Chocolate has had a bad rap in recent years. As happens when we dig a little below the surface, ugly things begin to emerge. But there are some really cool chocolate businesses out there looking to put the goodness back in. Here are my faves…Continue reading “There’s Goodness in Chocolate”
So, for some reason everyone has started making Banana Bread! I think it must be because we all went out and bought a crate load of bananas at the beginning of the crisis and now their just too ripe to eat but oh so good turned into Banana Bread, (or awesome pancakes…more on that another time!)
Even Stephen Fry got in on the act, so I was delighted when the three bananas left in the fruit bowl reached the point of no return and I was ready in a flash to get going with my trusty recipe!
Now, I’ve been using this recipe for the bones of twenty years! It started as a WeightWatchers recipe and then I quickly substituted all the healthy stuff for delicious things and improved the whole thing massively as a result. I don’t know why I’ve never thought to share this, but seeing as everyone is stuck in their kitchens with a couple of over ripe bananas in their fruit bowl and too much time on their hands, it seems like as good a time as any to finally share it with you!
Top Tip: Use a loaf tin for this. A nice little 1 lb loaf tin will give you a compact and high loaf, a larger tin a longer, thinner loaf; or if you have some individual mini loaf tins or even paper muffin cases you can use that too, but adjust the cooking time as needed: the smaller the portion the quicker the cook.
- 200 g Self Raising Flour
- 1/4 tsp of Bicarbonate of Soda
- 75 g of butter, plus extra for coating the loaf tin
- 75 g of sugar (demerara and coconut blossom sugar are great for added caramel flavours)
- 1 tbsp of honey
- 2 eggs
- 2 or 3 ripe bananas, mashed
- Handful of chopped nuts (walnut or pecans are perfect)
- Handful of chocolate, a 50% dark milk chocolate is great
- If you want, add some sultanas or even some fresh blueberries.
- Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius fan.
- Butter the loaf tin.
- In a bowl, place the flour and bicarb.
- In another bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and honey.
- Add the eggs in one at a time. If the mixture is too dry, add another egg.
- Stir the flour mix into the butter mix and combine.
- Add the mashed bananas, chopped nuts and chocolate, mix well.
- Pour into the tin and back for 1 hour. Skewer to test if it is cooked.
- Turn out and allow to cool.
- Slice and serve on its own, buttered or with some whipped cream.
For Corkonians, there is one place in our City (recently voted 3rd friendliest city in the world too, by the way), that captures our hearts more than any other. Maybe it’s because it has been part of the Cork City landscape for long; maybe it’s the Parisian feel of La Fayettes Cafe or the sumptuous surroundings of Wine Bar Seventy Six?
Well, not that anyone ever needed an excuse to extend that grá to a visit to The Pembroke Restaurant, but since Jerome Joyce strolled into town with his band of merry chefs there is now one extra reason to go weak at the knees for The Imperial Hotel on South Mall, in Cork…boi.
It’s time for another Tumbler Desert everyone! Yes, you thought I’d forgotten about them, but deserts are thin on the ground whilst I’m working through my 6 week 5:2 reboot programme!
Ingredients (serves 2):
Two small handful of amaretti biscuits.
Small slug of Cointreau liquer.
A single square of Green & Blacks Maya Gold (spiced orange and dark chocolate).
4 peaches (round or donut) destoned and quartered.
4 ripe plums, destoned and quartered.
Zest of 1 orange.
1 tsp of Vanilla Bean paste.
2 tblsp of brown demerara sugar.
Fresh cream vanilla custard (good quality shop bought one like Avonmore is a great cheat ingredient!)
Put the oven on 180 degs celsius.
Place the quartered fruit on a baking tray along with the orange zest (I use a veg peeler for this recipe so you can take out the orange zest after the fruit has cooked – that way you get the lovely orange taste without it going bitter after it cools).
Sprinkle over the sugar and pour over the vanilla bean paste.
Place in the oven and cook until the fruit is lovely and soft and the juices have been released.
Once cooked, take out of the oven and remove the strips of orange zest.
Put the amaretti biscuits in the bottom of each tumbler (a small handful per glass) and using the bottom of a rolling pin, crush them to a fine crumb (very satisfying!)
Put a small slug of Cointreau onto of the biscuits – be careful, not too much; just enough so that when you stir the biscuit and liquer together with a spoon it gently comes together but does not melt away.
Spoon in a good measure each of the fruit mixture and include some of the liquid too.
Spoon over the top a couple of dollops of vanilla custard, and a generous plop of whipped cream over that.
Grate the Maya Gold over the whole lot – as much as you like really!
Serve immediately, and Enjoy!
There should be plenty of fruit mix left over. If you chill this, it will make a lovely alternative breakfast mixed in with some low fat natural yoghurt and a sprinkling of flaked almonds.
In May 2014, Clonakilty Chocolate launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise funds to be able to make Chocolate Maker Allison Roberts’ dream of creating her own bean-to-bar chocolate factory in Clonakilty a reality. The target was to raise €15,000 and between 25th May and 11th July 2014 the good people of Clonakilty and beyond did not fail in supporting this great campaign, raising in total €15,025!
So here it is folks, the final segment in my two month “Chocolate Season” on Flavour.ie! I’ve had a great time learning about how to look at, taste and cook with chocolate as well as meeting some great people along the way too!