Banana Bread (again)

Bananas

My Saturday has included
– breakfast
– baking
– a failed trip to H&M (pro-tip: don’t go on a Saturday, just don’t)
– a large hot chocolate
– vegemite and cheese toastie

The baking has been the highlight (well along with breakfast). Unconsciously I think I have been on a search for my ideal banana bread. It’s tricky. I don’t want to fill it full of sugar. I’d rather make it gluten free. Most importantly, it’s gotta be damn tasty. And I think I may have found it.

Four words.

One. Bowl. Banana. Bread.

It’s also gluten free, and has only bananas and maple syrup for sweetness. I found it on Minimalist Baker, which I have been drooling over for sometime now but have yet to jump in and make any of the creations. What better place to dive in than with banana bread. Especially when you only need one bowl.

We start where all good banana breads start… with mashed, overripe bananas

banana bread: mashed bananas

Next up we add everything except are three flours

banana bread

Once whisked it’s time to add the oats, almond meal and gluten free flour.

banana bread

We whisk again and into the greased and lined tin it goes.

banana bread

Even at this point, I’ve gotta admit it smells delightful. Into the oven it goes for 45 minutes to an hour. I probably could have left mine in a little longer but considering I am planning to toast it for breakfast I figured it didn’t matter too much.

banana bread

Banana Bread (adapted from Minimalist Baker)

Ingredients
3 ripe bananas
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 egg
3 tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
3.5 tsp baking soda
a big pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup vanilla almond milk
3ish tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cup almond meal
1 1/4 cup oats
1 1/4 cup gluten free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)

Method
1. preheat oven to 180*c
2. mash your bananas in a bowl
3. add everything except the almond meal, oats and GF flour. Reserve the cider vinegar too. Whisk it up.
4. add your cider vinegar and give it another little whisk, it’ll fizz a bit.
5. almond meal, oats and GF flour are added, mix it up.
6. pour your batter into a loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

You’re done! Now all you have to do is clean up the mess created in the process…

banana bread: behind the scenes

banana bread: behind the scenes

This is pretty much how my kitchen looks every time I bake something… In my defence I did clean the whole place up afterwards!

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A long weekend

Like everyone else on the planet, I love a long weekend. There is something so delightful about getting to Sunday night and realising that you don’t have to be in the office the following morning. Bliss. Serious bliss.

This weekend we down here in Australia (apparently with the exception of Perth for some reason) celebrated the Queen’s Birthday. Even though the actual Queen’s Birthday is not in June. It’s weird. But I will not object to a day at home.

It wasn’t a terrible eventful weekend but it was lovely nonetheless… here are a few photos of this and that…

Homemade lemonade- The Local Burger Co

I remembered to order the homemade lemonade at The Local Burger Co. on Friday night. Tangy, delicious and super cute!

Small Block breakfast for 2

Small Block. Our breakfast venue of choice.

East Brunswick street art

East Brunswick street art

A little East Brunswick street art.

sunshine strolls

It was a perfect day to walk home in the sun.

Saturday baking: raspberry white chocolate loaf and banana loaf

And any day is perfect for baking. These two loaves- raspberry, white chocolate and coconut on the left, and banana and milk chocolate on the right- went off to a friend who is a new mama six week olds don’t leave a whole lot of time for anything aside from feeding and nappy changing…

Loving Earth caramel

I’ve been meaning to try Loving Earth caramel for ages… it was pretty impressive.

Breakfast quesadilla

Sunday breakfast. There is cheese, avocado, mushrooms and ham in that puppy. I’m a sucker for a quesadilla.

Mojo ginger kombucha

For some reason the grocer near my work has stopped stocking the ginger number… why, oh why!? It’s the best one!

perfect avocado

PERFECT AVOCADO. This went into yet another quesadilla…

mermaid yogi

For the month of June I decided I’d take on an Instagram yoga challenge. The one I picked is Mermaid Yogis. This is days 7, 8 and 9. There was also a 45 minute flow on Yogaglo. I am really enjoying yoga at the moment. White tshirts seem to make me look particularly pregnant… the bump is even poking out on the top left!

vegie fritters

Vegetable fritter mix. The only thing I dislike about making fritter mix is that you need to squeeze out the liquid from your veggies. No matter how much I squeeze there is always juice in the bottom of the bowl. Why? I tried to compensate with quinoa flour, I think it went pretty well. I’m already looking forward to chowing down on these puppies with avocado, and tuna for lunch. Yum.

Today I have also managed to knock off a lecture on carbohydrates. It’s nice to have started subjects that are more nutrition focused rather than the general biology and chemistry. I’m looking forward to getting into more of the nitty-gritty of nutrition.

And that’s it. The weekend is pretty much done. And as much as I do not want to go into the office tomorrow, at least I know it’s only for 4 days and then we’re back to the weekend again.

Enjoy your week!

 

 

Zesty Lemon Curd

Last week life (ie. my work collegue) gave me lemons. I immediately knew that they were destined for lemon curd that would be piled high with meringue for a Mother’s Day Lemon Meringue Pie. It wouldn’t just be any ordinary pie though, oh no, this would be a testament to the fact that most anything can have a healthier twist. It was going to be glorious.

That plan hit a road block, or two.

Road block one: the pie crust recipe I planned to use (this one) used almond meal/flour. After my baking bonanza the previous weekend that result in delicious savoury muffins and banana walnut loaf, my almond meal stores were depleted. And for whatever reason when I went in search for it, my usual haunts either didn’t  have it, or it was appallingly expensive. So instead I decided to use quinoa flour.

I should point out that this baked up a treat. It was crumbly and fragrant and altogether lovely. However, it was not a sweet pie crust. Pop a quiche in that sucker and it would have been a dream, but the sweet and tangy filling I had in mind just wasn’t going to work.

Road block two: sugar, though generally thought of as evil, not only provides sweetness to your meringue but also structure (as my father tells me). A half-half ratio of coconut sugar and stevia, although providing gorgeous colour and a deep caramel flavour, does not provide such structure. As a result my Italian meringue was weepy and without structural integrity.

Through all of this however, the lemon curd was a triumph. It was tangy and just sweet enough to not make your face screw up too much- it should probably be noted here that I love a super tangy lemon curd.

Ingredients at the ready. There actually isn’t very much to this recipe at all. And as soon as I am flush with freshly picked lemons again you can bet I’ll whip up another batch exclusively for toast.IMG_1145

Sweetener. Eggs. Zest. Whisk. Whisk. Whisk.IMG_1146

Add butter (or coconut oil or ghee).IMG_1147

And your lemon juice.IMG_1148

From here it goes onto the heat and you whisk away. A note, make sure you’re getting all the way to the corners of your pot, when my curd went into a bowl there were some semi-scrambled egg bits around the edges.

Anywho… once your butter has melted and the whole mixture has thickened pour it through a sieve (if you’re opposed to lemon zest in your teeth and generally getting in the way of the beautiful smoothness) in a bowl. Leave it to firm up a little more in the fridge and try not to eat it with a spoon. It’ll be hard, but just try.IMG_1149

Zesty Lemon Curd (I doubled the original recipe, I’m a lemon curd glutton, what can I say)

Ingredients
6 eggs
1 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
170g butter, cubed
1/2 cup rice malt syrup

Method
1. Add your eggs, rice malt syrup and lemon zest in a small to medium saucepan. Whisk away until combined and a bit paler (mine didn’t really lighten much so don’t stress too much)
2. Add you butter, then you lemon juice
3. Time to heat it up, put you pot over medium heat. Stir/whisk constantly. Your butter will melt and then everything should start to thicken up. It will be a bit like custard, and coat the back of a spoon (I wish I could tell you how long this took however I totally zoned out and was kind of in a lemon curd haze, it was quite relaxing actually)
4. Sieve your curd, if you’re opposed to zesty bits, into a bowl. Let it cool before refrigerating
5. Eat with a spoon directly from the bowl. Or on toast. Or in a pie. Or, as we did, in a deconstructed pie of sorts layered with biscotti, raspberries, meringue, and cream

Banana-Apple-Walnut loaf

Who doesn’t love banana bread?

But what do you do when you only have 1 over ripe banana? You scour your fridge for any other bakeable fruit, that’s what. And that’s how I ended up with this frankenstein bread-loaf creation.

I started with Teresa Cutter’s healthy banana bread recipe, but didn’t have everything I needed to got to making substitutions.

Banana-Apple-Walnut loaf

A little rice malt syrup here. A little melted butter there. Some grated apple instead of banana. And BOOM! You’ve got yourself a tasty and healthy snack.

Banana-Apple-Walnut loaf (based on Teresa Cutter’s Banana Bread)

Ingredients
1 ripe banana, mashed
2-3 large apples, grated (squeeze most of the juice out too)
3 eggs
200g almond meal
1/2tsp bi carb soda
1/2tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp rice malt syrup
1tsp vanilla
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2-3/4 cup walnuts

Method
1. Preheat oven to 160*c
2. Combine banana, apple, eggs, vanilla, rice malt syrup, melted butter and apple cider vinegar
3. Add the almond meal, walnuts and chia seeds, mix it all up until combined
4. Spoon batter into a greased loaf tin
5. Bake for 45 minutes, test it with a skewer, if it comes out clean you’re done
6. Let it cool in the tin before removing
It should keep for about a week in an air tight container. You can also slice it up and freeze it in individual slices for a grab and go option.

Yum.

Cheesy Savoury Muffins (gluten free)

I’ve never really attempted a savoury muffin. I think it’s partly because I never know what to put in them. And also, as much as I can knock cupcakes out of the park, muffins always seems to allude me. It’s that whole “over mixing” situation. I always do it. However, when you take gluten out of the equation it seems to get a little easier.

savoury muffin

The reason I had an itch to make a savoury muffin was thanks to a spectacular one I enjoyed with a hot chocolate at the East Brunswick Project on a cold and rainy Saturday morning.

It didn’t take long to find a base recipe (this one) and took to tweaking.

savoury muffin

Cheesy Savoury Muffins (gluten free)

Ingredients
1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup gluten free flour
1tsp baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
60g butter (melted)
2 cups cheese (grated)
1/2 red onion (finely diced)
handful chopped parsley
salt and pepper

Method
1. Preheat over to 180*c (350*f), and line a 12 cup muffin pan
2. Combine almond meal, gluten free flour, baking powder, cheese, parsley and red onion, salt and pepper in a bowl
3. Mix up milk, melted butter and your egg
4. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix it up. Not too much!
5. Divide your mix up and bake for about 15 minutes
6. Enjoy!

savoury muffin

The Local Burger Co.

In June of 2013 I ate the best burger of my life, under a railway line in Berlin. Burgermeister genuinely stole my heart. We ate off our laps sitting on milk crates in the European summer sunshine. The pattie was juicy. There was the perfect amount of cheese and other fillings. And the pattie to bun ratio was spot on.

After we arrived home I accepted that other burgers would be good, but none would quite match Burgermeister.

Until now…

The Local Burger Co

The Local Burger Co hasn’t been open all that long (I don’t think). I actually hadn’t noticed it before but the BF had. And once we in the vicinity the decision was made. It’s only little with a few tables inside and more out on the street.

The Local Burger Co

The menu is concise but still makes it difficult to choose… especially when you realise there is pulled pork in the second column (this will be the BF’s choice next time we go I’m sure)! You even get a choice of white potato or sweet potato for your fries. Not too shabby. Oh and the current milkshake special is Peanut Brittle. Need I say more?

After some umming and ahhing, we ordered and took a seat out in the crisp autumn sun. I do love Melbourne this time of year.

The Local Burger Co.

It wasn’t long before our food arrived, and it was pretty exciting.

The Local Burger Co

Now that is a burger. Complete with large stake knife.

the Local Burger Co.

And naturally we had to get some fries too. They were the best damn fries either of us have ever tasted. At a guess they were cooked three times, once boiled to get the fluffy centre. And twice fried for the golden crispiness.

The Local Burger Co fries

the Local Burger Co

The Original Beef Burger, with cheese. Oooooh yeah…

Juicy. Fresh. Saucy. It was love at first bite. And second bite. And third bite. In fact, each bite was as good, if not a little better than the one before it. I am not even ashamed to say that it beat me.

the Local burger Co

I’m already looking forward to going back.

The Local Burger Co
687 Rathdowne St, Carlton North

 

Roasted pumpkin soup

A couple of weeks ago I was wandering the aisles of Coles before work trying to decide what to have for lunch. Pumpkin soup caught my eye, delicious, right? And pair it with a cheesymite scroll, you’re onto a winner (for those of you not from Australia this is a cheesymite scroll, they’re salty, cheesy and delicious… if you’re a vegemite fan that is).

I stuck it in the microwave until it was piping hot and eagerly anticipated my first mouthful, only to be thoroughly disappointed upon it touching my lips. Let’s be real, canned or packaged pumpkin soup is, well, rubbish.

So, the following weekend I did what any sane person with a pumpkin soup craving would do, I made it myself.

I am sure there are as many recipes for pumpkin soup on the internet as there are for chocolate chip cookies, a whole lot. But I am pretty darn proud of mine, it’s hearty, satisfying, smooth, pumpkiny, and can be vegan with a switch of stock. Simple! The key, in my opinion, is roasting up all your veggies first. Roasting, my friends, makes all the difference.

pumpkin soup

Spiced and oiled and ready to roast. Oh yeah.

Roast those babies for 30 to 45 minutes. Don’t stress if they get a little black and crispy on the edges. Black and crispy leads to flavour-town.

pumpkin soup

From pan to pot.

pumpkin soup

Add your liquid. Cover your veggies. Boil and bubble. You can let this go for as long as you like really. Set it to low and let it go.

pumpkin soup

Personally I like my soup smooth, so I blend, blend, blend. This step is best done when you’ve let it cool a little, otherwise you will end up with scalding soup spitting at you. Best to avoid that.

pumpkin soup

Mmm… soup.

The best thing about whipping up a big batch of this on a Sunday afternoon is that you can eat it all week long. Or, if you’d prefer, hide a couple of servings in the freezer for a rainy day and a crusty roll. Trust me, you’ll have enough.

pumpkin soup

Rosted Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients
1 butternut pumpkin (squash)
1 wedge of japanese pumpkin
2 brown onions
garlic, the amount really depends on your taste (I used 10ish cloves)
1 sweet potato
2 parsnips/turnip/swede (parsnip is my personal favourite)
salt, pepper, paprika, Mexican chilli powder
1lt stock + enough water to cover you veggies
olive oil

Method
1. preheat your oven to 180-200*c
2. peel and chop all of your veggies into chunks, except your garlic leave that in its skin, toss them in a bowl, drizzle some oil and add your spices to your taste
3. roastin’ time, throw them into the oven for 30-45 minutes
4. throw roasted veggies into a big pot, add your stock and top up with water until the liquid covers all of your veggies. Set it to low and let it bubble away for up to 90 minutes
5. allow to cool a bit before blending
6. serve it up to devour immediately or package up for future enjoyment!