Ever since I started writing my blog my husband has been pestering me to bake a banana bread. He is just crazy about the flavour, sweetness and cake like texture. It’s such an easy thing to bake and we always have a few overripe bananas loitering in our fruit bowl. What I do like about banana bread is that it is a no fuss thing – and very easy to put together. Once you have the basic recipe you can always add raisins, nuts, chocolate chips – actually just about anything you fancy to make it your own.
The way I made this a lifeisazoobsicuit banana flan bread was by:
#1 changing the shape – I decided to bake it in a flan pan and serve it in a tart of sorts instead of a loaf and then
#2 I added three components that work extremely well together with bananas – white chocolate buttons, amaretto biscuits and almond flakes
#3 I was not keen to serve it with the traditional icing – so I opted to serve it with the crème fraiche instead.
My hubby, Rick had three helpings … Need I say more?
A few banana facts or fiction I found on the www 🙂
1. Bananas float in water, as do apples and watermelons.
2. More than 100 billion bananas are eaten every year in the world, making them the fourth most popular agricultural product.
3. A cluster of bananas is called a hand, and a single banana is called a finger. Each banana hand has about 10 to 20 fingers.
4. Thanks to its oil, rubbing the inside of a banana peel on a mosquito bite – will help keep it from itching and getting inflamed.
5. To whiten teeth naturally, rub the inside of a banana peel on your teeth for about two minutes every night. If you gargle with salt water, this will heighten the effect. Expect results in about two weeks. It works because of the effect of the potassium, magnesium, and manganese in the banana peel.
6. If you peel a banana from the bottom up (holding on to the stem like a handle), you will avoid the stringy bits that cling to the fruit inside.
7. Bananas are low in calories and have no fat, no sodium, and no cholesterol. They contain vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and vitamin B6.
8. More songs have been written about bananas than about any other fruit.
9. Bananas are the only fruit that contains the amino acid tryptophan plus vitamin B6. They help your body produce serotonin—a natural substance that alleviates depression.
10. If you put a banana in the refrigerator, the peel will turn dark brown or black, but it won’t affect the fruit inside.
banana flan bread with amaretto biscuits + white chocolate + almonds
This one is quick + easy and been a firm family favourite through the years. I remember sitting around the kitchen table, the radio playing in the background (there was no TV in those days)… My dad saying grace and thereafter mom bringing in this big baking tray full of steaming mac + cheese.
We did not have the fancy or posh mac and cheese – there was no bacon, no mushrooms, no cream etc … our mac and cheese came straight out of the Kook and Geniet and straight out of the oven. The basic ingredients are milk, eggs, macaroni and cheese. It’s the baked version that you can cut in blocks. We used to just get these blocks on our plates and in the middle of the table was a bottle of tomato sauce – and that was it for us … heaven.
So today I took the same recipe my mom used and tweaked the ingredients to suit my adult taste buds. When it came to the tomato sauce I had to make a few changes – I fried some plump delicious rosa tomatoes in olive oil, added tomato sauce and fresh basil. Its still my mom’s mac + cheese + tomato sauce – with a little twist. Life seemed much more simpler then. At least I can say that this recipe has remained simple and easy … give it a go.
mac + cheese + tomato sauce = no frills + no fuss + just eat
Mix the milk, eggs, mustard powder, salt and pepper all together. Then add the cheese and cooked macaroni.
Butter a baking dish well and add the mixture and bake for 1 hour.
For tomato sauce: Heat the olive oil and fry tomatoes till the pan is quite dry. Add the water and cook again till quite dry.Then add the sugar + tomato sauce – heat through. Finally add the fresh basil + season to taste + serve with your mac + cheese.
Here is something simple for you to try this Christmas – a TWO MINUTE stick blender mayonnaise. Most foodies know this fool proof method but I am surprised at how many people still use the old drop-for-drop-oil-method. The big secret behind this recipe is to add the ingredients in a narrow vessel/container in the right order… egg + oil – this is critical. Let the ingredients settle for a minute – then put your stick blender carefully on top of the egg yolk – the blender must touch the bottom of the container … then only then start blending until the mayonnaise starts emulsifying. S-L-O-W-L-Y pull the stick blender up to complete the emulsification process.
Here is a video clip to show you how easy it is to make your very own homemade mayonnaise. Make a cupful or a bucketful, its fresh and fantastic. Its creamy and dreamy and perfect with just about anything…salads + potatoes + dips.
Sending you love, blessings and best wishes from Dublin, Ireland. May you have an enchanting, carefree and fabulous Christmas.
two minute stick blender mayonnaise = something simple for you to try this christmas
In this specific order - place the egg yolk in a tall container or jug, then add the oil.
Place your stick blender right on top of the egg at the bottom of the jug and start blending until the mayonnaise starts emulsifying. SLOWLY pull the stick blender up to complete the emulsification process.
Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice and serve.
My favourite Saturday morning breakfast is a soft poached egg on whole wheat toast with a bit of wild rocket out of my garden and a pinch of Maldon salt. When you cut into that egg and the yellow slowly ooze onto the bread … it is like early morning sunshine on my plate! What I want to share with you today is not a specific recipe on how to poach the perfect egg but a few interesting facts and tips that might help you along the way. I am sure you will know most of them but one or two of these pointers are quite interesting.
1. The fresher the egg, the easier the poach – fresh eggs hold together better when slipped into the simmering water.
2. To test to see whether an egg is fresh – put the egg into a bowl of water. A very fresh egg will immediately sink to the bottom and lie flat on its side – an old egg will float.
3. The eggs must preferably be room temperature.
4. Remember to add a bit of vinegar to the simmering water – it helps hold the egg together.
5. The water must be simmering not boiling.
6. Now, my best tip is to slowly submerse the whole egg with shell and all in the hot simmering water for 10 seconds before you break it. This ensures the whites on the outside of the egg hold together better during poaching.
7. Before breaking the egg into your simmering pot of water, use a spoon and give the water a stir so that it forms a little bit of a whirlpool…the centrifugal motion will pull the egg together when you slide it into the water.
8. When you break the egg break it into a saucer or cup first – be careful not to break the yolk and then simply slide the egg off the saucer or cup into the centre of the whirling water.
9. How long to poach the egg? Here’s a quirky snippet I read…when you put your bread in to toast put your egg in to poach…when your toast pops out of the toaster…your poached egg should be ready to be removed from the pot. Otherwise poach it for 3-5 minutes until cooked.
10. When done scoop out with slotted spoon or spatula onto a paper towel to dry excess water from the now poached egg.
It’s quick but fabulous when poached to perfection… decadent and yummy all at the same time!
Don’t forget too that a poached egg on top of a rocket + bacon salad makes for a wonderful salad option just ever so slightly out of the ordinary.
Flambéed Sweet Apple Omelette – Every now and then you experiment with something new, sometimes the outcome is just ok and other times it just blows you away. This is what happened to me when I tasted my own rendition of a sweet omelette – whoop whoop – it blew me away and it is so easy to make! But first let me tell you the story how I ended up with fruit and an omelette of all things…
I draw my inspirations from many different people … one person who really inspires me is Lidewij Edelkoort. What a fascinating woman – she is well-renowned as an international trend forecaster in any form of design. The other day I read on her website that yellow is a currently one of the primary fashion colours of the season – and as she says… “ the power of yellow with its strength and radiance, is able to change all volume and all surfaces, giving glow to all matter”. She shared some intriguing, and quite amazing references when it comes to eggs… she took us to France with “eggs + soldiers”…and then to Spain for an omelette. It just got me thinking. Before I knew it, I was traversing the world, the internet and my hoards of cookery books for something, yellow, eggy and interesting…. I eventually found something quite enticing and a recipe that woke up my taste buds….it was an egg + pear omelette … a dessert of all things.
I decided to use apples instead of pears and then used our local brandy to flambé the dessert. It did not stop there though… being my cheeky self, I added some cream, a pinch of nutmeg, a dose of cinnamon, a star anise and a heap of expectation….taste for yourself … it is delicious!
4 Granny Smith apples – cored, peeled and cut into 1 cm slices
1 Star Anise
2 Cinnamon sticks
4 Large eggs
1 Big pinch nutmeg
1 Pinch salt
On medium heat in a big non-stick pan - melt the butter and add the star anise, cinnamon, apples and 1T of sugar.
Cook with the lid on for 10 min and then cook without the lid for a further 10 min.
Stir from time to time but be careful not to break the apples.
In the mean while beat the eggs, cream, nutmeg and salt together.
Then pour the eggs over the apples.
Cook till the eggs are set. Lift it on the sides to make sure it stays loose and your egg mixture does not stick to the pan.
Invert the omelette onto a large serving dish, sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar over the omelette and pour the 3 tablespoons of brandy over the dish. Ignite the brandy and then shake the platter till the alcohol burns of and extinguishes itself. Serve immediately.
When I arrived at home on Friday night there was a huge red gift on my kitchen table from my loving husband. It was a huge, huge bag of red chillies – do you perhaps think he wanted to tell me something? Anyway, seeing these beautiful chillies took me back to Thailand – and my dear friend Pierre (kitchenbabble.com) in Bangkok. In 2010 I was privileged enough to spend a week in Bangkok where we shared the most wonderful times preparing all sorts of Thai dishes and specialities … but back to the chillies … chillies can be found in nearly every Thai dish or element of Thai cuisine – and rightfully so. I left Bangkok with the most fantastic memories and loads of recipes … but this one – is my ultimate favourite – I gave the Grapua Moo Sub a bit of a twist. Its easy to make and soooo tasty! Just so you know though … I added a bit of lemon juice and black pepper to the dish. Its heaven when that yellow of the egg breaks and spills over the cooked mince and rice.
mince meat + eggs + chillies + basil . a thai match made in heaven