Mums Banana-bread recipe

This is one of my Mum’s recipes.  I will be honest I have absolutely no idea where she collected the recipe from but this is what I use when I am looking to rustle up something quick, easy and satisfying.  I completely forgot to post this recipe as promsied for you guys and I wouldn’t have thought about it now either except that one of you mentioned it this week in class.  My apologies for the delay but better late than never.

Firstly though let me be honest and advise you that I am one of those people who cannot just leave a recipe alone.  I always wonder what it would be like to add a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  I like to put my own personal touches to it.  So just in case you are wondering why it doesn’t taste the same as the bread you ate at the “Pop Up Yoga” event here is why.  There is no secret ingredient that I am holding back this is just my own special adapted version.

The alterations I made to make this my own….

  •  instead of Sunflower Oil, I used Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
  • I add sultana’s on occassions also.
  • I also increase the amount of Raisins in the mixture as I personally love raisins in the bread.  I have been know to double the quantity.  (I don’t like chocolate pieces in mine but again you could substitute chocolate chips instead of raisins)
  • I put one full packet of chopped walnuts into the mixture also.
  • I use organic coconut sugar instead of honey but I will use honey if I don’t have the sugar in the house.
  • I also like to be able to taste the banana so I use three instead of the recommended two bananas.

Everything else I leave alone.

So do play around with this and make it your own.

Enjoy.. this is one of my favourites, it is the quickest and easiest mixtue to put together, the hardest part is getting everything out of the press.

As an alternative,  you can also do a lovely butter icing for the top and mix some more crushed walnuts into the butter icing for extra texture and bliss. I personally just love it with a slap of real butter and a cup of tea.

 

Ingredients:

100g Raisins

200g White Flour

1 and a 1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp bread soda

120ml Sunflower oil

150g Honey

2 Large Eggs

2 Medium banana’s

5 ozs walnuts

 

Instructions:  Mix all the dry ingredients together and then mix all the wet ingredients together, then simply fold the whole lot of ingredients together.  Line a 2lb loaf tin and its a matter of just pouring the mixture into the loaf tin. Placing in a hot over and waiting for your nostrils to be tantalised.

Bake for 50-60 mins at 180 degrees.  Allow to cool and enjoy….  seriously delicious.

Mum’s Apple Brack

Well my Mum’s apple brack went down a storm today and a miracle did happen, I refrained from cutting into it just to make sure that it was cooked through.  It did actually arrive at the studio in one piece but it left in the bellies of today’s workshop attendees.

Before I say anymore, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Vicki Woods for coming and delivering a fabulous morning of Qi Gong.  Vicki drew our awareness to various joints and how our conditioning can tighten and tense our muscles and making life difficult for ourselves in the long run.

Vicki gave us simple techniques to help us open our bodies and our energy pathways so that we feel balanced and in the flow of life.

I certainly left with a greater awareness of how I am moving in everyday activities even in the simple act of sitting down and getting up out of a chair.  I learnt a beautiful sequence to help balance my bodies Qi and that of the Qi of my kidneys.  This was of particular interest to me because of the stress I have been under in the past number of months, so I am looking forward to putting this into practice and seeing the unfolding benefits in my own body.

Some of you I know expressed your disappointment at not being able to make the workshop today but I am delighted to say Vicki is going to be returning in the near future for another workshop so if it is meant to be you may make the next one.  I am looking forward to learning more valuable techniques to keep me youthful and alive.

I am always surprised at how hungry I get when I am working with energy and today was no different.  During our break today the topic of discussion turned to Mum’s apple brack recipe.  I am delighted to say that it went down a storm with everyone and I ate a little piece of cake for each of you that were unable to make it today! I promised that I would post the recipe here for everyone to enjoy so I am delivering on that promise with this yogi moment.

Maybe it is the energy of what we did today but I began reminiscing about my childhood this evening and how cooking was a huge part of growing up for me.  I remember both my Grandmother’s baking on a weekly and sometimes even daily basis and I remember well the mouth-watering treats we would get to devour as a result of their endeavours… scones, apple tarts, queen cakes, sponges, fruit cakes and madeira cake.  Food I grew up on and to this day still enjoy.

It reminded me of how traditions get passed down through the family line sometimes unknowingly.  I was mentioning today how Mum had this cook book which we removed out of the house after she died, not because it had any value except that of sentimental value to us.  The food of my youth was held within the recipes of this falling apart navy cook book.  Each of us photocopied or hand wrote out our own favourite recipes into our own little book.  The cake I baked for today was one of those hand written recipes I took from mums cook book and placed into my own.  It hit me today that without realising it that by doing so I was keeping a family tradition alive and strong.  Mum was forever cutting recipes out of newspapers or magazines and trying them, if they turned out well they got put into her “navy cook book”.  This was the ultimate seal of approval if a recipe made it into this book, the unfortunates got binned.

Like many Irish household’s Mum had recipes written on the back of used envelopes, thorn out pieces of paper, on grease proof paper, on a pull out page of a copy book, basically anything she could lay her hands on when she was trying to collect a recipe.  Some recipes were copied from her Mum’s cook book and stored in this same book.

So, I have no idea where the origin of the following recipe came from, if it is years old or a relatively new recipe, but I do know it is packed with flavour and sweet scents of my childhood and simple to make.  Where ever it originated from I know this much, it passed mum’s taste bud test and made it into the family navy cookery book.

One other important factor to remember and in my opinion is a secret ingredient to everything you bake is this….  NEVER bake a cake when you are angry as this energy passes into your mixture.  So always include plenty of love and smiles for those who will eat the fruits of your labour as you mix your ingredients together, it does make a difference to the end product.  Trust me!

 

Mum’s Apple Brack

Ingredients:

1lb          cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced and a little lemon juice.

1/2lb      butter

1/2lb      brown sugar

2              large eggs

2 tsp      mixed spice

1/2lb      raisins

1/2lb      sultanas

1/4lb      cherries

1/4lb      chopped walnuts

12ozs     plain flour (I used spelt )

 

Method:

Stew apples, sugar and lemon juice, stirring whilst cooking.

Add the butter and stir until melted.   Leave aside to get cool.

Stir in remaining ingredients.

Stir in a generous amount of love and smiles for the hearts of those who will consume it.

Line a 2lb loaf tin and pour the mixture in.

Bake at 150 for one and half / two hours depending on whether you use a fan or conventional oven.

Remove and let cool.

Boil the kettle, make yourself a cup of tea, sit and enjoy a generous slice of brack.  It tastes even better when shared with a loved one or friends.  Enjoy you guys from our house to yours a little bit of tutti fruity.

Om shanti.

Noreen.   

OUR CHRISTMAS CAKE RECIPE IN MEMORY OF MY MUM

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Every family has traditions synonymous to themselves at Christmas time and the upholding of these traditions varies with each family and each generation.

One such tradition in our family was the making and baking of the Christmas cake.  I am fortunate enough to remember memories of my Grandmother – my mum’s mum and her small kitchen where a lot of the joy and passion for baking was passed down.  Scones, apple tarts, fruit cakes, jams and Christmas cakes were baking norms where we all got to help out and be very much included and indulge in the culinary delights of whatever was being created.

Like my mum and her mum before her I have involved my two children in baking over the years with sleeves rolled up, over-sized aprons donned and weighing scales at the ready.  Inevitably the kitchen scene would always end up the same, flour all over the place on the counters, stuck between the cracks in the tiles, all over the floor, up the noses and whitening the hair of my two enthusiastic kids as sieves were shaken with enormous enthusiasm whilst sporting two major grins.  Any one visiting, young or old got to roll up their sleeves, get involved and share in the fun and creativity as well as indulge in the end result.

Baking is a huge part of my family tradition with recipes being passed down the family line just like royalty would pass expensive gems.  My mum’s recipe book was always bulging with recipes she picked up and collected over the years.  She would title the recipe by the respective person she sampled the food and subsequently received the recipe from.  Mrs Hennessy’s Cheesecake, Lisa’s shortbread cookies and my pastry recipe even made it in there.  Baking holds fond memories for me and one such memory is the yearly Christmas cake.  Those that know me personally know how much food and especially Christmas cake is a topic of great discussion with me especially in the classes just before Christmas.  Discussing recipes is a daily event just as much as tampering and altering recipes is.

Traditionally Mum liked to bake her Christmas cakes on the October Bank Holiday weekend.   Baking early allowed the cakes time to age, mature and allowed the alcohol to infuse ensuring that the cakes were nice and moist.  One cake wouldn’t go very far in our household and each year, this year being no different my Mum would bake no less than four Christmas cakes.

In my teenage years Dad would be sent off on the elusive hunt to track down and find the hidden cakes.  Mum used to go to great lengths to ensure that at least one cake would make it to the Christmas season.  We were like blood hounds on the hunt once we got a sniff of fruit cake.  Invariably a cake would always be found, normally in the back of the hot press and Dad would always be encouraged by three devilish daughters to cut into that cake and teatime became an indulgent pleasure.  Truthfully I think mum deliberately let this cake be found so she could see in advance just how it had turned out prior to Christmas, but she never let on.

Like any family our cake recipe has evolved over time taking into account the taste and flavours of the relevant generations.   Mixed peel e.g., in our family is a major No, No right back to my grandmothers time.  So the recipe would always be adjusted with either more cherries or sultana’s being added in place of mixed peel.  In the last year or two ordinary flour has been replaced with spelt to cater for my sisters and I dietary requirements.  An apple is added for extra moisture and as a token of good luck from the harvest and any person within the house at the time of baking got to stir the cake and make a wish.  Then you dare not breathe whilst the cake was in the oven and heaven forbid you drop something and the fruit sank.  Wonderful memories.

Just before Christmas apricot jam is spread upon the cake and covered with a layer of almond paste, marzipan was another No, No in our family.  The cake is then iced with Royal icing or of late mum took too icing with rolled out icing as she could really release her creative instinct for the benefit and joy of her five grand kids.

The alcohol of choice would always be poitín if it could be sourced, normally landing at the house in a 7up bottle or plain glass bottle, however it was transported it always appeared under hushed circumstances as poitín is a boot leg traditional alcoholic beverage in Ireland.  We savoured these cakes the most as the flavour was mouth-watering.  Traditionally and legally above board whiskey is used in most Irish Christmas Cakes today.  In our house however, when poitín wasn’t available or able to be sourced brandy became the tipple of fancy used as substitute.

My mum sadly and unexpectedly passed away recently and at her funeral a few days ago I was fortunate to meet people who shared her life and joy of baking.  She promised her Christmas cake recipe to a few but regrettably passed away before she could deliver on her promise.  In honour of her memory and delivering upon her promise I am sharing our family recipe with you.  Please enjoy as you create and stir memories of your own.

MY FAMILY CHRISTMAS CAKE RECIPE – 10” Square Tin

Ingredients:

16 ozs    Butter

16 ozs    Brown Sugar

9              Eggs

18 ozs    Flour (Spelt)

1 tsp      Mixed spice

5 Tbsp   Brandy (or if you know someone who knows someone – a small drop of poitín)

2 pkts    Sultana’s

1 pkt      Raisin’s

6 ozs      Cherries

4 ozs      Ground almonds

4 ozs      Mixed Peel (we substitute cherries or sultana’s here)

1 ½         Cooking apples

Place all the fruit and alcohol in a bowl and leave for a couple of days or overnight to soak up the alcohol.  Add all the other ingredients and mix well, don’t forget to make you’re wish.  Bake the cake in a fan oven at 150C for 3-4 hours.

Healthy Power Flapjacks

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What type of cook are you?  Are you the kind who gets a recipe and follows it to the literal ounce? Or perhaps the type that doesn’t bother with measurements and it’s a case of a fist of this and a pinch of that? Or are you my type?  The type that finds a recipe which has been proven to stand the test of time and taste, it works perfectly!  Right up to the point when my creative mind begins to unfold and begins to wonder what if……  What if there was an extra pinch of cinnamon?  a couple of sultana’s or more truthfully a couple of fists full… Suddenly the tried and trusted recipe looks nothing like its original form.  There have been successes, there have been flops but there also have been brilliant devious discoveries e.g. the chocolate brownies last longer if sultanas are accidentally added to the mix! Oops!

What I love about the following recipe is it works even if tampering of a proven recipe happens.  I also love that there is no butter and no sugar added and all you do is throw everything into the one pot and mix.  This is one of those recipes where you can break the rules and let your imagination and taste buds just run riot.

Basic Recipe

3 mashed bananas (ripe – medium sized)

1 large cooking apple stewed

2 cups of organic oats

¼ cup of almond milk or coconut milk

½ cup raisins

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 tsp cinnamon

 

Choose from the Optional list or use them all!

¼ cup of dates

¼ cup of figs

¼ cup of prunes

¼ cup of goji berries

¼ cup of sultana’s

¼ cup of walnuts

¼ cup of cashew nuts

¼ pine nuts

Desiccated coconut

 

Note:

I increase the milk quantity and I would use large bananas when adapting the recipe to include the optional extras.

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes at 350 in a greased brownie tin.  Take out of oven, sprinkle with some desiccated coconut and allow to cool.

Shanti Comforts

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This is a chocoholic’s dream recipe and offers “balance” to healthy living.   It is the equivalent of a personal hug offering indulgent cocoa comfort just when you may need it the most.

I have tried this recipe using different brands of ingredients but I have found that by using “Green and Black”, organic products and spelt flour the sensual experience on your taste buds is just orgasmic and worth every cent of the indulgence.

Preparation Time:                  10 minutes                                                

Cook Time:                              30 minutes

Oven Temperature:               180 degrees

Settling Time:                         Leave stand for at least 10 minutes to cool

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 250gms butter
  • ¾ cup cocoa (Green & Black Organic)
  • 1 ½ cups of white spelt flour
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 4 organic eggs
  • 1 family block of chocolate (cut into chunks) I have used Green & Black Organic Dark Chocolate
  • 1 pullet of raspberries (added to the mixture just before placing into the oven)
  • ¼ cup of sultana’s (optional)
  • ¼ cup of ground almonds (optional)

 

Method:

  1. Melt butter
  2. Beat in the eggs, sugar and vanilla essence.  BEAT WELL
  3. Add all the dry ingredients including the chopped up chunks of chocolate
  4. Place in a lined sponge roll tin or similar small tin
  5. Gently place the raspberries haphazardly through the top of the mixture and bake for 25 – 30 minutes approximately
  6. When cool cut into squares and dust with icing sugar, sit back and enjoy every finger licking second.

 Om shanti

Irish Brown Bread

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This is a simple recipe and is a great accompaniment to soup.   It is quick, easy to make and I love it as everything goes into one pot and is mixed all in one!   I personally love it served with lashings of real Irish butter and is especially delicious served warm.

PS!!    This is a recipe you can fiddle with e.g. if you don’t like linseed’s you can substitute pumpkin seeds instead. Raisins, sultana’s,  goji berries, apricots or dates can also be added if you wish to turn this into a healthy sweet bread.

Oven Temperature:      200 o                                                                  

Baking Tin:   2lb Loaf Tin and liner                      

 

Ingredients:

1lb of brown spelt flour

1 tablespoon of chia seeds

2 tablespoons of linseed’s

16 fl. ozs of Buttermilk.

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of bread soda

1 egg

1 tablespoon of molasses (optional)

1 and half tablespoons of Irish Rapeseed oil (or you can substitute olive oil instead).

Method:

Place all the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and gently mix together.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and then add in the buttermilk, egg and oil.  Mix all ingredients together and then pour into a lined or well oiled 2 lb loaf tin.  Bake for approximately 1 hour until golden brown.   Remove from tin and wrap in a clean tea towel and leave to cool on wire tray.

Enjoy!!

Leek and Potato Soup

Leek & Potato SoupThis is a favourite in our house. It is quick, tasty and a great warmer for those cold winter days. I personally love it served with homemade brown spelt bread with lashings of real Irish butter.

PS!! Just in case you get distracted some day and you “forget” to put in the potatoes, just blend all the other ingredients together, trust me, it tastes equally scrumptious!!

Ingredients:
3 Leeks
2 Celery
1 Onion
1lb of potatoes thinly sliced.
I litre of Water
3 jelly stock cubes (2 chicken & 1 veg)
1 cup of milk
1oz of butter & 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Pinch of red and black pepper.

Method:
Sautee the leeks, onion and celery in butter and oil for approximately 20 minutes.
Add the potatoes, water and jelly stock cubes, bring to boil and them simmer until the potatoes dissolve. Next add a cup of milk, blend all the ingredients together and serve.

I love serving mine with a dollop of fresh cream and croutons.

Enjoy!!!