Feta and Paprika Cheese Straws

It is fair to say, I love a good dip. Cheese ball, hummus, salsa, pesto, or just the well-known kiwi onion dip. Yip, dip rocks! Needless to say I’m often on the lookout for things to dip in dip.

From memory, they were big in New Zealand in the seventies, being cheap and relatively easy to make. I came across this recipe in the one of the midweek papers a couple of weeks ago. To be honest, at the time, I was more caught drooling over the plum sauce recipe than the straws but since I am very much plum-less…I had to make do.

A word of warning – these are very addictive! Pair them with some homemade plum sauce and you’ll have yourself a rather attractive looking snack! They’re best eaten warm from the oven, but if you need to make them ahead, leave them to crisp up in a cool oven before removing to an air-tight container – they’re less likely to soften.

Feta and Paprika Cheese Straws

  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried mustard
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 60 grams butter, diced
  • 1/2 a cup grated cheese
  • 1/2 a cup feta cheese, crumbled

To make the cheese straws, preheat your oven to approx 190 degrees. Grease an oven tray. Sift the flour and paprika into a bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. I found I had to add a little more water to the mix at this stage as it seemed a little dry! Stir in both the grated cheese and the crumbled feta cheese.

Next, lightly beat the egg and add to the mixture. Stir until a dough is formed and then roll out on a floured surface. You want to make sure the dough is roughly 5mm thick before slicing into strips. I  found a pizza cutter (if you have one!) was ideal for this part.

Transfer the strips onto a cooked tray lined with paper. Lightly brush with a bit of milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds. Bake for around 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack and store in an air tight container.

This recipe makes approximately 16 straws.

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Ridiculously Delicious Banana Cake

Banana cake is an old-fashioned family favourite. A staple, if you like. For me, banana cake just does not get old. It is always so soft and well, banana-y. In fact, my birthday cake of choice for many years as a child was a banana cake!

It is also, hands-down, totally the best cake batter to eat straight from the bowl! It’s just so sweet and the bananas give it a thick, sticky, smooth feel that cannot be beat and ensure that the final product is always so velvety and moist.

It’s just so easy – no fancy layers, no complicated mixing techniques. Just a bowl, some ripe bananas, a wooden spoon and you. You can keep over-ripe bananas in your freezer and bust them out any time that you just feel like baking!

There is no need to really harp on, too much, about this one. Ridiculously delicious!

Ridiculously Delicious Banana Cake

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 100 grams of butter, melted
  • 3 bananas, mashed with a fork
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 a cup milk
  • 150 ml fruit yoghurt
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 3 teaspoons of baking powder

Preheat oven to 160 degrees and spray a 20 cm round cake tin with non stick baking spray. Line the base with baking paper.

Beat the sugar, melted butter, and eggs until thick and creamy. Add the mashed bananas and beat well. Heat the milk in a small microwave proof bowl in the microwave until nearly boiling – roughly 1 minute or so.

Stir the baking soda into the milk and then stir this into the banana mixture. Add the yoghurt, flour and baking powder. Mix well and pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for 45 – 50 minutes until the cake is cooked in the middle and just pulling away from the edges of the tin.

Cool in the tin for 5 minutes then release the spring sides and cool completely on a wire rack. When completely cold, ice with chocolate icing. Decorate the top of the cake with a few nuts of your choice!