Banana Upside Down Cake

This Donna Hay recipe has had a post-it note sticking on it for a year!  There were two banana recipes in this particular issue that I tagged. One was a loaf cake, which I haven't made yet, but will, and will post it soon. 
But this particular photo had me drooling...I love caramelized bananas. When my grandmother was baking, she'd give me some extra crust and I'd take some bananas and brown sugar and make little pies. Yum! You never forget those first attempts at cooking and those little pies were delicious.
I'm going to insert a word of caution here...this is an extremely sweet dessert. In fact, I was surprised as I thought it would be more cake-like, but no....the caramelized sugar seeps into the cake. (Which you could use less of) A couple mouthfuls did it for me and I'd serve it with half and half to cut the 
sweetness. Not ice cream as DH suggests! 
Sure looks tempting though, doesn't it?

Banana Upside Down Cake with Coconut and Palm Sugar
From Donna Hay, Issue 67

75g unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup grated palm sugar (Whole Foods has it, already grated and packaged)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 egg
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup coconut flakes
1/4 cup milk

For the caramel sauce:

100g unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup brown sugar

4-5 bananas, depending on size


Preheat oven to 350.
Lightly grease a 6 by 10 inch baking dish or baking pan with sides.
Make the caramel sauce:
Melt the brown sugar and butter together on the stove and boil for 1 minute. Pour it into the baking dish. Cut the bananas in half lengthwise and arrange them face down on top of the caramel sauce. Set aside.

Make the cake:
Place the butter, palm sugar and brown sugar in an electric mixer and beat fot 10 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and egg and beat again. Add the flour and baking powder and mix until combined. Then add the coconut flakes and milk and mix again. 

Spoon the mixture over the bananas and with a palette knife, smooth the top evenly. 
Place the dish on a parchment-covered baking pan to catch any spill during baking.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
Loosen the sides with a knife and invert carefully on a serving dish. Serves 8.


Shrimp Noodle Soup

Such great flavors in this delicious soup! It really hits the spot on a cold night. Yes, we've been having some cold nights in South Florida too and while you're snickering over that comment, keep in mind it's all relative.  :)
I don't make a lot of soups, unlike my sister, who is the worlds greatest soup maker in my opinion. But this one appealed to me...I loved the colors and it's a hearty, warming soup even though it's light in calories.

Shrimp Noodle Soup

From Style At Home

4 baby bok choy
12 sugar snap peas
12 shrimp, peeled
1/2 teaspoon of grated ginger
1 tablespoon of peanut (or canola) oil
A pinch of dried chilies
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
2 teaspoon of light soy sauce
2 spring onions, sliced
4 cups of chicken stock (homemade, hopefully)
Toasted sesame seeds for garnishing
300 grams of dried udon noodles


Cook the noodles according to package instructions. Run them under cold water once cooked, and reserve.

In the meantime, add the bok choy (cut in half lengthwise) and the sugar snap peas to a pot of boiling water. Boil for 2 minutes. Shock the vegetables by placing them in ice cold water. Once the vegetables are cold, drain and remove excess water with paper towels.

Heat your wok to medium low heat. Add the peanut oil, ginger, garlic and dried chili. Stir fry for 2 minutes. Add the peeled shrimp. Once the shrimp starts to turn pink, add the vegetables, stirring constantly. Add the noodles and then the chicken broth. Bring to a boil.
Once the broth has come to a boil, add the soy sauce, sesame oil and spring onions and cook for another minute. 
Serve topped with toasted sesame seeds.

Serves 4.


Super Bowl Food: Pizza Pinwheels

What a great recipe! Leave it to Lori, most of her recipes are winners. I didn't change a thing; when I visit her I always come away with something awesome.
Your family is going to love this one, from the yogurt-based pizza dough to the pesto in the pinwheel. So many layers of flavor and if you dip them into some of your favorite pizza or 
marinara sauce, you've got one mouth-watering Super Bowl snack.

Pizza Pinwheels

From Lori at Recipe Girl

1 cup self-rising flour
1/2 teaspoon granulated white sugar
pinch of salt
2/3 cup Fage Greek Yogurt (this is important, you need the thick yogurt)
3 tablespoons prepared pesto
3/4 cup chopped pepperoni
3/4 cup shredded Italian cheese blend (or mixed mozzarella & Parmesan), divided
pizza or smooth marinara sauce, warmed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Mix in the yogurt and continue to stir and mix until the ingredients (Use your hands!) are well-combined and forms a dough.  Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it a bit so the dough comes completely together. You may need to add more flour, but I found this amount to be just right. You want a non-sticky dough. Roll it out into a rectangle about 9x14-inches.

Spoon the pesto onto the rolled out dough and spread it evenly. Then sprinkle the chopped pepperoni and top with the cheese. 

Carefully roll up the dough into a log. Use a sharp knife to cut about 1/2-inch slices. You have to hold the sliced roll together while you transfer it to the prepared baking sheet and then shape them a little more into a round. Repeat with the remaining slices.
Bake 20 minutes, or until cooked through and lightly browned. Serve warm with sauce.


Shrimp with Fennel Cream

If it weren't for Pinterest, I'd never have found Susy's blog. So while it's easy to lose track of time trolling through Pinterest (which I did while watching football playoffs Sunday), there is one major plus: discovering lovely blogs. And this one definitely qualifies....super recipes, beautifully photographed, but you do need to translate it from the Italian. 

While I've never been a great fan of raw fennel in a salad, I do love it roasted and it's on my menu frequently. Susy steams it with potato to make this fennel cream and I had some fresh shrimp, so topped the cream with those rather than the fish she used. It's a simple dish, with lots of flavor and I hope you'll try it. Visit Susy as well, you'll come away with some super recipes and some food styling ideas.

Shrimp with Fennel Cream
Adapted from  ricotta....che passione


600g fennel already cleaned   (21 ounces)
500g potatoes (17 ounces)
shrimp, scallops or your favorite fish 
a clove of garlic 
grated rind of one lemon 
chopped chives and parsley 
2-3 tablespoons half and half or milk 

olive oil 
balsamic vinegar (optional)


Peel the potatoes, cut into cubes and steam together with the sliced fennel, until both are tender. Puree the vegetables and place them in a saucepan. Add the milk, a tablespoon of olive oil, salt to taste and cook for a few minutes.
Place the shrimp in a hot pan with a little olive oil and butter and add the garlic and cook over high heat. When done, add salt, the chopped herbs and lemon rind. If you want to, you can also add some balsamic vinegar to your shrimp/fish. 

Divide the cream into bowls, place the shrimp on top and finish with a sprinkling of pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. 


Pistachio and Orange Yogurt Cake with Orange Flavored Whipped Cream

I must have a thing for pistachio cakes because I can't resist any new recipe that comes along. Absolutely loved the orange zest with it...added some OJ to the whipped cream too. And yes, it seems to taste even better the next day. I made it in a springform pan, but El made it in a loaf pan and topped it with some whole pistachios. Really a pretty presentation if you want to click on Fresh below to take a gander. Her photos always make me drool. 

Pistachio and Orange Yogurt Cake with Orange Flavored Whipped Cream
From Fresh

1 c (100 g) pistachios (shelled, unsalted, no skin) or 1 cup pistachio flour
1 c plus 2 tsp. (150 g) flour
2.5 tsp (10 g) baking powder
1/4 tsp coriander
8 tbs (110 g) butter, melted and cooled
3/4 c plus 1 tbs (165g) sugar
2 eggs
4 tbs (60 g) plain yogurt
2 tbs (28 g) freshly squeezed orange juice

extra butter for greasing the pan
extra flour for flouring the pan

Preheat oven to 350 F
Grease and flour standard loaf pan or multiple mini-loaf pans (I used a spring form pan and lined the bottom with parchment.

Grind the pistachios in a food processor until you have about 80-90% flour with a few pistachio pieces remaining. (I used pistachio flour) Place in a bowl with the flour, baking powder and coriander and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix butter and sugar together on medium speed for about 1 minute. Mix in eggs. Mix in yogurt and orange juice. Add dry ingredients all at once and mix until blended.

Bake for 30-40 min or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool, remove from pan and serve.


Sesame Crumbled Pork with Asian Greens

While thumbing through an issue of Donna Hay, I came across this surprisingly simple dish. The blog title here is a bit misleading because well, let's face it, I didn't follow the ingredient list. At all.
DH fussed a little more (naturally) with the 
broccolini...adding gai larn (Chinese broccoli) and sauteing fresh ginger with it, then using kecap manis (a sweet Indonesian soy sauce) on top. And DH made it with pork chops. I had a veal rib chop in the freezer and wanted to use that; it easily served two. Also I did NOT have gai larn OR kecap manis but did have some fresh ginger so I got that lovely flavor, but just used soy sauce. I think kecap manis is going on my grocery list...sounded like it would have been marvelous on this dish.
Still, a pretty tasty meal. Gosh I love broccolini, don't you? 

Sesame Crumbled Pork with Asian Greens
Adapted from Donna Hay, Issue 71

1 1/2 cups panko
1/3 cup sesame seeds
4 pork cutlets, flattened somewhat (or veal)
2 eggs, beaten
fresh ginger
soy sauce

Mix the panko and sesame seeds. Dip the chops in the beaten egg and then the panko/sesame mixture. In a frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and a tablespoon of butter. Saute the pork until golden and cooked through. In the meantime, steam the broccolini briefly and drain. Add a touch of sesame oil to a pan, quickly saute some fresh ginger, toss in the broccolini and add some soy sauce. Serve the chop over the broccolini.


Super Bowl Food: Mini Corn Dog Muffins

Have you got some football fans gathering in your family room to watch the playoffs? Here's an easy peasy snack to serve and it wouldn't surprise me if you had all the ingredients in your house already! Mini mouthful muffins pretending to be corn dogs. Loved the idea when I saw it and here they are, just pop one in your mouth. The plateful won't last long, so make plenty.

Mini Corn Dog Muffins

From Iowa Girl Eats

1/2 cup melted butter 
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
8-10 all-beef hot dogs, cut into little bites

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
Combine butter and sugar in a bowl, whisk. Add eggs and whisk again. Add buttermilk and whisk once more. 
In a separate bowl, combine baking soda, cornmeal, flour and salt. Beat the flour combination into the wet ingredients in two batches. 
Spray a mini muffin tin with non-stick spray and spoon 1 tablespoon of batter into each mini muffin cup. Place one hot dog bite into the middle of each cup. 
Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until cornbread is golden brown. Cool in mini muffin tin for 5 minutes before serving. 
Serve with chili sauce or ketchup.


Gwen's Original Corn Chowder

I guess we're all a little soup crazy right now, what with the freezing weather. This certainly isn't a low-calorie recipe, but it sure is filling and delicious. You don't need to wait until the Super Bowl to serve this soup either, although that's how it came to be posted. A few years ago, Cathy at Noble Pig had a Sam's Club Super Bowl recipe contest. The photos of the winning recipes were amazing and I saved this particular soup recipe as it looked delicious. It was entered by Gwen from Good To Be MeAnd yes, it really is fantastic. I mean...bacon, corn, cheese, potatoes, onion....Wow! And so thick your spoon will stand up in it. A hearty meal to be sure.

Gwen's Original Corn Chowder
From Gwen at Good To Be Me

3/4 cup butter
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup flour
1-1/2 teaspoons salt 
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
3 large potatoes, cooked, peeled and cubed 
1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 large package frozen corn, thawed
4-1/2 cups milk
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup sour cream

In a soup pot melt butter and add the onion and garlic; sauté onion until it is clear.  Whisk in flour, salt and pepper.  Whisk for a while until smooth and then, while stirring, gradually add milk and chicken broth.  Add in potatoes, bacon, corn and parsley flakes.
Continue to heat over medium to low heat, stirring frequently until chowder has thickened, about 20 minutes.  Then cover and cook over a low heat for an additional 10 or 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked. Stir frequently so the bottom doesn't burn. Remove from heat.  Whisk in grated cheese and sour cream, stir until cheese has melted.  Serve in hollowed out bread bowls.


Happy New Year!

I wish you all the best and good health for 2014, my friends!
We had a marvelous time in St. Lucia and Anse Chastanet was perfect as usual. I've blogged about it before, here and here.
But instead of a recipe to begin the year, I thought you might enjoy a short video I made of a new tradition at the hotel on New Year's Eve....kite lanterns. Perhaps you're familiar with them, but they were new to me; lo and behold, I found them at Amazon. You light a bit of cardboard beneath and the flame will inflate the paper kite to a point where it will lift right off...of course, you make a wish as you release it.
Imagine they ought to be used over water and with the wind in the right direction, but even those that blew back didn't cause a problem. Still, caution is advised, obviously.

Enjoy and I'll post a recipe in a few days.


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