Make your own snacks!

As some of you may know massive areas of the Brazilian rain forest are burning.  In addition, the island of Borneo, famous for its rainforests, orangutans and pygmy elephants has over the last 20 years been subject to massive deforestation in favor of oil palm plantations.

Palm oil is used in many snacks such as chips, chocolate, biscuits and bread as well as being an additive to fuel and toiletries.

So how can you reduce your palm oil intake? Well make your own snacks!

Whilst sailing in Australia we were made aware that a legend exists, that bringing bananas on board causes bad luck.

Of course we had already sailed through the Pacific Islands by then where bananas are a staple food and where we were often gifted huge bunches of bananas. So of course we don’t really attach a lot of importance to this legend as we have always considered ourselves extremely fortunate to live on our cat Impi.

When you research the reason for this belief it seems a lot of it is quite rubbish, but it does seem that bananas emit a gas, ethylene, which ripens other fruit double quick, maybe leading to them going off too quickly. I have certainly noticed that if you put green avocados next to bananas in a bowl, it helps the avocado to ripen.

Now, one of the produce easy to find in Indonesia is:

You got it, bananas or commonly known as pisang in the Bahasa Indonesia, the Indonesian language.

They come in all shapes and sizes but tend to have one thing in common, they ripen all at once and you end up with too many of the blasted things.

I read the recommendations of the Hacking family in terms of hard to come by foods before coming to Indonesia and one of the items on the list was any flour apart from white wheat flour. So I stocked up on both different type of plain flours and wholemeal self raising flour in Australia.

As Brent is diabetic, I had also a lot of no sugar maple syrup to use now and again in home made chocolates and on top of buckwheat pancakes. Look everyone needs a sweet treat now and again! Even when you are diabetic.

I am one of these people who never shops to a particular recipe but just buys whatever looks good and is in season and affordable. Worry about how to cook it later. So when we were last in Waisai in Raja Ampat, where we shop by motorbike, I bought about 70 lady finger bananas. Now in Australia, they are way more expensive than normal Cavendish bananas but here, they were only 10000IRP or 1 dollar for the lot.

One of the ways bananas are used quite a lot here, is pisang goreng or fried bananas with a spicy sambal. The nicer ones are fried coated in cassava flour, so good, but watch the calories!

Anyway, looking at a mountain of ripe lady fingers, I cooked a maple syrup and banana upside down cake. Wanna try it? Too easy!


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of milk
  • ½ cup of rice bran oil or raw organic coconut oil
  • 2 cups of self raising wholemeal flour
  • about 15 small bananas (about 5-7cm long) cut in rounds
  • another 10 small bananas cut lengthwise
  • 2/3 cup of maple syrup or no sugar maple flavoured syrup


  • Break the eggs in a bowl and mix
  • Add the oil and milk and mix.
  • Add the flour and the banana rounds.
  • You will obtain a stiff muffin like dough that is quite lumpy.
  • Take a round silicone ovenproof dish about 25cm diameter and grease it well.
  • Pour the maple syrup into the dish and make a flower shape on the bottom with the bananas cut lengthwise.
  • Top with the batter.
  • Cook for about 25 to 30 minutes in a 200C oven.
  • Prick with a skewer to check all the dough is cooked through. You should not have any moist dough attached to the skewer when the cake is cooked.

All done, let it cool a bit, then turn upside down for serving. You will have a moist semi-sweet cake delicious for breakfast or to add energy in your sailing days.  Don’t let diabetics eat it all at once, it has a lot of sugar from the bananas!

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