Tag Archives: bread

GF banana bread – Spring clean specials!

With spring comes spring-cleaning and a renewed desire to shake the cobwebs away, clean up your act, de-clutter your life!

To take it one step at a time, I have decided to dedicate the next few posts to clean living and feel-good recipes.

Here coconut oil cream was used in place of rapeseed

Here coconut cream was used in place of rapeseed oil

First, choose to do one healthy thing or genuinely “good for you” action every day: today I sorted out my linen cupboard and threw any old towel or sheet to recycling! Tomorrow, I tackle my desk and office corner… Tough, but really good for the soul!

Now, a treat with this simple banana bread recipe:

IMG_8980Ingredients list :

  • Black, ripe bananas, 3
  • Egg, 1
  • vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon
  • Rapeseed oil, 3 Tbsp or 50 ml
  • Honey, 3 tbsp
  • Date syrup, 3 Tbsp or treacle
  • Baking powder, 1 tsp
  • Bicarbonate of soda, 1 tsp
  • salt, 1 pinch
  • cinnamon, 1 tbsp
  • Coconut ( or almond) milk, 160 ml
  • GF flour blend, 150g
  • ground almond, 100g
  • oats, 50g

Mix the flour, almond and oats. Add the bicarbonate and baking powder.

Beat the egg in the coconut milk, add the oil, salt.

Mix it all in a wide bowl and add the crushed bananas, cinnamon, honey and date syrup. Date syrup or grape syrup are really great products and you should be able to source them in middle eastern groceries or oriental corner shops. But if you can’t find it just replace that with another couple of spoonfuls of honey or even treacle if you want a spicy taste.

Bake for one hour at 150 degrees. This bread has a cake-like indulgence – whilst remaining more virtuous than cake- and a moist, melting texture.

Serve sliced for breakfast, with or without a spoonful of yogurt. This recipe was inspired by the Minimalist Baker  .


Creole Bread and Butter pudding with rum sauce

This very decadent and irresistible recipe was given to me by my friend Marie-Lorraine who herself got it from a friend: the sort of word-of-mouth recipe that makes you salivate as soon as you hear about it… It is thought to have originated in New-Orleans but there are enough similar recipes in the UK for it to earn its place on this blog.

I used the stale brioche made the week before, which was lucky timing, but you can use any stale sandwich bread or a bought brioche. The trick is to cover the slices with the liquid and let it steep for a while- which I sadly did not have time to do!

Comfort food at its best...

Comfort food at its best…

Ingredients list:

  • Eggs,2
  • Caster sugar, 150g
  • Whipping cream, 230ml
  • Full fat milk, 700ml
  • Butter, 100g
  • Vanilla extract, 1 drop
  • Bitter almond extract, 1 drop
  • Currants raisins, ½ cup or small handful
  • Nutmeg, 1 tsp
  • Stale white bread or brioche, 225g or about

First weigh the bread and cut it up in thick slices.

In a bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, milk, cream, butter, vanilla and almond extract, currants and nutmeg. Whisk to blend well.

Stuff the slices into the bowl and let them steep in ideally for 30 minutes or more. Or you can also just dip each slice into the bowl, then arrange them snuggly and pour the rest over. Once you have arranged your slices  in a buttered dish, such as a rectangular pyrex or gratin dish, add more milk if necessary to cover it well and press down with a fork to absorb most of the liquid.

They should all fit tightly and without leaving any space.

Reserve in the fridge for a few hours or a night.

Put the dish in a hot oven at 160º C.

Bake until the top is golden so about 30/40 minutes. Let too cool down then dust some icing sugar on top before serving. Given the sugar content, this is obviously optional but looks good!

Prepare the sauce.

Ingredients list for the sauce:

  • Sugar, 200g
  • Butter, 60g
  • Whipping cream or creme fraiche, 45ml
  • Egg yolk, 1
  • Rum (or brandy) 60ml

In a thick bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, cream and place over the hob to bubble until it is all melted. Remove from the hob. Whisk the yolk and add it to the mix. Stir in your favourite rum!

Serve the bread and butter pudding warm in shallow cups or bowls with a side helping of the sauce. It is a cross between French toast and a spoon cake: moist and regressive… Enjoy, it’s winter…IMG_5346


Delicious chesnut and soda bread for autumn cheers!

Chesnut, in all its guises, is one of the treats I look forward to when the kids go back to school and the weather turns a bit chillier – and you know it is that time of year again and summer is over…

Chesnut Soda bread

This time, I have used chesnut flour to make my favourite soda loaf and I think you will LOVE – as we did here- its chewy, light and muffin-like bite… Because it has no gluten, chesnut flour is easily digestible and in this recipe I have replaced the traditionnal buttermilk with oat milk to make it suitable for vegans!

As I am continuing on my health trek and avoiding all animal products, this recipe came as a particular “coup de maitre” and I am exceedingly chuffed with the result. It is so yummy it is more of a cake than a bread and sooo vertuous it is hard not to love it. 

Ingredients list:

  • Wholemeal flour 150g
  • Chesnut flour 150g
  • Bicarbonate of soda 2 tsp
  • Pinch of salt
  • Olive oil 50ml
  • Oat milk (oatly) 250ml
The idea with a soda bread is to mix all the ingredients very lightly and NOT to knead at all. That makes it ideal for first-timers!
So mix the flours and soda in a big bowl. The bigger the better.
Add the salt and olive oil – it is a bit much I know but you’ll love the texture: open and light and nicely buttery without a hint of butter.
Throw the whole lot of milk in and mix well. Roll out onto a floured surface and add a bit of wholemeal flour if too sticky. Just pat to shape. No kneading required.
Cut a few marks on the top, like a cross or anything to help the raising.
Bake in a hot oven at 180〬 for about 25 min. It needs to have raised and to sound a bit hollow to the touch. Eat it warm or the same day with a bit of nut butter: I love it with hazelnut butter but it is delicious on its own as well or with olives as a starter , as in the photo.
Enjoy and let me know if you did when you next visit!
Nutrition notes:
Wholemeal flours and gluten-free flours such as chesnut are a good source of vitamins and fibres and they are suitable for a healthy diet for the whole family.  I try and discourage my children to eat white, highly refined flour and they are definitely won over when I can produce an alternative as tasty and indulgent as that! High 5!

children running on the wave-breaker

Cheese on toast à la Harold Pinter

This brilliant title is not mine! But belongs to a delightful recipe book by Mark Crick :  “Kafka’s Soup”, Granta.com

The author is a photographer and writer who came to write a recipe book because he loved cooking but never read a recipe up to the end. He thought he would though if this recipe happened to be written by some of his favourite writers! So he has pastiched their style and themes in the most hilarious and erudite recipe book that could ever grace your kitchen shelves. I was lucky to be invited to a reading during which he proved so funny, personable and genuine that I urge anybody who loves style and literature games to rush and buy his books!

I made this easy and tasty recipe for the kids lunch and they absolutely swear by it now… Me, I love his tongue in cheek take on two British classics – Hence the unusually long post.

cooking the books

Ingredients list:

  • 1 loaf of ciabatta
  • 1 aubergine
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Pesto
  • 200g mozzarella
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
(recipe by Mark Crick in the style of Pinter)
A kitchen, cluttered. A fluorescent tube is flickering, trying to light. Beneath a window is a sink, piled with dirty dishes. The bin is overflowing with rubbish; nearby, empty bottles are standing. There is a small kitchen table; newspapers and unopened letters
obscure the surface. At the table are two chairs. There is the sound of a key in a door, muffled voices. The door bangs shut; instantly HURLEY, a young man dressed in a leather jacket, and CLACK, an older man, tramp-like in appearance, enter stage left.

HURLEY. Come in, make yourself at home.
(CLACK enters and looks around)
Bloody light. I’ve been meaning to get a new tube.
(HURLEY reaches up and taps the light with his finger until
it stops flickering.) I’ll make you something to eat.
CLACK. I haven’t eaten all day. I can’t remember the last time I had a proper
meal. I mean a proper sit-down meal, something hot.
HURLEY. (Looking in the fridge) Do you want to use the
phone? Call your daughter?
CLACK. What, at this time? I’ll call her tomorrow. She won’t
want to come up here tonight, she starts early in the
HURLEY. I can’t offer you much. I haven’t done a proper
shop for ages. How about cheese on toast?
CLACK. What sort of cheese?
HURLEY. Mozzarella.
CLACK. Mozza what?
HURLEY. Mozzarella. It’s Italian.
CLACK. Not for me. I’ll have a slice of toast though.
HURLEY. I must wash this grill sometime.
(He is holding a grill pan covered with dried cooked cheese.
He cuts a ciabatta in half, lengthways. Similarly, he finely
slices an aubergine and puts the pieces into a frying pan
where some oil is heating.)
CLACK. Not a bad little place you got here. All yours is it?
This must be worth a few bob. How long you been here?
HURLEY. I don’t know . . . about three years.
CLACK. Made a few bob on it, have you?
(HURLEY puts the ciabatta under the grill to warm)
That’s a big slice of toast.
HURLEY. It’s ciabatta.
CLACK. Cia what?
HURLEY. Ciabatta. It’s Italian bread.
CLACK. You Italian are you?
HURLEY. Everybody eats it these days: ciabatta, focaccia,
schiacciata, panini.
CLACK. Can’t you just put me a couple of slices in the
HURLEY. Toaster’s broken.
I’d like to have a little Italian eatery one day. Nothing
fancy, mind. Simple snacks: panini on ciabatta, focaccia,
bruschetta; pasta lunches, spaghetti, penne, rigatoni; the
basic sauces, pesto, Bolognese, arrabiata. Classic mains:
carpaccio of tuna drizzled with truffle oil, pan-fried fillet
of beef on a bed of wilted spinach in its own jus. You
want a cup of tea with it?
CLACK. Now you’re talking. A nice cup of tea.
HURLEY. You ever been to Italy? I knew a bloke there once,
bit like you. That was years ago. He’s probably dead
by now.
(He removes the aubergine from the pan, the flesh has
soaked up the oil and is a golden colour with dark stripes left
by the ridges of the frying pan. The ciabatta has now
warmed and he spreads a thin layer of pesto onto the cut
side). Where’s your daughter live then?
CLACK. My what?
HURLEY. Your daughter. The one who was meant to pick
you up at the station.
CLACK. Oh, her.
She lives in Catford.
HURLEY. Catford? I used to go to the dogs there. I remember
one night I was doing well, nearly all winners I’d picked,
till I put the lot on the last race. I did a forecast, two and
four. I don’t know why, I nearly always did two and four
about. But that night I didn’t. Only came in four and
two. I lost the lot. You a gambler?
CLACK. What, and throw my money away like that? Not me.
(Pause as he looks down at his lap)
You haven’t got a safety pin have you?
(HURLEY lays the slices of aubergine on top of the ciabatta
and pesto and begins to slice the mozzarella.)
HURLEY. You can give her a call in the morning. I’ll make
you a bed up.
CLACK. She works in the morning. I told you.
HURLEY. You like olive oil?
(He lays the mozzarella over the aubergine, drizzles olive oil
on top, and finally adds a sprinkle of chopped oregano,
before placing the ciabatta under a hot grill.)
CLACK. I don’t want none of that foreign muck.
HURLEY. Olive oil? It’s good for you.
CLACK. It’s for cleaning your ears out, ain’t it?
HURLEY. (Drops a tea bag into the overflowing bin) Here you
are, a cup of tea for you.
CLACK. (Gives a sigh of contentment) You can’t beat a nice cup
of tea.
(He sips at the tea and pulls a face)
You got any sugar?
HURLEY. Over there, on the table. I don’t use it much.
(The sugar has hardened. CLACK chips at it with a
teaspoon until he has sweetened his tea enough. He checks it
occasionally throughout the process. The sound of sizzling
comes from the grill. HURLEY waits until the mozzarella
has turned brown and golden in places.)
HURLEY. Here you are. It’s ready.
(HURLEY cuts the two lengths of ciabatta into pieces.)
You’ll try some, won’t you?
CLACK. Not for me. That’s no good to a man like me.
(HURLEY puts the plate of ciabatta onto the table.)
Don’t look bad though, I’ll give that to you. It’s . . .
Well presented. That’s what it is, well presented.
HURLEY. I would have done a salad garnish, or a few fresh
basil leaves if I’d had them.
CLACK. Don’t look bad at all.
I’ll just have a taste.
(He takes a piece and bites into it. The mozzarella sticks to
his beard in long threads. His face brightens in surprise.)
CLACK. That ain’t bad, that ain’t. I reckon you might make
a go of that caff yet.
He reaches for a second piece. HURLEY is already eating.
The two men sit in silence, occasionally sipping at their tea.
The fluorescent tube begins to flicker again, but this time
HURLEY ignores it. Lights slowly fade.

cheese on ciabatta

Reading note: Each recipe is a small, contained, perfect work of humour and lightness, erudition and emotion.
M. Crick endorses the voice of others with a faithfulness and brilliance that reminds me that painters of all times have always learnt by copying masters. His pastiches are not only clever “exercises of style” but original and often illuminating personal work. They’ll be by my bedside for a while!

Best ever Buttermilk loaf or soda bread


Sea view

This I dedicate to Dorothee who now makes her own bread in Chelsea! And loves it. Go girl!
I have been making soda bread for a while but this is definitely the easiest and most delicious recipe: we can’t get enough of it here! Hope you enjoy it as much!


Plain flour 400g
Salt 1 level tsp
Bicarbonate of soda 1 level tsp
Buttermilk 300ml

Sieve the flour, salt and bicarbonate into a bowl.
Stir the buttermilk in to make a soft but not too sticky dough- Doro, you can use your Thermomix!
Turn it onto a floured surface and knead it lightly. Roll it around in flour if too sticky. Keep it light.

Shape the dough in a ball and make incisions with a knife.
Bake at 200° for 30 min until golden and springy.
Eat warm with cheese and butter!
This loaf will not keep well but is delicious straight away so don’t hold back…

This is borrowed from a Scottish recipe book lent by my sister-in-law Liz who knows a thing or two about providing and sharing: A feast of Scotland by Janet Warren- one of those old fashioned numbers you can never tire of…