Cherry and Banana Cake

One of our local villages is famed for its cherries, and even has a fiesta dedicated to this beautiful fruit next weekend. What lucky folk we are! I am back from my trip toLondon where I was spending time with Best Friend Ria who was not long out of hospital. She is on the mend and we spent a week doing things very slowly…always best when you are feeling sore and tired.

On a trip into the village (before leaving for the UK) to buy som of the famed cherries, I was also given half a dozen over-ripe bananas as the fruit lady knew that I used them to make cakes. “Let me know what you do with them” she called, so I made an extra large batch of batter and sent her over some little cup cakes I made with the extra mixture.

To make one large cake though, follow this simple recipe. You won´t regret it!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of chopped cherries soaked in dark rum (or strong black tea) I usually heat this and let it cool while I make the cake
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons of self raising flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup oil (I use olive oil)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 small ripe bananas mashed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Heat the oven to 180ºC and line either a large round or loaf tin or two small ones with greaseproof paper.  Beat the oil and sugar together then beat in the eggs. Add the banana, cherries and vanilla and stir then gradually stir in the flour. Pour into a prepared tin and bake for 1 hour (large tin) or about 45 mins (2 smaller tins).

This recipe is adapted from my banana bread recipe. And if you´re feeling like you need a little drink to go with your cake, why not try a glass of Cherry Brandy or a Cherry and Watermelon Granizada. Don´t you just love summer fruits?!

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Speedy Strawberry Delight

For many of us it´s strawberry season right now. The pleasure of eating a sweet juicy strawberry on its own, or covered in whipped cream is something very special. And of course we can mix them into cakes, turn them into jam…well, the possibilities are almost endless.

Sometimes though you fancy a bowlful of strawberry deliciousness but you need it NOW. Here´s a little dish of strawberries that´s not too naughty and quick to pull together and hit the spot last night when we fancied a little midnight feast (hence the dark shot)!

Per person

  • Half a cup of thick creamy natural yogurt (I used Greek)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla sugar (optional)
  • About half a dozen strawberries, sliced
  • A drizzle of honey
  • A splash of framboise (raspberry) liqueur – optional

Stir the sugar (if using) into the yogurt, pile the strawberries on top, splash on the liqueur, drizzle the honey over then find yourself a nice quiet spot to sit and enjoy a little indulgence and a moment of peace all to yourself.

Plums for My Porridge – Perfect Plum, Cinnamon and Vanilla Compôte

Do you remember my beautiful plum tree I showed you back in the spring? No matter if you don´t.  I knew back then from the enormous amount of blossom it had, following the rainiest winter for over 80 years in Andalucía, that we would have lots and lots of plums.

Of course, we did and we´ve been eating and enjoying them, giving a lot away, and the chickens have thoroughly enjoyed pecking away at those that fell to the ground.

A couple of weeka ago the plums really were coming to an end.  The last few clinging on to the tree were looking a little sad and soft, so I decided to turn them into a kind of compôte (rather like a jam) to drizzle over my porridge, or oatmeal, in the winter months.  It´s also delicious with ice cream!

You can either peel and stone the plums first, or do as I did – boil and squish!  I put them in a large pot and on a gentle heat for about 30 minutes, by which time the skins had popped and the plums were soft.

On with the kitchen gloves and I removed all the stones and skin, then passed the fruit through my trusty mouli.  You could also use a stick or regular blender. The prepared fruit weighed 2.3 kgs, so I added just under half the weight of sugar (1kg) and the juice of one lemon.  As this started to warm and the sugar dissolved, I added 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence and 2 sticks of cinnamon.

I let it boil quite hard for 5 minutes, removed the cinnamon sticks then poured it into sterilised jars.  Now I´m ready for the cold weather and already anticipating my first bowl of porridge with Perfect Plum Compôte!

And now, a confession.  I made this last year too (minus the vanilla) and earlier this year I was making ragú for my pasta and fumbling around in my despensa (that´s a little Spanish larder) when I grabbed a jar of this instead of tomato conserva.  Can you believe I didn´t notice the difference? We even ate the pasta, initially saying things along the lines of “gosh, you can really taste the sweetness of the tomatoes coming through”.  Eventually we decided that the taste was overly sweet (even the minced meat, garlic and red wine couldn´t compete) and the realization of what I had done dawned on me.  Not a recipe I´ll be repeating….still can´t believe that we ATE it!!!