This past weekend was filled with all manners of cooking activities and the chief ingredient was Jamaican Rum.

No, I am not a closet alcoholic, and no I do not need to join AA but I Must say that it proved to be an interesting ingredient to work with.

In Saturday morning, I decided that a decadent breakfast was the only way to kick off the weekend so I made banana bread French toast, with rum flambΓ©d bananas and caramel sauce.

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The recipe is simple enough to follow.

Ingredients (for one portion)

2 thick slices of banana bread
1 egg (beaten)
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 big banana
3 tablespoons rum
1/4 cup cream
3 tablespoons brown sugar
Butter (about 3 tablespoons)

The How To
Combine milk, cinnamon and milk in bowl and set aside. Heat a pan and add about 11/2 tbs of butter until butter melts, lower the heat. Dip sliced banana bread in egg mixture and allow it to soak up the mixture for a few seconds on both sides. Transfer to the pan and turn the heat up to medium. Cook each side for about 2 minutes or until golden brown. Take off the heat and keep French toast in a warm oven.

Slice bananas chunkily and set aside. In the same pan add the rest of the butter and melt on medium heat as the it begins to sizzle add bananas stir for a minute and add the rum. Tilt the pan carefully towards the open flame until the rum ignites. Set the pan upright and allow the alcohol to cook off. When the flame the pan self extinguishes take out the bananas and set aside. Add the brown sugar and cream stirring constantly. Allow to thicken and take off the heat.

Serve flambΓ©d bananas on top of the French toast with a dollop of cream and a drizzle of the sauce. This is a real family treat.

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Buoyed by my successful tango with the drink in the morning I decided in the evening that I would tackle the almighty rum cake recipe.

You might wonder what us unique about the recipe. Well it started a couple of months ago when I was chatting with a food enthusiast and she raved about Turtuga rum cake. Now to be honest before that conversation I didn’t even know that there was a place on earth called Turtuga or that their rum cake was a global phenomenon. There and then I decided I would make mine!

After scouring various recipes, I settled on one that promised to yield a cake that was as close to the Turtuga one. The recipe can be found here.

The only ingredient I omitted was the walnuts simply because I didn’t have any.

The cake isn’t complicated to put together but you have to be patient when drizzling the rum syrup over it.
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My cake was as drunk as a skunk and I didn’t use up the recommended amount of syrup.

I exercised a lot if restraint and didn’t attack the cake until the next day. It was impossibly moist and luxurious tasting.

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We had it with rum and raisin ice cream; what else? ! πŸ™‚

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If you can please give this recipe a go.

On this lazy Saturday morning, after an exhausting week of living in the gloom and doom of a nationwide petrol shortage,……..pause……for any reader who is not Nigerian, I live in wonderful country where issues like petrol scarcity and low electricity supply are just a few of the issues we contend with regularly……I decided that the pate brisee that had been languishing in the back of my fridge should come to good use. I blind baked it a few days ago and just hadn’t had time to do some thing with it.

Remember it was a lazy Saturday morning so there was no question of going out to shop. As I rummaged through my cupboard, fridge and pantry I gathered the following items

10 Eggs
1/2 cup Dried shiitake mushrooms (you can use fresh)
1 small White onion
4 pieces of Cheese (I used a cheese spread that comes in small triangular parcels)
4 tbs Cream
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
3 tbs chopped sun dried tomatoes
2 tbs chopped chives (from my herb garden)
2 tbs chopped basil (from my herb garden)
2 tbs butter
1 blind baked pastry crust (please see my Easy as Pie Part 2 post if you’re making your pastry from scratch and to learn about how to blind baked pastry)

The whole thing was easy enough to throw together.

Preheat your oven to 140 degrees centigrade.

Chop the onion and stir fry in a pan with butter until tender. Follow the instructions for rehydrating the mushrooms (usually boiling for a few minutes) drain chop and add to onion; if using fresh just wash, chop and add directly to the pan.

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Chop sun dried tomatoes and add to the happy family being established in your pan. Stir for a minute ensuring that the pan doesn’t burn or over heat. Season with black pepper and salt. Turn off the heat and set aside.

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Break 10 eggs in a medium sized bowl and add about 4 tbs of heavy cream, whisk well. Then add chopped chives and basil to the egg mix and incorporate properly. Now carefully add the happy sautΓ©ed mushroom, onion and tomato family to the bowl and stir.

Pour the mixture into your pie crust, careful not to overfill it as the egg will rise slightly. Next, scatter the cheese (roughly crumbled) over the surface of the egg mixture in the pie crust. I used my son’s cheese spread which is all I had on hand. On a good day I would use a more civilized soft mild cheese but today was not the day.

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Put in the oven for about 45 minutes or until the egg is just set in the middle. Allow the cool slightly and dig in! πŸ™‚

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I must say that the first mouthful delivered a burst of flavours! The earthiness of the mushroom paired with the onion and chives beautifully and the tomatoes and the basil were just so happy to connect with each other; the floral herby basil was nice ying to the yang of the sweet intense sun dried tomatoes. And to cap it off the mild soft cheese tied it all together by adding extra creaminess and balance. Let’s just say that I had a savory party in my mouth.

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In case you were wondering, I didn’t have time for my usual fancy shmancy plating. I scoffed the piece very ungainfully. Hey! Hubby is out of town so there was no need for the bells and whistles. Besides, with the little ones swarming around me it would have be a futile exercise πŸ™‚

FFF Top Tip: when making pate brisee or short crust pastry for savory dishes such as a quiche leave out the sugar or reduce the quantity.

May 26, 2014 Update

Over Easter I made another quiche basically using the same recipe. But for a fun take I made mini tarts too. They were pretty and tasty. In fact they were pretty tasty! πŸ™‚

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Since the holidays, I have had a pressing need to bake something and in the last few weeks, I have baked all manners of cakes, muffins and cookies.

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Today, I just had to make a recipe that I had developed in my head. I had been meaning to make coconut macaroons but wanted something a little different.

So I made coconut, almond and cranberry macaroons.

The cranberries added a tartness that countered the sweetness of the cookie. It was a nice balance and the chocolate rounded off the whole thing nicely.

Ingredients

3 cups shredded sweetened coconut
1 14 oz can of condensed milk
2 cups sliced almonds
2/3 cup dried cranberries
2 egg whites
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons rum extract (optional)

Topping

1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cream or condensed milk

The “How To”
Pre-heat Oven to 175 degrees centigrade and line two baking trays with parchment paper.

Whip egg whites till frothy with soft peaks and set aside.

Combine, flour, cranberries, coconut and almonds in a bowl. Then add condensed milk, vanilla, rum and almond extract and mix through thoroughly. Carefully fold In the egg whites until evenly combined. The rum extract adds an interesting dimension to the overall flavour profile. Next time I think I might try soaking my dry cranberries in actual rum. That should really be something!

Using a small ice cream scoop or wet hands from small balls and place on the lined baking sheets at least 2 inches apart.

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Put them in the oven for 15 minutes or until the edges a golden. Take them out immediately and cool to ensure that they retain crunch on the outside and moistness within. Don’t worry they’ll feel gooey at first but as they cool they’ll firm up.

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For the chocolate topping, simply place chocolate chips in glass heat proof bowl or metal bowl. Place bowl over a pot of boiling water and stir as chocolate melts. Because it’s dark chocolate you’ll end up with stodgy mixture add cream or condensed milk to thin it out and even out the texture. Take off the heat and drizzle completely cooled treats with chocolate. You may also opt to dip the macaroons in the chocolate mixture.

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That’s it! Enjoy!!

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