Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Banana Cake

"Mama, can we have banana cake for snacks tomorrow?"
asked my little boy.

"Ok, since the bananas are over-riped." I told him.

"Yeah, we are going to have banana cake tomorrow!"
... chatted the little one, over and over again!

Sometimes, when I have no idea what to bake, I will ask the boys what they would like to eat. So far, they have requested for chocolate cake/muffins/cookies, cheese cakes and doughnuts. The banana cake came as a surprise to me. I suppose the two over-riped bananas must have looked yucky to the little one, and to get rid of it, he requested for banana cake? He knows I dislike throwing away food, leftovers especially, and that I have been using over-riped bananas in bakes ... kids are observant, and we adults, sometimes, have to be on our best behavior too =)

Since I was at Little Corner of Mine searching for a soup recipe, I took the opportunity to search for a banana cake recipe as well. It was worth the search. The loaf of banana cake rose beautifully in the loaf pan. Although the amount of butter used was a little too much to my liking, I gave myself the excuse that I needed that little extra "fuel" to lift my rather low spirits .... eating and seeing the people around me enjoy my bakes definitely helps to lift my low spirits and bring on a smile.

7 tbsp Butter, softened
1/2 cup Sugar
1 Large Egg
1 cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 Big Bananas, mashed (I use 2 medium bananas)
1/8 cup Whole Milk
1/4 tsp Vanilla Essence

  • In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and baking soda.
  • In another bowl, cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
  • Add egg, beat till smooth.
  • Add milk, vanilla essence and mashed bananas. Mix well.
  • Add the flour mixture.
  • Beat till combined.
  • Pour into a lined 9" x 4.5" loaf pan.
  • Bake at 350F for about 40 minutes, or till a pick inserted comes out clean.
  • Tent the cake with a piece of aluminium foil if the top browns before the cake is baked.
  • Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
  • Invert and let cool on cooling rack.
  • Store in an air-tight container.

The cake is really soft! It took a little longer than 30 minutes to bake, as I added two bananas instead of one. My bananas were not too sweet, so it was just the right amount of sweetness in this loaf. The crust was crispy, and the inside, soft. Hmmmm ... definitely a keeper, despite the high butter content.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Another cold winter day, another day for soup =)

I was surfing the web for new recipes when I chanced upon "Tong Sum Chinese Herbal Soup" from Little Corner of Mine. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe! I love chicken soup, and I love 党参. Plus, I am able to use most of the chinese herbs I have in the pantry =)

党参 and wolfberries, when soak in warm water for a couple of hours, yields a drink with mild herbal sweetness. Hence, whenever hubby dear needs to stay up late into the night to do his work/study, I will make a flask of it for him to bring to school. It is best consumed a few hours later ... the drink is sweet, and especially warming on a cold winter day in school. If you need to work late into the night, feel tired easily, have a lack of appetite ... you can give it a try.

But for now, I am happy to have chicken soup for dinner tonight!

淮山 4 sticks
北芪 2, cut into halves
党参 4 sticks, cut into 1" length
Wolfberries 1 tbsp
Red Dates 10 pcs
Dried Logan 5-6 pcs
Water 1 litre
Chicken Thighs 4 pcs

  • Pour 1 litre of water into a pot.
  • Put the chinese herbs, except 北芪 and 淮山, into the pot of water.
  • Soak these chinese herbs for half an hour to an hour.
  • Remove skin from the chicken thighs.
  • Wash and clean the chicken thighs.
  • Blanch the chicken thighs in boiling water.
  • Rinse the blanched chicken thighs in cold water.
  • After an hour, add the blanched chicken thighs, 淮山,北芪 to the pot with the other chinese herbs in it.
  • Bring the water to a boil.
  • Lower heat and simmer for 2 to 2.5 hours.
  • Add salt to taste before serving, if necessary.

The original simmering time is 4 hours, with no soaking of chinese herbs required. I do not have a slow-cooker, and I need to pick the kids up from school and can't leave the pot of soup on the stove cooking while I am out. Hence, I took a short cut ... I soaked the chinese herbs (all except 北芪 and 淮山 ) in water for almost an hour, before cooking it. Instead of 4 hours, I am going to simmer the soup for 2.5 hours.

Hmmmm ... the pot of chicken soup is simmering away as I am writing ... and the entire apartment is filled with the aroma of herbal soup .... I can't wait for dinner!

Monday, February 1, 2010


I was at the Asian Mart on Sunday, and picked up a section of the lotus root. Old Man Winter had been sending the biting cold air over the Midwest, and a bowl of warm Lotus Soup would cheer us up after a day out in the cold.

The recipe is from Cuisine Paradise.
Thanks for sharing the recipe!
My kids love this soup!

1.2 lb Country Style Pork Ribs
1.5 litres Water
4-5 pcs Red Dates
1 tsp Wolfberries
5-6 pcs 淮山 (or fresh 山药 15-20cm long)
1-2 stalks 党参 (cut into 1" strips)
2 pcs 北芪 (cut strips into halves)
1 莲藕 (cut thinly into wheels)

  • Wash and clean the pork ribs.
  • Blanch in boiling water.
  • Remove and rinse in cold water.
  • Put all ingredients into the pot.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Lower heat and simmer for 1.5 hours.
  • If using fresh 淮山, add it in before drinking the soup. Bring the soup to a boil and turn off heat. If it is left in the soup for too long, it becomes very soft and break apart, turning the soup milky.
  • Add salt to taste if necessary.

No photograph of the soup?
Well, I was so eager to drink the soup and start dinner, I forgot all about taking photographs of the final product! The meat was very sweet, and the soup tasted good, especially after I removed most of the oil in the soup =)

Related Posts with Thumbnails