I’ll make you banana pancakes, pretend like it’s the weekend now*

Mini Stovies can’t get enough of these right now; our own Banana and Date Pancakes, which we are only too happy to make by the mountain load at the weekend. Thanks to the minimal sugar and two portions of fruit this is a happy healthy brekkie for all the family.

The recipe below will make six 4-5 inch pancakes, multiply to your heart’s delight.

2 Large eggs
300 ml Milk
250g Plain flour
1 tsp Baking powder (heaped)
1-2 tsp Sugar
2 Bananas, sliced
A handful of dried dates, chopped

Separate the eggs and beat the whites until stiff. In a large bowl mix together all of the ingredients bar the fruit and mix until smooth. Gently fold in the egg whites.

Heat a small frying pan and wipe lightly with oil or melted butter – just dip a piece of kitchen towel into the butter/oil and swish it over the pan.

Pour a enough batter into the pan to cover to the edges, scatter some chopped dates and a few slices of banana into the cooking pancake. When the top starts to bubble and set flip it over and cook until you can hear the banana pieces sizzle.

Serve warm. For a really indulgent twist spread with peanut butter. Mmmmmmmmmmm.

* a little lyrical accompaniment to your brekkie? Thanks Jack Johnson!

Use your loaf!

Meatloaf hasn’t enjoyed a particularly good rep in Stovies’ house, purely because in movies the prospect of meatloaf us usually met with a groan and eaten under duress. Perhaps it’s just the name that makes it seem unappealing, Mr Stovies solution to this would be to rename it meatcake. Mrs Stovies just wants to cook it more often! This recipe will feed eight fairly ravenous folk for a celebration feast.

Stovies’ Mighty Meatloaf:

500g Minced beef
500g Minced pork
200g Breadcrumbs
12 Slices Parma ham
1 large Red onion
1 tsp Garlic powder
2 Eggs
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp Brown sauce
2 tbsp Tomato ketchup
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Small handful fresh mint
2 Sprigs fresh rosemary
A handful fresh parsley

Very finely chop the onion, it needs to be really small so even better, grate it (and suffer onion flavour hands for ever!) or pop it in a magimix type contraption. Transfer to a large mixing bowl with the minced pork and beef.

Make the breadcrumbs and sling them in too. Top tip here: use breadsticks instead of stale bread and simply chop up in a blender. They come out a lot like panko crumbs.

Next put the garlic powder, eggs and condiments into the blender with the herbs. You will need to remove the leaves from the stalks although not each and every one, just enough to get rid of the woody or stringy stalks. Whizz until finely chopped then add to the meat. Thoroughly mix the while lot together with your hands. Yes, it’s messy and feels squelchy but it’s worth it. Alternatively use a food mixer with a dough hook or a bread machine with the heat turned off. Please don’t use a mixer with knife blades, you’ll end up with sludge!

Roll out a piece of clingfilm about 80cm long onto the work surface then place another next to it, overlapping enough to make a square. Repeat, this time at 90 degrees to the first layer. Make one last layer then lay the Parma ham on top, in the middle, towards the front. To make the ham wrapping paper the right size lay out eight slices vertically, overlapping slightly. Use the remaining four slices horizontally above the other strips to make a large rectangle. Dollop the meaty mix in a line across the ham, leaving an inch or so of space at either side. It’ll be 2-3 inches tall when its all on. Using the clingfilm as an aide, wrap the ham around the meat then tightly roll the whole lot up, twisting the ends to make a neat sausage shape.

Cocoon the meatloaf in another couple of layers of clingfilm the place in a roasting tin half filled with water. Bake in a medium oven, gas 4, for 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 hours. To test if it is ready, pierce the centre of the loaf with a knife. It the juices run clear, Bob’s your uncle. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes before unwrapping and carving.

Dish up with mash or roasties, plenty of seasonal veg and a simple red wine gravy.

Bananarama

Mr Stovies isn’t so much of a cake maker but this banana loaf is a stalwart of his recipe book and even he can’t mess it up! We’re also led to believe it’s at least 1 of your 5 a day. Maybe even more…

Just in case the title of this post got you wondering if the 80’s popsters were still alive, they are and they’re still performing. It’s not pretty but this cover of their hit Love in the First Degree is.

Ingredients:
4 medium ripe bananas
100g white chocolate, chopped into chunks
125g softened butter
3 eggs
3tbsp golden syrup
1tbsp coconut
250g selff raising flour
200g sugar

First things first, preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and grease a reasonable sized loaf tin (about 1lb size).

Peel the bananas and break them into a large mixing bowl. Smash to a pulp using a hefty wooden spoon. Takes a bit of time but it’s fun!

This bit is a little more taxing – dump all other ingredients in and mix very well into a nice smoothish cake batter. There will still be some lumps of chocolate and banana but the rest of the mixture should be smooth. It’s best to use a spoon and some good old elbow grease for this, mechanical mixing devices will destroy the good lumps.

Pour the batter into the greased tin and bake for an hour to an hour and a half. From an hour onwards check on the loaf regularly as the ripeness of the bananas and the strength of your oven will vary the cooking time. When baked fully it will have risen and be nice and springy to the touch. The standard spike test may not work too well here though as the choc chips and banana will leave goo streaks on it!

Leave in the tin for about quarter of an hour before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

Great served warm with some crème fraîche or custard. The white chocolate turns deliciously caramelly but you could swap it out for a rich dark chocolate and some walnuts instead.

A New York state of mind

Ok, so this isn’t a cook from scratch recipe, it’s more of a Delia’s How to Cheat style recipe. You could make the dough, wait for it to rise whilst you make the sauce and have a lovely jubbly homemade pizza to top in a New York stylee. Or you can do what we did in new baby mode and add toppings to a fancy cheese and tomato pizza from the supermarket.

For one New York Deli Pizza you will need:

1 posh cheese and tomato pizza
pastrami slices
sliced gerkins
1 ball of mozarella
caraway seeds
American mustard

Firstly sprinke some caraway on top of the pizza. Tear up the mozzarella and scatter. Double cheese is always good. Lay on plenty of  pastrami strips, top with gerkin slices, drizzle with mustard and finally sprinkle on a touch more caraway. Bake in the oven according to the instructions on the box.

Ta da! Lazy but oh so good.

Beans, beans, good for the heart…

You have probably realised by now that here at Stovies’ Towers we like to eat meat. However, many of our recipes can be adapted to suit a veggie, or even a vegan. If you’re that way inclined.

This risotto is one of those dishes, leave the pancetta out and you have a filling vegetarian version. Alternatively use the meat-free version as a side dish for grilled fish or chicken. The quantities below will feed 4 as a main course on it’s own or 6 as a side.


Butter Bean and Pancetta Risotto

250g Risotto rice
1 Can of butter beans, drained and rinsed
130g Pancetta cubes (for some reason pancetta always comes in wee packs of two, use both and it’ll be dandy)
1 medium Onion, finely chopped
A handful of chopped flat parsley
1 tsp dried Tarragon
2tbsp Cold pressed rapeseed oil or butter.
200ml White wine
500ml Hot vegetable stock + 500ml hot water (or 1l hot water + 1 stock cube)

In a large, flat bottomed saucepan fry the pancetta in the oil, when it is slightly coloured add the onion and cook until soft. Add the rice and stir well so that each grain is coated in oil and turn the heat to medium-low. Pour in the wine and stir continuously until almost absorbed.

Add the stock a ladle at a time stirring and allowing each to be absorbed before adding another. When you have added half of the stock pop the dried tarragon into the pan, when you have about two ladles to go, throw in the butter beans. Keep adding and keep stirring until the liquid has all been absorbed and the rice is glossy.

To finish grate in lots of parmesan and stir through the parsley. Eat straight away.

Crumbly goodness

Happy New Year Stovies’ fans, we hope you had a good one and are almost recovered from your festive excesses. Team Stovies have certainly been feeling the waistbands straining a little more than usual!

Now that the tins of Christmas biccies have all been eaten Mr Stovies has been baking up some healthy-ish treats to refill the tins with. This is old school baking with no gadgets required.

Simple Oaty Slices:

175g Porridge oats
30g Flaked almonds (or chopped hazelnuts if you fancy)
125g Wholemeal or brown flour
1tsp Bicarbonate of soda
75g Dessicated coconut
150g Caster sugar
30ml Golden syrup
150g Butter

In a bowl mix together the oats, flour, sugar, coconut and almonds. In a large saucepan slowly melt together the butter, golden syrup and bicarb.

When the liquid starts to foam,  thoroughly mix in the dry ingredients and transfer to a greased baking tray. Bake in a medium oven (gas 4/180’c) for 15 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting into either mouth sized morsels or man sized chunks of crumbly goodness.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Christmas isn’t Christmas without a mince pie or two. We know that it’s only the beginning of December but this mincemeat does benefit from a couple of weeks in the jar to develop the flavour. If you do forget though don’t fret, this recipe tastes great anyway and can be used instantly.

You will need:

1 Large cooking apple, peeled & cored
1tbsp Water
350g Mixed fruit
50g Mixed candied peel
1 tbsp Marmalade
500g Dark muscovado sugar
1 Lemon, juiced and zested
200g Vegetable suet
30 ml Whisky
1/2 tsp Ground allspice

Stew the apple in the water until soft. Mix the rest of the ingredients together and pour it into a sterilised jar until you need it.

To make catherine wheel mince pies like the one in our pick simply spread some mincemeat over a sheet of ready made puff pastry, roll up into a sausage then cut into 2cm thick rounds. Bake according to the pastry instructions.