Saturday, 26 February 2011

Banana Walnut Bread

The perfect use for old bananas is, I find, some banana walnut bread. I prefer mine with a bit of a bite to it and add in walnuts, but these can be omitted. Browned bananas can be frozen and then used later on for this recipe, I find bananas freeze well when left in the skin, just let them thaw before peeling.

Banana Bread: makes for one loaf
  • 3-4 bananas peeled and mushed up with 1 tsp. baking soda (set aside)

  • 120 gr brown sugar
  • 1 egg
-mix together the sugar and egg in a separate bowl until creamy, add in the following
  • 230 gr whole wheat flour, can also use pastry flour
  • 80 gr chopped walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc.
  • 3 tsp maple syrup, just to add some subtle flavours,
- mix all together including the banana mixture until combined

- place into a buttered rectangular loaf form
- I decorated mine with a line of walnuts down the middle
- bake in a pre heated oven at 180 degrees C for about 50 minutes or until the tester comes out clean
- allow to rest for a minute or so in the form and then gently pop out on to cool down properly

En guetä!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Ziit für Zopf

Ziit für Zopf or in English time for Zopf is for many families on a Sunday. A very simple form of comfort for the Swiss abroad, Zopf brings back many happy memories for many of those who have lived in Switzerland. Zopf pairs itself well with home made jams, jellies and of course Nutella or the day after as a sandwich bread lightly toasted and then with some good European style cheeses and ham on top. It also freezes well so after baking cool it down and then place in a plastic bag and into the freezer if you will not use it in the next couple of days. The evening before you want to enjoy take it out of the freezer and let it thaw, reheat in the oven to give it that delicious out of the oven warmth before serving.

The following recipe is from Betty Bossi:

  • 500         gr.         white flour
  • 3/4          Tbsp.    salt           
- mix in bowl

  • 20           gr.          yeast
  • 1             Tsp.        sugar
  • 60           gr.          butter, in pieces, soft
  • 3 1/4 - 31/2 dl          milk, lukewarm
- add together all ingredients, mix and then kneed into a smooth dough. For about 10 minutes knead the dough on a flat work surface until the inside has an even amount of air bubbles. Place the kneaded dough into a bowl and cover with a moist kitchen towel, keep at room temperature for approximately 1 1/2 hours so that it doubles in size.

The image is from and I sincerely hope that your Zopf dough will be smoother than the above shown. Zopf dough can also be made into rolls or one large bread. I prefer to make two or three smaller Zopf and freeze the extra one. Just make sure you have two equal pieces when you braid the Zopf. Once braided let the Zopf settle again on the baking sheet for about half an hour. The Zopf is painted with one beaten egg using a pastry brush. Bake at 200 degrees C for approximately 35 minutes in the bottom half of the oven. To check if your Zopf is done knock on the bottom of it. When it makes a hollow-esque sound it is done.

 En guetä!

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Signs of spring

Slowly the warm weather approaches. Warmer winds, green grasses peering out from the snow and the deer being cockier than normal. With this time comes a need for light and lovely pastels, some vintage reading and long walks outdoors.

The following cupcakes are similar to those I made for Valentines, though quite obviously without the green icing, instead I used a wonderful happy rose colour. The following recipe is adapted from the Barefoot Contessa. These are not as sweet as normal chocolate cupcakes due to the use of cocoa powder, if you want sweeter cupcakes you could use chocolate powder as a substitute or in a half and half mixture.

120 gr unsalted butter, at room temperature 
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, not packed  
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup 2% milk, at room temperature
2 tbsp. whipping cream
1/2 sour cream, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup  cocoa powder   
2 teaspoons baking soda 
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

Cream the butter and 2 sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower the speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, cream and sour cream. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa and baking soda. On low speed, add the milk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the milk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only to blend. Fold the batter with a rubber spatula to be sure it's completely blended.

Divide the batter among the cupcake pans (makes about 18 cupcakes). Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

The frosting is a simple cream cheese frosting.
1 package of cream cheese, at room temperature, can be low fat if preferred
1 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp. mascarpone
1 tbsp. un salted butter, at room temperature
your choice of food colouring

- best is to mix everything but the food colouring until it has creamy consistency, then add the food colouring a little at a time until you reach your desired colour.


Monday, 31 January 2011

Snow & Sun: Time for Fondue

As the winter day draws to a close and your fingers stiffen from the cold or typing (take your pick) thoughts turn to dinner. Have you decided? I feel like it is time for a fondue. Whether you enjoy it with various artisan breads, cut pears and apples, or if you have a secret family recipe, fondue is simple and quick to make. Just make sure you have good quality cheeses and your favourite dry white wine, I prefer Chasselas which is typically used in Switzerland. Using stronger cheeses, for example a strong Vacherin or an aged Gruyère, gives fondue a nice edge to it. The best though is to experiment with cheese and the types of flavours each contributes. Eventually you too will have a recipe made to perfection.

*image from

The following recipe is from the Swiss "Betty Bossi" and makes a great base for fondue virgins:

600 gr White bread with rind (Baguette works best) cut into mouth sized cubes and leave aside

400 gr Stronge Gruyère
400 gr Fribourg Vacherin grate both directly into the prepared Caquelon

300 mL White wine (example Chasselas)
1 Tbsp Corn starch mix both together and then add to the grated cheese

1 pc Garlic without the skin (cut in half, before cheese has been added rub on inside of Caquelon)
2-3 Tsp Kirsch add both to cheese

add Musket nut powder, Paprika or Pepper for taste

Cooking instructions:

-once the inside of the Caqyelon has been coated by the garlic (which you can leave inside for added flavour) and the cheese has been added the Caquelon can be placed on the stove top to start melting the cheese, now you can added (one after the other) the remaining ingredients. Make sure the heat is on low and that you stir constantly but slowly. Once the mixture is completely melted serve immediately.


- if the mixture separates (oils from the cheese coming to the top etc.) mix together 1 Tsp. Cornstarch with a small amount of White wine and a drop of lemon juice, and stir into the fondue. This will help to bind the mixture together

- if you don't want to use wine substitute with a non alcoholic apple wine

- use cut up apples, pears, mushrooms etc. for dipping as well

En guetä!!