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One month in to my new job, and several episodes in to The Great British Bake Off (the only TV show I watch), I was inspired to try out a new recipe.

Not just a new recipe, but a recipe for something that I don’t usually enjoy eating, hence why I have never made them before. Bear in mind that my only previous experience of these English delicacies was cold, soggy-bottomed, supermarket versions a long time ago (perhaps they have gotten better since circa 1993?).

The bakers on GBBO made them look so appealing during the technical challenge in “Pies and Tarts” week that I just had to give it a try. The result?

Delicious egg custard tarts!

Paul's tarts

OK so those are Paul Hollywood’s tarts but mine were still tasty! The sweet, crisp almond pastry complements the soft, silky custard topped with a defining sprinkling of nutmeg.

Final tartlets

I used Paul Hollywood’s recipe published on the trusty BBC Food website http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/egg_custard_tarts_15352

A fair few eggs are required…

Beaucoup d'oeufs

…However it is a simple recipe with only a small number of ingredients.

It would also be easy to make this recipe gluten free, by using gluten free flour, such as rice flour. My auntie Freddi asked whether I would be blogging some more gluten free recipes so I will have a think about a couple for next time.

Ingredients

I made two batches, the first were slightly burned however still delicious.

Slightly burned pastry

One piece of advice, let the tarts cool for little while before removing, but don’t leave it too long or they risk being stuck to the tin!

Tarts in a tray

They may not be the neatest, prettiest looking pastries ever made, and mine were certainly not as neat as Paul’s however this did not detract from the taste at all. The recipe warns to eat them within a few days otherwise the pastry will all go soggy, however this was not an issue in our household of two, all of them went in just over 24 hours!

I would definitely say, overcome any childhood prejudices and give these a go. Rather easy and very satisfying. Plus you can make meringues and macarons with the excess of egg whites that you are left with!

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So, my first ever post and I thought I would keep it to a simple but delicious kitchen staple.

I’d like to share a recipe for what I have finally created as perfect banana bread. Not only is it really tasty, it takes literally five minutes to whip up the mixture and around 40 minutes to bake. It smells and tastes heavenly.

We get through at least 15-20 bananas a week in our house, two per work day for Will, one per day for me, plus extra for the weekend. However any change to the routine (such as a much coveted free breakfast at work) and we are left with surplus bananas. This is a great recipe for using  up bananas that are beyond their best.

Whilst not such a pleasure to eat, it is imperative that your bananas for this recipe are old and manky; brown, spotty and quite soft. This lets the banana juices flow during cooking and makes the texture so sweet and sticky.

I experimented a couple of times with various recipes, including odd/ unnecessary ingredients such as buttermilk, and didn’t like how they turned out. My first attempt was too dry (not enough banana) and second attempt was too plain-tasting (I subsequently discovered that this was due to using the wrong sugar).

Most recipes call for caster sugar, but during my second attempt I used some muscovado due to a shortage of the white stuff in the kitchen. It was sticky and almost caramelised once backed, making the cake smell of warm toffee, however it was a little too heavy. It did give me the idea of using soft brown sugar though, which has made it into the final, perfect recipe.

I was then having a small dilemma between putting cinnamon or chocolate chips in the banana bread, surely you can’t have both? Then, I realised that since there was no law against it (quick Google check for obscure cooking rules in other geographies), why could I not have both!? Of course, both are optional according to taste, you may want the focal taste to be the bananas. But don’t be afraid to experiment!  As an alternative, I think some small pieces of stem ginger would also give the cake a great zingy taste.

Beautiful, breakneck speed, banana bread recipe (makes one loaf):

Ingredients:

100g softened unsalted butter
2 ripe bananas
175g dark soft brown sugar
2 eggs
225g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons milk

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/ Fan 160C/ Gas 4
  2. Grease loaf tin with a little soft butter
  3. Put all the ingredients listed above in to a large mixing bowl
  4. Mix together using a hand whisk, fork or mixing spoon
  5. Continue mixing until all ingredients are combined
  6. Bake in pre-heated oven for between 45-60 minutes, rotate cake to ensure even cooking if you do not have a fan oven
  7. Check that a skewer/ knife comes out clean from the centre of the cake and then remove to cool on cooling rack
  8. Carefully run a knife around edges before removing cake from its tin

Serving suggestions:

Banana bread

Sliced and buttered with a cup of tea or wrapped in foil for lunchboxes

I actually added a freshly made, warm caramel sauce and ice cream to this as a variation on our “Sunday night sundaes” – to be detailed at a later date…

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