12 Weeks Of Christmas | Week 12: Baked Figs

20141223_165052I’ve baked with figs before, but that was in a galette, and there was a heady dose of frangipane, and that outshone the figs.

Baked fruit makes for a simple and nourishing dessert, especially if you’ve had one chocolate cake too many. This recipe is inspired by Purple Foodie’s baked figs with goat cheese, except that I kept it unadorned- just plain figs with some rosemary, honey and a squeeze of lime.

Ever since I baked Nigella Lawson’s rosemary loaf cake, I’ve been a fan of using the woody herb in desserts. The figs pair well with the rosemary honey, and the lime adds a little sharpness. The cuts I made on the figs ran a little too deep, which is why they are pictured here, arms outstretched. Just remember to slit them about halfway through, especially since there is no stuffing!

There is no recipe as such: just slit the figs halfway through, drizzle liberally with honey (or use a scant amount, if you prefer,) sprinkle some fresh or dried rosemary over the top and add a squeeze of lime. Bake in an oven preheated to 180 C for 10-12 minutes. Serve with whipped cream, ice cream or as is.

Advertisements

12 Weeks Of Christmas | Week 11: Spiced Banana Bread

Banana Bread

Banana bread is a favourite with me. Since I don’t have access to raspberries and blueberries and nice berries in general, banana bread is my standard fruit cake. The Joy Of Baking recipe was my go-to for a long time, until I was initiated into the world of brown butter via Melissa Clark’s blondie recipe.

This one comes from Joy The Baker, and it’s called brown butter banana bread. I like it because it doesn’t require creaming butter, just folding the wet and dry ingredients together. And the brown butter adds a lovely colour and a nutty taste.

I wanted to Christmas it up a little, so I added every possible spice I could- cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger and a hint of cloves. I decided to pack it all in, with a healthy dose of walnuts. And I drizzled some caramel sauce over it too, because aren’t bananas and caramel a gorgeous match?

SPICED BANANA BREAD (Adapted from Joy The Baker.)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup castor sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk ( I used some yogurt thinned with water)
  • 1 1/4 cup mashed banana (about 3 medium bananas)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

METHOD

  • Preheat the oven to to 175 C.
  • Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan and set aside.
  • Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. The butter will start foaming and bubbling.
  • When the foaming and crackling subsides, the butter will begin to go brown.
  • When the butter browns and start to give off a nutty aroma, pull the pan off the heat and set aside to cool.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger powder and clove powder and walnuts.
  • In a separate medium bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Add the mashed bananas and whisk. Then whisk in the cooled brown butter.
  • Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, and add the wet ingredients all at once.
  • Fold everything together till evenly combined and no streaks of flour remain in the batter.
  • Pour batter into greased loaf tin.
  • Bake at 175 C for 40-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  • Cool on a wire rack and unmould.

12 Weeks Of Christmas | Week 7: Orange & Basil Salad

20141120_163814This is another Padma Lakshmi recipe I saved from a magazine. The combination of orange, sharp red onions and the bitter leaves is pretty darn good. The original recipe calls for blood oranges and pepitas, but I substituted regular oranges and sunflower seeds- they add a pleasant crunch. The Christmasy element comes from the cranberries (I used dried,) and we all know that orange+cranberry are a happy combination.

Here are 3 reasons why you should make this salad:

  • It’s quick;
  • It’s uncomplicated;
  • The oranges make it more fun to eat.

Now I tried really hard to peel and segment the oranges the way chefs do on TV- but I ended up slicing away a good portion of the fruit along with the skin. So the oranges aren’t half-moon shaped, but it was ok, since I was the only one eating it!

Either way, here’s a little tutorial I found.

The original recipe can be found on Popsugar Food.