Saturday, January 31, 2009

Banana and Chocolate Bread.

The challenge for this month on Sweet and Simple Bakes is this lovely Banana Chocolate Bread. Banana bread always goes down well in this house and is a great and welcome addition to lunch boxes. I usually use a recipe of Delia's but it was lovely to try a new one. We loved the hint of lemon from the lemon rind (I didn't have a spare orange!) and who could possibly complain about chocolate chips?
Banana and Chocolate Bread
Serves 10-12
250g (9oz) self-raising flour
Pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
150g (5oz) caster sugar
100g (3 ½ oz) butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
475g (17oz) whole bananas (about 4 small ones), peeled
75g (3oz) dark chocolate chips
13 x 23cm (5x9in) loaf tin
Preheat the oven to 170oC (325oF), Gas mark 3. Lightly butter and line the loaf tin with parchment paper. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the sugar and butter and, using your fingertips, rub it in until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Whisk the eggs, vanilla extract and orange zest in another bowl. Add the bananas and mash very well with a potato masher. Add the chocolate chips. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the banana mixture. Gently but thoroughly bring all the ingredients together with a wooden spoon, then pour into the prepared loaf tin. Smooth the top and bake in the oven for 1-1 ¼ hours or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing the cake from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.
Please click on the link on the right and look at the Chocolate and Banana Breads worldwide and if it looks like good fun to you then join in with the next challenge!

When the boat comes in!!

I love to dream of fish fresh from the sea and the other day my dream came true! OH and Teenboy went on a fishing expedition before the new school year begins and came home with this catch. Now usually our fishing results in lots of well fed fish in the sea and a very empty frying pan but not this time. OH was so pleased with the catch that he cleaned and barbequed them for dinner.

The top fish is a taylor, a predatory fish which has very sharp teeth but makes good eating. The lower fish is a Maori wrasse which is lovely to look at and just as good to eat.

These were simply moistened with a bit of olive oil and a splash of lemon juice, walloped on the barbeque then served with potato salad and fresh sweet corn. It doesn't get much better than that!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Blast of Protein!

My OH has taken up his training again using the multi-gym we have in the garage. As a result he's needing to increase the amount of protein that he eats. I've been busy looking for different sources rather than just meat or eggs and remembered my flirting with quinoa last year. I quite liked the porridge but felt that OH would prefer something a little more savoury. After researching on 'the net' I came up with this idea of a 'sort of risotto'.
Savoury Quinoa Risotto-thingy!
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 cup quinoa
2 cups veg or chicken stock
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup mixed veg
3 tomatoes, chopped
3 pieces of sundried tomatoes, chopped
25g grated cheese
Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the onion and garlic until translucent. Add the quinoa, stock and tomato paste and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes and then add the mixed veg. Simmer for another 5 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked. Stir in both sorts of tomato and the cheese and gently heat through. Season to taste and serve.
It all went down well and next time I'm going to play around with the veggie mix as I think that a bit of celery and courgette would go well too. So, a bit of a success if I do say so myself and I'm definately going to be looking for more things to do with quinoa!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

An Aussie Greek Salad!

This has been a most relaxing weekend! Since June last year we seem to have had visitors non stop! Not that I'm complaining! When you live on the other side of the world to your family and friends it's nice to know that you're not a case of 'out of sight, out of mind'. However I can't deny the feeling of peace that has descended over the house since the last of the visitors left for the airport and the calendar is still empty of visitors for the coming year.

Once all the domestics had been done it was time to turn my attention to the very neglected veggie patch and what did I find? The makings of a very tasty Greek salad. The courgette plants that I put in turned out to be cucumber plants and they were quietly producing away in the corner. I'm not sure what variety they are but rather hope they are the ones rejoicing in the name of 'Burpless'! The Roma tomatoes were also doing a grand job despite weeks of neglect and the beefy tomatoes are hanging off the plants too.

Having picked the produce, washed and chopped it along with half a red onion I drizzled the salad with some local olive oil from the Hunter Valley and added feta cheese. The crusty bread comes from a brilliant patisserie called Pierre's in Turramurra and there we have lunch!

Now all I need to do is think of 6 ways to use up the 6 red cabbages that are waiting to be picked!