Category Archives: Recipes

Foodie Friday: Ginger Banana Bread

I love ginger. I use it anywhere ginger can be used…and a few places it probably oughtn’t… so when I needed to use up a whole bunch of over-ripe bananas, guess where my mind went? I found this – thank you, Pinterest! – but it was not nearly ginger-y enough. Here’s my version:


Ginger Banana Bread

  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 ripe bananas or 3 frozen bananas, defrosted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 1/2 cup raisins pre-soaked overnight in 1/2 cup ginger tea (or you could use your favourite alcohol…)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2 cups sprouted spelt flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped crystallised ginger
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger

Spray a standard loaf tin with coconut oil and dust lightly with flour. Preheat oven to 350F.

Beat together the eggs and sugar until thick and lightened in color (about 5 minutes). Add the banana, vanilla, sour cream, raisins (and any remaining tea) and oil, and stir until combined.

In another bowl, mix the remaining ingredients together. Gently fold into the egg mixture.

Pout into the prepared loaf tin and bake until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean (about an hour).

Delicious slathered with butter while still warm, though the flavour will improve if kept. Also good toasted. Don’t expect it to last long…!




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Happiness Project: Bonfire Night

Until quite recently, Halloween was a not big thing in England. The major Autumn celebration is Bonfire Night, which commemorates the capture of Guido (Guy) Fawkes and the foiling of his plot to blow up Parliament. Of course, the bonfire and fireworks are the main event, but it wouldn’t be England if there weren’t some kind of associated food. Here are my favourites:

Bonfire toffee. I much preferred this to toffee apples, although it can be a tooth-breaker! This recipe comes from a book belonging to my my mother:


Parkin. A delicious Yorkshire version of gingerbread. More of this at a later date …
Jacket potatoes. Pretty universal these days, but I have clear memories of eating potatoes baked in foil, with butter and cheese (sharp cheddar of course) at the Boy Scout bonfire every year.

Happy days! What autumnal food brings back memories for you?

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Make-it Monday: Peach Tea Vodka

While in Charleston this summer, Lovely Man and I stopped at the Blind Tiger Pub for a break from the heat and humidity. The stop proved to be rather longer than planned due to our discovery of a little something called “Sex on the Plantation”. It’s basically a riff on Sex on the Beach, one of my favorite summer cocktails.

The main ingredient is peach tea vodka. The Blind Tiger uses Firefly‘s version, but we didn’t have time (or the luggage room) to track down a bottle to bring home. So, once home, I decided to have a go for myself.

I added the contents of a two packs of peach tea P1030229 (40 teabags) to a jar P1030231along with approximately three litres (roughly 100 fl oz) of vodka, sealed it and stored it in a cool, dark place. After about 2 weeks the vodka had taken on the color of black tea and smelled and tasted of peaches. You could add sugar at this stage (let it sit a little longer) if you like; I decided I preferred it without. I then strained off the tea and poured the resultant vodka back into bottles. IMG_7840

Party time!


P1030099 - Version 2

Sex on the Plantation cocktail

  • 1 1/2 oz  peach tea vodka
  • 1/2 oz peach schnapps
  • 2 oz cranberry juice
  • 1 oz orange juice.

Fill a shaker with ice cubes. Add all ingredients. Shake and strain into a chilled highball glass filled with ice. Enjoy!

Click here for other recipes from Firefly. Do you have a favorite summer cocktail? What lengths would you go to to reproduce it?


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Friday I’m in Love: Bacon Sarnie

Heading back to England for a few errands and a catch-up with everyone. I’m already salivating at the prospect of indulging in some of the foods I can’t get here…

Top of the list is Bacon. By which I mean back bacon. IMG_0186There is no American equivalent. This is one of the few English things I truly miss…to the extent that I even did a course at Altadena’s Institute of Domestic Technology to learn how to make it myself. Fun as well as useful…though I have yet to source the perfect cut. I’d love to hear from anyone in the Pasadena area who knows where I can get the right part of the pig!

Bacon is best eaten as a “sarnie” or butty”, the perfect indulgent breakfast, and an excellent hangover remedy!

What do you miss from your home?

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Raspberry-ginger Bellini recipe

Serves 8

Puree two small punnets (cartons) of raspberries and pass through a chinois to remove the seeds. Pour into a jug, add Ginger Simple Syrup to taste, and chill until ready to serve. Stir gently and pour a little of the mix into flutes (fill the glass about one-third way). Top up with sparkling wine such as prosecco, cava or California champagne. Enjoy!



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Ginger Simple Syrup and Ginger Vodka

Finely chop eight ounces (225g) of ginger. Add to a pan with 4 cups (approx 1 litre) of water and two cups (400g) of sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Cool and leave to steep overnight. Strain off the liquid, reserving the ginger pieces, into bottles and add a tablespoon of vodka to each to help it keep. This will keep, refrigerated for at least two weeks. The syrup can be used as a mixer for cocktails, or poured over ice-cream or fresh fruit.

Put the reserved ginger pieces into a large, wide-mouthed jar (the ginger should fill the jar to halfway- to two-thirds- full). Pour over enough vodka to fill the jar and fasten the lid. Keep in a dark place for at least a month, shaking occasionally to mix. Strain off the liquid and bottle. Drink chilled as shots or use in cocktails.

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