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November 2022

The months have passed and here we are close to the end of the year with Christmas 2022 just over a month away.  We've been busy with family and friends as well as keeping up with our exercise regime, looking after our garden and enjoying lots of time in the kitchen. For the first time, recent cooking has included gluten free for a young member of family.  With a favourite being banana loaf, I made adjustments to my original recipe and the result is really, really good.  

Use the original recipe below replacing the flour with gluten free self-raising flour and omit the 1/2 teaspoon baking powder. 

Another recipe I'll share with you is for a beautiful, moist Pear Cake.  This is delicious served warm with custard and /or whipped cream and/or  icecream.  It freezes brilliantly too. I keep it in the fridge for eating now which is fine for a few days.  

Pear Cake

3 fresh eating pears, peeled and finely sliced

1 cup castor sugar

1 1/2 cups flour

Pinch salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

125 gms butter, melted

1 egg

1 tsp pure vanilla essence

icing sugar to decorate, custard, whipped cream, icecream


Preheat oven to 180C (I use fan bake, so can be a little lower)

Combine prepared pears and castor sugar.  In separate bowl, sift flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Combine melted butter, pure vanilla essence and lightly beaten egg with pear and sugar mixture.  Stir in dry ingredients and mix well.

Oil a medium size loose bottom cake tin, lined with baking paper.  Pour in cake mixture.  Cook 40 - 50 minutes, testing with a skewer to see when it is cooked through.  I pop a piece of tin foil on the top about 15 minutes before it's cooked, to stop the surface browning too much.

Remove from tin.  Sprinkle with icing sugar.  

March 2021

In New Zealand we've moved through various Covid levels in the last few months.  Over 120 days at Level 1, gave way to Levels 2 and 3, resting at level 2 in Auckland today 09 March.  Supermarket shopping, is from the Countdown close to us, available at the higher levels with online ordering.

Restrictions have at times ruled out gatherings we would enjoyed with family and friends, including group Tai Chi, Mah Jong and for my husband the Gym.  However, we've gardened, walked, helped with grandchildren where allowed and I've enjoyed happy times in the kitchen. 

I've baked one of the best banana loaves ever and have just popped another in the oven.  Fabulous still warm, in thick buttered slices, or later lightly toasted with butter.  It also freezes beautifully. 

Superb Banana Bread Loaf

2 large ripe bananas,  well mashed

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 3/4 cups flour

1 1/4 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup rice bran oil

1/4 cup milk

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp pure vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 160C or 325F (fanbake)

Mix bananas, eggs, vanilla essence milk and rice ban oil together in large bowl.

Mix in all other ingredients carefully until just combined. In a lined, sprayed loaf tin, pour in cake mixture.  Bake 3/4 hour to an hour, till skewer inserted in cake comes out clean.  If cake starts to brown too much, pop a piece of tin foil over the top.


Late October 2020

Although Covid has put a hold on overseas travel, this month we were able to enjoy a visit to Waiheke Island, less than an hour’s travel on the car ferry from downtown Auckland. The trip, originally planned as a family holiday in April, was re-booked for October, but sadly because of Covid, our younger daughter and son-in-law in Victoria, Australia, could still not be with us (next time).    

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