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Archive for the ‘Cakes’ Category

We went to a once a month market that sold clothes and other knick-knacks this past weekend and at the back were the food sellers (majority selling baked goods) and this young man had a stall piled with very attractive-looking, rustic and authentic items such as croissants, pannetone and banana bread.  But much to our surprise, a whole loaf of banana bread was going for $25!  Mind you, it was a very sexy and large banana bread but I thought…”wow!”  At home, I whip up banana bread so fast that I couldn’t imagine any banana bread being worth that much money.  Now I wish that I had bought a slice of it to see how good it was…next month perhaps.

I always keep bananas in my freezer ready to defrost and make into banana bread.  It started out one year with a market stallholder selling me 10 kilos (22 pounds) of bananas for $2AUD at the end of the day!!  We put two in a snack Ziploc bag and froze them – over a year later, we’re still eating them!

My standby foolproof banana bread recipe is an adaptation from the American Sunset magazines classic cookbook first published in 1963 called “Breads”.  It takes me less than an hour and a half from the prep to the baking and it tastes divine toasted under the grill with lashings of butter.  My recent find has been ground nut meals at the Wayville Sunday market and have been topping my banana bread with ground walnut meal as well as in the batter. The extra oils and texture add an extra dimension and crunch.

This was the first time I put chocolate chips on...

This was the first time I put chocolate chips on...

Foolproof Banana Bread

2 cups flour OR 1 2/3 cup flour and 1/3 cup walnut meal

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp each baking soda & salt

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

3/4 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 bananas)

1/2 cup milk

1 egg

1/4 cup butter, melted

Chocolate chips are optional

In a bowl, stir together flour, nut meal (if using) baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and nuts until thoroughly blended.  In a separate bowl, combine bananas, milk, egg and butter; stir into dry ingredients just until well blended.  Pour batter into a greased 4 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch (10 x 20 cm) loaf pan.  Sprinkle top of loaf generously with walnut meal and/or chocolate chips if desired.

Bake in a preheated 350°F (175°C) oven for 1 1/4 hrs or until bread begins to pull away from sides of pan and a knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Let cool in pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Makes one large loaf.

 

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I love being in Sydney’s Chinatown area because it is almost like being in Asia – after all, Australia is part of Australasia. I get to fulfill all my Asian cravings whenever I visit and this time, I discovered a bakery that specialises in Asian-style cakes. It is on George St. right in the thick of the action and according to other Aussie food bloggers, it’s been open since 2006 (how did I miss it?!)

Anyway, as much as I wanted to try more as many flavours as possible, I could only eat two cakes to take away with me and I chose the two that intrigued me the most – Calpis Cookie Cake and Mango Mochi Cake. For those of you who do not know what Calpis is, it is a tasty, sweet and milky/yoghurty drink that you dilute with water (like a cordial) or that is pre-diluted with water or soda. It has been a childhood staple in Japan since the early 20th century. What’s funny is that in the U.S. market, it is called Calpico probably because Calpis sounds too much like…yup, you guested it, COW PISS!! And no one wants to be caught dead drinking cow piss…and I digress.

All the cakes in the display were gorgeous and reminded me of Japanese-style bakeries – visually exciting. As for the taste of the cakes, I was just a little bit disappointed. The Calpis Cookie Cake didn’t taste like Calpis at all but tasted more like a non-descript mousse of some kind. The Mango Mochi cake was decent – tasted like the Mochi Ice Cream we have in the states and was filled with a lightly flavoured dense mango mousse. The outer mochi “skin” was very soft and tasty but overall, I thought it was just ok. You can read a blog that I found that raves about this shop and definitely took much better photos than I did:

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