White choc chip banana bread 

I had some leftover ripe bananas this morning, and I thought I also had a courgette in the fridge, so I had intended to make a banana, courgette and lemon cake. Except I had actually already used the courgette up in this pesto.

But it was fine, as I had chocolate chips in the pantry from decorating Big G’s birthday cake last week, so I decided to use those instead.

This recipe uses honey and coconut oil instead of sugar and butter. I think ‘clean eating’ is nonsense and as far as I’m concerned, usually cakes = butter and sugar and so much the better for it. But I quite like the coconut flavour with the banana – they’re both on the ‘tropical’ spectrum, as is the honey. Plus, there’s chocolate in the cake, which makes it a moot point.


What you need

⅓ cup coconut oil
½ cup honey
2 beaten eggs
¼ cup milk
2 mashed bananas
1/2 cup white chocolate chips, plus extra to ice
1 tsp bicarb
1 tsp vanilla extract
sprinkle of salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¾ cups plain flour

What you do

  • Preheat the oven to 160C and line a loaf tin
  • Whisk together the oil, honey, eggs, bananas and milk.
  • Whisk in the bicarb, vanilla, salt and cinnamon, then add the chocolate chips.
  • Gently fold in the flour
  • Pour the batter into the loaf tin and bake for an hour, checking at 50 mins
  • Once cool, drizzle with melted chocolate chips

 

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Yoghurt pot cake

Saturday fridge stocktake. A few bits of veg going mouldy, other veg I can probably stretch this week if I hide it in a sauce, butter that is sure to annoyingly run out in six days, before I do the next big shop, half a tin of coconut milk which means I have to do a curry again this week, and the wrong number of yoghurts.

We always have the wrong number of yoghurts. The Gs eat a small pot each in the morning, before nursery (yes, yes, I know it’s cheaper to buy a big pot and decant but I can’t face the washing up) but they’re sold in packs of six. That’s only three day’s worth. So I buy two packs, and then we have some hanging about, usually apricot because G Major doesn’t like that flavour. Then there’s the big pot of Greek yoghurt that I use up in some recipe or other and so have no breakfast. I need a yoghurt consumption algorithm.

But a glut of yoghurt does give me the chance to make one-pot yoghurt cake.

I first came across yoghurt pot cake in the book French Children Don’t Throw Food. Then I discovered Nigella does an Italian version. In all cases, yoghurt pot cake is a quick cake that children can help whip up in the morning then eat for an afternoon snack. The premise is that you start with a small pot of yoghurt then use that same pot to measure the other ingredients, instead of a measuring cup.

So it’s a cake, it’s quick, it minimises washing up and the kids can help? Yoghurt pot cake is clearly going to be something I make a lot.

For this particular cake, I used lemon yoghurt and added raspberries and chopped strawberries, because that’s what needed using up. But you’re limited only by what’s in your fridge – I’ve previously used strawberry yoghurt with strawberries, toffee yoghurt with chocolate chips, vanilla yoghurt with blueberries and apricot yoghurt with chopped nuts and dried apricots.

What you need

A pot of yoghurt (about 80-120g, the size of one from a six pack)
2 pots SR flour
1 pot sugar
Half a pot of oil (I used coconut but veg or olive is fine)
3 eggs
Splash of vanilla essence
Pinch of salt
Handful of whatever add-ins you’re using

What you do

Scoop out the yoghurt into a mixing bowl

Use the same pot to measure out the flour, sugar and oil. Add the eggs, salt, and vanilla and beat until smooth.

Coat your add-ins in a little flour to stop them sinking, then stir in and pour the mixture into a prepared loaf tin. I kept some pieces back and plopped them just into the top of the mix.

Bake at 180C. Check at 45 minutes – it should be crunchy and golden, with a skewer inserted and coming out clean. If not, give it another 10 minutes.

Sprinkle with icing sugar to serve.

The Gs had this for pudding with a drizzle of custard and then we ate it again for morning tea the next day.

Basic biscuits

What to do with a long bank holiday weekend?

Big G was building a pantry door to replace the one that fell off its hinges last week, complete with built-in spice racks.

G Minor is finally on the move. She waited until I had taken her to the physio to check all was ok; less than 48 hours later off she trotted in a positively JAUNTY fashion. So she is quite content crawling about – I lay a trail of toys from one of the sitting room to the other and she bumbles back and forth.

So G Major and I made some biscuits. We made the dough after lunch, chilled it during nap time, cut them out and baked them when everyone woke up and they were ready to eat after supper.

It kept her engaged all afternoon. Also, our neighbour has had a fall and is in the hospital so we were able to send a little biscuit care package.

This recipe is very versatile. Depending on what you have in, you can make all kinds of different biscuits. Add some jam for thumbprint biscuits; sprinkle the dough with cinnamon and sugar and roll up before slicing into rounds; add boiled sweets for stained glass window biscuits; add any dried fruit or nuts; leave them plain and ice them.

Obviously, as these are basic biscuits, I made them wearing yoga pants and drinking a Starbucks skinny caramel latte.

What you need:
250g softened butter
140g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
Splash of vanilla essence
300g plain flour

What you do

1. Cream the butter and sugar. The recipe from which this was adapted says to do that by hand but seriously, use the mixer.

2. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and beat to combine, then gently beat in the flour.

3. Add any extra  ingredients. I had chocolate chips, glace cherries and pecans to use up, so one-third of the dough got the chocolate chips and one-third got the chopped cherries and pecans. I also had some lemon curd in the fridge so I left the last portion plain for thumbprint biscuits.

4. Roll the dough up in cling film and chill for an hour. I like to do this in a sausage shape as you can then just slice through the sausage to get nice rounds and not worry about biscuit cutters.


5. Once chilled, slice or press out into rounds.

6. For the thumbprint biscuits, G Major made an indentation in each biscuit and we filled it with lemon curd.

7.Bake at 180C for about 15 minutes. I start checking at 12 minutes; these needed a little longer this time round.

OMG dump cakes

If there was one recipe that summed up my cooking style, it would be dump cakes. It’s a pudding. It uses some fresh ingredients but also has an acceptable cheat. It takes hardly any time to prepare but looks like you made an effort. And it creates very little washing up. Minimal cleaning up is the guiding principle in my life.

Dump cakes sound like an industrial product for public urinals but are actually the easiest pudding in the world to make after Eton Mess. So-called because you dump everything into the dish, this is easy enough for the kids to make. It’s a lot like a crumble but with a more cake-y top.

They are honestly the best things I’ve come across for ages.

Apple and Raspberry Dump Cake

Ingredients
Stewed apples and raspberries (tinned or homemade)
Vanilla cake mix
100g-ish butter

Method

Dump the stewed fruit into a pie dish.

Scatter over the cake mix and top with squares of butter.

Bake at 180C for half an hour, until the topping is brown .

G Minor had this with custard while G Major had plain Greek yoghurt with hers.

Tiramisu poke cake

What’s better than cake? Cake with extra hidden bits. I don’t know who came up with the idea of poke cakes but I love them.

Poke cakes are, as the name suggests, cakes which have holes poked into them, creating delicious little reservoirs into which you can pour extra flavourings. The cake soaks some of this up and you end up with a really soft, dessert-like cake. It’s a kind of fridge cake, really (which I also love to make).

As with many of the recipes on here, there are loads of variations you could try. How about vanilla cake with stewed fruit and custard-y icing; chocolate cake with caramel sauce and chocolate icing; lemon sponge with passion fruit curd and lemon icing? NB I am going to make and eat ALL of these.

I put Kahlua in this as it wasn’t meant for the kids but you could leave it out.

Tiramisu poke cake

Ingredients

  • Box of chocolate cake mix plus required extra ingredients, or ingredients for your own sponge
  • Tablespoon of instant coffee made up very strongly with just a dash of water
  • 200g plain Greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 tin of condensed milk
  • Splash of Kahlua
  • Whipped cream
  • Chocolate curls to finish, if you want

Method

  • Make your cake and leave to cool completely in the tin
  • When cool, poke holes all over with something round enough to make decent sized holes
Mmmm, pokey
  • Whisk together the yoghurt, coffee, condensed milk and Kalhua and pour over the cooked cake.
You can see the air bubbles as the topping fills the holes
  • Chill for a couple of hours till firm
  • Top with whipped cream and chocolate (if using) and chill again.
  • Slice into squares so you can see the pokey bits and eat once the kids have gone to bed.