Mango Banana Walnut Sweet Bread (Or dare I say Loaf cake?)

Mango Banana Walnut Sweet Bread (Or dare I say Loaf cake?)

 It was a very hectic day. To say the least! Juggling the wants and the needs and answering some thought provoking questions leaves one reaching for brain sharpening tools. While I pondered on the questions, the root of the questions and the answers – and needles to say the propensity to answer certain questions with alarming conventional replies, left me wondering if as a parent I am guilty of espousing certain staid rules in the house! Sigh!

While society molds and shapes you to a certain extent, who exactly molds the society? ( My cure -all, solution to many a problem, A cup of ginger chai did not seem to awaken the required neurons to deal with this ). Well a few upcoming events did put a cheer in an otherwise gray day. May be we can make one day of the week a mental flossing day or so ?

 In any case, a bit past the required cook time for dinner and me going through the blah phase of the day still, left me frantically scavenging in the refrigerator. There are times, I open the fridge and stare intensely at it, almost willfully wishing for things to appear. Kind of like at Hogwarts , except my house elves are in my imagination !

If only I can channel some of the much required genie powers. Sigh!  Well genie powers aside, what I did find was a pack of sprouts , a cucumber  and a strange assortments of veggies. And then I saw it. Tucked away in the corner of corner, in the back corner, (you get the idea) a bushelful of champagne mangoes. How in the  world did I let this slip by me? No clue, except I had atleast half a dozen mangoes with sweet firm, juicy flesh and a bit wrinkly skin (nope, this is not a metaphor for middle age. People ! Tsk ! Tsk!) 

Ah! Dinner, I know. Well, will make do with salad and sandwiches and left overs. But the mangoes had to be skinned and diced. And then inspiration struck. And I yielded to temptation ! So while we had dinner, fresh mango sweet loaf bread was baking in the oven !

Ingredients:

 Dry:

  • Self rising all-purpose flour : 1  and 3/4 cups
  • Baking soda : 3/4 Tsp.
  • Ground cardamom: 1 Tsp.
  • Saffron threads: A generous pinch
  • Chopped walnuts : 1/4 cup

Wet:

  • Mashed Banana : 2 large ripe bananas  ( approx. 1-1.25 cups) super speckled and very ripe is the best always.
  • Firm Mangoes 2-3  : 1.5 -2 cup, finely diced mango flesh
  • Brown Crystal sugar : 1/3 cup
  • Olive oil : 1/4 cup.
  • Egg : 1 ( or substitute with flax seed ratio equivalent to one egg.)
  • Plain yogurt : 1/3 cup

Topping :

  • Fine diced mangoes : 2 Tbsp.
  • Ground cardamom powder: 1/4 Tsp.
  • Brown Sugar : 1 Tbsp.
  • Chopped Walnuts : 2 Tbsp.

Method:

Prepping and Mixing:

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF
  • Grease a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan. I used olive oil spray to grease it.
  • Whisk the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl – the self rising APF + baking soda+ cardamom powder + saffron threads and set aside.
  • Mash/ Puree the bananas. Add in the egg and whisk it very well. Add in the sugar and whisk it very well . Add in the yogurt and oil and whisk it very well again . Once again, this entire process of mine happened in one jar of  magic bullet. You can go the traditional way and use the hand mixer or stand mixer too.
  • Fold the flour mix into this very gently.
  • Fold in the chopped walnuts reserved in the dry mix section.
  • Add in the diced mangoes and fold it gently into the batter. Do not smush it please !
  • Spoon the batter into the prepped loaf pan.

Topping:

  • Gently toss the diced mangoes and sugar and cardamom powder together so as to coat the pieces very well.
  • Top it on the wet batter.
  • Add the reserved 2 Tbsp. of chopped walnuts so as to stud the entire top layer

Baking:

  • Bake at 350ºF for about 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes clean. Mine was done in 53 minutes.
  • Cool for about 10 minutes or so in the pan.
  • Transfer to a wire rack. Let it cool down well before cutting into nice thick wedges……

Want to make this Vegan?

  • Substitute the egg with flax seeds. One egg equivalent would be 1 Tbsp. of flax seeds ground well in a spice grinder initially. To this add the 3 Tbsp. of warm water and blend together to get a nice creamy mix. Use in place of 1 egg.
  • Swap the yogurt for applesauce. Though you might taste more of the apple  in the resulting loaf.

Result:

A very fragrant and moist loaf of mango bread ( I probably should say it’s more a sweet bread or morning cake bread consistency) The top layer of the mango was caramelized and the walnuts very toasted and crunchy.

Make no bones about it, this is a special occasion loaf!

 

Peach Banana Cinnamon Quick Bread – Moist, Fresh and the Perfect Bite of Summer!

My awesome neighbor dropped a few peaches off for me late yesterday night. Thanks, SP! An unfortunate mix up at the local farmer’s market resulted in an excess bounty of these luscious, fresh,locally grown king peaches! Holy cow! These were pretty, beautiful and begging to be bit into.. Well,Hello Beautiful !!!! You are more than welcome at my place 🙂

So there I was, having a few quiet few minutes to myself, in the wee hours of the morning.. Quiet hours after a bout of insane re -org of the pantry. What,you surprised? Any one who knows me recognizes I go into these occasional bouts of  super clean re -org required in the pantry.. Labels, library books, color coding .. You get the picture 🙂

 

Farmer' market Bounty
Farmer’s market Bounty
Hello Beautiful!
Hello Beautiful!
Ripe, luscious , perfect!
Ripe, luscious , perfect!

In any case, there was this huge basket filled with luscious peaches and speckled bananas calling out to me. Zip, zap and a few more.. This is one delectable piece  and so easy to make. Seriously, my trusted magic bullet came to the rescue and plus I did not feel like messing up the super clean counters…

And here it goes.. the ingredients and method required to make this super delicious,moist and very quick bread!

Wet:

  • Mashed Bananas : 2 large ripe bananas  ( approx. 1-1.25 cups) super speckled and very ripe
  • Firm peaches 2 numbers  : 1.5 cup of finely diced peaches ( skinned is better)
  • Natural Brown Crystal sugar : 1/3 cup
  • Olive oil : 1/4 cup.
  • Large Egg : 1 ( or substitute with flax seed ratio equivalent to one egg.)
  • Pure vanilla extract : 1 Tsp.
  • Plain yogurt : 1/3 cup

Dry:

  • Self rising flour : 1 and 3/4 cup
  • Baking Soda : 3/4 Tsp.
  • Ground Cinnamon : 1.5 Tsp.

Topping:

  • Thin sliced peaches – 10
  • Ground cinnamon: 1 Tsp.
  • Brown Sugar : 1 Tbsp.

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF
  • Grease a 9 by 5 inch bread loaf pan.I used olive oil to great the pan.
  • Whisk the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl – the self rising APF + baking soda+ cinnamon powder and set aside.
  • Mash/ Puree the bananas. Add in the egg and whisk it very well. Add in the sugar, vanilla extract and whisk very well . Add in the yogurt and oil and whisk it very well again .This entire process of mine happened in one jar of  magic bullet. Neat uh? You can go the traditional way and use the hand mixer or stand mixer too.
  • Fold the dry ingredients aka flour mix into this very gently.
  • Add in the diced peaches and fold it gently into the batter.
  • Empty the batter into the prepped loaf pan.

 Topping:

  • Gently toss the sliced peaches and sugar and cinnamon together so as to coat the slices very well.
  • Top it on the wet batter.
  • I just sort of lined them all up.

Baking:

  • Bake at 350ºF for about 45 – 52 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes clean. Mine was done in about 45 minutes.
  • Cool for about 10 -15 minutes in the pan.
  • Transfer to a wire rack. Let it cool down well before cutting into nice thick slices..
  • Serve it straight up, warm, toasted or let your imagination run riot!

 

Optional:

Chopped walnuts would add in a nice crunchy twist to this as well.

 Want to make this Vegan?

  • Substitute the egg with flax seeds ratio substitution ( 1 egg = 1 Tbsp. of flax seeds + 3Tbsp. of warm water. Dry grind the flaxseeds in spice grinder, add in the warm water and whip it to a very creamy consistency to be used in the place of an egg.)
  • Swap the yogurt for applesauce.

 

Banana Cinnamon Quick Breakfast Muffins

Banana Cinnamon Quick Breakfast Muffins

Bananas again? I know what you are thinking. Seriously I am not obsessed with banana, more like trying to finish the remaining 3 sad looking ones – so speckled, that the splotches of brown are beginning to merge to become patches of brown and black on it. The heat and humidity of NC in fact encourages this organic progression at a more ballistic rate. In any case, I wanted to make this into something not terribly sweet and something moist and soft. And something that can be done in minimal equipment. So what do I use? My Magic bullet, a mixing bowl and a whisk. 

Simple, quick , delicious, not overtly sweet, laced with cinnamon and made absolutely moist by the bananas, this are perfect domes of indulgence on a Saturday morning!

Pretty pleased with myself, I dare say!

 Ingredients:

  • All purpose flour (self rising) : 1.5 cups
  • Baking soda : 1/2 tsp.
  • Super ultra ripe bananas : 3
  • Brown Cane sugar : 1/3 cup
  • Egg: 1
  • Flavorless oil: 1/3 cup
  • Ground cinnamon powder: 1.25 -1.5 tsp.
  • Pure vanilla extract: 1 tsp.

 Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 350℉.
  • Line a 12 cup muffin or cupcake pan with paper liners.
  • In a large mixing bowl whisk the flour and soda and cinnamon powder to ensure they are thoroughly mixed.
  • In the large jar of your magic bullet blender or any blender, mush the 3 bananas very well to ensure no lumps.
  • Add in the tsp. of vanilla extract, sugar, oil, 1 egg and whip it all together for a couple of min or so.
  • The mix is now lighter in color and very creamy.( You should have this stage before mixing it in)
  • Add the liquid contents to the dry mix and whisk it all up very gently.
  • You will now have a very thick batter mix ready .
  • Now is the stage for you to add in any chopped nuts or choc chip if using.
  • Distribute the batter in 12 cups to about 3/4 full.
  • Bake it for 18-20 minutes until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Let it cool for a bit in the pan, and then further more on the wire rack.
  • Slice, Inhale , Enjoy!

Pointers:

  • You might exceed the 12 cups if the quantity of your mushed bananas are a bit more. It happens to be the only variable that I did not quantify today.
  • Increasing the cinnamon flavor is totally personal.
  • Have a bit of a sweet tooth? Increase the sugar from 1/3 to 1/2 cup. Personally 1/3 looks fine to me.
  • Want to add Honey? Go ahead 1/2 -1/3 cup looks good.
  • Want to add a streusel topping? It will be awesome in this.
  • Nuts? Walnuts would be my first choice. Chopped and folded in the batter would be awesome.
  • Choc chips: 1/3 cup and it would be a real indulgence I would say!

Fresh herbs, Cheese and Jalapeno bread – Eggless, No-Knead and Super Delicious!

Fresh herbs, Cheese and Jalapeno bread – Eggless, No-Knead and Super Delicious!

It’s a beautiful day in NC. The sun has given us a bit of respite and the weather seems to bring in the summer showers. The sky is filled with pregnant clouds – that’s how I visualize it. New life begins with showers 🙂 And my Hibiscus, the yellow one bloomed cheerily. The patio is filled with pots bursting with life – and my pride and joy of herbs and more. The fresh herbs beckon me to do something in the early hours of today- especially as my angels ( sometimes troublesome 3’s ) are fast asleep and I have this morning hour to myself.

Just myself and a cup of ginger chai.

Just myself, a cup of ginger chai and a humming bird.

Just myself , a cup of ginger chai, a humming bird and a curious brown breasted rabbit !

Oh the wonders !

And I walk in to the kitchen to see the remains of the pantry cleaning. Hmm I still have a few cupful’s of the self rising APF. What do I do? I bake of course 🙂

 Snipping away the fresh herbs , gives me an idea. As is always the case, a bit of this and a bit of that goes into this effort and creation.. The result is beautiful!

 An absolutely fragrant and moist loaf of rustic cheese and herbs bread baked to near golden perfection, filled with goodness of fresh herbs and spiced with jalapeños and pepper, flax seed laden and oh so irresistible ! Try this one, I am sure you will not be disappointed.

Pointers :

  • Self rising flour is All purpose flour with baking powder and salt in it. So this recipe omits salt.
  • I used a mix of grated Cheddar cheese, Habanero and Mexican cheese blend. Already loaded with salt, hence no extra salt was added in this recipe.
  • No eggs in this recipe. But you can substitute the flax seed mix I used for 2 eggs.
  • No egg wash too, Instead, I chose milk and butter wash and broiled it for 550 for 3 min.
  • The baking was at 350 for 50 min. Please keep an eye on your oven . I would recommend tenting it with an aluminum foil at the 30 min interval and bake it further.
  • I gave  the bread the milk and butter wash and then did the tenting ,baking and broiling.

Bakes : One 9 by 5 inch loaf

 Ingredients:

  • Self rising flour APF : 2.25 cups
  • Baking soda : 1/2 tsp
  • Shredded mix of cheddar , habenaro, pepperjack and mexican cheese blend : 1 cup
  • Fresh or Preserved Japaleno slices : chopped, 1/4 cup
  • Fresh herbs mix : 1 cup
  • Butter milk : 1.25 cups
  • 2 Tbsp flax seed + 6 Tbsp warm water : ground ( substitute for 2 eggs)
  • Olive oil : 3 Tbsp
  • Red pepper flakes : 1 tsp
  • Black pepper powder : 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds : 1/2 tsp
  • 2 Tsp of milk + 1 tsp of butter for wash if desired

 Method:

  • Pre heat the oven to 350℉.
  • Spray a loaf pan with grease and flour it as well to prevent sticking of the bread.
  • Sift the APF self rising flour and baking soda together and set aside in a wide bowl.
  • To this add the dry seasonings and spices you are using as well the 3/4 of the fresh chopped herbs and stir it in.
  • Now add in the grated cheese and stir it in as well.
  • Add in the  3 tbsp. oil and run your flingers through the dough to distribute it.
  • In a coffee grinder  or spice grinder , first make a meal out of the flax seeds – grind as finely as possible. Then add about 6 Tbsps. of warm water and blend it together to get a thick creamy mix.
  • Add the flax seed mix and butter milk together , homogenize and then add it to the  dry mix to and stir it in well.
  • The dough is going to be a shaggy dough !
  • Empty it in to the prepped bread pan, add in the remaining herbs mix on the top.
  • Bake it for 350℉  for 45- 52 min. After the first 30 min or so, loosely tent an aluminum foil on top of your baking pan . This will help the bread to bake more evenly.
  • Gently wash the top with a mix of milk and butter if desired at this stage.
  • Finally broil it at 550 ℉ for 2 min or so to finish off with a nice brown color.
  • Cool it out in the pan for a few min and then gently remove it from the pan to let it cool on a wire rack.
  • Once cool, slice and serve with a dollop of butter or just like that!
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Banana Nutella Bread – Swirled slices of heaven!

Banana Nutella Bread – Swirled slices of heaven!

So A1 got his braces a couple of days back. And he has generally been a happy camper about it . But today was an exception 🙁 He suffered stoically through the pain of it becoming a familiar appendage in his mouth! All of 14 and he channels the ” I am a teenager ” quite often. He is usually an old soul in a young body ! Sigh! Since today was not a particularly happy day on his front (Plus A2 got the bulk of my attention – remind me to preen a bit about the painting she is embarking on, A3 decided to act up and zeroed in on A1 for the entire day – mind it, an entire day of a 6 year old on a 14 year’s back.. But A1 was super patient with him, Legos, Mine craft, wrestling, Argentina – Netherlands soccer semi final and more … and let it out on me 🙂 LOL so are the joys of life ). In any case, he had to miss out on his favorite Ciabatta rolls veg sandwich and yours truly made him a cheese pesto sandwich , which also had to be cut into bite sized pieces…..The dark mood was a bit of a downer at the dinner table. Ah ! the perils of braces ! In all fairness he did laugh about it in a few minutes. He sort of compared the progression of freckled spots on the banana to his mood through the day and the uncomfortability of the braces. Go figure ! Well mom, being mom at 8 PM got the idea of making a quick Banana Nutella sweet bread. That will be soft, sliceable and more important will take care of the speckled bananas. ( And hopefully will make A1 feel marginally better )

Ingredients: Yields 1 loaf (9 by 5 inch bread pan)

  • All purpose flour – self rising : 1.5 cups
  • Mashed bananas : 1 cup ( 2 ripe large bananas should yield 1 cup)
  • Sugar, Cane sugar in the raw, preferred : 1/3 cup
  • Flavorless oil of your choice : 1/4 cup
  • 1% milk : 1/4 cup
  • Large Egg : 1
  • Pure Vanilla extract : 1 tsp.
  • Baking Soda : 1/2 tsp.
  • Nutella : 1/4 – 1/3 cup based on your preference

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 Deg F , and grease and flour dust a bread pan ( I used a 9 by 5 inch one).

Dry Mix :

  • Whisk together the self rising all purpose flour and baking soda and keep aside

Wet Mix :

  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk well or using a hand mixer whip together milk, mashed bananas, egg and oil and vanilla extract.

Combining:

  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in stages and mix to incorporate it thoroughly.

Nutella Swirls:

  • Heat the Nutella for about 30 sec or so in the microwave to make it a bit thinner and spreadable. You do not want it too runny as well. The idea is to make it spreadable, that’s all.
  • Add in about half the desired Nutella in the batter and gently swirl it in. Remember you leave the streaks of Nutella in. You do NOT want it to be blended in thoroughly.

Baking:

  • Add the batter in the bread in big plops – NO I mean literally plop it in 4 -5 ladlefuls so you can create a pattern. Add in the rest of the Nutella , gently swirl on the top.
  • Bake it for about 40 – 45 min, until a wooden skewer inserted in it comes clean.

 Let it cool down for a bit in the pan and then gently remove it and let it cool out on a wire rack ( hold your horses meanwhile and keep the hungry fingers at bay) Slice it and enjoy it with a hot cuppa ! Or just like that!  

Verdict: This recipe is a keeper and the bread was moist, tender and perfectly sliceable! Add In walnuts to get a crunch and some nutrition in it. Will probably experiment with whole wheat flour to get it more guilt free!

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