Mango Banana Bread (vegan)

Let’s face it, British supermarkets don’t exactly do fresh fruit very well.  Apart from maybe blueberries.

Strawberries are green and peaches go straight from tasteless-and-rock-hard to mushy-and-still-tasteless. Which is annoying but quite fascinating, and triggered many discussions at work this summer.

One thing British supermarkets do reasonably well though: mangoes. When I see them, I usually pick up a couple and figure out later what to do with them. This time, Joy the Baker gave the idea of a vegan Mango Banana Bread.

If you’re not a vegan, calm down. All it means is there are no eggs or milk, which is very handy since I never have milk in the fridge or the required amount of eggs in the box. It’s also perfect for using up that last banana about to die on the counter.

The recipe is also very forgiving; I ran out of plain flour and used 1/4 c self-raising flour and 3/4 c wholemeal bread flour with a bit of baking powder. The resulting bread didn’t look as fancy smooth as the original, but the nutty, hearty flavour was more-ish and balanced the sweetness of the fresh mango and banana.  I omitted the brown sugar topping as the batter tasted sweet enough, and also added a pinch of nutmeg. Because it’s good.

PS: the bread was polished off in one morning at work. Success.

Recipe (adapted from this recipe)

makes one 9×5-inch loaf

3 medium or 2 large ripe bananas

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups wholemeal flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 ripe mango, sliced into chunks

granulated sugar for topping (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Lightly grease and flour a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas well. Add the sugar, oil, and vanilla extract, and whisk briskly to incorporate.

Sift in the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. Use a wooden spoon to mix until the wet and dry ingredients are just combined.  Fold in mango chunks.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and sprinkle with extra sugar if you’d like.  Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. The top should be lightly browned and a knife inserted through the center should come out clean, or with just a few crumbs.

Remove from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes before transferring out of a pan and onto a wire rack to cool completely.

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Potato and Cauliflower Curry

I used to hate cauliflower as a kid. Hate the thing. Whenever presented with a portion of cauliflower gratin, I’d eat the cheese first, stop breathing-quickly eat all the cauliflower-wash it down with water.

This is the dish that reconciled me with the much-despised beast.

You see, it’s a texture thing: the cauliflower is al dente but the potatoes melt in your mouth.

The fried cumin seeds add a nutty, crunchy element that works really well with the fried bits of cauliflower.

Have I mentioned you only need 2 ingredients and it’s ready in 10-15 mins?

It’s also good with a toasted half-tortilla. What do you mean, not authentic..

 

Recipe (adapted from Complete Indian Cooking)

serves 2

5-6 medium potatoes

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 cauliflower head, cut into small florets

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp garam masala

1/4 tsp turmeric

Peel the potatoes, cut them into cubes and parboil them until tender but not mushy.

Fry the cumin seeds in olive or coconut oil, and when they start popping add the cauliflower. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then add the potatoes and the rest of the spices.

Cook for another 7-10 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with fresh chopped coriander. You can also add a chopped fresh tomato or chopped onion at this stage. If you like your food spicy, fry a chopped chili with the cumin seeds.

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Greens and Pesto Pizza

Yesterday afternoon I texted my friend Liz. “Hey come over tonight, I’m making calzone!” “Sounds great!” she replied.

I was planning hot pockets of crispy dough, oozing tomato sauce and cheese, but my empty fridge made that difficult. I also remembered the last time I tried making calzone, the paper stuck to the dough and almost caught fire in the oven (a  bad case of US vs. UK English: parchment, greaseproof and baking papers are different. Just sayin’.)

So instead I served Liz an Emptying My Fridge Pizza.

Pak choi, mushrooms, onion, garlic, mom-made sundried tomatoes sauteed with fresh thyme, and topped with mozzarella; the dough adapted from this recipe and topped with pesto.

And by ‘adapted’, I mean I ran out of plain flour and used wholemeal strong bread flour. It also wasn’t as crispy as I’d hoped, so it’s worth rolling out the dough really thin.

But if scarfing down a pizza  each is a sign, dinner was a success.

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