There will never be enough banana recipes in the world, in fact Gingerbread Jenn posted one recently too, which I can’t wait to try. Before we talk about this recipe though, let’s talk about chocolate. It is quite frankly one of my favourite topics and when it comes to chocolate, I am all about the good stuff (except when Kinder eggs, Bueno and Ferrero Roche are mentioned), some would say I am a chocolate snob. I think it comes with being a foodie, chocolate addict and being super conscious of what ingredients are in the food that I eat. Hotel Chocolat is my chocolatier of choice, which is probably obvious because I mention them a lot (and hey, remember that time James and I designed a chocolate for them?!). I love the company, the business model, the story behind it, the products and knowing where it all came from; for good quality (and vaguely affordable as good chocolate goes), then look no further.
When they announced they were bringing out a new cook book, I pounced on the opportunity and the first recipe from it that I wanted to make was this banana bread recipe. It is Angus Thirlwell’s recipe (the co-founder of Hotel Chocolat) and it is a great one; from the flavour, to the texture, to the crust & crumb. I only tweaked it very slightly, I halved the amount of chocolate chunks (and subbed chunks for chips) but it is a fantastic recipe for anyone who can’t eat dairy. It was almost like this recipe was written for me, coconut oil, spelt flour, cocoa nibs, dark chocolate, banana, cinnamon…heaven! There are many an incredible recipe in the book that I can’t wait to try, but you can never go wrong with banana bread. It is in the breakfast section of the book, so we duly obliged one Sunday morning.
Life has been hectic the last few weeks and I’ve got exams looming on the horizon, so blogging time has been scarce. I’d like to take some time though, to talk about friendship and the blogging community before I share a recipe for some delicious muffins.
When I started my blog it was to have something that incorporated a hobby I already loved (cooking and baking) but would enable me to do something for myself, that didn’t make a mess (I love crafting) and mean getting everything out and putting it away again in the limited time I have between getting home from work and going to bed (I have a commute that takes a more hours of my day than I’d like and I need a lot of sleep). That’s how this blog came to be and it made me become more confident and more in love with food and cooking than ever.
What I didn’t bank on though was making friends from around the world and being connected to people with similar and also, different, hobbies, and the richness that they’d add to my life. I’ve mentioned Emory, her blog ‘Hello, Scarlett‘ and her store Potomac trading post before but what I haven’t mentioned is how often she puts a smile on my face by commenting on my posts or saying kind words on Instagram, or by putting gorgeous photographs of her life online. Emory was the first blogger that commented on my posts and it made me so excited to know that someone I looked up to as a blogger, read my blog.
A couple of weeks ago I came home to a surprise parcel, in this parcel were a number of gifts. Yep, a friend who is halfway across the world had sent me a present, just because. Just because, did you hear that, to someone who they’d only ever known through the internet?! I was touched beyond words and even more so when I saw how personal and how much thought had gone into the gift. There was a muffin cook book (that is AMAZING), a super awesome loose leaf tea infuser and a magazine that she’d written articles in (I felt so proud!).
The recipe for these muffins (that I cooked for a friend’s birthday) are from that book and I hope one day to bake muffins to share with Emory and her husband, when we aren’t 4000 miles apart. Please check out her blog, beautiful Instagram and store. There are few people I know who work as hard as Emory does in her many jobs, the fact she took time out of her day to send such thoughtful gifts, is a gift in itself.
I made half this recipe with gluten free flour and the other half with plain flour, to see the difference. The gluten free versions didn’t look as beautiful but they were still very tasty!
There is a farmers market once a month, around the corner from us and the butcher there makes THE BEST sausages that I’ve ever eaten. Usually I can take or leave sausages but these are just amazing. The month between the last two markets had me counting down the days until I could get my hands on some more. We bought pork and apple sausages to make for breakfast one day and some pork and leek to have in lunch/dinner dishes (plus some sausage meat for sausage rolls!). I wanted to make a dish that put sausages centre stage in the dish and James had been mentioning sausage casserole over the last few weeks (not so subtle hints!). I did a quick Google search and out popped Jamie Oliver’s recipe, I tweaked it a fair bit but the general ingredients are the same. I added more vegetables and left out the porcini mushrooms (because I didn’t have any) and breadcrumbs. It was a deliciously comforting dish.
When it comes to cooking this, I cooked it for about 3 hours, a couple at 150°C and the last at 180°C. Jamie’s recipe cooks it at 200°C for 40 minutes. If you have the time a slow cook brings out the flavours beautifully but if you’re pushed for time, go for the 40 minute option.
When I spotted this recipe on Deliciously Ella, it was a must make; all the flavours were favourites of mine. I’d like to try different spices in it; I like cumin but I imagine there are many other flavours that would work too, ginger and chilli for example. It is bright green too, which I love as anything that green must be fantastically good for you.
There are few meals more comforting that spaghetti and meatballs; it is filling and delicious and I used my favourite tomato sauce recipe. Even if you just use this recipe for the sauce, please do it. When I first made this sauce it was a life goal achieved; a quick, easy and utterly delicious pasta sauce, made from real and fresh ingredients.
Spring has sprung here in beautifully sunny Scotland, lovely weather for our final day of holiday here. The perfect spring day for a very spring inspired dish.
I have become somewhat of a savoury lemon fiend as of late, especially when combined with Parmesan. Lemon pasta, Lemon & Parmesan broccoli (by the bowl full) and I’ve been craving lemon risotto for a long time. I decided that is was time to fulfill that craving last week but to mix up that baked lemon risotto recipe, from a side dish into a main and throw in some chicken and spring vegetables. Oh man, it was good. I wish I could get the photo to convey how lemony the dish was, but short of dyeing it yellow, it just isn’t possible. It was so lemony and delicious and combined with the Parmesan, just wow. Even better is that it’s an oven risotto, so it doesn’t need constantly stirring.
Happy Easter!! Have you had chocolate for breakfast? I hope so.
This hot chocolate was inspired by a delicious hot chocolate that I had an at amazing café a few weekends back. It was so good that I set about to make my own. Before I go into the details, let’s talk about this café; it served sourdough toast, kale scrambled eggs, buckwheat, banana and almond pancakes and so many other incredible dishes. The cake selection though, oh my gosh, never have I had to make a tougher cake decision. They cater to many dietary requirements, gluten free, vegan etc and everything is helpfully labelled. If you live in Kent, lucky you! The place is Kitch, Canterbury.
Onwards to the recipe…