Friday, 31 July 2015

French banana toast

What's better than French toast? Banana French toast, obviously!

Banana bread, French toast style, topped with crème fraiche, frozen raspberries and a drizzle of chocolate syrup. 

This makes the perfect weekend brunch; it's a little bit special, a little bit naughty, but more than a little bit easy. Not only that but it looks super impressive and packs a punch taste-wise. 

You'll need to start by making banana bread. I blogged about my favourite banana loaf recipe (with added chocolatey loveliness) way back in 2012 - I  have no idea where I got this recipe from so can't credit it, oops. This time I used a very simple Mary Berry recipe from her Baking Bible book, a must buy for anyone who loves baking. Mary's recipe is even simpler than the recipe I usually use, and is gorgeously moist but maybe not quite as banana-y. Anyway, start by making a banana loaf - you can do this the day before as it keeps quite well. 

Then, take a slice of banana loaf and coat in egg (whisk an egg in a bowl with a pinch of cinnamon and lay the bread in, turning after a few seconds to coat evenly). In a non-stick pan, fry the bread in a little butter or Fry Light on a medium heat until golden brown on both sides. 

Serve the banana bread with crème fraiche, yogurt or even ice cream and berries. Drizzle with chocolate syrup (I use Choc Shot by Sweet Freedom) and serve whilst the bread is still warm. Delicious!


Wednesday, 29 July 2015

bookworm #36

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This one needs no introduction, but rather embarrassingly I'd never read it! I missed studying it for GCSE English, instead reading Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. Since getting over the assumption that because this was a GCSE set text it must be pants, it has been firmly on my 'to read' list. The problem is, my to read list is pretty extensive and made worse by my fairly regular trips to Oxfam books where I pick up a couple of new reads each time. When I saw that Harper Lee was releasing the prequel to this (Go Set a Watchman) I knew it was about time I finally got my arse in gear and read it. 

"Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."

To Kill a Mockingbird is the story of Scout and Jem Finch and their father Atticus, the local lawyer, and their struggles with racism, bigotry and inequality in 1930s America. The novel starts with Jem and Scout's obsession with local recluse Boo Radley, and later develops to follow the controversial case of Tom Robinson. Controversial because Tom is a black man charged with raping a white woman, and Atticus is hired to defend him. The book tells the story of how Atticus teaches his children to be fair and considerate, despite living in a neighbourhood with a very different view of diversity.

I loved this book. The topics of race and inequality really interest me and this was a great account, from a child's perspective, of morality and compassion in the face of small-town, small-minded bigotry. As most others, I saw Atticus as a complete hero and the picture of strong ethics and morals. I am just left with the question; why did it take me so long to read this?!

Have you read To Kill a Mockingbird? What about Go Set a Watchman?


Tuesday, 28 July 2015

walking through summer

This summer is a funny one. I'm off for five weeks, we're not going on holiday and we're desperately saving money. That means I'm needing to find ways of filling my time with lovely things that don't cost the earth. Fewer days shopping and eating out, and more days spend exploring our local area and everything it has to offer. 

Last Saturday was lovely and sunny in Farnham and we wanted to get out for a long walk. After a little internet browsing we found this walk 'in the footsteps of Jane Austin' and hopped in the car down the A31 to Chawton (near Alton). We walked around 4 miles, cutting off a small section round Upper Farringdon, and it was blissful. Gorgeous countryside, rolling hills, a quick nose at some beautiful homes - all ending at Jane Austin's home. We didn't go in the house but enjoyed a cream tea in the tea rooms opposite; sitting outside soaking up the sun the whole time. All kinds of perfect.

Want to do the walk yourself? See full details here

Walking should be about soaking up your surroundings. These snaps are from my iPhone - I wanted to enjoy the walk rather than lugging round my DSLR. Living in the moment, taking it all in. 

So this summer will hopefully be spent making better use of the great outdoors! I already have two walks planned; a section of the South Downs Way with my family and a section of the St Swithun's Way with work friends. I'm praying for better weather than we've seen in the last few days, or this dream may not become a reality...

What do you do to save money in the holidays?

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