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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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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My 2013 Cooking Challenge

Here is my new project for 2013!

I want to find more time to cook or at least finally try and discover some recipes that I have heard of, never tried before or simply as “bring the childhood recipes back into my life”.

I will not necessarily do the list in this order, it is just how it came up.
The goal would be to do one recipe every month for the rest of the year.

My 2013 Cooking Challenge

1. Rhubarb and Strawberry Jam (or in-season fruits)
2. Duck confit Garbure Soup
3. S’mores
4. Cheese Souffle / Souffle au fromage
5. Risotto
6. Indian seasonal vegetable dish
7. Savory Crepes
8. Chocolate recipe from the book “Atelier Chocolat”
9. Cupcakes
10. Gulab Jamun

Details & Explanations

1. Rhubarb and Strawberry Jam (or any in-season fruit) – when I was in France the year before moving back to the U.S., me and my best friend Claire spent a few winter Sunday afternoons making jam in my parents kitchen. I discovered and learned from her and love home made jams 🙂

2. Duck confit Garbure Soup – this a traditional soup from Bearn in South West of France. My grand-mother used to do it, it is delicious and a perfect winter healthy meal.

3. S’mores – my friend Ellie mentioned it recently and was “amazed” that I had no idea on what she was talking about… the very next day, I found this blog post on the same subject… the signs were obvious, we thus have a date for a “S’mores” diner. It will certainly be the first item to be completed on this list!

4. Cheese Souffle / Souffle au fromage – My mom used to make this dish when I was a kid and I have great memories of it. It is not easy to make but I want to try so that my husband can taste it!

5. Risotto – it might seem silly but I have never cooked a risotto before, and it time to start!

6. Indian seasonal vegetable dish – I want to become more comfortable in cooking Indian food and for that I need to try, even though it will take me some time at the beginning, especially on weekdays once I am back from work…

7. Savory Crepes – my husband has been asking for home made Crepes, since we got back from Brittany and had the most delicious Crepes on earth in Carantec. I’m serious: it is really the best place I have ever eaten Crepes.

8. Chocolate recipe from “Atelier Chocolat” – a book that my brother and his girlfriend gifted me for Christmas. It seems complicated or at least that is in my mind but it doesn’t seem that hard when reading it. I just need to do it!

9. Cupcakes – since this list has French and Indian cooking, I thought I needed to have something from here as well. I already tried with success pancakes (see my post here ) and thought that the next on the list would be cupcakes 🙂

10. Gulab Jamun – this is my favorite Indian sweet (with Jellabys) and this week-end, my husband’s cousin was telling me how to make them. A must try!

Let me know your thoughts about the challenge, about one of the item/recipe and any help/suggestion or encouragement will be helpful!

Thanks and happy blogging!

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Pictures Credit:

http://www.owlhaven.net/2008/06/10/strawberry-rhubarb-jam/

http://www.52kitchenadventures.com/2012/05/02/gluten-free-cupcakes-with-nutella-cloud-frosting/

http://www.france-voyage.com/travel-guide/photo-garbure-1381_2.htm

http://www.phamfatale.com/id_1625/title_Galette-Complete-Savory-Crepe-Recipe/

http://nutritionfor.us/2012/07/butternut-squash-risotto-recipe/

http://cooksjoy.com/blog/2012/11/gulab-jamun-milk-powder-method.html

http://www.lacuisinedebernard.com/2011/03/le-souffle-au-fromage.html

http://littleindiana.com/2012/07/4-smores-themed-recipes-you-can-really-sink-your-teeth-into/

http://palakkadcooking.blogspot.com/2012/11/aloo-gobi.html

Chocolate truffles & Holiday Spirit

Christmas is around the corner and it’s time for me to make some chocolate truffles!

This became a Christmas tradition with my brother. We would team up: I would do the ganache, multiply quantities by 2 (to be sure to have enough for all the chocolate lovers of this family) and my brother would come help me roll them in cocoa powder.

I think we both have a very sweet memory of these moments spent preparing this deliciousness in the spirit of holidays 🙂

The recipe is coming from this cooking book for children that we had (and still have at my parents place) – with a red cover and nice pictures for every single step.
We still love it!

Chocolate truffles

Ingredients
250g / ~ 8.8oz cooking chocolate
125g / ~4.4oz butter
2 egg yolk
1 packet of vanilla sugar (equivalent of 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1 tbsp sugar)
125g / ~4.4oz powdered sugar
50g / ~2oz cocoa powder

Preparation

Cut the chocolate in pieces and bring it to melt it using the “bain-marie” technique: place the chocolate in a small pan. Take a larger pan and add water in it. Put the small one containing chocolate in the larger one, floating in the water. bring the water to boil.
Once the chocolate is melted, add the butter cut in pieces.
Once the mix is melted, take the pan out of the boiling water.

In a bowl mix the egg yolks, powdered sugar and vanilla sugar.
Add in the melted mix chocolate/butter and mix well.

Let the ganache cool down and harden in the fridge for 1-2 hours, until it is hard enough to roll with your hands.

Place the cocoa powder on a plate.
Shape the truffles from the ganache into balls by rolling between the palms of your hands.
The size of the truffles can vary depending of the size of the ganache you are using.
In the cocoa powder plate, move the truffle around until they are coated.

Put the truffles in a display tray and in the fridge to harden before serving them.

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