A Kuku (also called Arab Eggah) is the Middle Eastern answer to an Italian frittata. It is thick and fluffy and this oneis filled with onions, scallions, garlic, softened batons of zucchini and yellow summer squash, chuncks of feta, and heaps of fresh dill and Italian parsley.
It gets its very agreeable savory flavor from the onions and the addition of sliced scallions and its gorgeous golden color from turmeric. As I noted in the recipe below, if the taste of tumeric isn't yout thing, feel free to use saffron instead. And if zucchini aren't available, you can easily use three medium eggplants (aubergines) instead.
Kuku tastes equally good served warm or at room temperature, topped with a little yogurt or crème fraîche. It also makes perfect summertime picnic fare. You can cut it into fingers, squares or pie slices. You can bake it in a springform pan (which is what I like to do for ease of un-molding) but you can also bake it in a cast iron skillet, or your favorite pie dish and bring the whole thing to a party. Easy. Uncomplicted. Utterly delicious.
Summertime Zucchini (Courgette) and Herb Kuku (recipe inspired by Little Book of Jewish Appetizers, by Leah Koenig)
vegetable oil (I like to use sunflower or olive oil suitable for cooking)
2 onions, (M), halved and thinly sliced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 zucchinis (courgettes), 250g (about ½ pound), cut into batons ( 2.5cm or 1in) - you might want to use a mix of green, white and yellow zucchini/summer squash or use only one color)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
7 eggs (L), free-range or organic (eggs marked 'L' in Germany weigh between 63g and 73g each)
2 tbsp AP (plain) flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ a bunch (½ cup) chopped fresh, Italian (flat leaf) parsley
½ a bunch ( ½ cup) chopped fresh dill
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1 tsp ground turmeric (if tumeric isn't your thing, you can use 1½ tsp saffron strands, dissolved in 1 tbsp of hot water)
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
200g (1½ cup) crumbled feta (I used locally produced feat-style 100% goat's cheese)
Brush a 23 cm (9in) springform cake pan with oil.
Line the pan with baking parchment - cut out a circle of parchment for the bottom and a long strip to wrap around the sides, then brush the parchment with oil.
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat, add onions, season with a little salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
Add the zucchini and squash batons and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until zucchini softens and browns in spots, 8 to10 minutes. AT the end of the cooking time add the sliced scallions and chopped garlöic ans sautè for a further 1 to 2 minutes, just until the garlic is fragrant and the scallions are translucent. Set aside to cool slightly.
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) degrees.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, flour, baking powder, parsley, dill, oregano, garlic, turmeric, red pepper flakes, ½ teaspoon salt, and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper.
Fold in the zucchini mixture and feta.
Pour into the prepared baking pan and bake until golden brown, cooked through, 30 to 40 minutes.
Set aside to cool on a rack for about 15 minutes.
Carefully remove the sides of your springform pan and slice into wedges or squares.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Kukus are traditionally made on the stovetop, but this oven version is much easier. A fresh herb kuku such as this one is a traditional New Year's dish in Iran. The green herbs symbolize rebirth, and the eggs, fertility and happiness for the year to come. But we like this in summertime, as a light lunch or appetizer - if time permits, I serve this with a lovely side of Fattoush or Tabbouleh salad.
Deep burgundy, summer eggplant (aka aubergine) slices are wonderfully paired with chive yogurt in this fun and flavorful vegetarian dish. If you follow the recipe, you will be rewarded with slices that are crispy on the outside and delightfully soft on the inside. A lot of recipes for fried eggplant slices call for herbs to be added to the breading mixture, I opted to add herbs/chives to my yogurt dip instead. Other recipes ask for Parmigiano Reggiano to be added to the breadcrumbs, I opted for white and black sesame seeds as well as Za'atar, a the Middle Eastern spice mixture. If you unable to get Za'atar at the store or online, you can mix it yourself, I included the recipe in this post.
Personally, I like to serve these Eggplant Schnitzel as a seasonal summer appetizer or side dish. But they are also delicious in a bun (think veggie burger here, maybe with some avocado slices on top), on a salad, or on their own for lunch or dinner.
And they are much easier to make than you might think if you remember one important detail: first you fry, then you bake. So, once you have fried the eggplant slices in your pan to golden deliciousness, place them on kitchen paper to get rid of some of the excess oil and THEN place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in a hot oven for a good 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how thick your slices are - until delightfully soft and silky on the inside. Voilà.
Eggplant (Aubergine) Schnitzel with Chive Yogurt Dip
Ingredients for the Chive Yogurt Dip
200g (7oz) plain Greek style yogurt
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
chives (I like to use chives here but pls feel free to use other soft herbs that you might have on hand, dill is amazing here as well), make sure to keep some chives/herbes for the topping
olive oil (about 2 to 3 tbsps, to taste)
large pinch of sea salt
Ingredients for the Eggplant Schnitzel
100g (3½oz) plain (AP) flour
½ freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp fine sea salt
2 to 3 eggs (M), free range or organic
150g (5 ½ oz) breadcrumbs
about 1 tbsp Za’atar (NOTE: depending on the brand of Za’atar you use, this might vary, you might want to use less or more here)
2 tbsps black and white sesame seeds
2 eggplants (aubergines), cut crosswise into 1.5 to 2 cm ( 0.6 to 0.8 in) thick slices
vegetable oil, for shallow frying
ses salt for sprinkling the finished eggplant slices (optional)
Ingredients for the Za'ater Spice Mixture
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
1 Tbsp. sumac
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
To make the Za'atar (if making): combine all the ingredients and keep in a spice jar. Any leftover are fabulous if added to olive oil for a terrific dip.
To make the yogurt dip: in a medium bowl add the yogurt and combine with the remaining yogurt ingredients. Place in the fridge while preparing and cooking the eggplant slices.
Preheat oven to 200°C (395°F).
For the eggplant schnitzel: mix the flour, pepper and salt in a medium bowl. In a second bowl beat the eggs. In a third bowl mix the breadcrumbs, Za’atar and the sesame seeds.
Dip the epplant slices in the four mixture and shake off the excess. Then dip into the egg and shake off any drips and finally coat in the breadcrumb mixture. Set aside but do not place in the fridge.
Heat 3cm of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
Cook the eggplant slices, in batches, turning halfway, for 4 to 6 minutes or until golden.
Place on a large, parchment lined baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender.
Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
Take the yogurt dip out of the fridge, taset for seasoning and if need be, add more pepper and salt. Finish with a drizzle of good quality olive oil, additional chopped herbs/chives.
Just before serving, sprinkle the slightly cooled eggplant slices with your favorite coarse sea salt (optional) and serve with the chive yogurt. Serves 4.
If you have herbs growing in your garden, like red or white bush basil, sage, rosemary etc. pick a few herb blossoms and add them to your dip as this adds another delightful flavor component and looks very pretty if you ask me.
And remember these are equally delicious served piping hot, fresh out of the oven or at room temperature. Enjoy!
Following are a few impressions from my visit to the Artisans Market in Alt-Kaster, Bedburg, Germany, called the "Ricarda-Markt" (Ricarda Market).
The Ricarda Market is a market that takes place every year, on the first weekend of July in Alt-Kaster (Old Kaster) a district of the town of Bedburg in the Rhineland area, a beautiful and peaceful location, not far from the cities of Cologne, Duesseldorf and Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle). Alt-Kaster is known for its well preserved historic townscape which serves as a perfect backdrop to the offerings of the yearly market that combine arts and crafts as well as culinary delights.
In the historic old town, there were about 110 exhibitors and artisans that showed and sold their creations. Woodwork, jewelry, clothing, fine art, leather, body care products, and much more were on display. Vintage, new and unusual things could be discovered. There were craftsmen like brush makers, milliners, and carpenters. You could also enjoy coffee, cakes and savory treats like potato pancakes and other regional specialties. And some of the residents of Alt-Kaster even invited you into their homes and gardens. A very worthwhile visit.
The name of the Ricarda Market has a historical reference. In the 13th century, the Countess Ricarda made the case for the reconstruction of the Kaster Castle after it had been destroyed as a result of a feude with the Archbishop-Elector of Cologne. Emperor Rudolf von Habsburg granted the reconstruction of the castle. To celebrate the completion of the castle, a market was held. And today, the annual market is meant as a reminder of that historical event. A lovely story.
You enter the Ricarda Market through the historic town gate...
For for information about the Ricarda Market, you can go (here)
This subtly spiced Roasted Tomato Soup recipe is at its most delicious made in summertime when tomatoes are at their best. To further intensify the flavor of the soup, it is a good idea to take the time to roast the tomatoes on a baking sheet together with red onions, garlic and thyme before cooking the tomatoes further with some stock. That way, you get all the ingredients cooked down and caramelized before you simmer them with your stock and then purée them.
As far as the stock is concerned, either go vegetarian and use a vegetable stock or use chicken stock here. If you can, use a homemade one or chose a good quality storebought stock. If you use homemade, you might have to add a bit more salt in the end as homemade stocks tend to be less salty than the ones you buy ready made.
It is also worth noting that adding roasted red onions will add a very nice touch of sweetness here while the chili flakes add a bit of brightness and punch. Summer in a bowl.
Roasted Tomato Soup
Ingredients for the Roasted Tomatoes
10 to 12 ripe plum (or use regular) tomatoes, halved widthways – if you use regular tomatoes, they will excude more liquid while roasting, making the soup a bit less concentrated
2 red onions, peeled, sliced
3 garlic cloves, smashed
salt, freshly ground black pepper and some chili flakes (optional)
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 tbsp olive oil
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock, plus more for thinning
For the roasted tomatoes, preheat your oven to 220°C (450°F) degrees.
In a large bowl toss together the tomatoes, onions, garlic, chili flakes (if using) and olive oil. Season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Then arrange the vegetables in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet (roasting tray), arrange the thyme sprigs amongst the veggies and bake until most tomatoes and onions are wrinkled and brown in spots, about 35 to 40 minutes. NOTE: it does not matter if the baking sheet is crowded.
Lift the baking sheet from your oven, rest on a cooling rack and remove the thyme sprigs.
Carefully transfer the cooked vegetables including all the pan juices to a large dutch oven or heavy pot.
Add stock (homemade if you have some) and bring to a rapid boil. Then turn down the heat and continue to cook, uncovered, until slightly reduced and the tomatoes are really soft, about 25 minutes.
Puree until smooth – I like to use an immersion blender here - (use caution when blending hot liquids).
Season with salt and pepper and if necessary thin with additional stock.
To serve, ladle the soup into serving bowls.
Top with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh basil leaves or some avocado (diced, mixed with freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt, freshly ground black pepper, olive oil and some julienned soft herbs).
Ingredients for the Pita Bread
500g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp fine salt
350ml tepid water
30g fresh yeast (or use 14g instant yeast instead)
2 tsps sugar
3 tbsps olive oil
1 egg (M), free range or organic
4 tbsps white sesame seeds
1 tbsp nigella seeds or black onion seeds
In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt.
Add 350ml lukewarm water and the crumbled yeast to a small bowl, stir until the yeast has dissolved.
Add the yeast-water mixture and 2 tablespoons of oil to the flour mixture. Mix until you have a very sticky, soft dough. Place the dough into a large, clean, oiled bowl. Cover with food wrap and then a tea towel and leave to prove until doubled in size, about 40 minutes.
When the dough has doubled in size, tip it out onto your work surface dusted generously with flour. Knead by hand for about 5 minutes. The dough will be wet in the beginning but will form a smooth dough once kneaded.
Place the dough into a large, clean, oiled bowl. again. Cover with food wrap and then a tea towel and leave to prove until doubled in size, about another 40 minutes.
Split the dough into two equally sized balls. Roll each ball into an round shape about 25 cm (9.8 in) diameter. Cover loosely with your tea towel.
Preheat your oven to 250° C (475° F) regular or 220°C (430 °F) convection and place a clean baking sheet (or use baking stone) on the middle shelf.
In a small bowl mix together the egg, with the remaining sugar (1 tsps) and oil (1 tbsp).
Remove the hot sheet from the oven, dust with flour and place the pita bread on it. (You will have to bake them one after the other, keep the other one covered while baking the first one).
Just before baking them off, brush with beaten egg mixture plus sprinkle with sesame and nigella seeds.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden. NOTE: after 5 minutes of baking time, pour a bit of cold water into the hot oven (to raise humidity) and close the oven immediately.
Once baked and golden, remove them from the oven and cover with a clean cloth until they are cool.
This velvety soup makes for a simple and elegant meal. Enjoy as is, make ahead, freeze some or chill it and serve it cold – and if you feel up to it, make some Pita Bread to serve alongside.
Well, we love hummus. And different seasonal toppings are not only delicious but you can have a lot of fun with them as well. Basically, there are no limits to your imagination. Roam your garden for ingredients or pay a visit to any market where you live and let the season and your taste buds be your guide.
At this time of year I like to prepare a topping of scallions, garlic, and, most importantly, double podded broad beans and tons of soft herbs and herb blossoms. Broad beans are pretty hardy and adaptable and are at their peak from the end of June to mid September.
Fresh broad beans are sweet and delicious with a smooth creamy texture. And I really love the taste that herb blossoms add to the topping, in particular red and white bush basil and sage. You can also add a little additional drizzle of your favorite olive oil, sea salt, may be chilli flakes for a bit of heat.
Nearly everyone I know has their own favorite recipe for hummus. Just prepare the recipe you like the most, probably very similar to the Basic Hummus recipe below. Now that summer is here, my Hummus with Broad Bean & Garden Herb Topping is great with rustic fresh or grilled bread/pita and a salad as a light dinner on a warm evening. Or serve as part of a mezze spread.
Hummus with Broad Bean & Garden Herb Topping
Ingredients for the Hummus
250g cooked chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained - either use dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and cooked the following day (simmer them with baking soda for about an hour) OR use canned chickpeas (add them to a pot along with some cold water, bring to a boil, simmer for about 20 minutes, drain the chickpeas and finally add them to the food processor along with the other ingredients and proceed with the same recipe) NOTE: if you would like to add some chickpeas as part of the topping, remember to cook more than 250g and set aside until needed
3 tbsps good quality tahini (sesame paste)
freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
2 cloves garlic, crushed (optional)
some of the cooking liquid from the chickpeas or use water instead
Preparation of the Hummus
Place the chickpeas in a food processor and process until you get a stiff paste.
Then, with the machine sill running, add the tahini, lemon juice, garlic (if using), and a bit of salt.
Finally, slowly drizzle in some of the cooking liquid OR water and then process on high speed for 5 minutes or longer until the hummus is extra-smooth
Transfer the hummus to a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. If not using straightaway, refrigerate until needed. Make sure to take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving.
Add Broad Bean Topping and garnish as you please, for example with fresh soft herbs and herb blossoms, good quality olive oil and some extra cooked chickpeas.
Ingredients for the Broad Bean Topping
about 300g podded broad beans (aka fava beans)
about 2 or more tbsp mild olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 or 2 scallions, thinly sliced
soft herbs, washed, dried and finely minced
Preparation of the Broad Bean Topping
Pod the fresh beans.
Cook the broad beans in boiling water for 2 minutes.
Drain, refresh under cold water, drain again, then peel from their skins. Discard the skins.
In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium heat.
Add the sliced scallions and garlic and heat through until translucent.
Add the braod beans, season with pepper and salt (to taste).
Take off the heat.
Add finely chopped fresh soft herbs to the broad beans and stir through.
Serve as a topping tot he Hummus.
Add fresh herb blossoms as a garnish.
This is a really easy recipe and the results are delicious. If you are looking to make a delicious crowd-pleaser/dip/lunch/dinner at short notice, the Hummus can be produced with the most basic items in the store cupboard.
Following are a few impressions from my visit to the Garden and Plant Fair ("Jrön and Jedön") at my favorite open-air museum in Lindlar, North-Rhine-Westphalia (Germany).
The museum itself is a large and hilly site, in an area with beautiful countryside, containing many reconstructed historical buildings and artefacts depicting rural life of the past. Most of the interiors of the buildings are open to viewing and give a fascinating insight into the living conditions of the original occupants who lived their as well as providing examples of their skills and ingenuity.
The museum organizes different exhibitions throughout the year, my prefered one being the Garden and Plant Fair with vendors offering flowers and kitchen herbs and lots of helpful advice for novice and advanced gardeners.
For more information about the museum, you can visit the Museum's site here (available only in German).
Beets are widely available and delicious year round, but actually their peak season is June through October, when they are at their most tender and sweet. When buying fresh red beets, make sure to look for unblemished bulbs with unwilted greens. Whenever you buy beets (there a quite a few varieties out there), it is always a good idea to buy them with their greens attached. That way, it's like getting two vegetables for the price of one. Around here I realized that there are two kinds of markets, either you can often get beet greens for free at the farmers' market because some people ask the vendors to chop off the tops when they buy their beets or it is almost impossible to find beets with their greens attached.
If you make this recipe, remember that it can be used for other types of greens as well. Also, the sautéed greens are fabulous on their own as a side dish, or you can toss the greens with couscous, , grains, your favorite pasta, or add them to a quiche, which I love to do quite often.
Red Beet Top & Goat’s Cheese Bruschetta
1 or 2 bunches of beet greens, use whole or chop coarsely if too large
some good olive oil
1 scallions, washed, dried , thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely minced (optional, to taste)
¼ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (optional, to taste)
freshly ground black pepper and sea salt
a few slices of your favorite country-style loaf or sourdough bread, toasted, cooled
your favorite soft fresh goat’s cheese (it is nice to use fresh cheese from a local cheese manufacturer, if at all possible
Wash the leaves in 2 or 3 rinses of water.
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy nonstick skillet.
Add the scallion, garlic and red pepper flakes (if using) and cook, stirring, until the scallion is translucent and the garlic is fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds.
Add the beet greens to the pan (with the water still clinging to the leaves) in 1, 2 or more additions (depending on the size of your pan and the amount of greens you are using).
Stir for a couple of minutes, until the leaves have wilted and are nicely seasoned/coated with garlic and oil.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste, remove from the heat and let cool a bit.
While the greens are cooling a bit, prepare your bread slices. Toast or grill them, then put them on a platter. Top with goat’s cheese.
Pile the warm greens on top of the prepared bread slices and serve immedaitely.
When you serve greens, it is always a delicious idea to serve a plate with fresh lemon wedges alongside, as a lot of people, including my family, enjoy a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice with their cooked greens.
Ceramics have a long tradition in the southern Westerwald region, thanks to the abundance of clay that is found there. The tradition is continued today by the numerous potteries in an area known as Kannenbäckerland.
The Kannenbäckerland has evolved into the center for ceramic handicraft as well as vocational training, therefore you will find the ceramics educational and research center (Bildungs- und Forschungs-Zentrum Keramik (for more info, pls go here) as well as the largest museum of ceramics in Europe (Keramikmuseum Westerwald) (for more info pls go here)where the history of this amazing craft can be traced.
On one hand, potters and ceramic artists produce traditional household items such as jugs and dishes in the grey-blue colours typical of the regional style of pottery. On the other hand, artists create more contemporary pieces that attest to the way ceramics have developed in this region.
The international ceramics market in Höhr-Grenzhausen attracts thousands of visitors every year. Here are a few impressions from my visit there last week, hope you will enjoy them.
Who doesn’t like hummus. It never ceases to amaze me that just cooked chickpeas, a few other ingredients and a couple of minutes in the food processor produces something so tasty. Yes, it is rather substantial but then again, it is also good for you. It seems that there are endless variations of hummus recipes. Some keep it simple, really just chickpeas, salt, sometimes pepper and a little olive oil, others are a bit more elaborate. For this Wild Garlic Spring Hummus recipe I like to use the basic ingredients – and most important of all – a bunch of really fresh seasonal wild garlic (aka ramson or bear´s garlic) from our garden. Wild garlic is available in April or May and is best harvested before the flowers appear.
This spring hummus recipe has a fresh, wild garlic flavor. Wild garlic gives off an incredibly pungent smell in the wild. Unlike common cultivated garlic, it's the leaves that are eaten rather than the bulbs. The taste is more delicate too, similar to the flavor of chives. The wild garlic leaves can be eaten raw or lightly cooked. Wether you buy some at the market or go foraging for wild garlic leaves, make sure to wash them well - some recipes also call for blanching the leaves for a few minutes in boiling water in order to tame the garlic taste somewhat but I do not really find that necessary. The garlic taste is subtle and elegant and just right with fresh wild garlic.
When you forage for wild garlic, you should always remember that the shape of the leaves are similar to some other inedible plants (such as Lily of the Valley or Autumn Crocus), so ensure proper identification by crushing some of the leaves in your hand. The tell-tale odor should ensure you pick the right leaves.
Wild Garlic Spring Hummus
250g cooked chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained either use dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and cooked the following day or use canned
3 tbsps good quality tahini (sesame paste)
juice of 1/2 lemon
50g wild garlic, washed, dried and roughly torn (you can also add a few fresh basil leaves to the mix)
60ml olive oil (use a mild one)
sea salt and a bit of freshly ground black pepper to taste
some of the cooking liquid from the chickpeas or water
cooked chickpeas; chopped wild garlic; chili flakes; sesame seeds; sweet paprika; olive oil; etc.
Put all the ingredients into your food processor.
Process on high speed for 5 minutes or longer until the hummus is extra-smooth.
Add cooking liquid or water until you have the thickness and texture you prefer.
Add toppings and garnish as you please.
This Wild Garlic Hummus is best served with a drizzle of olive oil and toppings of your choice as well as grilled flatbread or pita bread and grilled halloumi and olives.
See also my recipe for Wild Garlic Quiche (here) or Wild Garlic Potato Buns (here)
How do you like to eat bananas - some people will only eat them when they are yellow but still very firm, whereas others like them when they are very ripe with black skin. The black skin might look as if the banana has gone bad, but it is fine as long as the fruit was not bruised to start with. Peel off the black skin, and the flesh will still be firm, creamy and ripe and also amazingly fragrant.
One of my favorite things to bake with really ripe fruit is banana bread-style cake, such as Nigel Slater`s Black Banana Cake (here) - this recipe calls for really ripe fruits, hence the name of the cake. It seems that there are basically two kinds – either the dark, dense, sticky variety (usually a so-called banana bread) or the lighter cake-type loaf. The recipe in my post today is more of the latter sort, and makes a great teatime treat or accompaniment to an afternoon cup of coffee. It can be made in a loaf pan or a retangular cake pan, like your good old brownie cake pan, and although you could add all kinds of extras to a banana cake (like chocolate chips, chopped pecans, walnuts, or raisins), I only like to add some pure vanilla and a hint of cinnamon.
Once thing that is noteworthy about this recipe is the fact that ripeness doesn’t really matter for this particular cake. The common belief that bananas for baking should always be soft and freckled with brown spot does not apply to all baking recipes calling for bananas. This cake differs from the usual in that it is light, and most definitely banana cake, not banana bread.
Banana Cake with Oat & Spelt Flour
375g bananas (peeled weight) - about 4 medium sized bananas
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
100g white spelt flour
100g oat flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon (I like to use Ceylon cinnamon)
2 tps baking powder
a pinch fine salt
180g superfine (baking) sugar
8g vanilla sugar
2 eggs (M), free range or oragnic
4 tbsps sunflower or vegetable oil
2 tbsps natural raw cane sugar
some powdered sugar (aka confectioners' sugar or icing sugar) for the finished cake (optional but pretty)
Set the oven at 170C°.
Line a square 20cm baking pan with baking parchment.
Break the bananas into chunks, then put them into a bowl and mash roughly with a fork and stir in the lemon juice. NOTE: avoid the temptation to turn them into a purée, chunky is what you are looking for.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.
Put the sugar and vanilla sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer. Break the eggs into the sugar, then beat, using the whisk attachment, for three to four minutes, until light and creamy.
Pour in the oil, slowly, with the mixer on a moderate speed.
Fold the flour and baking powder into the mixture.
Fold in the crushed bananas, briefly, taking care to distribute them evenly but without crushing them any further.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared cake pan and even out the mixture.
Peel the two bananas, slice horizontally and place the four banana halves on top of the cake.
Sprinkle the surface with the sugar.
Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until lightly firm on top.
Remove the cake from the oven and leave to settle, in the cake pan, on a wire rack, for about 30 minutes.
Lift the cake from the pan, then place back onto the rack and leave to cool completely.
Dust with powdered sugar just before serving. NOTE: Although this cake is best eatenthe day it is made, it will keep for up to two days, covered well and kept in a cool spot.
Apart form the fact that you do not have to wait for those bananas to turn from a lovely yellow color to an ash like black color, what I love most about this recipe is that it calls for oat flour and white spelt flour - whenever possible I try to bake with different types of flour. As I love the taste of oats, always have, always will, I often replace part of the regular flour with oat flour, especially when the cake batter has a high moisture content.
It is so nice to see that spring has finally arrived around here. So, enjoy your cake in the afternoon or morning sunshine, if at all possible.