Chocolate banana loaf

This weekend I was unfortunate enough to be burdened with some wisdom tooth pain.  I had to abandon most of my commitments, including work and study, but trying out new recipes was possible; I was in dire need of coming out of an enforced liquid diet.   I experimented with Natasha Corrett’s turmeric omelette with some leftover vegetables in the fridge – I absolutely hate food waste (who doesn’t?!)  and this weekend has also allowed me to peruse some very ripe bananas I have accumulated from the last week or so.

Chocolate banana loaf - Julia Gone Rogue

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Caramelised maple banana + cinnamon porridge

Perfect wintry porridge

As December looms in on us next week, there is a constant reminder that days are getting shorter and the nights are darker.  Being a university student, waking up in the morning may as well feel like a post-night out: dark, gloomy, dreary and tiring.  I’m constantly tired and hungry all the time too, for no reason.  

Enter this porridge.

Porridge should be everyone’s staple breakfast food: it’s cheap and creative; you can top it with anything so as to not make it grey, tasteless and dull, reminiscent of our old school days.  This simple porridge recipe incorporates all the wintry flavours we all know and love and will keep you quite full, helping you avoid midday snacking.  You can sprinkle some crushed nuts, such as pecans or walnuts too, for that extra crunch.

Note: I used a microwave to cook the porridge as I am quite impatient in the mornings.

Caramelised maple banana + cinnamon porridge

Makes 1 portion

1/2 cup rolled porridge oats

200 ml almond milk (unsweetened or sweetened, to your preference)

Maple syrup, to drizzle

1 banana

A good pinch of cinnamon

Method

1. Heat a griddle or frying pan.

2. Slice the banana lengthways and place on the pan, with the flat side facing downwards.  Drizzle the maple syrup (amount to your preference) and cook the bananas until both sides have caramelised, turning over every now and then.

3. Whilst the banana is cooking, place the porridge oats and almond milk on a microwaveable bowl and cook for 5-6 minutes on a high setting. Pause the microwave every 1 1/2 – 2 minutes to give it a good stir, to avoid it from over-cooking or spilling over.

4.  Once the bananas have caramelised and the porridge has cooked, top the porridge with the banana and sprinkle a good pinch of cinnamon.  Drizzle some more maple syrup, if liked.  Enjoy.

On a shoestring: Singapore

As seen on: http://forgetoday.com/lifestyle/on-a-shoestring-singapore/

It may be a typical tourist attraction but a visit to the Marina Bay area is a must for its architectural significance. The infamous Marina Bay Sands Hotel and its surroundings is home to many designer and luxury brands. Above the hotel, the Skypark boasts breath-taking views of the city skyline and a 150m infinity pool. Entry into the Sands Skypark will set you back $23 but entrance to the bars and restaurants are free of charge, allowing you to absorb Singapore’s buzzing atmosphere while eating and drinking.

Travelling around Singapore is easy using the MRT system. It is clean, air-conditioned and straightforward to use. We were surprised to find that people queue to get onto the MRT, something almost unheard of when using the London Underground. Travel can be cheap, with a journey costing less than $1 for destinations that were only two MRT stations apart.

For the adventure-seekers, a visit to the unspoilt island of Pulau Ubin is a must. The 15 minute bumboat ride to the island was a mere $2.50. A further $10 (around £5) bike rental and a few kilometres later, you find the Chek Jawa Wetlands, a reason why cycling and fishing enthusiasts often frequent this place.  As the trail leads you closer to the wetlands, wild boars and monkeys are often seen roaming around.  Forget the Singapore Zoo, here you have wild animals in their natural habitat.

Haji Lane
Haji Lane

At the eastern side of the Singapore river, you stumble upon Little India.  The large Tamil community and influence in this area is apparent, with streets filled with stalls selling a colourful array of different clothes and saris. There are also many stores selling different handmade crafts and wooden novelties.  A few backpacking hostels are also nearby, bursting with young travellers tucking into $2 fresh fruit smoothies to cure their inevitable hangovers.

A stone’s throw away from Little India is Haji Lane, an independent shopping district.  The alley caters for the hipsters of Singapore, hoping to find unique finds and treasures at a very reasonable price.  Many shops have the ‘Urban Outfitters’ vibe to them without the hefty price tag and a guarantee that it is a one-off piece. It’s the perfect place to get all the unique clothes you’ll be showing off to your mates back home.

Hawker food culture is big in Singapore and its Chinatown is certainly not foreign to this concept. In the food centre, an abundance of stalls offer inexpensive dishes varying from local food to vegetarian dishes to fresh grilled fish.  The dishes normally serve two or three people and usually cost between $10-$20. The variety of food around means you can have something different each time you visit and if you are not very adventurous, settling for Singapore’s infamous chilli crab will serve you well each time.

International Women’s Day 2014: Beyoncé feature

As seen: http://forgetoday.com/lifestyle/international-womens-day-2014/

Beyoncé’s songs expose the societal pressures women face today; her music inspires me to strive for independence and success without following the traditional paths women are expected to stick to. Her record-breaking self-titled album of 2013, and sold out world tour reaffirm her dominance in the music industry. The lyrical promotion of feminism and empowering beats make Beyoncé a modern and accessible role model. As Beyoncé dropped her visual album, a precedent was created, encouraging fellow artists to follow in her footsteps in the new year.

Baked eggs in a Mediterranean tomato and chilli sauce

As seen on: http://forgetoday.com/lifestyle/recipe-baked-eggs-in-a-mediterranean-tomato-and-chilli-sauce/baked eggs

Ingredients

Half an onion, chopped
Clove of garlic, chopped
Half a can of chopped tomatoes
A handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
A handful of pitted olives
1 bird’s eye chilli, deseeded
2 tbsp of capers
1 tsp of olive oil
Pinch of salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
2 medium eggs
Fresh parsley, to garnish

Serves 2

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C.
  2. In a pan, heat the oil.  Add the chopped onion and garlic and fry for a couple of minutes until softened.
  3. Add the chopped chilli.  After cooking for a minute, add the chopped cherry tomatoes. Cook for 2 minutes before adding half of the can of chopped tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Season the tomato sauce well with salt and pepper and add the paprika and cayenne pepper.
  5. After simmering for a further 10 minutes, add the chopped olives and capers.
  6. Make 2 dips in the sauce and crack an egg into each hole.
  7. Take the pan off the heat before placing the pan in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the eggs are cooked whilst the yolk is still runny.
  8. Sprinkle fresh parsley on top.  Serve with sliced, fresh baguette.