Banana Bread Waffles

Oh, Breakfast, how do I love thee?

I. Love. Breakfast. What not to love? You get to drink copious cups of fresh, steaming coffee. If you are having eggs, then you get to choose how every item on the plate is cooked. You get to have bacon! You get to have either savoury or sweet foods. You get to have pastries. Oh, and did I say bacon? I feel like it deserves more than one mention!

A. and I rarely go out for dinner now. There are many reasons, it's inconvenient with us living in suburbs, it takes a lot of time, it's often not as satisfactory as eating homemade food, it's almost always too salty for our tastes. But we do go out for breakfast! That's one of our favourite things to do. In fact, we love breakfast so much that for our wedding we did not have a traditional dinner reception, instead we had brunch. It was awesome... I don't remember much since I sort of had an out of body experience and blanked out, but people say it was great.

I don't make proper breakfast every weekend, sometimes we have leftovers or just toast and coffee, but I try to make something yummy and delicious or fun at least a couple of times a month.

Here's an example of Fun Face Breakfasts I like to make for my hubby.

Fun Face Breakfasts

This time we had bananas that needed to either be turned into a Banana Bread asap or be thrown out. I hate throwing food away and I did not feel like making a cake, so I thought I'd come up with my own Banana Bread Waffles. They turned out really good. So good, in fact, that I made the same recipe two weeks later and I'm sure it'll be my default waffle recipe along with my Yogurt Pancakes

Banana Bread Waffles - crunchy, soft, sweet and delicious

Banana Bread Waffles

I have a 6-waffle Cuisinart waffle maker and this recipe makes about 18-20 of those smaller size waffles

Bananas, very ripe - 2 large
Eggs - 2 extra large
Plain Greek yogurt - 1/2 cup
Milk - 1/2 cup
Brown sugar - 2 tablespoons (optional)
Orange oil - 1/4 teaspoon
Quick oats - 1/3 cup
Baking powder - 1 1/2 teaspoons
Flour - 1 cup
Salt - a pinch
Oil or melted butter - 2 tablespoons
Pecans, roughly chopped - 1/3 cup
Oil for brushing on the waffle iron
  • In a large bowl, mash bananas with a fork.
  • Add eggs and mix well.
  • Add yogurt, milk and whisk into smooth mixture.
  • Add brown sugar if using.
  • Add orange oil, oats, baking powder, salt, flour and mix until lumpy batter forms and flour is no longer visible. Don't mix to make the batter smooth. It needs to be lumpy.
  • Add oil or melted butter to the batter and mix.
  • Add chopped pecans and mix.
  • Prepare waffle iron and make waffles according to the waffle iron instructions.
Banana Bread Waffles - crunchy, soft, sweet and delicious

Comments

- I added brown sugar first time I made the waffles and forgot to add it the second time. I love eating my waffles with maple syrup, so I didn't miss not adding sugar to the batter at all, especially since they are already sweetened with bananas.

- I already mentioned countless times that I adore Orange Oil. It gives all the baked goods a hint of something elegant and exotic. It's one of my mostly used ingredients in baking and I highly recommend it. It's expensive but it lasts for a long time. If you can't find Orange Oil, then you can add a little bit of orange zest instead.

- You can also add more pecans or omit them. Or, actually, add other kinds of nuts. I feel like almonds would work really well there too.

- I haven't tried it, but I am almost 100% positive that this batter would work really well as pancakes too!

And a few more photos because I thought they turned out so well and I couldn't decide on just two to post.

Banana Bread Waffles - crunchy, soft, sweet and delicious
Banana Bread Waffles - crunchy, soft, sweet and delicious
Banana Bread Waffles - crunchy, soft, sweet and delicious
Banana Bread Waffles - crunchy, soft, sweet and delicious
Posted on August 3, 2015 and filed under Recipe.

Cherry Tomato Tart

It's interesting how certain recipes and photos just seem to speak your name. The photo of this tart is the reason why I subscribed to Ricardo Magazine a year ago. Ok, this is not the only reason, but it's one of them. I already wrote how I used to love that magazine a few years ago and then it was cancelled. Last year when I found out that the magazine is back, I hesitated - now that everything is online, was there even a point in subscribing to a print magazine? Will it be used? Will I like it? Then I saw that they offered an early subscription bonus, an extra issue. There was a photo of this bonus magazine and I fell in love with the picture on the cover. I knew I had to  subscribe just to get my hands on it. 

That recipe just stuck in my mind. So fast forward a year, I went outside a month ago to check my garden and saw that the tomato plants that we planted weren't just regular tomato, they were cherry tomato with tiny clusters of little round fruit starting to grow. I knew right there and then that I'll finally be making this tart. Over the course of last week I kept patiently (or not so much) checking the plants to see if all of the tomatoes on the vine were finally ripe. 

Cherry Tomato Tart - beautiful and impressive appetizer or main course if served with salad

This is a beautiful and easy tart to make. It looks super impressive and festive and tastes fresh and delicious. There's no need to use only tomatoes on the vine, individual tomatoes will look just as pretty. I made the tart with blue cheese, but I can imagine it with goat cheese too and the original feta as well. I have to be honest, I had trouble with the pastry, but it's something that I personally have to work on. Whenever I make tarts/pies with cold butter, flour, tiny bit of liquid combination, the dough never works as well as it should. Required liquid is never enough, so I always add more and in turn pastry gets soggy - delicious, but not crunchy. 

Cherry Tomato Tart

adapted from Ricardo Cuisine magazine

Flour - 1 cup
Cold butter - 6 tablespoons (~90 g)
Cold milk - 3 tablespoons (See note)

Milk - 1/2 cup
Cornstarch - 1 tablespoon
Eggs - 3 extra-large
Fresh dill, chopped - 1/2 cup
Salt, pepper to taste
Blue cheese, crumbled - 60 g
Cherry tomatoes - 180 g (about 18-20 tomatoes on the vine)  
  • In a food processor, pulse flour butter until resembles coarse sand.
  • Add milk and pulse until the dough begins to form a bowl.
  • Wrap dough in a plastic wrap and place in the fridge to cool for 30 min.
  • On a floured surface, roll the dough and place in a 14x4-inch tart pan, trim the edges. 
  • Place the tart pan in the freezer for 15 min.
  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together milk and cornstarch.
  • Add eggs, dill and whisk well. Add seasoning if using.
  • Pour the filling into the crust, sprinkle blue cheese on top.
  • Carefully place tomato vines on the filling.
  • Bake for 30 min or until filling is firm.
Cherry Tomato Tart - beautiful and impressive appetizer or main course if served with salad

Comments

- I had to use just over 6 tablespoons of milk for the pastry as opposed to required 3 tablespoons. For some reason, I have never been able to make this kind of pastry, consisting of flour, butter and a tiny bit of liquid with the required proportions. Dough just never comes together with this little moisture for me, so I always end up adding more. The problem is that the pastry shell also gets soggy when I bake it with the filling. Every. Single. Time... Ugh... I still keep making these tarts and pies as I love them, but with all my expertise in baking, I have never been able to master this. 

- Original recipe called for feta and chives with basil. I think that this tart could be made different with various cheeses, I can just imagine the taste of goat cheese with some parsley and black pepper as another combination. Yum!

- When you trim the pastry in the tart pan, don't throw out the left overs. Bake them along side the tart, they'll become super tasty, crunchy, buttery, flakey crackers - absolutely delicious!

Note: this post is not sponsored by Ricardo Cuisine, I just really like their magazine and website.

Posted on July 30, 2015 and filed under Recipe.

Cauliflower Fritters

I love cauliflower. I think it has a very beautiful and light flavour. My favourite way of eating it is just boiled until quite soft and then dipped into plain yogurt. I can eat almost a whole head of cauliflower like this. But I don't buy this vegetable too often. For once, A. doesn't like it much, and also it's... white... It seems like I should be eating more colourful vegetables, so I tend to get tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and pass this beautiful white humble veg in the produce aisle most of the time. This time, however, it called my name. I wasn't sure what I'm going to make with it, but I knew that I really wanted to eat it in some way or another.

So, this weekend I opened my fridge and decided that I'm going back to my childhood, to the recipe that I used to love. We called them Cauliflower Pancakes, but I figured that Fritters sound fancier and tastier. They are yummy, healthy and very easy to cook. I've been trying to make these for a couple of years now and although all my attempts tasted good, they weren't like the ones my mom made when I was little. I couldn't really understand what I was doing wrong until it got to me. I was cooking cauliflower al-dente, whereas my mom cooked it until it was soft. Once I realized that this was the key, these little gems turned out exactly like I remembered. 

The flavour of these fritters is very simple, they just taste of delicious cauliflower and this is how I like them, but I imagine that they'd be great with addition of some cheese and herbs like dill or parsley. They can be made into smaller coin-like rounds and served with smoked salmon or prosciutto. The possibilities are endless, but I like eating these plain with just a dollop of greek yogurt or sour cream. 

Delicious Cauliflower Fritters - easy and healthy vegetarian appetizer or main dish

Cauliflower Fritters

makes 10 large

Cauliflower -1 head (about 600g)
Eggs - 2 extra-large
Flour - 1/2 cup
Seasoning to taste
Oil for pan frying
  • Separate cauliflower into florets and cook in salted water until it's very soft, about 20 min, maybe more depending on your oven and pot you use.
  • Drain cauliflower and let cool to room temperature.
  • Dice cauliflower into small pieces. Since it's so soft, it can be done right in a large bowl. Just drag the knife a few times over the florets to dice them.
  • Add eggs and mix well.
  • Add flour and mix well.
  • Brush a large frying pan with oil and heat on medium.
  • Place large heaping spoonfuls of cauliflower mixture onto the pan and flatten. 
  • Cook on each side about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Serve with sour cream or greek yogurt.
Delicious Cauliflower Fritters - easy and healthy vegetarian appetizer or main dish
Posted on July 27, 2015 and filed under Recipe.