What do you think of when you think of kebabs? I think of meat on a stick. I think of Bill Bryson in Notes from a Small Island describing the round column of meat on a spit in kebab shops looking like a man’s thigh. I think of our local Sydney Road where they stuff meat (off the spit) and salad into a pitta bread. I think of a horror movie I saw (and found too scary for me) as a teenager in which a kebab stick was used with murderous intent. Is it any wonder I don’t eat kebabs very often?
Of course, it is possible to make vegetarian kebabs with vegies, tofu and/or cheese but, without a barbecue, my opportunities are limited. But I was intrigued by Jeanne ’s theme for January's Waiter There’s Something in My …blog event which this month is Sweet/Savoury Swap. The idea is that we expect particular dishes to be sweet or savoury, so Jeanne encourages us to turn these expectations on their head. Anything, she says, that is ‘departing radically from your lifelong perception of the dish’. On my blog I have made strawberry soup, and am still keen to try making chocolate pizza some day. But I found the theme a challenge, especially in our hot weather, that seemed difficult to meet in a short time frame.
Then fate intervened. Jeanne extended the closing date for the event (to yesterday but I am taking advantage of the time difference with the UK) and I happened across a fruit kebab recipe which seemed perfect in this weather. Fruit kebabs are not unknown in culinary circles but as I traditionally think of savoury kebabs and have never made them sweet I thought this would be worth entering. Besides, I wanted to try them.
The recipe comes from my Australian Women’s Weekly Vegetarian Cooking. What made it seem interesting is that it has chunks of banana dipped in carob and finely chopped nuts. I am not a carob girl so I used dark chocolate instead. If you are not into nuts for whatever reason, I think coconut might be substituted. The choc-nut banana chunks are threaded on a stick with other fruit chunks. I added a nectarine to the mix of strawberries and kiwi fruit in the book and found I had a bit too much fruit for 4 sticks so I served additional chunks on the side.
No cooking or oven is involved (unless you count melting chocolate) and it is so easy you will barely raise a sweat. A perfect dessert if you are entertaining in hot weather. The kebabs could even be served with ice-cream. Or it makes just a refreshing summer snack. The banana chunks are quite rich but the rest of the fruit helps to lighten the dessert.
I had a couple of sticks after my dinner last night but E decided to eat ice-cream instead. So I put the remaining two sticks in the freezer over night and had one for my breakfast. I am not mad keen on chocolate for breakfast but I love fruit in the morning. Today is forecast to be 44 C. Frozen fruit kebabs were a perfect way to start the day – it is already quite warm. So I would recommend them either cold or frozen, depending on heat and preference. I can guarantee you that my last frozen kebab will be gone by the end of the day!
Choc-nut banana and fruit kebabs
(adapted from the Australian Women’s Weekly Vegetarian Cooking)
50g dark chocolate
½ tsp oil
¾ cup of finely chopped mixed nuts (I used a mix of cashew, pistachio, almonds and peanuts)
1 banana, peeled and cut into 8 chunks
125g strawberries, halved
1 kiwi fruit, peeled and cut into 4-6 chunks
1 nectarine, cut into 4-6 chunks
Line a small baking tray with baking paper. Melt dark chocolate and oil in a small bowl in the microwave. Place nuts in another bowl. Dip each banana chunk into chocolate, making sure it is covered evenly and transfer to nut bowl (I found it best to use a spoon rather than fingers). Use a fork to cover with nuts and transfer to lined baking tray. Place in fridge to allow chocolate to set – I left mine in for 2-3 hours. When banana is ready, thread banana and fruit chunks onto about 4 wooden skewers in colourful patterns. Serve cold or, if you wish, place in freezer overnight and serve frozen.
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