Category Archives: Spices

Banana and chocolate chip bread and butter pudding

This is a quick and easy dessert that uses up two kitchen perennials: over ripe bananas and slightly stale bread.  I tend to use a two inch deep pyrex dish for this  as I love the cruchy/caramelised topping and my partner prefers the mushy creamy underside.   If you like the topping better, use a shallower dish to provide more surface area.

Ingredients:

  • 2 overripe bananas (I pop bananas in the freezer as soon as they start turning black.  You can peel and slice them straight from the freezer)
  • A loaf of slightly stale bread (I wouldn’t use rye or anything savoury, of course but this works great with just about any bread: raisin loaf, white, whole wheat, panettone, brioche… whatever!)
  • Vanilla
  • Turbinado / Demerara sugar (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 3 cups of milk
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • a handful of chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Cut the bread up into good sized chunks (about 1 inch) and place in dish.
  2. Add the sliced up bananas and sprinkle with the chocolate chips.
  3. In a large measuring cup, combine milk and vanilla.   Add butter and microwave until milk is hot enough to finish melting the butter.  Whisk and pour quickly over the bread (you want the butter to be fairly homogeneously distributed).
  4. Sprinkle with the sugar.
  5. Bake in a hot oven (about 180 but that depends on your oven) until the whole thing puffs up a bit and the edges of the bread pieces on top start to darken.
  6. Serve immediately topped with vanilla icecream.  (left overs can be warmed again, or eaten cold)
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Strawberry Rescue Sauce

So last night as I was making that Shrimp & Spinach salad, I noticed that my strawberries were starting to look a touch over-ripe.

Letting strawberries rot is sacrilege as I see it.    So instead, I’ve extended their life by making Strawberry Rescue sauce.

In a saucepan,

  • Put 1 tablespoon of sugar for every 100g of strawberries you need to rescue.
  • Pour enough vanilla extract in to wet the sugar.
  • Add the washed and hulled strawberries.
  • Cook over a high heat only until they’ve rendered a red juice.   allow to cool.

Notes:

  • If your strawberries were in particularly bad shape and you were only able to salvage bits of them, turn this into a coulis by puréeing the cooled sauce.   This works brilliantly over ice cream.
  • This is a lovely topper for a piece of bread or a scone.

Saffron risotto with prawns and scallops

(For the bouillon, I used an infusion of a bouquet garni for fish – which has some fennel in it.   You could use fish or vegetable stock as well).

Heat a pan and add:

a knob of butter,

the juice of a 1/2  lemon

a generous pinch of saffron

Once the butter is melted, add the scallops (and prawns if using raw) and cook until slightly under done.  Set aside.

Add the rice to the pan and stir until translucent.

Add some dried tomatoes and a single red chili.

Gradually add the bouillon, 1/4 cup at a time, adding only as it is absorbed.

With the last 1/4 cup of bouillon, add a generous tablespoon of creme fraiche and a large portion of chopped fresh baby spinach.

Mix the scallops and prawns back in, stir and allow everything to warm through.

You can also grate a bit of Parmesan in at this point (I didn’t have any handy but used a lovely Pecorino Tartufo which worked a treat!)

Add freshly cracked black pepper.

Serve immediately.