Tag Archives: baking

Banana and Golden Syrup Loaf

This is a bit of a nostalgic recipe for me. I hadn’t made one for quite a while but someone in work made a banana bread and then I saw it was Banana Bread Day, I had some browning bananas so it had to be done.

But first, why the nostalgia? Well, it is a recipe from the very first cookbook that was mine. My Mam had a couple of cook books when I was a kid that I would look through but this one was specifically mine. I must have got it around 2000, it was published in 1999 and there is a sicker on it saying it won some award in 2000.

And what is this cookbook you ask? It is Gary Rhodes New British Classics. He had a TV program out at the time and he made these awesome looking Yorkshire puddings and something that I don’t even particularly like but looked amazing when he did it, an egg custard tart. I think my Mam might have actually bought it for me for a Birthday or Christmas I would have only been about 16 at the time. I’ve still never made those Yorkshire puddings or custard tart even though every time I flick through it for ideas I always say to myself I will.

This Banana Bread recipe must be the thing that I have baked the most times. It’s so easy to do and is a great way to use up any old bananas you have laying around. It helps that it tastes good and all you really need to make it is a pair of scales, a bowl, a spoon (you could use your hands) and a loaf tin. I’m sure it would still come out fine if you banged it in any type of tin though.

I have a very strong memory of being at home, seeing a bunch of bananas that weren’t getting eaten. Looking in the cupboards for the other ingredients. Clearing a space on the counter that literally just fitted the cookbook in. Getting the scales out and putting them on top of the cookbook then mixing all the ingredients in a bowl on top of the other page. Check out the picture below and you can see that over the years I’ve spilt batter all over this page as I have done the above more than once.  There is another recipe on the page and I’ve either never made it or if I have it was just the once.

Enough of that, let’s get down to business…

Banana and Golden Syrup Loaf!!!

  • 225g Self-raising Flour.
  • 100g Butter, softened.
  • 4 ripe and I mean ripe Bananas, mashed.
  • 50g Soft Dark Brown Sugar.
  • 4tbsp Golden Syrup.
  • 4 Eggs.

This fills a 2lb greased and lined loaf tin and you will need the oven preheated to 180°C.

Now for the hard bit. Bang all the ingredients in a bowl, mix up well, bosh the mix into the loaf and whack this in the oven for about 50-55 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Take out of the oven, let it cool in the tin for 10 mins and turn out to cool on a wire rack.

Not hard was it? Even a little kid could do it and they should. If you have got kids then get them to make this. If not, then just make it yourself. It’s a bit different compared to cupcakes or something with chocolate. You can let them mash the bananas in their hands and it is only one bowl you have to wash up.

My secret tip, don’t eat it for at least a day. The banana flavours come out so much more after it has matured for a day or two than they do when it first cools down. I’m not sure how long it keeps for but I have usually eaten the full thing on my own after two or three days.

It’s a good recipe to add stuff to, 50g of chopped nuts is recommend in the book and I pretty much always do this. Pecans or walnuts work very well but this last time I just used a bag of mixed nuts that had Brazils, Almonds, Cashews and Hazelnuts as well as Walnuts. Besides nuts I’ve put chopped up chocolate in before. Again about 50g will be enough.

Thinking about it you could even try adding some other fruit as well, Cranberries perhaps.

I might do this next time, or better still those chocolate coated cranberries you can get, hold on do I have any bananas left…

Banana_Loaf


Scones

I was watching something the other day and it really made me want scones. Actually it really made me want clotted cream, loads of clotted cream, the scone would just be there to stop me from getting my fingers dirty and not just be sat eating a tub of clotted cream with a spoon.

Scones, they aren’t really that special are they, but how could you not like them. When I was making them it brought back to me the picture in my head of baking. When I was a kid I would bake a lot with my Mam, and a lot of the time it was scones, and when I thought about it, scones are actually more difficult than a lot of other things I bake. Most baking you measure stuff out, stick it in a bowl, mix it up, put it in a tin, whack it in the oven for a bit, take it out and eat it.

But scones are hands on…

Scones!!!

  • 300g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 75g unsalted butter, room temp, cut into cubes
  • 50g caster sugar
  • a medium egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 120ml double cream
  •  a bit of milk for brushing

When I came to make these I realised that I probably haven’t made scones in my adult life, even though I must have made them hundreds of times as a kid. These might not be the best recipe, I might have to give my Mam a ring to find out how she makes them but saying that hers might not be that good either. These turned out alright but I’ve had better. I might do some scone experimentation over the next year.

The oven needs preheating to 200°C when you come to bake these bad boys.

When I started making these this is the part that just screamed in my face this is baking, sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a mixing bowl then rub the butter in with your fingers until it resembles bread crumbs. It was the rubbing in of the butter that brought all those memories back of being stood on a chair with my pinny on and my tiny rolling pin getting my hands dirty in a bowl of flour and butter. I found it crazy the amount of cakes I’ve made and I haven’t rubbed butter into flour for years.

After the butter is rubbed in you can just mix in the sugar. Beat the cream, vanilla and egg together then add to the flour and squidge together to form a dough. You don’t want to handle it very much. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for a couple of seconds. You don’t even need to roll the dough out, just pat it down with your had till it’s a couple of cm thick. The recipe I was following says 4cm thick but that is very optimistic to say it also wants you to use a 6-7cm cutter and be able to make 8 scones. There was no chance this was happening. At 4cm thick and 7cm in diameter I would have only been able to make about three scones.

I like a straight cutter rather than a rigid one and remember not to twist when you cut them or they might not rise very well. A pro would probably throw the left over dough away after the first set of cut outs but what do I care. Try not to mess with the dough too much when you roll it back up to get another scone or two out of the mix but don’t just waste it. The second ones might not turn out as neat but they will still be good.

Brush the tops with milk, place on a slightly greased baking tray and bake for 15 minutes. Take out of the oven, let them cool down for a couple of minutes on a wire rack and then while still warm break in half, add jam and massive amounts of clotted cream.

scones


Albino Brownies

I fancied doing some baking and I fancied some white chocolate so decided to make some whities (white chocolate brownies or blondies or albino brownies or Dave, call them what ever you want). I love white chocolate, I once ate five white chocolate Toblerones in one go and got a massive headache. The next day even though I knew I would get a crippling headache I ate five more, yeah, that’s right, that’s the way I roll. I tend not to have white chocolate in the house as I just eat it all in one go (a bit like anything else in the house but more extreme).

So lets do this, lets make some Daves…

Albino Brownies!!!

  • 170g White Chocolate
  • 75g Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Eggs
  • 230g Caster Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 230g Plain Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt

Like the other Brownie recipe I have done in this blog this mix fills a 9″x9″ baking tin which I would grease and line so you can get your whities out easily. The oven needs to be heated to 180°C.

Like most baking this isn’t exactly hard. Although saying that, I used to be subjected to watching someone repeatedly fail at baking and then think what they had baked was amazing. Every time they baked cakes they would be really dry or in a lot of cases just burnt. I’m not a very emotional guy but those ingredients never stood a chance, cut down in their prime, never given the opportunity to be made into something light and moist and delicious by someone who knew how to turn an oven off in the time the recipe says. I’m not afraid to say I shed a tear for those lost ingredients, decimated by a lack of care and attention, destined to be choked down or tossed into the bin.

That was emotional but I think I have pulled myself together enough to carry on.

Melt the white chocolate and butter together, you need to be gentle and you need to pay a little more attention and care to melting white chocolate as it’s not as stable as it’s bigger brother Chocolate. If you haven’t read my other brownie recipe you might be thinking why 170g of chocolate and not a full 200g bar. You can use 200g if you want, I don’t care, but as I said above I love white chocolate so to stop myself just eating the bowl of melted chocolate and getting it all over my beard I’ve left myself a strip to nibble on while I wait for it to melt. Once melted set aside to cool, but if you paid attention and were gentle it shouldn’t be hot anyway.

Now in a big bowl beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla together until light, fluffy and silky. Add the melted white chocolate and mix until coalesced. Sift in the baking powder, salt and flour and beat the batter together. Slap the batter into your prepared tin and whack in the oven for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes the top should be light brown and cracking slightly, at this point turn the oven off and leave the brownies in the oven for another 10 minutes. Take out of the oven and cool for an hour on a wire rack.

Once cooled and you are ready to tuck in, cut a cm off round all the edges (these bits go great with ice cream), cut in half, and half, and half and half again so that you have 16 lovely Albino Brownies.

Whities


Suck on my Chocolate Salty Caramel Nuts

I’m going to do some baking, do you have any requests? “None in particular – chocolate, salted caramel, almonds, pistachios.”

Well I would say that was pretty specific wouldn’t you? I could only really think of one thing that had all of those things.

Chocolate Caramel Nut Cake with Extra Salted Caramel Sauce!!!

For the caramel nutty top of the cake. (use what ever nuts you want)

  • Couple of tbsp of Pistachios
  • Couple of tbsp of Almonds
  • Couple of tbsp of Pecans
  • 40g Unsalted Butter
  • 55g Brown Sugar
  • 2tbsp Double Cream

For the cake.

  • 125g Unsalted Butter
  • 220g Brown Sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 150g Self Raising Flour
  • 35g Plain Flour
  • 1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 35g Cocoa Powder
  • 100g Dark Chocolate
  • 180ml Milk

For the Salted Caramel Sauce.

  • 75g Unsalted Butter
  • 50g Light Brown Sugar
  • 50g Caster Sugar
  • 50g Golden Syrup
  • 125ml Double Cream
  • 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp Sea Salt (depending how salty you like it)

This one is a bit more complicated than the other things I have done in this blog, but still it isn’t difficult. The oven needs to be heated to 160°C when you’re ready to get your bake on. This cake fills a 20cm deep round cake tin that you need to grease and line the bottom.

First thing to do is make the caramel for the top (bottom (this is an upside down cake)) . Stir the butter, sugar and cream in a saucepan over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved then bring to the boil for a couple of minutes. As Mrs TramP wanted salted caramel I actually put a pinch or so of salt into this caramel as well. Pour the caramel into the lined cake tin and then sprinkle over your nuts, I crushed my nuts a bit first. You then need to try and fit this into the freezer while you make the cake mix to set the caramel.

Now for the cake. You need to beat the butter and sugar until lovely and light and fluffy, as I’m using brown sugar in this recipe it’s a bit more of a pain in the arse to get it fluffy, but keep beating and you’ll get there. Beat the eggs in one at a time, each time getting the mixture fluffy again. Now you just have to mix in the flours, baking soda, cocoa, chocolate and lastly the milk. This is quite a thick mixture.

Get the frozen cake tin out and spread the cake mix on top of the nutty caramel base. Bang it in the oven for about an hour and ten minutes or until cooked. Once cooked, cool for 15 minutes in the pan before turning out (upside down) onto a wire rack.

While the cake is cooling you can make the extra Salted Caramel Sauce. As sauces go this is pretty easy, just melt the butter, sugars and syrup in a sauce pan, boil for three minutes, add the cream, add the salt (a tsp is pretty salty), stir it all up, simmer for another minute and then boom it’s done. The sauce should keep for a couple of weeks if you don’t use it all eating this cake. You can just heat the sauce a bit in the microwave to get it runny again.

Cut your self a slice, pour over some sauce, eat it, and try not to have a heart attack.


When life hands you Lemons…make Lemon Cake!!!

Well Mrs TramP started her job down in London a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been job hunting (anyone got an Analyst job going in London?). Last week I felt like baking after a hectic week of interviews but having left work and being home alone I decided against making a cake or cakes that I would ultimately have to eat all of myself. Luckily Mrs TramP is back for the weekend so I can bake, eat most of what I make and pretend she had at least half. As this week has been seriously hot I decided to make something at least a bit summery, and wasn’t in the mood for chocolate (what am I saying).

Lemon cake it was, but which one? Searching through a few of my many many cook books it came down to a battle between the French Men. Michel Roux vs Raymond Blanc. Both recipes are very similar, the main difference being the glazing technique they each use. Michel Roux made two smaller cakes and Raymond Blanc just one, as I had the correct size tin for Raymond Blanc’s recipe I opted for that one. So lets get down to business….

Lemon Cake!!!

  • 5 Medium Eggs
  • 300g Caster Sugar
  • 140ml Double Cream
  • Zest of 3 Lemons Finely Grated
  • 25ml Dark Rum (finding miniatures in Manchester was a pain in the arse)
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • 80g Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 240g Plain Flour
  • 1/2tsp baking powder
  • 50g Apricot Jam, warmed
  • Zest of 1 Lemon Finely Grated
  • 3tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 150g Icing Sugar

This is another cake that needs the oven heated to 180°C. Grease and line a 26x9cm loaf tin and set aside until ready to fill.

Grab a big bowl, chuck in the eggs, sugar, cream, lemon zest, rum, salt and melted butter. Whisk that all up nicely then sift in the flour and baking powder and whisk it up again until lovely and smooth. Basically that’s it, wasn’t hard now was it. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin you prepared earlier, level out the top and bang in the oven for 50mins to an hour. Once cooked turn out onto a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. This is where Raymond and Michel differ the most in this recipe.

Michel had an extra shot of rum that he sprinkles over the cakes as they come out the oven and then lets them cool down. He bangs the oven up to 240°C. Heats the jam up and covers the top and sides and leaves for 5 mins. Then mixes the icing sugar and lemon juice (no zest)  in a bowl to form a smooth icing and spoons over the top, he then whacks the cakes in the oven for 20 seconds to set the glaze.

As I said I chose to make Raymond’s cake so carried on with his technique which is a bit different. After the cake has cooled for 10 minutes, brush the cake with the warm jam then leave for 5 minutes to set. Mix the lemon juice and zest with the icing sugar and warm on a low heat to 35°C until smooth. Brush the icing evenly over the cake and leave to set again for  a couple of minutes. Bang the cake back in the oven on a baking tray but turn the oven off and leave for 3-5 minutes to dry the glaze.

Take the cake out of the oven, allow to cool down before slicing and enjoy with a nice cup of tea (I don’t actually drink tea).