Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My Recipe Box - Sour Cream Maple Banana Cake

Prep Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Serves: approx. 8
  • 100g butter + extra for form, softened
  • 10 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 200g muscovado sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 vanilla pods, seeds scrapped
  • 200g all-purpose flour gluten free
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 100g almonds, ground
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 200g sour cream
  1. Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees C and butter a square (20cm x 20cm) form and line the base with baking paper.

  2. Pour 5 tablespoons maple syrup and swirl the form to coat the bottom. Cut 3 bananas in half lengthways and lay them, cut-side down, in the form.

  3. In a mixing bowl beat together the butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla seeds, and the last banana with an electric whisk. Fold in the flour, baking powder, ground almonds and bicarbonate soda with a spatula, then stir in the sour cream.

  4. Carefully spoon into the form without displacing the bananas. Bake for approx. 45 – 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

  5. Take cake out and poke the top all over with a skewer, about halfway into the cake. Pour the remaining maple syrup over the top and allow to soak for a few minutes.

  6. Carefully turn out of the form upside-down, drizzling the banana-studded top with more syrup. Slice cake and serve warm.

Ruby Tuesday


I'm posting today over at Ruby Tuesday 2.

Our server at our first lunch in Beijing, China.

Monday, January 30, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Sheila at  Book Journey. For this meme, bloggers post what they finished last week, what they're currently reading, and what they plan to start this week.   

Finished this week:
A Darker Domain

Synopsis here.
I really enjoyed this book. I have read Val McDermid before and have always found him to be a good read.
I especially enjoyed the sub-plot about the Miners' Strike in Great Britain in 1984. So much so that I bought a book mentioned in there which I'll mention later.

The Impossible Dead
From the book jacket:
The Complaints: that's the name given to the Internal Affairs department who seek out dirty and compromised cops, the ones who've made deals with the devil. And sometimes The Complaints must travel.

A major inquiry into a neighboring police force sees Malcolm Fox and his colleagues cast adrift, unsure of territory, protocol, or who they can trust. An entire station-house looks to have been compromised, but as Fox digs deeper he finds the trail leads him back in time to the suicide of a prominent politician and activist. There are secrets buried in the past, and reputations on the line.

I enjoyed the second book in Rankin's new series much better than the first one. I still miss Inspector Rebus whom Rankin retired a while ago. Malcolm Fox is just not as compelling a character as Rebus was. Perhaps his character will develop in future books.
Ian Rankin usually lays a foundation of current and past events in his novels. In The Impossible Dead, he creates a tale reaching back a quarter of a century, when agitation and violence marked efforts for a separate Scotland.

Started this week:
From the book jacket:
GB84, David Peace's fifth novel, is a gripping, tautly plotted dramatisation of the miners' strike in which real events (Orgreave, the Brighton bomb) and real people (Arthur Scargill, Margaret Thatcher, Ian MacGregor) mingle imperceptibly with his creations. "This novel", he notes in the acknowledgements, "is a fiction, based on fact" and those who recall The Comic Strip Present's Hollywood skit Strike will be happy, to discover that Peace does not take liberties with the strike's trajectory. Key events are faithfully chronicled here but his 1984 is, arguably, as sinisterly dystopian as anything Orwell could have envisioned.
Full synopsis can be read here.

As mentioned under A Darker Domain above I became very curious about the Miners' Strike and Val McDermid states within his book that this is an excellent book to read more about the strike. I am really enjoying it.

Also started this week:
Dead Like You (Roy Grace, #6)
From the book jacket:
Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is forever haunted by the unexplained disappearance of his wife, Sandy, nearly ten years ago. Ever since she went missing, he’s been consumed with finding out what happened to her. Finally, he may be moving on. He has fallen in love and is going to marry his girlfriend, Cleo, who is pregnant with their child.
But his life is put on hold when, after a wild New Year’s Eve ball, a woman is brutally raped as she returns to her hotel room. A week later, another woman is attacked. Both victims’ shoes are taken by their attacker. Grace soon realizes that these new cases bear remarkable similarities to an unsolved series of crimes in the city back in 1997. The perpetrator had been dubbed “Shoe Man” and was believed to have raped four women before murdering his fifth victim and vanishing. Could this be a copycat, or has Shoe Man resurfaced?

2012 books read:
The Coast Road - John Brady
Still Midnight - Denise Mina
The Bulgari Connection - Fay Weldon
Good Bait - John Harvey
The Heretic's Treasure - Scott Mariani 
Dead I Well May Be - Adrian McKinty
The Devil's Elixir - Raymond Khoury
A Darker Domain - Val McDermid
The Impossible Dead - Ian Rankin

Blue Monday

I'm linking up over here today.

Taken in Dingle Ireland.

Mellow Yellow Monday

I'm linking up at Mellow Yellow Monday. Here are her instructions.
I chose yellow for this photo meme because it's my favourite colour and I think the world is always better with a splash of yellow ... whether it's in your home or in nature.

The rules are pretty simple:
1. Every Monday post a photo with a little or a lot of yellow.
2. Please only post photos you have authority to use.
3. Include a Mellow Yellow Badge or a link to this blog in your post.
4. Leave the link to your Mellow Yellow post below on Mr. Linky.
5. Visit other blogs listed ... comment & enjoy!

When to Post:
Mister Linky will be available every Sunday at 10:00 pm EST and will remain open until Wednesday.

Taken at Waikiki, Honolulu.

Macro Monday


Macro Monday is hosted by Lisa at  Lisa's Chaos.
Macro Monday is easy to play, snap a macro (or any close-up) photo, post it on your blog and come back here and sign MckLinky.
Yuck a bug on the door at our rented house in Nicaragua!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Foto Finish - White

Foto Finish

Cat patches hosts this weekly meme. Her theme this week is white but not necessarily snow.
I had to rack my brain for an idea.
This is a photo of the Nicaraguan coat of arms. It appears on most of their coins.

The coat of arms features a triangle encircled by the words REPUBLICA DE NICARAGUA on the top and AMERICA CENTRAL on the bottom.
  • It has the shape of an equal triangle
  • The triangle stands for EQUALITY
  • The rainbow signifies PEACE.
  • The phrygian cap symbolizes FREEDOM
  • The five volcanoes represent the UNION and the FRATERNITY between the five Central American countries.

This photo was taken in Central Park in Granada.

Saturday Snapshot

Saturday Snapshots is hoted by Alyce at At Home With Books.

To participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky below. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.
Some photos from our trip to Egypt. These are taken in Giza, just outside Cairo. Who would believe there is a KFC directly across the street???

The Pyramids of Giza are over 4500 years old. They were built as the burial places for Khufu, Khfare, and Menkaure, three Pharaohs during the Old Kingdom.

Despite the efforts of many people to dismantle and plunder them, they have survived to this day. They are visible proof of the superb mathematical, construction and organisational skills of the ancient Egyptians. This was serious project planning!!!

They are the only remaining original Seven Wonders of the World.

 I did a Photoshop of this photo and pasted my husband's face riding the camel!

 Boat Pits

 Here is an excellent article if you wish to read more about Giza.

Ground Plan of the Great Pyramid Complex of Khufu