Archives for posts with tag: soup

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Today I joined Twitter. I’m still to decide how I feel about it. After spending hours setting up an account and fluttering through the giant birdcage that is Twitter, I feel like I have achieved very little. I have wished Daniel Radcliffe a happy birthday in hopes of getting it to ‘trend’, gathered 3 followers and lost 1 already.

Not a very fruitful afternoon. And it’s sunny outside! Here in Scotland, sunny days are hard to come by, so I really should be making the most of it. At least I managed to get the washing hung out in the garden.

My money saving tip today was to talk my darling hubby out of going out to dinner. I’m sure we can find something good to make at home at just a fraction of the cost. I did my supermarket shop online today as well, so at least I’m practicing what I preach! It’s being delivered on Monday night. Also, we’re going fishing this evening (off the harbour), so if we catch anything, that’s free food!

Nobody has visited my blog today, I’m guessing it’s because it’s the weekend. So I thought I’d try a bit of reverse psychology and tell people NOT to read this post. Sorry if you thought it would be more interesting. A post like this is very much a result of a very sleepy me! Happy Saturday!

In other news… I had the best night last night, chilling with my bestest lady friends. Gossip and food fest are just the best Friday night activities…. This morning I tried Chocolate Sugar Puffs, they kinda just taste like Sugar Puffs but they turn the milk brown…. The chilli plant has been repotted and is settling into it’s new home nicely!… The big batch of soup from the allotment is nearly finished, fortunately father-in-law has kindly donated another turnip from his allotment to go into the next batch!

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I’m so proud of myself today. I spent exactly £1.36 today. That. Is. All.

I did a little shopping yesterday to pick up breakfast food to take to work this week so breakfast consisted of:
2 broken up ryvita biscuits with Greek yogurt, muesli (on offer for £1, usually £2.46) blueberries (£2, large punnet) and cherries (£1 on offer). Yum yum, very filling and healthy too!
I had a coffee from the machine at work for 50p (no Starbucks or Costa!).

My husband made a big batch of soup on Saturday and divided it up into little portions and popped them in the freezer (clever hubby!). So I grabbed one of them for lunch, it had thawed nicely by this point and I zapped it in the microwave for 2 minutes. I bought a slice of bread and a portion of Philadelphia Light for 36p from the canteen and another 50p coffee from the machine. (we have free water at work from the coolers so I had a few glasses throughout the day)

I’m so pleased about not spending anything! It’s such a great feeling!

Banana loaf is done! I had a couple of bananas that were on there way out, perfect excuse for some baking methinks! I have used cherries in this recipe too and managed to snap up a small punnet for just £1 at my local Asda! See my previous post here for details of the banana loaf I’m attempting to recreate.

I struggled to find the recipes that I’d used the last time I made the gluten free banana and cherry loaf, so I adapted one I found at this link.

I made the following alterations to the ingredients:

250g gluten free plain flour (I used Doves Farm plain white flour blend)
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon glycerine
pinch salt
115g butter (can be subbed for sunflower oil for the dairy free lot – about 80ml or 1/3 cup should do)
115g dark brown soft sugar
2 eggs, beaten
500g mashed over-ripe bananas
10-12 fresh cherries – optional
50-100g chopped nuts or a couple of handfuls whole nuts (I used a mix of hazelnuts, almonds and pecans, chopped in food processor) – also optional
2 tablespoons natural yogurt (dairy free variety is okay)

I blended all the wet ingredients (butter, banana, glycerine & eggs) and gradually added the sugar. I then sieved the flour, bicarbonate of soda and xanthan gum into a large bowl and gradually added the wet mixture, folding it in. The mixture was a little stiff & doughy so I added the yogurt to loosen it off. At this stage it should be thick but it should move if you tilt the bowl, a bit like cement! I then added the nuts to add a bit of texture. I used the blade attachment on my food processor (pictured) to chop the nuts, about 4-5 pulses was enough, be careful not to chop them too much or they’ll start to form a paste. I then added the cherries, tearing each one into several pieces and disposing of the stone.

Spoon the mixture into a loaf tin, either lined with greaseproof paper or greased well with butter. Pop the tin in a preheated oven at 150 degrees for a fan oven or a little higher for a conventional oven and bake for about an hour and 15 mins or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.

This was not my most successful loaf but I think that’s because I had the temperature up too high (I used the temp recommended on the recipe I referenced but I think for gluten free it should be a bit lower. I also have a fan oven so think that may have played a part!) The top of my loaf is a little crispy (burnt) but the middle is gooey and just dense enough.

I made a light glaze with 1 and 1/2 tablespoons yoghurt and about 50-75g icing sugar (so its still a bit runny) and brushed it on the top. Alternatively you can make a cream cheese and icing sugar mix. Start with a small amount of cream cheese (add a slice of banana if you want to add some extra flavour) and add the icing sugar, the consistency should be thick like a paste. Sprinkle some icing sugar on the top to finish.

I’ll remake this again soon so may update it again if I can improve on anything.

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A couple on months back, we had a banana cake-off at work: me and a colleague, Lesley, agreed to make banana cakes for our colleagues, who would then judge the winner.

At the time I was really keen on making cupcakes, so I decided to make banana flavoured variety (with real banana though, not artificial flavourings!). I stumbled upon a recipe on the internet and produced 2 dozen tiny cakes. They were not my best. I usually ad-lib a bit on recipes as I’ll usually see more than 1 recipe for the same thing & somehow combine them. But sadly, on this occasion, I stuck to the recipe and the results were not the best. I iced them with a banana & cream cheese icing (which I ended up making far to much of!). However, I lost the cake-off to Lesley – she made a wonderful banana & date loaf, which everybody enjoyed, except for my good friend Freyja, who is Coeliac so couldn’t have any of them due to their gluten content. I left work a little bit disappointed, as I knew I could do better.

At home, I still had excess banana icing, and I still had some super-ripe bananas, so I decided to have another go to try & redeem myself! I felt a little guilty that Freyja had not been able to enjoy any of the cakes due to their gluten content, so I resolved to make a gluten free banana loaf.

I came across a few recipes online and combined a couple of them, although they weren’t gluten free. If you’ve ever tried gluten free baking before, you’ll know that it can be tricky. The flour is of a different consistency and is usually more powdery once baked. There are many varieties of gluten free flour, I used Doves Farm plain white flour blend.

To combat the powdery texture I used glycerin with the bananas and substituted some of the caster sugar for golden syrup. I also used xanthan gum (also from Doves Farm) as an alternative binding ingredient, as gluten generated by wheat flour is the element that holds everything together. As another little ad-lib, I added cherries (mainly because I had a punnet in front of me and they were delicious!).

I popped it in the oven and, once cool, used up the leftover icing. The downside to making a loaf is that you don’t get to try it before you unleash it on the world (or my colleagues). Thankfully, it all worked out and everyone enjoyed it.in fact, some people preferred it to Lesley’s. It is my gluten free greatest success to date. And I don’t remember the recipe!

So today, I am hoping to recreate the amazing banana & cherry loaf. I have the super-ripe bananas & am picking up some cherries at the shops – Tesco have some on special buy for £1! I feel like the gluten free variety of this loaf really worked and added a lightness, not usually found in a loaf.

I plan to document my every ingredient, sieve and blend. Hopefully I will then be able to share with you a recipe for a gluten free banana (& cherry) loaf that works.

I’m just about to heat up a portion of our homemade soup that’s stashed in the freezer. Yum!

For other ways to alter recipes, see Living Shalom’s blog post here:

Simple Adaptations.

Evening all! I’m a little bit off topic today with only a snippet about my budgeting efforts at the end of this post. I’ve mentioned the new Potter movie a couple of times in previous posts so I’m going to let you know my thoughts. I went to see the movie on Saturday night with a group of friends who are all HP enthusiasts. I thoroughly enjoyed the finale of Harry, Ron & Hermione’s adventures. In fact I’d say it’s the best one yet.

My only issue was the scene in which Harry ‘dies’. Even in the book this scene annoyed me a little, but right up there on the screen it was most cringeworthy. I realise it was necessary to have a scene between Harry & Dumbledore but that level of brightness was extremely harsh on the eyes and was a bit too much like heaven’s gates – just too cliché.

If it was me in JK’s position, I would’ve set the scene in a more mellow location, perhaps a table at the Three Broomsticks or Madam Puddifoot’s or even Dumbledore’s office at Hogwart’s. It could have still been shot in a hazy, pseudo-reality way, but it would’ve been easier on the eyes and maybe a bit less cringy!

I loved Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall in this movie. Mrs Weazley (Julie Walters) is great too, especially when she calls Bellatrix (Helena Bonham Carter) a bitch when she goes for Ginny: ‘not my daughter, you bitch!’

In other news, my intentions to save money have been fairly unsuccessful today; I took a zip-bagged home made soup (with father-in-law’s allotment grown onions and courgettes) but stupidly forgot I had it and left it in the fridge at work. I have a day off tomorrow so plan on sleeping late and I might make some bananas that are about to go off into banana bread. I’ve also promised my husband I’ll do a large roast chicken for dinner & sandwiches for work on Wednesday. Very domesticated for me – wish me luck!