STRAWBERRY, COCONUT, CHIA SEED BANANA BREAD

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Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients in this recipe because this cake is really worth it. It’s full of flavor and goodness, it’s perfect if your watching the calories but craving that sweet treat. ¬†I understand that Chia Seeds are expensive and especially here in Doha at about 50Qr, however if your lucky enough to have some then this recipe is the perfect one to use them in. Try this cake out and you will love it just as much as I do ūüôā
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour (plain flour)
  • 1 tsp¬†baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup ripe mashed banana (about 2-3 bananas)
  • 1 tbsps coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 1/3 cup soft brown sugar
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp milk (soy, coconut, or almond¬†also work)
  • 3/4 cup diced ripe strawberries
  • 1/4 cup smashed raspberries (or you can use more strawberries which is what I done)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut, plus 3 tablespoons for topping (sweetened is fine, too)
  • 2 tbsps chia seeds
  • 2-4 strawberries, sliced for topping

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180/160c (fan). Grease 9-inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  3. In a seperate large bowl, beat together banana, brown sugar, egg, coconut oil, vanilla, yogurt, and milk until smooth and creamy. Slowly add dry mixture to wet ingredients, and mix until combined. Gently fold strawberries, raspberries, coconut and chia seeds into the batter.
  4. Place batter in prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle top evenly with 3 tablespoons of coconut. Place sliced strawberries over the top of the bread. Bake for 50-65 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 20 minutes, then remove from pan and return to wire rack to finish cooling. Bread is even better the next day.
  5. Bread will stay fresh for a few days when wrapped tightly.

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Source: http://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/2013/05/strawberry-coconut-chia-seed-banana-bread/?crlt.pid=camp.WU49m1lt1UFW

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BUTTER BISCUITS

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These thin, delicious buttery biscuits have definitely become one of my new favorite things to bake. They are really quick, simple and most importantly very moreish; because you can’t just stop at one. The butter biscuits are very similar to Scottish shortbread in taste and texture however they are lot less fickle to work with. When cutting the biscuit dough you can use a normal 7cm (2 3/4in) round cutter, I went a little overboard and used one or two OK maybe 4 types of cutters.

Makes: Approx 30                                Prep + Baking Time: 35 Mins

INGREDIENTS

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 150g butter, softened and diced
  • 1 egg yolk (this is what the original recipe says however I found the dough way too crumbly so I added in 2 and the mixture was fine, so try 1 at first and ¬†if you have the same issue as me then add an extra egg yolk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Demerara or caster sugar to sprinkle on top of the biscuits, you can also use vanilla sugar (optional)

METHOD 

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180c/160c (fan) and prepare a few baking trays.
  2. Put the sugar, flour, and butter into a large bowl and rub together or pulse/blend in a food processor until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. BeFunky CollageBB
  3. Add the egg yolk(s) and vanilla extract and bring the mixture together using your hands. BeFunky Collagebb1
  4. Cover the dough in cling film and chill for up to 1hr.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured plastic chopping board and knead it briefly until smooth. Putting it on the chopping board makes it easier to turn the dough when rolling it out. Roll the dough out to a thickness of about 5mm (1/4in).BeFunky Collage32
  6. Using a pastry cutter, cut out the biscuits and transfer them to the baking tray. Sprinkle some sugar on to the biscuits to give them extra sweetness and crunch.
  7. Bake 1 batch of biscuits at a time and keep the uncooked biscuits in the fridge while you wait for the others to be done baking, this will stop them getting soft.
  8. Bake the biscuits for 10-15mins until golden brown at the edges. Leave the biscuits to cool until firm enough to handle, then transfer to a wire rack. BeFunky Collage321
  9. Leave the biscuits to cool completely and transfer to a biscuit tin or cookie jar. They will keep well for up to 5 days.

Recipe Source: ‘Step-by-Step Baking’ by Caroline Bretherton

HOMEMADE TOMATO SAUCE

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I first became inspired to make my own Tomato Sauce during a Summer trip to Turkey to see my husbands family. It was during a trip to the local fruit and veg market with my mother-in-law and my husbands aunties that I first learned of their yearly summer tradition.¬†They would stock ¬†up on tomatoes when they are in season and make numerous jars of tomato sauce to ensure they have an endless supply of the best sauce from the best tomatoes to last them through the long winter months. They would then go on to freeze them to ensure there freshness. Unfortunately I didn’t get a recipe, however the first thing I done when I got home from my trip was buy a huge bunch of tomatoes and I started experimenting and I think I have the recipe perfected. This tomato sauce is prefect for all tomato sauce based dishes like; Spaghetti Bolognese, Chilli and basically any recipe that calls for tinned chopped tomatoes you can use this recipe instead.

MAKES:  Approx. 1.5l of Tomato Sauce

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1-1.5kg of ripe tomatoes (this is approx 15 medium sized tomatoes), diced
  • 200ml of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp of tomato puree
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • pinch of sugar

METHOD

  1. First you have the monotonous and mountainous (but well worth it) task of dicing all the tomatoes. The smaller you dice them the quicker they will cook down. If you want to give yourself extra work you can skin the tomatoes, although I don’t bother with this step i’m too lazy (there is said it :)) plus the skin doesn’t bother me. See the notes below to find out how to skin tomatoes.
  2. Cook your onion in a large pot until soft and transparent, then add your diced tomato. Cook your tomatoes down until they reach a mushy like consistency.
  3. Add your tomato puree, stock, salt, pepper and sugar; the reason for adding sugar is this helps to enhance the flavor of the tomatoes. Stir and leave to simmer for 20-25mins on a medium heat.
  4. When your sauce has thickened and reduced down a little, leave it to completely cool or use it immediately in whatever dish you are cooking.
  5. Once your sauce has completely cooled down you can bag it in batches and freeze it for later use.

NOTES:

  • To skin the tomatoes cut a cross through the skin of the bottom of the tomato, throw the tomatoes in to a pan of boiling water for a minute, next plunge them in to a bowl of ice cold water and lift them straight back out the water. The skin should come away from the tomatoes straight away and with minimal effort.
  • This recipe is the basic tomato sauce recipe however to add more flavor I also like to add 1 tbsp of paprika for a more smokey flavored sauce or for an Italian like sauce you can add 2 tsp of oregano and 2 tsp of dried parsley.

STRAWBERRY AND CREAM WHOOPIE PIES

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Forget the terrible name these mini cakes seem to have been called because they are anything but terrible. Like the cupcake they are so versatile and you can combine many flavors and in return you are given a delicious mouthful. They are the sponge cake equivalent to the french macaron and I am going to enjoy experimenting with these little sponge cakes and I hope you do to. Happy Baking!!!

MAKES: 10 PIES

INGREDIENTS 

  • 175g unsalted butter, softened
  • 175g soft light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 75g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 150ml whole milk
  • 2 tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 150ml double cream, whipped
  • 250g strawberries, thinly sliced
  • icing sugar, for dusting

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c/160c fan. Line a few baking sheets with parchment or grease with some butter. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
  2.  In another bowl, sift in the flour, cocoa and baking powder. Mix the dry ingredients and the milk into the batter alternatively, a spoonful at a time. Fold in the yogurt. BeFunky Collage122
  3. Put heaped tablespoons of the batter onto the baking sheets, leaving space for the mixture to spread. Dip a tablespoon in warm water and use the back to smooth over the surface of the pies.                                                                                       whoopie
  4. Bake for 10-12mins, until well risen. Leave the pies for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
  5. Spread the cream onto half the cakes. Top with a layer of strawberries and a second cake. Dust with icing sugar and serve. These do not store well and should be eaten on the day.   P1010091                               P1010098

Recipe Source:¬†‘Step by step baking’ by Caroline Bretherton

CARROT AND ORANGE CUPCAKES

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These cupcakes are similar to carrot cake but with an orange twist. The sponge is deliciously moist with a nice kick of mixed spice and a nice fruity hit from the oranges. Despite the sponge being extremely tasty I was disappointed with the mascarpone frosting, I don’t know if it’s because I associate carrot cake with a cream cheese frosting but I just felt it did not do the cupcakes justice. I will make these cakes again in the future cause they really are tasty however I will replace the mascarpone frosting with a cream cheese one. I will include the ingredients for the mascarpone frosting in case you want to give it a go, which I suggest you do as everybody has different tastes. Alternatively you can skip the frosting altogether and have carrot and orange muffins, which are equally as good, I ended up eating them as muffins as I scraped the mascarpone frosting off. Whatever way you decided to make them I hope you enjoy them. Happy Baking!!!

MAKES: 12 Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS 

  • 115g butter, softened
  • 115g light brown sugar
  • Juice and finely grated zest of 1 small orange
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 175g carrots, grated (this is roughly 2 medium sized carrots)
  • 25g walnut pieces, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 125g plain flour
  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • FROSTING:
  • 280g mascarpone cheese
  • 4 tbsp icing sugar
  • Grated rind of 1 large orange

METHOD

  1. Prepare you muffin pan with cases, than preheat your oven to 180c/160c fan.
  2. Put the butter, sugar and orange rind in a bowl and beat together until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs beating well after each addition.
  3. Squeeze any excess liquid from the carrots and add to the mixture with the walnuts and orange juice. Stir the mixture until mixed well. Sift in the flour, mixed spice and baking powder and then, using a metal spoon fold into the mixture.                  P1010107
  4. Spoon the mixture in to the prepared cases and bake for 25 minutes or until well risen, firm to touch and golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.BeFunky Collage123
  5. To make the frosting, put the mascarpone cheese, icing sugar and orange rind in a large bowl and beat until smooth.                                                                         P1010115
  6. When the cupcakes are cold, spread a little frosting on top of each, swirling it with a round bladed knife. Store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve.

Recipe Source: Cupcakes & Mini Bakes by The Sweet Treat Collection.