Sunday, 10 June 2012

Lazy Banana and Carrot Cake.

This banana and carrot cake is fantastic for those lazy days when you want cake, but don't really want to do a lot of work (or washing up). The raising agents in the mixture do all the hard work for you. Not only a one bowl wonder that uses up any bananas that are over ripe, but with the carrots in it too, must surely count as one of your five a day!!

Lazy banana and carrot cake.
175g light brown sugar
3 eggs
175ml sunflower oil
175g coarsely grated carrots (or you can use a mixture of carrot and eating apple).
2 very ripe, medium sized bananas mashed (or 3 smaller ones).
280g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon (optional).
butter/margarine for greasing the tin


Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease and line a 9 inch, spring form (or similar sized square/loaf) tin.

Put the sugar, eggs, oil, grated carrot, mashed banana in a large bowl and mix briefly. Make sure there are no lumps of sugar.

Sugar, eggs, oil, carrot and banana mixed together.

Sift in the flour (do yourself a favour and sift it for this one, otherwise you'll never get the lumps out), and the bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

Mix all the ingredients together until they are combined and pour into the cake tin.

Complete cake mix in the tin.

At this point, don't hang about (otherwise you'll lose the oomph from the raising agents) and put the filled tin on the centre shelf of your preheated oven immediately. Bake for approximately forty-five minutes to one hour. The baking time will depend on your oven and the tin you are using. The cake is cooked when risen, browned and when a skewer can be inserted into the centre and removed clean. If the cake is browning too much, cover with foil.

Allow the cake to cool in the tin for ten minutes and then turn out on to a cooling rack and remove the lining paper.

If you can possibly bear to wait, cool completely before eating.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Brilliant Bean and Pea Salad

I'm lucky enough to have just returned from a trip to Paris, bringing with me some fabulous saucisson sec.

Saucisson sec.

I'm happy enough to eat this on its own, but I am also more than happy to get in every meal possible! To soothe a guilty conscience resulting from a few days of gluttony,  a handful of locally grown broad beans and some wonderfully green peas seemed to be a good idea. This recipe is  for a great fresh salad  that is great with roasted and grilled meats (especially so if you are lucky enough with the weather to be able to get he BBQ out), but is also great on its own with fresh bread for a summer lunch.

The quantities in the below recipe makes enough for two as a side dish.

150g  podded broad beans (If you buy them in pods I find that 500g of pods gives approximately 150g of beans). Feel free to use frozen if not in season.
175g peas (I used frozen on this occasion).
Approximately 60g saucisson sec (or any decent air dried ham or salami) cubed or cut in to small strips.
1 small garlic clove
Olive oil
A light flavoured vinegar (cider or white wine vinegar - on this occasion I actually used the vinegar from my caper jar).
Salt and pepper.


Podded broad beans.

Pod the broad beans if necessary (keep the pods for stock) and then cook on a rolling boil for 3 minutes (please use unsalted water, or you'll toughen the beans). Cool quickly under cold running water, or in a bowl of ice water.

Cook the peas in the same way for 3 minutes, cool as with the beans.

Peel the skins off the cooked broad beans - you should find that they pop out of the skins easily

Cooked and peeled broad beans.

Combine the peas and beans in a bowl and add the chopped saucisson sec (or ham).

Finely chop and add the garlic. If like me, your knife skills are a little lacking, you may wish to crush it instead, no one wants big chunks of raw garlic.

Broad beans, saucisson and garlic.
Drizzle over a small amount of olive oil over the bean mixture. You want just enough to coat the mixture, you don't want it to be swimming in oil.

Add a teaspoon of your chosen vinegar, give it all a good stir and then give it a taste. You may at this point wish to add more vinegar depending on your taste. You also may wish to add some salt, but this will depend on how salty your saucisson or ham is. You might find that you don't need any at all. I think this dish benefits greatly from a good grind or pepper, but as always, you will want to do this to taste.

Brilliant bean and pea salad.