with gingerroot in a small pan; add bananas and sprinkle with brown sugar. Cook until browned, about 2 minutes.
Stir; continue cooking until sauce begins to caramelize, another 2 minutes.
Remove from heat; carefully place bananas on a serving dish.
Sprinkle lime juice in same skillet; mix well and drizzle sauce over bananas.

Fried Bananas

10 bananas
1/2 cup rice flour
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1 egg
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup oil

Peel ripe bananas, cover, and set aside. In a bowl, blend together rice flour, flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, combine water, egg, and coconut milk. Slowly add the dry ingredients and stir until well mixed. In a skillet, heat oil until smoking. Dip the bananas one at a time into the batter and fry in the hot oil until golden brown, turning once.

Banana Pudding

4 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup 2% milk
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon butter flavoring
2 bananas, peeled and sliced
1/2 pound (1 kg) vanilla wafers
1 8-oz. container non-dairy whipped topping

In a medium saucepan combine flour with milk; mix until smooth.
Add egg to milk mixture; stir until smooth. Pour in remaining milk, cook over medium heat until nearly bubbly. Do not boil. Lower heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes more.
Remove from heat; cool for about 5 minutes, stirring periodically. Add sugar, vanilla, almond extract and butter flavoring; mix well. Refrigerate briefly.
Meanwhile arrange wafers and bananas in a 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Pour pudding into dish to cover contents. Top with whipped topping. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Buttermilk and Banana Waffles

Waffles were first prepared in France and Belgium during the Middle Ages. They were not introduced in America until centuries later, when Thomas Jefferson brought the first waffle iron home from France. Ripe bananas, added to this tangy buttermilk batter, produce moist, sweet results.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 egg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced
Vegetable oil
Maple syrup, warmed

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, mixing well.
In a large measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, egg and melted butter and whisk until blended. Place half of the sliced bananas in a small bowl and mash coarsely; do not worry if the mixture is a little lumpy. Add the mashed banana to the buttermilk mixture, then stir into the flour mixture. Using a fork or whisk, mix until the batter is smooth.
Preheat a waffle iron according to the manufacturer's directions. Using a paper towel or pastry brush, lightly grease the waffle iron with vegetable oil. Following the manufacturer’s directions, ladle batter sufficient for 1 waffle into the iron, spreading it evenly. Close the waffle iron and cook until the waffle iron will open easily (no peeking for the first 2 minutes). Transfer the waffle to a platter and keep warm while you cook the remaining batter.
Serve the waffles garnished with the remaining banana slices and drizzled with the warmed maple syrup.



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