This is a recipe I’ve been using and tinkering with for a few years. It started out as pretty simple recipe for banana muffins. One morning I was making them, and had half a pot of leftover coffee, and thought that banana and coffee are pretty much a match made in ingredient heaven, so I used the coffee instead of milk, which had the added bonus of being suitable for people who can’t have dairy (while at the same time making them completely unsuitable for
Later on, I added some dates and walnuts, and poured the batter into a loaf pan, and the banana loaf was born. While I list wheat flour in the recipe below, I’ve made it several times using gluten free flours, and plan to try it with spelt flour in the near future.
Is it a bread or a cake? Well, that depends on how you eat it, and which of the optional ingredients you use. With dates and/or walnuts it’s more like a cake, and with seeds, or plain, it’s more like a bread. This time, I used sunflower seeds, so it was leaning more toward the bread end of the spectrum.
The other thing about using coffee as an ingredient is that, if you’re anything like me, you shouldn’t eat this in the evening. At least, not if you have plans which include sleep. Instead, it’s perfect for morning tea, or even for breakfast. After a day or two (if it lasts that long) it can be toasted, and spread with butter, or ricotta, or whatever takes your fancy.
Mostly, I like to have a slice or two in the morning with a cup of strong coffee.
Recipe: Continue reading
This is so easy to make that it doesn’t really deserve to be called a recipe, but these seeds are very tasty and can turn a plain dish into something special.
I was first introduced to this method of toasting seeds with soy sauce in my teens, when I was living in a commune in Northern New South Wales. There were many pros and cons associated with that time of my life, which is not surprising seeing as I was young and trying to define myself, but being introduced to new foods was definitely one of the major pluses. A lot of those foods are available in supermarkets now, but in rural Australia in the early nineties, you still had to go to a health food store to get things like tempeh, fresh sprouts, and dried grains, pulses and seeds.
Toasted seeds are great in salads or on soup, and just to eat by the handful. They are an easy way to add some protein and salty flavour to a vegetable dish. These days you can find them ready made in some stores, but I prefer to make my own because it’s just so easy, and I like eating them when they’re still warm.
I don’t often post recipes unless they’re something I’ve made up or heavily modified, but this was just too delicious not to share.
I wanted some soup, and and I wanted to use black-eye beans, so I put them on to soak. Then I searched the internet for suitable recipes and decided to use this recipe for Black-eye bean and Vegetable Soup, by Jan Pursey, at Taste.com.au. The next day I was grocery shopping, and picked up the rest of the ingredients.
I followed the recipe exactly, but when I was vegetable shopping I’d picked up some fresh okra which was on sale, and decided to add about 5 of them, sliced, about an hour into cooking the soup. It worked brilliantly.
Total calories for the pot: 1370
Makes 4-5 serves at 275-355 calories each.
(We didn’t add the olive oil when serving)
Experimental Status: This is clearly a tried and tested, and it shows.
Repeatability: See above. I would definitely make this again. Might add a little more pepper and some paprika to add a little heat.
A bona fide experiment from my kitchen
In which we begin calorie counting
My partner, to whom I need to assign a suitable pseudonym, has just returned from a 5 week trip to the US and Germany, and decided that a diet is in order. Since January I’ve been either recovering from surgery, or ill again, so my daily activity is much lower than is normal for me, and it shows. Consequently, we are both calorie counting for the next couple of months; him to lose some weight, and me to make sure I don’t gain any more. This means we have both set our daily caloric intake at 1700 calories per day.
In practical terms, what it means is that we calculate the calories in the foods we eat and enter them onto spreadsheets a friend made. When I cook, I weigh everything carefully and jot down the calorie contents, as well as the ingredients and the method. What this means for my recipes here is I will include exact weights of my ingredients, and calorie counts for each dish, and per serving, because I might as well share all the information I have.
Introducing the NOTEBOOK
Conveniently, one of the presents he picked up for me on this trip was a blank recipe book which is divided into sections with lots of lined pages as well as plastic pockets for recipes cut out of magazines or (much more likely) printed from the internet. In short, it’s very nifty and a decided improvement on my usual method of scribbling stuff down on loose pieces of paper, or whichever small notebook I happen to be using at the time.
(click thumbnails for full sized photos)
Pumpkin and Leek Frittata
Makes 2-4 servings
1 large leek (175g)
1 stick celery (30g)
About 1/4 of a Japanese pumpkin (300g) – any other pumpkin would do.
2 small carrots (100g)
2 large eggs (63g each)
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Mixed herbs: e.g. oregano, parsley, chives, garlic, marjoram
1 tiny pinch of cayenne
or “cookies” for those with a slightly different lexicon
While I’m neither vegan nor gluten intolerant, I have friends who are one or the other and it’s nice to be able to bake things which I can share.
I’m pretty good at making gluten free versions of most cakes, muffins, and biscuits, but I often struggle to think of vegan alternatives to eggs. For some recipes, the egg is not really essential, but for certain things it’s needed to bind the other ingredients together. I had a hunch that using a thick coconut cream might do the trick, and it turned out to be correct (at least in this instance).
These turned out to have a crisp outside and a moist, crumbly center. The only thing I would do differently next time is use hazelnut meal instead of almond meal, to emphasize the hazelnut flavour.
I’ve been unwell this week, and although the trees are starting to bud outside, it’s still the cold part of winter with frosts every morning. Clearly this calls for comfort food, and snuggling on a sofa with a novel or DVD.
My comfort food for dinner tends to be rice with something simple. Which means it’s no effort at all to cook some extra rice so that I can have rice pudding for dessert. Rice pudding is one of those things which can be either stodgy and bland, or creamy and delicately flavoured. I like to think that mine falls into the second category.
Makes 3-4 servings
3 cups cooked rice (refrigerated leftover rice is fine)
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cream
1/2 vanilla pod
1 cup dates
Not-quite-bhurta and a simple dhal, served with rice and raita.
Yesterday before work, I soaked some yellow split peas thinking I would make a pea and
ham bacon soup. But when I got home I was tired so I just reheated some quiche and promptly fell asleep on the sofa. Today I realised I had soaked more peas than I needed, so I decided to make a dhal tonight and save the rest for soup tomorrow.
While dhal can be delicious with rice or roti, I had an eggplant in the fridge so I decided to make Sabotabby‘s not-quite-bhurta AKA generic quick n’ dirty Indian eggplant. Then I steamed some rice and threw together a quick raita and an Indian style dinner was ready.
Serves 3-4, with lots of leftover dhal
Very Easy Dhal
I haven’t unpacked A Taste of India, by Madhur Jaffrey yet, but luckily there is a dhal recipe in this month’s Delicious, so I used that as a guide
4 cups of soaked split peas (about 1 and a half cups when dry)
1 can of diced tomato
2 cups water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
pinch of cardamom
pinch of salt
In a saucepan, heat the oil and add all the spices except the salt. Cook for 1-2 minutes then add the split peas, the tomato, and the water. Bring to the boil, then turn heat to low and simmer for about 45 minutes, until the moisture is absorbed and the peas are tender. Stir regularly to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pot, and add extra water if needed. Add salt to taste, just before serving.