Tag Archives: breakfast

Paul Hollywood’s recipe for Banana Bread

Paul-Hollywood's-Banana-Bread-(6379)

I bake banana bread on a regular basis for a number of reasons; one, because it’s so easy, two, because it’s tasty, and three, because there’s nothing better than a mug of thick hot chocolate to go with it. I have made other recipes for banana bread (or loaf, you can call it what you want) in the past. You will find at least another two in this blog. And most probably I have told you that those were two of my favourites. Well, I have to include this one in that list.

You will find a really good one in Paul Hollywood’s How to Bake (Bloomsbury, 2012). You will find a chocolate and walnut version of this right here, which is almost identical to the version found in the book. Please note that the book version omits the chocolate. It’s a pity I didn’t bother to look for the online version before: it would have made for a much prettier photo. But not to worry…fortunately I *always* have a small stash of chocolate in the pantry, for which I now have use!

The recipe in the book calls for the following:

  • 3-4 large bananas, ripe and mashed
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 125g soft unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 120g walnut pieces

Just follow the link I have given you above for the method. What I did was a little bit different, because I wanted to use up some chopped hazelnuts which as usual were bought for another recipe. (No surprise there!) I had 3 very ripe bananas, 80g walnut pieces, topped the rest with the hazelnuts, and added 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, not sure why. Perhaps because I usually do…Enjoy!

Rob x

Advertisement

Soggy muffins – slight improvement but…

Apple-and-Cinnamon-Muffins-(5414)

…I’m not there yet. However I was definitely happier with the result. I did make some changes, one reason being I didn’t have any flaked almonds left. Also I had some Braeburn apples instead of Pink Lady on the suggestion of my neighbour, which I have to say have worked better I think. Braeburns are slightly firmer, even though I grated the apples this time round. This could have made the muffins soggier but actually they didn’t. Go figure.

Even though it took a teeny tiny bit more of work I avoided the use of muffin paper cases. After a little research I found that pros don’t favour their use because it makes the muffins wetter and keeps loads of moisture in, which makes the texture unpleasant to say the least. A disaster in fact, which was what happened to me before. All you have to do is to butter the tin and coat it with a thin layer of flour. A bit messy but worth it. You will have to be gentle as you take them out of the tin. Let them cool for a while but not too much, then using a soft spatula go round the edges slowly and remove each of them carefully. I’m saying this because a couple of them ended up with a split top. Don’t worry though – you can add some flavoured whipped cream in between!

As far as the cooking time goes it obviously varies from oven to oven, but I tried baking them at 180ºC for the first 25 minutes, then for 160ºC for 10 to 15 minutes. I know it may seem a long time but frankly I preferred to let them crunch a little instead of having loads of undercooked cakes. I should also say that these keep best in the fridge especially if you don’t plan to eat them within 2 days.

These are the ingredients I used this time. I *will* try to make them again just because I don’t like to give up. But these muffins are full of flavour anyway so why not? Why not indeed.

  • 2 Braeburn apples, grated, set aside in a bowl and sprinkle on some lemon juice
  • 150g plain flour
  • 100g wholemeal flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 125g light brown sugar
  • 125ml honey
  • 60ml runny yoghurt (not Greek)
  • 125ml vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 35g ground almonds

For next time I have a list of some more changes I want to make. Stay tuned.

Rob x

Soggy muffins…

Apple-and-Cinnamon-Muffins-(5413)

I had not baked something sweet in a little while and decided that yesterday was the time to bake muffins. Now let it be known that muffins are the bane of my life at the moment. They never were, but since I’ve moved house I can never ever get them right. I’ve lost my touch. Lately I’ve been sharing my bakes with my lovely neighbour. (It’s the least I can do to thank her for taking the time to take care of all the building’s needs and for letting me vent when something is wrong!) But I didn’t give her any this time because frankly they’re not presentable, though they do taste good. Mind you, they look great actually, but they are not so nice to look at from the inside. Never judge a book by its cover. Before I continue I want to say that generally I try a recipe more than once before I write about it, but this time I just had to make an exception.

I was so disappointed that I took the time to discuss the result with J. He’s great at these things because he’s very calm and rational about these sorts of things. So while I was whining and going on a never-ending rant about how much of a failure I was (well..it’s a little bit over the top but I’m taking some poetic license on this), J took his time, cut one muffin in half, has a little taste and said: “One – you could cut the apples into smaller dice; two – you could even dry them in the oven for a bit; three – you could bake them for a little longer on a lesser temperature. You’ll get the hang of it, don’t worry…and if I were you I would try to make another batch tomorrow.” And that’s how from this point on I’ll think of this process as something of a post-mortem examination. Definitely seemed like it yesterday.

When I put that out on Twitter, one of my followers gave me the following idea: topping them with ice cream and chocolate and blame it all on the melting gooeyness of the ice cream. Tell you what – I was really tempted to do that! Another thing – I’m not blaming it on the recipe; I just want to try it again. One thing I will do though is to adjust it a little bit and take on board J’s suggestions. In case you’re wondering this recipe comes from Nigella Kitchen (page 130). I wanted to give them a go because they are a wonderful breakfast idea, not for everyday but they would be great for having friends or family over for brunch. I will edit in the photo later, but till then here’s the recipe for you, with some variations, for you to try should you want to. I will definitely do that this afternoon. This makes 12 muffins.

For the mixture:

  • 2 eating apples (I used Pink Lady, but you can use anything you like)
  • 250g plain flour (I used wholemeal which could have affected the texture)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 125g light brown sugar
  • 125ml honey
  • 60ml runny yoghurt (not Greek)
  • 125ml vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 35g unblanched almonds, chopped

For sprinkling on top:

  • 35g unblanched almonds, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/392ºF/Gas mark 6 and line the muffin tin with paper cases or  some wax paper cut into squares for a more professional look.
  2. Peel the apples and cut them into small dice. Place them to one side till they are needed.
  3. Measure the flour in a large bowl and add the baking powder and the cinnamon
  4. (1 teaspoon), and the 35g of chopped almonds.
  5. In a medium mixing bowl whisk the brown sugar (125g), honey, yoghurt, oil and eggs, until combined.
  6. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon to just combine the two. Add the chopped apples and fold them in gently. Do not over mix as you’ll end up with a very dense muffin.
  7. Using an ice cream scoop if you have one, divide the batter into the 12 cases.
  8. To make the topping, mix the ingredients together with your hands and sprinkle some on top of each muffin. Then bake for 20 minutes (what the original recipe suggests) till the muffins rise and turn golden.

I will tell you how my second attempt at these goes…wish me luck.

Rob x

Orange Muffins

Orange-Breakfast-Muffins-(5083)

I was taught that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But let’s be honest: how many times do we get bored with the same cereal day in day out? Countless are those times when I throw my hands in the air and simply give up! Too many times for my liking. Worse case scenario? One cup of coffee and that’s it. Not good enough. More often than not, whenever I can, I eat breakfast later in the day – I just cannot take it at 6 or 7 in the morning. So guilty as charged.

Even though I’m always up for a good English breakfast especially on holiday, I’m always looking for recipes which can be adapted or used as good options for everyday. People tell me that breakfast is the last thing on their minds at home, but when on holiday it’s the first thing they think about. Does this ring a bell? To me it certainly does.

If you look for breakfast recipes in this blog you won’t find many, but J’s pancake recipe is great for weekends, when we may have more time to potter about in the kitchen. However preparing pancakes everyday isn’t my cup of tea. So the following could be an option for you once in a while because you can prepare them a day or two before and keep them in a cool, dry place. If not they will go mouldy (it happened to me), but if you store them correctly they will keep for two to three days. These breakfast muffins are taken from Nigella Bites with minor variations. They are very easy to conjure up.

  • 80g unsalted butter, softened and slightly cooled
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 80g caster sugar
  • zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 100ml milk
  • 1 egg

Line a muffin tray with paper and preheat the oven to 200ºC/395ºF/Gas Mark 6.

In a large bowl mix flour, ground almonds, baking powder, sugar and the zest of an orange.

In a smaller bowl or a jug whisk the orange juice, milk, egg and the cooled softened butter together.

Pour the liquids into the dry ingredients folding it gradually until you have a lumpy muffin mixture. Don’t worry; this is how it should be.

Divide the mixture into your muffin cases. Mine yielded 11. Bake for 20 minutes and when cool enough to handle place the muffins onto a wire rack. These are best eaten while they are still warm, but they are still good if you choose to leave some for the next day! I would comfortable eat them with unsalted butter, marmalade or jam, or perhaps even top them with some glaze or icing. I’m really getting hungry now.

So, who’s up for a spot of baking? I am. Enjoy!

Rob x

J’s Pancake Recipe

Blueberry-Pancakes-(4418)

I introduce to you my lovely husband J. I’ll be cheating today because this is his recipe! J likes to cook and he takes over the kitchen once in a while to whip up some tasty treats. I hand over the baton very graciously during these moments especially during weekends when I mainly bake anyway. I never regret it.

One of my personal favourites is pancakes. He makes a mean stack and they’re always special. Being a perfectionist, he worked and worked on this recipe till he got it right if I may say so myself. He thinks so too I guess but he’ll never admit it. So without further ado here it is. This recipe makes around 6 large thick American style pancakes, and of course if you have a waffle-iron you can make lovely waffles instead of pancakes.

Just a note before we start: instead of buttermilk, you can use the same quantity of milk and leave it at that. You can also add about 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to the milk and let it sit for around 15-30 minutes. Also feel free to leave the salt out completely. I prefer a salt-free batter personally but I know that J likes a slightly salty flavour. For extra taste and colour contrast J likes to add some blueberries.

  • 175g plain flour
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt – optional
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1¼ cups buttermilk
  • 35g butter, melted
  • 250g blueberries – optional

If you don’t have buttermilk start off by preparing the milk as suggested above. If you’re using only milk then read on.

Measure the flour, baking powder, salt (if you’re using it) and sugar and mix them in a bowl.

For the waffles, or for fluffier pancakes, separate the eggs and use some muscle power to beat the whites into soft peaks.

Mix the milk/buttermilk with the egg yolks and melted butter. Pour these into the dry ingredients but try not to mix the batter too much.

Fold the soft beaten egg whites into the mixture and use a ladle to pour a bit of the pancake batter on a preheated and greased griddle (or a good non-stick pan). Sprinkle in some blueberries if you want at this stage.

Cook on one side until you see bubbles forming throughout the surface and the edges have solidified. Then turn the pancake over on the other side. Repeat until you have used all your batter.

Serve alone with some golden syrup or honey, or with fruit. Or however you want for that matter! Enjoy!

Rob x