Banana Bread- by special request!

After posting a picture in

#project365 3/12.

I was asked if I would share my recipe for banana bread, so superamazingmum, here you go!
This is a really easy recipe and one that I use regularly. I adapted it several years ago from a recipe that was meant for a bread machine. Even those who don’t cook have managed this in the past as it is so simple. It keeps week and can even be frozen – I freeze per wrapped slices for the kids lunch boxes and just get them out the night before.
It’s also a great way to use up those old bananas…..you know, the ones that are going black that no-one wants to eat? For this recipe, I find the riper they are the better so don’t throw them away.

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So, here’s what you need:

225g self raising flour
1/4 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt ( I left this out when the kids were small )
75g butter or margarine
150g castor sugar
1 medium egg
450g bananas without skin (4 or 5 depending on size)

Optional extras:

Apricot jam
Banana chips

I use the all in one method – quick and easy!
Place flour, bicarbonate soda, salt, butter, sugar and egg into bowl and whisk with and electric whisk until smooth.
Using a fork and a chopping board, roughly mash or squash the bananas. Add to mixture and whisk further until there are no more lumps.
Spoon into a greased loaf tin, mini loaf tins or muffin cases.
Cook at 180-200c until skewer comes out clean – about 20 mins for muffins and 40-50 mins for the loaf.
Enjoy hot, or leave to cool.
Mine rarely lasts longer than a day but can be kept for a few days in a cool place or frozen for use later on!

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If you want to use the optional extras, leave the bread to cool for 5 mins. Warm jam in a saucepan or microwave and brush glaze over the top of the bread and then sprinkle with banana chips.

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Why not try other toppings too? Squirty cream, vanilla butter cream, melted chocolate, cream cheese icing or even custard
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If you make this, why not come back and leave a comment to let me know how you have got on? Go on, you know you want to……

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On our best behaviour!

I haven’t blogged for a while because I have been so busy! I know that sounds like a poor excuse, but I have a very good reason- we have been preparing for some very important visitors.
On Thursday, Matt Baker of The One Show/Country file, came to visit our school. More importantly, he came along with his film crew to film my Year 11 Food lesson! How amazing is that…..the boys were cooking Masterchef style and were brilliant, creating some super dishes.

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Matt and his team spent about an hour and a half talking to the students about their food and what they were cooking. They were so impressed that they stayed on longer to capture images of their dishes…..and they even interviewed me!!!! It was a great opportunity for me to promote our school blog and our Twitter account…. http://www.foodpresstogophotos.wordpress.com and @foodtectogo.
The crew were brilliant, moving around the classroom and capturing their shots without getting in the way, and Matt Baker was great fun- talking and joking with the boys and even tasting their food.

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It was a once in a life time experience and great fun….. The boys were really impressed too!
And……. If that is not enough, I have more VIP’s visiting tomorrow- and yes that is plural, and no, you will never guess who they are! This is going to be THE most amazing experience EVER and I am quite possibly the luckiest person in the world!
I have spent most of the weekend preparing for the visit tomorrow, and I’m as ready as I will ever be….. Lets just hope the VIP’s appreciate my efforts- although I am sure they will!
Want to know who they are? You can take a guess if you like, but I will reveal all tomorrow!!!!!

Foodie Foto Friday

This week has been a real foody week for me! My Year 11 class were preparing for a visit from Matt Baker from The One Show/Countryfile….. The boys cooked Masterchef style and for 15 and 16 year olds their outcomes were amazing!!!

It’s Friday again already which means it’s time to post some yummy pictures of food and make us drool.
A great blog about all things cooking related!

The Crazy Kitchen

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Lets eat cake!

Although I’m not a professional, i make cakes for family and friends. I cook as part of my job as a teacher, so people just expect me to be good at making food!!!
It took me ages to find a recipe that was suitable for the cakes that I make. Some were too soft and didn’t hold up very well when decorated and others were too dry but provided a great texture for icing. There is two recipes that I use regularly now and I find that both of them work well. One provides a slighly firmer cake than the other, so I swap between the two depending on the design that I am creating.

This first recipe is a quick Madeira cake that is made using the all-in-one method. I make this in the food processor to get a consistant mixture. It can be made using the creaming method if you have the time, but if you are doing so leave out the baking powder.

This recipe will make two cakes in 18cm round sandwich tins. I use one bigger single tin, and adjust the quantities accordingly.

175g butter (sotened)

175g caster sugar

3 large eggs (I only use Free Range)

1 tsp baking powder

3 tbsp milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Pre-heat the oven to 180c (I use 170c for a fan oven) or Gas 4

Put all ingredients into the food processor or a bowl and mix until combined.

Spoon mixture between the two tins, and level out.

Bake for 25-35 minutes or until firm to touch. If the top is getting too brown, turn the oven down a little.

Leave to cool for 5-10 mins then turn onto a wire rack and allow to cool.

(If you are in a hurry to decorate it, put the cake in the fridge.

I find it best if I make the cake the day before, as it allows the cake to firm up a little before decorating.

You can also freeze the cake and then decorate once removed from the freezer. This makes it easier to work with when decorating.

Filling:

250g unslated butter

500g icing sugar

1 jar quality jam (I use homemade)

With a large knife or a cake wire, cut the cake in half. Spread jam over one half, making sure to go close to the edges.

Cream butter and icing sugar together until smooth, adding a little milk i required. I also like to add 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.

On the other side of the cake, spread the buttercream.

Sandwich the two halfs together, making sure that you line the cakes up so that it goes back together as one whole cake. This prevents ridges when you are decorating it!

With the remaining buttercream, spread a thin layer all over the top and sides of the cake. This is the easiest way to hold the fondant icing in place, and also fills any minor imperfections to give a good finish.

Now decorate as you please!

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Perfect chocolate brownies…..Really quickly!

For those of you that liked the look of the brownies that I cooked last week, here is the recipe for what I think is the perfect brownie! Now everyone likes there brownie a little differently…..I like mine with a crispy top and a soft, almost gooey middle! If you like a drier brownie, you just cook for a little longer.

Now aside from the recipe, the tin that you use is almost as important as the recipe itself! If your tin is too big, they will turn out thin and dry and if it’s too small, they will end up soggy in the middle and really crispy on top! The tin that I use for this recipe is a reactangulare tin that is 26cm by 20cm. The depth is 4cm, and the mixture will rise right to the top so don’t be tempted to use a shallower one.

So, here are the ingredients that you will need:

280g caster sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

40g cocoa powder (Bourneville or Green and Blacks, not drinking chocolate!)

300g chocolate (i use a mixture of white, plain and milk chocolate)

225g plain flour

125ml sunflower oil

3 medium eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

50ml water

(60g nuts (these are optional…I like walnuts or pecans))

Oven temperature is 180c (I use 170c with my fan oven) or Gas 4 (make sure you preheat!)

Now for the easy bit……. I put all ingredients except for the chocolate, into a food processor and mix for a few mintues until you mixed all of the ingredients together and created a smooth batter. (If you don’t have one , you could use an electric whisk instead or mix by hand with a whisk or wooden spoon).

Pour batter into a bowl.

Roughly cut the chocolate into 1-2cm chunks, and mix in with a spoon.

Grease you tin with a some oil and line with baking parchment, or for a quick and easy liner I use the silicone sheets and have cut one down to fit the tin! It is only the bottom that needs lining, but make sure you grease the sides.

Pour mixture into the tin and gently bang the pan on the work top to even out, or spread with a spoon (probably best beacuse then you can lick it afterwards!!!).

Cook in the oven until firm to touch. ( I cook mine for 25 mins but if you like a firmer and drier brownie then you can leave for upto 35 mins).

Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning onto a cooling rack. Cut into squares and dust with icing suger for a perfect finish!

If you have a go at cooking these brownies, it would be great to hear your comments. I added 2 bananas to my last batch and they were really yummy too….why not experiement with the recipe and share you ideas?

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