Scandilicious Banana Bread

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I’m meant to be on a diet but I can’t stop baking, which is a bit of an issue, specially when the bananas that had been sitting on our counter top getting riper and riper for well over a week now started to split when I picked them up this morning. So as when life gives you lemons you make lemonade, when life gives you bananas that are one step away from being thrown in the food recycling bin, you make banana bread. Now I have multiple recipes for banana bread and I am staying away from that Jane Brocket recipe for life, as it’s the nicest banana bread ever and when I worked out how many calories in each tiny loaf (I’d baked it in one of those itty bitty little individual loaves tins), that information alone was enough to give me a heart attack, specially as I’d only worked out the calorie content after I’d eaten four of them. Anyway, today’s recipe is considerably more virtuous and is from Scandilicious Baking. I had been eyeing up the bananas for a few days and had been planning on making this again because it’s even more virtuous but that recipe only called for one banana and I had a heck of a lot more bananas than that to use up. Anyway the resulting cake is lovely, it does taste virtuous but unfortunately the calorie, fat and sugar content not at all virtuous, however it could have been worse and it’s got a good lot of fibre, protein and a bit of vitamins A and C. I had also made the recipe slightly healthier than it could have been by swopping the maple syrup with agave syrup, which has a low GI apparently (and also I didn’t have any maple syrup in the flat anyway). I will admit that I have just eaten two slices, as just one still warm slice of banana bread is not enough but I am now slightly regretting it as I now feel like I’ve eaten enough to sink a battleship, so it’s definitely filling (which is a very good thing as there is nothing worse than something you shouldn’t eat too much of but is not that filling, so you end up eating way too much).

(I’ve been working out the calorie, fat, sugar, nutrient etc. content of my bakes using the My Fitness Pal app, which is quite handy but also a little bit depressing because I have no idea how anyone can eat the perfect amount of nutrients, in the right proportions every day. When I first started using it too many of my calories were coming from carbs, now I’ve got that right, too many of my calories are coming from fat and I never ever eat enough protein).

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Easter making

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Mr. Lacer and Girl Lacer were away yesterday, so when Boy Lacer was in bed, I made the most of having the living room to myself, bought the sewing machine in there and sewed. I am normally very very limited with my creative space, the flat we live in is tiny and there are four of us, we will move, possibly next year but I have a feeling that my lack of creative space will probably follow me, as we’ll probably have no choice but to move from our tiny two bed place to a tiny three bed place and that extra space will be to finally give the kids their own separate bedrooms, no craft room for me. Anyway, last night I had the ‘luxury’ of our ‘dining room’ table, extended to ooh half size and nobody complaining I was getting in the way of them watching television, so I made the most of it. I made the kids a couple of ‘gift’ tote bags, with appliqué, rough patchwork eggs on the front. I had great fun raiding my stash for some lovely bright crisp colours that worked together (IMO at least). I particularly liked how the blue star fabric goes with the Lu Summers fabric you can just see peeking out from the back of the front bag and I always like using that dinosaur fabric, there’s never enough reasons to use it and well dinosaurs lay eggs and eggs are Easter, so dinosaurs are officially an Easter animal.

Mr. Lacer and Girl Lacer were back today, for Easter lunch we had the option of either two of our normal Sunday lunch options, we don’t really do Sunday lunch you see but we do like bolognaise or lasagne and we consider it Sunday lunch-ish if it’s done properly, ie not out of a jar and definitely not out of a ready meal packet and the recipe has to be my adapted Tana Ramsay recipe (for either the bolognaise or the lasagne). Today we chose bolognaise. For dessert we had a giant hot cross bun, except the cross didn’t work well, so we put icing on the top instead but obviously that didn’t work because the bun was still warm.

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But hot cross buns are meant to be Good Friday anyway aren’t they (I always make them late and actually normally start scoffing shop bought ones from Waitrose around January, those cinnamon and raisin ones are so nice), so being sort of cross-less doesn’t matter. What mattered is that it tasted delicious, an incredibly thick crusty crust (which I wasn’t expecting but was nice) and lovely sweet flavoured bread inside. The bun was brushed with apricot jam, which does make it incredibly messy to eat though. You can find the recipe here

Chocolate mini Easter egg nests

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Me and Boy Lacer made these this afternoon from this recipe, they’re good but not sticking together too well (they’ve had an hour in the fridge). Back when I had no baking skills whatsoever my piece de resistance used to be cornflake cakes made with melted Mars Bar, now those stuck together, they also broke your teeth mind you. Hmmm I think I need to get experimenting and find a hybrid between the two.>

Welsh Rarebit

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I grew up eating cheese on toast, like I guess my kids have grown up eating pizza but it was always the slap some slices of cheese on some toasted bread and stick it under a grill kind, I never had proper Welsh rarebit, well I have now. This recipe was from Baker’s Daughter, I think it’s a pretty standard recipe though. A good way of using up eggs.>

My Sister Lives On The Mantlepiece

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I haven’t devoured a book so quickly in a long time, My Sister Lives On The Mantlepiece by Annabel Pitcher is an incredibly sad but hopeful kids book about a family destroyed when one of the children, Rose, dies in a terrorist attack, leaving behind a twin sister Jas, a younger brother Jamie who doesn’t really remember his sister, an alcoholic father and a mother who is having an affair. Told from the viewpoint of Jamie, five years later, they’ve moved to the country with their father and it is not the ‘fresh new start’ they were promised. The story is about loss, alcoholism, bullying, friendship, love and islamophobia and it’s one of the best and probably one of the most hard hitting kids books I’ve read in a long time.

Tate Britain Refurb and Phyllida Barlow

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Me and the kids hadn’t been to Tate Britain for ages and well the Phyllida Barlow exhibition looked cool and I wanted to see this staircase all the media reports had been going on about, so we went. Above is the staircase, which was indeed pretty cool, I liked their other one to, is it wrong to say that my favourite bits were the staircases?

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But Phyllida Barlow was pretty cool to, it certainly sparked the kids imaginations, with both kids coming up with explanations as to what the ginormous sculptures were.

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My favourite (not pictured as I was using my phone and the camera app cocked up at that point) was what looked like basically a giant empty loo roll floating in space.

We also ate some extremely highly priced and bad cake from the cafe (I wouldn’t recommend, the V&A and National Gallery are definitely outclassing them on the cake front, although all three institutions are equally shockingly priced) and saw some of the other Modern Art galleries, me and the kids particularly liked the David Hockneys amongst other stuff.

Chocolate mini egg brownie

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Me and the kids made chocolate mini egg brownies this afternoon, inspired by this post, which was in turn inspired by Nigella’s Everyday Brownie recipe from Kitchen (which can also be found here). We swopped the corner shop chocolate for a tube of chocolate mini eggs, half mixed in with the brownie mix and the other half placed on top. Unfortunately as the brownie rose, the eggs on top stayed where they were, so they pretty much got buried, maybe if we’d placed the second half of the chocolate mini eggs on the cake towards the end of cooking time, they’d have been more visible. But can’t complain too much because they are delicious, as the brownie itself is really good and it’s great when you get to an egg and you’re biting into pure chocolate. The recipe is a great way of using up spare chocolate this Easter, I’m already wondering what this recipe would be like with Maltesers or yum, even better, Rolos!
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