Quick & Easy Banoffee Pie

I haven't made banoffee pie for years. It is a great dessert, but making the toffee sauce for it was always a chore. The best way to make the toffee was to take a can of condensed milk and boil the unopened can in water for a few hours. The result was the most luxurious, thick toffee sauce imaginable, but as I said, a chore. So when I stumbled on a new variety of condensed milk, made by Nestle, the first thing I thought was, "I must make some banoffee pie!". The new condensed milk flavour is Dulce de Leche caramel, so there is no fiddling about boiling a can for hours. With a flick of the can opener or the squeeze of a bottle it oozes over you choosen dessert. Yum!

Quick & Easy Banoffee Pie

10 digestive biscuits or graham crackers (not sure if these are approximately the same size or not, so you may have to adjust the quantity if you are using graham crackers)
75g butter, melted
200g carnation caramel
75ml double cream
1 tbsp sugar
1 banana, sliced

Crush the biscuits finely and then pour in the melted butter and stir until well combined. Press the biscuit mixture into 2 small loose-based flan dishes. My flan dishes are 12cm diameter. Leave to cool in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Pour the caramel in each biscuit base and smooth over before adding some sliced banana.

Whip the cream until thick, adding the sugar as you whisk. Spoon the cream over the pies and top with more banana.

Leave to cool in the fridge for another 20 minutes before removing from the flan cases. The biscuit base should have set enough to remove easily.

I would say serves 2, but realistically you could half these quite easily and there would still be enough for one. So lets say .....

serves 2 -4

Here is another slice for you to enjoy.


Chocolate Tiffin

A no bake slice and a massive chocolate hit all in one scrumptious little square.

Chocolate Tiffin

225g/2 sticks butter
3 tbsp golden syrup
50g/½ cup cocoa powder, sieved
½ cup raisins
300g digestive biscuits/ graham crackers, crushed (uneven size pieces make for a more interesting tiffin slice)
400g dark chocolate, broken into pieces

Melt the butter in a pan along with the golden syrup and cocoa powder, until amalgamated. Take of the heat and stir in the the crushed biscuits until well combined.

Pour the mixture into a cake or brownie tin, which has been greased or lined. Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over simmering water. Make sure the base of the bowl doesn't touch the water. Once the chocolate has melted, pour it over the biscuit mix and smooth over.

Leave the mixture in the fridge to set, before cutting into squares with a sharp knife.

These go down a treat with children and adults alike. They are so easy, they would make a good choice for Hallowe'en. The dark chocolate can be substitued with milk chocolate, if you prefer, but I love them with dark chocolate.

Leftovers Lentil Soup

This is my entry for this month's No Croutons Required, where leftovers reign. After a quick perusal of my fridge and cupboards, I realised I would have to shop soon, but I had enough store cupboard essentials to get me by for a few days. I had a few carrots and a bit of celery left in the salad drawer, but that was about it. Throw in an onion and I figured that would make a good base for a lentil soup.

Leftovers Lentil Soup

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 stalks celery, finely sliced
4 carrots, finely chopped
1 tsp chilli powder
4 pints/ 8 cups vegetable stock
1 ¼ cups red lentils
3 tsp balsamic vinegar
¾ cup coconut milk
salt and pepper

Saute the onion and celery in the olive oil until softened, then add the carrots. Cook gently for a few minutes. Sprinkle in the chilli powder and the stir in the vegetable stock before adding the red lentils. Bring to a gentle simmer, cover and cook for 20 - 30 minutes, until the lentils have softened. Make sure to stir the soup occasionally to prevent the lentils from sticking to the pan. Add the balsamic vingear and coconut milk, then season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper before serving.

Serves 6-8

The chilli has a bit of a kick. If you are nervous of adding it, then just add half a teaspoon to begin with and add more at the end if you would like it hotter. If you have made it too hot, you can cool it down with more coconut milk, milk or soya milk.

There is still time to submit an entry to this month's No Croutons Required. You have until close of day on the 20th October 2009. So why not have a look at what you have sitting in your fridge and store cupboards and see if you can whip up a vegetarian soup or salad. The full rules can be found here.

In other news, I now have a shiny new laptop to replace the one that died. Yay! Having no pc for a week and a half was not pleasant, but I do so love my new laptop. I decided to upgrade to a Sony VGN-NW11SS and it is fab.

Mango & Orange Peel Jam

When I saw some mangoes being sold at a bargain price, I just had to buy a few. My plan was to make Hot Mango Chutney with them, however I was overcome with the urge to attempt a mango jam. So here it is:

Mango & Orange Peel Jam


5 ripe mangoes, cut into chunks
2 cups water
3 cups caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
finely grated peel from 3 oranges


Firstly place a saucer in the freezer in anticipation of the wrinkle test, to see if the jam is ready.

Bring the mango and water to the boil, in a large pan over a moderate heat for 15 minutes, until the mangoes are tender. Whizz the mango mixture smooth in an electric blender, food processor or with a stick blender. Return the mango juice to the pan and add the sugar, vanilla extract and orange peel. Boil for 30 to 40 minutes, until the mango mixture is the consistency of jam.

Do the wrinkle test to see if the jam is ready. Drop a little jam onto your cool saucer and after a few seconds push the jam gently with your pinky, if it is set, it will wrinkle slightly. Pour into hot sterilized jam jars and seal.

I sterilize my jam jars in the dishwasher just before I am about to use them and only take them out when I am ready to pour, being careful not to touch the inside of the jar or lid.

Makes 2½ x 400g jam

Isn't it the most gorgeous colour?

It's just so luscious! It is a good jam and a great consistency. Everyone has their own preference, but I prefer a jam to ooze slightly, rather than one which needs to be cut into.

I was a bit disappointed by the mango flavour however. The taste of mango is subtle and not the punch of the exotic that I expected. All in all, I am glad I decided to add the orange peel, which adds another dimension to the flavour. Perhaps my mangoes were a little under-ripe for my jam.

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