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baked bananas with passion fruit and minty creme fraiche

baked bananas with passion fruit, honey and orange juice served with minty creme fraiche

This recipe is taken from ‘The 30 minute cook’ by Nigel Slater, who is one of the cook book writers I regularly refer back to, and his books are the ones that I regularly cook from.

His food is real.  No wonder he called his first book ‘Real fast food’ and a later book just ‘Real food’.

In the 30 Minute cook, he has compiled an eclectic mix of recipes from Europe, Asia, north Africa and the Middle East. I find them inspiring, accessible and downright tasty.

And, like all good cook books it includes some stunning close up ‘food porn’ images that always has the food as the hero and are high on the drool factor.

Now bananas are a polarising fruit, you either love them or you hate them. I have three good friends who loath them with such a passion, they consider it torturous to be anywhere near a peeled one, let alone be in the same room. I suspect its a textural thing that causes this adverse reaction, followed by the smell and then the taste.

I fall into the former category and am very fond of this fruit. It’s character and texture change when baked which is why I love this recipe.

What you will need to make per portion, extrapolate up as required:

  • 1 banana
  • a drizzle of honey
  • juice of half an orange
  • 1 passion fruit / granadilla
  • creme fraiche and finely chopped fresh mint

*Nigel also included a little lemon juice, but I find it acidic enough with the orange juice and the passion fruit

How to make: (and so very simple it is)

  • pre heat the oven to 180 C
  • place each banana in a piece of foil or baking paper and fold up the sides to make a ‘boat’
  • drizzle over the honey, add the orange juice and half of the pulp of the granadilla (reserving the other half for later)
  • fold and seal each foil pouch and place on a baking tray and bake forfor 15 minutes (his instructions are 20 minutes at 200C, but when I tried this it annihilated the banana to a mound of hot mush)
  • you can either serve the hot pouches sealed to each person as he suggests, handing out the remaining half a passion fruit to be scooped over as it is opened. Alternatively serve out the pouch and in a dish with the minty creme fraiche on the side.

The smell of this dessert as you open the pouch is indeed exquisite and its flavour is intense and tropical.

I made this for my friend Lori who suggested it needed some creme fraiche and mint to compliment the acidity and sweetness. What a beautiful accompaniment it was.

These parcels could be cooked on a braai (barbeque), making a very low maintenance dessert and ideal for camping.

*PS: Kim, Mands and Laurence (and any of you other banana haters out there), this recipe is not for you.

bake in foil or paper to lock in the tropical fruit flavours

loads of juice and flavour

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perfect peanut butter cookies

peanut butter cookies

I inherited the book ‘The Joy of Cooking’ by Irma Rombauer from my mother who in turn had inherited it from her mother. The book was first published in the USA in 1931 and my copy is the 1952 edition.

my copy of the joy of cooking

I have never made anything from it, but have read bits and pieces and use it more as a reference book. I am however rather emotionaly attached to it. It makes me feel like I have a little piece of my mom on my bookshelf.

I stumbled across this recipe on Jun Belen’s fabulous blog and discovered its origin is off the ‘Joy kitchen blog’, which is the online home of the Joy of cooking.  I was immediately intrigued and thrilled to discover.

I have also fairly recently fallen in deep like with peanut butter and developed a really nice peanut butter shortbread recipe a while ago. Peanut butter and biscuits are a perfect marriage.

I looked the recipe up in my copy and found it had been ‘starred’ by my mom, which created added excitement.

I wrote the recipe down and left off the 1/2 a cup of brown sugar erroneously so mine were not too sweet, but they baked up perfectly though.

This is what you need to make:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup butter (113g)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

how to make:

  • pre heat the oven to 180 C (375 F)
  • beat the butter and sugar together until creamy
  • add the egg and beat some more
  • add the peanut butter and vanilla extract and beat
  • sift the flour, baking soda and salt and add to the batter
  • mix briefly until the dough comes together
  • roll the dough into small balls about 1 inch (3 cm’s), place on a lined baking sheet and press down with a fork (in one direction as I did, or in two directions to get a criss cross effect)
  • bake for about 10 to 15 minutes until a light golden brown
  • remove and allow to cool on a cooling rack

Jun sandwiched his together with home made dulce deleche which would be totally awesome.  Have a look at his recipe here.

These really are just perfect peanut butter cookies and terribly easy to make.  Lori you will love! Next time I may add some extra chopped up roasted peanuts to give a bit more crunch.

Based on this success, I’m keen to check out and try out more recipes from ‘The Joy of Cooking’.

soft and crumbly

light and golden and rather delicious

*NB – read all the comments below before trying these out. There are people who have not had success with this recipe and others that absolutely love it. I do not know why. This is the recipe I took off the Joy of  Baking website at the time. This recipe has been removed from that site subsequently.

The recipe above is now the original recipe exactly from the book and I have re tested these based on this recipe. They came out really well.

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cool food for hot chics: the cookbook

cool food for hot chicks

I hauled this book out of my much loved  ‘library’ yesterday and find that revisiting the books  sort of helps with my cook book addiction issues. I need to be reminded that  these ones (and there are a lot) should be used a bit more before I go and buy all those others I’m desperate to acquire.

When asked what I want for my birthday or christmas, I remind people that I love cook books.  There is often the retort ‘but you have so many’. Well yes, I have so many because I like so many. And then I get another scarf.

Anyway this is a novel approach to a cook book.  It’s a collection of recipes covering any occasion (or almost) that a women may find herself in. It was given to me many years ago.

It’s divided into chapters according to the occasion, and offers accessible but yet tasty recipe solutions for these.

Like: ‘Entertaining Adonis’ (my personal favourite).  The old adage ‘the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’, well all I can say is I’m still working on that one.  Men like steak, so this chapter is all about making steak and how to impress.

Then there is: ‘Girls just want to have brunch’. With recipes like crab cakes, stuffed french toast, camembert quesadillas with papaya salsa and guacamole and blueberry pancakes.  I thought a few tasty ideas here.

There’s a chapter on nibbles and on how to be the dinner party diva where the focus is on pre preparation so you are not locked up in the kitchen when the guests arrive.

Then there is a chapter on all the diet stuff, of course, and another favourite on tea and sympathy. “There is something particularly comforting about consoling yourself with food. Whether you are feeling the strain of too much partying, miserable because he’s calling all the shots or just plain fed up, eating comfort food can instantly ease the pain.’. Gosh now isn’t this sounding very familiar?  Recipes here like: mushrooms on toast, chicken and leek pie, chocolate chip cookies, brownies and pea and bacon risotto.

There are some nice midweek supper ideas for the working girl, a collection of drinks options and lots of puddings.

Gwyneth Paltrow has submitted a recipe for marinated grilled swordfish. Kate Winslet on Salmon Teriyaki style, and Nigella her calvados syllabub. Just to give it a bit of X factor.

This book is not higher grade stuff and there are no pictures, but perfect for a beginner cook or a fun bit of girly inspiration.

PS: I hope my family are reading this, no more scarves. Please!

my much loved cook book library

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the snowflake book of baking – out of print

i finally have a copy of the snowflake book of baking

I have been on the look out for a copy of this book since I took it out of the library over a year ago. I was talking about baking last month (as you do) and the friend I was talking to mentioned they had just bought a copy of this particular book at a second hand book shop in Kalk Bay and then, get this, there was another copy on the shelf at the time. With great excitement I immediately phoned the shop to reserve it.

To my surprise and delight I unwrapped a near perfect and seemingly unused copy of it two days later on Christmas day. Thank you Jane and Gordon, it’s a wonderful, practical and comprehensive book of thoroughly tested  recipes which will be a perfect base from which I can ‘play’ from.  It was published  in 1994.

some shortbread recipes to try

I also have the Golden Cloud book: Home Bakes, by Carolie De Koster (Published by Lannice Snyman in 2001) which is superb.  I have my eye on the double white chocolate cake recipe in there, so watch this space.

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