Chocolate Chip Banana Loaf

   After having recently moved, with a lot of help from my family, I'm trying to show my thanks with food. Last week I invited my brother, Tom, and his fiancĂ©e, April, over for dinner.

   For this I made a typical meal that we would make in the days of dog sitting at my Mum's house. Fish baked with homemade pesto, mountains of veg and sweet potato mash. I also made some Vietnamese spring rolls to tuck into whilst waiting and served some of my work friend's amazing chicken samosas.

Cinnamon Buns

   One last Dan Lepard recipe for now. These have been bookmarked for some time, I just needed to wait for big enough baking trays in my new place to be able to make them.

   There's quite a few steps to these buns, but they're completely worth it.

Cinnamon buns
(Recipe from Dan Lepard)
     400ml milk
     seeds from 3 or 4 cardamom pods
     finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
     500g strong white flour, plus extra for shaping
     50g unsalted butter
     1 medium egg
     50g caster sugar
     1 sachet fast-action yeast
     1 1/2tsp salt
     oil for kneading

For the filling:
     3 Ryvita
     125g dark brown sugar
     2tsp ground cinnamon
     beaten egg, to finish

  • Whisk the milk, cardamom, lemon zest and 50g flour in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Spoon into a mixing bowl and stir in the butter. Beat in the egg, sugar and yeast, followed by the remaining 450g of flour and salt. Continue to mix until a soft, very sticky dough forms. Cover and leave for 10 minutes.
  • Lightly oil a worktop and knead the dough for about 10 seconds. Put back in the the bowl, cover and leave for 10 minutes. Repeat this twice more at 10 minute intervals, then leave for a further to prove.
  • Line the base and sides of a large baking tray. Grind the Ryvita in a food processor until very fine, then mix in the sugar and cinnamon. Lightly flour the worktop and roll the dough out to just under 1cm thin. Dab a little butter over the dough, sprinkle the cinnamon mixture over it, roll it up and cut into 2-3cm slices. Lay these cut side up in the tin, cover and leave to prove again for 45 minutes. Brush with beaten egg and bake at 220 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until golden on top.
These are best eaten on the day of baking, although since I've bought some back to life with 10 seconds in the microwave.

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