Buttermilk Banana Bread with Walnuts and Chocolate Chips

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Super moist Buttermilk Banana bread with crunchy walnuts and bits of chocolate chips is a huge hit in our house. Its the last day before Schools start tomorrow, so there had to be something special in the lunchbox for the first day back at School. A slice of this Banana bread is perfect in the lunch box and even for breakfast with a nice cold glass of milk.

I found the recipe for this Banana bread in a magazine a while back, but the cutting I saved didn’t have the name of the magazine on it, so I can’t give them credit for this. i have tweaked the recipe a little by adding some chocolate chips and some banana essence in it. This particular cake was made by my 10 year old son, so all the credit goes to him for baking such a wonderful cake.

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BUTTERMILK BANANA BREAD WITH WALNUTS AND CHOCOLATE CHIPS

2 Soft ripe Bananas, mashed (1 cup)
2 large Eggs
1 3/4 cup All purpose flour
1/4 cup Chocolate chips (I used half white, half milk chocolate chips)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Banana Extract
1/2 cup melted Butter
1 cup Walnuts, roughly chopped
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp Buttermilk

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Preheat oven to 350F and grease a Bread loaf pan. I used cooking spray and then lightly sprinkled some plain flour on top to give it the extra barrier.

In one bowl combine all the dry ingredients, but save the chocolate chips and walnuts to be added later. Mix well.

In another bowl, combine all the wet ingredients and mix well. Fold in 1/2 cup of dry ingredients at a time into the wet mixture. When the batter is nearly ready, add 1/2 the chocolate chips and 1/2 of the walnuts into the batter. Reserve the other half for sprinkling on top of the bread.

Pour into the pre-greased and floured bread loaf pan and sprinkle the reserved walnuts and chocolate chips on top. Bake in the centre of the preheated oven at 350F for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let it cool, if you can, before slicing.


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Coronation Chicken – Spiced up!

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As a teenager, I used to love the Coronation Chicken sandwiches from Marks and Spencer. Now that there are no M&S here in Alberta, I need to resort to making them at home whenever the craving strikes. This version is not the traditional version, but is my own twist on the traditional Coronation Chicken, made the way I like it.

The crunchy walnuts, the sweet juicy grapes, the fresh aromatic herbs, the spicy creamy sauce that encompasses the chicken make this traditional Sandwich filling one of my all time favourites. Add a bowl of Basmati rice and it’s an amazing dish on its own!

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CORONATION CHICKEN
2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
1/2 cup red onions, finely chopped
1/2 bunch of fresh Coriander/Cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 cup roasted walnuts, chopped
1 tbsp Curry Powder
1 tsp Garlic powder
2 tsp Cayenne Pepper (adjust if you don’t like it too spicy)
Salt and black pepper
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
3 tbsp heavy whipping cream (believe me, its worth it!)
A little squirt of Sriracha sauce (completely optional, its only to make it spicier)
1 cup dark grapes, halved
2 tbsp olive

Season the chicken with salt and pepper, drizzle a little oil and wrap it in foil to make a little parcel that can be baked in the oven. Preheat oven to 400F and bake the chicken in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the chicken has cooked through. Remove from the foil packet and allow the chicken to cool to room temperature. The reason I bake the chicken wrapped in foil is to make sure the chicken doesn’t get crispy when roasted or baked. I like the chicken to be soft, juicy and succulent instead of dry and crispy.

In a small pan, heat some oil and saute the onions until they have softened a little, but not brown them. Remove them from heat and let them cool down on some kitchen paper, which also helps to drain out any excess oil from the onions, until ready to use.

Taking a large mixing bowl, Combine the spices and the mayonnaise, yogurt and cream really well. Combine all the ingredients except for the grapes and the walnuts which are to be added in the end, just before serving.

This Sandwich filling can be made a day in advance and just before serving, add the walnuts and the fresh grapes. I ate mine with a bowl of rice, for a change and it was surprisingly delicious!

40 cloves of Garlic Pasta Sauce

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This may not be the best Pasta dish for Date Night, but if you like Garlic you will love the strong garlicky flavour of this tantalizing spicy garlicky pasta. It doesn’t take very long to make it either, and the generous topping of Parmesan just tops it off beautifully. This sauce started off as ‘cleaning the fridge sauce’ and I continued adding ingredients to the sauce until this was created. So, the method of cooking is simple but effective.

40 CLOVES OF GARLIC PASTA SAUCE 

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40 cloves of garlic, halved lengthways
2 cups roughly chopped onion
1 can diced tomatoes
10 Roma tomatoes, quartered
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
A few fresh basil leaves (optional)
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
Shaved fresh Parmesan cheese to garnish
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup good quality Chardonnay wine
A glug of Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
A little squirt of Sriracha sauce if you like some heat in your sauce
1 tbsp sugar

Heat oil in a large pot and add the garlic. Stir fry for 30 seconds to help release the garlicky flavour into the oil before adding the onions. Stir well and cook for a couple of minutes, until the onions are translucent in colour and have softened. Add the canned tomatoes, the fresh tomatoes, some worcestershire sauce and cover the pot. Reduce the heat and simmer for a good hour or so, stirring from time to time. Alternatively, use a slow cooker.

It is important to cook the tomatoes as much as you can before you blitz them into a sauce, as softened tomatoes make a smoother sauce. Once the tomatoes are cooked, blitz them to a smooth puree in a blender and return to the pot. Add the wine, the seasoning and the sugar to the sauce and continue to simmer on low heat. Once the sauce looks shiny and smooth, add the herbs and stir in some fresh pasta. Some freshly shaved Parmesan on top completes the dish and enjoy on a cold rainy day for the perfect bowl of Garlicy Spicy comfort.