Treat!

This time of the year the hedgerows are still offering their bountiful autumn treats. Nothing beats a handful of blackberries when out for a walk!

A handful of autumn treats! Great!!

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Connected???

Bread and berries… connected? How? I’m going to show you a few photos to get the ball rolling…

On the make... toasted sarmie... yum!

The makings of a toasted sandwich or two…

The beauty of berries... on a few levels!!

Berries in a bowl. Connected? Not on your life. How would the two mix? Essentially they can’t and don’t. Until you take a step back. No… don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest you put berries on your toastie.

Both are foodstuffs… both are the basics for something good. On this day both were being prepared in the same kitchen. My good lady was making brunch while I was cleaning the berries… to add into a few loaves. There’s another connection. The berries came about 100 kms. The grand-kids helped with the picking, in their own garden. So, as a reward, one of the loaves went back to where the berries originated.

That’s food for you… it connects people. It connects cultures. Yep, even when things look totally unrelated they can be connected. Now, I’m wondering… could a berry toastie be an option? Nice and warm… with a dollop of rum and raisin ice cream splodged on top??

Summer berry loaf... too hot to handle... too good to pass by!!

Banana & Berry Loaf

Yes, I know. This is supposed to be a site all about meat and the art of braaiing. So, you’re quite correct in assuming I’ve sort of lost the plot… again. But darn… scroll down just a little and you’ll see what I had to contend with last time I made a braai fire. The resultant frozen mind warp conclusions drawn after that last braai? Two fold, I’ll wait until we have dry wood and charcoal before I braai again!

However, I’m usually in the mood to do something along the food line during weekends. The idea for a bit of a bake began at work. We are fortunate to have fresh fruit supplied each morning. On the odd occasion the bananas are not at their best and the young lad who brings the supplies takes the bruised fruit away. I asked one morning where the fruit goes, half expecting an answer of

“Oh… the chef uses it to produce loaves of … or… or…”

“In the bin,” was his answer.

“No, not anymore…” said I… “I’ll take the bananas home… my GLW makes a great banana loaf.”

So… I took the bananas home. In the mean time I had a brain wave… banana and raisin loaf? Could that be a runner? The GLW wasn’t at all in the mood for my crazy idea. OK, I thought… I do a search on the web to see if the idea was so far-fetched. No, there were pages of recipes. Pages!

I looked at a few of the top ranked and chose the one included below.

http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/6725/banana—raisin-loaf.aspx

On Saturday morning we rooted around in the cupboards to ensure we had all the ingredients required. The raisins were long devoured so we set off to get some of the bits, butter, eggs and raisins. The friendly German store’s raisin supply was also long devoured so my GLW selected a mixed berry and cherry sachet. A lady at work, who had also taken a few bananas to make her own loaf, mentioned blueberries giving a good zing to the loaf so I grabbed a 300 gram punnet for posterity.

Once back home the fun began… mix, squish, squash, beat… fold in… add fruit. At one point during the prep of the bananas Senior Son, my most strident critic, walked into the kitchen to inquire about the activity.

“Banana loaf?” 

He walked off, seemingly disinterested. A few minutes later he was back in the kitchen

“Why must you use rotten bananas?”

Aha… he was concerned that I would again be attempting to poison him, thought I… like so many other times!

“Ripe… soft, over ripe even,” answered I, “Not rotten.” 

Was that a snort of disdain I heard as he went off? Who cares, I was on a squishing roll.

When all the ingredients were well blended the wet mix went into the baking tins… then into the oven. The wait was on, like the expectant father I paced… and paced.

No, I went off to blog. Forty five minutes later the results were there for all to see. And the taste? Well, the hungry horde made short work of the first loaf. I’d say within 30 minutes of exiting the oven it was well gone. By Sunday morning the second one was also a thing of memory. My verdict? Hot or cold, the results are better that expected. Yes, even Senior Son had to admit, it was a winner!

So… Sunday morning I decided it was time to do it all again. For the camera and so I could take a loaf to work. Yes, every time I mention taking the bananas home I get slagged that I can’t make an edible loaf. Well, I beg to differ… here’s the proof!! (Click on the top left pic, then navigate for captions… )

I have a confession to make… we didn’t know where the kitchen scale had vanished to so all the measurements were approximations. The two batches differed significantly. The first was moist, almost wet, that’s why it worked well hot. The taste? Both were good…

Fresh from the oven...

Fresh from the oven… looking great!

Lessons learned? Find the scale… get smaller baking pans for this mix quantity, ie, three would be better than the two bread pans I used.

The softer the bananas the better! Did I say find the scale? Yes… I’ll do it again, using different dried fruit as the mood takes me… banana and fruit loaf… mmmm, good stuff, that’s for sure!

Cut them dear... cut them thick!! ;-)

Update 25 Feb 2014: – The last batch didn’t include blueberries or the dried berry mix but rather I substituted mixed nuts and raisins with the mix mentioned above. Also, as I had a scale to use I went even lighter on the sugar and made sure the mix was sloppy… that makes for a moist loaf… again, devoured by all…