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30 September, 2014

CARAMEL BANANA LOAF CAKE












I have a lot of time for loaf cakes. They're not pretty or exciting to look at, but some of the best cakes i've ever made have been loaf ones.

It's definitely comfort food for me. My mum made them all the time for me when I was little and now I like to make them.











Sometimes you just feel like making something that tastes really good and is fairly straightforward.










This caramel banana loaf is adapted from Nigel Slater's black banana loaf which is the best banana cake recipe i've come across.

Taste-wise it’s very light with a golden crumble on top and a hint of crunch from the sprinkling of demerara sugar.

So next time you have some unloved overripe bananas sitting in your fruit bowl use them to make this... waste not, want not!


Ingredients

175g/6oz Self-Raising Flour
175g/6oz Soft Unsalted Butter
175g/6oz Brown Sugar ( Half Golden Caster, Half Soft Light Brown)
2 Eggs
2 Really Really Ripe Bananas
1 tsp of Vanilla Extract
150g Caramel
1 tsp of Demerara Sugar

First Things First

Preheat the oven to 170°C/325F and line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper. Chop your 2 bananas into very small pieces and leave on the side. 

Method 

1. Beat the sugar and butter until it is light and fluffy. 
2. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as you go along to make sure all the mixture is incorporated. Mix in the self-raising flour. 
3. Take the chopped bananas, caramel and vanilla extract and gently fold into the mixture.
4. Spoon evenly into the cake tin and sprinkle over demerara sugar.
Bake for 1 hour or until golden brown. 


S
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27 September, 2014

PATIENCE










"The greatest oaks have been little acorns"
"Rome wasn’t built in a day"
"Patience is a virtue"
"Good things come to those who wait (apparently)"

24 September, 2014

BLUEBERRY AND GINGER NUT GREEK YOGURT

Greek Yogurt
For the last couple of years Greek yogurt has become a staple in my diet. It’s high in protein, healthy and so delicious when you pair it with the right things.

I like Greek yogurt in the morning with fresh blueberries and crisp muesli or as a mid afternoon snack with pistachios and honey drizzled over.

Ginger Nut biscuits












Sometimes when I wake up (look away health freaks) the first thing I do is head straight for the biscuits.

Greek Yogurt









But it's not so bad if you're eating biscuits with fat free Greek yogurt and blueberries, don't you agree?

Blueberries


Greek Yogurt









Ginger nuts are brilliant because they don’t get soggy in the yogurt. And most importantly they're sweet, spicy and crunchy.

If your looking for something a little different for breakfast try this, especially as it’s so quick to put together.

Ingredients

A Handful of blueberries 
2 Ginger Nut biscuits
1 Teaspoon of honey
A Splash of elderflower cordial
170g Fat Free Greek yogurt

First things first

Place the blueberries in a bowl and splash over some elderflower cordial. Leave on the side.

Method

1. Use a rolling pin or whatever you have at hand to crush the ginger nut biscuits, making sure to leave some big bits.
2. Add honey to the Greek yogurt. Take some of the blueberries and put them in glass. Pour the cordial from the blueberries into the Greek yogurt and mix well.
3. Top with the crushed gingernut biscuits.
4. Swirl your spoon round and start eating!

And there you have it. How do you eat your Greek yogurt?

S

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22 September, 2014

SCORE WITH A SCORE | HOMESENSE

Bowls, tea, lemonade, book
One of the ways I like to spend my free time is by browsing through homeware departments and shops. I love looking at pretty plates, crisp linens and decorative accessories made from around the far corners of the world. 

Sometimes I leave shops with things that I don’t really need or have any room for. I later justify my spending by telling myself it was on offer or that it was too cool to leave behind or that it was a once in a lifetime kind of item!

So to give myself a little challenge and not go overboard with the shopping I decided I would try to “score with a score” (a score means £20 in Cockney rhyming slang if you don't already know). 

I popped into my local HomeSense store last week to see what I could buy for a £20. I tend to find visiting shops like HomeSense a bit exciting because I know I’m going to find something completely unique and unexpected and not break the bank whilst I’m there.

And here is what I bought...


Bowls
Tea

Lemonade







Cookbook


1. Dhanabadee Ceramic Bowls at £3.99 each
The bowls are handcrafted in Thailand and the design on both is quite minimalist. The small size is perfect for food prep and some of those things from my cooking core.

2. Higher Living “Sweet Dreams” Herbal Tea at £3.49
I find drinking herbal teas really relaxing and like to have them as an alternative to just a plain glass of water. This is supposed to aid sleep with its blend of lavender, mint and cardamom. Pretty dreamy!

3. La Mortuacienne Limonade Artisanale at £2.99
I absolutely love the packaging of this bottle although I couldn’t figure out what it was at first. Google informed me that La Mortuacienne  is a traditional French Lemonade. It also comes in different flavours.

4. Cook on a Shoestring by Sophie Wright at £4.99
I liked the look of this book because I knew it would be full of shortcuts and recipes with few ingredients. I see myself making lots of dishes from this.

Have you discovered anything great at HomeSense? If you have I would love to hear about it.

Until next time...

S
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19 September, 2014

TAKING TIME OUT AT TATE BRITAIN

Tate Britain Millbank Entrance

Looking at art and walking around a gallery is something I find really therapeutic. As a former history of art student, galleries have become a place that I’m familiar with and love to visit whenever I can.

Sometimes finding galleries in London that aren’t bursting at the seams and teeming with people is very difficult. This is not too surprising, however, considering London has some of the most iconic gallery spaces in the world.

Tate Britain main stairs
Nevertheless when it is quiet, as it was when I visited the Tate Britain last week, the experience can be so relaxing and rewarding. For whatever reason I find it a very peaceful place. If you have a lot on your mind perhaps soaking up the atmosphere and looking art will lift the load.

It’s also very spacious and light environment which is definitely mood boosting! 

Dome at Tate Britain

The dome at the heart of the gallery is just stunning. This part of Tate Britain was redeveloped by Caruso St John architects and completed late last year. It’s worth going just to see the beautiful transformation. 

These were some of the pieces dotted around that caught my eye.

Art Tate Britain



L-R 'Model for Eros on the Shaftesbury Memorial, Picadilly Circus' by Alfred Gilbert, View through permanent collection, 'Untitled: dock: crushedtower 2014' by Phyllida Barlow, 'Forms in Echelon' by Barbara Hepworth.

I would love to hear what you think of the Tate Britain, is it a chilled out space for you? 

S
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17 September, 2014

A TART : ROASTED RED PEPPER PESTO, TOMATO, CHICKEN & FETA
























Roasted red pepper pesto, tomato, chicken and feta tart. Ha that’s quite a mouthful don't you think? It tastes pretty nice too. I discovered the original recipe for it earlier this year, in a book called The Little Book of Lunch” by Caroline Craig.

I’ve made it ever since then…  I wish I had known about the recipe whilst I was still a student since it’s so quick and easy to make. 


I added chicken to this tart but if you're vegetarian you can make it without, it tastes just as good. 

As red pepper pesto is one of my “cooking core” I made a substitute for it here. Basil pesto, the classic, seems to the popular kid in class but for me red pepper pesto wins hands down. 















I also love the combination of fresh cherry tomatoes and crumbled feta cheese.











This tart is something I like to rustle up once in a while. It pairs perfectly with a salad or as an alternative to a sandwich. You can eat it hot or cold too.  Ah the endless possibilities, go on give it a go.

Ingredients

1 Ready rolled puff pastry sheet
3 Heaped tablespoons of red pepper pesto
150g of Cooked chicken breast pieces 
A Handful of cherry tomatoes cut into halves
100g Feta cheese 
1 Egg or a little bit of milk for glazing
1 Teaspoon of dried mixed herbs

First things first

Take your pastry sheet out of its packaging and leave it to sit on the side. After five minutes unroll it onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Preheat your oven to 220°C/180F/Gas 7.

Method

1. Create a raised border with the pastry by folding 1cm of the edge inside. Using a fork prick the base of the tart so it doesn’t get a puffed up middle.
2. Mix the chicken and pesto together and spread this onto the pastry base. Arrange the cherry tomatoes on top of the mixture. 
3. Crumble feta cheese over the tomatoes and then sprinkle the mixed herbs. 
4. Using the milk or egg brush your pastry border and then pop into the oven for 15 minutes or until crisp and golden brown.

Do you have a favourite tart recipe?

S
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16 September, 2014

MY COOKING CORE


Welcome to Segs Benedict!

I debated tirelessly on what to have as my first ever post, but in the end decided on something food related.

Food will be a big part of Segs Benedict so I thought kicking it off with the things I enjoy eating and cooking would make a great start to things.