Banana cake -gluten free

The perfect way to use up the last, lonely bananas sitting in the fruit bowl looking brown and not remotely appetising.

Prepare an 18cm square tin or 2lb / 900 g loaf tin

Preheat the oven to 150c / Gas 2

Ingredients:

170 g gluten-free self-raising flour       140 g butter

100 g light muscovado sugar         4 eggs (3 if not using gf flour)

1 large /2 small ripe bananas – 5/6 slices for the top and the rest mashed (I leave mine quite chunky) or 1 large mashed and 2 split in half for the top of the cake if making a square cake.

Method:

Put all the ingredients (except banana) in to a bowl and mix well until smooth. Add the mashed banana and ensure all mixed in. Put the mixture in the prepared tin and place the sliced banana on the surface of the mixture.

Place in the oven and cook on the low heat for about 45 minutes – until the mixture is firming up. Then increase the heat to 180 C / gas mark 4 and cook until a skewer comes out clean – about 1/2 hour.

Turn on to a rack and allow to cool – or eat as a delicious pudding whilst still hot from the oven!

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Changing tastes

I have been informed that when I start chemotherapy food just won’t taste the same. Now for a food lover, I find this prospect quite unnerving. Talking to other people who have undergone the same therapy, I have been warned that sometimes taste preferences change from day to day, or the desire for sweets goes – not a problem for me..phew, or I will have a bitter or metallic taste in my mouth, or I will no longer enjoy red meat – again…phew -don’t eat it any way.

This all got me thinking about how my taste buds have changed over the years and foods I once enjoyed I now know longer eat or vice versa. I distinctly remember when I started to enjoy ‘grown up foods’ – in my early 20s. Until that age I couldn’t bear foods such as parmesan or blue cheese or very oddly – kedgeree!. It wasn’t until my late 30s that I could eat and enjoy olives – I frequently tried as they always looked so delicious. As I have got older my once ‘sweet tooth’ has gone and I will choose savoury over sweet every time.

I understand the medical reason – I was born with approximately 10,000 taste buds that are replaced every two weeks or so but over time they aren’t replaced and the numbers start to decrease and so flavours that were once too intense are now more palatable. I ‘get’ this but still find it fascinating.

What foods did you dislike as a child and now enjoy?

Vegetarian chilli

This is my go to speedy chilli dish. One pot does the cooking so limited washing up – always a bonus. Have played around with my spice mix and this is a moderate chilli- the addition of the cayena guindillas do give it an additional punch so can be omitted. Chewing on a hidden gem does give your tongue a bit of a zap!

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Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 tbsp coconut oil       1 white onion – chopped

1 pepper – deseeded and chopped

250 g of vegetarian mince

1 large can of kidney beans – washed and drained

1 large can of chopped tomatoes      1 can of water

5 guindillas chopped (optional)

Spices: 2 tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 2 tsp of cumin and 1 tsp of raw cacao powder

Method:

Saute the onions and pepper until softened.

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Add the vegetarian mince and stir until heated through.

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Add the tinned tomatoes and kidney beans.

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Stir through and fill the tomato can with water and add to the mix.

Add the spice blend, stir thoroughly, cover and allow to heat through thoroughly.

 

 

 

Is 3 the magic number?

The other day I fancied a super speedy breakfast – in truth I couldn’t be bothered to put much effort in! So, 3 minutes later I was chomping on a piece of gluten-free toast slathered (such an onomatopoeic word) in crunchy peanut butter and topped with slices of banana.Delicious.IMG_20160812_100340My caption within my IG post stated, ‘Two’s company but in this case three is definitely not a crowd.’ This got me thinking… I often eat a combination of 3 flavours without thinking about it.

This morning I had a kefir, coconut and maca smoothie. Yesterday’s lunch for my hubby – quail eggs and bacon on gf toast. The day before…avocado, scrambled eggs and oatcakes.  Don’t worry I’m not going to list all my meals over the last month. But, when I look back over my IG account over 50% (always like a statistic) of my meals are a 3 flavour combination.

I started to think about old childhood favourites …fish, chips and mushy peas, beans on toast with grated cheese on top…ooh…choux pastry, cream (i.e. profiteroles) and chocolate sauce.

I have just looked up from typing at my cookbook selection and there on the shelves is Three Good Things by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Not sure whether I feel a challenge coming on…would I have to count spices and seasoning as one of my three?

Another winning combination – smoked salmon, lemon juice and bread. Must stop||

It does make me wonder though how much we complicate things – do we need to combine so many flavours in one dish or do we actually savour simple, more?

Love to know your thoughts and your favourite combinations of 3.

 

 

 

 

Ginger and lemon gluten free muffins

Recipe testing this afternoon coincided with visitors arriving so these muffins had willing victims / volunteers to test them. With the mention of ginger within, one of the visitors who normally resists cake grabbed a sample with gusto. The cakes didn’t let me down. I am using coconut sugar in lots of my cooking at the moment – still a sugar but with less fructose content.

The resulting cakes were flavoursome, light and an even texture…success 🙂  We ate them whilst drinking tea…they would be delicious served as a desert with vanilla ice cream / Greek yoghurt and a drizzle of Limoncella!!

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Preheat oven to 180c / gas 4

12 muffin tray  – good quality non- stick ( I used Prestige – didn’t need to grease)

Ingredients:

170 g gluten-free self-raising flour       150 g butter

150 g coconut sugar         4 eggs (3 if not using gf flour)

2 pieces of stem ginger chopped into fine pieces

1 tbsp of syrup from stem ginger jar

grated rind of 1 lemon

Method:

Put all the ingredients  for the muffins in to a bowl and mix well until smooth. Spoon the mixture in to prepared tin.

 

Bake for about 15 mins – until skewer is clean.

Place on a rack to cool.

Devour 🙂

 

Corn on the cob curry 

A really simple, mild but full of flavour curry. Served on a bed of brown rice.

My daughters don’t enjoy hot and spicy food but this curry goes down very well indeed.

The blend of peanuts and yoghurt ensure a creamy sauce that coats the accompanying rice well.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 corn on the cob – chopped in half and then split length ways

50 g gram / chickpea flour         3 tbsp groundnut oil

1 450 g carton of Greek yogurt

250 g unsalted peanuts – ground

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp chilli powder

500 ml water

Method:

Cook the prepared corn on the cob in boiling water for 6-8 minutes. Drain.

On high, heat the oil in a frying pan and add the flour – stirring continuously for a couple of minutes. Turn the heat down to a moderate temperature and add the ground peanuts, Stir for a coupe of minutes. Add the yoghurt, turmeric and chilli and stir till mixed thoroughly.Slowly add the 500 ml of water stirring all the time to create a thick sauce. Add the corn on the cob and simmer until all heated through.

Serve on a bed of warm rice.

Pork and apricot casserole

This is a recipe I have made for years but more recently seem to have forgotten how wonderfully well the flavours go together. Having dug around in the freezer during an ‘eat from the freezer’ week (is it only our house or does everyone have a freezer purge / food amnesty once in a while?) I located four pork loin chops. I love making a casserole – very little preparation and the Aga does the rest. An ideal dish for a slow cooker.

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Sometimes I put an assortment of ingredients in to a casserole and then serve with simple vegetables. This casserole lends itself to simplicity – 3 flavours: onions, pork and apricots. It is then scrumptious with roast potatoes, honeyed carrots etc.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 large white onion  – finely diced

4 pork loin steaks – cut in to large pieces

1 large tin of apricots or 6-8 dried apricots cut in to chunks

Gluten free plain flour        Olive oil – 1 tbsp    Water

Salt and pepper to season

Method:

Heat the oil in a pan and soften the onions. Add the pork steaks and seal both sides. Add a couple of tbsp of flour and mix well. Slowly add water, stirring continuously until a thin gravy is created. Add the apricots and seasoning. Ensure the steaks are covered in liquid. Cover and place in the oven on a low heat for a couple of hours or until the pork is tender.

This dish also works well with prunes instead of apricots.

Cooking is therapy

Having had a day last week that was very different to the norm and not the sort of day I would like to repeat, it was wonderful to receive a postal delivery of dry ingredients that I had ordered prior to my op. I always get very excited when new, to me, flavours arrive.

This is my comfort zone, my area of contentment and my normality – cooking is my therapy.

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I use lots of spices in my cooking and have always been relatively confident playing around with combinations (with only the very occasional flavour disaster). My latest delivery contains sumac and za’ater – two spices I have not used myself although I have eaten many Persian and Middle Eastern dishes. So, while I recover and am relatively housebound I will enjoy spending my time conjuring up recipes. Watch this space …

Mint and Feta whip

This combination of flavours tastes absolutely gorgeous and compliments many dishes – my husband enjoys it with burgers and I think it adds a new level to a salad. Unfortunately no picture does it justice ..so here goes:20160723_171433Ingredients:

200 g Feta cheese chopped in to small chunks

150 ml sour cream         2 tsp paprika

2 tbsp honey           Handful of chopped mint

Method:

Put all the ingredients in to a bowl and mix thoroughly until smooth.

Place in fridge until serving.

Cranberry salsa

I think the finest meal is one where you have the opportunity to have a multitude of different flavour combinations – probably why I love a roast dinner with all the extra trimmings.

A barbecue is one such opportunity – a plate can be laden with a multitude of little bits of this and that.

This is one such dish.

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Ingredients:

1 large white onion – finely chopped             Zest and juice of 2 limes

1 large green pepper – finely chopped          600 g of cranberry sauce

Mint – large handful chopped          Coriander – large handful chopped

Method:

Put all the ingredients in to a large bowl and combine thoroughly.

 

This salsa is perfect with meat, fish and salads – an all round great accompaniment.

I put the salsa in to the empty cranberry sauce jars. It will last for at least a week in the fridge (if not devoured beforehand!)