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

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.

Cherry pie recipe (tinned cherries)

Cherry pie recipe (tinned cherries)

cherry pie recipeAs a child I remember having the most delicious Sarah Lee cherry pies (not sure if you can still get them in SA) as a treat and as I have moved recently was keen to try out the new oven and decided to give a cherry pie recipe a try for some friends.

Everyone really enjoyed it and I can seriously recommend you try it. The recipe calls for ready made pastry so no messy stuff involved. It’s a pretty simple recipe and almost anyone could make this.

What you need:

2 x rolls frozen shortcrust pastry

1 1/4 cups sugar

3 tablespoons Maizena (corn starch)

Pinch of salt

2 x tins pitted black cherries in thick sauce

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon softened butter

Flan dish  (20cm)

The process

Set your oven to 200 celsius

Let the pastry thaw in the fridge over night and then lightly flour a surface and roll out so that you have enough width to line the flan dish with pastry. Spray the flan dish with spray and cook or butter well and then cover the pastry with baking paper and fill with baking beads.

Blind bake for 15 minutes, remove the beads and return to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes until lightly browned and crisp. Remove from the oven and let it cool.

Add sugar, Maizena and salt to a bowl and mix.

Drain the cherries and keep 1/2 cup of the sauce in a bowl.

Add the lemon juice to the cherry sauce and then add all of the dry ingredients and mix well.

Now add the softened butter and pop into the fridge for about 15 minutes.

The mixture is quite runny so don’t be alarmed.

Now place the cherry mixture into the beautifully crisp flan dish.

Cover with a lattice of pastry strips and pop into the oven for 50 minutes or so or until the lattice pastry is golden brown.

Serve with thick cream and ice cream.

Next time I will add a little cinnamon!!


Warm banana chocolate dessert

Warm banana chocolate dessert

chocolate-banana-dessertThere seems to be a glut of bananas on the market at the moment. PicknPay were all but giving them away last week and here is a really delicious warm dessert for those bananas that are getting over ripe. Also remember that if you peel and slice bananas you can freeze them and then pop them frozen into a blender for an ice cream type treat.

What you need

120ml soft butter (100 grams)
175ml white sugar
175ml brown sugar
1 egg beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
250ml mashed bananas
400ml flour (1 and 3/4 cups)
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch salt
1 cup chocolate chips

The process

Add the softened butter and both sugars to a bowl and mix together very well then add the vanilla essence and egg and beat well with electric beater.

Sift in the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt and mix until combines.

Add the banana and chocolate chips and mix gently with a metal spoon to evenly distribute the banana and chocolate chips, you dont want to mix it, just distribute it.

You have quite a large amount of mixture so place it in a large baking dish or roasting pan and bake at 180 Celsius for about 20 minutes. Check on it after 10 minutes and if the sides seem to be cooking too fast, turn the oven down to 160.

Allow it to cool slightly and dig in. It’s simple and very tasty.

Bread and butter pudding

Bread and butter pudding

Bread and Butter Pudding

Bead and butter pudding is one of those desserts that seem to really bring a family together and get them chatting at the end of a meal. Its warm, homely, moreish and smells great. I know it’s been so hot in SA lately but serve this with a dollop of great vanilla ice cream or shipped cream and you have a winner.

What you need

Crustless bread cut into triangles (I sometimes leave the crusts on of they are thin)
Apricot jam
Coconut grated (optional)
1/4 cup Raisins andcurrants (optional)
2 eggs
750ml milk
125ml sugar

The process

Butter and jam bread generously.

Arrange bread triangles overlapping slightly in an ovenproof dish, if using coconut, sprinkle over the bread.

Beat eggs, add sugar and milk then pour it over the bread and leave to soak for 30 mins. Sprinkle over the currants and raisins.

Bake at 160 celsius for 1 hour or until the top is browning lightly and the custard mixture is heaving underneath the bread.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream

Simple, done and dusted.

Buttermilk pancakes

Buttermilk pancakes

Buttermilk pancakes

These buttermilk pancakes are beautifully light and puff up so nicely. I love to put a nice size piece of soft butter on top of a stack, smother them in maple syrup and have a few pieces of crisp streaky bacon on the side but serve them with strawberries warmed in a pot with a little sugar or anything else you feel like. You cam alos break up the crisped bacon into small pieces and add them to the batter for something different. This makes about 12, 10cm diameter pancakes. Some people call these flapjacks, I call them pancakes.

If you want to serve these on a school morning, make the batter the night before and keep it in the fridge. Give the batter a stir in the morning and add a little more buttermilk if needed.

What you need

1 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
2 teaspoons melted butter
250ml buttermilk

Butter for frying

The process

Sift the flour, salt, bicard of soda and baking powder into a mixing bowl.

Make a well in the center and break in the egg. Now with a whisk mix the egg and add half the buttermilk and melted butter. Whisk gently drawing the flour in from the sides. If you add too much liquid it will become lumpy.

Now gradually add the rest of the buttermilk until you have a thick pouring cream consistency. The secret of these pancakes is to now leave the batter to stand for at least 30 minutes before you make your pancakes. If you are adding bacon bits to the recipe, do it now.

Heat a thick based pan on a medium heat and add a little butter. The best way to do this is to brush the base of the pan with melted butter. Take a ladle and spoon in the batter to form 10cm pancakes, wait for bubble to appear on the surface (about 3 minutes) and then flip them over and watch them puff up. The cooked surface should be beautifull browned.

Cook the other side for about another 2 minutes and make a stack of 3 or 4 per person.

YUM,YUM,YUM winter breakfast at it’s best.

Simple apple cake

Simple apple cake

Easy Italian apple cake

This easy apple cake recipe is ideal as a hot dessert with cream or as a tea time cake served cold. It’s a really simple recipe and while the apples are sweet and delicious in the shops right now, you are going to want to try this one. Use nice large golden delicious apples they work perfectly but any good apple will be fine. The beauty of this cake is that it is really simple to make and never fails to please.

What you need

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
2/3 cup melted butter (use unsalted here)
Zest of 1 medium lemon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup milk
3 sliced and cored apples about 5mm thick

The process

Heat your oven to 180 Celsius

Add all of the ingredients except the apples to a large bowl and beat very well with an electric beater until you have a smooth well mixed cake mixture. Use a food processor if you have one.

Lightly butter a 23cm spring form cake pan and then flour it by placing about 2 tablespoons of flour into the cake tin and shaking and tapping it around until you have a fine film of flour coating over the butter. discard and left over flour.

Pour in the batter and cover the top of the mixture with the apple slices in a circular pattern. Don’t press then down, they will submerge slightly into the batter which is just what you want.

Bake in the center of the oven for about 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. The top should be golden brown and the cake puffed up between some of the apple slices.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10-15 minutes before removing the sides.

Serve as a hot dessert with cream and a sprinkling of caster sugar or have as a tea cake. Try this one, it’s easy and impressive.

Cinnamon rice pudding

Cinnamon rice pudding

Tuscan Cinnamon Rice Pudding

Winter time is warm homely dessert time and this classic Tuscan rice pudding is as good as it gets when you feel you need a comfort pudding. It’s really important to use Arborio rice, it’s a creamy full rice that absorbs the cinnamon flavour perfectly. It’s a rich pudding that will serve 4 to 6 people depending on what you serve it with. If you have one of those fancy star shaped moulds it looks amazing.

What you need

4 cups milk
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (I know it sounds like a lot but it’s right)
1/3 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter
3 eggs separated

The process

Bring the milk to a boil in a large pot on a medium to high heat. As soon as the milk boils toss in the rice and give it a good stir, reduce the heat to medium and cook the rice for about 30 minutes until the milk has been absorbed then remove from the heat.

Add the cinnamon, sugar and 5 tablespoons of the butter to the hot rice off the heat and stir it in until the butter has completely melted and the cinnamon and sugar evenly distributed and leave it to cool to room temperature.

Now put your oven on to 180 Celsius while you finish the recipe.

Add the egg yolks and stir into the cooled rice, set aside. In a separate bowl beat the egg whites to stiff peaks and then fold into the rice mixture. You don’t want to mix it in, just gently fold it to distribute. It is fine to have white streaks through your mixture.

Now take the last tablespoon of butter and grease a 23cm round mould well. Spoon in your mixture and smooth over the top. You can give it a press and even a tap on the counter to make sure that there is no air in the mixture.

Bake it fo about an hour until the top is nicely browned and the rice is set.

Let it cool for a few minutes after removing from the oven and then turn it out. You may need to slide a knife around the top edge.

Serve while still warm with some whipped cream or sliced fresh fruit or both.

This is proper comfort food and if you like this you are going to love the Malva pudding recipe.

New Orleans bananas

New Orleans bananas

New Orleans Bananas

New Orleans Bananas

The year is almost over and this dessert screams good times. It has rum, bananas, rasins and cinnamon. It’s a really great way to end a dinner party and takes little effort to prepare. (4-6 people with ice cream.)

What you need

4 large ripe bananas
Handful of raisins (a little less than 1/2 a cup)
3 tots dark rum
60g butter
4 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Vanilla ice cream

The process

First put the 3 tots of rum into a cup and toss in the raisins, set them aside to plump up.

In a pan on a medium heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir until it has completely melted. Slice the bananas through the center, add to the sauce and cook for 3 or 4 minutes until soft, turning them gently every now and then.

Sprinkle over the cinnamon, add the raisins and rum mixture and allow to heat through for about another 2 minutes or so.

That’s that, sauce done.

Serve hot or cold topped off with a ball or 2 of ice cream.

Traditional steamed Christmas pudding

Traditional steamed Christmas pudding

Steamed Christmas pudding

Steamed Christmas pudding

This Christmas pudding recipe really needs a scale, I have tried to get it to cups but depending on the size of some of the ingredients, whether they are chopped or not etc… just does not do it justice. Head on over to the appliances section and get one, they are not expensive and once you have one you will wonder how you did without it.

You should make your Christmas puddings now for Christmas, just like a good Christmas cake, a Christmas pudding needs some time for all of the flavours to combine and the alcohol to really make a difference. Some say you should make them as far as 3 months ahead but not really necessary. You can also make it a week or so before but giving it time does make a difference. It’s an old fashioned recipe that has suet in it which you can get from your butcher, you just need to ask for it. You can use Brandy or Rum. Makes 2 small ones or 1 large one.

What you need

120g caster sugar
120g suet
150g sultanas
150g raisins
120g currants
60g candied citrus peel chopped
60g flour
60g breadcrumbs
25g almond flakes
Zest of 1/2 lemon
3 medium eggs beaten
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
pinch of salt
75ml brandy

The process

Take either 2 small glass bowls (600ml or so) or 1 larger glass mixing bowl (1200 to 1500ml) and lightly butter them inside. Use a piece of the butter wrapper, it’s easiest.

Combine everything except the Brandy and eggs in a large mixing bowl and mix with a wooden spoon to distribute evenly. Now add the Brandy and the eggs and give it a good mix.

Fill the bowls equally with mixture and then cover tightly with tin foil by laying a piece over the top and creating a thick edge with the foil that hangs over the edge.

Now take the largest pot you have, place a saucer upside down on the base, place the pudding on the saucer and pour water around the side to reach about 2/3 up the side of the pudding and bring to the boil. When it’s boiling reduce heat to a simmer, place the lid on and it needs to steam for 5 hours.

Important: Check every 15 to 30 minutes depending on the size of your pot and top up the water level.

Remove from the heat and allow it to cool before yuo remove it. Once cooled and out of the pot, cover it with a fresh piece of foil and set it on a shelf in a cool dry place until you are ready to eat.

To reheat, steam in the same way for an hour, place a plate over the top and then turn upside down allowing the pudding to settle on the plate.

Pour about 2 tablespoons of brandy over the top and set it alight. merry Christmas.

It’s very rich and this will happily serve 6 to 8 people with custard and perhaps one of these strawberry cream cakes.

Here are all the rest of the Christmas recipes you will need.

Apple passion crumble

Apple passion crumble

Apple passion crumble

Apple passion crumble

This is a really great recipe. Hot Apple crumble with whipped cream or ice cream is one of my real favorites but the passion fruit and pear flavour added to the apple is just fantastic. Don’t be shy with the whipped cream on this one, forget any diet your are on and just indulge yourself. Eat it straight from the oven, you are going to love it. If you don’t want to make your own pastry, use the supermarket short crust pastry. (serves 6-8 people)

What you need

3 cups flour
1/3 cup caster sugar
250g butter cubed
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
2 large eggs
2 tins apples slices (800g)
2 tins pears halves(800g)
4/5 passion friut (1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon brown sugar

The process

Take a 23cm springform cake tin and butter it lightly. Even if you are using a non stick tin, butter it, it adds to the flavour.

In a large bowl add the flour, caster sugar, cinnamon and butter cubes. Rub together with your finger tips until crumbly or process in a food processor by pulsing until crumbly.

Now add the eggs and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. if processing, continue to pulse until it forms a ball.

Lightly flour a surface and knead the dough for about 5 minutes or so until smooth. Wrap in clingwrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Take 2/3’s of the pastry and press into the base of the tin and up the sides about 7cm or so. Cover it with baking paper and fill with rice. Bake it at 180 Celsius for 15 minutes, then take out the paper and rice and bake for another 10 minutes, remove and set aside. Freeze the last 1/3.

Drain of the liquid from the apples and pears and then place them in a clean cloth to dry them off a bit.

Now add the apple pear and passion fruit pulp to a bowl with the brown sugar and toss it or stir lightly to combine.

Fill the crust with the apple mixture and use a grater to grate the remaining 1/3 of frozen pastry over the top, sprinkle a little extra cinnamon over the top and bake again at 180 celsius for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and crisp. This can take up to 40 minutes.

Allow to cool for about 15 if you can, the filling is seriously hot.

Serve with whipped cream…. Sublime I tell you. Here is another fantastic apple pie recipe