Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Banana loaf recipe for really ripe bananas!

(really easy to make)

6oz self-raising flour
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 ripe bananas (the riper the better)
2 oz butter/margarine
1 egg
5 oz caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 tsp salt

1. Sift flour and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl.
2. Mix (wooden spoon, whisk or blender..) bananas, egg, sugar, butter, vanilla essence and salt until smooth.
3. Add flour and bicarbonate of soda and combine.
4. Bake in a lined loaf tin for about 40 minutes at 190 deg Celsius (375 deg Fahrenheit).

My boss gave me this recipe from one of our helpline calls and I'll agree with the comment about it being easy. Also, not being a person who really likes bananas all that much (especially once they've gone speckly), this is perfect for using them up and it doesn't taste of nasty banana, just nice banana.

I will post a photo of my own banana bread (assuming I make it as far as picking up the camera without eating it all!)

Monday, 14 March 2011

Garlic and Bread Soup

This is a good way of using up a special loaf, such as rye, spelt or sourdough, that’s got a bit stale. Keep stale dry bread in a metal tin, taking care to ensure that it is moisture free. This can be done by putting it on a plate and leaving it overnight on a radiator.

By Caroline Marson

Serves 4

1.5 litres chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon Salt Salt
8 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
A handful of chopped parsley
Black pepper
25g grated parmesan cheese
Extra virgin olive oil

In a large 3-litre saucepan, heat up the chicken stock and add the stale bread, salt and garlic.
Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the parsley and black pepper.
Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and top with a generous sprinkling of cheese and a swirl of virgin olive oil.

Clay Pot Onion Soup

Clay cooking pots are effortless to use and don’t dry out food. In fact the food that is cooked in them tastes wonderful! You don’t necessarily need to add more fat or liquid so this method of cooking is also good for you. Any recipe can be adapted for cooking in a clay pot and it is a good way of using up leftover food.

The pots or chicken bricks need to be soaked for 15 minutes in water before use and when they are heated in the oven, steam will evaporate slowly during cooking, and the food inside will release and cook in its own juices.

Although this recipe is cooked for 2 hours, you can leave it to cook without any worry. Once everything is thrown into the pot, the top goes on and into the oven, giving you more time to do other things.

By Caroline Marson

Serves 4

6 large onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
25g butter
A sprig of thyme Herbs
Ideal for seasoning pastas.


Soak the clay pot for 15 minutes and drain. Put the onions and garlic in the pot and dot with butter. Cover and place the clay pot in a cold oven. Set the oven at 200°C (400°F) mark 6. Cook, stirring once or twice, until onions are light brown, about 1 hour.
Sprinkle the onions with thyme. Pour in stock and wine. Cook, covered for 1 hour. Season to taste.
Near the end of the soups cooking time, toast the bread. Float the toasts in a single layer over the soup. Sprinkle with cheese. Increase the temperature of the oven to 230°C (450°F) mark 8. Cook the soup uncovered for 10 minutes until golden and bubbling.

Friday, 11 March 2011


I'm having a major downer at the moment. I was quite strong with myself a couple of weeks back and decided I wouldn't stand on the bathroom scales every day (it's been a bad habit of mine for a long time, when I was sick, I'd stand on them at least four or five times a day and freak out if the number had increased). This is quite a big thing for me and I was really proud with myself that I managed it for so long and that I've actually been enjoying food (probably a little too much, but it's been nice eating what I want and not knowing what the scale would say afterwards, it's been rather freeing).

Then this evening I decided to stand on the scales and I've put on nearly 10 lbs since I last checked. TEN POUNDS!!!

How on earth did that happen????? Well, gluttony is the answer I guess. Pure unadulterated gluttony :( I know that I shouldn't put so much emphasis on my weight and appearance but sadly it's the society we're in. Skinny = successful and fat = lazy. I'd like to live in a world/society where it's the person you are who matters and not what you weight or how you look. I don't like being so superficial...

To cheer me up though, I thought I'd post a couple of pictures. A and I took a friend to Beale Park last weekend and had a lovely day. I didn't take many photos because I only had my camera phone (which has a rubbish zoom), but here's a selection:

These ducks were so relaxing to watch. Most of the other ducks and geese were making a racket, but these two were just peacefully bobbing around.

Everyone likes Meerkats, *simples*

This little guy was only about a day old but refused to stay still for long enough to get a good photo.