Food! Double Take – Macaroni & Cheese and Banana Bread

I’m afraid I rather cheated on my new challenge to cook ‘proper food’ this week at Knit Night and used a rather unimaginative combination of sauce from a jar and pasta – but there weren’t any complaints so I think I was forgiven.

I decided on Macaroni and Cheese as I swore I had a bag of macaroni in my cupboard – well I’m really glad I bought extra pasta when I got salad, as the bag is nowhere to be found!

Very simple, I just par-boiled (about 8 minutes as opposed to the instructed 10) pasta, bunged it into the dish, mixed in the sauce (Dolmio Pasta Bake Sauce for Macaroni and Cheese), sliced some mozzarella on top, filled in the gaps with cheddar, then topped with sliced tomatoes and breadcrumbs (bought ready-made too :~/ )

Served up with a basic salad (optional olive oil or balsamic vinegar dressing) and mini garlic baguettes.

It looked pretty though :~)

macaroni and cheese

Today I decided to use up some of my excess nervous energy (which I can’t seem to convert into actually useful physical or mental energy at the moment) and make some banana bread. I’ve tested this a few times on housemates and work colleagues, and it’s always gone down well.

I can’t remember where I got the recipe from – somewhere online, but I’ve put my notes alongside.

Ingredients:

banana bread ingredients

100g Butter (I used good old stork)

175g Sugar (I used the equivalent of about 140g Golden Caster Sugar)

2 Eggs (Beaten)

2 Bananas – mashed (If you leave some lumps, they taste lovely but look a bit weird as they turn a pinkypurpley colour)

225g Self Raising Flour

1tsp Baking Powder

2tbsp Milk (I use Lactofree milk as I’m lactose intolerant)

Method:

Preheat your oven to a medium heat – the recipe says 180c/gas mark 4. (The temperature control on my oven isn’t particularly accurate, so I aim for around the middle.)

Beat all the ingredients together: I heat the butter (for about 20 seconds in the microwave), then add the sugar and cream them together till they’re a nice soft colour.

Mix in the Flour and Baking Powder(I tend to use a figure of eight and folding method, as I think it mixes them better!)

Add and mix in the Eggs and Milk (I’m always a little generous with the milk, probably adding another 25%)

Add the Bananas (Try to make sure they’re fairly even mixed in. This time I blended the Bananas  first to avoid lumps)

banana squish

Pour mixture into a tin (I always line with greaseproof paper) and sprinkle some brown sugar on the top if you’d like (adds a nice crunch to the top – I forgot!)

bread to go in oven

Bake for an hour, or until a knife (or other poking implement of your choice) comes out clean and the top is nice and brown.

fresh out the oven top

Leave to cool for as long as you can and enjoy!

(I usually bake a double batch, which takes about and hour and a half in my oven)

fresh out the oven angle

fresh out the oven bottom

fresh out of oven split open

A visit to a Toft Alpaca Open Day a few months ago prompted my experiments with Banana Bread again – me and J had a fabulous concoction from the Morning Glory Bus that was toasted Banana Bread with Chocolate Spread (or Peanut Butter – bleurgh!), nuts and mascarpone – it was just fabulous!

Obviously I had to taste test a bit…so I added a smidge of chocolate spread…omnomnom…

banana bread stack with chocolate spread

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