Spunky banana bread

banana-bread-3Everybody loves a good banana bread. Somewhere in between a dessert and a savoury, and labelled as bread to make it a valid “healthy option”. Win win.

The reason why this one is so spunky, however, is due to the addition of dark chocolate and a few handfuls of toasted flaked almonds. The original recipe called for hazelnuts but it was 11:15am, my shift was due to start at 12pm, and I had to make the executive decision to use the already ready almond flakes over my non-toasted non-chopped hazelnuts. It was a decision that I did not regret! Yes, I was a wee bit late to work – but I came bearing freshly baked cake and soon all was forgiven and forgotten…!

Ingredients 

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 175g brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups mashed banana
  • 70g toasted almonds (flaked or slivered)
  • 90g chopped dark chocolate
  • 255g plain flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate powder (baking soda), sifted
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 115g golden syrup

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160ºC.
  2. Prepare a 26cm x 11cm loaf tin.
  3. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla extract together until well combined and creamy.
  4. Add the eggs one by one, beating well in between.
  5. Finally, add the banana, almonds, chocolate, flour, baking powder, bicarbonate powder, cinnamon and golden syrup and stir to combine.
  6. Spoon mixture into your loaf tin.
  7. Bake for 75 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
  8. Cool in the tin for 20 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

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White Elephant beach cafe

white-elephant-cafe-1 white-elephant-cafe-2 white-elephant-cafe-3 white-elephant-cafe-4 white-elephant-cafe-5 white-elephant-cafe-6 white-elephant-cafe-7 white-elephant-cafe-8 white-elephant-cafe-9It’s amazing how much you notice the weather change during the drive down south. We embarked from Perth on a 39 degree Celsius day and I’d packed four sundresses, a pair of shorts and a bikini. Thank goodness I threw in a cardie at the last minute! Searingly bright blue skies were replaced by muted grey clouds, and unforgiving rays of sun made way for a nippy breeze that surely raised goosebumps!

Breakfast at The White Elephant was tasty and unfussy. A lovely view of the waves constantly lapping against Gnarabup beach was the perfect accompaniment to my bacon and eggs on toast. The coffee too was just right. As their sign recommends, if you look out onto the ocean and look left you will notice a formation of rocks that resembles an elephant’s head side on with just a tiny stretch of the imagination!

Alas, the water was way too icy to take a dip. But fret not, we’ll definitely return to this spot on a future road trip.

White Elephant beach cafe / Gnarabup Rd, Gnarabup WA / Mon-Sat 7:30am – late / Sun 7:30am-10pm

Piccolo’s Corner

piccoloscorner-1 piccoloscorner-3 piccoloscorner-2The other day, I finished my morning shift at work a little bit early and decided to meet Jinn at our new favourite local cafe, Piccolo’s Corner. This cosy little gem is located in the leafy suburb of West Leederville, just a stone throw’s away from our place.

Enjoy a cooked brekky with a beverage of your choice (so far I’ve had their coffee and chai latte – both are ace) inside their quirky interior or sunny garden, both characterised by a mixture of vintage bric-a-brac and cutting edge street art. Get there early on the weekend or be prepared to wait in line!

Piccolo’s Corner / 58 St Leonards St, West Leederville / Tuesday – Friday 7:00am to 4:00pm, Saturday & Sunday 8:00am to 2:00pm

Ivanhoe Cafe

ivanhoe-cafe-1-2Ivanhoe Cafe is one of those places that you stumble across and are like, “Why have I never been here before?!?!” My Kimberley job involves me flying to Kununurra every six weeks to do paediatric clinics over there, but most days we finish late when most things are closed and we’re thoroughly exhausted. After my final week in Kununurra (I feel quite sad saying that), Jinn flew up from Perth to join me so we could explore the East Kimberley a bit more. On our last day together, after frolicking in springs and climbing through gorges for the past few days we just felt like having an easy morning and stumbled upon this little place for breakfast.

The cafe has a thoroughly organic, almost lived in feel. It’s nestled amongst these giant mango trees that provide you with ample shade to enjoy your meal. We both ordered the breakfast muffin which came filled with yummy bacon slices, fresh salad greens, and an egg fried to runny-yolk perfection. It also came with a little dipping bowl of pretty mind-blowingly good housemade tomato chutney! The finishing touch was that golden yolk flowing out and coating the contents of the muffin with sunny, creamy goodness. Totally satisfying.

It was just perfect to relax under those great trees, enjoying good company (and pretty good coffee too!). And if you’re still hungry for more, the place sells housemade jams, chutneys, ice cream and local honey too. We left the place with contented stomachs, a shopping bag full of mango jam and that irresistible tomato chutney, sipping on our mango smoothies to go.

Bliss.

Ivanhoe Cafe / Ivanhoe Rd, Kununurra / +61 8 9168 1774 / Open 7 days a week 8:00am – 4:00pm (April to September)

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Bits and Bobs – Easter Edition

easter-bits-bobs-11 easter-bits-bobs-13 aisurusushi-3 easter-bits-bobs-10 easter-bits-bobs-9 easter-bits-bobs-7 easter-bits-bobs-8 easter-bits-bobs-1 easter-bits-bobs-2-2 easter-bits-bobs-3 easter-bits-bobs-4 easter-bits-bobs-5 easter-bits-bobs-1-2A quick and objective-filled weekend back in Perth. What were my objectives? Find myself an outfit worthy of my 30th birthday celebration, eat some of Mumsy’s finest home-cooked specialties, and stuff myself silly with dim sum. Tick, tick and tick!

1. My David Austen roses thriving in Jinn’s care.

2. A highly successful day at Black Beret in Mount Lawley. Not one but TWO Rachel Gilbert dresses are now in my possession! (Stay tuned for an outfit post from the day!)

3, 4, 5. Heading out for dinner on Saturday night. Not at the newly opened Jamie’s Italian though! We thought we might try our luck for a sneaky post-dinner dessert, but there were people still queuing for dinner at 9:00pm!

6, 7. Trying out the highly popular Taiwanese dessert place in Northbridge, Meet Fresh. So Asian. So good.

8, 9. My furbaby.

10, 11. Chilling with records and tea.

12, 13. Easter Monday breakfast at ours with a sleepy Gabs.

Nothing rhymes with granola (The Silver Spoon #2)

Seriously, nothing does. Except for canola, but that’s barely exciting, is it?

While we were in the United States I developed a taste for the country’s very popular breakfast staple – granola. So after we returned I’d been trying to emulate the taste with various cereals and mueslis with mixed success rates. I happened to wander into the Cottesloe Boatshed Market to kill some time and of course to ogle their ever-changing, ever-beautiful, hunger-inducing displays of fresh produce when I spied my very heart’s desire. Well, more like my stomach’s desire.

So, today’s taste test is handmade granola from the Irrewarra Sourdough Bakery. Based in rural Victoria, the bakery was set up by two ex-Melbournian lawyers (a husband-and-wife team) in the restored stable of Irrewarra House in the year 2000. Initially more well-known for their bread, they soon diversified to include granola and sweet baked products into their repertoire. Their granola professes to contain only whole unprocessed natural ingredients with honey as the sole sweetener (no nasties!).

I have to admit, it didn’t taste quite like the granola I’d had in the states, mainly in that it wasn’t as sweet so that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I had paired it with a relatively sour Greek yoghurt so it was possibly even my own fault. That said, the texture, the mix of grains and the yummy roasted almonds and walnuts still made it a delicious and healthy breakfast. Next time, I’ll probably add some strawberries or blueberries (my favourite!) and possibly (if I’m naughty) a smidge more honey.

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