Banana Loaf cake
January 22nd, 2016 by Lesley

Today is one of those cold and grey days, the sky is white, its not quite cold enough for snow, but its certainly is not warm. We did have snow at the beginning of the week, so it was fires on and wrap up nice and cosy, but it has gone on a few days now, the snow has melted, the sky is cloudy so it is holding in that cold air and there is a bit of a nip in the wind.

Banana Loaf cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what does that mean, so for me that means there has to be some baking going on. I was working at my PC earlier and there was a few messages of sunshine cakes and those wonderful cakes that are ideal in the summer, but I decided I needed something that would be delicious with a cup of tea this afternoon. I had a look in the cupboard to see what ingredients I had readily to hand.

Don’t really want to have to go off shopping, its too cold for that nonsense (ha ha), this is about having a good look in the cupboard for the basics and other ‘things’ that I can add to my cake.

In the cupboard of course I always have the basics, eggs, flour, butter, sugar, milk, but what else could I use, banana’s so thats it, decision made.

This is a delicious moist cake and it makes up quickly and bakes quickly, the only thing is you have to wait for is it to cool down before you eat it….

This cake is great as it has minimal ingredients and quantities and it produces a wonderful loaf cake.

You can add banana chips to the top of the cake and a little icing, depending on who the cake is for and if you want to dress it up.

I didn’t bother with the banana chips today, (didn’t have any in the cupboard) but a loaf cake can always get better with a little icing on the top. Icing sugar is another one of those ingredients I always have in the cupboard too.

This cakes makes up so fast, it really does benefit from having very ripe banana’s but if yours like mine were still a little firm, then just chop them up, place into a bowl and place in the microwave for 20 second bursts, to warm them up and soften them, it does work a treat.

Weight the butter into a bowl and soften it, again I chose to use the microwave as I didn’t want to wait. I placed the butter into the bowl and then popped it into the microwave for 20 seconds, I wanted the butter to be soft but not melted.

Banana loaf cake

Banana loaf cake

 

 

 

 

 

Then I added the sugar to the softened butter, and using an electric whisk, I beat the mixture until it was light and fluffy. I added 1 egg and whisked the mixture then half of the flour/baking powder mixture, mixed again and then repeated with the remaining egg and then the flour mixture.

Once this was all combined, I added the softened banana mixture, this loosened up the mixture, I knew this was going to be a wonderful moist cake as the mixture was soft and fluffy as I poured it into the lined baking tin.

Banana loaf cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had the oven preheated and then popped the baking tin into the oven on a tray.

Then settled down to write up my recipe and wait for the smells to fill the kitchen and the wonderful cake to come out of the oven.

Banana loaf cake

Banana loaf cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the cake was ready 1 hr, I tested with a skewer just to make sure.

I let the cake cool for 15-20 minutes and then I mixed the icing and painted it over the top of the cake.

Then it was time for the kettle and a cup of tea and a delicious slice of banana loaf cake, it was divine, so moist and bags of flavour.

Banana Loaf cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

Banana Loaf
Delicious banana loaf, moist and tasty, ideal for that afternoon treat.
Servings Prep Time
10 slices 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
55 minutes 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
10 slices 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
55 minutes 15 minutes
Banana Loaf
Delicious banana loaf, moist and tasty, ideal for that afternoon treat.
Servings Prep Time
10 slices 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
55 minutes 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
10 slices 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
55 minutes 15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: slices
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180c conventional/160c fan/4 Gas.
  2. Peal and mash the banana. (If the bananas are not very ripe, chop them and put in a bowl and place in the microwave for 40-60 seconds at 20 second bursts, until they are soft and easily mashed).
  3. Weight the butter into a bowl and place in the microwave at 20 second bursts until you have softened butter.
  4. Add the sugar to the butter in the bowl and using an electric whisk, whisk until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  5. Weight out the flour and add the baking powder to the flour, mix together.
  6. Add 1 egg and whisk again, then add half of the flour and whisk again, repeat with the other egg and remaining flour mixture.
  7. Add the mashed bananas to the mixture and whisk again until just combined.
  8. Line a 2lb/1kg loaf tin with grease proof paper, using a spatula, pour the mixture into the tin and place on a baking tray and place in the centre of the oven.
  9. Bake the cake in the oven for 50-55 minutes. Remove the cake at 50 minutes and check the centre with a skewer to see if it is done in the middle. If not, then place back in the oven for a further 5 minutes and check again.
  10. Once ready, remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, before removing from the tin and leaving on a rack to cool for a further 15 minutes.
  11. Weight the icing sugar into a small bowl and add a little water, mix until you have the right consistency.... not too thick, not too thin a bit sticky, you want it to stick t the top of your cake and not just run down off the top.
Recipe Notes

Add banana chips to the top for decoration if you want to dress this up.

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Posted in Afternoon Tea, Cakes & Fancies, Cinnamon & Benzoate Free, Sweet treats, Vegetarian Tagged with: ,

Mushroom Risotto
December 28th, 2015 by Lesley

Well it has been one of those days today, the sun is shining, the sky blue but its cold outside. So of course we are all looking for something to warm us through.

So a delicious risotto is on the cards for this evening.

Mushroom Risotto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I do enjoy a rich creamy risotto with some delicious mushrooms, just what the doctor ordered……

I decided that I would use up some frozen vegetables that were in the freezer too, need to make some more space for the up and coming cooking courses.

A risotto is fantastic dish that can be used for a weekday supper or an elegant dinner party.

A few years ago we were on holiday in Corfu and we found a wonderful family restaurant that served Mussel Risotto, it was absolutely divine, I have recreated the recipe and will post it another day. but it did give me a new view of what a risotto should be….

Start off by chopping the onion, relatively small, then prepare the mushrooms, depending on the size of your mushrooms, cut into quarters or halves, you want to keep them chunky.
Mushrooms & onions

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add the butter to a pot and allow to melt before adding the chopped onions. 

IMG_2923

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heat the stock in a pot and add the chopped mushrooms. Allowing the mushroom flavour to enhance the stock.

IMG_2927

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Allow the onions to cook in the melted butter until softened and add the crushed garlic clove.

IMG_2926

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then add the rice and mix well, ensuring that the rice is coated in the melted butter.

IMG_2928

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add the wine and allow the rice to cook in the wine, (3-4 minutes), mix to ensure the rice starts to cook in the wine.

IMG_2929

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the wine is fully absorbed into the rice, start adding the stock a ladle at a time, waiting until the previous ladle is absorbed before adding the next ladle.

IMG_2933

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue until all the stock is absorbed and the rice is cooked. Test by tasting.

IMG_2936

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the rice is ready, (softened with a little bite)  add the mushrooms from the stock pot and mix through.

An optional step is to add extra vegetables, I added some frozen garden peas and chopped green beans, for an added bit of colour and texture.

IMG_2938

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add the grated Parmesan cheese and mix through, beating the risotto with a wooden spoon to create a creamy sauce. Add 2 teaspoons of soft butter and allow it to melt into the risotto. Mix again to fully combine.

IMG_2942

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now you will have a delicious ‘creamy’ risotto. Enjoy.

 

Mushroom Risotto
Delicious creamy mushroom risotto, ideal for any mid week meal.
Servings Prep Time
2 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes
Mushroom Risotto
Delicious creamy mushroom risotto, ideal for any mid week meal.
Servings Prep Time
2 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Start off by chopping the onion, relatively small, then prepare the mushrooms, depending on the size of your mushrooms, cut into quarters or halves, you want to keep them chunky.
  2. Add the butter to a pot and allow to melt
  3. Make the stock in a pot and add the chopped mushrooms, bring to the boil and allow the mushroom flavour to infuse into the stock.
  4. Add the chopped onions to the pot with the melted butter and allow the onions to soften, without any colour
  5. Add the garlic and cook for another 1 minute. Do not allow the garlic to burn or it will turn bitter.
  6. Add the rice to the pot with the onions and garlic and mix to ensure the rice is coated in the melted butter.
  7. Add the wine to the pot and allow the rice to absorb the wine. Stir occasionally to ensure the rice is cooking evenly.
  8. Once the wine is absorbed, start adding the stock. 1 ladle at a time, allowing the rice to absorb the stock before adding the next ladle.
  9. Once nearly all the stock has been added, check the rice to see if it is 'done' yet. It should be soft, but with a little bite to it.
  10. Beat the risotto with the wooden spoon, this will bring out the starch and create a 'creamy' texture to your risotto.
  11. Add the mushrooms from the stock pot and mix through the risotto. Check for seasoning and add a little salt if needed. ** If not serving immediately, follow the instructions in Recipe Notes**
  12. If you are using additional vegetables (I used frozen peas and chopped green beans) add them now and fold through the risotto.
  13. Add the Parmesan cheese and again fold through the risotto add 2 teaspoons of soft butter, allow to melt and fold through the risotto again. You will have a wonderful creamy sauce.
  14. When ready to serve, place a couple of big spoons of the risotto into a bowl and sprinkle the top with a little Parmesan cheese to taste.
Recipe Notes

** You can make this 30 minutes before serving.

Cook until the stage of adding the mushrooms, (before adding the additional vegetables) turn off the heat and put a lid on, to keep the risotto warm.

When you are ready to serve, remove the lid from the pot, and set a low heat under the pot, add a little boiling water to the pot and mix through the risotto, to loosen the mixture.

Continue to mix the risotto is it is coming back to temperature and then add the frozen vegetables, Parmesan and butter and serve as above.

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Doughnut balls
August 6th, 2015 by Lesley

You know how it is some days you just have a craving for something sweet.

I was doing my usual thing, first thing in the morning, looking through the various emails and facebook links to my many groups that I follow. The very thing popped up that just ticked all the voxes I was looking for…… So they just had to be made.

The recipe for Easy Homemade Doughnut Holes, was on the site for JustaTaste the thing about it was that it claims to give you the best doughnut holes but without the yeast….. quick doughnuts, well now that was something that needed to be tested.

Doughnut balls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had some guests for breakfast, therefore, I could make them without having to eat them all by myself, which is a very real possibility.

I hear you say, ‘well just make half of the recipe’, unfortunately/fortunately that is not possible as there is only 1 egg in the recipe and of course you can’t really cut the egg in half.

Of course you need to test them and have another ‘just to test them’.

They really did just fit the bill of that craving for something sweet and tasty.

The recipe produced about 24 doughnut balls, (2 bites) I decided to do a mix of sugared and glazed, just to see what was best.

They were delicious and no yeast, so no waiting, just mix all the dry ingredients together, then the wet add the butter and voila… scoop out the batter into balls and drop them into the hot oil, wait until they are golden brown and delicious doughnut balls (holes), just what is needed.

(I didn’t get a chance to take any pictures while I was making this recipe, so I will just have to make it again so I can take the pictures…….. this is going to be such a hardship ….. haha, once I have done so, I will of course add the pictures to this post)

Doughnut balls
Delicious golden doughnut balls, ideal for any table, breakfast, lunch, brunch and tea time treat.
Servings Prep Time
6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Doughnut balls
Delicious golden doughnut balls, ideal for any table, breakfast, lunch, brunch and tea time treat.
Servings Prep Time
6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Ingredients
Doughnut balls
Glaze
Servings: people
Instructions
Doughnut Balls
  1. Heat the vegetable oil to 220c.
  1. In a large bowl, add all the dry ingredients, (flour, castor sugar, baking powder), mix them together to ensure they are combined.
  2. Measure the milk into a jug and add the egg, mix well together and then add to the bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix them well together, but do not over mix.
  3. Add the melted butter and mix again.
  4. Using a small ice cream scoop or 2 dessert spoons, take balls of the batter and carefully drop them into the hot batter.
  5. Allow the balls to cook on one side for 2-3 minutes until golden and then roll over and cook the other side until golden. (I found the the balls rolled over as they were cooked)
  6. When the balls are cooked remove them to a plate with kitchen paper to drain the balls.
  7. You can roll the balls in castor sugar, place some castor sugar into a bowl and roll the balls in the sugar or cover in a milk glaze (see below).
Glaze
  1. Add the icing sugar to a bowl, add the vanilla essence and then gradually add the milk until you have a pouring glaze.
Recipe Notes

If by chance you don't eat all of the doughnut balls at one sitting, they do keep well for 24 hours.

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Posted in Cakes & Fancies, Sweet treats, Vegetarian Tagged with: ,

July 18th, 2015 by Lesley

I have been working with some clients on the various Mother Sauces and their variations, when I can a cross this little known variation.

It is not listed with the list of the other classics and I believe it is due to the reduced volume of butter, but I can assure you it really has all the flavour and texture of the Classic Hollandaise sauce.

I’m sure you will feel the same, so try it out and let me know.

This sauce is also great with eggs, vegetables and chicken.

Bretonne Sauce
Servings Prep Time
2 10 minutes
Cook Time
5 mintues
Servings Prep Time
2 10 minutes
Cook Time
5 mintues
Bretonne Sauce
Servings Prep Time
2 10 minutes
Cook Time
5 mintues
Servings Prep Time
2 10 minutes
Cook Time
5 mintues
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Place the butter into a small pot and place on the hear. Bring to simmering point, turn off.
  2. Place the egg yolks, mustard and vinegar into a tall jug and whisk for 1 minute, until all combined and lighter in colour.
  3. Continue with the whisk running for another minute and start slowly pour the melted butter into the egg mixture and continue to whisk until it is all combined and you have a thick sauce.
  4. Test for seasoning, I find it sometimes benefits from a little squeeze of lemon juice to just lift the flavour. (Adjust the seasoning if required)
  5. Add the chopped tarragon and mix with a spoon to combine.
  6. Place the jug in a heat proof container and add just boiled water up to the level of the sauce to keep the sauce warm, until needed.
Recipe Notes

If you prefer a slightly thinner sauce, add a little boiling water to the mixture and whisk again.

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July 18th, 2015 by Lesley

Bearnaise sauce is one of the ‘child/daughter’ sauces from the Classic Hollandiaise sauce, which is one of the 5 Classic Mother Sauces.

The classic way of making Hollandaise sauce is to cook the egg yolks and lemon juice over a bain-maire with whisking them together to achieve the emulsification.

In this recipe I use a simpler method, which still achieves a wonderful rich sauce.

Bearnaise Sauce
A rich buttery sauce, ideal to serve with steak and chips. One of the child/daughter sauces from the mother sauce Hollandaise sauce.
Servings Prep Time
2 15 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 15 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Bearnaise Sauce
A rich buttery sauce, ideal to serve with steak and chips. One of the child/daughter sauces from the mother sauce Hollandaise sauce.
Servings Prep Time
2 15 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 15 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Place the butter into a small pot and bring to the boil. Then remove from the heat.
  2. Add the tarragon vinegar, lemon juice, shallots and peppercorns into another small pot and bring to the boil, allow to reduce by half.
  3. Place the egg yolks into a tall jug and add the water, add the vinegar/lemon juice reduction and using a hand blender, whisk the egg yolks and water together for at least 1 minute, allowing the colour to lighten.
  4. With the whisk still running slowly add the melted butter until it is all combined. Continue to whisk for a further seconds. Check the sauce for seasoning and adjust accordingly.
  5. Add the chopped tarragon and mix to combine.
  6. Place the jug into a heat proof container and fill with just boiled water, to keep your sauce warm until ready to use.
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Courgette Spaghetti with mushroom sauce
June 1st, 2015 by Lesley

We have been on a bit of a health kick recently, cutting out potatoes, pasta, rice, white bread, its amazing how quickly it makes a difference.

Of course there are a few things that you miss and pasta happens to be one of them, for a few reasons, including ease of preparing a meal and the various sauces that you can create.

I decided that we needed to incorporate a few more vegetables in to our diet too, we are generally quite good, but we needed a concerted effort, well ok, I needed to make a concerted effort as of course it is me who creates, prepares and produces the meals in our house. (My choice, as I always have to be doing something new).

I had seen the latest craze with the spiralizers and all the wonderful ‘spaghetti’ that can be made from the various vegetables, so I am on a mission to see how many new recipes I can create using the Cuizique spiralizer.

Courgette Spaghetti with mushroom sauce

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tonight’s recipe is using courgette (zucchini) , they are great for this as they are usually straight(ish) and easy to whizz through the Cuizique spiralizer. I have used broccoli and celeriac, and I will write up the recipes for them and link them back shortly.

I took 2 large courgettes and whizzed them through the Cuizique spiralizer, this new unit is great as the handle is above the vegetables, pushing them down onto the blades and it only really needs the weight of your hand to push it through the blades and then the cup underneath catches the spaghetti. Its really easy to clean afterwards and all the blades can be stored in the jug for storage.

I popped the spaghetti into a large pot filled with salted water, bringing it to the boil and blanched the courgette for 2 minutes, then drained them and left them in the colander until the sauce was ready.

I started on the mushroom sauce, I used the white button (Paris) mushrooms, I know they are not known for their flavour, but I find here (in France) they are great and not over powering,   I split the caps from the stocks and cleaned them with a paper towel, NEVER wash mushrooms as they just soak up the dirty water, the best thing to do is to use some kitchen paper or if they are really bad, use a small pastry brush. I roughly chopped the stocks and sliced the mushroom caps.

I melted some butter in a medium pot on a low heat, and once melted I added the chopped shallot and cooked until they were soft, but no colour, then I added the crushed garlic and mushroom stocks, and cooked for another 2 minutes. Then I added the white wine and brought it to the boil, letting it boil for 2 minutes, burning off the alcohol, then add then I added the chicken stock and simmered for 5 minutes.

(** Use vegetable stock for a Vegetarian sauce)

I removed the pot from the heat, and using my trusty hand whisk, blitzed the mixture, (of course it did splash a bit, but I just tilted the pot so it wasn’t all over me) until the stock has been pureed, it will be a bit thicker with the shallots and mushroom stocks,  I returned the pot to the heat and added the mushroom slices.

I gave it a quick mix and allowed the mixture to come back to the boil and simmered it for 5 minutes, before adding the cream, this is always the tense moment to see if the sauce will split, with the hot stock and cold cream, I have found that if you pour the cream in and leave it to stand for about 1 minute it is less likely to split, but if it does, I have a couple of handy tips to bring it back (see tips below) without throwing it away and starting again…. allow the sauce to reduce a little and thicken, taste the sauce to see if you have the flavour (creamy mushroom), if it is still not ‘just’ as you expect, then continue to simmer for another 5 minutes.

Sometimes the flavour is there, but its just not thick enough, so I add a little corn flour mixture and it does the trick. Make sure your cornflour mixture is very watery, 1 tsp cornflour + 3 tsp cold water, the more diluted the mixture, the quicker it is to thicken the sauce and no floury taste :-)

To serve up, I poured boiling water over the courgette to just refresh it, I added it back into the pot (it was boiled in) and added a couple of spoons of the mushroom mixture and mixed it all through, then using tongs I grabbed a big portion and twisted it around then placed into a bowl, and then it was mushroom sauce time….. mmmm… yummy, I do like this mushroom sauce.

This was a great meal, creamy and delicious.

Essential kitchen tool : Cuizique PREMIUM Spiralizer

Courgette spaghetti with mushroom sauce
Courgette spaghetti with rich creamy sauce, a great way to get more vegetables into your diet without trying too hard. In addition this is gluten free to as the spaghetti is the thin slices of courgette.
Servings Prep Time
2 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Courgette spaghetti with mushroom sauce
Courgette spaghetti with rich creamy sauce, a great way to get more vegetables into your diet without trying too hard. In addition this is gluten free to as the spaghetti is the thin slices of courgette.
Servings Prep Time
2 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Set-up your spiralizer, using the smallest cutter.
  2. Top and tail your courgettes, and cut in half, just so they are easy to use in the spiralizer.
  3. Work your courgettes through the spiralizer and place them in a pot of warm salted water. When ready, place the pot on the heat and bring to the boil. Cook for 2 minutes and then drain in a large colander.
  4. In a medium pot, melt the butter over a low heat and then add the chopped shallots. Mix around to make sure they are all coated in the melted butter. Add the mushroom stocks and crushed garlic and cooked for a further 2 minutes.
  5. Pour in the white wine and bring the mixture to the boil for 2 minutes allowing the alcohol to burn off.
  6. Add the chicken (or vegetable) stock and boil again for 5 minutes.
  7. Remove the pot from the heat and using a hand blender, blend the mixture until all the shallots and mushroom stocks are pureed.
  8. Return the pot to the heat and add the sliced mushrooms. Simmer for 5 minutes and then add the cream. Leave for 1 minute before stirring, Allow the mixture to come to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
  9. Taste the sauce and if you have the correct taste, but just not thick enough, mix 1 tsp of cornflour with 3 tsp of cold water and drizzle the mixture into the sauce, stirring all the time, until you have the desired consistency.
  10. Pour boiling water over the courgette spaghetti to refresh it, then add back into the large pot and add some of the mushroom sauce, mix it through and then with some tongs, grab some spaghetti and place it in the middle of your bowl, and then pour over some of the sauce.
Recipe Notes

You can substitute vegetable stock instead of the chicken stock to have a completely vegetarian dish.

If the sauce is not thick enough add a mixture of cornflour and cold water and add to the simmering sauce, mixing all the time, until you have the desired consistency.

Sauce Splits : If your sauce splits, I know if a couple of ways to bring it back -

1) Use a mixture of cornflour and cold water, the thickening will bring everything back together

or

2) A hand blender is great, so if your mushroom sauce slits, remove the mushroom slices out to a bowl, and use the hand blender to whiz everything up, the sauce will come back together and then you can add the mushroom slices back into the sauce and continue to reduce until you have the thickness you want.

Reason for removing the mushroom slices, if you don't you will have a mushroom puree, rather than a mushroom sauce.

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