Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Peeling a Pineapple and Jamie's way with Mint Sugar

Driving back from Tagaytay last weekend, C & I stopped by one of the many roadside stands to buy a pineapple. It’s hard to resist the pineapples in Tagaytay. Primarily because, well, they’re good, and secondly because you see fields of them everywhere, their wild crowns peeking out of the ground. This makes it especially hard to stop thinking about having one. So we stopped and I picked one out. C shot me a dubious look, “That’s really hard to peel.” The indignation! Did he think I could not peel a pineapple?! “I know how to peel a pineapple!” I shot back. Was he questioning my domestic-island-goddess capabilities?!

Back home found me peeling away, muttering over the pineapple, “I can peel you…I can peel you!” I held up the peeled and quartered pieces up to C, “See, there you go!” Domestic-island-goddess status restored.

Do you want to know a secret? That was the first time I ever peeled one! Hah!!! Sometimes, when skill fails, you just have to muster enough cheek to act like a domestic goddess. And sometimes it helps to have Saveur issue 96 where they teach you how to peel a pineapple.

My pineapple peeling redemption
(care of Saveur Magazine issue 96, page 79)

  • Slice of the pineapple's crown and then slice of about a half inch of the bottom, and then stand upright.
  • Trim the rind off by slicing the fruit’s exterior (don’t go deeper then ¼ inch). Follow the fruit’s shape when slicing.
  • Cut out any black “eyes” that remain.
  • Slice the pineapple into 4, lengthways.
  • Slice of the core end of each quarter.
  • At this point you can cut the quarters into cubes, or slice them again lengthways into thinner slices.


We usually just eat pineapple straight from the fridge…the slices icy cold and sweet. I wanted to try something new this time, and there was a Jamie Oliver recipe that intrigued me. I came upon it in The Accidental Foodie by Neale Whitaker, and had seen it on the internet a couple of times…enough to pique my interest. It’s blazingly simple and, I discovered after trying it, surprisingly good. It’s called, in adorable Jamie-fashion, Pukka Pineapple with Bashed-Up Mint Sugar. All you have to do is get your pineapple quarters (as above) and slice them lengthways as thin as you can manage. Lay them on a serving platter then get on with the bashing of your mint sugar (bash the sugar right before serving, so if you aren't going to serve it yet just set pineapple aside first). In a mortar and pestle, put some caster (superfine) sugar and some mint leaves (Jamie says 4 tablespoons sugar to a handful of fresh mint) and start bashing! Jamie suggests doing the bashing at the table to create a little “theatre”. Bash until sugar turns green and the mint scent wafts up…the smell is divine! Sprinkle mint-sugar on the pineapple slices and enjoy with some natural yogurt. This is one of those recipes that sound almost too simple that you can’t really see what the fuss is about…until you try it. The flavor pairing of the pineapple and the mint, with the added sweetness of the sugar, is just so very right. And with the arrival (finally!) of good, thick yogurt on my shores, the whole dessert leaves me gloriously content to the tips of my toes!

note: if you live in Manila and are looking for good, thick, creamy yogurt try Lemnos brand (natural/no flavor) sold in S&R at the Fort. I have also seen it in some Rustan’s Supermarket outlets. It is the thickest I’ve found, and, save flying to Greece to get the real thing, is enough to satisfy my cravings for Greek-style yogurt. It comes in a 2-kilo bucket but it is so worth it. I could have this for breakfast for days on end. It also makes the best raitas and tzazikis, and I can’t wait to try it in cakes. Eat it, cook with it, top it on anything…this yogurt rocks!


Pille said...

Oh, I've tried Jamie's "recipe" - it's so easy and delicious! Glad you've found it:)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

A recipe that's not really a recipe and produces divine results.
I loved your pineapple cutting story - we all had a first time! Bravo!

veron said...

We just did the slicing pineapple in class last week similar to what you did. That mint sugar sounds divine!
How we had it in class is after removing the skin is to slice 1/2 inch thick rounds. Then with a round mold or cookie cutter push it through the hard rind, so you have that donut shape pineapple. Make a mixture of butter,brown sugar and chopped macadamia nuts and sprinkle it on the pineapple and brown 6 inches from the broiler. Take it out scoop a vanilla icecream in the center and drizzle with caramel if available.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Pille! I'm glad I found it too! :)

Hi Tanna! I know what you mean...it's great when something so simple begets something so tasty :) Now bring on those pineapples!

Hi Veron! Thank you so much for sharing that absolutely delicious sounding way with pineapples! I will try it next time (and there will be a next time because my knife is humming to tame some pineapples now)! :) YUM!

christine said...

What a great new way to have pineapple, gotta try this! It sounds so refreshing!

Patricia Scarpin said...


I am absolutely crazy about pineapples - when I was a kid, I couldn't have any because lots of blisters (aphthae) would show up in my mouth, it was terrible.

Thank God I don't have that problem anymore and can have all the pineapple in the world! :)

I loved your recipe, it looks so refreshing!

And I also loved your courage - you go, girl! ;)

The Culinary Chase said...

YUM! There's nothing better than fresh pineapple topped with your favorite condiments. Cheers!

Mila Tan said...

I don't think I could be domestic-goddess enough to serve it in such a nice way. I'd probably just top a bowl of yogurt with the chopped pineapples, mint and some honey and start munching away. Your layout makes it look so edible and delish.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Nens! It is very refreshing...simple and good! :)

Hi Patricia! Thanks so much! Sometimes all you need in the kitchen is a little chutzpah ;) Thank goodness you have been cured of your allergies! That is something to celebrate everyday...with your favorite food of course :)

Hi Culinary Chase! I agree :) And discovering new condiments too!

Hi Mila! Hahaha! Thanks :) I also love pineapple topped with yogurt and muscovado sugar...the muscovado magically melts and looks like it has caramelized!

Socky said...

I am so intrigued by the sugar and mint combination. But will it work with muscovado sugar? Just thinking that would be a novel way to sweeten my hot tea.

Barbara said...

I'm sending my husband out to buy pineapple tomorrow. If the shops were open I'd send him out right now.

angelika said...

That's amazing ! You live in a tropic country and have never peeled a pineapple, but I like the way how you pretended to have already peeled thousands. Well done, Joey, you have learned your lessons ;-) We are women and can do everything, can't we ? Just a matter of self-confidence.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Socky! I use white sugar with the mint, but muscovado might be interesting to try...discovery is always its own reward :) And mint-bashed sugar in tea sounds great!

Hi Barbara! Heehee! :) Enjoy the pineapple!

Hi Angelika! Hehehe ;) Yes, amazing isn't it? I don't know why I waited so long...but yes, sometimes, when in doubt, you just have to stride strong, stick your chin out, and hope that you don't trip!

Kristen said...

Your way is exactly how I cut a pineapple... I have one of those pineapple slicers too, and this way of cutting a pineapple is 100 times easier!

Linda said...

very interesting. i can't wait to get these flavors together!

Peabody said...

Looks very refreshing.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Kristen! Good to know :) It is easier then I thought :) Hehe!

Hi Linda! It seems quite simple but the flavors really work :)

Hi Peabody! It is that :)

Melting Wok said...

oh my Joey, u got the leafy greens and u got all the fresh fruits, don't ya ?:) oo..thinking of some pineapple & lemongrass chutney now..yums !:)

ChichaJo said...

Hello Melting Wok! Pineapple & lemongrass chutney? That sounds fantastic! Will you share the recipe please? :)

Mato said...

In the same program he did something like a lemon escabeche. Do someone know the recipe?

ChichaJo said...

Hi Mato! Sorry, didn't see that episode! I got this recipe in one of my books :)

Mato said...

I was wrong. The dish was lemon pickles. The recipe is here:


ChichaJo said...

Hi Mato! Thanks for passing on that link! Checked it out and it sounds good! My uncle is a big fan of lime pickle so I may make this for him :) Thanks again!

veron said...

I had a feeling you were talking about the greek-style yoghurt in your nectarine post...I agree ...I could eat it everyday!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Veron! It's the best (barring actual genuine Greek yogurt) and I'm so glad I can get it here now :)