Best Banana bread recipe

Best Banana bread recipe

best-banana-breadSince my trip to Australia 2 years ago where banana bread is part of Ausie culture and can be bought anywhere! I have tried many banana bread recipes and am happy to say that this recipe is the easiest and tastiest of the lot.

I have been making it regularly, cutting thick slices and smearing thick layers of butter onto warm pieces 🙂 If it’s not directly from the oven, I pop it in the toaster to warm it up.

This is such an incredibly easy and satisfying recipe, you will be making it all through the holidays, having it for breakfast and for tea and perhaps even as banana french toast!

You need a 20cm x 10cm loaf tin, it takes 10-15 minutes to prepare and 1 hour in the oven.

What you need

2 large or 3 medium over ripe bananas
1 cup white sugar (must be white – I have tried others and it does make a difference)
1 egg
1/4 of a cup melted butter
1 and 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon bicarb of soda (baking soda)
1/4 teaspoon salt

Optional:
handfull of chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon

The process

Heat your oven to 170 celsius

Use a potato masher to mash the bananas well. You want a paste consistency with as few lumps as possible. add the sugar, egg and butter and mix well. When you can feel the sugar has dissolved (about 1 minute of mixing) put aside.

In another bowl add the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda (baking sode). Give it a mix with a fork to distribute the ingredients and then pour the flour mixture in with the banana mixture.

Give it a mix until all of the flour is mixed in, pour into a lightly buttered loaf tin (10cm x 20cm) and then into the oven for 1 hour.

Thats that! Your family will be so happy you tried this recipe.

Cream cheese icing

Cream cheese icing

best cream cheese icing

Best Cream cheese icing

Cream cheese icing is what you would normally find on a carrot cake and using this recipe exactly as it is makes enough to cover the top and sides of a 25cm round cake. The icing is not very sweet but creamy and really delicious.

It’s a very versatile recipe so if you like your icing sweeter, add a 1/4 cup of icing sugar to the mix and to make a chocolate version, add the extra sugar and 1/3 cup cocoa powder.

This really is the best cream cheese icing you will ever taste so next time you make cup cakes or any cake for that matter, smother them in this fantastic cream cheese icing.

What you need

250g cream cheese (none of that low fat nonsense)
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

The process

Butter and cream cheese must be at room temperature before you start or you will really battle.

Add the butter and cream cheese to a bowl and blend together with a mixer or a wodden spoon until well combined, then add the vanilla and give it a very good mix.

Now sift in the icing sugar mixing constantly until the mixture is velvety smooth.

If you are adding the cocoa for the chocolate cream cheese icing, sift the cocoa and icing sugar in together.

That’s that, the best cream cheese icing you will ever taste.

If you use a spoon to mix this icing you are going to get a good workout, the faster you mix and the longer you mix, the better it gets.

I have also smothered a banana bread in the original icing and I can tell you it is something you are going to want to try.

Homemade chocolate rum truffles

Homemade chocolate rum truffles

homemade chocolate truffles

Chocolate rum truffles

These homemade chocolate truffles are not the usual very rich almost too chocolatey truffles, they have a little crunch and use cocoa not chocolate. They are absolutely sublime and can easily be made without the rum for kids and those who don’t like alcohol. The best thing about this recipe is that it is so simple and can be made your own very easily, add a few nuts or cherries, less biscuit and more coconut, you get the idea. Have fun making them!

What you need

125g butter at room temperature
250ml icing sugar
100ml cocoa powder
1 packet Marie biscuits (must be bakers Marie Biscuits)
125ml Apricot Jam
2 tablespoons rum
Dessicated coconut

The process

Take your Packet of Marie biscuits and crush them up into small pieces. I use a bottle or rolling pin to break them up.

Pop the butter into a mixing bowl and cream it with a spoon until the colour changes to a pale smooth consistency. It doesn’t take long but is really important.

Sift in the cocoa and icing sugar, add the jam and the rum and give it a mix. Now add the crushed Marie bisuits and mix to combine all of the ingredients well.

Place your coconut (you can alo use crushed nuts of some sort but coconut and rum work very well together) and place it onto a plate, them roll balls by taking a tablespoon size piece and rolling it in your palms.

Drop into the coconut and then place on a baking sheet. Repeat until there is only one piece left for the cook!

Pop the tray into the fridge for about 1/2 an hour. Store them in the fridge in a tupperware.

You don’t have to use the rum for those who want a non alcoholic version of these simply little truffles. Try some of the other choclate dessert recipes

Coconut ice slice

Coconut ice slice

Coconut ice slice

Coconut ice slice

The holidays always remind me of the times spent on the Natal North coast and the local shop that always had coconut ice and peach sherbet in these huge glass jars. Here is a really fancy version of coconut ice layered into these delicious slices and toped with icing. These are incredibly sweet but so delicious. The kids will love making these… and if you can get them to sell a few for some holiday pocket money, al the better.

What you need

Base
90g butter
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
¼ cup caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1 cup flour
¼ cup maizena (corn flour)
1 heaped tablespoon desiccated coconut

Filling
2 cups desiccated coconut
1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs beaten
½ cup glace cherries roughly chopped

Icing

1 cup icing sugar
20g butter
1 tablespoon milk

The process

Take a baking tray and lightly grease with butter, then cover with wax paper.

In a mixing bowl, combine the butter, vanilla essence, caster sugar and egg yolk and beat it until it is smooth and well combined. Sift in the flour and maizena, then add the coconut and stir to combine.

Lightly flour a surface and knead the dough for a minute or two until smooth. Separate into 2 portions and set aside.

Now combine all of the filling ingredients together in another bowl and mix well. Set aside

In a pot over a very low heat add the caster sugar and butter and combine, then add 1 tablespoon of milk and mix until it is thick but easy to spread. You may need a little extra milk, but see how it feels first.

Press the one half of the dough into the based of the baking sheet, This is a 19x29cm baking sheet, spreading it evenly over the base. Spread over a layer of the filling, using it all and then place another layer of dough over the top. (The second piece of dough needs to be rolled out large enough to cover the baking sheet and is best done by placing a layer of wax paper on your surface, then the dough and then another layer of wax paper over it. Roll out the dough, remove the top layer of wax paper and then invert over the tray and removing the last layer of wax paper.)

Press it down lightly and trim the edges with a knife.

Place in a 160 Celsius oven for about 30 minutes until the top begins to brown.

Remove from oven and allow to cool, then spread a layer of the icing over the top, sprinkle with coconut and leave to cool completely.

When it’s completely cooled, cut into squares with a sharp knife.

These are great folks and well worth the effort. here is a  straight forward coconut ice recipe

Date balls

Date balls

Date balls

Date balls

Date balls recipes have pretty much stayed the same for years. They are great to have around the house for healthier little snacks, taste great and are as simple as pie to make. With Christmas coming up make sure you have a large jar of date balls for people to snack on.

What you need

2 packets Bakers Marie biscuits
250g dates chopped
450g margarine
250g sugar
2 eggs
desiccated coconut

The process

Break up the Marie biscuits and give them a bit of a pounding with a rolling pin or empty wine bottle. You want a combination of fine and small pieces, this gives them a nice little crunch. Make sure you get Bakers Maries, they are crisper biscuits and make a huge difference.

In a pot over a medium heat, add the margarine and sugar. Melt it and simmer slowly until the sugar is dissolved. Add the dates and let it simmer for about 3 or 4 minutes.

While the mixture is simmering, beat the eggs and add them along with the broken up Marie biscuits.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Place a generous amount of the coconut onto a plate and once the mixture is cool enough to handle, roll tablespoons of the mixture into balls and then drop into the coconut to coat.

That’s that, you have anytime snacks in about 20 minutes.

Place them into a large jar with a lid when completely cooled to store.

Try the peanut brittle recipe for a real treat.

Candied Walnuts Chinese style

Candied Walnuts Chinese style

candied-walnuts

Candied Walnuts

These are a Chinese food delicacy of marinated Walnuts, nice and sweet with a hint of salt from the soy which gives it a little colour as well. They are quite a unique flavour and very morish, so if you are dieting …. just don’t go there!

What you need

250g Walnuts
220ml honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Caster sugar
Oil

The process

Combine the honey, lemon juice, and soy sauce together in a bowl and then add the walnuts. Mix them well and allow to marinate for about 2 hours.

Drain the walnuts and discard the remaining sauce.

Cover a plate liberally with caster sugar and coat the walnuts generously by tossing them around.

Put about 3cm of cooking oil in a pot and heat to medium, them with tongs add the coated walnuts and deep fry until just golden.

Remove and drain on paper towel.

Here is a no fuss popcorn version of diddle daddle.

Easter chocolate crunchies

Easter chocolate crunchies

easter-chocolateThese are something a little different for Easter and are so incredibly delicious you will be hard pressed to find anything quite like them. Anything made is so much better than bought and these will be appreciated by anyone receiving them. They are really simple to make and the family will love them.

What you need

280g plain chocolate
100g butter
80g crunchies (honeycomb chocolate bars)
80g digestive biscuits
100g white chocolate
grease proof paper (wax paper)

The process

First off, place the crunchies and the white chocolate in the fridge to get brittle, then give them a few taps with a rolling pin or mallet to crack them into smallish pieces and set aside.

Melt the butter in a pot over a medium to low heat, and add the plain chocolate broken up and allow to melt, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat ad allow to cool.

Add the pieces of broken up chocolate bars and and biscuits, stir gently to combine evenly.

Place a large sheet of baking paper on your kitchen counter and spoon out the mixture into a log shape about 30cm long along the middle of the sheet.

Roll the paper over the chocolate log and twist the ends until the log is quite tight and a nice round shape.

Place in the fridge for about 2 hours until set, then remove the paper and cut into slices about 1cm thick.

Eat your heart out!

Condensed milk fudge

Condensed milk fudge

condensed milk fudge recipe

Condensed milk fudge

During the holidays, my kids often make things to sell to the neighbourhood and this one is a winner every time. For a little something extra and double the price, cover ithe fudge with a thin layer of chocolate like in the chocolate caramel slice.

What you need

800g sugar
250g butter
250ml milk
250ml condensed milk
10ml vanilla essence

The Process

Simmer sugar, butter and milk together over medium heat, in a medium sized pot, until the sugar dissolves.

Stir in the condensed milk and boil for 40 mins, stirring constantly.

Remove from stove and beat in the vanilla essence with an electric beater on slow while it is very hot. Continue beating on a higher speed until the mixture is thick and foamy.

Pour the fudge mixture into a shallow backing tray, lined with grease proof paper.

Allow to set and cut into squares.

Chocolate caramel slice

Chocolate caramel slice

chocolate caramel slice

chocolate caramel slice

I am a big fan of caramel and this chocolate caramel slice really hits the spot. It’s really very simple to make and just so good to have in your cupboard when the sweet craving comes around.
What you need

1 cup self raising flour
1 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup castor sugar
125g butter melted

1 tin condensed milk (400g)
20g butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup

125g milk chocolate
100ml cream

The process

Sift the flour into a bowl, add the coconut and castor sugar and mix to combine. Add the melted butter and mix thoroughly.

Take a baking tray (approx 20x30cm), lightly butter it and line with grease proof paper. press the mixture evenly onto the tray to form an even firm base.

Bake in a 180 Celsius oven for 10-15 minutes (when you see the base begin to brown it’s ready). Remove from the oven to cool.

Add the condensed milk, 20g butter and golden syrup to a pot over a low heat and gradually bring to the boil. (stir constantly) Allow the mixture to boil gently for about 5 minutes or until a rich dark caramel colour.

Pour the mixture over the base, spread evenly and then back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.

In a pot on a medium heat, add the cream and when you see bubbles appearing around the edges, remove from the heat, add the chopped chocolate and stir until completely melted and smooth. Pour over the caramel, spread evenly and place in the fridge to cool.

Cut into little squares once cooled.

Simple and delicious.

Peanut brittle

peanut brittle

Peanut Brittle

These are real treats and perfect for school lunch boxes, make peanut brittle and have it around the house in broken bits for any time snacks. I love peanut brittle but you can use walnuts or almonds for a different brittle. I have also been known to toss in some sesame seeds for a change. Make this one your own.

What you need

1 and 1/3 cups sugar
½ cup golden syrup
1 cup boiling water
1 and ½ cups broken peanuts (knock them with a rolling pin)
Pinch bicarb of soda
5 tablespoons butter

The process

Line a baking tray with tin foil.

In a pot over a low heat add the water, sugar and syrup and stir until all of the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook, not stirring for a further 3 minutes.

Remove from the stove and mix in the peanuts, butter and bicarb of soda to coat all of the peanuts well.

Pour into the lined baking tray and allow to cool. Snap into pieces.