Saturday, November 3, 2012

Easy and moist apple and banana loaf

Toasted banana and apple bread - delicious
Easy and moist apple and banana loaf

Ingrid and I were catching up at the beach for a relaxing morning (hmmmm not sure relaxing was the right word) with our kids to enjoy the beginning of the warm weather. We usually make all sorts of bits and pieces for our kids to eat and often I feel for the time I spend, things only get nibbled and they come home again with me and can't really be eaten at a later stage. This time I decided to use up what I had in the fridge and just make one thing, a moist fruity loaf.
The recipe came from the magazine Recipes+ however as always, I have changed it a wee bit.
The great thing about this recipe is it is very adaptable. I added all the leftover apple slices that were browning in my fridge and cooked it in a square dish rather than a loaf tin.
The loaf was divine, very moist and Ingrid as I scoffed nearly all of it whilst sorting out the numerous arguments our boys had over toys and ignoring the pleas of "mum ma push me, push me" on the cute tree swing we sat besides...
The photos is what was leftover, toasted in my panini maker and spread thick with butter and eaten for breakfast.

What you need
125g melted butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups banana mashed
1 cup chopped apples
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
How to make 
Oven 180 regular 160 fan forced
Grease a loaf or cake tin
Melt the butter and stir in the sugar, eggs, mashed bananas, vanilla and cinnamon.
Sift the flour and baking powder and stir through until combined.
Add the chopped apples
Pour into greased tin and bake for an hour or until a skewer or knife comes clean.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream and marshmallows

Want to keep it simple: Omit the icing and marshmallows and just dust with icing sugar.

This cake has been doing the rounds in our family, lots have tried making it, experimented with it, and changed it up a bit, so it's a cake that can be personalised.

Recently I even made a tractor cake!!! for my son's third birthday using this recipe. I changed the cocoa for melted dark chocolate and I made a creme fraiche chocolate icing with the number 3 ploughed out of the icing (and a few chocolate flakes broken over the ploughed field) and a toy tractor on the side. It was a kids birthday cake, that the parents enjoyed as well. However, it wasn't as pretty as this cake and I wont be posting a pic. It needed a bit of visual refinement.

I'm not a fan of cakes that don't look like cakes anymore....or food for that matter, I cant stand green or blue cakes (Thomas!!!) I know the kids love it but I just don't get why you would want to make a cake that simply looks like a rainbow of additives and chemical components.

Therefore this cake is my 'go to' for any special occasion, I know it works, it can be dressed up or down, and it tastes like a REAL cake. Enjoy, Ingrid

Chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream and marshmallows
What you need:
2 cups of flour
2 cups of brown sugar
1 cup cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup cream
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
handful of pink marshmallows

How to make:
Preheat oven to 180c. Mix everything together until smooth. Pour into greased 20cm diameter (deep) cake tin and bake for 45mins (approx). Test with skewer, cake is ready when it is clean.

Vanilla buttercream
What you need:
125g unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
2 tbsp milk

How to make:
Beat butter and vanilla with electric beater. Gradually beat in half the sifted icing sugar, milk, then the remaining icing sugar. Add milk to get the consistency you desire. Spread onto cake and top with marshmallows.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Cheap Eats - Poor Man's Parmesan

Poor Man's Parmesan with olive oil, lemon and edamame beans

Cheap Eats 
Poor Man's Parmesan (Pangritata)

I can't remember where I saw this idea but its been one on my list of things to do for a while. I love Parmesan cheese but as a weekly ingredient with all the other expenses these days (nappies and baby stuff) its not a regular feature. This recipe gives pasta texture and crunch and a lovely garlic flavour.

All you need for the basic mix some bread - any will do fresh, frozen or even stale and some garlic, Olive oil and salt.  To bump up the poor man's Parmesan you can add herbs such as parsley, chives, basil, oregano, rosemary or chili

Other ideas with poor man's Parmesan

 with grilled asparagus, capsicum (peppers) or aubergine
 with a fried egg
 with crispy ham, bacon, shredded corned beef
 with peas or edamame beans
 with garlic sauteed spinach
 with tinned tuna, salmon or sardines
 with rocket or baby spinach topped with walnuts
 with fresh or grilled cherry tomatoes
 with a marmite sauce (Nigella)
 with vegetable ribbons (carrots and courgettes)
 with lemon, chili, olives and anchovies
 with crumbled feta or blue cheese
 With steamed mussels
 with flaked smoked fish or a firm white fish

How to make 'EASY'
Toast 4 slices of bread (or similar)
In a food processor blitz the bread with 4 cloves of fresh garlic, salt to taste and I added a handful of parsley from my garden.
Toast in a pan with olive oil until lightly browned.
Stir through steaming hot pasta with a good splash of olive oil. I added lemon and edamame beans to the photo above.
Simple, cheap and delicious
Vanessa X