Recipe: banana bread with cardamom and chocolate

Sliced banana bread

You may have noticed on my social media that we saw the new year in over in Kerala in India. There is going to be a some more ‘what I did on my holiday’ on here over the coming months, but I am here today to talk about banana bread!

It was a busy holiday – seven stops in 15 days. But absolutely everywhere we went, there was always a slice of banana bread to be had! Either on the breakfast buffet, with tea in the afternoon, or both! So to come home and be bereft of banana bread was a bit of a downer.

I’ve been making banana bread for years. The original recipe was given to me by my friend Nic and I twiddle with it! This time, I decided to add a touch of chocolate and cardamom – both of which were grown on an organic spice farm we visited in Thekkady. But I definitely don’t want it to be a chocolate cake so it is just a hint of cocoa.

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Recipe: maple bacon brownies

AKA the breakfast brownie!

3 chocolate bacon brownies on a plate with forks and napkin

This one is going to have you firmly divided – you will love it or hate it! Andrew rather un-poetically described these maple bacon brownies as meat and chocolate! I, however, think they are something of a sweet and salty sensation. And I have tried them out on a few people and the response has been brilliant!

Bacon is no stranger to having a sweet bedmate – bacon, maple and pancakes are a brunch institute. So adding dark chocolate to the mix and baking into brownies isn’t too much of a leap…is it?

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Recipe: simple orange and rhubarb cake

rhubarb loaf cake

It doesn’t matter how neglected it is (and it is very neglected), my rhubarb crown never fails to deliver.  I have been handing it out to family and friends, and making cake – a rhubarb cake is a wonderful, simple thing.

Rhubarb loaf cake in the sunshine

My rhubarb is super tart which I love, but I appreciate that isn’t to everyone’s taste. So I looked around my kitchen for something to soothe and compliment it. A few wrinkly clementines caught my eye. 

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Recipe: Easter Creme Egg brownies

creme egg brownies on plate /

Ok, so I caved! My social media feed is full of Creme Egg cakes, Creme Egg cookies and Creme Egg brownies, so I couldn’t resist making my own.

A chocolate brownie is a treat. A hand full of mini eggs is a treat. A Creme Egg is a treat. So, my point is, enjoy these brownies in moderation because they are all three! I actually decided to use the small Creme Eggs which come in a bag – partially because I don’t think I could manage a whole one, and also why just put a Creme Egg in when you can add mini eggs as well! Yes, the eggs run deep in this brownie! But you know what, you can use big ones too – why the heck not!

Creme Egg brownie on plate /
The ‘egg white’ melts and then caramelises….
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Afternoon tea at Mamucium, Manchester

Sweet treats on an afternoon tea / Afternoon tea Mamucium Manchester /

There is so much afternoon tea around these day, that I think many places just plop it on the menu and then serve up some sub-standard cake and curly sandwiches in order to fulfil a need. You won’t read about those places here. I only want to share the good stuff and Mamucium in Manchester is my latest find.

It was actually my sister who suggested we take our teenage nieces to Mamucium – right next door to Manchester Victoria station. I was perplexed as she isn’t one to generally have her finger on the pulse of new foodie openings, but it turns out that she knows a pastry chef there. So all in the name of support (yeah right, like we need an excuse to go and scoff cake!) we trundled off on a gawd awful rainy mid-week jaunt during the school holidays.

Mamucium is actually part of a relatively new hotel called Hotel Indigo. The building was much smaller that I was expecting for a hotel, but it is nice to see that they’ve renovated an existing old one instead of building something new and bland.

Hotel lobby
Quick shot of the lobby as we were walking through…
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Recipe: macaroni cheese

Macaroni cheese /

Ok, so I know that this is the second cheese-related recipe in a row. It’s just that time of year, where everything is made better by some melted cheese. You know that’s true: toasties, crumpets, pasta, pizza, risotto, onion soup… all are perfect bedfellows with cheese. Plus I have never shared a macaroni cheese recipe, so why the heck not!

I love macaroni cheese, but I don’t eat it very often because it is so OTT, even by my greedy standards. All that cheese, butter, full fat milk, pasta….if I made it every week there would be serious trouble. But macaroni cheese is a winner when done well and I hope that you agree that this has been done well. So as an occasional tea it is a real treat.

Macaroni cheese /
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