My Kitchen Rules 2011 winners, Sammy and Bella Jakubiak, are urging Australian home cooks to show more passion in the kitchen and put passionfruit on their shopping lists. The food-obsessed sisters have forged successful careers built on their passion for cooking, and now they’re calling on food lovers to add some tropical fun to their plates.
“Passionfruit is such a delicious little tropical snack, I love to simply cut them in half with a serrated knife and scoop the pulp out with a spoon,” says Bella.
Sammy enjoys passionfruit too and likes to use it in desserts, not just during the Summer.
“Although people use it as a topping for desserts during Summer, it’s actually a very versatile fruit that works well for many different dishes. During colder months, passionfruit is a great way to bring out the flavour of meats such as pork beautifully. It’s also great in salad dressings, on seafood and of course in sweet treats like cakes, slices and smoothies. People need to realise that passionfruit is not just for pavlova!” says Sammy.
The pair has created three easy and delicious passionfruit recipes to show Aussies how to create great tropical tasting dishes for all occasions, all year round:
- Banana and Passionfruit Bread with Ricotta and Fresh Passionfruit
- Pulled Pork Sliders with Passionfruit Relish
- Thai Turkey Salad with Snake Beans, Avocado and Passionfruit Kaffir Lime Dressing
“There are four elements to all Thai cooking: sweet, sour, salty and hot,” says Bella. “Although passionfruit is normally used in sweet dishes, it’s actually perfect for savoury Thai cooking because it covers the essential sweet and sour elements.”
“We’ve created a deliciously healthy Thai-inspired salad with a passionfruit dressing that can be used on almost any salad for an Asian twist,” adds Sammy. “Try an oriental slaw with red cabbage and carrot, or grilled prawns with tomato and green papaya.”
Likewise, the girls’ recipe for versatile passionfruit relish can be made on its own and added to various dishes. Made in advance, it can keep for up to two weeks in the fridge. Dollop onto sandwiches, barbequed meats, seafood and roast turkey for a quick and easy way to add some tropical flavour to your dish.
Sammy and Bella suggest using passionfruit as a marinade, such as in their recipe for pulled pork sliders which are inspired by the home of passionfruit, Brazil, where the fruit is often used to marinate meat.
“Everyone loves burgers, and these pulled pork sliders will definitely be a hit,” says Bella. “The acidity helps to break down the meat proteins, which is perfect for deliciously slow cooked pulled pork.”
Low in calories but high in flavour, passionfruit is known to be rich in antioxidants such as vitamins A and C, potassium and dietary fibre.
Although available all year around, there are two ‘flush’ periods in Australia. The first flush occurs between June and July, followed by a second flush between December and February. Queensland produces the majority of Australia’s passionfruit due to the warmer climate. The most popular varieties are Purples and Panamas, although several varieties are grown in Australia.
“When buying passionfruit, choose fruits that feel heavy for their size. Contrary to what a lot of people think, passionfruit does not have to be wrinkled to be ripe,” says Tina McPherson, spokesperson for the Australian passionfruit industry.
“The fruit keeps for up to two weeks at room temperature or up to a month in the refrigerator. To prevent dehydration, it’s best to store them in plastic bags. The pulp can also be frozen and stores very well this way,” McPherson says.
Passionfruit is available all year around in the fresh produce aisle of greengrocers and supermarkets.