Thursday, May 24, 2012

Banana and chocolate chip muffins

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
― John Muir

I like to think of the beginning of Winter as a time to shed any worries or cares; to strip myself bare and rekindle the flame of my inner being.

It is during this season that I feel the need to simplify and declutter my life. It seems even more important to me now that I have a child, to show them what life truly is; the love of yourself and others, the Earth that nourishes and sustains us and buckets of laughter and fun. If you have shelter from the storm, food in your belly and the company of loved ones there is nothing else to need. It is so easy in our world to get caught up in the trivial and to bury ourselves in the material that we lose touch with nature and who we are at heart. I would like to teach my daughter to be present, to love genuinely, and to remember what truly matters...

So I spend these last Autumn moments frolicking in every ounce of sunshine I can, catching as many falling leaves as I can and relishing as much of its last bounty as I can.

These muffins came about due to some languishing bananas, and as I never wish to have any food go to waste (any produce we don't eat, my father's chickens do and boy do they leave nary a morsel behind). Funnily enough, it is often the unplanned recipes that turn out best :)

What things do you like to do before Winter begins?

ease: 5/5.
prep time: 8mins.
cooking time: 25mins.
total: 33mins.

taste: 4/5. Childishly grand.

These muffins remind me of childhood lunches with sticky fingers, crumb dotted mouths and high pitched squeals of joy.

The muffins are wonderfully moist with pockets of sweet banana and patches of dark, melted chocolate. They are quite sweet despite the fact that I did reduce the amount of sugar by 1/3cup although I did add a little more banana, the sweeter your bananas the less sugar you need.

They might seem rather ordinary, but I add three of these straight from the pan.

would I make them again: Yes.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Baked french toast with blueberries

“One must maintain a little bittle of summer, even in the middle of winter.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 A pressed palm, the size of a round plum, pushes against the window pane as rivulets of raindrops run down its face towards the burgundy bricks below. Thousands of water droplets fall from slate-smudged clouds all morning, sometimes in dribbles and sometimes in torrents so relentless you cannot distinguish one liquid bead from another.
As much as my little one longs to feel the stalks of grass between her fingers and the wind to blow upon the nape of her neck, we stay huddled inside our nest until the clouds have their intermission, allowing silvery threads of sunlight to pass between their lumpy forms and the dewdrops to settle on the earth.

It is in these moments we snuggle into our warmest woolens and tallest shoes to splash around in the puddles and allow the crispy air to redden our cheeks and enliven our senses.
Little V has almost learned to walk, at 8 months of age she holds on to the nearest form of support and wobbles her way to wherever she desires to go. Although she cannot walk alone she is thrilled with this tidbit of extra mobility and loves to hold onto the weathered trunks of trees as she feels the texture of the bark or the slippery surface of a nearby leaf. It was also during a wintry-slumber that her first tooth peaked out from beneath her rosy gums, although she still seeks her nourishment from breast alone, I'm sure once she begins to enjoy the bounty nature has in store for her, it will come in handy.

Once the thunder rumbles and we feel the air begin to moisten, we scurry indoors, shedding our extra layers to play inside whilst I read aloud as the rain once again drums against the window's face.

What do you like to do most on a rainy day?

ease: 4.5/5.
prep time: 15mins plus overnight to soak if you wish.
cooking time: 45mins.
total: 1 hour (plus overnight if you wish to leave it in the fridge).

taste: 4/5. Tart, sweet and wonderfully hearty.

I chose this recipe to use up some left over challah bread, and boy was I glad I found it. Most mornings I rarely have time to make anything other than toast as standing over the stove is still something I cannot do with the little one now she is too heavy to hold one handed (she only likes her slings and carriers if we are on the move, standing still she hates the restriction). After reading the reviews I saw that I could prep this the night before (whilst hubby plays with baby) and then just pop it in the oven in the morning - hurrah!

Whilst hubby didn't enjoy it much (he hates anything resembling custard at all), I loved it, I even ate it for my lunch and dessert as well. On top you get a deliciously sugar crusted topping with smatterings of blistered and juicy blueberries. Beneath lies an almost custard-like base oozing with sweet cinnamon-spiked blueberry syrup.

I listened to the reviews of others and heavily modified the quantities in the recipe.

would I make it again: Yes, anything that I can prep overnight for a sumptuous breakfast the next morning is fantastic in my book.