Monday, May 31, 2010

Roasted Banana Bread Muffins

I may have cheated a little with this week's cookbook challenge, since my cookbook isn't something you can buy in the store. But it is one of the cookbooks I use the most often, and I don't even own it. It's my mother's tiny three ring binder, only A5 size, and jammed full of recipes I've grown up with. My mother used to be a Tupperware demonstrator, and therefore had opportunities to try lots of nibblies at the refreshments after each party. Many recipes in her binder have strange names listed as sources, names even my mother can't place, but Glenys will be forever in my memory as the person who gave my mother the recipe for Mervin's Balls.

Many recipes you've seen here come from that magical folder, Cauliflower Soup, Croquettes, and Mallee Quiche (another Tupperware party recipe), plus others.

I wanted a simple banana bread recipe that I could make into muffins, to monkey-fy to take to playgroup next week, in honour of my little monkey turning two this weekend. Since it's such a small group (never more than 5 kids) I wanted a 'cupcake' recipe that the leftovers would be healthy enough for Master Six to take to school, or stand in as breakfast on weekends when we have run out of choc rubbish cereal (my kids will only suffer through weet bix on school days!) Banana Bread seemed the perfect compromise, so I sent off a quick email to my mother, and she typed it out for me. And now I share it on with you.

Banana Tea Bread (from my mother's ringbound folder)
2 cups s.r. flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp Dutch cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup oil or 90g butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
500g peeled mashed bananas
100g chopped nuts (optional)

Sift together the first four dry ingredients.
Cream oil and sugar, add the eggs and beat well.
Add bananas, and beat again.
Stir in flour and nuts (if using)
Put in greased ring tin and place in 180°C oven for 1 hour.

I made just a few alterations, because of what I had in the house, but they turned out excellent. I used Wholemeal SR flour, and Speculaas kruiden instead of cinnamon (it's a Dutch spice mix, made mostly of cinnamon but with a few other things, like white peppper and cardamom and nutmeg thrown in as well.) I mistakenly used baking soda instead of baking powder, but my mother assured me it doesn't matter that much. I used brown sugar, and I skipped the nuts completely. Oh, and possibly the most important extra step, I roasted the (4) bananas in their skins at 170°C for 15 minutes, until their skins were black and weepy. I let them cool completely before mashing. It adds just a bit more banana to the flavour, something my mother never has to do, because when she makes banana bread, she just bought 15 kilos of bananas that are almost black from the fruit shop. I got bright yellow firm things from the supermarket. I don't like not living walking distance from an excellent greengrocer, as we did back in Melbourne, no I do not.

In paper lined muffin tins, these only take 20 minutes in the 180°C oven. And even less time to cool, and subsequently eat.

These would have made a great recipe for Kids Cooking Thursday, with all the sifting, mixing, and not to mention the mashing, but two of my three are sick at the moment, and Miss Four was too busy writing stories to notice I wasn't even in the room. Better for her to miss out than trying to convince Master Almost Two that he couldn't cook too because he was sick. And there really isn't much more disturbing than a two year old who has lost his voice, trying to throw a screaming tantrum with only whispers.

This was an entry for
The Cookbook Challenge: Week 28 - Breakfast.

Menu Plan Monday


Savoury Mince and Mashed Potatoes


Homemade Pizza


Pasta Bolognese

Freezer Suprise




Broccoli and Basil Pasta

Sandwiches, by order of the tired and sick cook! :(

Weekend Breakfasts

Roasted Banana Bread Muffins

Check back during the week for the recipes, and as usual, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for literally hundreds of other menu plan blog posts, and please come back here for Kids Cooking Thursday when we make Cranberry Brownies.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bort, bort, bort!

Unhappy Hipsters.
Because it's funny.

And because everyone needs new timewasting sites on the internet right?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Hidden Dragon

Sure, it looks like an innocent Creaming Soda doesn't it? And it tastes tame too. But this innocent facade hides a hefty dragon punch of booze. It's the pre-mixed Grand Cosmopolitan by Smirnoff, mixed one part, with two parts generic lime lemonade (lime pop or soda for my Northern Hemispherian friends). And after three of them, you forget what the end of your sentence was by the time you get there.

Good stuff.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Flash Game Friday

Magic Pen

Kinda like mini golf crossed with Scribbles, if you had to draw your own mini golf course in crayon while you played it.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Kids Cooking Thursday: Aztec Choc Peanut Butter Cookies

I saw these great stuffed cookies over at Dragon's Kitchen and had half a jar of unsalted peanut butter that I wanted to get rid of. Unsalted peanut butter is great in theory, but in practice no one in the house would eat it, except occasionally Master One. Seems it must have been more than just occasionally, because when I opened the jar to make these cookies, there was only a 1/4 cup left. So instead of stuffed cookies, I played with the recipe a little. What follows is what I did, but please go check out the original recipe, because they look so delicious!

Aztec Choc Peanut Butter Cookies
1 1/2 cups wholemeal plain flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp Dutch cinnamon
1/4 tsp speculaas kruiden (omit if you can find it)
two shakes mexican chilli powder
1/2 tsp salt (if using salted or regular, non-health food peanut butter, cut this back to 1/4 tsp)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 180°C. In a medium mixing bowl sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl beat together butter, sugars, and peanut butter with an electric mixer until combined. Add egg, milk, and vanilla; beat well. Beat in as much of the dry ingredients as you can with mixer. Stir in remaining dry ingredients by hand with a wooden spoon. Don't add the chocolate chips with the mixer! Form chocolate dough into 2cm round balls.

Place balls 3-4cms apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Lightly flatten with the bottom of a glass dipped in the 2 tablespoons granulated sugar.
Bake cookies in preheated oven for 8 minutes or until they're just set and surface is slightly cracked. Let cookies stand for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to wire racks; cool.

If you'd like to join in with Kids Cooking Thursday please leave a permalink to your own Kids Cooking Thursday post, as per the rules.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

'They do it with mirrors'

Interactive Art of Daniel Rozin

These are some seriously cool mirrors. You wouldn't want to use them to shave in though!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Capsicum Pesto BBQ Chicken Pizza with Caramelized Onions

Time once again for Taste & Create. Past time actually, this post was due by last night, but my ankle was playing up from an injury from ten years ago, and we ended up having Hungry Jacks for dinner instead. Which was not nearly as nice as this pizza from My Year on the Grill.

Mmmm, rustic!

We used my most recent regular pizza dough, instead of his recipe, and I didn't use bbq sauce on the chopped chicken, but other than that I followed his steps. Oh, and I had pine nuts in the pantry already, so I used them in the pesto and I subbed one of the 'peppers' for a package of fire roasted capsicum strips, to give it a slightly more depth. And I forgot to get tomatoes, so I added some baby spinach leaves under the cheese.

I made mine pretty much upside down, both from how I would usually make a pizza, and from what is written on My Year on the Grill, but he did mention that the pesto could go top or bottom, and putting it on the top would have changed the flavour of the pesto. My pesto had a very sharp flavour from the garlic, so I thought I'd put it on the top. Here are my assembly photos - I didn't take a photo of the onions by themselves, as dark onions in a black pan wouldn't have photographed well. Plus, I forgot. ;)

Just spinach

Add a little tasty cheese

Some shredded roast chicken

Those crazy onions (so sweet!)

The capsicum pesto layer

A touch more cheese because I can't help myself

I even had leftover chicken and pesto, so I mixed the two together and froze them for a pasta sauce someday down the track. (The chicken will be fine as long as I thaw it properly and cook it through again)

This pizza was nice, though I'm not sure if I'd make it again. Miss Four reaffirmed my position as "The Best Cooker Ever" but it was far too sweet for my liking. The sugar on the onions is probably what tipped the scales for me. Still, if you want a gourmet pizza, that passes muster by children, this'll do it. Plus, you know, the vegie thing!

Go and visit My Year on the Grill, he has some crazy awesome recipes, especially these Cashew Butter Truffles that would have been this Taste & Create entry, only I knew if I made them, I'd eat the whole batch myself.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Menu Plan Monday


Leftover Risotto


Spinach & Feta Pizza


Creamy Lemon Pasta


Chicken, Spinach & Mushrooms in Garlic Pepper sauce with steamed veg


Cauliflower & Pumpkin Soup


Chicken Bacon Ranch Calzones and Yesterday's Soup

Sandwichs (It was the big lunch at ILs again)

Check back during the week for the recipes, and as usual, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for literally hundreds of other menu plan blog posts, and please come back here for Kids Cooking Thursday when we make awesome Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

All badger scenes fully restored!

More Badgers

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mushroom, mushroom!


An oldie but a goodie. I used to use this to get Master Six to eat his dinner when he was not yet old enough to feed himself. Except then it was Potato, tato, tato, mushroom, mushroom... varied of course by what was actually on his plate!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Flash Game Friday

Bound Bear

Get the little white bear to the big white bear. Brown bears won't make you lose lives, but not reaching the target will.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Kids Cooking Thursday: Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies

Time again for another Cooks Club Challenge from the forums. This fortnight we are trying Chocolate Cheesecake Brownie Slice
We followed the recipe exactly, so I won't retype the recipe here.

This is definitely one just for baked cheesecake lovers, I think I'll stick with our favourite recipe for now. (A quick look through the archives tells me it's high time these were made again, so I can get a decent photo finally.) But the process was enjoyed...

Master One getting blobby with it

Cooked slab - Master One was a bit too enthusiastic about mixing!

If you'd like to join in with Kids Cooking Thursday please leave a permalink to your own Kids Cooking Thursday post, as per the rules.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: I can has Macro!

Does anyone know what these flowers that line our driveway are?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

You are my sunshine...

My Only Sunshine, a short story by Emily Skaftun. Taken from the webzine Flurb, issue #8.

I have no idea where I came across Flurb, or who told me that this story in particular was a stand out, as it has been sitting in my "later" bookmark folder for quite a while. (My "later" folder is for all those interesting, but off topic links I know I will forget to get back to if not bookmarked, or sometimes just everything open in my browser when I realise it's after midnight and I need to go to bed!)

It's quite possible that this came via BoingBoing, or perhaps Neil Gaiman's facebook page, it does seem a bit Gaiman-esque.

It doesn't really matter where it came from, it's a great little story, and it won't take too long to read either.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Menu Plan Monday


Creamy Vegie Spaghetti


Chicken and Bacon Potato Bake


Penne Bolognese


Chicken Burritos


Garlic and Pepper Pasta


Baked Croquettes, Roast Potatoes and vegies


Creamy Stroganoff Pasta

Check back during the week for the recipes, and as usual, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for literally hundreds of other menu plan blog posts, and please come back here for Kids Cooking Thursday when we make Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Three is a magic number...

Guess your Number

A little .swf to keep you entertained on this Lazy Dinner Night.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Green Eggs and Ham

The recipe was genuinely entitled Green Eggs and ham, although it is more of a ham filled pesto pancake dish. Although given that we have leftover pesto, and Miss Four's penchant for scrambled eggs, I can see 'real' green eggs sometime in the near future. As I was flicking through the library's copy of Nigella Express, I saw this, and being a bit of a fan of the good doctor, I couldn't not cook it. Plus, it fits so well with this week's Cookbook Challenge.

Pesto Pancakes (Nigella Express - Nigella Lawson)
75g pesto
1 egg
75g flour
150ml semi-skimmed milk
oil for frying
5 large thin slices of ham

Blend or whisk together the pesto, egg, flour and milk to make a batter.

Oil a crepe pan or heavy based frying pan, wiping away any excess oil with some kitchen paper, and place over a medium heat.

Ladle in approximately 100ml of batter, swirling instantly to gain a paper-thin crepe.

Once the top becomes dry and the edges lift away, flick it over with a thin rubber or wooden spatula to cook the other side for about 30 seconds.

Layer the panckaes between pieces of baking parchment or greaseproof paper as you go, and when you have finished making them, lay a slice of ham on each one and roll up or fold into triangles - or however you like!
Makes 5

I doubled the batter recipe, but we still only got seven pancakes. I didn't bothered with the oiling and wiping, just used a bit of spray oil every now and then. I folded the pancake in half over the ham, then sprinkled grated parmesan of one half of that, and folded the pancake over the cheese, to end up with quarters.

Miss Four said they were delicious, and she 'definitely wants to eat them again for dinner'. I served them with some steamed baby red potatoes in parsley and butter, and some oven roasted truss cherry tomatoes, and even garnished with roses made out of the leftover ham. We had fresh Crimson seedless grapes for dessert. I did gooood tonight!

This was an entry for
The Cookbook Challenge: Week 26 - Green.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Flash Game Friday


The instructions are in German (I think) but it's pretty self-explanatory. Fit the pieces together to form atomic structures. I'm not sure if they are real or not, but it hardly matters.

The springy reverb when a piece is moved or placed amuses me far more than such a simple thing should.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Kids Cooking Thursday: Pirate Party

Today for something a little different, I'm sharing Master Six's birthday party. We played 'pass the parcel', 'snatch' and 'Capt'ns coming!' with plans to also play 'Arrr' and 'Treasure'. I got some of the games here, with Pass the parcel much the same as Suprise Package, only with wrapping paper instead of boxes, and Arr would have been Ha Ha Ha saying Arr instead of Ha. Treasure is a game Miss Four plays at swimming lessons, where an adult stands with the treasure behind their back, facing away from the children, they try to sneak up and steal the treasure. The adult periodically turns around, and anyone spotted moving goes back to the start line.

Capt'ns Coming was something I use to play back when I was in Cubs. It's a bit like Simon Says, with nautical themed pre-set actions. The game leaders yells out a phrase, and the kids have to do that action. The last person to do the action is usually 'out' but we just played for fun - and it was very cute to see Master One doing all the actions with them!

Capt'ns coming - Stand up straight and salute
Port - run to the left side of the room
Starboard - run to the right side of the room
Bow - run to the front of the room
Stern - run to the back of the room (we didn't use those two, because we have computers and the tv on those walls)
Man Overboard - lay on the ground and pretend you are drowning
Climb the rigging - stand up and pretend to climb, like a ladder

Man Overboard!

As well as all the yummy goodies in the pictures below, we also had sausage rolls, and gold wrapped chocolate coins. The tree in the middle of the buried treasure muffins was the bottom half of a green capsicum, toothpicked onto a carrot, which in turn was wedged into a hollowed out potato. The hummus 'boat' was a bath toy boat, that had a big hollow, for a little tug boat to sit in. I made a little sail with some cardboard and a sharpie, and poked a bamboo skewer through it for the mast. The pointy end was stabbed into a carrot stick, which I buried under the hummus in the tub, so it could not be seen.

Master Six blows out the candle

The spread

Birthday Booty

Buried Treasure Muffins

Hummus and Crudites


Master One getting his boogie on

If you'd like to join in with Kids Cooking Thursday please leave a permalink to your own Kids Cooking Thursday post, as per the rules.