Monday, April 9, 2018

TOMATO, BASIL & GOAT CHEESE BREAD


Today's recipe came to me from my step-son's mother-in-law, who I am pleased to say has become a cherished friend of mine, despite living far away in England.  The photo below is her photo, and the recipe comes from the blog, A Year in Redwood.  I signed up to get this blog's posts, since I see that they have an airbnb accommodation in North Tipperary, Ireland.  I'd love to stay there sometime!.  



TOMATO, BASIL, GOAT CHEESE BREAD
·         4 oz butter, plus extra to grease tin
·         11 oz self-raising flour (Note 1, below)
·         1/2 tsp salt and lots of black pepper
·         6 oz goat’s cheese, diced (there is no need to remove the rind) (We didn’t have the full amount of goat’s cheese so used some Philly to make up the balance)
·         6 oz firm cherry tomatoes, halved
·         15 g basil
·         3.5 oz milk
·         3 eggs (2 duck eggs)

Heat oven to 180 C/ 160C Fan/ Gas 4 (Note 2, below).  Butter and line a 900 g loaf tin with baking parchment.
Tip the flour and seasoning into a bowl, then rub in the butter until it disappears.  Toss in 100 g each of the cheese and tomatoes.  Roughly tear in the basil, keeping the pieces quite large.
Beat the milk and the eggs together, then quickly stir into the flour and tomato mixture.  Turn into the tin, smooth the top, then scatter with the remaining cheese and tomatoes.
Bake for 45 – 50 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted into the loaf comes out clean.  (Make sure it isn’t the melting cheese you are looking at rather than the bread mixture).
Cool before slicing.
Serve in thick slices.  Store in the fridge for up to 2 days.


NOTES:
1)  For information about making your own self-rising flour (requiring only all-purpose flour, salt and baking powder), follow this link.   Additional information is also available that may be of interest to you.  Also, 11 oz of self-rising flour is equivalent to a light cup and one-half.

2)  Since I haven't made this, I'm unsure what the best baking temperature might be.  I would try it at 325ºF; but watch it carefully.

Sue said that they ate this with soup.  Salad would be another good option.

I look forward to making this!  When I do, I'll follow up with more specific details/conversions.

Monday, March 5, 2018

BANANA BREAD

Perhaps you tried my mother's recipe for bread pudding that I posted a few days ago.  Today I'm posting my mother's recipe for banana bread.  I know, there are a gazillion recipes for banana bread.  I expect that my mother had many other recipes as well since she shared this recipe as her "favorite."  I also have many recipes for banana bread with notes such as "greasy" or "dry" or "bland".  These are all reasons why you should try this particular recipe.  Not only does the recipe result in banana bread that is moist and flavorful, it is flexible, as noted in the recipe.


As I emptied this bag of flour I noticed that a recipe for banana bread was printed on the package.  Even though I think my mother's recipe may be better, I'll probably go ahead and make this one, just out of curiosity.  If I do, I'll try to remember to blog here about it.  

The question is:  Why do I keep trying so many different recipes for the same thing, when I already have the perfect recipe?!?  

As an aside, Gold Medal flour is America's #1 selling flour brand - originating over 135 years ago... in Minneapolis, Minnesota!  



MOM'S BANANA BREAD
*  1/2 cup soft butter
*  1 cup sugar
*  2 eggs, large
*  1-1/3 cups mashed bananas (about 4 bananas)
*  1 tablespoon milk
*  1 teaspoon vanilla
*  2 cups flour, all purpose
*  1 teaspoon baking soda
*  1/4 teaspoon salt
*  1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional:  chocolate chips)
*  1/2 cup quartered maraschino cherries (optional:  chocolate chips)
Preheat oven to 350º.  Grease a 9"x 5" loaf pan.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar;  beat in eggs.  
Combine mashed bananas with milk and vanilla.
In a small bowl, mix flour, soda and salt together; blend it into the banana mixture.
Stir in nuts/cherries/chocolate chips.  Pour into loaf pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


 

Notice the very, very ripe bananas.  The two in the bag came out of the freezer.  They look awful, but they are perfect for a flavorful bread.   Tip:  When you have overripe bananas, instead of tossing them, peel them, put them in a baggie, and store them in the freezer for making banana bread.


Here are the three mixtures: 1) dry ingredients in the small bowl, 2) creamed sugar and butter, with eggs ready to be beaten in, and 3) wet ingredients - bananas, milk and vanilla.


Tip:  As you can see in the photo below, I should have put on gloves before cutting the maraschino cherries.  Oh well...



TA DA...  Ready to eat!  Actually, this was cut when the bread was hot out of the oven.  Tip:  Once the bread cools, it sets up and will cut perfectly.  


Of course, you probably don't need suggestions for eating banana bread BUT consider this:  Toast a slice of banana bread, top with a scoop of ice cream of your choice, and top with hot fudge sauce.   Really, really good!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

BREAD PUDDING - MY FAVORITE RECIPE

It is understandable that the foods we were raised on remain our comfort foods, our all time favorites.  Bread pudding is that for me.  Although I frequently order it for dessert in restaurants, I am also routinely disappointed.  Typically the pudding is too bready or too sweet.  My mother's recipe for bread pudding results in a creamy, smooth custard, and just the perfect amount of sweet.  It is wonderful!  Today I share this recipe with you, and I hope that somewhere along the line a chef picks up the recipe and gives it a try.  It is quite a contrast to restaurant "bread pudding."



MOM'S BREAD PUDDING.
Butter a casserole/souffle dish.  Preheat oven to 350º.  In a large bowl whisk together:
*  6 eggs, large
*  ½  cup sugar
* ¼ teaspoon salt
Scald: 4 cups whole milk (or a mix including ½&½); 
Add:  1½ teaspoons vanilla (plus optional:  ½ teaspoon cardamom)
Then whisk it into the egg mixture.  
Add:  
*  4 cups of cubed bread*
*  ½ cup raisins/currents (optional)
Let rest a few minutes in order for the bread to soak up the egg mixture.  Pour all into the prepared casserole dish.  Sprinkle top with cinnamon.

Set casserole dish in a bain marie** and bake at 350º for about an hour, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Refrigerate as soon as possible to avoid separation of the custard.



 NOTES:____________
*  Throughout the year I dry out left over bread and save it in a metal tin.  That way, I always have what I need to make croutons, dressing/stuffing, bread crumbs for coating fish, and for bread pudding.  Of course, having fresh left over bread is a good excuse to make bread pudding!

**  bain-ma·rie
ˌbanməˈrē/
noun
  1. a container holding hot water into which a pan is placed for slow cooking

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

VALENTINES DAY & ROMANCE - On Vintage Postcards

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY, MY DEAR READERS!  I HOPE TODAY BRINGS YOU MANY VALENTINES GREETINGS AND ROMANCE!

I have posted Valentine postcards on my blog in the past, so today, in addition to just one Valentine postcard, I will be showing you "romance" postcards.  At one point I had hundreds of postcards that fit into the category of  "kissing"!  

Let's start with the Valentine postcard.  This card is considered an "embossed" card.  It is undated but was printed in the early 1900's.


This next lovely postcard was mailed in 1923 in Praha, Slovakia.  I (obviously!) can't read the message on the back.


The following postcard could be exchanged for a kiss, however, "Strangers Must Be Identified."  The message on the back says, "Please present to sender and demand goods without delay."  Love it!


The postcard below is considered a "large letter" postcard.  The card was sent on July 8, 1907 to "Darling Daisy" and the sender notes: "I'm lonesome darling!"


The next card is a "real photo" postcard and required a lot of work on the part of the photographer (copyright 1918 by May Ross).  The center photograph and all of the headings would have been clipped from publications of the day, laid out, then photographed.  Take a minute to read the captions.  So fun!


The postcard below was presented by "Leo" to "Papa O Mama".   I like the little verse on the bottom:  "No doubt you will think this a largish account, But I can't see my way to reduce the Amount"  (edited).



One final postcard simply drips romance.  




LOVE TO ALL MY DEAR FRIENDS AND FAMILY.  MAY YOUR DAY BE FILLED WITH JOY!