Monday, 21 March 2011

A Baking Bonanza - Banana Cake, Bread and Biscuits

Over the space of 4 hours today I managed to get done what I have been trying to do for the last 2 months.
Earlier this year the oven from my upright stove stopped working.  The stove top still worked but no oven, no grill.
Parts were ordered and a repair man came and replaced what appeared to be a faulty part and left.  I turned the oven dial and hooray the oven was working again so I set about preheating the oven and making some biscuits.
Then 5 minutes later and "Click" and off goes the oven. Ahrrrrr!
It's now after 5pm on a Friday so the biscuit dough goes into the freezer and it's another weekend without an oven.
Monday rolls around, I call the electrician explain what happened and he orders another part believing the first to be faulty, and 2 weeks later the saga repeats and he is back to install it, again. 
Turns out that it wasn't the oven at all, but a faulty wire in the fuse board that failed when ever the was a load put on it (ie lots of power needed to heat the oven).  Bless that electrician and his patience my issue is finally resolved.
So back to the baking.

The Bread
Last year the ABC ran a fantastic cooking series "The Free Range Cook" staring Annabel Langbein and all about creating great home cooked meals using produce from the garden with very little fuss.
Annabel demonstrated a "Busy Peoples Bread" that I had been dying to try. 
There is no kneading or waiting for it to rise, it makes two loaves and the mix takes less than 15 minutes to make.  So I gave it a go.
Despite the fact that it sunk in the middle (because I should have given it 5 minutes more and was too impatient to wait) it was fantastic and I will be making it again.  If you like a Vogels style loaf that is moist and full of seeds then this one is for you.
I also think I will try out some different seed combos for the filling, I'm thinking pumpkin seeds and linseed's in the mix.

The Banana Cake and Biscuits
While the bread was baking I got the biscuit dough out of the freezer to finally make those biscuits I'd been waiting to make.  And then i saw the bananas.
Hubby loves to have banana smoothies for breakfast but doesn't like really overripe bananas (who would have thought it mattered for a smoothie but apparently it does).
So because I hate to waste food every over ripe banana goes into the freezer and if I'm not careful that one banana a week builds up till the freezer door is over run with frozen bananas.
Clearly an banana cake was on the cards.
So I whipped up the cake mix while the bread finished cooking and the biscuit dough thawed and as the bread came out the cake went in.  Then while the cake cooked and the bread cooled the biscuits took shape.  Two dozen choc chip,  two doz jam drops and a dozen cranberry.
I have been using the same basic biscuit recipe for ages and just change the fillers.  It is so simple with only 4 ingredients, makes 5 - 6 dozen biscuits depending on how big you make them and the dough freezes well for a few months (as I well know).
Now we all know that biscuits are not good for us in excess, but since both the dough and the cooked biscuits freeze well you don't have to eat them all at once, plus they are cheap to make and you know exactly what went into them.
I have attached the recipe so feel free to make up your own cookie creation.

Basic Biscuits

500gm Butter                                          
1 Can of Condensed Milk
1 Cup of Sugar
6 - 6 cups of Self Raising Flour
Fillings/Toppings to your liking

Cream butter and sugar, add condensed milk and mix well, stir in flour.  Divide mix and add Chocolate chips, sultanas or other fillings at this stage. Shape into balls and flatten. For Jam drops make a dent in the flattened biscuit and add 1/4 tsp of jam.  Bake 180 degrees for 10 minutes or golden the cool on racks.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Fiona, this is Mark from Brisbane. Have you considered a wood stove? All your baking in a wood stove is so much more flavoursome. A truck load of fire wood every couple of months should be plenty i think. And the smell through the house is awesome. And you have your house heated in winter. Tick! Tick! Tick!!


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