You may have noticed on my social media that we saw the new year in over in Kerala in India. There is going to be a some more ‘what I did on my holiday’ on here over the coming months, but I am here today to talk about banana bread!
It was a busy holiday – seven stops in 15 days. But
absolutely everywhere we went, there was always a slice of banana bread to be
had! Either on the breakfast buffet, with tea in the afternoon, or both! So to
come home and be bereft of banana bread was a bit of a downer.
I’ve been making banana bread for years. The original recipe
was given to me by my friend Nic and I twiddle with it! This time, I decided to
add a touch of chocolate and cardamom – both of which were grown on an organic
spice farm we visited in Thekkady. But I definitely don’t want it to be a
chocolate cake so it is just a hint of cocoa.
This one is going to have you firmly divided – you will love it or hate it! Andrew rather un-poetically described these maple bacon brownies as meat and chocolate! I, however, think they are something of a sweet and salty sensation. And I have tried them out on a few people and the response has been brilliant!
Bacon is no stranger to having a sweet bedmate – bacon, maple and pancakes are a brunch institute. So adding dark chocolate to the mix and baking into brownies isn’t too much of a leap…is it?
It doesn’t matter how neglected it is (and it is very neglected), my rhubarb crown never fails to deliver. I have been handing it out to family and friends, and making cake – a rhubarb cake is a wonderful, simple thing.
My rhubarb is super tart which I love, but I appreciate that isn’t to everyone’s taste. So I looked around my kitchen for something to soothe and compliment it. A few wrinkly clementines caught my eye.
Ok, so I caved! My social media feed is full of Creme Egg cakes, Creme Egg cookies and Creme Egg brownies, so I couldn’t resist making my own.
A chocolate brownie is a treat. A hand full of mini eggs is a treat. A Creme Egg is a treat. So, my point is, enjoy these brownies in moderation because they are all three! I actually decided to use the small Creme Eggs which come in a bag – partially because I don’t think I could manage a whole one, and also why just put a Creme Egg in when you can add mini eggs as well! Yes, the eggs run deep in this brownie!
There is so much afternoon tea around these day, that I
think many places just plop it on the menu and then serve up some sub-standard
cake and curly sandwiches in order to fulfil a need. You won’t read about those
places here. I only want to share the good stuff and Mamucium in Manchester is my latest find.
It was actually my sister who suggested we take our teenage
nieces to Mamucium – right next door to Manchester Victoria station. I was
perplexed as she isn’t one to generally have her finger on the pulse of new
foodie openings, but it turns out that she knows a pastry chef there. So all in
the name of support (yeah right, like we need an excuse to go and scoff cake!)
we trundled off on a gawd awful rainy mid-week jaunt during the school
actually part of a relatively new hotel called Hotel
Indigo. The building was much smaller that I was expecting for a hotel, but
it is nice to see that they’ve renovated an existing old one instead of
building something new and bland.
Ok, so I know that this is the second cheese-related recipe in a row. It’s just that time of year, where everything is made better by some melted cheese. You know that’s true: toasties, crumpets, pasta, pizza, risotto, onion soup… all are perfect bedfellows with cheese. Plus I have never shared a macaroni cheese recipe, so why the heck not!
I love macaroni cheese, but I don’t eat it very often because it is so OTT, even by my greedy standards. All that cheese, butter, full fat milk, pasta….if I made it every week there would be serious trouble. But macaroni cheese is a winner when done well and I hope that you agree that this has been done well. So as an occasional tea it is a real treat.
Kerala part 1: looking for elephants in Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
A trip to Kerala was the best way to see in the new year. After falling in love with the hustle and bustle of Rajisthan on our last trip to India, we were keen to see how Kerala was in comparison. It did not disappoint.
We crammed a lot into our two weeks there, and there were
two distinct themes to the trip: enjoying the landscapes and wildlife and then
a chance to chill out before heading home.
Since my trip to Le Cordon Bleu with Parma Ham last year, I
have become a teeny but obsessed with dried Parma Ham. Yep, not fried, dried!
It might sound weird, but trust me; when you slowly remove the water, you are
left with an uber-savoury treat which you can break up in to shards, grind into
a meaty sprinkle or simple snack on whole.