Banana and Blueberry Bread

While I was able to get off work earlier on Friday as a surprise mini Summer-Friday, I decided to bake this banana/blueberry bread for my husband’s birthday.

One of our very good friend was planning to bring one of her amazing cake at the party that evening and my cake would be just the perfect thing to wake up to after the big party.

Some cakes are perfect as “birthday-celebrating-blowing candles on” cakes and some others are perfect as “post-celebration-breakfast” cakes.

I had never baked banana bread and since I love it and had some left overs, it was the perfect occasion. And I decided to add the rest of my blueberries before they would turn bad.

Banana bread is a typically American thing for me. I don’t really know why but I never grew up with it around me and associated it with the U.S.

In my quest for the perfect recipe, I also discovered an interesting explanation on why Americans use cups for measurements. I always wondered why, sometimes slightly annoyed at it since I am used to see recipes with grams and milliliters.

I read online that it is meant to make measuring for recipes easier because you don’t have to weight anything. While this silly European person has probably no idea of what we are talking about, here is a more interesting explanation: Back in the days, the average American farmer’s wife had very low chances to own a precise weighting system in her ranch and cups became an acceptable system.

Needless to say that it was the perfect breakfast treat paired with a cup of black tea and cherries.

 

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg powder – optional

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder – optional

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 ripe bananas, mashed

1 cup fresh blueberries

 

Directions

1. Mix flour, baking powder, nutmeg and cinnamon in a medium bowl.

2. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl for about 5 min until light and fluffy. The color should be noticeably lighter. Add 1 egg and allow to blend into the mixture before adding the second egg with the vanilla extract. Beat mashed banana thoroughly into the mixture.

3. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F (175 Celsius). Grease your loaf pan.

4. Mix the blueberries into the flour mixture and add then into the butter/banana one until combined into a thick batter.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for about 40 to 45 min until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

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Radishes with Butter and Salt

Still in the mood to re-create what I enjoyed during my childhood, here is another simple one: radishes with salt and butter.

It doesn’t need to be big, just few radishes for each person in order to get the diner/lunch started.

Ingredients

1 or 2 bunch of radishes.

Unsalted butter at room temperature.

Salt.

Preparation 

Trim the radishes and cut off the leafy greens by leaving a half inch intact, just so that it is easier to hold the radishes while dipping.

Serve on a platter with the radishes, butter and salt.

Slice the radish almost through the leafy greens but not completely. The radish should not be cut into two but slightly open so that you can put some butter into the opening.

Dip in the salt and take a bite. This step can be repeated as long as you still have some of the radish left!

Most importantly: enjoy!

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Classic French Carrot Salad

This recipe has been a childhood classic starter for lunch or diner.

It is an easy and fresh salad and I remember enjoying it a lot during meals at my parents and at my grand-parent’s place.

I am writing here with the recipe of the balsamic vinaigrette that I am using but you can also use a lemon vinaigrette (just replace the balsamic vinegar with lemon juice).

Another option is the one that my brother and my sister were enjoying: instead of a vinaigrette, they would just add sugar to the shredded carrots. I was never tempted by it but they really enjoy it. And would still have it as a starter for lunch/diner.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic
  • 2 medium size carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon(pinch) ground black pepper

Preparation:

In a small bowl, whisk the balsamic vinegar, mustard, and olive oil together until the dressing is completely blended. Stir the dressing into the shredded carrots. Sprinkle the carrot salad with the salt, pepper, and garlic and mix together.

This serves 2 to 4.

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Gobi Matar / Cauliflower and green Peas Curry

Last week-end, my husband was craving gobi matar which is cauliflower and green peas curry.

Instead of the green peas, I used green beans since I didn’t have green peas in the fridge and it was as delicious 🙂

If you have the base spices used in Indian cooking, this recipe is very easy and takes about 30 min. I used the Gobi Matar recipe from Sanjeev Kapoor as guide line.

Ingredients

Cauliflower: 1 medium, separated into florets

Green beans: 1 cup

Tomato: 1/2 medium, chopped

Cumin seeds: 1 teaspoon

Ginger paste: 1 teaspoon

Garlic: 1 head, chopped

Coriander powder: 2 teaspoon

Red Chili powder: up to 1/2 teaspoon (I only put some using the head of my knife since I don’t like when it is spicy)

Turmeric powder: 1/2 teaspoon

Garan masala: 1 teaspoon

 

Method

Heat some olive oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. Once they start changing color, add the garlic and ginger paste and sauted for hald a minute. You will start smelling the ginger.

Add coriander powder, turmeric powder and red chilli powder and sauted for another half a minute.

Add the chopped tomato and cook until it becomes mushy.

Add cauliflower, green beans and 1 cup water. Salt and mix well.

Cook for about 8 to 10 min. Add the Garam masala, mix and cook for another 8 to 10 min.

You can garnish with fresh coriander leaves and eat with roti or paratha.

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Paneer Bhurji

On Sunday, my husband suggested to have paneer Bhurji since we had some left in the fridge.

We had also some baguette and we thought that it would be great to eat the paneer bhurji with it.

Since the baguette was one day old, I put it for few minutes in the oven so it would get slightly toasted and it was delicious with the paneer bhurji.

Ingredients

– 300g of paneer (if fresh: mashed into a crumbly texture. I didn’t have it fresh and cut it into small cubes)

– 1 medium onion chopped

– 1 tomato chopped

– 1/4 tsp turmeric

– 1/4 tsp coriander powder

– 1/4 tsp garram massala (optional)

– 1/4 cumin seeds

Preparation

– Heat the oil in a pan on a medium flame, till hot. Add the cumin seeds and fry till Théo starter to crack open

– Add the onions and fry till soft. Add the tomatoes and fry till the tomatoes are pulpy.

– Add spices and mix well. Fry for 2 minutes.

– Add the paneer. Mix well and cook for 2 more minutes. If the paneer gives off water at this stage, cook till the water has dried up. Turn off fire.

Season with salt, if desired. Garnish with the chopped fresh coriander and serve hot with Chapatis or Parathas, or baguette!

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A macaron affair with Ladurée

There are these odd days where thoughts and encounters are randomly pointing towards one particular thing or person.

You know what I am talking about: when you think about someone and few hours later you happen to meet this person. Can I call that intuition?

Anyway, the other day I had in my mind the post I wanted to write about the new Ladurée opening soon in Soho.

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They announced its takeover of the Barolo space on West Broadway (and Spring) way back in June 2012, and it’s finally scheduled to open in mid-November this year.

The “biggest Ladurée in the world” will include three salons, a restaurant, a macaron shop, a full bakery, and a terrace. Chairman David Holder is bringing in chefs from the Paris Ladurée to re-create the menu offered at the flagship on Champs-Elysées, which means you can expect black-truffle omelettes and pan-fried foie gras.

Grub Street is mentioning that the macarons will still be flown in fresh from France every day… what a treat!

This big stateside opening is one of many to come: the first-ever Miami store was scheduled to open this month on 1108 Lincoln Road. It will be similar in size to the small Ladurée shop on the Upper East Side — but with a special Champagne bar. Plus: A collection of macarons in Art Deco colors will launch in time for Art Basel.

Prepare for the Parisian pastry institution to infiltrate the rest of the country, as the company is currently real-estate shopping in Los Angeles and Chicago.

I worked for 6 month at the corporate office of Ladurée Paris, replacing the International Financial Controller on maternity leave. At that time, the UK and Japan stores were open and the US plan was in motion.

Ladurée just doesn’t want to open in a city or a neighborhood – they want to open at the best location there and they will wait for it – no matter what.

And that’s what was in my mind when I randomly found the new recipe book by Ladurée during my lunchtime: Entertaining – recipes, ideas and inspiration.

I was completely ecstatic! I have the first one they issued with desserts recipes and I know about the second one with savory recipes but I had no idea about this one!

Needless to say that I had to buy it and impatiently wait till evening to read through it.

It is like having a piece of art that helps you make another delicatessen piece of art…

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Yoghurt Cake with Pears

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Last week-end, I felt like cooking and eating one of my grand-mother’s all time favorite : the yoghurt cake.

It is a very simple and healthy recipe. You can add fruits or chocolate chips to it.

I added Pears since we are in the fall season and because I love the balance of the cake and the tenderness of the pear.

The base of this recipe is 1 small plain yoghurt: Put the yoghurt into a bowl and then add the rest of the ingredients using the empty yoghurt cup as measuring cup.

Ingredients

1 small plain yoghurt

sugar: 2 yohurts

flour: 3 yoghurts

olive oil: 1/2 yoghurt

2 eggs

2 teaspoons of baking powder.

2 pealed and chopped pears (or more depending on your taste).

Mix everything together and put in the oven during 30-45 min at around 300-350 Fharenheit / 180 Celsius.

Enjoy!

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You said S’mores?

It all started when my friend Ellie talked about S’mores and she realized I had no idea what it was.
Next thing we knew, we were organizing a “date” to have me try out my first S’more.

I had bonfires when I was younger and we had grilled marshmallows but it never got to the level of sophistication of the S’more.

Here is the base for a S’more:
– Graham Crackers
– Chocolate
– Marshmallows
– 1 baby blow torch if there is no bonfire around.

The concept is quite simple: put the chocolate on one graham cracker piece. Add the marshmallow on top of it and toast it with the blow torch. Since the chocolate is right under the marshmallow, it will slightly melt and it’s perfect for the S’more.
Close this sweet little sandwich with another graham piece.

What I was not expecting that evening, is that Ellie actually did the marshmallows herself – yes it just blew my mind.
One round of plain, one round of chocolate and she also did a round of “boozy marshmallows” with bourbon. Here is her awesome blog and her bourbon marshmallow recipe.

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Spring Sunday and Mango Shake

Spring is here or at least it seems like it has finally decided to make it to this part of the world.

This time of the year in India is the beginning of mango season and we can see a few mangos here and there in New York City that seems okay to be eaten. Even though nothing will beat Indian mangos…

I was in India last June in the deep heart of mango season and our entire menu was revolving around mangos: mango shake for breakfast, mangos for lunch, again mango shake to go through the afternoon. Yes life was hard…

Face timing on Sunday morning with my in-laws in India, we know that they have already started the mango shake diet to kick off the season.

We had just bought a mango and I was still wondering how I would eat/prepare/cook it. Obviously I had to try my first home-made mango shake. Just to make us feel like we are a little bit in India…

Mango Shake

Ingredients

– 1 mango

– 3/4 cup of milk

– 4 ice cubes

Preparation

Peel the mango and cut it into small cubes.

Blend the mangos, milk and ice cubes and serve fresh.

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