my petite kitchen

 Bonjour mon cher, bonjour

Now not knowing more than a smattering of french words, I should probably leave it at that, but due to the fact that in recent times it seems I’ve come over all ‘frenchy‘, I will probably see if I can slip just a little more french words into this post.

And what caused all this ‘frenchness‘ I hear you ask? Actually, I’m not sure. I still have a deep love for all things Italian. I still have an imagined Scandinavian heritage, and now, well it seems there is a heady French call, (at least in my petite kitchen there is.)

cityhippyfarmgirlWhat to do with this little lovely? Chestnut spread, in a tube and brought to me from Paris. It could be absolute garbage, but not to me. (Look at all those cute little french words on there!)


 Petite fleurs, teeny tiny ones that didn’t last long on my usually quite unexciting kitchen bench cactus.

cityhippyfarmgirlGateau a la banane with passionfruit icing. Always a simple bake when there are squishy bananas to be had. I make this cake up in a mixer these days.


 Parisian flea market finds, bought and brought back for me. I was particularly excited by this one. How many kitchens has this round beauty seen… What had it been used for?


Old milk bottle finds that were sitting unloved in someones garage. I’m preparing the bottles to be loved again…or should I say amour.
Linking in with the lovely Madame Celia and her kitchen frolics
Kisses on both cheeks to anyone who leaves comments in French this week.

first you need the rotten bananas… then you get the cake

So what do we need to make a smoothie?

Rotten bananas… milk… honey… vanilla,  and some yogurt.

A little chuckle might have escaped from me at the first ingredient mentioned. I would have said it a tad more delicately, but hey, the kid was right. Rotten bananas make great smoothies.

I’m trying to teach The Monkeys that not everything needs to look their pristine best before using, and can be turned into other things. Those blackened bananas were just the obvious ones. Now what else could you do with those old apples, stale bread, drying rice?

Monkey Boy does get it, and the way his answers roll off his tongue so effortlessly makes me proud. Hopefully he won’t be one of those kids from my childhood saying “EEEEWWWW, look at your manky banana!” Instead, he’ll say “oh look, your bananas looking a little past it, why don’t you take it home and make it in to an enjoyable  smoothie or a cake”. He’ll say this just after he’s got his final exam results of straight A’s, and then probably ride off into the sunset on his white horse.

Or at the very least he might say, hey you’ve got a rotten banana, let’s go make a cake.

Either way I’d be happy.

Banana Cake

150g softened butter

150g raw sugar/brown sugar

350g  mashed banana (or 3 rotten ones)

2 tsp vanilla

2 beaten eggs

2 heaped spoonfuls golden syrup

2 cups self raising flour


Whack it all in a mixing bowl. Mix it up. Grease and line a springform tin, then bake it at 180C  for approximately 45- 60 minutes.

Monkeys dance the Banana Tropicana

Their eyes raise expectantly.

Looking at me, ready.

His toe starts wiggling. His brothers foot starts tapping.

The knees start bopping up and down. Their heads begin to nod along with the beat.

The music builds up and so do they.

An arm gets pushed to the side like a puppetier is controlling it. Each jab of the elbow is timed with the pounding beat. Feeling the rhythm from deep within, heads held back, the music takes them over.

The Monkeys dance.

Dance like their lives depend on it.

They dance for a slice of cake.


Banana cake has long been a staple in this household. What to do with a few manky bananas?… Banana smoothie, banana bread, banana muffins or banana cake. Now banana cake is usually a bit of slap and dash sort of affair. I cook with what I have at hand, and that depends on whether it is a healthy one or not (honey instead of sugar, substituting seeds for flours etc.) I thought it was about time I gave the old Banana Cake the respect it deserves.

Banana Tropicana Cake

4 mashed up bananas

125g softened butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup rum

3/4 cup coconut

2 1/2 cups s/r flour

Mix wet ingredients together, then fold in coconut and flour. Pour into greased and lined tin. Cook at 170C for approx 1 hour, or until skewer comes out clean.

This is a lovely moist cake with medium tones of rum. Actually The Monkeys didn’t get to sample this one, as I thought it was a bit too rummy for them. Plus I wanted it all for myself. Three days in and it was still a lovely moist cake that tasted just as good as the first day.

The week that was…

The week started off with a little playground action.

Visited the our wonderful local council nursery. So many great plants to buy. Also got some good tips for my worm farm.

Actually I am loving our local council nursery, an un-utilised resource for people. I’m trying to spread the word but I have seen a few glazed eyes as I tell people how great it is. Most people still like to keep to what they know and that’s a chain hardware/nursery supplies shop.

…..then we had  some  playground action.

The old favourite banana cake was made once more. Tried and true and eaten in a day. Its too easy not to make when those bananas are racing out the door in their black coats. And you can dress ’em up or dress them down’.

Depends on my mood whether it’s a sweet banana cake made with brown sugar and is lovely, light and fluffy or it can be a healthy little brick that involves a whole lot of pepitas, sunflowers seeds, linseed meal and honey. I like the brick but the boys like the fluffy.

After the cake was polished off, the monkeys and I had a little more play ground action.

Then some white nectarine jam. I wasn’t sure about this one. I’m not a big fan of white nectarines to begin with. I find them, not particularly juicy and the flavour is a little perfume-y. So when a whole lot of end of season fruit found their way in to my kitchen, I was unsure of what to do with them. So jam it was.

1kg white nectarines

600 ml water

600 gms sugar

juice of 2 lemons

1 large strip of lemon rind

It has actually grown on me. I thought initially it was too tasteless and just sweet in taste. However the next day after it had had time to think about things a little, the subtlty of the nectarine is a bit more apparent. The consistency is great too. Thick and delicious. Actually it was the consistency that made me re- think the whole jam and find something else to like about it. I don’t love it, but it still sure beats a generic shop one.

That ended our week, right after we went to the playground.