An interesting sensation is craving something you’ve never tried before. Imagine, you’ve never baked nor eaten something but suddenly, out of nothing start to feel an urgent need to eat this particular something. That’s exactly what happened to me a few weeks ago.
Believe it or not, I had never made banana bread before. Although banana bread was somehow familiar to me (due to several food blogs), it never occured to me to bake some myself – until this aforementioned moment when I suddenly craved a sweet, freshly baked, preferably still warm slice of banana bread. With walnuts. And the heartyness of whole grain flour.
So that’s what I baked. And the result was perfect – comforting, yummy feel-good food. Exactly what I needed right now between getting up early in the morning, going to work, trying to concentrate during lectures in the afternoon and trying not to fall asleep while studying in the evening. I adapted Elise’s banana bread recipe from 17andbaking.com (one of my all-time favourite food blogs, by the way :)), substituted the flour with whole grain flour and used brown sugar. The result didn’t even last for one evening – my friends seemed to like it – so I had to bake another loaf for taking pictures.
| Whole Grain Banana Bread
makes one loaf
4 ripe bananas*
1/3 cup butter**, melted
a little more butter for buttering the loaf pan
1/2 cup brown sugar*
1 egg**, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract*
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups whole grain flour
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
** I prefer organic eggs and butter
It’s summer break – that means I should be using the free time for studying every day as I’ll still have to pass a bunch of exams at the end of the semester break. But with the lots of sunshine everyday, it’s pretty hard to stay inside and stick to the books all the time. The comfortable temperatures and bright light motivate me to do so many things – baking for example.
Recently it happens pretty often that I feel the urge to bake something for breakfast when getting up in the morning. Especially at the times when my boyfriend is visiting me, I want him to wake up to a delicious scent of something freshly baked. So now and then I just take the time, decide to delay studying, and cook or bake some of the following seven homemade-breakfast ideas.
Croissants. I tried making croissants twice until now, following Julia Child’s recipe. Making the puff pastry takes a while so you better start making the batter a day ahead.
Scones. Something more quickly baked is scones. Perfect for breakfast baking, as you can use whatever you have at hand for the filling. My batter included almonds, walnuts, chocolate chips and caramel fudge chunks. Pretty sweet but as already mentioned, that’s variable depending on your pantry and taste
Pancakes. These beautiful pancakes were made by a friend of mine. I don’t remember exactly how she made them, but I always use Jamie Oliver’s super simple recipe – 1 cup each of flour and milk + 1 egg + 1 tsp baking powder. Mix, bake, add toppings of your choice (blueberry sauce & raspberries, for example). The batter can be varied as desired – my version of apple pancakes is modified with cinnamon, for example.
Crepes. The dough recipe I’m always making calls for 500ml milk, 2 eggs, 160g flour, 1 tbsp. vegetable oil, a pinch of salt and 2-3 tbsps. sugar. Make the batter the evening before, chill overnight and bake them crepes freshly in the morning. My boyfriend loves his crepes spread with nutella, I prefer mine with a red currant & vanilla jam filling.
Savory fried eggs. Originally this isn’t my recipe – a friend made these fried eggs for me several times before he moved away, and now I’m making this dish for friends from time to time. It’s the perfect hearty breakfast after a long night out – simply bake a few eggs (I usually use about 5 eggs for 2-3 servings) in a frying pan, top with chopped tomatoes, chives or basil, maybe some olives and cheese (I prefer feta cheese) & season with salt and pepper.
Cinnamon bread. A recipe I found in a baking magazine some time ago: yeast dough, rolled out, spread with butter, sprinkled with sugar & cinnamon, cut into squares, stacked into a loaf pan and baked to become some caramelized yummy sweet goodness.
Fruits & yogurt. My standard breakfast does not really include cooking or baking but it’s good nevertheless and always a great start into a productive day: fruit salad with quark or yogurt and nuts, sometimes plus granola. Above is one of my favorite combinations: banana, grapes, blueberries and walnuts.
What’s your favorite breakfast?
A belated happy new year to you guys, hope you had a great start into 2013! I started my new year having champagne with my family at 12 and then went to Roppongi, where I had a fabulous new year’s eve with friends. Roppongi – that’s right, I’m in Japan again and of course, I also took a loooot of pictures during the past week and I want to share a few with you in another Sunday’s Seven post today!
There’s something about starbucks seasonal drinks that always makes me want to try all of them – a while ago I had apple crumble latte and I’m still eager to try pumpkin spice as soon as I get the opportunity. Today, I had this Chocolate Brownie Mocha here in Tokyo. It was a cafe mocha with whipped cream, caramel sauce and brownie crumbles on top – yum!
Due to new-year-celebration-related family-meetings I had the chance to meet my japanese step-grandmother (from who I got the recipe for pumpkin pudding, remember? :)) for the first time. This time, she let me try some of her home made kuri kinton (a kind of sweet chestnuts paste, on the left) and mame kinton (a sweet paste consisting of beans, on the right) – both really delicious. She also told me how to make these – hope I can find some time to try it out soon!
The obligatory sushi. On another new-year-related family gathering I got to eat at Momotaro in Komazawa, Tokyo once again. The photo shows Anago sushi but I also had Amaebi, Negitoro, Hirame and a few others and everything was delicious, as always.
Ryukyu – an Oita specialty (Oita is a prefecture on one of the southern japanese islands). It’s sashimi (=raw fish) marinated in a sauce of soy sauce, sake, mirin, chopped leeks (or chives?) and sesame. My dad made this for me a few days ago, he chose buri (japanese amberjack), which is in season at the moment, as sashimi and it tasted just great!
A snapshot of the bakery showcase of Dean & Deluca in Shinjuku. Love the way how muffins, scones and cakes are presented – it looks so beautiful & yummy!
Matcha Cruller Donut at Krispy Kreme in Shibuya. It tasted good, I liked that this was not overly sweet although glazed with white chocolate, but “the original” donut (a simple, sugar-glazed Krispy Kreme donut) is still better!
I love the small details of japanese patisserie, like this tiny wooden Tour d’Eiffel (or Tokyo tower?) which is meant to help taking the cookies out of their small separate sections in the cookie box.
A new café, run by students, opened up in my town. It’s not just a café, rather supposed to be a place for hanging out, being creative, meeting people, and having some coffee and cake. About two weeks ago, a friend of mine posted about the opening of this café called Kü-Ché (“küche” means kitchen in german) on facebook, that he was in his way to get there, so I decided to grab my camera and join him last minute.
And this was one of these wonderful spontaneous decisions, of which you are really glad afterwards that you came to them, and of which you think that you would’ve missed a lot otherwise. I had a really great time at the Kü-Ché talking to a lot of interesting people and having cake and cappuccino with soy milk. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to try every cake, but the ones I had a piece of – the pumpkin cheese cake and lebkuchen (chocolate-covered gingerbread cake) – were definitely yummy!
The café itself is a pretty cosy place, a dimly lit room with several sofas and rustical-style interior. The furniture seems to be mostly vintage and maybe a little cobbled together, which underlines the comfortable ambience. It’s a place I had been missing in my town until now, a living room-style café for getting to know different people while indulging in some home-baked treats. They offer a different choice of vegan and non-vegan cakes & snacks on monday, tuesday, thursday and friday afternoons. You can even bring your own baked goods – a thing I’ll definitely do sometime in near future
Fall is here. The time for snuggling up in cozy woolen pullovers, enjoying the last few warm days of the year with golden sunlight, time for cooking hot stews and of course for lots of pumpkin!
Semester has started, but fortunately I’m not that busy with studying yet so I still have time for cooking and baking with that lot of pumpkin. My new flat is fine, I have a lot of space in my room, much light because of the big windows, and a great kitchen. I share the flat with three guys, all really friendly and of which one loves cooking as well! In fact, it was him who said that he wasn’t such a huge fan of pumpkin dishes, and ended up telling me about how surprisingly good this pumpkin pudding I recently made tasted.
Pumpkin pudding was my first choice of seasonal pumpkin dishes to make this year. It’s a recipe my japanese step-grandmother send me a few months ago, and I just had to try it out. As I didn’t have a pan inset for steaming the pumpkin on hand, I simply baked the pumpkin (cut it in halves, remove the seeds, put cut side down into a baking pan, cover with aluminium foil and bake for about 1h or until soft at 180 degrees C/350 degrees F), but you could also use canned pumpkin.
| Pumpkin pudding with cinnamon whipped cream
makes 2 18cm/7-inch puddings
500g steamed/baked pumkin, peeled and mashed (or 500g canned pumpkin, see note above!)
80g + 5 tbsps granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 pinches ground cinnamon
a little butter
for the cinnamon whipped cream: