Banana Nut Muffins

>> Sunday, June 28, 2009

Yesterday we celebrated my oldest son's graduation party.
Out of a number of delicious desserts one of my favorites was the banana nut muffin, I decided to get rid of the ripe bananas that nobody wanted.

I love these muffins, they are moist and fluffy, and are sooo easy to make, I wasn't sure if the teenagers would like it, but they loved them.

Banana Nut Muffins (adopted from Joy of Baking)

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup chopped nuts
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3 ripe and mashed bananas
1 stick melted butter
2 beaten egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lining muffin pans with paper liners.

In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder , baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nuts. set aside.

In a medium-sized bowel combine the mashed bananas, eggs, melted butter and vanilla. With a wooden spoon, lightly fold the wet ingredients (banana mixture) into the dry ingredients just until combined and the batter is thick and chunky. (The important this is not to over mix the batter; you do not want it smooth).
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins and bake about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry.

Cool for five minutes and them remove muffins from pan.


Bakewell Tart…er…pudding -Daring Bakers Challange

>> Saturday, June 27, 2009

The June Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart… er… pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800’s in England.

This version is a combination of the two: a sweet almond-flavoured shortcrust pastry, frangipane and home made lemon curd.

For the jam, I made lemon curd which was the perfect combination with cherry jam.
I made my tart chocolate flavor by adding coco powder to the flour and cover them with melted chocolate. and some of them I just cover with lemon curd and nuts.

I was really pleased with this challenge and plan on making it again.
Thank you to this months hostesses.

Sweet shortcrust pastry recipe

Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Resting time: 30 minutes (minimum)
Equipment needed: bowls, box grater, cling film

225g (8oz) all purpose flour - 2 Tablespoon
2 Tablespoon coco powder
30g (1oz) sugar
2.5ml (½ tsp) salt
110g (4oz) unsalted butter, cold (frozen is better)
2 (2) egg yolks
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract (optional)
15-30ml (1-2 Tbsp) cold water

Sift together flour, sugar and salt. Grate butter into the flour mixture, using the large hole-side of a box grater. Using your finger tips only, and working very quickly, rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Set aside.

Lightly beat the egg yolks with the almond extract (if using) and quickly mix into the flour mixture. Keep mixing while dribbling in the water, only adding enough to form a cohesive and slightly sticky dough.

Form the dough into a disc, wrap in cling and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes

Frangipane recipe

Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Equipment needed: bowls, hand mixer, rubber spatula

125g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, softened
125g (4.5oz) icing sugar
3 (3) eggs
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract
125g (4.5oz) ground almonds
30g (1oz) all purpose flour

Chocolate glaze

100g raspberry bitter chocolate
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoon milk

on a heavy pot melt the butter and the chocolate together add the milk and mix it to a smooth texture. let cool.

Cream butter and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is primrose in colour and very fluffy. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter may appear to curdle.
In the words of Douglas Adams: Don’t panic. Really. It’ll be fine. After all three are in, pour in the almond extract and mix for about another 30 seconds and scrape down the sides again. With the beaters on, spoon in the ground nuts and the flour. Mix well. The mixture will be soft, keep its slightly curdled look (mostly from the almonds) and retain its pallid yellow colour.

Assembling the tart

Place the chilled dough disc on a lightly floured surface.
If it’s overly cold, you will need to let it become acclimatised for about 15 minutes before you roll it out. Flour the rolling pin and roll the pastry to 5mm (1/4”) thickness, by rolling in one direction only (start from the center and roll away from you), and turning the disc a quarter turn after each roll. When the pastry is to the desired size and thickness, transfer it to the tart pan, press in and trim the excess dough. Patch any holes, fissures or tears with trimmed bits.
Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200C/400F.

Remove shell from freezer, spread an even layer of cherry jam onto the pastry base and on it lemon curd. Top with frangipane, spreading to cover the entire surface of the tart. Smooth the top and pop into the oven for 30 minutes.
Five minutes before the tart is done, the top will be poofy and brownish. Remove from oven and strew flaked almonds on top and return to the heat for the last five minutes of baking.

The finished tart will have a golden crust and the frangipane will be tanned, poofy and a bit spongy-looking. Remove from the oven and cool on the counter. Pour the melted chocolate evenly on the tarts.

When you slice into the tart, the almond paste will be firm, but slightly squidgy and the crust should be crisp but not tough.


Raspberry-Lemon Tartlets

>> Saturday, June 13, 2009

On a summer day it's fun to cool down with a raspberry and lemon tart.
I love the color combination and the lemon flavor, great and refreshing.

The tartlets are so easy to make and are the perfect desert for brunch or a light dinner. (or a
graduation party)...

Actually this recipe was the reason I made the lemon curd and finally I use it to make this summer treat.

My son thought it was so good, he already asked me to make more on his graduation party - I am so excited !!!

Raspberry-Lemon Tartlets (Adopted from Cathy’s recipes)

For the dough:

1-1/4 cups unsalted butter
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups all-purpose flour

For the filling:

One 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
One 6-ounce package fresh raspberries
½ cup lemon curd
Fresh mint
Powdered sugar

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat, stirring in granulated sugar, vanilla extract and kosher salt until completely dissolved.

Add the butter mixture into flour, blending until completely incorporated using a wooden spoon.

Press the dough into 6 (4-inch) ungreased tartlet pans with removable bottoms. Use a knife to trim around the edges of the crust hanging over the top. Freeze crusts for 15 minutes (don’t skip this step) and bake in a 325-degree oven for 25 minutes.

Let cool completely.

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese with lemon curd until smooth. Divide the filling among the tartlets, spreading evenly. Refrigerate until well chilled; at least 2 hours and up to 24.

Before serving, remove from pans. If the bottom plate sticks to the crust, use the tip of a knife to carefully pry it off.

Place a raspberry on the cream. Add a mint sprig and sift powdered sugar over tops.


Lemon Curd

>> Tuesday, June 9, 2009

At the beginning I planed to make a raspberry tart with lemon cream
Though I ended up making Lemon Curd
When I saw the picture online, I thought it was amazing, so I went out to buy the ingredients.

When I read the instructions I understood that this recipe would need to use a lemon curd and I thought it was a great opportunity for me to make lemon curd after I heard so much compliments about this it.

4 Large eggs

1 cup fresh lemon juice

11/2 Stick butter

finely shreded lemon zets from one lemon

1 1/2 cups sugar

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar. Bring just to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 5 minutes. Add butter and stir until it has melted.
Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Beat eggs into cooled lemon mixture until well blended. Return to heat and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, 10 to 15 minutes or until mixture thickens and coats spoon.
Remove from heat and put in a
clean container.
Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.


Summer fruit bowl

>> Saturday, June 6, 2009

The sun is shining bright outside on this beautiful day
Finally a break from the non-stop rain, just wish that this weather will last for a more few weeks..

One great desert for a hot day is fresh fruit, great for brunch or just after a barbecue in the back yard, All you have to do is cut and serve

This type of serving makes the summer "look" and taste even better..

Melon Fruit Bowl
1 Melon cut to 2 half's
1 large apple peeled and cut to slices
1 kiwi peel and cut to slices
Melon balls that we made with pearsiean cup from the other half
Mint leaves for decoration


  • Cut off a thin piece of one end of the melon so that it leaves a flat surface on the melon.
  • scoop out the contents of the melon with a large spoon.
  • Cut some of the melon into ball shaped pieces using the melon ball spoon
  • Put the cut up fruits and the melon balls into the melon bowl and add the blueberries.
  • Peel the kiwi and slice them into thin slices. Then add them to the fruit bowl.
  • add as much fruit as you want and love (strawberries, star fruit, pineapple etc.)
  • Decorate with mint leaves and serve.


Bastil - Mashed Potatoes ball Stuffed with Meat

>> Thursday, June 4, 2009

One of our favorite dishes is the Bastil, mashed potato balls stuffed with chopped meat and seasoned , coated with crumbed bread and fried in oil.

I remember back home when I was a little girl standing next to my mother. She would fry the bastil and I would eat straight from the pan..
Bastil is so good, that I prepare this dish and enjoy it whenever i have a little craving for it.
It's highly recommended.

Bastil - Mashed Potatoes Balls Stuffed With Meat

5 red potato peeled and cut to quartered.
1 1/2 Pound Lean ground beef
1 large chopped onion
1 cup chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon cumin

2 beaten eggs
1 cup dry bread crumbs

Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. bring to boil.
Reduce heat , cover and cook for 15 min., or until tender. drain.
In a large mixing bowl, mash potatoes, add salt and beat until fluffy. let cool.

In a large skillet cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat no longer pink, add the salt and pepper. Saute the meat until it’s cooked through drain and set aside.

with wet hands take from the mash potatoes some and put it into the cup of your hand. Spread it out slightly, take about 2 teaspoon of the meat and pat it down into the mashed potato.
create a ball of potatoes covered the meat.

Dip the balls in the eggs mixture and then coat with crumbs.

In a large skillet heat oil over medium-high heat, fry the Bastil for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.


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