Saturday 4 June 2011

Winter down under: Feijoa, ginger & coconut loaf

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:  it is the time for home.  ~Edith Sitwell

It's getting mighty chilly down here in the south of the southern hemisphere.  Dunedin, is almost the most southern city in the world, beaten only by Invercargill.  When it blows a southerly in Dunedin, it feels like it's blown straight off an Antarctic iceberg.  Heck, it's so cold down here penguins roam the beaches.  I kid you not.

{C casually next to a penguin at Aramoana Bay}

Despite the cold feet, washing that won't dry and rainy dreary days, I actually quite like winter.  It's all about , steaming hot chocolate, baked puddings with lashings of cream and rib-sticking roast meals.  It's about family time, nights-in with a movie and Merlot, and snuggling under warm blankets.

In New Zealand, Autumn/Winter time is also feijoa time.  Practically nobody outside New Zealand knows what they are and everyone here had a tree in their backyard or knew someone who did.

Feijoas have a grainy texture like pears and guavas and taste like a crazy cocktail of pear, pineapple, guava and kiwifruit with a floral hint.  You either love them or hate them.

I love the crazy little things and couldn't wait to make this Feijoa, ginger and coconut loaf as soon as I got my greedy little hands on some.

We had a feijoa tree at our old house on the North Shore.  Without fail, every autumn and winter, it gave us bucket load upon bucket load of feijoas.  As kids, it was mine and my brother's job to shake the branches to get the feijoas to fall on the ground and fill our bags with them.  We would always get far far more than we could ever eat or bake with so off they would go to friends, family and neighbours.

Having had the luxury of free feijoas for so many years I grumble a little about having to have to buy them now.  More than once, I've been tempted to sneak back to our old place and take a cutting from the tree to grow a feijoa tree of my very own.  Having said that though, we usually get a few bags from generous family and friends and this year family friend, Rebecca generously gave us a massive sackful.  Thanks Aunty Rebecca!

This Feijoa, ginger and coconut loaf is a perfect way to use up those tasty emerald globes.  You get the subtle floral feijoa flavour with the crunchy nuttiness of coconut and the warming spiciness of ginger.  It's moist and fluffy and the shredded coconut gives it the most wonderful texture.  The loaf is gorgeous sliced thickly, toasted lightly on a griddle and served warm with butter.  Mmmmmm...

I first had a loaf like this at Cafe on Kohi, in Kohimarama in Auckland and it was love at first bite.  The flavours complement each other so well and is just what you feel like with your hot cuppa on a chilly winter arvo.

Feijoa, Ginger, and Coconut Ginger Loaf

adapted from a recipe by Susan Fleischl in A Treasury of New Zealand Baking

1 cup mashed feijoa flesh (~ 20 small feijoas)
1/2 cup mashed banana (~ 2 big bananas.  Use really ripe bananas if possible)
2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/3 cup / 325ml / 270g canola oil
2/3 cup / 125g plain unsweetened yoghurt
400 g caster sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup shredded coconut
460g (1 lb) flour
pinch salt
1-2 Tbsp ground ginger (NB: add according to taste, I love it gingery)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 170oC.  Line two loaf tins.  Mix together the mashed feijoa and bananas with lemon juice and set aside.

2. Sift together, flour, ground ginger, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

3. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, sugar, oil and yoghurt until smooth.

4. Fold in sifted flour mixture to the egg mixture.  Then fold in the shredded coconut and mashed feijoa,  banana lemon mixture.

5.  Bake for 60 - 80 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack.  You can serve the loaf cut in thick slices; cold, warm or toasted on a griddle pan.  It's beautiful on its own, with butter or with a nice big dollop of greek yoghurt.

PS: Will hopefully have wedding photos soon!! Fingers crossed!!


  1. that loaf looks lovely! i think i may be tempted to bake it soon, despite being on the opposite side of the world where we are now approaching summer! Great photos..

    Katie x
    {glass of fashion}

  2. You know I wasn't a big fan of feijoa. I associate them more to guava, which I more not-of a fan of. Then this year I gave it another taste, the flora innards surely do have its enticing fresh elegant floral bite/or suck. So it's officially on my good list now.

    Unfortunately, I'm still not a big fan of dessicated coconut. It's so unnatural for a fresh-coconut Indonesian guy like me. But it does make sense to mix something coconutey with floral ingredient... cardamom in madras curry for example. And that dollop of butter, surely I'd finish the first cut.

    Hey you're in Otago land now! Drink some Pinot, not merlot. ;)

  3. This look fantastic. Never hear of this intriguing fruit.

  4. Never heard of feijoa before....the loaf looks warm and moist....totally yummy:-)

  5. Looks delicious Nessie. Is it really 2 tablespoons of ginger???

  6. Anya Satyanand5 June 2011 at 23:46

    Lovin this recipe and accompanying words- it's timely cos we've gotta promise of a load of feijoas coming down from the manawatu in the next couple of weeks. Feijoa loaf + Feijoa chutney = pure goodness xxx

  7. Katie: So so jealous of you northern hemisphereians! Enjoy the sunshine for me!

    Pfx: So good to hear you are in the feijoa camp! I can't get enough of them...speshly when they are just under ripe so are still a little tart - om nom nom. Fresh coconut is far superior to the dried stuff. Especially in sambals...yum! Didn't know you were from Indo. We spent almost a month in Bali a couple of years ago and LOVED the place. So going back :) PS hehe pinot got sacraficed to the alliteration :P

    Lora: It's so crazy coz so few people outside NZ know about it but it's so common here! If you ever head this way you'll have to try one :)

    Reflections: Thanks heaps for your comment! I love that our humble little feijoa must seem pretty exotic to people outside new zealand :)

    Diana: Have edited the recipe - I love it with a good gingery punch, but if you're not a fan you can decrease the amount to 1 Tbsp (where you'll get a whisper of ginger in the background) :)

    Anya: Hello Anya!!!! Thanks for your lovely commment! So jealous of your feijoa bounty! Am intrigued by feijoa chutney - sounds stupendous! If you have loads of feijoa, try the loaf with all feijoa :) HUGS xox

  8. feijoa is new fruit for me, never have tried it. I can related to ur fruit story as a kid, i find it so strange as a kid we have our own mango tree and enjoyed surplus amount now i'm craving to get one! ....loaf looks divine perfect for cold days, lucky finally sun has beamed in Finland and so much enjoying it...and now you stay warm :)

  9. I hate those pesky Southerlies too! I walk everywhere and gosh they are biting. But yeah it's wonderful consoling yourself with a warm beverage and fresh baking. I've never baked with feijoa but this recipe is inspiring, I especially love the inclusion of ginger. Btw massive congrats on your wedding!!!



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