I’m sitting at the computer with blu-tack in my ears, eating a piece of banana ‘flop’, and drinking chamomile tea, because something has set off a high-pitched alarm in our building, my banana bread didn’t rise, and the alarm is giving me a headache. A wonderful start to my exam studies.
Ash requested banana bread for him to take to work. So I bought bananas and let them ripen over a week until they were well and truly speckled. I made date paste, and stewed a pear. Then I sneakily took ideas from a number of different recipes to come up with my own, naturally sweetened, whole wheat and almond meal, super dense and delicious banana bread. I even noted the measurements as I cooked, knowing how important it is to get the chemistry right when baking. The knife came out clean, the bread had risen and was a lovely toasted colour, so I took it out of the oven after 50 minutes. And then it sank. The texture went from cooked, to entirely soggy. It doesn’t taste bad, but I’m annoyed! However, enough whinging – here are some other goodies I’ll share with you for the week ahead.
As part of the FODMAPs business, this week I’m introducing back into my diet fructans – onions, garlic, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, wheat and certain fruits – to see if they’ve been the cause of the tummy troubles. Yay for garlic!
For snacking this week, I’ve made for myself curried cauliflower. So simple and so delicious – and a very healthy snack to take into work. Not only is cauliflower low in fat and high in fibre, it’s a good source of Protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Potassium and Manganese. Take that junk food!
Curried cauliflower bites (makes enough for 3 to 4 me-sized snacks)
- 1/2 head cauliflower, chopped into florets and bits of stem. If there are leaves, keep them for adding to soups, curries or salads
- 1/4 cup vegetarian laksa paste (or any other curry paste, that’s just what I had in the fridge)
- Heat the oven to 200C, line a baking tray with baking paper.
- With your hands, rub the paste into the cauliflower pieces until they’re fairly well coated.
- Lay out in a single layer on the baking tray, and roast for 25-30 minutes, turning halfway.
Now that hardly counts as a recipe, given it’s simplicity, so I’ll also share this lime chutney with you.
Ash’s Nana gave us a bag of limes from her tree, and as we only tend to use limes when drinking vodka-lime-sodas, and this is mostly in summer, we hadn’t really figured out what to do with them.
Enter Google. I looked up lime syrup, lime cake, lime marmalade and lime chutney. We’re not big on sweets, home cocktails, cakes or toast, so the first three recipes would be sort of useless. But chutney, now there’s a condiment that can lift an ordinary snack, meal, appetiser or sandwich from ordinary to exotic.
Of all the lime chutneys I looked at, only one didn’t require soaking the cut limes overnight. And that one asked that you fry the limes whole, until the skin was crispy. That seemed a bit weird. I didn’t soak these, because I’m staying at home today to study (haha – see the link, banana bread, exams, baking, studying?) and don’t want to have to finish the chutney on a work night. Given that it was simmered for an hour and a half, it tasted fine to me, and the rind wasn’t too chewy. If you feel like soaking them, Google it and choose a method that suits you.
I won’t go into the nutritional profile of this chutney. Suffice to say, it’s high in sugar. But a little goes a long way, so use sparingly and you should be right. As you can see, we have three jars. I’d say the next two people to come around for dinner at our house are going to go home with a jar.
Lime chutney (makes 3 small jars or so)
- 4 limes, chopped finely (I chopped one at a time, emptying and draining the chopping board into the bowl between each)
- 1 tsp salt
- 100g pitted dates, chopped finely
- 70g sultanas, chopped finely
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp chilli flakes or minced chilli
- 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup sherry vinegar
- 400g brown sugar
- Mix the limes, salt, dates and sultanas in a metal or ceramic bowl.
- Mix the spices, chilli, pepper, ginger and garlic in a small bowl.
- Heat the oil in a saucepan, saute the spice mix until it smells amazing, about a minute.
- Add the lime mix, vinegar and sugar and stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.
- Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for one and a half hours, stirring occasionally.
- Spoon into sterilized jar(s) and seal.