I'm suppose to look puzzled, not angry!

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I have a book to publish. Editors love it, marketing departments say 'up the media profile'. So here I am 'upping it' and writing about the book, food, and life in general.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Ruined bananas and the filthy Shanghai restaurant.

I hardly ever makes cakes.  The main reason is that I'm not good at following recipes and I always add a bit, take a bit away, change the oven temperature - basically, mess about with the recipe, thinking I know better.  I don't and my cakes usually end up in the bin.

Today, in my local Co-op, I tried pulling one banana from a bunch of four, snapped the ends off all of them and was forced to buy the lot.  Then I had to find a recipe for banana bread because they were all going to go black within minutes.  I turned to the Be-Ro book.  Can't go wrong with that methinks.

Ruined bananas
Trusty ol' Be-Ro

Recipe which needs no fiddling with
But then I realised I only had granulated sugar, and the butter was a bit rancid as it had been left in the sun all day yesterday.  "It'll be fine" I prayed and lobbed it in the mixer.

Not fine at all and certainly not pale and fluffy
Praying the flour will fix it
It refused to mix.  I don't know if that was because of the oily butter or the great big sugar crystals but the two ingredients definitely didn't get on.  Undeterred I threw in the eggs.  Yes, the mixture curdled so I threw in the flour.  All I had to do next was mash the bananas.  Why would I need to do that if they were going to get mixed up anyway?  So I put them in whole.

I had found a few old dates at the bottom of a bag and thought I may as well dispose of them in the banana bread.  You may note from the picture that I DID bother to chop them up.  The only reason for this act of non-laziness was that I thought I had better check each one for hidden burrowing creatures.
Weevil-free dates and lazy bananas
Finally, for no good reason, I decided to cook the loaf in a Bain Marie.  Oh, and change the oven temperature a notch to 160C.  But it worked!  It took just under 2 hours but was absolutely delicious, especially with lashings of non-rancid butter.

Completely unnecessary Bain Marie
Shockingly good banana loaf

A Quick Note on our Local Chinese

We had our wedding reception at Shanghai Restaurant in Brierfield.  That was over 4 years ago when Shanghai had a brilliant chef and the place was shiny as a new pin.  We used to go all the time and then two years ago,  it all went horribly wrong.  The food was dreadful, the staff were awful, the place was a dump.  It presently has three 'For Sale' signs over the door which does not bode well.  But yesterday, with only a haggis in the fridge at home (which no-one wanted) we decided to go back and give it a try. I gave the staff a good grilling to see if they had bucked up their ideas.  They assured me that they had a new chef and we would not be disappointed.

Nevertheless, the filthy carpets, greasy tables and lack of working lightbulbs filled us all with fear and we were pretty worried that if we ate the food we could be spending the next day hanging over the loo being very ill.  Did that stop us?  Strangely, no and we lived to tell the tale.  Actually, I can't fault the food we had.  It was all standard Chinese fare (Glamorous of Manchester it is not, no chicken feet here) but everything was quite delicious.   NOW CHANGE THE CARPETS AND CLEAN THE PLACE UP, SHANGHAI!

chicken lettuce wrap

BBQ Ribs, wontons, salt and pepper wings etc

Crispy beef

Sweet and sour pork

Fried noodles & beansprouts

Egg fried rice

On the door was a 'Food Standards' sticker which did not display the actual rating.  I presumed it had been scratched off but I've just checked online and it seems they received a 4 out of 5 which is not bad, considering the carpets.


  1. Looks better then Green Cottage!

    1. After the enormous amounts of wine we imbibed at Green Cottage, I have trouble remembering any of the food.