Casual Kitchen - by Stuart Traynor

Foolproof Banana Bread

20th November 2016

There are few things that delight me more than my colleagues’ ravenous nature when word gets out that I’ve brought in banana bread. I’ll be honest, when I first attempted it I was a little skeptical as I’d never made it before. Hell, I’d never even tasted it. I’ve had an odd aversion towards baked banana since I was a child. Whether it was the mushy texture or the off putting colours of overly ripened and bruised skins, it was never appealing. No pun intended.

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Rainbow Cake

20th November 2016

Oh boy, let’s talk Rainbow Cake. Once you get over the initial intimidation of the sheer size of this cake you’ll come to realise, it’s just 6 simple sponges. Decorated with patience. A lot of patience.

I decided to make this after an okay attempt with my friend Debs the previous week. We went in a little unprepared so being obsessive that I am, I decided to have another bash at it. Rather than a cream cheese frosting I opted for a buttercream to give it a stronger structure as the cream cheese was a little melty.

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Perfect Reverse Seared Steak

3rd August 2016

I remember when I first came across the term ‘reverse sear’ and was completely bamboozled by it. Did you have to walk backwards while cooking the steak? Probably not – but for the anecdote’s sake let’s pretend I contemplated it.

Thankfully my curiosity got the better of me and after an evening of reading I finally joined the enlightened group of people who are 100% convinced that the reverse sear is the only way to guarantee the perfect cook.

The idea is that rather than cook it in the pan and transfer to the oven to finish, you start in the oven at a very fairly low temperature and then finish it on an extremely high heat in a pan. That way the entire inside of the steak is pink, juicy and perfectly rare while the outside is charred. You get the absolute best features of a steak without compromising on the other. I love it.

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Butternut Squash and Ricotta Tortellini

24th April 2016

I love making pasta, I find the whole process extremely therapeutic. The best part is that once you’re done, you’ve got a warm bowl of hearty food to indulge in.

Despite not being entirely seasonal I think my roasted Butternut Squash and Ricotta Tortellini is the perfect dish for the weather at the moment. It’s light enough for the impending sunshine but still warming and comforting to help with that mild chill in the air.

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Hearty Sausage Casserole

5th October 2015

As winter rapidly approaches I’m reminded of the wonders of a good cast iron casserole pot. Coming home depleted of energy and with a waining of enthusiasm towards cooking it’s a godsend to be able to whip together something simple. With the right ingredients, you can just throw things in, let it slowly bubble and you’re rewarded with food that evokes the feeling of a warm hug.

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