Friday, 27 April 2012

Banana Choc-Chip Muffins

Ever bought too many bananas and found that they've gone a little bit too brown? Banana Choc-Chip Muffins are a quick and easy treat that I've been making since I was a child. They're super tasty and freeze really well. I mixed them up quickly this morning and will be a great treat in the husband's lunchbox next week.

This receipt is adapted from a recipe by Diana Linfoot. I like to use dark chocolate as it complements the sweetness of the muffin. You could also use chocolate chips if you prefer.
Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (I usually use about three)
  • 1/2 cup (about 75g) chopped chocolate
  • 1 3/4 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
Instructions

  1. Cream the butter and sugar.
  2. Add the egg and mashed banana, mix well. 
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until a nice light batter forms.
  4. Place batter evenly into 12 muffin cases and bake for about 20 minutes in a preheated 200 degrees oven. 
The muffins can be served as is or with a little butter for a naughty treat! Thanks to the price of bananas being reasonable again, this is also a really cheap way to give the kids a treat for school lunch.

THINGS I LEARNT: Check and turn the muffins half way. My oven clearly has hotspots and some of the muffins were a little more done than others.

TIPS: Once cooled, freeze individual muffins in small freezer bags. They can then go straight from freezer to lunchbox and will be thawed in time for lunch.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Project 1 - Fandango Quilt

Having never made a quilt before, I wanted to start on something fairly simple. I found the Moda Fandango quilt pattern (download here) and selected the Prairie Paisley fabric. I only want a knee rug, so am using 5" squares rather than the 10" in the pattern. I'll also be making it 8 x 8 'squares', keeping the project a manageable size. I found the website www.fatquartershop.com a well priced option with quick, cheap postage to Australia.

First step was to make the pre-cut squares into composites of two triangles using the following steps.

  1. Match fabrics according to colour and pattern. i.e. light with dark, big with small.
  2. Mark the centre diagonal using an invisible pen (one that disappears over a couple of days).
  3. Stitch 1/4 inch either side of the ruled line - right sides together. I found 2mm stitch best. A 1/4 inch foot for the sewing machine was also very helpful.
  4. Cut down the centre line to create two composite squares. A roller blade made this much quicker.
  5. Press seams open - don't use steam.
Now, I need to decide how to put all my composite squares together.
Here is a sample I've laid out on my cutting board.

ADVICE NEEDED: How should I put the composite squares (there are 64) together? Make patterns as in the above picture? Or keep it random?

WHAT I'VE LEARNT:

  • Pre-cut squares save so much time.
  • Measurements must be spot on.
  • Roller blade cutters are very unforgiving with errors. 

Maternity Leave

Well, four days into maternity leave and I finally have a whole day at home. Baby is due in 9 1/2 weeks and I'm determined to fill that time not only with rest but also with lots of baking and projects that have been pushed aside whilst working. We finished our pre-natal classes this Tuesday and despite feeling only marginally more knowledgeable about caring for infants, at least we are no longer worried about it.
So, despite my best intentions, fatigue from a busy Anzac day yesterday will result in simple Lamb Chops and steamed veggies for dinner, but the iron will be good for my slight anaemia. I have found some time today to work on Project Number 1 - my first attempt at a making a Quilt. Stand by for project info - I'm sure it will be a chance for much learning and sharing!