I hope you enjoy the food!!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Banana, Berry, Nut Bread

When I was quite young my grandmother gave me a book called "A Book for Kids" by C.J. Dennis - in it there was a poem that I still can rememmber to this day called The Circus.

"Hey, there! Hoop-La! The Circus is in town!
Have you seen the elephant?
Have you seen the clown?
Have you seen the dappled horse gallop round the ring?....."

C.J. Dennis lived from 1876 - 1938.  It was a very different circus that he wrote about compared to the one that we saw on Saturday night.

What would Mr. Dennis say if he could see a circus now??

Would he be amazed at the Wheel of Death, where "The Brazil Brothers" walked, skipped, and ran high up in the big top on a "wheel" that rotated - or would he gaze in wonder at the Globe of Death - where 4 motorcyclists whizzed around in a space that was barely big enough for one rider, let alone 4!!  The only animal acts that you will see in the circus these days will be the Shetland ponies (with the old dude - who has probably been around since C.J. Dennis' time - guiding them around the ring).  This act by the way was voted by "The Darlings" as the "gayest" act of the night!!!  Yes, it's a very different circus now!

So what does this have to do with food you say????

Absolutely nothing!!!  But it's my blog, and I am allowed to indulge in a little whimsy every now and again aren't I?  I can't just sit here and type out recipes for you every day - we need a little entertainment don't we?

Enought of that then you say - we want food!

This is a lovely cake that I "tweaked" the recipe to yesterday.

Banana, Berry, Nut Bread

150g butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
2 eggs
2 ripe (approx 1 cup) bananas, peeled (dah!!), and mashed
2 cups self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup buttermilk *
1/2 cup fresh or frozen berries **
50g slivered almonds  ***

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (not fan forced).  Grease the base and sides of a 7cm deep, 11cm x 21cm loaf tin (I actually used a 5cm deep, 23x 17cm tin - it's all that I had - you choose!).  Line with baking paper, allowing an overhang on the ends.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until it is pale.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg has been added.  

Remove from the mixer stand - the rest is by hand!!  Stir in the banana.  Sift the flour and baking powder over the banana mixture.  Add the milk, and stir with a spoon until just combined.

Carefully fold in the berries and the nuts.  If you are using frozen raspberries mix them with a very small amount of flour to prevent them from sinking in the mixture.  

Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan.  Smooth the surface.  Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

* I used buttermilk purely because I had some left in the fridge - and buttermilk is great when used in baking as it works with the self raising flour, or baking soda creating aeration, resulting in great tasting, light fluffy baking.  Saying that if you don't have any - just use regular milk.

**  I used Cranberries as I still had some left over from Christmas in the freezer - but you can use either raspberries or cranberries.  Don't use dried cranberries though as you will not get the same result!!  I thawed the berries slightly before adding to the mixture. 

*** I didn't actually measure - just used what was left over in a bag!!  

The cake can be cut into slices and individually wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks!  Perfect for school lunches!!  Or as a Dear Deader suggested today, heated up in the microwave and served with ice cream for dessert!

That kept "The Darlings" and the neighbour kid quiet yesterday afternoon.  I am quietly told that I cook better than his Mum!!  Told him perhaps I better give her my blog address!!!

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