Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Love FOOD Hate WASTE (ing) Bananas

1.6 million bananas wasted each day according to this article at the very brilliant lovefoodhatewaste.com - Well it doesn't happen here. I am out and out proud that we now never ever throw bananas away. I thought we were quite good before when on the whole, most would get used up by making Nan's banana and honey tea loaf. Though I have to admit that sometimes more than a few ended up in the compost bin.

Now in the Little Foodies household EVERY single brown banana gets frozen. Sometimes even when they're not brown they get frozen, though the brown ones give a much sweeter taste when using them in ice cream, smoothies and cake.

We peel them, chop them up, put them in a freezable container, pop them in the freezer for a minimum of 2 hours and then we have the making of some fairly average tasting banana dishes. Oh it's so not worth the effort! I mean why do we bother when we could add to the 1.6 million banana high pile in the sky... We could take them outside, put them on pavements, hide with a video camera, ready to film some unsuspecting passerby as they slip. Of course that's childish and dangerous and we don't advocate that sort of thing around here, so instead we do freeze them and so far not one thing we've made has tasted average.

We've been given many thumbs up for frozen banana ice cream. We've been given hugs, and even a round of applause for the banana based smoothies. Nan's banana and honey tea bread always goes down well and it doesn't seem to suffer if made with frozen bananas so long as they're defrosted before using. Freezing bananas is the way forward. In fact freezing fruit that wont get eaten, that will go off and have to be thrown away, wasted, is the way forward full stop.

Banana ice cream - this isn't new and it's not rocket science, there's even a recipe for it on the lovefoodhatewaste website. Peel and chop bananas, then freeze. Then simply take out as many frozen banana pieces as you want (we like approximately one banana per person) and pop them in a blender. Blitz until it goes creamy, , it will be fairly softpossibly the best banana ice cream you'll ever taste. No cream, no sugar, just gorgeous!

Banana based smoothies - to make enough for 4 -
Note: you don't have to use frozen bananas for the smoothies it's just that we like our smoothies super chilled and using frozen bananas seems to give that indulgent feel of drinking melted ice cream.

Place in a blender - two bananas, (that have been chopped into pieces and frozen if you wish),
a cup of plain natural yogurt,
3 cups of apple juice,
Blitz until smooth, if too thick add more apple juice a little at a time.

If you like it a bit sweeter then add honey to taste.

Variations: You could add strawberries (our favourite of the moment), I'm sure you could add almost any fruit you like. The key is to experiment and have things that you like, you could also use different fruit juices or flavoured yogurts, perhaps ones that need using up which are heading for the bin, (better to use them up than waste them) - If you were feeling naughty you could add chocolate powder, though what's naughty about that I really don't know!

Check out lovefoodhatewaste.com for lots of great information, and of course for more banana recipes including some different smoothies and the ice cream as mentioned above.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

After first day at school food

Small woke up in a bad mood and announced that he wouldn't be starting school today, he went back to bed and ten minutes later got up, jumping about exclaiming how excited he was to be starting school. Just shows what an extra ten minutes in bed can do for you. I know this from experience as still being in bed having an extra ten minutes I missed this little drama!! Good job too or I'd have either cried or said okay he didn't have to start school now or ever if he didn't want to. So he did actually go, he has started school - It was a lot less traumatic than first time round... Maybe because Hubs was there to give me a big hug this time. The bell went and Little ran off to his class without saying goodbye, this was not a good start. I've said before about their routine where they hug and kiss each other goodbye, we all have to do it and then it seems to make saying goodbye okay for them. Doesn't work for me, I'm rubbish at saying goodbye! Anyway, I'll spare you the amateur dramatics as he was there for less time than he used to spend at nursery and it will remain like that until the Summer term next year... He's not overly impressed that he can't stay for lunch and wants to get his first pair of school shoes muddy!

As for after school food I'll be making noodle broth with pork balls, recipe soon and I'll also be making some eggy bread (using brioche) with blackberries and blackberry sauce served with ice cream just like this version we made the other week.

Blackberries washed and in a pan with some sugar and a few tablespoons of water.

Brioche cut into slices, dipped in egg and fried (cutting out shapes if your heart should so desire).

Assemble the eggy bread, blackberries, blackberry sauce and ice cream - delicious!

Monday, 1 September 2008

Absence makes the heart shrink and Spicy Green Tomato Chutney

So much going on... lots of posts written, blogging legs lost, inability to hit the publish button. How do you start blogging again when you've been absent for so long? Feelings of inadequacy, in limbo, gone off taking pictures of food all the time. Need to lose weight but continue to feed the children great food, can this work alongside food blogging??? Quandries, quandries...

Little starts back at school this week. During the school holidays he's learned to swim unaided, has been allowed to start cooking HOT things (it's okay we had the emergency services on standby) he's even had a few golf lessons with a pro. I know, I know, how to ruin a good walk, the shame of it...

Small starts school for the first time this month too. I cried and cried when Little started school. I'm guessing there'll be a few tears this time too. Does every mum feel like that? I always feel like I've lost part of me when the holidays end. The end of an era, both children will be at school. There's possibilities of me working - this will be an immense shock to the system. There's still the possibility of a dog too, though I'm realising that this could be a mistake if I am going to be working....

Veg Patch News: We're still getting strawberries every day. The blueberries had all gone by the time we returned from an extended trip to Spain. We got one apple from the little fledgling tree that was planted earlier in the year - we shared it between the four of us! The carrots are delicious! The potatoes are great, though they've all got something called scab. Sounds and looks disgusting but it's only on the skin and once you peel them they're superb. Definitely a case of beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We threw away over 5 kilos of green tomatoes yesterday - they'd all succumbed to blight. This was after darling hubs had made copious amounts of delicious green tomato chutney. It's such a horrible feeling when so much hard work and effort has gone into planting your own veg to have it fail. Still I'm hoping the pumpkins are going to be a winner and that the corn grows a tiny bit more. We've also put some radishes and lettuce in which germinated within 4 days, the lettuce should be ready within the week.

Spicy Green Tomato Chutney (makes approx 8 or 9 x 250g jars).

1 kilo Green Tomatoes, washed and chopped
500g Dark Brown Soft Sugar
1 kilo Onions, peeled and finely sliced.
250g Raisins
250g Sultanas
Handful of dried apricots, chopped
1 litre Malt Vinegar
1 inch Fresh Ginger, peeled and finely grated
Seeds from 10 Green Cardamon Pods (gently crush the pods and remove the seeds)
2 teaspoons Mild Chilli Powder
2 piri piri chillis, finely sliced
2 tablespoons of salt

We placed all the ingredients in a very large, heavy based Le Creuset saucepan, brought it up to the boil and then turned down to simmer for 1.5 hours. It still seemed a little runny so we let it simmer for a further 30 minutes. On tasting Hubs also felt it needed a little more sugar, so he added some light brown soft sugar (approx 3 tablespoons) and a little more chilli powder. Decant into sterlised jars, we did this by putting them in a warm oven for about an hour (we forgot about them), best to look up how to sterilise jars properly as we're no experts here and botulism is a serious thing, cover and leave to cool before putting a lid on.
You can play with the seasonings. Add cumin maybe, or more chilli or don't put the chilli in. We like things with a kick, hence adding more part way through cooking. It's excellent served with a mature cheddar & wholemeal crusty bread - speaking from immediate experience...

Getting tomato blight feels like the dementors from Harry Potter have arrived, slowly seeping into your thoughts, sucking the happiness and soul out of you. Should you get tomato blight , google it and learn all sorts of horrible crabby facts. My lovely friend Fiona is always good for these sorts of things, try her post here, which has some links to other sites too.. Ensure you dispose of the infected plants using special chemical biohazard suits, do not under any circumstances touch it with your real human hands as touching other things could then spread the disease. Dispose of the soil they were grown in, again carefully and without infecting the land around you, you could try calling some bio-hazard company or possibly the goverment. Do this as quickly possible and then hit the gin. It's the only cure to restore happy thoughts or soul after having a very large cry that is!

Tomato blight looks like this!


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