Weekend food fest

Busy weekend doing thesis revisions… but there is always time for procrastinating (this time with baking) and then a fun filled evening food fest/ Eurovision screening with friends.

I’m a big fan of using up food that is already in the house….I’m not sure if this means I’m a tight-arse, or have been a student for too long. But I don’t like to waste food wherever possible. So, with some rapidly ripening bananas, and impending deadlines on my mind, it had to be afternoon tea baking of banana bread.

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IMHO, it turned out pretty good (well, it tasted nice, and isn’t that all that counts?). Here is the recipe if ever you find yourself in need of an excuse to bake, or use up bananas. I try to use ingredients I already have, so feel free to alternate with something you have close to hand.

Banana Bread (adapted from recipe by David Herbert, The Perfect Cookbook)

1 1/2 cups plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarb soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

approx 6 tablespoons coconut oil (I estimate this at the very end so it isn’t too oily; you may want to use softened butter or margarine instead – 100g)

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs, beaten

2 large very ripe bananas, mashed

1/4 cup plain yoghurt

1/4 cup milk

(This is my lazy version; feel free to sift the flour etc, but I prefer to eat it sooner, so have taken some short cuts 🙂

Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius. Prepare a loaf tin by lining with baking paper.

1. Place all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, bicarb soda, salt and sugar) in a large bowl and stir.

2. Beat the eggs and add to mixture. Add yoghurt and milk.

3. Mash bananas in separate bowl, then add to mix. Stir through. At this stage it will be roughly combined, so add only as much oil as you think it needs so it will stir through easily. Once it is all combined, pour into tin.

Bake in oven for 1 hour, or until the top is a nice brown and the centre is set (check with skewer).

(My oven usually takes an extra 20 minutes, but perhaps you have a better oven than I do? If cooking for longer, check with skewer regularly so it doesn’t burn).

All going to plan you should end up with something like this:

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Of course, this was consumed mere hours before a planned Eurovision screening/eat fest with some friends of ours… cue popping buttons!

Am I the only one who thought the zany brilliance of Romania was robbed?

We were certainly outraged! The only solution, copious amounts of sour cream (i.e.: Mexican Dip, and French Onion Dip)

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Sydney (food) Adventures – Marrickville

One of my favourite ways to entertain myself on limited funds (as I’m not working while I finish up my thesis, these are even more limited than usual) is to go on, what I like to call, a Sydney Adventure.

Basically this just involves spending time checking out various suburbs, usually involving food. This is particularly fun if you don’t ordinarily spend a lot of time there.

I must admit, I am biased when it comes to my own suburb. I love wandering around Marrickville, and could spend hours doing so. Particularly if I allow myself to stop for food and/or coffee along the way.

Today I had an even more legitimate reason for doing so, when my friend Miss A. said she was coming to Marrickville. Obviously I needed to take her to my favourite Vietnamese restaurant (anywhere, not just Marrickville – a huge call, I know!) Old Thanh Huong.

There are many reasons why this restaurant is amazing, not least of which the variety on the menu. This menu is literally one of the largest I’ve ever seen, easily running 15 pages. And it is not just Vietnamese food here, they also do a full range of Thai and Chinese dishes too. If you have ever dreamed of eating Emu or Crocodile in your favourite Asian dish, this is the place for you! On weekends it is always packed, and Friday and Saturday nights you are likely to have to wait outside for a table.

Going for lunch mid week was a rare treat, but after talking this place up, we felt up for the challenge of deciding what to order. Whenever Miss A. and I are together, we tend to order a. lot. and today was no exception:

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We went with some of my personal faves including the vegetarian rice paper rolls, Vietnamese pancake, vegetable and tofu pho and veggie spring rolls. As usual, it did not disappoint and we both left groaning under the strain of our bulging bellies, and having to adjust our pants (in the best possible way!).

Follow this up with a visit to either the Hellenic Bakery or one of the nearby cafes, and you are in for one delicious, belly busting afternoon, that is relatively light on the ‘ol wallet 🙂

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If you want to try the deliciousness for yourself, Old Thanh Huong is at 356 Illawarra Rd, Marrickville. Ph: 9558 0863.