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P1030642

I probably make banana bread once a fortnight, and I’ve posted some fancy schmantzy pansty banana breads here. But the recipe I turn to over and over again is this one: simple, basic, no booze, no nuts, no figs, no frosting. You can adapt it as you wish, add choc chips, cocoa, nuts or alcohol. We like this one just as it comes.

Ingredients

  • 3-5 ripe bananas
  • 50g melted butter
  • 150g golden caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 125g self-raising flour

Pre-heat the oven to 170C/150C fan.

Line a baking tray with tin-foil. Lay the bananas out on the prepared baking sheet. Make pricks with a fork, about 1 inch apart. Bake for twenty minutes. The skin of the banana will turn black and a lot of liquid will come out of the bananas. The idea is that this will intensify the flavour and sweetness of the banana. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile grease and line a loaf-tin.

Melt the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar and whisk through.

Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking constantly, then add the vanilla.

Whisk in the bananas.

Fold the flour into the mixture.

Once all the ingredients have been fully mixed together, spoon into your loaf tin.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour (at 150C), depending on the skewer test.

Allow to cool and enjoy each slice with or without butter. (Butter’s better.) Great for school lunchboxes.

My favorite banana bread is this one, with figs and ginger. You might also like this one with rum and walnuts, but my children definitely prefer it plain.

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P1030637

This is a quick and easy supper I put together for myself the other evening when my husband was out. I had some left-over quinoa from the previous evening and just wanted to scramble something together fast.

Ingredients

  • quinoa, about two cups (cooked)
  • a splash of olive oil, some salt and pepper
  • 1 courgette, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper (capsicum)
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 leek
  • 4-5  leaves of cavolo nero
  • a good handful of parsley, chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 200C

My  quinoa was pre-cooked. But here is what to do if you don’t have the luxury of leftovers:

Cook the quinoa on the hob over a low temperature. In general with quinoa, you use double the amount of water to grain. In this recipe I used 1 cup of quinoa, to two cups of water, adding a little vegetable bouillon for flavour. Cook for about twenty minutes until the kernels begin to separate.

Put the chopped courgette, red pepper,  tomatoes and garlic in a small oven-proof dish. Drizzle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for around fifteen-twenty minutes.

In the meantime, very gently fry the onion and leek together in a non-stick frying pan. Add the cavolo nero and chopped parsley. Add the quinoa, and finally the roasted vegetables.

You could serve with some grated cheese on top. Delicious.

SERVES 1.

 

 

 

P1030629

I was in my local fishmonger‘s a couple of weeks ago, and my eyes were caught by some skate cheeks. These are something I have never cooked with. They look a little like scallops, and I have learnt since that you can treat them in the same way. But the fishmonger recommended a fish curry. I turned to Nigella as my inspiration, and this is what I came up with:

Ingredients

  • Skate cheeks (I’m not sure what the weight was, I asked the fishmonger for enough for two people, she gave me perhaps 10-12 pieces)
  • a little salt
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • chilli
  • 1 inch or so of fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 400ml can of coconut milk
  • 3 tsp tamarind paste
  • 1 fish-stock cube
  • chopped coriander

As instructed by Nigella, sprinkle the fish with a little salt, and a teaspoon of turmeric. Return it to the ‘fridge whilst you get on with the sauce.

Gently fry the onion, garlic, chilli, and garlic until softened. Add the cumin and remaining turmeric.

Add the coconut milk, tamarind paste, fish stock cube and a little boiling water to the mix.

Allow to simmer for ten minutes or so.

Cool slightly. Then, using a hand-blender, whizz the sauce to a smooth consistency.

If you are making the sauce ahead of time, this is a good time to stop.

Otherwise, if you are just about ready to eat, add the fish to the sauce and simmer for five minutes or so. Skate cheeks have a single bone, which you can (in a very sophisticated manner) spit out whilst eating.

Serve with rice, and a sprinkling of coriander.

SERVES 2.

Here's one I made earlier

Here's one I made earlier

Hi, my name's Helen and I live in London with my husband and two children. When I started piping the potato on my shepherd's pies, my husband suggested that it might be a good idea for me to find an outlet for my creativity, so here we are. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, the extra twist is that I don't eat meat (I do eat fish though) and Jim, who loves meat, is always on a diet. Here are a few recipes that I have enjoyed making for my family.

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