Spiced Banana Syrup Pudding and a nice slap back into reality

You know when something speaks to you? I mean really speaks to you?

Whether it be a person’s conversation, a song, a documentary, a book, a simple quote written on a wall. Something that really resonates in your mind. Something that that has the potential to question everything you held dear, change your perspective, lift your mood or simply make you smile and think.

I know I’m not the only one to have been moved by a simple song. (Thankfully times have moved on from when they first did. Although as a early teenager I really did believe that Roxette and Bryan Adams knew my pain and lofty love ideals. They ‘spoke’ to me. THEY understood.)

In more recent times it was a song from John Butler. I was having a woe is me, poor us living in a 2 bedroom flat in the city- whatever are we to do? No room, blah, blah, blah. ‘Better Than’ comes on and suddenly the lyrics make sense  to me…..”life’s not about whats better than..” A nice slap back into reality that was. That two bedroom flat was just fine.

Watching a documentary awhile back of a young couple. Her terribly effected from a stroke, him being forced from the job he loved, to try his hand at something completely foreign in order to care for his disabled wife and two young children. All I could think about was, jeez, we had it so easy. This couple came across as so happy and yet to me their life seemed so incredibly hard.

A couple of  weeks ago, watching the second part of a Kevin Mc Cloud documentary on living in a slum in India. Watching this has made me question, really question things that I hold dear once more. In comparision we are so well off. So well off it’s almost difficult to comprehend. Honestly, I felt guilt at ever complaining of lack of space. Here these people were living 20 family members to a tiny dwelling with no indoor plumping and yet they were clean, happy looking, beautifully dressed. What on earth did I have to complain about?…(and perhaps it was time to get out of the yoga pants, baggy t’shirt and ugg boots- it’s not a particularly attractive look for me.)

Gavin (from Greening of Gavin) had a documentary ‘speak’ to him. He had a green moment that changed his whole lifestyle. A suburban family man now living a wonderfully inspiring sustainable life.

Running through the park recently, feeling pleased with my running, I paused to catch my breath. Two people over took me. Casually chatting, decked out in their uber cool running gear, going at a cracking pace. Gazelles would have had trouble keeping up. This was also another nice slap back into reality for me.

Reality was, that if I wanted to keep making things like Spiced Banana Syrup Pudding, I really had to run a lot further.

Spiced Banana Syrup Pudding

125gms softened butter

2/3 cup brown sugar

3 ripe mashed bananas

125mls cream

1 tps vanilla

1tps cinnamon

1 tps cardmom

1/2 tps nutmeg

1 1/2 cups s/r flour

Add all ingredients in order, bake in a spring form pan at 180C until golden. While that is cooking add 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup water, 1 tps cinnamon, 1/2 tps cardamom, and bring to a slow boil. Turn down slightly and keep at simmer until the mixture thickens just slightly (you don’t want toffee!) When it has thickened slightly turn off and add 1 tbs of dark rum. Allow to cool a little. When banana pudding is cooked through, place on serving plate and carefully pour spiced syrup over the pudding. Best served warm with perhaps a dollop of your favourite vanilla icecream.


Chocolate Caramel Pecan Tart

Now as I might have mentioned before, chocolate is pretty much a staple in this household. The Monkeys quite happily eat squares of 72% cocoa dark bitter chocolate, while I don’t think this is normal taste bud behaviour for little people. I don’t have a problem with it in small quantities, ( I would rather they had a square of that than a packet of smarties.) It’s good stuff! However they will not be trying espresso coffee and red wine any time soon, as with those taste buds they are sure to like it.

Now after my little kitchen crisis. After I had sat on the floor with a teatowel over my head, with thoughts of “this is the end of my cooking FOREVER!” I had a little pause, got back to basics, caught my breath and then made this little baby. It’s a little bit pastry, it’s a little bit caramel, it’s a little bit nutty and it certainly is quite a bit chocolatey.

…and did The Monkeys like it?

Of course they did…Mr Chocolate had to wrestle the last piece from their sticky little paws.

Chocolate Caramel Pecan Tart


150gms softened butter

1/2 cup icing sugar

1 2/3 cup plain flour

1 tps vanilla

2 tbs water

Add dry ingredients and butter. Either use processor or by hand until resembles bread crumbs. Add vanilla and water. Knead on lightly floured surface, until mixed well. Wrap dough and place in freezer for ten minutes. Roll out to desired shape, (I did individual tarts) and bake blind in greased tart tins. 180C until lightly golden. Allow to cool.


1 cup condensed milk

1 knob of butter

2 tbs muscavado sugar (or other dark unrefined sugar)

Pop them in a pot and stir over medium heat, until it turns to caramel. Don’t let it get to thick as it will be harder to manage. Add layer of caramel to cooled tart dish.(Option- you could add toasted pecans within the caramel.)


150mls cream

150gms dark chocolate

Bring the cream to a boil and then turn off heat. Drop broken chocolate into the cream and stir until melted through. While ganache is still runny, pour over caramel tart. Place in fridge and allow to set.


toasted roughly chopped pecans

*** I obviously used pecans here, but I do think they would taste just as well with any other nuts you may have on hand. Hazelnuts were my first choice, but as the only ones I could find were from Europe and I had pecans grown locally…it had to be pecans.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie was always my childhood favourite dessert. Mums recipe was a little cut out one from some out dated ’70’s magazine and I thought it was heaven in a pie dish.

Actually I still think its heaven in a pie dish.

There are so many sweet lemony concoctions that pass as lemon meringue pie. Pastry base vs biscuit base. Tangy vs sweet. Meringue that is sky high or just slapped on.

I get nervous ordering this if I am out somewhere as its such a let down when the taste isn’t up to scratch.

My mums lemon meringue pies have actually evolved a little over time, and depends on who is coming to visit on which type she will make. For me the original is still the best, with a few tweaks from me if I make it though. I’ve only made it a few times as,

1/ I’ll eat it all with no holding back and,

2/ When something is such a favourite, I actually get a little nervous cooking it. High expectations!

The original recipe calls for a biscuit crumb base, but I think the pastry does it more justice though.

Lemon Meringue Pie


300gms (2 cups) plain flour

150gms butter

1 tsp vinegar

1/2 cup icing sugar

a little cold water

Knead dough lightly, cover in cling wrap and rest in fridge for about an hour. Roll dough out. Cutting to pie shape (I did individual sized ones), bake blind at 180C. Pastry does shrink a little, so allow room for that. Any left over pastry can be put in the freezer for another time.

Lemon Mixture

1 tin condensed milk

1/2 cup lemon juice

grated lemon rind of 2 lemons

3 egg yolks

Add all the ingredients together, combining well, and then carefully spoon into cooked pie shells.


3 egg whites

1/2 cup caster sugar

In a mixer slowly add sugar to egg whites until forms stiff meringue peaks.

Dollop meringue on to lemon mixture in the pie shells, and bake at 180C until peaks start to colour (approx 15 mins).

I also had some left over lemon mixture and meringue, so rather than make up more pies I made a Lemon Meringue Cake. Just added a cup or so of S/R flour to the lemon mixture and then folded the meringue through. Whack it in the oven and bake until springs back and golden. Easy- peasy.