Thursday, March 15, 2012

Banana and Walnut cake / Sweet Mondays 'stressed is desserts spelled backwards'

We are huge lovers of Banana and Walnut cake. Perfect with a pot of tea on a stormy afternoon! Our recipe is incredibly moist and flavoursome - you will be lured into having another slice...

Banana and Walnut cake

Sift flour and bicarbonate soda

chop up butter and allow to soften

cream the butter and sugar together - quick tip - place over stove and start mixing together. Once soft and easier to mix together, remove from flame and continue to cream until light and fluffy as above.

Add vanilla bean paste and 1 tsp vanilla essence to mixture and mix as above

Beat eggs and add to mixture gradually until combined as below

mash bananas and add to mixture 

chop walnuts and add to mixture and combine as above
add your mixture to flour folding gently to combine as below

Mixture now ready to be poured into tin

Grease tin with butter and line with paper
Pour mixture into tin and place into preheated oven 180 degrees
Bake for 1 hour or until golden and cooked
*check cake is cooked by inserting a skewer into center
if it comes out dry and hot it's ready
Stand for 10 mins then transfer to rack and allow to cool


125g Butter chopped softened butter
(and extra for greasing tin)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup caster sugar
3 ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
100 ml milk
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Chicken Brodo / Stocks and Soups

Our version of an Italian favourite. This dish is constantly simmering on the stove in many Italian homes. It is said that Italian Mothers or Nonnas make this for their children if they have exams, or are feeling unwell or anxious about something. This most certainly is comfort food - light with beautiful flavour. We love cooking this dish especially during Autumn and Winter -  it is, and forever more a tradition in our kitchen and our family when we have children. The great thing about our dish is that you have three dishes in one. From this you can create a chicken stock to be used in any dish that requires stock, chicken brodo with pastina (the best wholesome chicken noodle soup you will ever have), and you can use remaining flavoursome chicken to make delicious sandwiches or add to a pasta. So take the time to cook this and store however you so wish. Stock will last 4-5 days refrigerated or a few months in the freezer (be sure to store in portion sizes). If you make chicken brodo with pastina and chicken, you can refrigerate for up to a few days, or again freeze portions for a few months.

'Our Chicken Brodo'

Roughly chop 1 large or 2 small carrots, 1 large onion, 2 celery stems (including some leaves), 4-6 parsley sprigs. Add ingredients to large stock pot with whole chicken and 2 bay leaves. Fill with cold water to cover ingredients. Bring to boil, remove scum with slotted spoon add salt and pepper, reduce to a simmer for 2 1/2 hours. Make sure water level is always above ingredients - any time you add water, taste and season accordingly. We added water three times and added salt and pepper each time. This works for us.

Once 2 hrs has passed, strain the liquid through colander into a bowl. Remove the chicken and place aside to cool a little. Remove the vegetables and discard. Break away chicken from carcass, remove skin, and slice chicken as above.

 Divide stock liquid - reserve the liquid you want to use as stock by placing portions into storage containers. Allow to cool and then refrigerate or freeze. The liquid you want to use to make chicken brodo with pastina, place back into pot, add your desired amount of pastina (we used pastina and macaroni), and cook until pasta al dente (about 6-8 minutes for 'little' pasta). Once pasta almost done, add some shredded chicken and stir through to warm.

Remember to taste and make sure your dish is seasoned well! You're done, now you can serve.

Any leftover chicken can be used for sandwiches or a sauce with pasta.


1 whole chicken
1 large or 2 small carrots roughly chopped
1 large onion roughly chopped
2 celery stems roughly chopped
a few celery leaves roughly chopped
4-6 parsley stems
2 bay leaves
start off with 1 tbsp sea salt and add more accordingly
start off with 1 large pinch ground black peppercorns
and add more accordingly
cold water to cover ingredients and top up accordingly
pastina pasta as much as you like
*we use about 125g pastina and 125g macaroni