Simple Banana Loaf

Banana Loaf

It has taken me a while to get this post sorted as I kept forgetting to take pictures for it. But it’s fitting this is my first Edmonds Recipe post as I make banana loaves more than anything else in the kitchen.

I’m not a fussy person, I will eat anything that is put in front of me and enjoy it. I love food and I hate wastage. But that being said, there are certain foods that I just generally avoid. Pumpkin and sweet potato, unless they are in a soup –  then I am all for them, but I really struggle to eat them by themselves and so therefore, rarely buy them. I will also avoid fresh tomato, by avoid I mean I’ll eat it if it is already in my sandwich, but I very rarely add it in there myself.

Lastly, building up to my most shameful food particularity, I can’t stand bananas when they get past a certain point. The point where they get really sweet, and their texture goes from firm to floury and their skin gets thinner. It gives me goosebumps thinking about it. I really don’t want to eat those bananas.

What these bananas are perfect for though, is baking. So rather than throw them in the food waste, I collect them in the freezer. I say collect as sometimes I’ll end up with about five or six in there. On weekends when I have a bit of time, I defrost a few and turn them into a banana loaf.

Banana LoafI make banana loaf about once every two weeks, it usually looks something like this. Sometimes I add chopped nuts on the top, sometimes I mix in chocolate chips and usually I add vanilla and cinnamon.

I reduce the amount of sugar that is in the standard recipe as, one, I’m eating this every week, and two, it really doesn’t need as much sugar as the recipe suggests, the ripe bananas in it add a lot of sweetness too.

When its freshly baked I share it with whoever is around home, but then I cut the rest up and wrap the individual slices in cling wrap. I then freeze them and take them out when I want one. I take a slice to work every now and again, or heat them and put a spoonful of yoghurt on top. Yum! It’s such a versatile, fail safe recipe and it alleviates my banana wastage guilt.

So, here is the recipe:

Edmonds Banana Loaf

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups self-raising flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sugar ( I only use 1/4 of a cup)

2 eggs

1/4 cup milk

75 grams melted butter

1 cup mashed banana (ripe is best, I usually use 2 large bananas or 3 small)

Optional extras:

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts and pecans work well)

Method:

Sift flour, baking soda and salt into a bowl. Mix in sugar. In a nother bowl beat eggs. Stir in milk, butter and banana. Mix quickly into dry ingredients, stirring until ingredients are just combined. Mix in any optional extras. Spoon into a greased and lined 22cm loaf tin. Bake at 180 degrees celsius for 45 – 55 minutes. Leave in tin for 10 minutes before turning onto wire rack.

If you are going to freeze it, let the cake cool completely before wrapping in cling film.

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25: Prince2 Project Management Study

_MG_0013If they mark you on your tabbing ability, I think I would get full marks. This might look a little overzealous, and I’m not saying it wasn’t. but it was an open book test, so finding my way around the book was a must.

I’m not sure if I have passed or not yet, but I could not feel more deserving of a nice pint of cider on this sunny Friday evening. I have just finished the Prince2 Practitioner exam, after a week of intensive study learning the Prince2 method for successful project management.

Intensive was not an over exaggeration, this was 9 to 5 of straight classroom study, then further revision and practice exams every night at home. So I haven’t done much else this week (except lose a game of netball on Tuesday..sigh..).

_MG_0006Why did I do it?

There were a few reasons why I wanted this qualification:

1. It will help me do better in my current job. My role as a Performance Analyst has expanded quite a bit in these last few months as I transferred from a financial accounting team, to a compliance team which is a small more centralised team. I have had opportunities to take on service reviews of business areas and processes relating to performance and have taken on a few small projects which I am loving!

2. My own personal development. I am an English and Languages major, now working in an area that does not have that much relationship to my degree. So I am hoping that having a few relevant professional qualifications to back up my experience will help me out on my CV.

3. I think project management might suit my skill set quite well. Maybe? I think I would need to be involved in a few larger scale projects to really know. But it’s something I’m thinking about for further down the track.

Fingers crossed for a good result! Happy Friday all xx _MG_0017PS, shout out to my friend Hello I’m KD, who sent me these awesome sticky notes a good while ago… I finally got to use them, and totally own Freda fandom on your behalf.

April Update: Spring Time

Cherry blossom- Regents Park London I hope you’re all enjoying the changing seasons. It’s spring time in London and I couldn’t be happier that the weather is warming up.

This past month has been busy since Ben has been back in London, hence why my April update is coming to you mid-May. It has been a great month though – did I mention that my boyfriend is back? Yay! We have also attended weddings and birthdays; met two new baby boys, both oh so gorgeous; spent a long weekend camping and partying; tripped out to Wales; caught up with Game of Thrones and kept up with our full-time jobs. When you put it like that it sounds crazy, but we have had so much fun.

This month I’m focusing on knitting, my project management study for work and saving some money for all the adventures we have planned for the summer.

Here is how I’m getting on with the list:

1. Make a 3 tiered cake a la Sweetapolita Complete! Check out my practice run and the final baby shower cake.

2. Watch the entire series of Sex and the City  – Maybe I’ll be more productive with my evenings now that I have finished this. You can read my review here, spoiler – I loved it!

3. Write at least 27 more blog entries – Since writing the list, I have completed 17 posts so far… many more to come.

4. See The Book of Mormon theatre show – This is booked! I’m so excited to see this in July… AND I will get to share the experience with two very good friends who are visiting over summer. Can’t wait!

5. Create a star constellation scarf

6. Host friends for a grown up dinner party

7. Make French macaronsDone!They were delicious. Here are my macarons and my Paris research.

8. Plan a travel trip to Morocco

9. Make lolly infused vodka See my colourful attempt here.

10. Knit a peggy square blanket, maybe like thisThis is the beginnings of my blanket, although I am thinking of this square as a practice run. I have two quite big holes in it where I got into messes and didn’t know how to get out of them other than ignoring them. I also started off with 4mm needles but wondered if my knitting was coming out too compact, so I am now experimenting with 6.5mm needles, they give a kind of ribbing effect.

_MG_006211. Try out dance classes – Life got in the way and I stopped going to classes, I keep telling myself I’ll go back to it, but it has been a couple of months now…

12. Run a 10K cancer research race

13. Make salted caramel as gifts

14. Develop a uniform work wardrobe of at least 8 outfits

15. Go to see an inspirational speaker (like a Ted Talk) –  I was inspired by many speakers at the Women of the World Festival.  An unexpected talk about The Myth of Talent really resonated with me too.

16. Take a DSLR camera course – I have bought the ABM DSLR Basics course and have been reading through the lessons slowly. I am waiting for some more sunlight to truly start practicing.

17. Read these books –  The Robber BrideFinished 13/03/2015, see my first attempt at a book review here. The Colour Purple – Finished 20/03/2015, see my purple post here. The Kite Runner – I have this ordered at my local library. I can’t wait to get started on it.

18. Make gimmick tea bag craft idea for friends

19. Hike along the White Cliffs of Dover

20. Move into a 1 bed flat with Ben

21. Stay at/visit a National Trust site

22. See a netball match, hopefully to support New Zealand. – It doesn’t look like NZ is touring England this year, booo! But England will be playing a few World Cup warm up matches in the next few months.

23. Have a cocktail at the Ritz

24. Climb Snowdon Mountain, Wales

25. Do some study through work. Hopefully a Prince2 Project Management qualification. – I am booked in to attend a 1 week intensive course mid-May, wish me luck. I think I’m going to need it.

26. Print a photo book

27. Eat at a Michelin starred restaurant – It’s not booked yet but all things going well, Ben and I are going to have lunch at Galvin at Windows for our anniversary. I think it’s the worst name for a restaurant I have heard, but the food looks delicious.

P.S. Don’t forget to follow me on Bloglovin

17. Read: The Color Purple

The Color Purple by Alice Walker is one of those classic books that seems like it features in the school curriculum of most of the Western World. So many people have read it, so many people love it and if they haven’t read it, most people know of it and know the general premiss of the story. So I’m not going to review this one for two reasons:

  1. Because I finished it a month or so ago and have had to return the book to the library, so I would be reminding myself of quotes and aspects by searching the internet anyway and it would be unlikely that after reading others’ reviews I would then be putting forward opinions of my own.
  2. I fear I would never do it justice, it’s such an important and complex book. I think I will leave it to you to discover, if you haven’t already.

So instead of a review, I have turned my camera lens on to the colour purple. Purple is, unsurprisingly, a theme of the book and at one point the main character, Celie, says that god will be annoyed if you walk by the colour purple and don’t appreciate it. Or something along those lines, again, I don’t have the book around.

So I started looking for purple.purple lanterns purple lanterns _MG_0296

I found these lovely pastel lanterns in Za Za Bazaar in Bristol. Tired after a long day of sightseeing, my sister and I popped in to this waterfront bar and restaurant for a drink and ended up sitting in a sun-lit area under these. Perfect!

These were about to go into a tomato pasta when I paused to appreciate the colours.

red onion

red onion

I spied these doors along Portobello Road and took pictures like a creeper.

purple+flax

purple door

I have these three lovely perfume bottles on my dresser at the moment. When chosing a perfume, of course, I want it to smell good. But I must admit, I almost get more pleasure out of a nice bottle. purple perfume My favourite bottle is the apple-shaped one. This is by a French boutique fashion house Lolita Lempicka and it has an amazing liquorice scent which I love. It’s nearly finished but I know I will be replacing this one over and over again.

purple perfume

15. Go to see an insprational speaker: Matthew Syed

HardWork_Motivational_ImageThis is one of those quotes that circulated when I was in high school, I think it was written on a bench somewhere, or carved into a desk. That’s not important, but the quote has always stayed with me. It’s a good quote for me. I work hard, and for someone who was not and is not “a natural” at many things, I think it stuck with me because it gave me hope. It’s something that still pops into my head often, especially when I’m doing yoga, for which I definitely have no natural aptitude. But I keep at it once a week because I think that one day maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to reach my toes.

So when a couple of weeks ago at a conference I saw Matthew Syed’s talk on The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice, I was completely taken in. Syed was keynote speaker at a conference I attended for work on customer satisfaction scores and all that goes in to engineering better ones. While the content was useful, I found the main thing I took away from the day was justification of my long-held belief; Hard work beats talent, if talent doesn’t work hard. Check out Syed’s talk here.

One of the most interesting points that he made in the talk I saw, and he touches on it less in the YouTube video I linked to, is his story of half of the top British table tennis players in the 1990’s, and he was one of them, all growing up on Silverdale Road in Reading. He says there was not something in the water in this random part of Reading that gave all the local kids magical talent in table tennis. But there was a good coach, and one of the only 24 hour table tennis clubs in the area, for which Silverdale Road residents were all given a key to, and there was not much else to do. Which subsequently meant, that this street of kids, got a lot of practice. And it is that practice that got them to the top.

I already ticked this task off, when I went to the Women of the World Festival in March, and a friend has invited me to see Dr Wayne Dyer speak in London in October so it will be a year of inspiration.