Phoenix Fights

Fighting the FEAR, depression and BDP on a daily basis AND making my own bread. Bring it on 2016….


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BANANA DATE & WALNUT SCONES

Yes, I have more bananas……

Me and fruit eh? I buy it with the very best intentions but invariably it ends up festering in the bowl, and I end up googling like a mofo trying to find a way to use it up.

Today, the items on the brink of decomposition (yum) in question are:

2 speckled bananas

A quarter of a pot of low fat goats milk yoghurt

Around 3oz porridge i.e. not enough for breakfast

So I had a little mooch on the internet and found this recipe http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-banana-bread-scones-wit-155500 so decided to do a version of it.

Can I share one tip before we start and not just for today?

Always read the full recipe first.

In this instance, I didn’t.  Scones were the first things I ever made at school, and I frequently knock out a batch if friends are coming around, so assumed that this would just be a banana version of the standard fruit or cheese recipe.

But this version is a little different.

On the plus side, it’s in cups, and gives me the opportunity to use my nifty set of baby blue Nigella cups that have been languishing in my cupboard for the last decade :-).

Anyway, let’s get on with it.

INGREDIENTS

2 ripe bananas

2-4 tablespoons milk

1/2 cup (4oz) plain yoghurt

10oz wholemeal SR flour

3oz porridge oats

4 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder (shouldn’t need more as you are already using SR flour)

2oz butter

1/2 cup (about 3oz) chopped walnuts

8 ready to eat dates, chopped

Teaspoon vanilla essence

1/2 teaspoon mixed spice

A couple of teaspoons of demerara sugar

Pinch salt

(As you can see, I’ve replace regular flour with wholemeal and oats in an attempt to come up with a healthier version (post gorging on too much banana loaf), plus I’ve added some dates as traditionally you have to have some kind of dried fruit in a sweet scone in the UK. It’s the law ;-))

METHOD

1. Mash the bananas, put in that cup measure from Amerikee then top up with milk till full. Mix this in with the yoghurt and stir.  I added the cup of milk/banana to the yoghurt carton to save washing up.  It ends up thick, whitish and lumpy and looks like this:

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(it kind of resembles, well I won’t elaborate but suffice to say, I wouldn’t swallow it under normal circumstances.  It also seems like an awful lot of liquid.  Hmm.  Added a bit of vanilla essence and stir.  It looks a bit better.  Put it in fridge whilst you do the next bit.)

2. Mix the flour, salt, mixed spice and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the butter, cut into cubes then rub into flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.

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3. Add the sugar, dates, nuts and combine, then pour in lumpy white stuff and work in with a palate knife until a firm dough.

(Scratch the above.  It’s not firm, it’s pretty wet.  It actually looks like something from the Quatermass experiment.  I have to go and count my cats and make sure it didn’t ‘absorb’ them when I wasn’t looking.)

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(see the resemblance?)

4. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper, upend the glop onto it, flatten into a circle then cover it with more paper and freeze for 30 minutes.

(This is a new one on me.  These are scones Jim but not as we know ‘em.  I’m torn.  Do I play along or add more flour and stiffen it up and cook in the usual way?  Then it occurs to me, this is perfect because what you can do here is bake to order, i.e. cut off what you want to eat today then keep the others in reserve for a rainy day :-)!)

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5. Go into the sitting room and fret a bit.

6. After about 20 minutes, pre set your over to Gas Mark 6 400 F, then 10 minutes later, take the thing out of the freezer. It’s still pretty sticky, so score it into 8 triangular scones and carefully transfer as many as you want to eat that day onto a greased baking tray, sprinkle with a little demerara sugar then put in the oven for around 20-30 minutes.

(You might want to cook them all at once but I baked two by way of experiment)

7. Return the remaining scone to the freezer, (after making sure it hasn’t eaten your ice cube tray or oven chips) return to the freezer, leave until firmer then cut into individual scones to bake at a later date.

Then around 25 minutes later, take out of the oven and viola! This is how they turned out!  They don’t have the consistency or taste of traditional scones but are utterly delish!

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Two are just enough for tea for me, and there are more in the freezer for the next time I need a little sumthin’ sumthin’.  Bargain!

In the original recipe you will find a recipe for glaze that sounds yummy which you may want to try, but we don’t ice scones here in the UK.

Buns yes, doughnuts yes, scones no.  Far too unhealthy.

No we just split them open and smear each side with butter ;-).

Thanks for the original recipe Emma!

Enjoy!


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THE WHITE WITCH OF WEST DULWICH

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We in the UK are apparently in the midst of what is being dubbed as a ‘Siberian Spring’ and have at least a week of snow ahead of us.

Outside the snowflakes that are swirling in the wind are tiny, but they seem persistent and set in for the day, so I estimate that by tomorrow morning, we should be looking out at a blanket of snow on the ground.

There is even talk of a white Easter and everyone is up in arms, bemoaning Britain and it’s shitty, unpredictable weather.

Not I.

This to me is perfect writing weather.  It’s snug in here; the fire is crackling, the radio is chattering away merrily, cats are dozing on cushions, and there are two ripe bananas in the fruit bowl which have Banana Bread written all over them.

Whilst my fellow Londoners are hanging out for a bit of warmth and sunshine, I say, Let It Snow, Let It Show, Let It Snow!

Ironically I hate being cold, but if you dress correctly and have a warm home to come back to, the most you will suffer is a chilled face and ice cold nose, and the blast of warm air when you open your front door is delightfully welcoming.  Unless you are a bit of parsimonious with your heating of course, in which case I wouldn’t visit you anyway ;-).

If I could be the White Witch of West Dulwich, I would make it so the snow would fall, lay (instead of staying for 24 hours then melting) and set in for a good month without turning to slush so that we could enjoy it properly instead of having to trudge around in wet, grey sleet once a month or so, because despite all of the moaning, people are usually bright and cheerful when out in the White Stuff.  They even smile and say ‘Hi!’ in here London, can you imagine?!  They don’t even do that in the Summer, so that says a lot I think. Kids and dogs love playing in it, and Dads love taking them out sledging and late at night, when everyone is in bed, even the roughest neighbourhood looks like something from a fairy story.

And of course it’s the perfect excuse to make love infused, heartwarming comfort food like casseroles, pies and puddings that stick to the ribs and fill a kitchen with warmth and good smells and a body with an even warmer heart.

Unlike Jadis the White Witch of Narnia, I would of course allow and revel in Christmas.  There wouldn’t be police brutality because all of the human animals (a lot of ’em around these parts) would have to behave themselves and get along.  There would be turkish delight for whoever wants it (Belgium chocolate enrobed naturally) and I would wish, welcome and long for the arrival of Aslan like everyone else.

There are, however, a couple of eensie weensie things I’d like to retain from the original Snow Queen.  Her looks for a start; perhaps also her height and her outfits are a-maz-ing!  That chariot also would be essential for snowy weather, and to have wolves as servants would be kind of cool?

Finally, the power to turn certain people to stone would be essential, how else could I protect my people?  😉

Then after at least a month (actually make it two), I would allow Spring to return, bid farewell to my subjects and go hide somewhere lest my pallid skin burn in the sunshine. It would get far too hot for my wolves anyway.

Back in the boring real world, I have no magic, this is still London, and I’d better get my pale, skinny white ass moving and get on with my aims and resolutions before the entire year is lost in a daydream.

In the meantime, Aslan, if you are listening and there is a job for a new White Witch going in Narnia, I’m strong, can be appear imperious, have survived several wars to date and am fair, just, kind and compassionate so would be perfect for the role.  And it goes without saying, I love animals!

I’ve just updated my CV, so if you can let me have your address (or send an eagle or something) I’ll have it ready for your perusal.

And if none of this impresses you, let’s face it, I couldn’t be as bad as the last one could I?