Thursday, 11 September 2014

Double Chocolate Nutella Swirl Banana Bread

It doesn't matter how old I get, cake for breakfast will always win me over. You need a favour? Turn up at my door at 7am with cake and I'll help you out. I'm a simple girl. This is probably the most indulgent banana bread I've ever eaten but eating it for breakfast did not feel wrong at all. I'm not sure I'll go back to banana bread that doesn't have nutella swirled through it to be honest.

I'm posting this recipe for Em and Hannah, who travelled all the way up from London to Manchester for my wedding last month and then ate most of this at the evening reception. You rarely actually get to try a food blogger's baking so it felt good knowing I'd impressed those two (thanks guys!). It keeps incredibly well. The first time I made this it went in about a day and a half. When I made this for the wedding, I baked it Thursday night, the wedding was Saturday night and it was great then, and I was still eating it Monday and it tasted amazing. It has a whopping 4 bananas in, I'd say you could try three but I just don't think it would be as good and dry banana bread is just sad. I urge you, don't make sad banana bread.

I am battling with an incredibly snotty but adventurous child this week. I can hear her breathing on the monitor like Darth Vader but this has not quelled her appetite for adventure. Since she discovered crawling she wants to be EVERYWHERE. Head bumps are more frequent and anything left on the floor will go into her mouth. Sitting still is for babies and mine will be one in 10 weeks. My little loud snotty child. I'm not sure if it's the cold she's fighting or general nine month old fussiness but she is only interested in eating bananas or yoghurt this week. Last week she wolfed down lamb and spinach curry but this week it's all about the bananas. I'm afraid I'm one of those boring mums who won't give their baby cake or chocolate in the first year so no fancy banana bread for Matilda. She did, however, have a go at stirring the mix. Adorable, but dangerously close to going all over the floor.

Double Chocolate Nutella Swirl Banana Bread

 260g plain flour
150g light brown sugar 
3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 medium size ripe bananas
2 large eggs
90g unsalted butter, melted
100g nutella or any other chocolate hazlenut spread
100g milk chocolate, cut into chunks

1 banana, cut lengthways
light brown sugar, for sprinkling
  1. Preheat your oven to 180 C / 350 F / Gas Mark 4. Grease and line a medium size loaf tin and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mash your bananas well and whisk together with the eggs and butter. 
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, bicarb, salt and cinnamon. 
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a wooden spoon until just combined.
  5. Stir in the chocolate chunks. Microwave the nutella for 30 seconds until soft. Pour into the mixture and stir briefly with a wooden spoon until it creates a swirl effect.
  6. Transfer quickly to the loaf tin. For decoration place one half of the banana in the middle on top and sprinkle with light brown sugar (I'd reccomend eating the other half of the banana topped with nutella and sea salt).
  7. Bake on the middle shelf for 50-55 minutes, or until a cocktail stick comes out as clean as melted chocolate will allow. Leave to cool before turning out of the pan.
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Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Salted Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookies

I'm back! I'm sorry I was away for so long. I was suffering with a bit of blogging burnout so I decided to take some time out and then my laptop died so the time out lasted a little longer. Oh yeah and then I got married! So I'm full of excuses but now I'm also back and full of cookies. I blame Em at Mbakes for this recipe. After her ice cream recipe I went out and bought tahini and decided I needed to use it in everything. I really love the flavour, the tahini just makes the whole cookie taste better.

The wedding was awesome and I will write more about it soon but I want to wait until we have the beautiful photos to put with the post. It was overwhelming but it was perfect and I was so happy with how everything went. Yesterday I had new bank cards arrive with my new name on - very strange. I must have written my new signature about 50 times to get it right. I'm really anal about handwriting so if something doesn't look right I will keep writing it until it does. It took many attempts to get the double 'b' in my new surname to flow from the pen. Yes you read that right.

I always planned to take Nick's surname because I wanted us to be a team. Me, Nick and Matilda. Team Gibbons FTW! But that doesn't mean I wasn't incredibly sad to not be a Hunter anymore. Hunter is a bloody good name. I love it so much I put it on my blog, so I'm really glad that I still get to be called Hunter in some form. I also don't have any brothers, so the name kind of lives and dies with me and my sisters. No pressure there. I'm an extremely sentimental person, not in a sappy cheesy way, I just hold a lot of emotional value in little things, or big things, like my surname. When I blog now I'm blogging for my old team and sending them an internet five from my sofa.

- I used 50g (about 1/4 cup) in this recipe but if you want a stronger tahini flavour I would up it to 70g and add another tablespoon of flour to account for the extra liquid.
- Let the cookies rest for between 6 and 12 hours. If you leave them longer than this they will still taste awesome but, in my opinion, the tahini flavour seems to diminish. They do still need to rest though to get the best texture.
- Dark chocolate is best, milk makes them abit too sweet.

Salted Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookies
(adapted from this recipe which was adapted from Take A Megabite)

makes 20-22 cookies

170g unsalted butter
50g dark tahini
220g light brown sugar
100g caster sugar
1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk
260g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt, plus extra to sprinkle on top
100g dark chocolate, chopped into chunks 
  1. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper (these ready cut parchment sheets from If You Care are fantastic). 
  2. Met the butter over a medium heat. Mix in the tahini and leave to sit. 
  3. Whisk the sugars, flour, baking powder and salt together and add the butter/tahini mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon until it resembles wet sand.
  4. Mix in the egg and egg yolk until it comes together. 
  5. Finally, add the chocolate and mix until evenly distributed.
  6. Using your hands roll into balls the size of a ping pong ball. Place on a tray and flatten the top slightly.
  7. Sprinkle with a little sea salt. cover and leave in the fridge for 6-12 hours.
  8. When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 160 C / 325F / Gas Mark 3 and bake for 15 minutes, until golden.
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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Back Soon

I really didn't mean to be gone for this long. I started out deciding to take a break and then wedding stuff took over and my laptop broke so the hiatus got extended. Well, I'm getting married on Saturday and after that I should have some extra time for blogging. Plus I'll finally be able to write about all my wedding crafts without giving everything away!

I hope you're all having a nice summer, even though the sun seems to have gone on it's own hiatus. If you want to catch a peek of our wedding over the weekend follow me on Instagram or check out the hashtag (which I hope will get used) #meetthegibbons. Don't get me started on how sad I will be to not be a Hunter anymore! 
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Friday, 11 July 2014

Brown Butter Amaretti Scones

I do not know how we ever lived in such a small flat because even now we are in a house there isn't room to swing a cat (unintentional rhyme somewhere in there). Not that I'd dare try and swing Evie. That's just suicide - Evie is not the most loving of cats FYI. The main issue is the abundance of half finished wedding crafts taking over my usual blog photo area. My photos would seem more impressive if you saw the way I had to contort myself around cardboard boxes and piles of wedding favors just to get a half decent shot. BUT it's all worth it and in six weeks my wedding project will be replaced by my tidy house project. Always gotta have a project!

I've had a mini scone project for about three months now. I've been trying to elevate the basic scone to the next level and I've hit all kinds of bumps, burns and undercooked scones along the road. I never thought I'd devote this much love and attention to a scone. But I kind of feel like I never need to make a scone again though now because I've found my happy scone place. And all I had to do was brown the butter (obvs!) and crush the mini amaretti biscuits that had been waiting patiently for a purpose since January. A purpose other than shoving six in my mouth at a time. 

I also have to point you in the direction of Marks & Spencers' apricot and amaretto jam because it's insanely good. That is completely my own opinion of the bought and paid for with my own money jam. I've been on a largely paleo diet for a couple of months now but when I cheat, I cheat with jam. And scones. Those poor paleo guys were really missing out. 

Brown Butter Amaretti Scones

makes 8 

90g unsalted butter
300g self raising flour
50g ground almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
50g caster sugar
180ml buttermilk, plus extra to brush on top
100g amaretti biscuits, coarsely crushed
  1. First things first, brown your butter. Melt the butter in a medium sized pan over a medium heat until it starts to foam and turns a caramel colour. Keep whisking as it browns then remove from the heat when the the crackling from the foam starts to slow down.
  2. Pour into a bowl and freeze until solid. 
  3. Preheat your oven to 180 C / 350 F / Gas Mark 4. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper and set aside.
  4. Cut your butter into cubes and chuck into a food processor. Add the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and caster sugar and pulse together until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs with pea sized lumps of butter in it. 
  5. Tip into a large bowl and add the crushed amaretti biscuits. Mix into the flour/butter with your hands to distribute.
  6. Pour in your buttermilk and stir in using a rounded knife, I like to use a palette knife. When it starts to come together get in there with your hands and bring it together to form a ball.
  7. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead a couple of times.
  8. Flatten the ball of dough out with your hands into a circle and then cut into triangles. If you prefer the more traditional round scone, roll the dough out and use a cutter.
  9. Place the scones onto the baking trays and brush the tops with a little leftover buttermilk. I crushed a few extra amaretti and sprinkled on top of some of the scones. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes until golden brown. 

- I've tried these with dark brown sugar and they also tasted great
- If you don't have a food processor just rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the same consistency is reached.
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