I am not normally a banana fan but while in Maui in September I discovered Grandma Brady’s banana bread. It was the perfect combination of flavours and wasn’t overtly sweet meaning it could be eaten any time of day. I was so taken with it that I whipped up some banana bread on my return to California. I added walnuts to give it a little bit of a crunchy texture but it would taste equally delicious with the addition of pecans and if your preference is something a little sweeter add a sprinkling of dark chocolate chips. It could also be taken as a hostess gift wrapped with some brown paper and festive twine for hosts to enjoy the day after.
I am not a particularly big fan of bananas, while I don’t dislike them I rarely eat them but I do remember that during university I ate one every morning with weetabix as I had read that they enhanced brain power. This week a friend was eating one before we worked out to help ease muscle cramps and it got me thinking about the many benefits to eating bananas. They contain Vitamin B9 and the amino acid tryptophan which are both said to be mood enhancing and bananas have also been found to aid digestion.
As a treat for my friend I decided to bake them some banana bread using this recipe which includes swirls of nutella. There is something about loaf cake that I find very comforting and although the days have been warm and sunny, the darker evenings have called for some warm treats.
My sister is a vegetarian so I love stealing simple dinner ideas from her and when I was home in September she whipped up a quick supper for us that was easy I have been replicating it ever since. I like to vary the topping but I always start with a puff pastry base spread with pesto, over which I sprinkle grated mozzarella or cheddar cheese and then laden on a variety of vegetables before topping with shredded basil. I then pop it into a preheated oven at 375°C for about 20 mins or until the edges have browned and the vegetables have roasted. The combination of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil puts an interesting twist on the traditional caprese salad and it is the perfect dish for the warm late summer days that we have been having this week in San Francisco.
There’s something I miss about the seasonal weather of the UK or New England, while the winter often seemed long and tiresome the reward of summer was always on the horizon. When summer berries hit the shops and Wimbledon started it was a clear sign that summer had arrived, along with the long evenings and warmer (although albeit sometimes rainy) weather and everyone seemed to a bit of a pep in their step. The best weather in San Francisco falls between September and November meaning July and August don’t hold that same summery feeling, so to recreate a taste of summer I decided to make these shortbread strawberry rounds. The combination of strawberries, cream and shortbread has a distinctly quintessentially British feel and reminded of summers back home.
I have been trying to extend my repertoire of brunch recipes for weekend mornings when we’re trying to get jobs done around the apartment, or if we’re just enjoying a lazy morning at home. These Baked Egg Baskets have already been added to the list and this weekend I came across another great breakfast recipe, Baked Brunch. I love when breakfast dishes are baked as they are normally simple to assemble and just need to be popped in the oven, leaving you 20 mins or so to get on with other things. This recipe definitely fell into that category, the only hands on step involved mixing the eggs and milk, the rest just needed to be layered together in a dish. As I was making it for The American I used bacon and chicken sausage (which the recipe called for) but they could easily be substituted with vegetables or vegetarian sausages.