Kitchen Therapy


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The Violet Bakery Cookbook Banana Buttermilk Bread

 

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I have a lot of cookbooks and while I may not cook from them as often as I’d like, I can confidently say that if a book has a recipe for Banana Bread, there’s a good chance I’ve made it! Paleo, Vegan, Choc-Chip, alcohol infused… I’ve made them all. Probably in the same recipe at some point.

This banana bread has been voted by the family as their all time favourite.
And they’ve eaten the many variations I’ve made… so they do speak with some authority!
It comes from the Violet Bakery Cookbook.
The bakery that made the cake for the recent Royal Wedding of Harry and Meghan. It’s a book I’ve had for a while and never cooked from. However, the bunch of browning bananas sitting on my kitchen bench made this the perfect opportunity to get up and experiment.
With yet another banana bread recipe….

I made this bread twice. The first time with greek yoghurt and olive oil.
I did not have the 25cmx10cm loaf asked for in the recipe so I used a smaller tin, 23cmx10cm. The smaller tin added more height to the bread and even though I cooked it longer there was still some raw-ish texture under the bananas I had laid on top.

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The second time I made the recipe with buttermilk and vegetable oil.
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I bought a longer tin that the recipe calls for this time.
I followed the recipe and (obviously) the mixture spread more and cooked perfectly in the time stated in the book. Having said “obviously” I do need to add that sometimes even though the recipe is followed precisely, it still doesn’t work as it should! So it was great to see that this recipe did turn out as described in the book!

I loved the delicate, crispy layer of skin on the bread. The extra sprinkle of sugar before adding it the oven is no effort at all for great reward. It adds just as much to the aesthetics of the bread as it does the taste.

Verdict:
I have already made this recipe twice this week and I know I will make it again. I will definitely use the larger tin and having tried both versions, I think from now I will make it with the delicate extra virgin olive oil I buy for baking and cooking.
(Also, I can tell myself it is healthier by using the olive oil! I don’t care if I’m wrong 🙂 It makes me feel better so I’m sticking with it!)

*Also I need to add that I did not have dark rum in the house so I used my favourite Maker’s Mark bourbon whiskey. I’m not a drinker however I love the smell of this bourbon!
*The recipe calls for 6 very ripe bananas, the rest of the ingredients are all measured in weight (which I absolutely loved) however the bananas are not and they come in such varying sizes, so this step does my head in!
Having said that… the first time I used 5 bananas and the second time I used 3. I think the lack of banana weight inclusion as well as the change in alcohol is testament to the flexibility of the recipe.
*I’m adding the recipe here only because it is readily available on the internet and will include the small changes I have made.

RECIPE from the THE VIOLET BAKERY COOKBOOK
In her introduction to the recipe, Claire Ptak the author, talks about her initial resistance to add banana bread to her bakery menu. Now, some years down the track, this recipe has proven itself to be one of the most popular items in the store. 
BANANA BUTTERMILK BREAD

6 very ripe bananas
150g vegetable oil (I preferred light extra virgin olive oil)
200g dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon dark rum (I used bourbon)
2 eggs
75g cultured buttermilk or plain yoghurt (I used greek plain greek yogurt)
210g plain flour
1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 tablespoons caste sugar
butter, for greasing the tin

1. Preheat the oven to 180C / 160C (fan).
2. Butter a 25cmx10cm loaf tin and line with parchment paper.
3. Reserve half a banana for the top of the cake and mash the remaining banana well.
4. In a bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar, vanilla, rum, eggs and buttermilk or yoghurt. Add the mashed banana and set aside.
5. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt. Fold this into the banana mixture until just combined, then pour into your prepared tin.
6. Smooth the top with a palette knife or spatula and place the reserved banana half, cut lengthways, on top. Sprinkle with the caster sugar.
7. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean and the top of the cake has set and starts to caramelise.
(The author states she sometimes uses a kitchen blowtorch to help this process along).
8. Leave to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Finally… and most importantly…
enjoy the most incredibly moist, yet delicate, banana bread you’ve ever eaten!
Just as I am doing as I write this x


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Buckwheat Rolls with Seaweed Butter

We loved these crispy Buckwheat Crepes with Seaweed Butter.
The kids and I love our sushi. We are regulars at the local Sushi Train, so I knew these would be a hit. Everyone loved them!
It was also a good opportunity for me to use up the Buckwheat flour I had bought on my journey to get my health back.
It is what has kept me from cooking with this group and also the Tuesdays with Dorie group which I really loved.
A bout of glandular fever knocked me flat on my backside almost three years ago now. I was already run down from working with rape and domestic violence clients and it was shift work so my sleep patterns were destroyed.
Many doctors appointments later, medications, tests, experimenting with vegan and paleo food, I found a functional doctor that ran some genetic tests.
Turns out I have a gene mutation that causes my body to struggle when converting folate from food into something my body could use. Not a problem when healthy, but a disaster when run down! So not only was I short in B12 I needed a much higher dose than the average, non mutant, human! Not sure if this is the actual problem, I’ve learnt it’s never that easy over the last few years, however it’s all I have to work with at the moment.

I made a few attempts over the years to rejoin the groups however it was such a struggle physically it didn’t last long.
Weeks of supplementing with methyl B12 and methylfolate and I am hoping to rejoin this group on a regular basis and cook!
So back to the Buckwheat Crepes with Seaweed Butter that was this week’s Cook the Book Fridays recipe! I think months of cooking with Buckwheat and our love of all things sushi made this a winner in our house!


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Onion Tart Pissaladiere

It has been 6 months since my last post. Six months!
I cannot believe how fast time is passing.
I have cooked along with the group on and off behind the scenes these past months.
However I have come undone in the sharing department 🙂
I’m not sure what happened… I think it all started when the kids made fun of my habit to avoid phone and computer updates. I succumbed to kid pressure and updated my phone but then it no longer wanted to get along with my computer. I have 6 months of photos that need downloading. The kids think my problem is with the Cloud but I don’t understand it. It reminds of me being in Chemistry classes and the teacher talking about molecules and… stuff. I can’t see it, so I just don’t get it.
I have missed being part of my cooking groups! I love that it means I cook things I might never get to, like this onion tart or Pissaladiere!

My photos are not the best but I found a way to get them up on my blog so I am happy for now!
I loved the contrast of the sweet onions with the salty olives. I used Kalamata olives, but we take our olives seriously in this house and I have a particular store I go to that I know sells the best Kalamata olives so I stuck with what I knew.
What really surprised me is how much the kids enjoyed this tart. And not one complaint about the anchovies!

I’m a bit rusty when it comes to posting online and I’m trying to not get distracted by an episode of Longmire on Netflix that my husband has playing in the background! But gee I’m glad to be back and cooking with the Cook The Book Fridays group! I can’t wait to have a read and see what everyone else thought of this recipe.


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Tasmania Day 1 (Part 1): Launceston and the Tamar Valley Resort

As the plane descended into Launceston my husband, Emily (13 and jumping above) and

Todd (10) strained their necks to look out of the tiny plane window. They took in the the endless, rolling, green hills with a random farm house scattered here and there. They all turned to me and said in awed wonder “Where the hell did you take us?!’

“We flew over a town back there! Seriously!” I defended my choice of holiday destination.

They weren’t really complaining I realised, just slightly concerned and bewildered about about finding food and lodgings amongst so much emptiness!

After a short wait, we were told our rental car was going to be upgraded from a full size sedan to a full size sports model. And in no time at all my husband was loving the empty freeways that he could “play” on with his new toy!

Launceston was a short 15 minute drive from the airport and our accommodation, the Tamar Valley Resort, was another 10 or so minutes after that.


Seriously, this place is real!
I was half expecting to see the Griswold’s kitted out in their Bavarian slap-dancing polka outfits strolling through the putt putt golf course!

Our two room lake-view cottage was picture perfect and newly refurbished (so we were happy to overlook the fact we weren’t on the lake along with the paper thin construction of dwelling until we froze our arses off the first night there).

However all was forgotten when the kids discovered the jumping pillow.

And putt putt golf, kayaks, paddle boats and trikes.

The Tamar Valley Resort was a bit out of the way however I think it’s part of being in Tasmania. There is a lot of empty space, as long as you have access to a car though, it’s really no issue as the roads are pretty good and empty!

Overall, a pretty good choice of accommodation for a family staying a few days in Launceston and a great start to our Tassie vacation!