Two weeks ago the first snow of winter 2012 show. Czech Republic is like winter-land for me: I feel always that winter is overtaking most of the seasons here. But, sometimes I really don’t mind. I think I got used after almost 4 years of living here. Once snow shows up, I almost start to hear Christmas carols and to prepare oven for baking.
Three weeks ago, like an anticipation of Christmas gift, I received Small Plates and Sweet Treats Cookbook. I was waiting this book for long time. I have pre-order it to be sure I will have it among the first. Me, as many others who have followed Aran’s blog – Cannelle et Vanille over the years, know why I wanted it so much. I’m completely in love with Aran’s blog, with her photographs (almost divine) and her style of cooking. The book it’s outstanding! Seriously! I almost teared when I had the book in my hands! The photographs are extraordinary, a true delight to dip into the book, the design it’s so fresh, so well balanced with the whole concept of the book, the recipes are simply WOW!
Each time I was testing recipes from Aran’s blog, I felt like she was cooking for me, because everything was so delish that I couldn’t imagine this experience otherwise. The same happened with the book. I started immediately to read it and test recipes, I couldn’t wait! My first recipes was Banana, Carrot and Quinoa Bread which I prepared so many times, and each time it was simply amazing! The Crispy and Creamy Chicken, Mushroom and Potato Bake, was the very next one, in the same day, I serve it for dinner. Another week was Coconut Doughnuts, Heirloom Cherry Tomato Focaccia. Each recipe was so tasty, so balanced, so simple and fresh!
Banana, Carrot and Quinoa Bread is a must to try recipe. All my friends loved it, the banana is giving and exquisite taste and flavor to the whole cake, the flours are an amazing mix that elevates the recipe by giving texture and different levels of flavor. You can read more about Aran on her food blog Cannelle et Vanille or in the interview I took her for our spring/summer issue of What Liberty Ate.
And because we are speaking already about winter and baking, I received my first tig questionnaire from Delicioasa, and I think now is the proper time to enthusiastically reply to it. So, here we are:
1. Where did you spent the most wonderful winter vacation? - Paris!
2. What you wish from Santa this year? - A Canon 85mm lens
3. What flavors make you think about winter? - Orange, cinnamon and chocolate!
4. What dish from childhood remembers you about a happy winter? – Romanian grissini with cheese and fennel and Romanian sweet bread – cozonac.
5. Where you would prefer to spend you winter vacation : skiing or on a sunny island? – Definitively, at the mountains. There’s no winter without snow, for me!
6. What movie you would prefer for Christmas Eve? - Home alone, no matter how many times I’ve already seen it!
7. What song you like the most? - During Christmas, always carols!
8. What is your preferred dish in winter? - The pumpkin and the apples make miracles in winter!
9. What customs you and your family are respecting for winter? - The Christmas Eve, the Christmas tree and dinner, the presents…
10. Your favorite carol.. - Silent night.
11. A novel memory from your past winter holidays… - Three Christmas back, my curious kitten burnt her mustaches (just the tips) wanting to smell the lighten candles. You definitively, wouldn’t expect that for Christmas, it wasn’t a drama (of course I was checking my baby to see if she’s all right), but it was unexpected!
Banana, Carrot and Quinoa Bread – recipe by Aran Goyoaga from Small Plates and Sweet Treats Cookbook
Ingredients (makes 18 muffins or 8 1.2×4 1/2″loaf):
300g mashed banana puree
150g natural cane sugar
185ml olive oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
70g quinoa flour
70g super fine brown rice flour
50g almond flour
3 tablespoons tapioca starch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
50g chopped pecans
75g grated carrots
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. In a medium bowl whisk together the banana puree, eggs, sugar, olive oil, and vanilla extract.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the quinoa flour, superfine brown rice flour, almond flour, tapioca starch,, salt, baking soda, and ground cinnamon.
3. Add wet ingredients to the dry and mix until incorporated. Fold in the pecans and carrots. Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan or muffin cups (I use mini loaf pan for mine). Bake for 45-55 minutes for the load and 15 minutes for the muffin cups. Let cool in the pan for 20 minutes and then invert onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing the loaf.