Banana Breakfast Muffins


Last night was a strange one…  Awoken at about 2am, soaking from head to toe and covered in what looked like spangly spiders.  I also remember frantically searching for the light switch saying something (not sure what though) to scare the spiders away….ewwww…it makes me shiver thinking about it.

My head is possibly trying to adjust after all the assignment writing those past few months, or it could be the research methods philosophy I am trying make sense of.  However, I put it down to the head and foot massage I gave Andy last night to relieve him of the stress he was swimming in due to a presentation he has to do today.   Lucky Andy, he slept right though the night, which, for him, is strange.  His energy must have transferred over to me during the massage, but he doesn’t seem to think that’s true.    Anyway, to relieve myself of the light trauma from last nights spider hallucinations, I  decided the perfect solution was to bake cakes for breakfast, just something quick, so thanks to my trustworthy banana cake recipe it saved the day 😛 well, so far…

Hot from the oven…I forgot how good they tasted…would you like one? (by the way, I know what you’re thinking, “is that all she can cook?” … it’s not honest…it’s just that they’re sooo quick to make and absolutely satisfying).

No chocolate this time, and a little less sugar too…oh yeah, and I used half and half wholemeal and plain flour…the healthier option 😛

♡ Chilli Chocolate Slices ♡


White chocolate is marketed by confectioners a...

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Chocolate is my vice, especially on days like these when you have to study.  I will do anything to put me into a mindset to open a 700 page textbook.  Luckily I don’t have to look too far.  A bar of 75% chocolate is all it takes for me.

My morning net search took me to my new favourite food blog ‘My Darling lemon Thyme’ where I found a scrumptious looking chilli chocolate slice recipe.  I can’t wait to try out more of her mouth watering recipes.  Take a look, I’m sure you will all agree.

Like any recipe I want to try out without pre-planning, there are always ingredients you never have.   In this case, I had already finished off the last of my blueberries over breaky so I used some dried fruit, and I have also never bought tapioca flour before so I used 1 1/2 tablespoons of corn flour.  There seems to always be substitutions on hand so the baking commenced and the results were just as I had expected, utterly satisfying.  Now where is that textbook of mine?

Information and image taken directly from My Darling Lemon Thyme’s blog;

chocolate, chilli and blueberry slice
This recipe is gluten-free and can easily be dairy-free by using margarine in place of butter and by making sure you use a good quality dark chocolate that’s dairy-free. I used trade aid dark chocolate. As I’ve mentioned before, get to know your chillies. I used 1 whole long chilli, but you may want to go for less or more depending on how hot you chillies are and how hot you want the end result. If you eat wheat, substitute the rice and tapioca flours for 3/4 cup plain flour or spelt flour.  Makes about 20 slices

  • 200 g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 125 g butter/ margarine
  • 1/2 cup muscovado sugar (or use soft brown sugar)
  • 1 long red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen/ fresh blueberries
  • 3/4 cup almond meal/ ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour (white rice flour is fine)
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • cocoa powder for dusting

Preheat your oven to 15o degrees/ 275-300 f. Grease yourself a slice pan about 20 x 20 cm. Line the base and sides with baking paper and make sure about 2cm of paper extends up and over the edges of the pan.
Melt chocolate, butter, sugar and chilli together in a small saucepan over low heat. Pour into a large bowl and set aside for 10 mins to cool slightly. Gently stir in flours, almond meal and eggs until combined. Fold through blueberries. Pour mixture into prepared pan and smooth off the top with the back of your spoon/ spatula.
Bake 35-45 mins or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Leave to cool in the pan before cutting into small squares, dusting with cocoa powder and devouring! Or if you have some serious restraint, hold off eating till tomorrow.
NB If using fresh berries I’d say they would take about 30-35 mins. If using Frozen like I did, allow a little longer – mine took 45 mins to cook.
Heavily adapted from a little women’s day cookbook called “Family favourites – easy biscuits and slices”.

While I Was Away


It has been a little over a month now since returning to Scotland.  Here is what I have cooked/ate whilst I have been AWOL from Bendi Benri.

Feeling a lot more settled in now I am ready to embark on my new life as a student AGAIN and get back into creating more yum.

Enjoy!

First up, home-coming welcome dinner, beautifully and deliciously prepared by my wonderful mother.  It is very clear to me now that my mum is the source for my desire to cook.  She effortlessly manages to put on amazing wholesome spreads.  What a mum.

Nutty Chocolate Brownies (heaven in your mouth) & Scones with Home made Jam

Victoria Sponge

prawn & avocado cocktail

Home Made Steak Pie

Home Made traditional Scottish Oatcakes

What I forgot to capture was the Ultimate Chocolate cake smothered in Ganache! I am gaining pounds just thinking about it! I swear that cake was to die for! Here’s a link to the recipe.

A flying visit home then back to Edinburgh to meet Izumi and Sofie, friends we met in Japan.  They had never tasted Haggis before, so Andy and I decided to take them to Urban Angel to give it a try.  I love the concept of this Restaurant, stylish and delicious, “using the best local, organic, free-range and fairly traded produce available.”

To follow I visited a three-day foodies festival, filled with freebies of scrumptious organically prepared fresh food from all over the country.  Some healthy and some just down right naughty!  I was in my element.

Salmon and potato pie!

Tiger Prawn Paella

Feeling inspired from my weekend boozing and munching, I bought a nice big bunch of fresh beetroot and put together a yummy beetroot cake smothered in cream cheese icing.  Here’s the recipe I used.  Yep, I AM growing by the day! Twice the size I was a month ago. Oops!

No time to break just yet.  The Edinburgh festival brought my folks and brother up to Edinburgh.  The weekend consisted mainly of indulgence and laughter. Good times!

Below we eat at Amore Dogs another very trendy restaurant serving Italian scrum.

tuna nicoise salad on the side of a grilled sea bass on a bed of baked tomatoes.

Goats Cheese & Sun dried tomato Risotto

Wow what a month.  Loved every minute!

I really miss Japan and crave a lot of the food we ate whilst we lived there, especially Soba noodles, so I treated us to a yummy crispy tofu soba dish.   Satisfying beyond expectation! Go me!

Ingredients; serves 2 if you really have to share.

2 portions of soba noodles

150g Tofu (drained and cut into cubes)

1 small red onion (sliced into half moons)

1 stick of celery

around 12 sugar snap peas (halved)

2 cloves garlic

Juice from 1/2 a lemon

1 T light soy sauce

1 tsp pure honey

1 T chopped fresh basil

1/2 teaspoon chilli (from the jar or fresh)

2 T olive oil

2 tsp vegetable powdered bullion

2 T corn flour

Directions:

1.  prepare all ingredients

2. evenly coat the tofu in the corn flour

3.  heat up the olive oil in a wok or frying pan then add the tofu.  When coloured a reddish brown remove from the pan and place on some absorbing kitchen paper

4. In the same pan add the onions and garlic and cook until translucent

5. add the all of the other ingredients except the soba and basil and lemon then stir through on a medium heat.

6. In the mean time boil the soba until just tender then rinse quickly under cold water to avoid over cooking.

stir through the noodles, tofu, basil and lemon juice to the vegetable mixture then serve in warm bowls.

To finish, here is yesterdays lunch…

Chilli Squash Soup accompanied with rice crackers topped with cheddar cheese (hello my long-lost naughty friend) and cranberry sauce. yummmm…..

Ingredients; serves 4-6

I small butternut squash

4 sticks of celery

1 yellow onion

3 cloves of garlic

50g low fat soft cheese

2 tsp vegetable bullion

Directions:

1.  Saute the onion and garlic until translucent

2.  In the mean time bring a med/large pot of water (2 litre) the boil

3. cut the squash into cubes then allow to boil until tender

4.  when the squash is ready add all other ingredients except the cream cheese, then mix through

5. Turn off the heat then use a hand held blender to pulse the mixture until smooth(ish) stir though the cream cheese then serve in warm bowls

Chocolate Orange Tofu Mousse


Success, I wasn’t tempted or distracted to buy anything from the supermarket that wasn’t necessary or overly indulgent.   I also remembered to pick up some oranges for this particular post.

So here we have it, the Chocolate Orange Mousse I’ve been meaning to make!

I have to admit, the other mousse I have made in the past, in particular the strawberry one, there was a hint of tofu taste I wasn’t overly happy about.  The taste doesn’t bother me, but I guess it may put some people off and sway them away from the power and versatility of the wonderful stuff.

But here, however, no one will be able to guess the full ingredients.

After making deserts, I can’t resist testing the batter or in this case, completely cleaning the entire blender of any trace of chocolate orange mousse with my spoon.  This one is a pleaser.  I’m never so confident about my food until I have had at least one other person try it, but this one is an absolute exception.

My pouring/presentation skills have a little to be desired, but I am a learner after all.

What really matters is the pure deliciousness of the content.

I assure you it’s a good one and extremely easy to make.

Ingredients: (serves 2)

  • 100g 70% Coco Chocolate
  • A knob of butter
  • The juice and zest of 1 small orange or 1/2 Med/Large Orange
  • 150g Firm tofu
  • 1/2 tsp Ginger Powder
  • 1 tbsp Pure Natural honey or Brown Sugar

Directions:

  1. 1st melt the chocolate in a double boiler, when it is melting nicely add the nob of butter and honey/sugar
  2. In a blender add all the other ingredients and blend until smooth
  3. When the chocolate has melted fold in the tofu slowly mixing until the colour is even
  4. There with be remains of tofu mixture on the blender, so transfer the chocolate tofu to the blender and blend together scraping the white from the sides to create an even colour.
  5. Pour into small serving dishes, cover and chill until you are ready to serve, one hour + is best.
  6. Garnish with a slice of orange and serve.

Yuzu Chocolate Cake


It feels great to be free from 9 to 5 for a fortnight, especially when spring arrives.  My most favourite season here in Japan.
The end of term is always the busiest and most exciting.  Everyone is in good spirits to later indulge in more with all the celebrations and good bye parties.
There is always an abundance of amazingly delicious food for the season, from sashimi, salad, noodles, to cakes and home made confectionary.  It’s so exciting.
Most of my students in a private class I teach, own small farms or have friends who do, meaning I am continually indulged with any fruit or vegetable in season.   I love it!
This time I was gifted with a jar of home made yuzu marmalade.   Something which is enjoyed here as a hot or cold drink, spread on toast or used as a marinade/dressing for meat, fish, tofu and salad.
Yuzu is a citrus fruit with a flavour not too dissimilar to orange and lemon combined.  This fruit has a really distinct flavour but refreshing.  Difficult to find in the west as a fresh fruit, but you can find it dry or in bottles from asian markets or stores.
Yesterday I had a very empty fridge, but really wanted to bake something.  I was craving banana cake (surprise surprise), but had no bananas.
I knew I needed a vegetable or fruit to moisten my cake, but the only thing I had close was the Yuzu marmalade.
Here is what I came up with:

It looks like a big cookie, ehe?
Cakes are far too easy to make, but even easier in the rice cooker.  No need to feel compromised in the kitchen ever again.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Flour
  • 2 tablespoons coco powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs (separated and COLD)
  • 100g butter (softened but not oily)
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 cup Yuzu marmalade
  • 1/4 -1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 100g Chocolate bar or choc chips.

Directions:

  1. Grease rice cooker bowl, set to 50mins and press start.
  2. Sift the flour 3x to lighten. On the 3rd sift add the baking powder, soda      powder, salt, cinnamon and coco powder.
  3. In a separate bowl cream together the butter and sugar then mix in the lightly mixed egg YOLKS finally adding YUZU and SOY MILK.
  4. Mix the creamy mixture into the flour etc. When combined, whisk the egg WHITES to a soft peak then fold into the batter.
  5. Transfer the batter to the rice cooker bowl, by this time the setting will probably be down to 40 mins.
  6. break the chocolate into smallish pieces and sprinkle/place on top of the cake batter.
  7. Close the cooker and check for doneness when the timer goes. If the chopstick doesn’t come out clean set the cooker for a further 5 – 10 mins.
  8. When done allow to cool, cut then stuff the faces of the ones you want to fatten up with your love.

Chick Pea Chocolate Cake


mmm…chocolate 🙂 and good for you

High in protein and very nutritious

This is how my Sunday began.  I woke up at stupid o’clock, 6.30am, and couldn’t get back to sleep for the life of me.  This possibly has a lot to do with the fact that my weekend wasn’t active and neither was I. hhmmm I have also had no exercise for a month…I really should get back on track.

However exercise was the last thing I wanted to do on a day where the only thing on my mind was to try out a new cake recipe.  I love secret ingredients and especially if they are healthy.  I had a few cans of chick peas I was dying to find a yummy recipe for so this it what I used.

I didn’t hold many hopes for this one working as the batter was pretty runny and lacking in volume.  It was also just too easy to put together.  However, I bunged what I had into the rice cooker and the results, well…actually pretty good.  I wish I had a tub of creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream to go with this one.  The consistency was similar to a chocolate fudge cake, but a little dryer and very nutty.  Next time I’m gonna mix in some chopped dates to add more moisture or perhaps a banana…hmmm…maybe both.

I love how this is healthy naughtiness.  It makes me feel a little less bad about not exercising.

I will post the recipe later, but for now here is a lovely find….This is the diamond in the rough and it goes by the name, “Graffiti”

Beautiful little gallery cafe in Kochi city, very fresh and bright with funky style.  The cherry on the cake was the free wireless.  Now I can spend all day here, blogging, studying Japanese and planning lessons.

A perfect Sunday afternoon.

Ok so now for the recipe to this protein rich gluten free cake.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tin of chick peas (garbanzo beans) drained.
  • 1 cup dark chocolate (I used 70% greens organic)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 20g Butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 0.5 tsp baking powder
Directions:

1.  melt the chocolate
2.  Mix the butter, sugar and baking powder to a paste
3.  mix the sugar mixture into the melted chocolate
4.  Put the beans and the eggs into the blender and blend until smooth
5.  Pour in the chocolate and blend together ( the smoother the better to avoid the cake to crumble when cooked)
6.  Add the raisins and pulse a few times
7.  Add batter to the rice cooker then set to the cake setting and cook for 45mins.
8.  When the timer has timed out, check the cake with a chopstick.  If it comes out clean transfer the cake to a wire rack and allow to cool before cutting and serving.

Dress the cake however you please.  For me, a cup of green tea works just fine, but for others a spoonful of creme fraiche or double cream.