Easy Banana Bread …



Easy Banana Bread Recipe

This is an easy banana bread recipe. It has a light texture and a rich caramel taste.
It is the only banana bread I have baked which doesn’t sink substantially as it cools.

  • 120gm (4.2 oz) butter
  • 120gm (3/4 cup) brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 300gm (2 cups) self raising flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 heaped tsp bicarb soda
  • 1/4 cup golden syrup or treacle for a richer taste
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 30mls (1 fluid oz) coffee – a normal coffee machine shot
  • 400 gm very ripe bananas – mashed

Preheat the oven to 150C (300F) degrees. Grease and line a large loaf tin with paper and hang the paper over the sides to assist with removal.

  • Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer (which takes approximately 5 minutes, the colour will change to light brown)
  • Add eggs and beat well until combined (The mixture may seem curdled)
  • Add flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and bicarb and continue to mix until just combined.
  • Mix mashed bananas, golden syrup or treacle, vanilla and coffee together and then add to the mixture and stir until just combined.
  • Pour mixture into a LARGE greased and lined loaf tin
  • Bake for 60mins or until set – check about half way through and turn the tin if the bread is browning unevenly.

Store in the fridge for up to a week but serve at room temperature with cream, ice-cream or yoghurt and maybe some fresh strawberries.

Green Mango or Papaya Salad

This is a quick version of a Green Mango salad, it’s not strictly traditional, and I haven’t included any hot chillies but of course you can add to taste.

If you don’t have some of the Asian herbs, substitute with the local version.You could also use your own choice of Asian dressing and bulk the salad up with some rocket or salad greens. As I said, it’s not strictly traditional but it’s very tasty. It serves four as a side dish, or two as a vegetarian meal.

Green Mango or Papaya Salad Recipe


60 ml white vinegar
50 g caster sugar (or less)
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
120 ml olive oil


1 wombok (Chinese) cabbage or 2 bags of bean shoots
handful of coriander
handful of Thai basil
handful of Vietnamese mint
1 large red capsicum – julienned
2 green mangoes or a large green papaya – they must be green and very hard

Suggested garnish:

2 fresh limes – cut into quarters
handful roast shallots
handful chopped roast peanuts
handful chopped spring onions
young banana leaves to line the bowl


Make the dressing beforehand

Make the dressing by combining all ingredients in a saucepan. Stir well over low heat until the sugar has dissolved.  Set aside to cool and then put it in a jar or bottle.  This makes more than enough for one salad.

Make the salad

Finely shred the wombok cabbage, stopping a bit before you get to the base which can be quite tough. Place in a very large bowl (not the one you are going to serve it in).

Peel and julienne the mango or green papaya. If you have a julienne tool, use it, otherwise try the Asian way but put a towel over your hand just to be safe!

Place all the salad ingredients in the large bowl, cover and set aside until you are ready to serve.

Just before serving, shake up the salad dressing and pour half over the salad. Mix the salad well with your hands and then taste.  Add more dressing if necessary, but the salad should only be lightly coated with dressing.  Transfer to a large serving bowl lined with banana leaves and add the garnish.  Serve immediately.

What to do with a Finger Lime ?

When I saw these at bellopy our local organic market I just had to buy them. Known as “citrus caviar”,  finger limes  are a native rainforest fruit with a similar taste to that of lime.  Inside are beautiful little pearls instead of pulp.  But once bought, what to do with them ?

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Well obviously … my first thought was can use them in a cocktail ?  So I made up a lemongrass syrup, placed a teaspoon of finger lime pearls in each compartment of an ice-cube tray, filled the tray with the syrup, and froze it.
Voilà … you have a sort of finger lime bomb to put in your glass of bubbly or white wine.  As the ice-block melts, the pearls float gently to the surface.

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Of course they would be a wonderful tangy garnish for fish, and I stirred some into lemon butter for something really different.

Finger Lime Cocktail Bombs

Make a simple sugar syrup using one part sugar to one part water, say …

250 ml sugar
250 ml water
2 stalks of lemongrass stripped of their outer layer and cut into 5 cm pieces
(If you don’t have lemongrass, you can use the zest of a lime)

In a high-sided saucepan over medium-high heat, bring cold water and sugar to a boil. Turn the heat to low, add the lemongrass pieces and stir constantly until the sugar dissolves completely and the mixture is clear, approximately 3 to 5 minutes.

After boiling, let the syrup cool to room temperature, remove the lemongrass pieces and then pour into a clean glass jar and store in the refrigerator. The syrup can be refrigerated for up to 6 months.

Cut the finger limes into quarters crossways not lengthwise, and squeeze the pearls gently out into a bowl.  Then place a teaspoon of the pearls into each compartment of an ice-block tray.  Fill each compartment with cooled sugar syrup and freeze.  When frozen, store the ice-blocks in a sealed container in the freezer ready for use.

Lilly Pilly Cocktails …

DSCN3872 (1024x768)Lilly Pillys are probably my favourite australian native tree.  Usually fast growing, they are attractive to birds and bees, the flowers are beautiful, and now I’ve discovered that the berries make the most delicious cordial.  Not that I actually drink cordial … but I can tell you that on a hot night, a slurp of chilled Lilly Pilly Cordial and a sprig of bruised mint in a glass of dry sparkling wine is a wonderful thing. And I’m sure this still counts as “bush tucker” !!

This batch of cordial was made from Cascade Lilly Pilly berries.  The Cascade being a cross between two stars of the lilly pilly world – the Powerderpuff (syzygium willsonii) and the Riberry (syzygium luehmannii).  I planted both Cascade and Powderpuffs when I moved in, so the next batch will come from one of the many un-identified and slightly tarter lilly pillys growing at the back of the property.

Lilly Pilly Cordial

Just double or triple the ingredients according to how many berries you have
I had only a cupful and this made up approximately 650 mls of cordial

1 cup of lilly pilly fruit – rinsed to remove bugs and twigs
2 cups water
½  teaspoon tartaric acid
1 cup sugar & the juice of 1 lemon

Sterilise an empty clear wine bottle by filling it with boiling water in your sink.  Leave it for a few minutes then empty and put in the oven on a low heat to dry.  Use mitts of course!!

Meanwhile put all the ingredients into a saucepan and boil for about 5 minutes. The colour will gradually seep out of the berries and into the liquid turning it a delicate pink.

Remove from the heat and spoon the fruit into a strong sieve over a mixing bowl. Mash the berries gently with a wooden spoon, removing the seeds with a fork as they pop out.  Continue mashing until you force all the paste through the sieve.  Then pour the hot liquid through the sieve and into the bowl to remove the last of the paste.

Take the bottle from the oven (mitts again) and pour in the hot liquid using a funnel.  Seal and turn upside down for a few seconds.  Allow to cool.  As there are no preservatives (other than sugar) in the cordial, it should be kept in the fridge.  You can make a “virgin” cocktail by adding fizzy lemonade instead of champagne.