Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Pulling Together

The following are a couple of recipes that would scrub up well for not only a children's party, but for eating at any time. Both freeze well and in fact mature in flavour by doing so.
Banana Bread: makes 1 loaf (F)
4 oz (100g) soft margarine
8 oz (225g) soft light brown sugar
2 eggs
8 oz (225g) wholemeal flour
2 tsp baking powder
3 fl oz (75g) natural yogurt
2 ripe bananas, chopped into small chunks
4 oz (100g) sunflower seeds
Cream together the marg and the sugar. Beat in the eggs. Sift the flour and baking powder and fold this into the mixture. When thoroughly combined, mix in the yogurt, bananas and seeds. Pour into a loaf tin that has been lined with baking parchment. Bake at 170C, 325F, gas 3 for approx one and a quarter hours, depending upon oven it may need slightly longer. After 30 minutes baking, tent with foil, shiny side up (as this reflects away the heat), to prevent becoming too brown. Test with skewer or knife - when they come out clean the cake is done. Cool on a cake airer, then wrap in parchment. Will keep in the fridge for 2 - 3 days, will freeze for at least a month.

This next recipe appears to use quite a lot of ingredients, but it does freeze well so worth making a whole batch, otherwise make half the amount (12). For adult eating add a couple of tablespoons of brandy to the syrup, or 1 tblsp of orange liqueur.
Chocolate and Orange Brownies: makes 24
1 lb (450g) soft margarine
1 lb (450g) soft brown (light muscovado) sugar
8 eggs
12 oz (350g) wholewheat flour
4 oz (110g) cocoa powder
1 tblsp baking powder
2 oz (50g) plain dark chocolate, chopped
juice of 3 oranges
2 tblsp brandy
2 -3 oz (50-75g) light muscovado sugar
Make the brownies by creaming together the marg and sugar then beat in the eggs adding a little flour with each egg (prevents the appearance of curdling). Sift together the remaining flour, cocoa and baking powder and fold this into the cake batter, finally folding in the chocolate.
Pour into a greased and lined baking tin 10" x 14" (25 x 36cm) and bake at 170C, 325F, gas 3 for half an hour. Cool in the tin but do not remove.
Make the syrup by gently heating together the syrup ingredients until the sugar has dissolved, then leave to cool. While the cake is still sitting in the tin, prick the top of the cake all over with a fork , then pour the syrup over. Place in the fridge for about an hour to allow the cake to absorb the syrup. Take the tin to a chopping board, lift the cake out using the lining paper to carry the cake and slice the cake into 24 brownies.
Will keep for 2 - 3 days if placed in an airtight container and kept in the fridge.
To freeze: after soaking the complete cake with the syrup, leave intact, freeze in the tin, then when solid, remove and overwrap well with clingfilm. Will freeze for at least a month. Thaw at room temperature but best cut when partially thawed.

Another useful recipe which can fit many occasion: packed lunches, picnics, the occasional snack, and in this instance, because this is a healthy flapjack, good for the above party for budding pirates (who hopefully will have read Treasure Island) will immediately be tempted by the name (my choice, call it whatever you like).
Captain Jack's Flap: makes 12
5 oz (150g) butter, cubed
8 oz (225g) porridge oats
1 oz (25g) desiccated coconut
2 oz (50g) light muscovado sugar
5 tblsp golden syrup
6 oz (175g) chopped mixed nuts
3 oz (75g) dark chocolate, chopped
Mix together the oats and the coconut and set aside. Put the butter, sugar and syrup into a pan and heat gently until dissolved, then remove from heat and stir in the oat mixture. Spoon into a greased shallow 9" (23cm) square baking tin and press down the surface to level. Scatter over the nuts and the chocolate and press these in lightly. Bake at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for half an hour or until pale golden. Remove from oven and leave in the tin to cool, but mark into bars whilst still warm. When cold the bars can then be easily cut through. Store in an airtight tin.