Soft As A Cloud- Banana Cake

 

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Soft as a cloud 

Now that I’m working from home, I find myself wandering around the kitchen, looking to stuff my face, more frequently than usual…a bit like Yogi Bear, minus the pic-a-nic basket- but with the bearlike appetite.

 Prudently, I’ve taken to yoga & replacing all snacks to fruits! While this military behaviour works well for the 1st couple of days, the charm begins to wear off & given the general lack of interest in eating healthy, my kitchen is soon laden with slightly overripe fruit. Not a great situation, no.

So, after a good amount of research, I’ve come across a few great bakes that require ripened banana. And it’s a complete win, this situation, as A- The banana is the quickest & easiest form of energy intake & B- My kitchen is no longer a ripe old forest of mushy bananas! Yay!

 Now, banana cakes always make me happy- the aroma, moistness & the fact that they are simply the easiest to bake! All this month, I’ve been experimenting with this new recipe & every time I bake it; the cake just seems too be getting lighter, fluffier & tastier! It’s almost like a friend that never, EVER, lets you down (God, I have to get out of the house more often)!

The steps to this recipe are ridiculously simple & it would be a crime to keep it to myself. What I like most about this bake is that every ingredient is so easily available at home.

 You need..

2-3 large over ripe & speckled bananas

½ Cup castor sugar

1/3 Cup canola oil

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 ¼ Cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp soda bicarbonate

1 tsp cardamom powder

¼ tsp grated nutmeg

A handful chopped walnuts, dried figs & I also added dried rosemary. for a healthier option, use a handful of mixed seeds- such as flax, sunflower & pumpkin.

All you do is:

  • Pre heat the oven to 180 C.

  • Line an 8×8 inch baking tin with baking paper. Tricky but fun, once you get the hang of it.

  • Sift flour, baking powder, soda bicarb & cardamom – add the nutmeg & keep aside.

  • Using a food processor (the easiest way) whiz together the bananas, oil, vanilla & eggs till completely mixed; about 3 spins.

  • Evenly spoon over the flour mix onto the wet mix, in the processor & whiz only about twice- do not dump in the flour as it tends to make the batter lumpy. Do not over mix as this would lead to a tough & heavy cake.

  • Pour the batter into the prepared tin, scatter the nuts or seeds & bake for about 25 minutes.

  • The cake when done should be a lovely golden brown & pass the skewer test- or should come out dry when skewer inserted.

  • Take the cake out of the oven & let it rest in the tin for 10 minutes before you cool it on a wire rack.

  • I love to cut up this pillowy soft cake into chunky squares & pile ‘em high to serve. You could also dust the slices with icing sugar or wrap the slices in baking paper & twine.

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Wrap slices in baking paper with twine.

 

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Pile ’em high!

See how easy & healthy this cake is?

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Golden banana cake with walnut, fig & rosemary

This is when I say “Enjoy”..

Hey Pesto!

Quick & Easy Basil Pesto Sauce

What do you do with a large bunch of fresh basil leaves? Simple, make a delicious Pesto! Effortless & really relaxing, Pesto is the simplest & handiest sauce ever made! A well sealed batch of Pesto can be stored for 2-3 month in the freezer & pulled out to dazzle the simplest meal!

I whipped up this batch under the observant eye of my dog 🙂 

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All you need is:

 

2 cups Fresh Basil Leaves

1/4 cup    Pine nuts or Walnut pieces

1/4 cup  Parmesan Cheese

3 tablespoon  Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1-2 cloves  Garlic

1/2 teaspoon    salt

1/2 teaspoon    Freshly ground pepper

 To make:

Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Pour in the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. You may add water, if you wish it thinner. Season with salt and pepper. Pulse until the consistency you like. I prefer mine chunky! Transfer the pesto into an old jam jar and mix in the grated cheese. Give the jar a good shake & hey pesto ( couldn’t resist ) it’s done!

Alternative method, anyone?

If you’re feeling adventurous, you could roughly chop up all the ingredients &  grind with a basic pestle & mortar. This is considered pretty authentic-but attempt only if you’re ready for a good amount of wrist & elbow work!

 More Pesto tricks! 

If freezing the ready sauce, transfer to a Ziploc bag and drizzle a little oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months.

And because pesto freezes well, all you have to do is pull out the just the quantity you need to add simple brilliance to a regular meal!

 Here’s my Top 10 Pesto Comes to the Rescue tips!

  1. A tiny teaspoon of pesto is delicious when mixed with mashed potato.
  2. Marinade chicken or eggplant with pesto and bake in the oven.
  3. Add to soups to enrich the taste. I love it in tomato or a hearty minestrone soup.
  4. Add to mayonnaise and make pesto mayonnaise 🙂 A delicious sandwich spread, is what you’ll get.
  5. Mix pesto with ricotta cheese and use for a quick vegetarian pasta or lasagna.
  6. Mix with hung yogurt as a dip for chips!
  7. Mix with cubed boiled egg and grated cheese and use in a toasted sandwich.
  8. Spread on pizza base instead of tomato purée.
  9. Add to an omelet or frittata mix.
  10. Toss par boiled potatoes in pesto and roast-makes yummy pesto roast potatoes.

Be right back, pesto calling..