Nutty Banana Bread with Walnuts & Pumpkin Seeds

I have two states of mind. I’m usually wracked with guilt for not going to the gym enough or obsessing all day about what deliciousness to bake next. This weekend, as most weekends, baking won! So I decided to compromise a bit and bake a healthy, fruity loaf instead of my usual decadent cupcakes etc.

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Found this super easy Banana Bread online, and as most ingredients were at hand, got going instantly. Amazingly, the prep time for this recipe is less than 15 mins!  

So if you have the time and a hankering for a slice of warm, delicious & guilt free banana bread, this one you got to try-it’s just brilliant.

Rustle up..

1 cup mashed ripe bananas

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt

1/4 cup canola or vegetable

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or almonds

2 tablespoon toasted pumpkin seeds

1 teaspoon flax seeds

Then…

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and place the rack in the center of the oven. 

Grease an 8 x 4 inch loaf tin with a bit of oil or butter.

In a large bowl, mix the mashed bananas with the baking soda and yogurt. Allow it to rest while you prepare the rest of the batter.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, egg and vanilla. You’ll get a gluey mix-don’t panic.

In another large bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, ground cinnamon, almost all the walnuts (reserve a few to scatter on the top of loaf) and salt.

Then combine the banana mixture with the oil mixture and then add to the flour mixture. Stir just until all the ingredients are moistened. Pour this thick & doughy mix into the prepared tin and smooth the top with the back of a spatula. Sprinkle on the remaining walnuts, pumpkin & flax seeds. I also like giving these toppings a little press to coax ‘em into the dough a bit.

Bake for about 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. The crust should be a nice delicious golden.

Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

I also made myself a hot cup of tea- best friends with warm cake, I tell you.

Perfect weekend :)

 

Nothing Like Starry Watermelon

Nothing Like Starry Watermelons

So, it’s been a while since I’ve baked cookies- it’s mad hot here in Mumbai & a hotter kitchen is terrifying! This morning tho, I happened to stumble upon my darling cookie cutter stash ( yes, I have a whole bunch of ‘em, extravagant purchases from X’mas ’13- also known as the Gingerbread Man/Cookie Era ) and decided to get a little crafty!
All you really need is a largish watermelon, a bunch of fresh mint leaves & the cookie cutter of your choice!
I then plunked the cut fruit chunks in a glass with torn mint & chilled in the ‘fridge!
Maybe I’ll drizzle a little lime or honey & toasted sesame seeds on ‘em or maybe will just eat the whole lot as is :D Any way you look at it, just the pretty shapes’re enough to get you fruit friendly , this summer!

Spoil Your Appetite with Three Mouthwatering Food Blogs

sharonpimento:

A delicious read!

Originally posted on WordPress.com News:

Blogging tends to make us hungry, which explains our tendency to highlight great food blogs. Today, you’re in for a particular treat: three food blogs that serve up gorgeous design on top of mouthwatering creations. Now, if only we could invent a Tasting Widget…

PornBurger

Don’t be alarmed by the site’s name — it’s perfectly safe for work, though probably less so for your keyboard (drool alert!). In this blog, burger-meister Matthew Ramsey unveils a new, groundbreaking masterpiece every week.

PornBurger

In case you were wondering, yes, the “buns” are fried mac and cheese.

Each burger-of-the-week gets a playful name — the lobster patty pictured above, for example, is the Mac Daddy, since it’s sandwiched between fried mac and cheese “buns.” Matthew is using the Kiore Moana theme, which offers full-bleed (no pun intended) featured images. That’s how we get to view each gorgeously stacked, perfectly shot creation in all…

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Summer Love Lemon Cupcakes

Airy & light, with just the right amount of tangy to sweet, Lemon Cupcakes makes perfect little treats for summer- and are insanely delicious!

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Discovered on a TV show, I’ve made minor tweaks (sometimes I use lime instead of lemon- coz this is Mumbai & lemons aren’t always at hand!) to this perfect little cupcake recipe & am thrilled with the results! Very easy to whip up & totally impressive, these babies have taken over number one position on my favorite-cupcakes-to-obsessively-bake list!

Sharing!

 For the Cupcakes:

        25g butter, softened

       125g caster sugar

       Finely grated zest ½ large lemon (keeping the zest of the remaining ½ lemon for the lemon icing) or a couple of large sour limes.

       2 eggs, beaten

       150g plain flour

       ¼ tsp baking powder

 For the lemon butter icing:

       75g butter, softened

       125g icing sugar, sifted

       Finely grated zest of ½ large lemon- or 1 lime

       1-2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

All you have to do is:

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Line a muffin tin with paper cases.

Cream the butter in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer until soft.

Add the sugar and grated lemon/lime zest and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Gradually add the beaten eggs, then sift in the flour + baking powder and fold into the mixture.

Divide the mixture between the paper cases and bake in the preheated oven for 20-22 minutes, until risen and golden.

When cooked, the centre of each cake should be slightly springy to the touch.

Remove the cakes from the tin and place on a wire rack to cool completely before you ice them.

To make the lemon/lime butter icing, cream the butter in a bowl with a wooden spoon until very soft. Gradually add the sifted icing sugar and beat into the butter, along with the lemon/lime zest and enough lemon/lime juice to soften the icing, to a spreadable consistency.

When the cupcakes are cool, spread a generous heaped teaspoon of lemon butter icing over the top of each one. Decorate with fresh mint sprigs!

And, as a friend suggested, you could also add a generous sprinkling of lemony sugar crystals to glam it up completely! Yes, these cupcakes are really gorgeous. 

Chocolate & Salted Caramel Squares with Peanuts.

What with my latest obsession for ‘sweet with salty’ getting uncontrollable, I decided to finally do something about it. Sure, I’m on a diet, as how can it be any other way? Anyway, to cut a long story short (mostly about the struggle within) I spotted this easy recipe off the ‘net. I can safely say that if you’re feeling the urge for a brittle, sweet & salty, agonizingly delicious caramel & chocolate treat, you’ve stumbled upon the right page.

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This treat is really simple to put together ‘coz almost everything is should be available in your kitchen cupboard. All you need is the strength to watch 250g of lovely milk chocolate slowly turn from delicious little squares to the gooiest pool of chocolate madness without giving up the plan & just polishing off the bowl instead. Yes, so deep breaths.

 Now, assemble:

  • caster sugar-100 g
  • butter, softened and diced-200 g
  • self-raising flour, sifted-300 g
  • boiled condensed milk-400 ml
  • salted peanuts, roughly chopped-125 g
  • milk chocolate, broken into pieces-250 g

All you need to do next:

Pop a sealed tin of condensed milk into a heavy bottomed pan – cover completely with plain water & bring to boil. Then simmer for 2-3 hours. Be sure to top off the water to ensure that the tin is always submerged. Once done, cool off the tin. You should get a lovely dark & very gooey caramel instead of the pale runny condensed milk. Dulce de leche, made easy!

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line the base of a 20 x 30cm tin with baking paper. Sure, it’s tricky, but so worth the effort.

In a large bowl, rub together the butter and flour in a bowl with your fingertips and stir in the sugar. Press into the prepared tin with your hands or a palette knife – be sure to level out the mixture.

Place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown all over, then remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin.

Only once it is cool, the fun really begins! Spread over the condensed milk to cover the shortbread, and then press the roughly chopped peanuts into it, making sure they are evenly distributed.

Now for the challenging part- place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water and allow to melt. Do not let the base of the bowl touch the water. It’s also important here to keep an eye on the chocolate as too much heat can turn it grainy. Once the chocolate’s glossy , smooth & evenly melted, remove from the heat and pour over the peanut-studded dulce de leche, allowing it to cool, and then leave in the fridge for 1–2 hours to set. Once set, cut the mixture into squares in the tin.

That’s it- simple and delicious!

Easy Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

This no fuss little treat is simply the best one I’ve ever nicked off the net. Minimal steps to perfection- if you have 20 mins to spare, give this one a try!

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For around 24 fluffy & light cupcakes, you need ..

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup of softened butter
  • 3/4 cup castor sugar (add a little more, if you like yours sweeter.)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

 

The steps are so easy..

 

  • Preheat oven to 170c; line muffin tray with cupcake papers.
  • Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
  • Beat in eggs one at a time.
  • Add flour (mixed with baking powder and salt) alternating with milk beat well; stir in vanilla.
  • Scoop evenly, about ¾, into cupcake liners in tray and bake for 20-22 minutes. Let cool in tray for about 10 mins before cooling completely on wire rack.

 

The Chocolate Buttercream, though an added step, is essential to this simple cupcake- as it adds a rich & satisfying finish. Plus it looks so great!

 

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

 

  • 75 g softened butter
  • 1 tbs heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder-press through a sieve to break up lumps.
  • 175 g sifted icing sugar

 

To make the frosting..

 

  • In a medium bowl, whisk butter till pale & fluffy.
  • Add & mix in cream & vanilla.
  • Finally, whisk in the icing sugar & cocoa, making sure there are no lumps.
  • Choose the piping nozzle that works for you & frost the cooled cupcakes!

 

Sometimes, I scoop out a tiny bit of cake from the centre, about half way through a cupcake & begin piping at this point, swirling my way to the top! Simply filling in more icing only enhances the deliciousness of every bite!

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Retro Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I love all things Retro Americana; especially food that was popular during the 1940’s & 1950’s. So, no surprises here, the Red Velvet Cake / Cupcakes easily tops my list of retro food favorites :)

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Have to say-this is the most satisfying thing I’ve baked. The intense red, lightness & the sheer deliciousness of the RV cupcake just gets dreamier with the right amount of cream cheese frosting. Having tried a couple of recipes, oh about 50 times or so, I’ve finally settled for this easy one. Seems just wrong not to share…

Makes about 20 delicious cupcakes.

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt, if using unsalted butter (Traditionally oil is used instead of butter, but I find butter so much tastier. I use guilt free Nutralite)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 110 g butter or margarine softened
  • 1 1/2 cups castor sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 11/2 tsp red icing colour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar (White vinegar reacts with the baking soda & creates an airiness that helps the cake rise more, making the cake fluffy.)
  • 1 tsp baking soda

All you have to do is:

  • Preheat oven to 180 c.
  • Line standard muffin pan with paper liner.
  • In a medium bowl, sift in flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; keep aside.
  • In large bowl, cream butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, icing color and vanilla extract; mix well until icing color is well mixed– be sure to scrape down sides of bowl when necessary.
  • Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk to butter mixture, add water and mix well.
  • In small bowl, combine white vinegar and baking soda-then gently stir into cupcake mixture.
  • Spoon into baking cups. Bake 20-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Cool cupcakes in pan on cooling rack for 5 minutes.
  • Remove cupcakes from pan, cool completely before icing.

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For more moisture & a salty-sugary hit, I find cream cheese compliments this cupcake perfectly, so went the extra delicious mile to whip up this quick frosting. It’s much easier to make & more appetizing than it looks!

Easy Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 110 g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 225 g cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs milk, if need to make thinner.

Place butter in bowl and beat until light and fluffy, for about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese, and beat until well-combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes more. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until combined, about 2 minutes. If too thick, add 1 tbs milk.

Fill in prepared piping bag with nozzle of choice. I like being fancy with the piping, but you could just use a spatula or butter knife to apply frosting to cupcake, as creatively as you like.

Frosting the Cupcakes:

Once, the cupcakes are cooled, peel off the paper liner & slice the cupcake horizontally- as neatly as possible :)

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Pipe icing generously on lower layer, shut cupcake & pipe swirl on top! That’s it; gorgeous red velvet cupcakes are ready!

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