Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It's cold and wet

What a day! It has been bucketing down! Normally on a Wednesday, Amy has ballet after school, but thankfully, today, she decided it was definitely too wet. This was good news as we got drenched walking home. So what did we do? After lovely hot showers, it was time for a hot chocolate and some warm banana and date bread which Sophie and I had made just before pick up time. The smell as we walked in the house was certainly welcoming.

Some notes about the Banana Bread
  • It is egg and dairy free so may appear more dense than "normal".
  • Other fruit such as sultanas and raisins may be substituted for the dates.
  • I used 4 large bananas
  • For the apple puree, my preference is to use the pure fruit found in baby food rather than apple sauce. Of course, home made apple puree could be used but I'm not sure how that would effect the wet ingredients needed.
  • I would like to try it next time with wholemeal flour.

    Banana and Date Bread

    300g self raising flour
    1 tspn bicarb
    1 Tbspn mixed spice
    100g pitted dates, chopped 
    500g mashed banana
    150g apple puree
    100mL Rice Bran Oil
    250mL rice milk (approx)

    • Preheat oven to 180ºC and spray / grease a 12cm x 22cm loaf pan.
    • Sift together flour, bicarb and mixed spice.
    • Add banana, apple, oil and some milk and mix well.
    • Add enough milk to make a thick, slightly sloppy batter. 
    • Pour mix into pan and bake for approx 50 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010

    Back again!

    Gosh, it's been a while and so much has happened! Greg has his new job which involves a lot of travel, (he is, as I write, in the air, en route home from a conference in San Francisco), the girls are back at school and preschool, I've dabbled in a little work, helping out another Mum at school while she was away, we've started redecorating / renovating instead of moving house and I am also in the process of setting up a craft business!

    What has all this meant food-wise? A lot of rethinking!!

    My method of meal planning has had to undergo massive changes as sometimes Greg's travel plans change and he may end up being home or he may end up going away. This means that sometimes I may have too much food on hand (what can I do with it so as not to waste it) or too little. (need to go to the shops again). It really is amazing how one person's presence or absence in a house can make such a difference to the grocery shopping and amount of food consumed. We found out who eats all the rice crackers!! In fact, meal planning has become less important to me now as I move more to just making sure I have a good variety of fresh meat, fruit and vegetables on hand with the pantry staples.

    The pantry staples! Now this has been a major part of my rethinking! This year has seen a lot of reflection about how much "stuff" we live with including how much food we keep "on hand"! Do we really expect to have a siege anytime soon? Do we really live that far away from shops that we need to have so much in our cupboards? Do we really need to have 4 types of crackers and 3 types of rice? Okay, do I need these? Do I really need to have 8 different types of beans and lentils all in their own individual colour coordinated Tupperware Modular Mate container? At last count I had 6 different vinegars! I only ever have 2 maybe 3 types of breakfast cereals in the pantry but some people can have 6 or 7! Why? How do they stay fresh? If we have the space do we really need to fill it up?

    My kitchen is tiny and cupboard space is limited. I have extended the cupboards into the dining room where I did once have my beautifully arranged pantry behind glass doors for all the world to see. Unfortunately, I would also pick something to eat each time I walked past and saw something! So that had to move back into the kitchen behind an opaque door! The glass cabinet now displays our wedding China which does get used and my cookbooks.

    All these things have led to an amazing drop in the food bill which I thought was already quite reasonable given I would only buy what I thought was needed. Looks like I need even less!

    I would love to know what people keep in their pantries and if they know what they really have in there!!