Tropical Fruit Salad with Spice Syrup

Sometimes we get lost in translation, but sometimes it's also where we found ourselves. Life brings us to places we'd never thought we would be, and that's part of its joys.
If 10 years ago, somebody would have asked me about Portugal, sure i could have placed it on the map, told you its capital and a few other basic stuff, and that's about it.

Then Lisbon happened in my life, like a revelation. How could a place so far away, make me feel like i belong there? I feel at home walking around in its narrow streets, aswell as on the big avenues, going up or downhill all the time, stopping for some pastry and a cup of tea, or getting to one of the many gardens to seat on a bench and just read.
A city of contrasts, where traditions meet the modern life, where everybody is in a rush, but still take time to enjoy life.

Maybe it's a trick of my mind because i'm actually in Lisbon, but the tropical fruits seem to taste better there, not to mention how much more choice you have, i even saw some fruits that i had no idea what they were.
Fruit salad is a simple recipe, yet with the right combination of fresh fruits and that extra touch of spicies, it does make a great dessert, specially if you get to share it with a dear friend.

Tropical Fruit Salad with Spice Syrup (from Mighty Spice by John Gregory-Smith)

Serves 4 to 6

1 Pineapple
2 Mangos
1 Papaya
4 Passion Fruits
1 Lime
2 Sticks of Cinnamon
2 Anise Stars
1 Teaspoon of Chili Flakes
1 Cup of Water (about 250ml)
1 Cup of Sugar (about 225gr)

Start with the syrup, put the water and the sugar in a pan, add the cinnamon sticks, the anise stars and the chili flakes. Put the pan on a medium flame, and let it get to a syrupy consistency. I didn't watch the clock, but it takes about 30 minutes and gets a lovely golden color when it's done.

In the meantime you can get your fruits ready. Cut the top and bottom of the pineapple so it stands on the cutting board, and cut around it to get ride of the outside, be carefull not to leave any dark spot. Cut it down in half and quarter it, cut the middle part out as it's a bit hard, and than slice it.

Cut the mango along the pit on both sides in it's length, than around the pit to get as much  fruit as possible. Cut long stripes and peel them, than cube your mango.

Cut the papaya in half, take out the dark seeds, cut stripes (like the mango) and peel it before cutting into cubes, pretty much the same size as the mangos.

In a big bowl, mix carefully all the fruits you have cutted so far. Half the passion fruits, and with a spoon, spread the seeds and juice on top of the fruits. Mix again gently, cover it with a cling film and leave to rest in a cool place.

When the syrup is done, let it cool down. To serve, prepare slices of lime, get the cold spice syrup in a small jug if you have one, so everybody can add as much lime juice and syrup they want to.

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