I know I said that we were going to skip the G is for Good Health section in the A-Z of Cooking because I had already made the Cheese and Date Bread. Then I remembered that the banana cream I have been eating for breakfast for weeks came from this same section. And for those of you who care about such things my favourite version is also vegan because guess what? The Banana Cream contains no cream. That’s 1970’s health food for you.
So pretty. And it’s delicious too. And so easy to do. It takes all of about 30 seconds to make .
But first a little digression. They…whomsoever they may be…say that you are what you eat. It might be why health food often gets such a bad rap. I mean who want to look like the burghul salad which is the first recipe featured in the G is for Good Health section of the A-Z of Cooking.
So back to breakfast and the no-cream banana cream. This tastes and feels rich and luscious so you can almost feel a bit decadent when eating it. The basic recipe for the banana cream is bananas, yogurt, honey, lemon and crushed nuts. I have played with this for a number of weeks now and my favourite combination is to use coconut yogurt and maple syrup. The one highlight of that time I did Paleo was discovering coconut yogurt. OMG that stuff is the BEST. Shame it is so hideously expensive. At the time I looked into making it and it can be done relatively easily. I’ll add that to the to do list! And maple syrup is one of my favourite flavours. Its so good. But you can use plain yogurt or honey – whatever your favourites are.
I have also eaten the banana cream as a topping for granola and swirled into warm oatmeal //porridge and it is good with both!
I have used walnuts as the nuts in these pictures but almonds are also good. Sub in whatever you like. Or, if you hate nuts, use a sprinkle of granola for a lovely crunch!
I’m not overly fond of bananas but I have eaten the banana cream a couple of times a week for a few weeks now and there is no sign of it going off high rotation. I make the serving size below and put half in a container in the fridge for the following day – it keeps quite well overnight. Quick, versatile, delicious so simple and healthy to boot! So much nicer than that burghul salad!
Breakfast Banana Cream
A quick, easy and healthy breakfast dish. Vegan optional.
Place the banana, coconut yogurt, maple syrup, lemon juice and half the nuts into a food processor.
Blitz until just combined.
Spoon into serving dishes and sprinkle with the remaining nuts.
By Taryn Fryer
Adapted from The A-Z of Cooking
Adapted from The A-Z of Cooking
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
I feel that the A-Z of Cooking has given us two very simple recipes in a row. Next time we head there it should be for the Gourmet section. I have semi-chosen what I am going to cook and it involves a deep fryer so I am going to have to beg, borrow or steal one sometime soon. And if gourmet food and deep frying don’t quite go together in your mind, remember it was the ’70s – all sort of things happened that made totally no sense. Deep fried gourmet food was the least of their worries!
Ever have those moments where you take a good long hard look at yourself and wonder how on earth you ended up in a certain place? Where your life took that turn?
I had one of those tonight. And it wasn’t pretty. Unlike these Fruity Devils which we will get to in due course.
So, let’s imagine my life as a movie. Not a very glamorous movie. But a movie nonetheless. We’ll start with a close up…
Eight o’clock Friday night and I am sitting alone. At home. Wearing a sweatshirt that had seen better days about five years ago and yoga pants. Well, that’s what the shop I bought them in called them. They may have never seen the inside of a yoga studio or known a down dog but technically they are yoga pants.
None of that is is the problem. He has a new job where he is working nights and I am perfectly comfortable both in my own company and with my attire.
So, lets draw the camera back and see where the problem may lie. Sitting on my lap is a plate of chopped up bananas smothered in peanut butter, wrapped in bacon and grilled. I had a grand idea to do a take on a Devils on Horseback and call it Elvis on Horseback. It didn’t really work…Anyway, bacon and peanut butter is admittedly not the healthiest combination on earth but it wasn’t that that had me cringing either. I count eating weird stuff as R&D. I’m eating it so you don’t have to! And you, know sometimes in this blogging lark you have to take the (super) crunchy with the smooth.
That peanut butter gag was like the Spanish Inquisition. (Because no one expects the Spanish Inquisition).
I’ll stop now.
Maybe the problem will be apparent if we draw the camera back even further…
Yes, that is a very hefty glass of wine in front of me…could that be what has me in a such a state of consternation? Drinking alone? Am I worried about some incipient alcoholism /the state of my liver / my ability to get up and go the gym tomorrow morning?
No, no and resoundingly no. It’s Friday, it’s been a long, hard week and if a girl wants a drink in the privacy of her own home, she should be able to have one. Or two. Don’t judge me.
So what it is? Why am I pausing for a moment of reflection? Not that I am alone at home on a Friday night, wearing let’s just call them “comfortable” clothes; not that I am eating a banana smothered in peanut butter then wrapped in bacon; not that I am drinking alone but that I am doing all of the above whilst watching a movie where Robert Pattinson is playing Salvador Dali.
I really need to re-evaluate some of my life choices. I may need professional help. Or at the very least some movie recommendations….
Who on God’s green earth thought that was a good idea? (Me apparently seeing as it was on my Netflix queue). But then again, I’m alone at home on a Friday night eating bacon, bananas and peanut butter! My judgement is at best questionable.
But apart from me, who else thought it was a good idea? It’s TERRIBLE. Well, to be honest, the film itself is probably not so bad. R Patz, however is more wooden than the stake that should have been driven through his cold dead heart in any one of the billion Twilight films.
Oh, God, why am I still watching it?
Make it stop…someone please make it stop!!!!!
And does anyone else think Vamp boy looks a lot like the Blackadder?
I have no idea what possessed me to pick that film. What is far easier to track is how I ended up thinking bananas and bacon were a good idea. The seed of THAT insanity lies within the book club. One of the ladies brought along one of her mother’s (?) Women’s Weekly cookbooks from the early sixties. It was AWESOME. And whilst I really wanted to just grab it and run….I contented myself with flicking through the pages.
Which is when I saw the recipe for Jaffa Devils. Orange slices wrapped in bacon and grilled. Two ingredients, easy to remember. So I made them. They were ok. They weren’t the best thing I’ve ever eaten but they sure weren’t the worst! And it works in theory – bacon and orange mix well at breakfast…so why not in an appetizer? (Mind you, it’s that kind of thinking that leads to coffee flavoured scrambled eggs…and Little Ashes, which incidentally, STILL watching).
The problem was, the Jaffa Devils became like a gateway drug. For a while there I was utterly obsessed with wrapping fruit in bacon. I kind of like it when food is both good and bad for you, bacon and fruit, peanut butter and celery, cranberry juice and booze..it’s the way o’ the world, yin and yang, toxifying and detoxifying in equal measure.
I wrapped peaches, pineapple, a tangelo…I couldn’t leave the citrus alone. And the banana. The banana was not good. The tangelo, like the orange, was a bit meh…..
The peach and the pineapple? OMG. Super. The Bacon and Peach Combo worked best with a sauce made from Pomegranate Molasses. By which I mean some Pomegranate Molasses poured into a bowl. But you could use some reduced Balsamic if you did not have the Pomegranate Molasses. The Bacon and Pineapple Devil worked with both a sweet chilli and a BBQ sauce.
Pretty damn good, even if I do say so myself! And super easy and super quick to make as well.
In all honesty, give the banana and orange ones a miss. But do try the peach and pineapple. They are gold! And for some Dali gold, skip Little Ashes and watch this clip of the real Salvador Dali utterly bamboozling the folks on What’s My Line.
Bananas are not my favourite fruit. I put it down to an ill-advised visit to a…(please don’t let my mum be reading this)… “show” in Amsterdam when I was, younger and more prone to drunkenness peer pressure than I am now. It took many a year before I could even look at a banana (or anyone dressed in a Batman costume) without an inward cringe and a slight sense of shame.
But, even a banana-phobe like me could not resist trying out the recipe for Rhubarb and Banana Pie in Good Cooking For Everyone. Here is a sneak peek at how that turned out before we turn to some less appetising uses.
OMG that pie was good!!!
I’m conquering my fears in more ways than one this week – bananas and homemade pastry! If only Christian Bale would drop by we could go for the hat trick. Anyway, I had a little flick through Good Cooking for Everyone whilst I was waiting for my pastry to chill and there seemed to be a lot fewer recipes containing bananas than I remembered.
Here is what was listed:
However, my eagle eye soon discovered out the recipes Mary Meredith tried to hide. So, today, allow me to present the Banana File of Shame (and a really, really, good pie recipe)!
Mary Meredith seems to have had quite the predilection for bananas and bacon as they feature in three recipes. I had no idea this was a thing but Niki Sengit gives the combination a stamp of approval in her Flavour Thesaurus (one of my favourite food books) so I guess it must be. Like Mary, Niki also gives a recipe for Bacon Wrapped Bananas. However it is the cheese sauce in Mary Meredith’s recipe that moves it from what Niki calls “fun” to what I call “Ewww”!
Then there are Bacon, Kidney and Banana Kebabs. I have never cooked with, or even knowingly eaten, kidneys. And after reading the second sentence in this recipe which made me gag, it will probably stay that way! The faint of stomach may want to skip recipe.
There is also a sneaky use of bananas in the Sunrise Breakfast. I initially thought the things on the serving platter with the tomatoes were sausages. But who ever heard of people eating sausages for breakfast? Crumbed bananas make far more sense. If you’re insane.
Mind you, I’m obviously a bit slow because I made the same mistake with the Sunday Chicken which also features bananas cunningly disguised as sausages.
Another combination I would never have thought of but Niki assures me that breaded chicken with banana was served on the Titanic and features in F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s novel Tender is the Night! Mary Meredith also features chicken and bananas in her recipe for Stuffed Boned Chicken.
I would have included the pages on how to bone a chicken. Unfortunately, the 13-year-old boy whose sense of humour I stole was snickering so hard at the phrase “boning a chicken” that I had to let it go.
Mary is also not afraid to take food from other climes and destroy them with the inappropriate inclusion of the banana.
A recipe called Flamenco Rice should invoke Spain. It should bring up images of a glamorous Spanish woman, holding the edge of her brightly coloured ruffled dress and twirling, or clicking her castanets to the tune of a classical guitar. Or, at the very least, Paella.
Fried eggs and fried bananas on a bed of rice served with tomato sauce is not flamenco. It’s not even the Macarena.
France also does not fair well. Bananas as an accompaniment to Fondue? No thanks.
Fabulous copper fondue pot though!
Finally, the hidden gem in the shape of a Rhubarb and Banana Pie. This was awesome!
I made a few small changes to the recipe as given. I wanted a really short, almost a shortbread, crust so I used the Almond Sweetcrust Pastry in Alan Campion and Michelle Curtis’ In The Kitchen instead of that suggested by Mary. If you are scared of large quantities of butter look away now.
I mastered the pastry only to discover my pie dish had disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle that hovers over my house. But, in the spirit of keep calm and carry on, I crossed my fingers and rolled the pastry into a soufflé dish.
I added 1 teaspoon of Orange Flower Water into the mix before I loaded it into the Pie Crust. I love the mix of rhubarb and orange!
The pie was fabulous, the flavours worked beautifully together and the pastry was light and crisp. I kept my rhubarb and my banana relatively chunky which made for an interesting mix – one mouthful would be heavily rhubarb in flavour, the next would be almost entirely banana. If you wanted less sharply defined flavours, you could cook the rhubarb to soften it, then mash be bananas in.
I may be biased but I think mine looks pretty good, despite the use of a soufflé dish!!!
They say the best way to get rid of your phobias it to face them. So, this week I’m going to be spending a lot of time looking at pictures of Christian Bale on the internet.
I had a dilemma this week. I was reading “The Party Cookbook” and found a recipe for a little dish called Osborne Oysters. Now, it just so happened that with the half dozen oysters we buy as a little treat each Saturday, I had all the ingredients on hand to make this dish.
But, let’s face it. Oysters aren’t cheap. And this recipe consisted of a few ingredients that I would never have put together – what if it tasted as bad as it sounded? On the other hand, what if it turned out to be a magical combination that would have the likes of Heston Blumenthal lamenting “Why didn’t I think of that?”
Just to be clear on what I was up against, here are the ingredients for Osborne Oysters:
No, you don’t need to adjust your screen….that is an oyster, a banana and some Jarlsberg. Now you see my dilemma? My gut instinct is that those are three things that should never even be seen together (which is why one lives on the land, one in the sea and one on a tree) let alone combined into a dish. I was still torn though, a little Heston Blumenthal devil on my shoulder was urging me to do it. Then a tiny angel looking suspiciously like Marco Pierre White jogged my memory of a more recent seafood – banana melange.
Early in the current series of Masterchef: The Professionals, one of the candidates made a name for himself by serving Marco Pierre White a fish stew with a banana flavoured aioli.
That name was buffoon.
Marco described it as one of the worst things he had eaten. Ever.
So the big question. Did I make and eat Osborne Oysters?
Not on your life. I listened to my inner MPW and ate those oysters in my preferred fashion…with lemon, Worchestershire sauce and Tabasco. And they were delicious!
My preferred Oyster mix (although I don’t usually measure it out) is:
½ teaspoon lemon juice
3 drops Worchestershire sauce
1 drop Tabasco
Et Voila…down the hatch!
I always follow this up with some bread and butter. I have no idea why but Oysters make bread and butter taste even better than normal!
For anyone more stupid braver than me…here is the recipe for Osborne Oysters:
For everyone else, if you take one thing away from this week’s post it’s to always listen to your inner Marco.