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.

 

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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Italian Herbs and Cheese Bread – One rise, quick bread!

Rustic , Hearty and truly a family share bread!

Italian Herbs and Cheese Bread – One rise, quick bread! #VRBakealong 

There is something alluring about fresh-baked bread. And when baked at home sans all the preservatives, it’s just wonderful. The smell of it wafting is enough to salivate the toughest critic’s taste buds. Or just to make one feel happy. This is one version of a herbed bread that makes you want to grab a slice after another. A mix of cultures in the bread I say, Italian seasoning, Mexican cheese blend, and a dash of our very own ground black pepper with the occasional sizzle of red pepper flakes. Go on , try it out and let me know 

Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat flour (atta) : 1.5 cups
  • All Purpose Flour: 1.5 cups
  • Instant yeast : Red Start quick rise , 1 packet
  • Sugar : 3 tsp.
  • Salt : 1.5 tsp.
  • Olive oil : 3 Tbsp.
  • Black pepper ground : 1 tsp.
  • Italian herbs mix (dried) : 2 tsp.
  • Red pepper flakes : 1/2 tsp. (optional)
  • Milk ( 2%) : 1/2 cup
  • Warm water : 1 cup ( add in stages )
  • Mexican cheese blend grated : 1/2 – 1 cup ( depending on how cheesy you like it)

METHOD

Proofing the yeast:

Typically in instant kind of quick yeast you do not need to proof the yeast. But in this case I did so because I just needed to ensure my yeast was well alive and kicking!

  • Warm the milk with 1/2 cup of water and the sugar. Just ensure the mix is very very warm.
  • To this I added the instant rapid rise yeast , stirred gently and set aside, You will notice the bubbles in about 5-8 min Let the yeast do the job for about 10-12 min. The frothy mix indicates it is a happy camper and ready to work on your bread!

 The dough:

  • In a large mixing bowl, sieve together the atta ( I used our very own swaad chakki fresh atta ) and APF and salt.
  • Add in the ground pepper and dries herbs mix.
  • Add in the red pepper flakes if using.
  • Add in the grated cheese and then the olive oil. Mix evenly.
  • Now add water, milk mixture and knead for about 5 – 8 minutes. The dough should be very soft. Add more warm water if needed.
  • I worked this on the one rise principle. Rapid rise yeast typically do not need the punch and re-knead process. If using active dry yeast place the dough in a large bowl and cover with a damp cloth for about an hour or till the dough becomes double in size. Punch the dough to remove all the air trapped in it and re-knead again for 5-10 minutes. You will end up with a soft pliable dough. If in doubt do the windowpane test for it. However, I used rapid rise instant yeast that does not require this process of re kneading.
  • Grease a baking tray.
  • Divide the dough into 2 equal parts.
  • Make 2 long log rolls.
  • Braid them together loosely to give the twisted feel.
  • Cover with a damp cheese cloth, kitchen towel and place it in a warm draft free zone  and let it rise for about an hour max. Mine rose in about 45 min to a beautiful double proportion.
  • Bake at 375 deg F for about 30 min. ( give or take another 5 min based on the variables -the flour used, the kind of year, the milk etc.)
  • When you notice the top becoming a nice and even brown, and when you tap the bread pan or the the sides of the bread you get the hollow sound, its done!
  • Set it out to cool !

(Seriously the sight was enough to set my kids were drooling!!!)

 Serving:

On cooling, slice, add a dab of butter or cream cheese and its wonderful for your palate. This bread is moist and slightly dense echoing a bit of the whole wheat breads you get. But this will hold wonderfully to toasting. It’s very light on the cheese effect too as I added just half a cup.But seriously you can add more than a cup that is called for and you will notice the difference. At that time it’s a bit more indulgent I would say. The herbs and the pepper lend their flavor and this is so perfect with your pasta. Or just by itself !

Thought : Shape it into mini logs and you have your very own subway style bread ready to be made into a delectable sandwich!

Shelf Life : I would not expect this last very long as it is made without any preservatives. In any case this would last a mere couple of days at home for me 🙂

Whole wheat Bread spiced just right- And stir fried!

Alright ! I confess I get cravings for the spicy , tangy kind. It could be midnight masala or an afternoon -I-want -something -different – crave.

I simply blame them on my genes of course. You see, I have heard from my mom that she often craved for spicy, tangy food during her life enduring phase with me. I beg to differ, I often though the traffic through the placenta was one way kind. After all, genetic makeup of a fetus is heavily influenced by the chromosomal contributors 🙂 Not the other way around!

Either way , I cannot simply endure toast for too long a time. So out pops this creation, to fulfill the craving of a spice deprived palate.

Be warned : this recipe is born out things available at hand , and can be made definitely healthier by addition of veggies. But once in a while, I would love to indulge in guilty bites:-)

Feeding the guilt :

  • Whole wheat bread –  6- 8 slices. Sliced into one inch squares.
  • Red/White/Yellow Onion – 1 Large – diced finely or as per viewer’s choice.
  • GreenThai chillis – 4-5 – chopped finely or slit lengthwise.
  • Turmeric powder – A pinch
  • Curry powder  – 1 tsp
  • White split Urad Dal – 1/4 tsp
  • Black mustard seeds  – 1/4 tsp
  • Asafoetida – A pinch
  • Curry Leaves  – A few
  • Handful of coriander leaves – chopped finely.
  • My open secret ingredient : Maggie hot and sweet tomato chilli sauce – 2 tsp
  • Olive oil : 2 tsp
  • Salt  –  to taste. I used about a 1/4 tsp for this recipe.

And your mouth begins to water …

  • Heat oil in a wok and add in the mustard seeds and pinch of Asafoetida. Add in the urad dal and when it turns brown in color add in the green chillis and curry leaves.  Add  in the pinch of turmeric powder.Sauté for a min or two.
  • Add in the chopped onions and cook them till them are fine and translucent.
  • Add in the curry powder and stir it in for about 30 seconds.
  • Now gently toss in the sliced bread squares. The idea is to coat in the flavors and spices evenly.
  • Now add in the pinch of salt and 2 tsp of maggie tomato chilli sauce.
  • Stir it in gently once again.(By now the aroma wafting from the stove should make your tummies rumble :-))
  • Add in the freshly chopped coriander and serve it right up!

 

Order up!

A fabulous trip down the memory lane !  Serve it with a cup of ginger chai. Life is Jil-Jil Jiga ( according to a very dear friend of my husband !)

Notes:

  • Make a healthier version of this by adding in freshly grated carrots, sprouts and sliced bell peppers
  • Tamarind sweet and sour chutney is a great substitute for the chilli sauce called for in the recipe
  • Bread a little over the shelf life ?? This recipe rescues it ! In fact this one of the  best ways to use it. My craving of course can warrant the use of the freshest bread when required.
  • Whole wheat dinner rolls could be substituted for bread as well.
  • Dont feel like eating chunks of bread?  leave the bread out on the counter aka airing it out for a couple of days. Finely crumble them and use it in the recipe 🙂
  • Feel the need for protein – Add in a few peanuts and you are in:-)

Happy indulging!