It's been a while since my last blog post. Put it down to work, travels or other interests, my love for food and cooking has never been lost. Feels great to be sharing my creations and recipes again! This banana bread recipe is one you really should try!
There are certain aromas that just fill you with a sense of happiness, a sense of warmth and comfort. The wafting aroma of banana bread baking in the kitchen does just that. Actually there's a beautiful aroma from the moment that you add the mashed ripe bananas to the cake mixture. It's sure to test your patience too as you wait for an hour to pass whilst the bread bakes and then cools down!
This recipe yields a beautiful, soft, moist bread that's very tasty and is sure not to last very long in any eager household. I've added walnuts to my bread beacuse I love the texture of crispy nuts in the soft bread. Walnuts also complement the taste of bananas really well.
You will need:
2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 cup sugar depending on how sweet you'd like your bread
60g butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 4 bananas)
1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup lightly crushed walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 180° C (fan forced 160 degrees C).
Beat together the sugar and butter in a large bowl with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute). Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add mashed banana, yogurt, and vanilla extract. Beat lightly until blended.
Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt and add this flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Mix with a wooden spoon until just moist. Add the crushed walnuts and stir in lightly. Spoon batter into a lighlty greased medium loaf pan. Bake at 180° C (160 degrees for convection oven) for 1 hour or until a wooden skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan, then cool completely on wire rack, slice and enjoy!
Monday, May 21, 2012
Thursday, September 30, 2010
It's not often that I buy a $6 loaf of bread. Only when desperate and no other options are available. Now if that loaf of bread is only half eaten and stale two days later, it certainly will get used! I know of no tastier way of using stale bread than in a delicious bread pudding.
Having watched the animated movie "Ratatouille" for the umpteenth time again recently, I was reminded of tastes that take you back to your childhood. Home-made bread pudding does that for me. Just the first spoonful transported me back to my childhood home, my mum in the kitchen whisking eggs and vanilla essence in her oval Pyrex bowl and the sweet fragrant smells wafting through the kitchen. I'm so glad that I can recreate those feelings with this pudding.
There is no exact science to making a bread pudding. It really does depend on the size of the slices of bread, the consistency of the bread and your personal taste. I like a moist bread pudding, with a tropical taste and not too sweet. Just like my mother used to make. It may never turn out exactly the same twice though.
In this pudding I've used dessicated coconut, almonds and dried mixed fruit (my mum used to use dried cut mixed peel). Eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla essence are the other basic ingredients.
I like it best served warm with soothing custard. Aaah... the taste of home!
You will need:
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
This particular dish really impressed me the first time I had the pleasure of eating it. My mother-in-law always makes this dish for me whenever I visit Greece. It's a simple dish to prepare with basic ingredients, but the flavours are truly awesome! She uses a Greek pasta called hilopites (χυλοπίτες), but orzo pasta can also be used. The hilopites (χυλοπίτες) she used were made from fresh local ingredients that she would supply to the pasta maker and needless to say they were of a truly superior quality. They are easy enough to find in packets in your local continental grocer as well though.
I've used a shoulder of lamb, cut into 6 large pieces by the butcher. I have also previously used leg of lamb to make this dish, but find that the shoulder yields a more tender meat. There are various recipes for this particular type of Greek dish. The recipe I have followed here is inspired by my mother-in-law, the best Greek cook I know!
This dish is complemented really well by the traditional Greek sides of Kalamata olives, feta cheese and crusty bread.
Eat it hot. It will be hard to further resist the smells of roasting lamb wafting through the kitchen.
You will need:
You will need:
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Bhajias are a staple at any Indian tea party in South Africa. These light and fluffy savoury bites are also known as pakoras, bhajis or "chilli bites". Now although I try to eat healthily and avoid deep fried foods, an occasional bhajia cannot be resisted!
There are various ready-made bhajia mixes available in boxes in supermarkets but it is simple to make your own mix with fresh spices. When I was growing up in Durban, every Indian household had a copy of "Indian Delights", an essential book with all recipes for basic Indian meals and festive foods. I still consult my copy regularly and gain inspiration from the recipes in it. This recipe comes from this iconic South African recipe book.
Once you've made the basic batter it's really up to you what vegetables and herbs you choose to make the bhajias with. Here I've made onion bhajias with white onions, spring onions and coriander. You could also use spinach, eggplant slices, mushrooms, cauliflower, etc.
The most essential ingredient is besan flour, also known as chana, gram or chickpea flour. It can be found in Indian grocery stores and I even found it in my local, inner Sydney Coles supermarket in the gluten-free section.
They are usually served as part of an Indian high tea or as a starter before a main course. Chilli sauce or cucumber and mint raita (a yoghurt-based sauce) are good dips to accompany these light and tasty fritters. Be warned... they're very moreish!
You will need:
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
There are certain desserts that represent a certain country and this cheesecake is an example of a South African favourite. Tennis biscuits are South Africans' favourite coconut biscuit. I have not found a similar buttery coconut biscuit made anywhere else. Being very moreish, they're always welcomed at tea-time. These biscuits are an essential ingredient in this pyramidal cheesecake that yields pretty triangular slices. Any crumbly, square shaped (preferably coconut flavoured) biscuit could also be used if you're unable to find any Tennis biscuits.
I have been fortunate to always being able to locate these biscuits in South African food stores in England and Sydney. Their taste takes me back to my childhood when it was not uncommon for dinner guests to arrive with a pack of these biscuits as a gift. The combination of Tennis biscuits, sweetened cream cheese, fresh cream, chocolate and strawberries is a match made in heaven!
This cheesecake needs to be made a day in advance as it's best if frozen overnight and garnished with whipped fresh cream the next day. This softens the outer biscuits and makes it melt in your mouth!
Be imaginative with the decoration. Glace cherries, shaved chocolate and fruit can be used to garnish the cake as well. I've used chocolate hearts here to create our anniversary cake. I've been making this cheesecake for my husband from the time I first met him and it still tickles his tastebuds!
It's an easy no-bake cheesecake with a unique appearance and bound to create "wows" at the table!
You will need:
Monday, August 9, 2010
There's nothing like eating food you grew up with to remind you of home. I was only really introduced to Greek desserts when I met my husband but I have grown to love the sweetness and simplicity of Greek sweets. He craves these sweet delights frequently and I have been challenged to make them just like his mother does.
Acquiring a good Greek desserts recipe book was therefore a priority during our courtship. I became familiar with Vefa Alexiadou on Greek morning television and realised that she was to Greece what Martha Stewart is to America or Delia Smith is to Britain. I have tried her recipes for over a decade now and am always pleased with the results.
Galaktoboureko is a deliciously sweet and comforting treat. It consists of a custard layer sandwiched between layers of buttered phyllo sheets and soaked in a lemony syrup after baking. My mother-in-law always makes this for us whenever we visit her in Greece. It is one of my husband's favourite desserts.
It is made in a large Pyrex rectangular glass tray and is ideal for dinner parties, although my husband is quite comfortable eating the whole trayful over a few days!
There are just a few basic ingredients needed. The custard is smooth and creamy, every mouthful a delightfully comforting experience within the syrupy phyllo pastry.
I have cut the galaktoboureko into a circular piece here for a modern presentation of a very traditional Greek dessert. My husband's only complaint about this is that his favourite piece is η γωνία (the corner piece)!
You will need:
Monday, August 2, 2010
There are always bananas in our home. Such a convenient, portable and healthy snack. Invariably though you end up with a very ripe banana that nobody feels like eating. Fritters are a perfect way to make a ripe banana go a long way.
There are various ways I serve up these fritters, largely dependant on the formality of the occasion and on how many guests there are to serve. Recently I had a couple of friends over for an impromptu dinner and when stuck for a quick dessert idea, looked at the lone ripened banana in the fruit tray and decided on fritters! I fried up a batch after the main course, dusted them with cinnamon sugar and drizzled dark chocolate all over! Amazing! 4 forks sharing from a loaded plate, everyone nodding in mutual appreciation, it was really good fun.
For just a quick tea-time treat, roll the hot fritters in caster sugar that you've sprinkled some powdered cinnamon into and enjoy.
These fritters remind me of home. They were usually made on a rainy day to cheer us up. There's no doubt these sunshine-filled fritters will bring some cheer to you too.
When you really feel like indulging, go ahead and drizzle melted chocolate over and don't hesitate to have a large scoop of vanilla ice-cream on the side too.
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Friday, July 23, 2010
If only you could grab a piece and taste! You would know then just how good this moist, flavourful cake really tastes. I fear that my words alone do not do it justice. You'll just have to trust me then and take my word for it. This cake rocks! One piece will never be enough. And I'm not just saying that. Convinced yet?
I've always loved passionfruit. Right from my childhood days in Durban when we had a vine growing over an arched trellis in our front garden bearing granadillas (the term for passionfruit in South Africa). We could walk under the purple hued jewels hanging from the vines, taking in their fragrance as they ripen. Now in Australia I find them in the greengrocers all year round at very reasonable prices too. They wrinkle as they ripen and are delightfully exotic in taste.
I've used passionfuit often as a colourful addition to fruit punches but it brings on a whole new flavour to a cake. A very moreish flavour!
This recipe is adapted from The Australian Women's Weekly magazine. The cake is light, moist and fantastic! Certain to disappear very fast off your plates.
You will need: