banana bread

28 Oct 2019

I'm always on the hunt for a good banana bread recipe. I've had the every day banana bread from Ostro by Julia Busuttil Nishimura bookmarked for such a long time. With 2 over ripe bananas in the fruit bowl, the time had come to give the recipe a try.

Of course I tweaked the recipe a little as is my way. I swapped out some of the flour and used a little almond meal instead; reduced the quantity of sugar a little and added some chopped pecans to the mixture.

The batter was very soft and probably didn't need the milk that's in the original recipe. I decorated the cake with a sliced banana and a few chopped pecans. As the batter was so runny, the banana sank to the bottom of the tin during the cooking process.

I can't begin to tell you how good this smelt when it came out of the oven and it's so moist when sliced. Julia suggests eating this warm by the slice topped with a thick slather of butter. 

Here's the recipe for you which makes a small loaf. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C. 

Banana Bread inspired by the recipe in Ostro by Julia Busuttil Nishimura
2 eggs
2/3 cup raw sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
100ml extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 very ripe bananas (about 250g in total)
¾ cup self-raising flour
Pinch of sea salt
¼ cup almond meal
50 mls milk if required
50g pecans, roughly chopped
1 banana cut in half lengthways (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a small loaf tin with butter and line with baking paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla until pale. Pour in the olive oil and whisk to combine. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas until smooth and then mix them into the batter. Sift the flour and salt into a small bowl. Stir through the almond meal then add to the banana mixture. Stir gently, being careful not to overwork the mixture. Stir in 2/3 of the chopped pecans. If the mixture is looking a little dry, add enough milk to make a soft batter.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and, if using, top with the halved banana then sprinkle with the reserved pecans. Bake for approximately 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Place on a wire rack for 15 minutes before unmoulding.

How delicious does that look and it tasted pretty good as well. Next time I bake this, I'm planning to change the proportions a little and leave out the milk as I want the sliced banana to remain on the top of the loaf after its baked. I'm not sure the pecans in the cake batter were such a good idea, so next time I think I'll just use them as a topping. Expect to see version two of this banana bread some time in the future.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,



21 Oct 2019

It's no secret that the cycladic island of Milos stole my heart.

Not only was it beautiful, the food was great. Each night I dined at a local restaurant in Plaka called Archontoula and each day I'd buy a pie for lunch from the local bakery, Palaios.

Most days I'd buy a cheese pie but one day I tried the tomato pie, a speciality of Milos known as Ladenia.

Essentially the ladenia is a tomato topped foccacia. 

I wanted to recreate the pie at home and found a recipe online adapted from one supplied by the bakery. 

Instead of cherry tomatoes, I decided to make the topping with some heirloom tomatoes roasted with Greek oregano, thyme and finely sliced onions. 

Here's the recipe for you which makes one 20cm ladenia. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

400g ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
1 onion, sliced
1 tsp dried greek oregano
2 sprigs thyme, leaves
3 tbs olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

135g white flour, plus more to dust
½ tsp fine salt
1½ tsp dry yeast
90 mls warm water
1 tsp olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons for greasing

Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Toss together the cherry tomatoes, onions, Greek oregano, thyme and 2 tbs of the olive oil. Season and place in a single layer on a baking tray. Cook in the oven for 15–20 minutes, until the onions are golden and the tomatoes are beginning to brown and soften.

Put the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl, add the yeast, water and oil and mix thoroughly; the dough will be fairly sticky at this stage. On a floured surface, start to knead the dough, using floured hands and knuckles to stretch the dough out before folding it back on itself. (If it is really too sticky to do this, add a tablespoon or two more flour to the mix.) Knead for 10 minutes, by which time the dough will be smooth and pliable. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size. (Depending on the temperature, it may take longer to double in size. You can tell when it has finished rising as the dough will dent rather than spring back when you press it.)

Once the dough has risen, knock it back: use your hands to squash it back to roughly its original size. Oil a 20 cm round baking tray with a tablespoons of olive oil. Stretch and push out the dough to fill a 20 cm round baking tray, or to form a 20 cm circle on a large baking tray. Using your fingertips, gently dimple the surface of the dough. Set aside for 15 minutes to rise again.

Preheat the oven to 240ºC. When ready to cook, place the tomato and onion over the base. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the ladenia, season again with salt and pepper and place it in the oven. Lower the oven to 200ºC and cook for 30 minutes or until the dough has puffed up and is golden brown and the tomatoes are completely cooked.  Eat while still warm.

The tomato pie I had was made with a generous amount of oil and I suspect the online recipe heavily reduced the quantity. Next time I'd add more olive oil to the dough and I'd line the tray with baking paper as it the dough stuck like crazy to the baking dish. Served lukewarm it was delicious and I demolished the whole thing for my lunch.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,


blood orange frangipane tarts

14 Oct 2019

It's a long story, but since May I've been re-hosting 6 years of blog images from 2010-2016. It's been a long and slow process, which I think I've just completed. It means I've been revisiting some of my old posts from 2010 when I still hand wrote the recipes. I thought I'd typed them up as well but unfortunately not so, so last week I typed up and archived those recipes.

In this month's Gourmet Traveller there was a recipe for a blood orange frangipane tart. Just last month I made a batch of blood orange and vanilla marmalade and as I'd just typed up my rhubarb frangipane tart recipe, it was very easy to create my own blood orange version. Originally I'd planned on making a large rectangular tart but at the last moment changed my mind and made some individual tartlets.

I love frangipane tarts because they're so versatile and best of all you don't have to blind bake the pastry. If you look through the archives you'll find fig, pear, blackberry, raspberry, the aforementioned rhubarb, plum and now blood orange frangipane tarts.

Here's the recipe for you which makes makes one rectangular tart or twelve 7 cm tartlets. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Blood Orange Frangipane Tarts 
¼ cup icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
¼ cup almond meal
1⅓ cups plain flour
Pinch salt
110 g (4 oz) cold unsalted butter, diced
1 egg, lightly beaten
Cold water
½ cup blood orange marmalade
3-4 small blood oranges, peeled and thinly sliced
Optional - apricot jam or marmalade to glaze

100g unsalted butter
50g caster sugar
50g soft brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp finely grated orange rind
2 eggs
2 tbs plain flour
Pinch salt
100g almond meal

To make the pastry, combine all the dry ingredients in a food processor, and whiz for a few seconds until well combined and free of lumps. Add the cold butter and whiz until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and sufficient cold water and whiz until a soft dough just starts to form around the blade. Remove the dough from the food processor and gather the pastry into a ball; flatten slightly before wrapping in plastic and placing in the fridge. Refrigerate the pastry for 30 minutes. Line a rectangular tart tin or twelve 7cm tart tins and return to the fridge while you prepare the filling. The pastry freezes well so if you have any leftover just wrap any remaining pastry in plastic wrap and store in the freezer. 

Cream the butter, sugars, orange rind and vanilla together until pale and fluffy. Mix in the eggs followed by the flour, salt and ground almonds to form a soft batter. You can also do this step in the food processor. This also keeps well so you can make this ahead, bringing to room temperature before use.

Preheat oven to 190°C. To assemble the tart, remove the tart shell(s) from the fridge. Cover the base of the tart(s) with the marmalade. Carefully cover the marmalade with the frangipane filling. Smooth the top with a knife. Arrange the orange slices decoratively over the frangipane filling. Place the tart on a baking tray to catch any spills before placing in the preheated oven. Bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour for the large tart or 35 minutes for the tartlets or until the filling is set and the pastry nicely browned. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.

When cold, glaze the top of the tart(s) with some thinned warmed apricot jam or marmalade if desired. Unmould before serving as is or with a dollop of cream.

These tarts are pretty yummy with the freshness of the slice of orange on top of the tart contrasting nicely with the marmalade base. I'll definitely be making this version again.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,



rhubarb custard tea cake

7 Oct 2019

A few months ago I remade an apple tea cake using a very old recipe. With rhubarb in the shops I wondered if I could make a version using rhubarb instead of the apple. Whilst flicking through a recent issue of the Australian Women's Weekly, what did I spy but a recipe for the very thing, a rhubarb custard cake.

Knowing it was indeed possible I bought a bunch of rhubarb at the fruit shop. I've seen lots of fancy rhubarb work on instagram so I made a geometric pattern with the rhubarb to top the cake.

I needn't have bothered because as the cake baked it rose, redistributing all my carefully sliced rhubarb pieces. Next time, I'll go with a more simple design.

This cake is a little more time consuming to make than some of my recent endeavours but I think the extra effort is worth it. I brushed a little warmed apricot jam over the rhubarb once the cake came out of the oven.

Here's the recipe for you. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C

Rhubarb and custard teacake - makes a 20cm cake 
2 tbs custard powder
2 tbs caster sugar
1 cup (250ml) milk
20g unsalted butter
2 teaspoon vanilla essence

200 g unsalted butter, plus 20g extra, melted
⅔ cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1¼ cup (185 g) self-raising flour
¼ cup custard powder
Pinch salt
½ cup (125 ml) buttermilk
550 g thin rhubarb stalks washed, trimmed 
2 tsp caster sugar, extra

To make the custard, combine custard powder and sugar in a small saucepan; gradually stir in the milk. Stir over heat until the mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat; stir in the butter and essence. Press plastic wrap over surface; cool.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a deep 20cm round cake pan; line with baking paper. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined between each addition. Stir in the sifted flour, custard powder and salt and buttermilk, in two batches.

Whisk the cooled custard until smooth. Spread half of the cake mixture into the prepared pan; top with custard.  Dollop small spoonfuls of the mixture over the top of the custard then gently spread the remaining cake mixture over custard until completely covered. Cut rhubarb to fit the top of the pan; cut thicker stems in half lengthways. Position the rhubarb on the cake; brush with melted butter, then sprinkle with the extra caster sugar. 

Bake for 1¼ hours or until firm; run a knife around the edge of the cake then place on a wire rack to cool. When cool, unmould the cake and remove the lining paper. This recipe can be made up to a day ahead.

I didn't get to eat my slice that day because I'd done a lot of baking that weekend so had other things to try. When I did, oh my lord, rhubarb and custard are a match made in heaven. This is a very good cake and I can't wait to try making it again in summer, this time using sliced plums instead of the rhubarb.

See you all again soon with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,

© DELICIOUS BITES • Theme by Maira G.