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The magical banana by Vanessa Armstrong

I enjoy thinking of new and interesting things to research and write about on the Kitchen Witch blog. Sometimes I’ll have a new crystal, or an idea will come to me while out on a walk but during a chat with the other Hearth Guardians, for whatever reason, one of us found a gif of a dancing banana which made everyone laugh. Someone else found another 'banana' gif and talk got around to bananas - Hey! our chats always go off on a tangent before coming back to the topic in hand. 

That’s when I decided to look at the properties of bananas - both as healing and magical...

A banana is technically speaking a berry and is from several kinds of flowering plants that are native to warmer climates like Indomalia and Australia but were originally from Papa New Guinea.

The word 'banana' is actually a general name for what is several types of this high in potassium fruit - plantain is a firmer, more dense version which is usually used in Eastern cookery, but there are other types too - scarlet banana, pink banana and snow banana, although I haven’t come across these versions in the grocers or in any of the Asian Supermarket that I visit.

Bananas are a wonderful fruit with huge amounts of medicinal properties. I've already said that bananas are high in potassium (this maintains fluid balance in our bodies) - they also contain a lot of fibre which is essential for our digestion. They contain anti-oxidants which help preserve our bodies cells as well as helping our circulation. Rutin is another addition to this super fruit - rutin helps to maintain our blood vessels as well as having anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They also have a compound produces serotonin - a chemical in our brain that gives us that 'feel good' factor.

Bananas can be worked with magically also - they are said to improve fertility and cure impotency. Use the leaves, fruit and flowers in spells for prosperity. If a bride should marry under a banana tree, she will be blessed with good luck! Carrying a banana with you on your travels prevents you from harm or accidents.

This is my favourite recipe for delicious Banoffee Pie - as well as being highly indulgent, it also has all those wonderful healing properties and if you make it with magical intention...well, you never know...

Banoffee Pie

For the base -150g digestive biscuits75g butter For the filling -75g butter75g light muscovado sugar397g tin of full fat condensed milk1 tsp vanilla extract For the topping -3 small just ripe bananas300ml double creamcocoa powder to dust 20cm springform tin

Break the biscuits up - I put them in a bowl and use the end of my rolling pin to smash them into fine crumbs. Melt the butter slowly in a pan and add this to the bowl of biscuit crumbs. Mix together until all the crumbs are coated and transfer to the tin which has been lined. Flatten it down with a spoon until firm and it covers the base of the tin. Pop into the fridge.

Next, melt the butter and sugar together in a pan, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add the condensed milk and bring to the boil. Stir continuously for a couple of minutes, taking care not to burn or overcook the mixture. Take off of the heat and add the vanilla extract. Pour the mixture into the tin that you have now taken out of the fridge. The caramel mixture should have a consistency to pour but not be runny. Cool for a while then pop back into the fridge to set for at least an hour.

Slice the bananas and put them on top of your caramel in a single layer but close together. Whip the cream to a firm piping consistency and either pipe or use a spoon to cover the bananas. Using a small sieve, dust the top with cocoa powder. You can either serve immediately or pop back in the fridge until ready...

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