Well I’ll be a bananas uncle

I’m sharing this recipe from a blog that I follow, so all credit to them.

https://familyoffthemap.com/2016/10/31/plantains-and-sausage/

When I read their post I had never heard of Plantains, so my curiosity got the better of me. I started searching the UK for them in shops and supermarkets, but the only ones I could find were sold on line with a hefty price tag.

I had all but given up of ever tasting this elusive vegetable/fruit when by chance we visited the local Morrison’s store in Redditch and there they were a great big pile of the banana look a likes, green as green could be. Now, you know I like to push the boat out sometimes, so without any thought of cost I purchased two Plantains for the princely sum of 84 pence. I do like living on the edge.

It now appears that everyone I speak to has heard of Plantains, so it seems it was just me that was off sick from school when that little nugget of information was given out

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/plantain

The plantains were green and my research told me that they are better left until they ripen; in fact they would be just right when turning yellow / black.

I panicked a little because one was ripening faster than the other.

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One plantain was ready, ripening after two weeks sitting on the window ledge

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I cuts some chicken breasts  into thin strips.

I fried the plantains in a little vegetable oil, the pineapple chunks were added to the mix a little later. The strips of chicken were put in the pan and everything browned off nicely.

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The plantains gained a caramelised coating and the results were delicious.

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The combination of the individual ingredients complimented each other and the plantains didn’t taste like banana, more of a sweet potato type of thing.

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One plantain left ripening. I might try this again, but with some smokey bacon bits added.

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The pressures on

We use a large 8 litre capacity pressure cooker at home that is great for large quanities of stew or soup to freeze. Large meat joints are so succulent when cooked this way. 8 litres is big and also a bit of a hassle when you only want to cook a small amount.

We started looking at small pressure cookers that would serve as a useful everyday size for the kitchen at home and double up as a utensil for the campervan.

The advantages of using a pressure cooker are low running cost with a vast reduction in the gas used and the food retains its flavour in the enclosed pot as it is steamed rather that boiled.

Research highlighted the Indian manufactured Hawkins range and I started to look for a 2 litre capacity Hawkins original cooker as made by the company since 1959.

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Luckily, the guys from the Betty Bus Blog told me about their Hawkins Futura model and that’s what I purchased.

https://bettybus.wordpress.com/

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http://www.hawkinscookers.com/1.1.8.hawkinsSS.asp

Although a 3 litre would have been a good size for home use unfortunately it wouldn’t fit in the campervan.

The quality is exceptional, with its hard anodised finish and clever mounting of the pressure weight. It’s flowing modern design has earned it the accolade of being the only pressure cooker in the world to have been displayed by The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

We use it on a daily basis at home as it’s ideal for two people, so it will be ideal for our campervan trips.

Monnow Bridge

Sunday lunchtime saw us headed off down the M50, destination Monmouth.

We were trying out a small site beside the River Monnow in the town.

The entrance to Monnow Bridge caravan site is odd because it’s between two houses and would be quite tight for caravans and larger motor homes.

The appeal of this site is its location, being very close to the town centre. After parking up on the camp site we walked the short distance to Monmouth town centre via the Monnow Bridge with its Gate house dating back to the 14th century.

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As we wandered around the town in the late afternoon with most of the shops shut the extreme knitter was making mental notes of the shops she wanted to visit the following day. The days are short and darkness started to fall, so we walked the short distance back to the campsite. The campervan was wrapped up for the evening with its insulating blinds on the windows and because we had an electric hook-up we were able fire up the fan heater and save on our gas supply.

Of course we ate our traditional first night meal of meatballs in a tomato sauce and pasta with a chunk of crusty bread. A small Bacardi and coke helped keep the chilly evening at bay

The outside temperature dropped, but we had a cosy night in the camper.

Our morning started with a full English breakfast. Even though we were in Wales the ingredients had been purchased in England.

Then we hit Monmouth’s main street.

Ruby and I stood outside various shops waiting patiently for the E knitter to appear with her spoils.

Eventually as the day progressed we needed to warm up and have some food. We found the White Swan Café in a small courtyard that welcomed dogs, so in we went. We had Tuna sandwiches with a pot of tea while ruby sat quietly under the table. It always seems odd being able to take our dog into a cafe when most places ban them

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I found some ordnance survey maps in a charity shop for a pound each, so I bought some Scottish ones to add to my collection.

Amazingly the Extreme knitter didn’t any wool.

After another toasty night in the campervan and a bacon sandwich for breakfast the next day, we drove home discussing where to go for our next trip away.

 

Our world is collapsing around us

 

As any campervan owner will tell you, size matters. The storeage space is so limited that it takes some creative thinking just to pack the essentials let alone any luxuries.

We’ve taken the Silicone collapsible route that up to date includes

Outwell collapsible bucket with lid

Outwell collapsible colander

Outwell collapsible kettle

An assortment of collapsible storage containers with clip on lids

A collapsible dog bowl.

 

The bucket is used to transport the washing up to the campsite pot wash. It collapses in sections so it is low enough to be placed under the waste water tank outlet to collect the grey water and used for any bucket duties.

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The colander

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The kettle reduces in size to allow it to be stored under the grill thereby saving valuable cupboard space. The Outwell kettle has an ergonomic handle making pouring easy.

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The storage containers come in various sizes being ideal for packing food into the fridge particulary our first night special (meat balls in tomato sauce) and take up little space when not in use.

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Anything that reduces to a third of its size for storage has to be a benefit.