Banana Cake

Today is Penguin says Feed Me’s 3rd birthday! Unlike last year where I had the foresight to bake something a little bit special for the occasion, this year the day just snuck up on me and so I didn’t have time to bake anything special.

So I’m going to share with you this banana cake that I bake all the time at home but have never posted about. I have a constant supply of bananas in my freezer which are perfect and overripe for this cake. The bananas get tossed in the freezer after they’ve been sitting in the fruit bowl for too long, and when I get cake cravings I take them out to make this delicious and easy cake.

This is definitely the best banana cake recipe I’ve tried and it’s never failed me. The cake stays wonderfully moist with a great banana flavour, and it’s awesome on its own even without any icing or topping. It works great as one large cake but I like to divide the batter into two loaf tins – one for home and one to share with others (or both for home if Sir D is feeling greedy!).

And speaking of sharing, I wanted to thank everyone who reads the stuff that I share on this humble little blog. Thanks you to all the people who leave comments on the blog, take the time to email me, write comments and like posts on the Facebook page, interact on twitter, or just decide to be a lurker. It’s made the last 3 years of blogging infinitely more fun and rewarding, and I hope you’ve enjoyed every second of it because I have!

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Lasagne Soup

Winter is well and truly here which means that it’s soup weather! I’m a big fan of cooking up a large pot of soup at the beginning of the week. It makes weeknight dinners so much easier and the soup lasts a couple of days which means all you need to do is heat it up and enjoy.

I bookmarked this Lasagne Soup recipe ages ago but only got around to making it recently. It tastes just like you’re eating lasagne in soup form with the tomatoey soup flavour, a bit of Italian sausage as the meat, pasta, and of course some melty cheese to resemble the bechamel sauce. I went the non-traditional route and added a bit of Chinese cabbage and peas to include some vegetables. The best thing about soup though is that you can pretty much throw in whatever leftover vegies you have lurking in your fridge and it will still taste awesome.

I baked some bread to go with the soup (recipe here) but it’s not really necessary since there’s pasta in the soup already. This is probably one of the easiest soups I’ve made this winter with minimal prep and standing-over-the-stove time. Sir D also said it was his favourite out of all the soups I’ve made – win win!

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Garfish, Manly

Garfish, Manly

I am an avid seafood lover. Fish, molluscs, crustaceans – I love them all! I never quite understood people who don’t like seafood because I find that well-prepared seafood is such a delight to eat. It can be fresh and briny with the flavours of the sea, or delicate with a subtle sweetness. A restaurant that specialises in seafood is bound to excel at preparing and cooking seafood well, and Garfish definitely didn’t disappoint.

Private dining room

We were seated in the private dining room in the Manly restaurant, which had lovely glass walls which would provide an excellent view of the ocean during the day. Tonight the table was set with multiple wine glasses and a menu that included lots of seafood, so I knew we were in for a treat. John Reid from Reidistribute was guest speaker for the night, and is one of Garfish’s food suppliers. Each course on the menu tonight was paired with a cheese supplied by Reidistribute, as well as a final cheese and wine tasting course designed by John to highlight some of his favourite cheeses.

Shellfish bisque with gruyere

The first course was a shellfish bisque with steamed milk, avruga caviar, and a gruyere crouton. The shellfish aroma hit us as soon as the bowls were placed in front of us, and it took a lot of self control to take photos before digging in! The bisque was smooth and creamy and packed full of shellfish flavour. The gruyere crouton was another highlight, a crunchy bread wafer with blistered, melted gruyere on top.

Parmesan crumbed sardines with fennel remoulade
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Sushi Buffet @ Sushi Samurai, Neutral Bay

Judging from the number of posts about Japanese restaurants on this blog, you can safely guess that I love Japanese food. Having lots of cheap and cheerful places that serve fresh and tasty Japanese food around my area is a bonus. Sushi Samurai is one of those places that we go to frequently and we’ve never been disappointed.

Cream croquettes – $5.80; Eggplant with sweet miso – $6.80

The cream croquettes and miso eggplant are dishes off the normal menu that we order pretty much every time we go. The croquettes are filled with a creamy, potato-like filling that is supposedly crab flavour, but my favourite part is the crunchy exterior that are deep fried to a crisp. And who doesn’t like miso eggplant? The eggplant is deep fried until the insides are soft and creamy, and a sweet miso paste is slathered on top for flavour. A few sprinklings of sesame seeds later and we’re digging in to cubes of soft, sweet eggplant which are thoughtfully pre-cut for convenience.

Tempura pork dumplings – $9.80; Baked scallop – $15.80

There is also a specials menu which changes daily. We try the tempura dumplings and baked scallops from the menu which are quite generous servings. The crispy tempura dumplings have a pork and vegetable filling, and are drizzled with soy and Japanese mayonnaise. The scallops are served in the half shell, and baked with a miso mayonnaise.

Sashimi party platter – $25.80; King prawn tempura roll – $11.80
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Random Eats

New Lindt Excellence chocolate flavours amongst some of my "light bedtime reading" of psychology journal articles

Hello! Yes I’m still alive and well but been super busy with work and uni lately. Luckily I was sent some snacks from Lindt Australia to power me through! Those of you who follow me on twitter and instagram (jacq_in_a_box) know that I’ve still been getting out and about as usual but I just haven’t found time to blog until now. Regular broadcasting will resume shortly but here’s a quick post about some of the things I’ve been cooking and eating recently.

Ox tongue udon from Ju-Rin, Crows Nest - $9.50 (lunch)
Tonkotsu ramen from Ramen Genki, Artarmon - $12

The cold and rainy Sydney weather that we’ve been experiencing just makes me want to sit down with a bowl of piping hot noodles to warm my soul. Two of my favourites are the ox tongue udon from Ju-Rin, Crows Nest; and the tonkotsu ramen from Ramen Genki, Artarmon. The ox tongue udon has changed recently, becoming cheaper and with different toppings on the noodles. The ox tongue is just as tender and juicy, and the broth is still just as delicious. Continue reading Random Eats