Martin at khymos.org has posted another invitation to join in on "They go really well together" (TGRWT). The idea is that foods with one or more flavour compounds in common will taste well in combination; the concept of flavour pairing. This is my first attempt to participate, and the focus is what might be work together with kids (i.e. in a school situation).
My first idea was to keep things very simple, and don't add too many ingredients. That way, the flavour pairing experience might also be easier to perceive and evaluate.
Banana and clove milkshake
200 ml milk
500 ml vanilla ice cream
4 or 10 whole cloves, each cut in two (for more efficient extraction)
Simmer milk with cloves for five minutes, cool to room temperature. Remove the cloves, cut banana in pieces. Run milk, banana and ice cream in a blender. Serve.
Result: using 10 cloves gives a milk shake with a marked, but not dominant, clove flavour. Using 3-4 cloves gives a milk shake with just a hint of clove flavour. Hence, the latter left me with the question: "there is something different about this, but I cannot really put my finger on it". Quite fascinating. In my opinion, banana milk shake is on the brink to being insipid. The cloves made a difference, adding another note to the drink. Conclusion: I find the banana-clove combination to be successful.
Chocolate stuffed banana
3-4 squares milk chocolate (preferably chopped hazelnut-type)
6-7 whole cloves
optional: ice cream and berries/fruit to serve
Cut each banana lengthways, through the skin, making sure you don't cut all the way through the bottom layer of skin. Distribute the cloves by piercing/inserting them along the length of the banana on both (in)sides. Place chocolate squares in the cut of the banana, wrap in aluminium foil and cook for 15-20 minutes at 225 °C (or on barbecue for ca. 10 min). To serve, unwrap the bananas and place them on serving plates, skin and all.
Result: A typical barbecue or hiking dessert, rather heavy on the sweet side. I thought maybe the cloves would make a difference. The cloves did not cut through the heavy, cloying feeling. However, it added a layer of complexity and variation as the different spoonfuls tasted somewhat differently (one spoon had clove flavour, the other hadn't). Serving together with ice cream and slightly tart berries (i.e. redcurrants) compensates for some of the heaviness.
Finally, adding cloves to banana bread would be an interesting variation of this recipe. I've not tried this, however.