This is 29 Acacia Road, and this is Eric the schoolboy who leads an amazing double life. For when Eric eats a banana an amazing transformation occurs. Eric is Bananaman. Ever alert for the call to action! (Bananaman: TV series 1983-1986)
I was fortunate enough to be given some vanilla pods for Christmas. I had seen them being used before on television and couldn’t wait to split those pods open and scrape out the seeds. My next thought was what shall I make. I had some double cream leftover from making truffles, ripe bananas that needed using and some ground almonds that were fast going out of date. And what does this all make I hear you ask?! It can only be a delicious banana crumble with homemade custard!!!
Banana Crumble with Homemade Custard
2- 3 bananas
75gr. plain flour
25 gr. butter
25 gr. oats
35 gr. ground almonds
2 tbsp. caster sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. all spice
For the custard:
280 ml tub of double cream
1 vanilla pod, split in two and seeds scraped out
3 egg yolks
1 tsp. corn flour
1 tbsp. caster sugar
- In a large bowl rub together the plain flour and butter until it becomes a breadcrumb texture.
- Add the oats, ground almonds, caster sugar, cinnamon and all spice, then stir until it is all well incorporated.
- Preheat oven Gas 6/ 200 C
- In a small pie dish (15- 20cm diameter) chop up 2- 3 bananas and cover the base of the dish.
- Sprinkle on the crumble mixture and make sure it is fully covered. You may have a little bit of mixture leftover.
- Place into the oven for 20 minutes or until it has got a golden colour on top.
- While the crumble is in the oven, pour the cream into a saucepan.
- Split the vanilla pod in two and scrape out the seeds, then add the seeds and the pod to the saucepan.
- On a low heat, warm up the cream up until near boiling point.
- In a large measuring jug add the egg yolks, cornflour and caster sugar and whisk together.
- Once the cream is ready, take out the vanilla pod.
- Gradually add the cream to the egg yolks (just add a little bit to start off with so the mixture doesn’t scramble)
- Once all the cream has been added, pour back into the saucepan.
- On a low to medium heat, stir the custard until it thickens. Don’t let the mixture boil.
- You will know the custard is ready when the custard coats the back of a spoon.
- The all spice adds a real flavour kick. Feel free to experiment with others.
- Baileys truffles are a great use of any spare cream…or it’s a good excuse to make them at the very least!
Run, run as fast as you can! You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man!(Taken from the Gingerbread man song, Unknown)
If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to put up the Christmas tree, yippee! Although you can’t go wrong with baubles, tinsel and lights- I love having a sweet treat up there as well. Purple foil-wrapped Cadbury’s chocolates hanging from gold thread are a favourite in my household but this year I’m going to try making decorations out of gingerbread.
I have some wonderful cookie cutters in the shapes of snowflakes and Christmas trees and I’ve been dying to try them out. I sometimes struggle making biscuits but these have worked out really well. I hope you like them too!
350 gr. Plain flour, plus extra for kneading and rolling out.
180 gr. Light soft brown sugar
4tbsp. Golden syrup
1tsp. Bicarbonate of soda
1tsp. Ground cinnamon
2tsp. Ground ginger
Zest and juice of half an orange
200 gr Icing sugar
a little water may be necessary.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda and ginger. I like mixing with a knife.
- Add the butter and use your fingertips to mix until it looks like breadcrumbs.
- Stir the sugar into the mix.
- In another bowl, (I use a measuring jug), lightly beat the egg and syrup together.
- Use the knife to mix until fully incorporated.
- Next, knead the mix with your hands, adding extra flour where necessary, to bring to a smooth ball.
- Wrap the dough in Clingfilm and leave it in the fridge to chill for at least half an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4
- Line a baking tray with baking or greaseproof paper.
- Roll the dough out to no more than half centimetre. Preferably slightly less but not too thin either.
- Using your cutter, preferably a lovely Christmas one, cut out the shapes.
- If you do intend to hang them on your Christmas tree, use a skewer to make a small hole at the top of each biscuit.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.
- Leave on the tray for 10 minutes before transferring them to the cooling rack.
- To make the icing, add the icing sugar into the bowl, add the juice and zest and mix together until smooth but not runny.
- Put the icing sugar in a piping bag and decorate in a pattern of your choosing.
- I have added some edible silver balls to my biscuits- let your festive inner spirit guide you!
- The orange zest in the icing really adds a kick to the flavour of the gingerbread.
Finally in the words of THE Gingerbread Man from Shrek, ‘ Fire up the ovens, Muffin Man! We got a big order to fill.’
Chocolate Orange Cake
It’s not Terry’s, it’s mine (Dawn French)
A couple of weeks ago, a friend from work had her leaving do … (very sad face). But it gave me the opportunity to bake her a cake (hooray!) and celebrate along with her!
Although at first, I wasn’t sure what flavour to pick, I knew she liked chocolate orange which left only one choice in my mind. Triple layer chocolate orange cake.
Here is my recipe:
Suzy’s Chocolate Orange Cake
For the cake
350 gr. self-raising flour
325 gr. caster sugar
5-6 eggs, beaten
325 gr. butter
50 gr. dark chocolate
1 bag of mini Terry’s Chocolate Orange pieces, melted
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
Milk (may not be needed)
For the chocolate butter icing
1tbsp. cocoa powder
50 grams dark chocolate, heated in a microwave at 20 second intervals until melted.
450gr. icing sugar
1 bag of Mini Terry’s Chocolate Orange pieces.
I also made a small batch of vanilla butter icing for decoration. This will need an extra 75 gr. butter, softened, 175 gr icing sugar, 1 tsp. of vanilla sugar or extract and whisk all together. You may need some extra milk to loosen the mixture.
- Pre-heat oven to 180 Gas 4
- For this cake you will need 3 x 20cm round cake tins.
- Grease and line each tin with baking paper. I grease my tins with butter (on the bottom and side of the tin) and only place baking paper in the bottom of the tin.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. For large cakes like this, I use a hand mixer.
- Add around a third of the flour and egg and whisk until incorporated.
- Whisk in the rest of the eggs.
- Fold in the rest of the flour and cocoa powder.
- Zest the orange and add to the mixture.
- Place the Terry’s Chocolate Orange in the microwaveable bowl and microwave for 20 seconds at a time until just melted, stirring in-between each 20 seconds.
- Add the melted chocolate to the cake mixture and stir through until mixed thoroughly.
- You should have a dropping consistency at this point, but if you don’t, you can either squeeze in some of the orange or add some milk.
- Place a third of the mixture into one of the 20 cm round baking tins and repeat for the other two tins.
I weigh the mixture into the tins in order to get a similar amount in each tin.
- Place the tins in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes until you can stick a fork in it and it comes out clean.
- Once the cakes are out of the oven, leave to rest for at least 5 minutes. With a rubber spatula or something similar, go round the edges to loosen any cake that has stuck.
- Place the cakes onto a cooling rack and leave to cool.
- To make the chocolate butter icing, soften the butter with a knife or fork. Add the icing, cocoa and chocolate and stir/whisk until it has blended together to make a spreading consistency.
- If the mixture is too hard, I sometimes add milk to loosen slightly, but just be careful not to add too much.
- To build up the layers of the cake, take the first layer and spread the chocolate butter icing over the top and around the sides of the cake.
- Next add the next layer and repeat the process and do the same with the final layer.
- For the design, I created a web with the vanilla butter icing and placed some Terry’s Chocolate Orange pieces on the top and around the side (but I would love to see any designs you come up with!)
- I find smoothing icing around the side very difficult. I use a cake decorating turntable and a large palate knife to help with this.