b.c. cake

Upon waking up from my less than desirable sleep from last night's outing, I just had to do something which didn't involve much brains much less thinking. I immediately had a craving for a fruit crumble but didn't have any apples or strawberries or even blue blackberries. All I had was bananas.

So t'was a banana crumb cake in the end that it came to pass.

Banana Crumb Cake aka B. C. Cake

Cake Base:
1/2 cup (125 g) butter (softened)
3/4 cup (185 g) brown sugar
1 egg
2 cups (500 g) all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
pinch cinnamon

1/2 cup (125 ml) milk

4 ripe bananas (sliced into 1 cm thickness)

Crumb Topping:
1 cup (250 g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (125 g) brown sugar
1/2 cup (125 g) butter (melted)

1. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees C and prepare a greased baking/casserole dish.

2. Cream the softened butter and sugar till fluffy using an electric mixer or by hand.

3. Beat in the egg till its consistency is slightly fluffy but not overly mixed.

4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

5. Mix in the flour and the milk into the butter and sugar with alternating additions. Add in 1/4 of the flour mixture and 1/3 of milk into the batter, combine them, and repeat till the batter becomes a thick but not stiff consistency.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared dish and level it. Place the sliced bananas neatly onto the batter and set aside.

7. For the crumb topping; pour the melted butter into the flour and sugar mix and combine them till you get crumbs no bigger than the size of your thumbnail. Or alternatively you can just stir it for a while and get your hands in there to rub the mixture together to get a fairly nice crumb mixture.

8. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the bananas evenly. Pop into the oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Test to see if it is done with a knife and if it comes out fairly clean, take it out to cool a bit or just dig straight in while it's hot and filled with comforting banana goodness.

Needless to say I myself dug straight into the cake once it came out of the oven ready to be ravaged by my hungry self. The crumb topping was delish, the bananas soft but not mushy and oh-so-warm, and the cake base was light and fluffy without being overly sweet.

The original recipe, which I had it modified quite a lot because I didn't have some of the ingredients, came from The Canadian Baker whose original recipe was actually a plum crumb cake. It looked too good to pass up trying my hand at in as I've been craving for a crumb cake or fruit cobbler for the longest time. Just anything with a crumb topping actually.

Anyway, seeing as I still had some more bananas from my last banana adventure, I decided to give it a go and see how the banana variation will turn out. I couldn't be happier with the result as I did the modifications and alteration in measurements in my head and a slight help of intuition. I was just glad it came out great seeing as this is my first time baking a crumb cake.

I'm getting a bit peckish again and in the mood for more banana-ey goodness. Mmm, bananas!

it's a banana nice day for scones

Forgive the absolutely horrid pun and title there. I think it must be the slight high that I'm experiencing from the banana scones I scarfed down just an hour ago where I freshly mixed and baked them so quickly you wouldn't believe.

The recipes are courtesies of Molly from Orangette and Everybody Likes Sandwiches's blogs. I followed the recipe to a T and they came out beautifully albeit while kneading them they turned out a bit stickier than I expected. I was slightly agitated and worried that they would not turn out right due to a past and very bad experience with scones before. It could be because I added a banana into the mix which resulted in it being a tad stickier and harder to work with but after a slight adjustment by adding a tablespoon of flour while kneading, that made it more workable to form them into drops instead of the triangles that the recipe called for.

Nevertheless, they still turned out perfectly as perfect I can expect to be and smelling so delicious that I just had to pop one into my mouth once they came out of the oven. That's why you only see nine scones instead of ten in the picture. They didn't burst with a lot of banana flavour as I only used one but you can definitely see some specks of yellowish in them. They were really soft, with a flavourful texture and golden crispiness on top.

I'm definitely going to be making another batch of these again but with varying flavours like strawberries, apples, and chocolate chips among others. Every morning should start with a delicious tray of freshly baked scones!

a simple twist

Alright, I've just been too complacent and busy at the same time to do much blogging much to my chagrin but here I am again after all.

I've been trying out a few new recipes for dinner for my brother and me and came out quite successful on two separate occasions.

The first is a really simple baked salmon seasoned with salt, pepper, herb salt, and drizzled with some olive oil. I placed some lemon slices on top of the salmons as well for that little citrus flavour in addition to the coriander leaves placed dutifully on top of the salmon pieces to be roasted in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes till juicy, tender, moist and absolutely delicious. Even the brother who doesn't like fish that much quite thought it wasn't half bad which is already a compliment in itself.

Another quick bake dish is a new spin on the traditional spaghetti and meatballs dish. Get some mince meat and mix them up with some minced garlic cloves, salt, black pepper, herb salt and bind the meat together with some egg wash to shape them into little meatballs. I made the mistake of not rolling them in breadcrumbs which is what you are supposed to do before frying them because I was a lazy arse and didn't have any in the pantry. The meatballs ended up becoming a rather big mess in the pan and made even worse when I added the tomato sauce midway cooking them. I persevered and managed to retain some of the shape of the meatballs but I was still upset that they sort of disintegrated halfway cooking them.

While the meatballs and sauce is cooking, boil a pot of water and cook your pasta. I had enough fettuccine pasta for the two of us left so I used them instead of the usual spaghetti. Towards the end of the cooking time for the meatballs, add some dashes of salt and black pepper to taste.

Drain the cooked pasta and place them in an oven safe ceramic dish. Top the pasta with the meatballs and sauce and toss lightly to ensure that the pasta is sufficiently and evenly covered in the sauce.

Now for the fun part. If you're a big cheese lover like me, go crazy and have a go at using whatever cheeses you like and have. I tore up some remaining boccocini, shaved parmesan, chopped brie, and sharp cheddar. Just sprinkle the cheeses in liberal amounts all over the pasta. Don't have to be neat here.

Place the dish into the preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes.

It'll come out smelling cheesy and gooey. Just the way I like it!

Anyway if you'll excuse I have some catching up on work to do. Hopefully I can make some time to whip something up with the name 'crumble' and 'apple' or 'pie' this weekend.

pizza palooza

I'm back from the chefly undead!

So after a long period of hiatus cooking, I have returned in my brand new apartment which I am staying with my brother now. We stayed home for dinner tonight and made pizza for the very first time in my life. I knew it wasn't going to be difficult, I was just worried as to how it would taste like when it came out.

To my amazement it came out better than I thought except for a little burnt bit there but that's just a slight oversight which I plan not to make a mistake of in future.

The cheating part of my pizza-making was that I substituted the traditional pizza base with a pita base. Still turned out beautifully albeit on the crunchy side.

Chicken and Sausage with Red Pepper and Onion Pita Pizza

Diced chicken for two depending on how big eaters you are

1 smallish sausage; sliced thinly ala pepperoni style

Half a red bell pepper aka capsicum

1 small onion; sliced thinly
2 garlic cloves; diced finely

Tomato paste

2 mozzarella cheese balls

1 pita bread

1. Heat up a pan with oil till it becomes hot enough. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
2. Toss in chicken and sausage pieces and brown them thoroughly but not cooked through.
3. Season with salt and cracked black pepper.
4. Take it off the heat and let it rest while you prepare the pita-pizza base.
5. Spread a few dollops of tomato paste on the pita according to your taste. Make sure the entire pita is covered.
6. Arrange the cooked chicken and sausage on the pita, ensuring that they are spread evenly apart and not clumped around together.
7. Neatly but deftly sprinkle the red pepper, onion, and garlic on top of the chicken and sausage.

8. Tear apart the cheeses and place them on your toppings ensuring that most of the area is covered in the cheese. You don't have to be neat with this.
9. Place the pita straight into the oven or if you want, place the pita on top of tin foil before putting it in the oven.
10. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool a bit before digging in!

I also made two other variations on another pita bread. They included a pesto base sauce with white mushrooms, red pepper, and onion, and the other half which had a honey mustard sauce as its base and using up the excess chicken I had combined with the shrooms, peppers, and onion. And finally topping them off with the shredded cheeses as well.

My brother liked the honey mustard one the best while we both agreed that the pesto base sauce worked really well too. That's not to say that the first one was bad but I think it's a really decent and good try for a first time pizza maker like me. I might have put too much tomato on it so I won't do it again the next time. I really liked the taste of the cheese I used for my faux pizza so that's going to be a staple addition to my pantry too.