Banana, cashew butter & dark chocolate tray bake

Baking, Recipes, Uncategorized

Long time, no posting!

I’ve decided that this year I am going to start trying to be kinder to myself.

Yes, I want to loose weight and look great (I am off to Sri Lanka in 4 weeks and still don’t have my bikini body) but as young women there is so much pressure to be a certain way, and I simply get miserable when I realise I don’t fit the bill.

I read an article by Angelica Malin on About Time Magazine. Check it out here – she mentions that we all need a re-tox. A fabulous idea, which got me thinking. Instead of being so hard on myself I will change my outlook on life. I will do more exercise because I enjoy it, and not beat myself up when I’m too tired to go because of my fatigue. I will not eat all the biscuits at work because they are there and I’m bored. However, I will have a few cubes of chocolate in the evening because I really need something to satisfy me. Life is about balance, and if I eat healthy food that I really enjoy, go swimming and to the gym, because this lifts my mood and makes me feel fabulous, I can still eat a slice of cake or a dessert at the weekend because I really want it.

We all need to be kinder to ourselves. We all have busy lives, life is too short to spend hours in the gym, and deprive yourself of that bit of cake that you REALLY want but shouldn’t eat because your Instagram feed is full of pictures of girls that have better bodies than you.

Saying no to something simply makes us feel guilty when we do have it, and we only want it all the more because someone tells us we shouldn’t. So have that bit of cake, chocolate bar, or that biscuit that you want to dip into your mid-morning cup of tea. Just don’t go crazy. Life is all about balance!

Anyway…

I wanted to take a picture of something today, and thought about making a banana traybake with some black bananas that have been floating around the fridge for a bit too long. This is made with out sugar or butter/fat so a little bit better for us but still delicious. It has a texture between a traybake and blondie. I had a piece tonight with some warm custard. Really quick and easy to whip up, and great to pack into your lunchbox for an afternoon sweet-treat.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas – mashed (the blacker the better)
  • 60g sweetener – I used Sukrin Gold, as this is similar to brown sugar. You could substitute this for light brown sugar, or an alternative sweetner.
  • 120g full fat Total Greek yoghurt
  • 1 large egg
  • 5 tablespoons milk
  • 115g cashew butter – you could also use peanut butter
  • 220g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 100g dark chocolate – chopped into chunks
  • 25g chopped, toasted hazelnuts

To decorate – 3-4 cubes dark chocolate, melted

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180*c/160*c fan and line a tin with non-stick parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl mix together the banana, sweetener, yoghurt, egg, and milk until well combined.
  3. Add the cashew butter and vanilla extract and mix again.
  4. Fold in the flour, salt and cinnamon.
  5. Mix in the dark chocolate chunks.
  6. Pour the batter into your lined tin, smooth out and push all the way to the corners.
  7. Sprinkle the top with the toasted, chopped hazelnuts
  8. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until it’s springy to touch and a skewer comes out clean.
  9. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Once cool, use a fork to drizzle the top with the melted dark chocolate.

banana-tray-bake-1-web-copy

 

Enjoy it,

A girl with an appetite for all things creative,

Maria x

Christmas Gingerbread Fridge Cake

Baking, Recipes, Uncategorized

Here’s a super quick recipe for you to try over the festive period. Perfect to use up chocolate from the selection boxes and biscuits left over from the biscuit tins. It’s ridiculously indulgent, but it is Christmas after all, and Christmas is all about excess!

Ingredients

200g milk or dark chocolate (or a mixture), chopped

150g butter, cubed

100g shortbread fingers

100g gingernut biscuits

100g dried cranberries

25 g pistachios

1tbsp golden syrup

1/2 tsp orange extract

For the topping

100g milk chocolate, melted

1 pack of mini gingerbread men (aprox. 25)

Method

  1. In a bowl, over a pan of simmering water, melt together the butter, chocolate, golden syrup & orange extract.
  2. Crush your biscuits roughly with a rolling pin or food processor. I like the biscuit to be quite chunky. Roughly chop the cranberries & pistachios.
  3. Mix the biscuits, cranberries and pistachios into the melted chocolate mixture.
  4. Pour into a square tin lined with greaseproof paper, and press down so the mixture is even and pushed into the corners.
  5. Leave to set in the fridge, then pour the melted milk chocolate overn the top. Top with your mini gingerbread men.
  6. Leave to set in the fridge again, then slice into squares.
  7. Enjoy!

gingerbread-tiffin-1-web

A girl with an appetite for all things creative,

Maria x

I have a new camera

Baking, Photography, Uncategorized

I’ve really fell out of routine with my blogging, during the summer I had so much free time and a lot more daylight (good for photography) so creating blog posts was fairly easy and a fun thing to do, then I got sucked into the world of work as a recent graduate and found it hard to find the time. However things are looking up and not only that but they are looking exciting. I have now been offered a job from my internship, and am enjoying having my weekends off after working a part time job at the weekends.

I have also FINALLY bought a new camera, lens and tripod. Something I’ve been saying I want to do since my second year of university. I never had the funds, as it is jolly expensive. With spending a lot of money (especially when you don’t have much) comes a lot of consideration and thinking. I finally jumped in though and got myself a beautiful Nikon D810 and a 50 mm lens. I used it last weekend and photographed these delicious brownies and my, is it a beauty of a camera. I’m excited to continue using it to create lots of beautiful images that I’m proud of.

This post is less of a recipe and more of an update of stuff, because sometimes I need to remind myself of what I’m doing and achieving. I’m currently doing some freelance design/photography work which is going well and it’s lovely to know that others think my work is good enough for them to use for their own endeavors.

I also have just entered the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year competition. I know that my chances are slim (or pretty much impossible) with the tough competition out there but as my mum says, to be in it to win it you have to play the game (or something like that, if any of you know my mum she has a saying for EVERYTHING).

I’ll leave you to feast your eyes on these delicious brownies, which were a Meringue Girls recipe from their book, ‘Everything Sweet’. They are made with coconut flour, which is a great gluten free alternative (but still taste extremely guilty). I swirled in some peanut butter and added in some frozen raspberries for some added peanut butter and jelly time. (I used to love that cartoon). They are extremely decadent and are in good competition to my go to Thornton’s brownie recipe.

Brownie.jpg

I will promise to try and be better with this blogging thing!

A girl with an appetite for all things creative,

Maria x

Rhubarb & Custard Ice Cream

Baking, Food, Recipes

My mum receives an organic fruit and veggie box every week packed full of seasonal goodies from the wonderful people at Abel & Cole, who like me are lovers of collaboration. We received some organic rhubarb and some strawberries in our box and I thought to my self that summer is finally upon us, despite the weather taking a bit of a turn at the start of June. What better way to kick off the season than with some homemade ice cream, indulgent and luxurious. This flavour is a classic combination that some may remember from childhood boiled sweets.

How about serving it with some mini meringue kisses, (a great way of using up the egg whites) and some strawberries marinated in Amaretto liquor, a twist on the classic Eton mess or why not add some jelly, to make an adult version of a child’s favourite – knicker bocker glory.

There are a few different stages to this recipe, and a fair few ingredients, but please don’t be put off as the stages can be made in advance and refrigerated, ready for assembly the next day.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

Ice Cream Base

300ml Milk

100g Granulated Sugar

3 Egg Yolks

1tsp Vanilla Bean Paste/Extract or 1 Vanilla Pod

500g tub Mascarpone Cheese

140ml Double Cream

Rhubarb Compote – Adapted from a Waitrose Recipe

Aprox. 400g Rhubarb (about 1 pack/bunch)

1 Vanilla pod, split / Vanilla Bean Paste/Extract

2tbsp Maple Syrup

60g Light Brown Sugar

2 Clementines, or a Splash of Orange Juice

1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon, or 1 Cinnamon Stick

Meringues – Meringue Girls Recipe

Marinated Strawberries

400g Punnet of British Strawberries

1tbsp Maple Syrup or Caster Sugar

1tbsp Amaretto Liquor

Method

Start by making the Rhubarb Compote

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c and chop the rhubarb into sticks roughly 6-7cm long.

2. Place the rhubarb, vanilla, spices, sugar and clementines (peeled and sliced/or the juice) in an oven proof dish.

3. Cover with foil and place in the oven to bake for 15 minutes, then uncover and baste with the maple syrup and cook uncovered for another 10 minutes or until the rhubarb in tender.

4. Leave to cool, then remove the vanilla pod and cinnamon stick before blending to a smooth puree. Set aside in the fridge.

Next, prepare the Ice Cream Base

1. Combine the milk, vanilla and half the sugar in a saucepan and bring to just below boiling point. Remove the pan from the heat, and set aside for about 15 minutes to infuse the vanilla into the milk.

2. In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks with the rest of the sugar and beat until thick and pale. It’s best to use an electric whisk for this, but if you don’t have one just use a little elbow grease – think of all the calories you’ll save, ha!

3. Bring the milk back to the boil, then slowly pour the milk into the egg mixture, ensuring to whisk steadily as the milk is added – we don’t want to end up with scrambled eggs.

4. This bowl can either be placed over a bowl of simmering water, or you can return the custard to the saucepan. If you are going to use the second option, ensure the pan is on a heat diffuser and use a thermometer to ensure you do not overheat the custard. Use a wooden spoon, or spatula to continually stir the custard untill it reaches 85 degrees c, or is thicker in consistency. It should coat the back of the spoon, and hold its shape when you run your finger through it.

5. Pour into a bowl and cover directly with cling film to stop a film forming, and then once cool refrigerate.

6. Once cool, beat the mascarpone, to loosen it and then beat in the custard mixture, along with the double cream. The mascarpone gives the ice cream a luxuriously thick and creamy texture, but you can substitute this for a 300ml carton of double cream instead if you want to (instead of the mascarpone and additional double cream).

7. This is ready to be poured into an ice cream maker, until it is thick and luxurious. If you do not have an ice cream maker you could try pouring it into a tub, freezing and churn it by hand every half hour/to an hour to break up the ice crystals. However, for best results use an ice cream maker, as the hand method will result in a less smooth result.

8. Once the ice cream is set, marble through 3/4 of the rhubarb puree. We will use the other 1/4 to drizzle over the ice cream later. Pour in a tub, and leave to firm up in the freezer.

Marinated Strawberries

1. Hull and quarter the strawberries, and add to a bowl.

2. Spoon over the maple syrup or sugar and add the liquor, mix together and set aside in the fridge, until ready to serve. If you are making this for children, you can leave the liquor out.

Assemble 2-3 scoops of ice cream, a spoonful of strawberries, a few meringues and jelly if you so wish and top with a little of the left over compote, and enjoy.

Rhubarb &Custard

A girl with an appetite for all things creative,

Maria x