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trotski and ash banana bread

29 Oct 2018



When I bought my bunch of manky bananas a few weeks ago, there were quite a few in the bunch. Even after I'd made the banana crumble cake I was left with a cup of mashed banana which I placed in the freezer. I decided to use the bananas to make this banana bread filled to the brim with dates and pecans.



The recipe called for sour cream which I can't tolerate so I used Greek yoghurt instead and some double cream I found lurking in the fridge. When it came time to lick the beaters, the batter tasted really good.



I wanted to decorate the cake but I decided icing would be overkill, so I topped the cake with some sliced banana.



The cake being so full of dates and nuts took a little longer to bake than suggested. My cake was in the oven for 1 and 1/2 hours and it made my flat smell so good.



Here's the recipe for you which makes a large loaf cake. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Trotski and Ash Banana Bread 
Ingredients
200g (1⅓ cups) self-raising flour
½ tsp bicarbonate soda
Pinch salt
125g unsalted butter, softened
⅔ cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup of mashed banana
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup plain yoghurt or sour cream
⅔ cup dates, chopped
½ cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
1 extra banana sliced horizontally into 2

Method
Preheat oven to 180ºC. Grease and line the base and sides of a loaf tin with baking paper. 

Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl and set to one side. In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and the mashed banana, then when mixed add the beaten eggs. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the yoghurt then add the nuts and dates. Mix well. 

Pour into the prepared loaf tin and decorate the cake with the banana slices. Bake for 1½ hours or until the cake tests cooked when a skewer is inserted. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes before removing the cake from the tin. When completely cool, remove the paper lining and store in an airtight tin.



I took the cake into work and it had disappeared by lunch time which is always a good sign. Thankfully I'd put a small piece aside so I could taste the finished product which was very moist thanks to the banana, cream and dates. I topped my slice with a scrape of cream cheese and it was delicious.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,

Jillian
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persian love cakes

22 Oct 2018



I've been slowly baking my way through Sweet by Ottolenghi and Helen Goh. These persian love cakes looked so pretty in the book I thought I'd try out the recipe. 



I had all the ingredients at hand except for the buckwheat flour. I wasn't keen to return to the shops and with some rye flour in the pantry I decided to use that instead.



These cakes are made in a food processor. The dry ingredients and butter are whizzed up in the food processor. Some of the mixture forms the crunchy base and with the addition of the eggs and yoghurt, the moist topping. The little cakes have an intriguing taste and texture.



Here's the recipe for you which makes 12 small cakes. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.



Persian Love Cakes - adapted from Sweet: Desserts from London’s Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh, © 2017. The cakes can be served warm, without the pistachio topping, or at room temperature with all the toppings.

Ingredients
240 g almond meal
135 g raw sugar
135 g light brown sugar
50 g rye flour
80 g unsalted butter, fridge-cold, cubed
½ tsp salt
160 g plain Greek yoghurt
90 g eggs (about 1 and ½ large eggs)
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg

To serve
60 g labne or mascarpone
1½ tsp shelled pistachio kernels, slivered or finely crushed
icing sugar, for sprinkling

Method
Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Well grease and flour a 12 cup muffin pan.

Place the almond meal, the sugars, flour, butter and salt in a food processor and pulse until the mixture has the consistency of breadcrumbs. Transfer two-thirds of the mix (about 340g) to a large bowl along with the yoghurt, eggs, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix to combine and set aside.

Evenly spoon the remaining third of the crumb mix into the base of the 12 muffin pans; it should come about a third of the way up the sides of the tins. Use your fingers or a teaspoon to press the mix into the base of the tin, as you would a cheesecake, so that it is compact.

Fill each mould with the yoghurt mix and firmly tap the muffin tin to level the top of the cakes. Place the muffin tray in the centre of the oven and bake for 30–35 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through, until the cakes are golden brown on top and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. The cakes will look slightly uncooked and damp inside, but this is the way they should be and is part of their charm. Allow the cakes to cool for 15–30 minutes before unmoulding them. (They are delicious as is, slightly warm.)

To serve, cool completely before sprinkling with icing sugar. Presentation-wise, it’s a nice little trick to lay a piece of baking paper on top of each cake, on the diagonal, hold it down flat, and sprinkle the icing sugar over the exposed side of the cake. Spoon a little of the labne or mascarpone on top of each cake before topping with the chopped pistachios.

Storage
These cakes are at their best the day after they are made. They can be eaten on the day or kept for up to 2 days in a sealed container (without the topping) but they don’t keep for much longer than this. Once the cakes have been topped with the labne or mascarpone, they can be stored in the fridge and brought back to room temperature before serving.


These little cakes were very popular and disappeared in a trice. Every-one loved the 2 textures in the cakes - the crunchy bottom and the moist interior. This is definitely a recipe to try.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,

Jillian
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the most outrageous chocolate brownies

15 Oct 2018



I first saw a photo of this recipe on instagram and was intrigued. It's an adaptation of an Ina Garten recipe by way of Lee Bailey. The original recipe was huge using pounds of chocolate and 6 eggs. I wanted to make the brownies in an 8 inch pan so I divided the recipe by three. 



When I compared the recipe to my usual brownie recipe, it was very similar so using my own brownie recipe as the starting point, I reduced the flour a little, added a teaspoon of instant espresso powder and half a teaspoon of baking powder, some chocolate chips and away I went.



When I tested the brownies at the 30 minute mark, they were still pretty moist but I took them from the oven anyway. I stored them in an airtight container overnight before cutting them the next day. They were moist and held together okay but next time I'd bake them for another 5 minutes just to get a slightly drier top.



If you'd like to give these very rich brownies a try, studded with walnuts and chocolate chips, here's the recipe for you.



For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

The most outrageous chocolate fudge brownies - makes 16 small brownies
Ingredients
125 grams butter
180 grams 70% dark chocolate (if you use 55% cocoa reduce the sugar to 2/3 cup)
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp espresso powder
⅓ cup plain flour
1½ tbs cocoa
½ tsp baking powder
pinch salt
120g chocolate chips or chunks
1 cup (115g) walnuts/pecans/toasted macadamias, chopped into large pieces
icing sugar for dusting

Method
Preheat oven to 190°C. Grease and line the base and sides of a 20 cm tin.

Melt the butter and the chocolate together in a bowl over simmering water or in the microwave.  Allow to cool to room temperature then stir in the sugar and the beaten eggs, the vanilla and the espresso powder.

Sift the flour and cocoa together with the baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture and beat well until glossy. Add the chocolate chips and the nuts and stir until combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin.

Bake at 190° C for 30 minutes or until just cooked when tested with a skewer. Allow the brownies to cool in the tin, before turning out and removing the paper. When cool dust with icing sugar and cut into squares to serve.



My workmates just love brownies but these were shared between my neighbours and friends. As they didn't make it into work I'm about to make a another batch to share with my colleagues.

See you all again soon. 

Bye for now,

Jillian

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blood orange poppyseed cake

8 Oct 2018



It's no secret that I just love blood oranges. Just look through the archives and you'll find blood orange cakes, tarts, curd and squares. A few weeks ago blood oranges were on special at the fruit shop so I bought a few. 



While looking through my copy of Sweet, I spied the Lemon and Poppyseed cake, the National Trust version and decided to make it using blood oranges instead of lemons. The lemon poppyseed cake was baked in a loaf tin but I decided I wanted to make my cake in a bundt tin.



The cake uses both melted butter and double cream, so its the perfect cake to make when you've forgotten to leave your butter out to soften. 


The cake was very quick to put together and baked in a bundt tin it was out of the oven in about 45 minutes. 



Here's the recipe for you. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.




Blood Orange Poppyseed cake – adapted from Sweet: Desserts from London’s Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh, copyright © 2017. Makes a small loaf or a bundt cake.

Ingredients
75g unsalted butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing
3 large eggs
225g caster sugar
120ml double cream
10g poppy seeds
4 tsp finely grated orange zest
170g plain flour
1¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt

Glaze
100g icing sugar, sifted
1½ tbs orange juice

Grease and flour a small bundt tin. Store in the fridge while you make the cake. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Place the eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on a medium-high speed for about 2 minutes, until pale and frothy. Add the cream and continue to whisk for about 2 minutes, until the mixture has combined, thickened a little and turned pale.

In the meantime, melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low heat, add the poppy seeds and orange zest and set aside. (I put mine in the fridge).

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl, then use a rubber spatula to fold this into the egg mixture before folding through the butter, poppy seeds and zest.

Spoon the mixture into the cake tin so that it rises three-quarters of the way up the sides. Place the tin on a baking tray and cook for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before unmoulding.

Make the glaze by whisking the icing sugar with the orange juice in a bowl. Pour this over the top of the still warm cake, spreading it over the top so that it sinks in and creates a nice glaze. Leave to come to room temperature before serving. The cake will keep for 3 days in an airtight container, if it lasts that long.



I'll definitely be making this one again, probably the lemon version next time. If I make the lemon cake in a bundt tin, I'll ditch the glaze and use a citrus syrup instead. Trying to get the glaze to run down the sides of the bundt cake was just a bit too fiddly.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,

Jillian
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banana crumble cake

1 Oct 2018



When I was in Brisbane last month I had some spare time to fill. I hadn't brought anything with me to read so I spent some time going through my parents copy of Stephanie Alexander's book, The Cook's Companion, bookmarking recipes I'd like to try when I was back home in my own kitchen.



I found lots of things I'd like to make but what caught my eye was this simple banana cake, topped with a walnut crumble. I do like a good old fashioned banana cake.



The key to a good banana cake is to use manky old bananas, the browner the better.  The Asian grocery store across the street from where I work, often sells battered and bruised bananas for $1.00 a bunch. I bought a bunch then waited another week until they were even more battered and bruised before mashing the bananas to make the cake. The ones you see photographed are not the ones I used, as they're not very photogenic. I had everything else I needed in my pantry so come Sunday morning I set to work.



I had everything else I needed in my pantry so come Sunday morning I set to work. Here's the recipe for you which is adapted from Stephanie Alexander’s Simple Banana Cake, from The Cook’s Companion while the topping comes from Belinda Jeffery's book Mix and Bake. The recipe can be baked in a 8 inch square cake or in a loaf tin. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C. 



Banana Crumble Cake
Walnut or pecan topping
17g plain flour
27g brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
15g cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
35g pecans or walnuts

Method
Place the flour, sugar, cinnamon and butter into a small food processor and whiz to combine. Add the nuts and pulse until the nuts are coarsely chopped. Tip into a bowl and chill while you prepare the cake batter.

Cake
125g softened unsalted butter
1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe banana
1 tsp vanilla
200g self raising flour
50 g plain flour
pinch salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup buttermilk or yoghurt

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line the base and sides of a loaf tin with baking paper. 

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs and the banana. Sift dry ingredients into a bowl and add to mixture, alternating with buttermilk or yoghurt. Spoon the mixture into tin, levelling the top then scatter the topping over the cake batter. Bake for 1½ hours or until a fine skewer inserted comes out clean.

Cool cake in its tin on a wire rack for a few minutes before turning out. Cool completely before cutting and storing in an airtight tin.



The cake came out of the tin smelling delicious whilst the cake itself was dense moist and redolent of bananas. If you don't fancy making the walnut topping you could ice the banana cake with a simple lemon icing or top with cream cheese icing. I still have some mashed banana in the freezer and have a few more banana cake/bread recipes I'd like to try.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,

Jillian
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