brown bread recipe

Boston Brown Bread and other Quick Bread recipes are sensational treats and wonderful gifts to make during the Holiday season. It’s the time of year when you get together with friends and family, and special treats are always a part of the festivities.

Quick breads, also known as tea breads, are quick and easy and oh so delicious! Make sweet-tasting breads with bananas, pineapples, raisins, cranberries, carrots, and pumpkin. Or try savory ones like cheesy zucchini bread.

Give them as gifts as well. Bake your bread in round tins or mini-loaf pans. After baking and allowing the bread to cool, wrap in plastic wrap and tie up with a colorful ribbon. Simple and delicious and a perfect little gift!

Try this recipe for Boston Brown Bread. Like many quick bread recipes, this bread is delightful when spread with cream cheese or butter.

Boston Brown Bread

2½ C flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt 1 ½ C raisins
2 C water
1 C sugar
1 T shortening
1 egg
3-4 tins/cans


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare tins – use shortening or a cooking spray to grease the inside of cans.
  3. Combine the flour, soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  4. To a pot, add raisins and water. Heat to boiling point.
  5. While the raisins and water are heating, in a large bowl add the sugar and shortening. Combine.
  6. Add the egg to the sugar mixture and beat until creamy.
  7. Once the raisins and water come to a boil, remove from heat.
  8. Alternating between the raisin mixture and the flour mixture, begin adding them to the creamy mixture. Add – combine – add – combine – until the raisin mixture and the flour mixture are combined with the creamy mixture.
  9. Pour the batter into 3-4 tins/cans about 1/2 full. Note. You can also use small bread tins.
  10. Let stand for 15 minutes.
  11. Bake for 1 hour.

You can find this recipe and more at A Cup of Tea Please [].

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Hospitality Consultants – A Boon for Restaurateurs

Want to own your very own chain of restaurants? Now that the recession has begin to draw to a close the market has opened up many opportunities to open your own restaurant business. A recent NRA report stated that total industry sales in 2011 will increase by 604 billion dollars! And with the fact that there is ample commercial real estate available now is a good time to consider opening your own business.

Opening a restaurant is not to be taken lightly. Done correctly they take a lot of careful planning. There are countless details such as selection of a suitable location, creating a unique brand, hiring a talented management team and staff, developing the right menu, developing great food and beverage to be served, and so on. But before that all begins you first must raise enough capital so that your project can e properly created take-off for the pilot stage.

If you are new to the market and you approach a bank or an investment firm with a plan, there are high chances of being rejected. After all, they don’t know you, so why will they invest money in your business? This is where hospitality consultants will step in to help you out. They will help you to prepare a dynamic project proposal, which will be extremely useful to you for roping in investors. Apart from that, they will help you to choose a suitable location too.

If you are clueless about planning the kind of menu that will attract customers to your establishment, then it is a must for you to engage the service of food service consultants. They possess the knowledge and expertise that is needed for menu planning. They will be able to tell you exactly about the type of cuisine that will bring back customers and also the beverages (both hard and soft) that you should keep in stock.

Looking for restaurant consultants? With the Internet on your fingertips, the task is not a difficult one at all. Once you enter the query on a search engine, there are numerous results that will pop up on the screen. You can compare and contrast between various firms and then choose one that you feel is the most suitable for your purpose. You can also call firms to find out more about their services and then select one that comes within your budget. Get your project up and running; you will surely not regret your decision to consult them.

Gilkey Restaurant Consulting is well established, high quality firm of proven hospitality consultants.

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Chocolate Birthday Cake Recipe

If you are looking for a fantastic birthday cake recipe, you may want to consider something a little different. Not only will your guests be impressed, but your party will be special!

The following recipe is different, although not too off the wall. It’s still classified as “chocolate cake” perfect for any cake lover. It’s absolutely fantastic for a change from normal, often dry birthday cake. Making your birthday party and cake extra special!

Chocolate Cake Recipe:


2 c. flour

2 c. sugar

1 c. water

3/4 c. sour cream

1/4 c. shortening

1 1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. baking powder

2 eggs

4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted


1/3 c. butter

3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted

3 c. confectioners sugar

1/2 c. sour cream

2 tsp. vanilla

Cake Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13 x 9 inch oblong pan. Measure all cake ingredients into large mixing bowl. Mix 1/2 minute on low speed, scraping bowl constantly. Beat 3 minutes at high speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour into pan and bake 40 to 45 minutes.

Frosting Directions: Mix butter and chocolate thoroughly. Blend in sugar. Stir in sour cream and vanilla. Beat until smooth.

Enjoy the cake and the birthday party!

Kara Kelso is the mother of two, and owner of For more birthday party ideas and tips, visit:

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Going Bananas Over Banana Bread Recipe

There are two things that come to mind when someone mentions banana bread; 1) banana and 2) bread. Bread has existed for centuries ever since the Neolithic times. Primitive men crush grains using stones and mixed them with water. Then, they spread the mixture on rocks placed on hot ashes.

Bananas, on the other hand, originated from Southeast Asia, most likely around the Malaysian region. Around 2,000 B.C, it had spread as far as India and Papua New Guinea. The banana has such a significant impact on their culture, that the whole tree is not wasted. The trunks are used as bridges; the leaves as food wrappings and the banana heart (single male banana) are used for medicinal purposes. However, wheat wasn’t common back then. Therefore, banana bread didn’t come from there.

The ancient Greeks were probably the ones who came up with the idea of banana bread. Although the banana was not native in the region, they have been many references to the fruit. One most notable example is in the book Historia Plantarum, loosely translated as ‘The History of Plants’, by a Theophrastus, a Greek naturalist philosopher. The Greeks already had a reputation for mixing bread with honey and other fruits. Why not bananas?

Modern banana bread was invented in the 1930’s. It grew popular during the advent of baking powder and quick bread. Sodium bicarbonate, or baking powder, replaced yeast as a leavening agent and this was due to fact that quick bread takes a lot faster to rise compared to using yeast, which takes hours.

Banana bread experienced another boom in popularity in the 1960’s when home baking was fast becoming the fad. Aside from that, several different variations of banana bread was also invented. Bakeries added nuts, chocolate chips and other fruits into the plain banana bread to produce more variety in their menu. There’s also a vegan version, where the eggs are replaced with tofu or soy.

Now, an article about food should have the recipe, especially if the topic in question is about delicious banana bread. To make this scrumptious snack, you’ll need one (1) cup white flour, half (1/2) cup wheat flour, one and a half (1 1/2) tsp. baking powder, quarter (1/4) tsp. baking soda, quarter (1/4) tsp. cinnamon, one-eighth (1/8) tsp. salt, one (1) egg, one (1) cup mashed banana (3 medium), two-thirds (2/3) cup sugar, quarter (1/4) cup canola oil, one (1) tsp. lemon zest (optional), half (1/2) cup chopped pecans (optional)

First, grease the loaf pan and set aside. In a mixing bowl, mix the flours, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and make a well in the centre. Combine the eggs, bananas, sugar, oil and lemon zest in a separate bowl. Mix the two together and stir till moist. Add nuts if necessary. Spoon batter into the pan and bake at 350 for around 50 minutes. To check if it’s cooked, poke a toothpick and if it comes out clean, it’s done. Sprinkle brown sugar on top.

Bananas are an excellent choice of potassium. They also help in the cleansing of the colon and small intestine. Although their nutrients are slightly lessened after being cooked, that’s the price you have to pay to satisfy your taste buds.

Mick is the self taught cook behind Banana bread recipe – a website full of delicious banana bread recipes. Banana bread is really easy to bake, if make Mick can make it, so can you!

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Funding Real Estate Projects For the Hospitality Industry – Emerging Perspectives

Up until 2007, most hoteliers, investors and developers were buoyant when it came to the growth prospects in the Hospitality industry. They had enough reason to be optimistic as every factor which would influence the industry, directly or indirectly, was on a growth trajectory.

The GDP was growing like never before and the whole world had its eyes on the Indian growth story. Plans of expansion filled the newspapers and press releases and investors were more keen than ever to get a fair share of the pie.

The recession, however, had plans of its own and devoured most of the pie. The global economic slowdown and its effect on the Indian economy has doused the fire of excitement of even the most optimistic developers and investors.

It has resulted in an extreme crunch for investment in the hospitality sector, coupled with the decrease in demand for rooms. This double whammy put to rest most of the ambitious plans of expansion across the country.

All players have been reviewing their plans of development, owing to the increasingly challenging macro economic situation at the moment. The total number of rooms estimated to be added is today nearly half of what was announced earlier. One-fourth of the plans announced so far have failed to materialize, while the rest are hanging on the edge of viability.

DLF, Parsvnath and other developers of similar cadre have scaled down or slowed down their plans of expansion. Parsvnath which had plans of adding at least 10,000 rooms has now stopped acquiring land for any further plans other than the twenty hotels for which they have already done the same.

There have been reports that DLF has been in talks with various Hotel companies to sell eight to nine of their land parcels demarcated for Hotel projects to raise funds. Unitech has sold its Gurgaon Hotel project to reduce its huge debt burden.

Developers are more focused on finishing the projects on hand than on making plans for the future. Divesting the investment heavy Hotel plans seems to be the best way out for the cash strapped, heavily indebted players to survive the present-day economic scenario.

Financial Projections Going Awry

The seeds were sown, the crops were nurtured through the tough inflationary times but when the time to harvest came, the floods of recession washed away the anticipated bounty. Cost and revenue assumptions made during the good times have thus gone for a toss.

When it comes to loan disbursements, real estate is presently the black sheep of the family. Private Banks from which loans were freely available earlier have dried up. Public sector banks which continue to lend, albeit cautiously, now require a higher collateral to lend the same amount.

Non-banking finance companies are either not lending at all or looking at returns in the post 20% range. Private Equity interest in the Hospitality sector has all but dried up. Due to the severe global liquidity crunch and flight of capital to ‘places of origin’, there is a diminishing interest for Private Equity players in foreign markets. This has added to the financial woes of the capital-thirsty developers.

The risk associated with a Hospitality project being relatively larger, the premium at which funding is available has gone up. Due to this, only the most stable projects in the market would be able to take up the risk of delivering higher returns to the lenders.

Many developers had invested heavily in land in the past when the land values were significantly higher. At present, the value of the same land parcels has come down significantly. The excessive reliance on the appreciation of these assets has turned out to be a serious dampener to the development plans of various developers. The lower value of land means that the value of collateral has come down for project loans.

The cycle of cost of construction has taken the industry on a roller coaster ride over the past couple of years. The global commodity cycle has drastically changed its course. Steel and cement which form a significant chunk of the civil construction costs have lost up to 40% from their historic highs twelve months ago.

The hotels which have opened recently have faced the brunt of the cost fluctuations in a similar fashion. Greater costs were incurred, owing to the period in which their construction phases passed through. The cost of materials was higher, the market was booming and along with the high material costs, the various architects and consultants demanded a premium as a result of a never-before-seen demand. Despite the increased amount of investment that the developers had to put in, they now face a world with reduced revenue prospects.

The main factor that has directly and indirectly influenced the stability of revenue-side financial projections in the Hotel industry is the lack of ‘stickiness’ relative to other real estate sectors. For the record, the stickiness of the Hotel Industry is relatively low. In order to explain, take lease agreements into consideration. These are long term in nature and hence revenues are more secure in the case of an Office or Retail space as they have a considerable lock-in period.

However in case of the Hospitality industry, the revenues are more directly susceptible to market conditions. This being the reason as to why other sectors have been relatively less affected by the present day scenario. The main factors influencing this stickiness are occupancy rate and Average Room Rate (ARR).

Occupancy Rate is a function of supply and demand. The present scenario is affected by both the demand and supply factors, with demand having the more potent influence. The two main demand drivers, the leisure and business travelers, have contributed to the reduction occupancy rate. Overseas travel has been affected to a large extent due to the economic slowdown.

Corporates have found innovative ways to cut down on their expenses and there is a growing need for them to rationalize business travel. They have reduced their travel budgets, are staying at serviced apartments and guesthouses or even looking at options where they can avoid staying overnight.

MNCs with significant exposure to the developed markets are taking the lead to drive travel associated business expenditures down as a part of their global strategy. Spending sentiments of consumers has been hit to a large extent owing majorly to fears of job loss and a resulting lack of confidence and low morale. The leisure consumers are hence looking to spend lesser on travel.

In addition to the demand slowing down, the supply is on the increase which would mean that the occupancy rates are set to reduce further at least for the next one or two years. All these factors contribute to a significant reduction of occupancy rates, and this is a primary reason contributing to the instability of the financial projections made by various players.

On the supply side, although there is an inherent demand for more supply in the long run, occupancy rates would see an improvement only with the revival of the economy.

Due to the hit on occupancy rate, Hoteliers have been forced to cut down on the ARRs to attract both their business and leisure customers. The occupancy rate has also negatively affected the other closely linked revenue sources such as Food and Beverage, Conferences and Banquets.

Role of Funding Options

Traditionally, most developers have tended to plough back the surplus that they earn, into their business via investing in land banks. This makes them highly dependent on external sources for funding. The various equity funding options available in the market till now have been Public or Private Equity which can be Foreign (FDI) or Domestic Funding.

In the present market scenario, there is a lot more uncertainty in cash flows associated with Hotel projects than usual. This has led investors to be quite cautious when it comes to investing in or lending to hospitality projects.

Private equity, while still being an option, has seen a slowdown. Investors are worried about the market bottoming out and there is a feeling that the correction in the Hospitality sector is still not complete. PE players are avoiding common equity in SPVs but looking at structured investments with greater security and preferred returns. However, there are a number of funds which are actively looking to buy out or invest in distressed assets at enticing valuations.

Having said that, owing to the severe capital crunch, the market for new PE capital raising especially in Real Estate is difficult right now and is likely to remain so for the next two to three years. Where funds have already been raised, there have been cases of Limited Partners (LPs) not honouring their capital commitments.

Project Loans for under construction projects are harder to come by with only the public sector banks lending. These loans are being disbursed primarily to promising projects with substantial asset cover guarantees. We have also witnessed cases of liquidity-hungry developers borrowing from HNIs at extremely high rates.

Bailing Out Stranded Projects

A million dollar question on everyone’s mind would be on how to bail oneself out of stranded projects.

Divesting a part of the stake in the project to gain capital may be one of the options. This may not be very easy in today’s market. The project maybe valued at a much lower price than what is expected and may leave the seller with a raw deal from the transaction made.

One could also think of repositioning the project. Instead of increasing the investment requirement for a project by planning a high end luxury hotel, one could look at serviced apartments and budget hotels at the moment to get through the times of credit crunch.

Another option would be to reduce the scale of the project. One could reduce the size of the project in one go or could phase out the development. Phasing the project out in stages where part of the hotel could be operational in relatively less time and with less investment than earlier planned would help ease the credit and liquidity crunch. There are quite a few operators who take a stake in the project as well. Accor is a good example of such an operator who have significant expansion plans in India.

Tying up with suitable investing operators would, however, not be as easy as it may seem, since these operators would choose only the best of the options available and they would have their own plans in place already.

Going back to the lender may be an option worth visiting, to see if they could restructure the existing loan. One could also go for refinancing or extending the loan. If the borrower has a good record, they could also look at finding a new lender as well, probably an HNI who would be willing to invest.

However, if the only option left is to exit the project, the timing would need to be well thought out. If one waits too long for a good price, the price might just go lower. On the other hand one also needs to assess the urgency to exit the project as we would not want to end up in a situation where we would be forced to accept a price which would normally be unattractive.

Liberalization of FDI Norms And Its Impact On Expansion Plans

FDI has the promise to be a major factor in the economic development of the many developing nations of the world. With tourism being a major revenue earner for countries across the world, FDI norms liberalization in this sector is a definite boost for the Indian economy.

The government has been very liberal when it comes to FDI regulations in the Hotel and Tourism industry. According to the Government of India – Ministry of Commerce and Industry Press Note 2 (2000 series), 100% FDI is permissible in the Hotel and Tourism sector on the automatic route subject to the automatic approval clauses.

The additional restrictions, applicable to some sectors of real estate, such as area of development being at least 50,000 sqm, 50% of the project to be completed before 5 years, no repatriation of funds before 3 years from date of minimum capitalization released in 2005, are not applicable to the Hotel and Tourism industry.

The government has thus made a conscious effort knowing the fact that tourism can be a major source of revenue for the country which is still relatively untapped. Hence, the only effect that existing FDI norms can have on the industry is on the positive side. It is only a matter of time before investments in the Hotel and Tourism sector start flowing in freely once again.

These investments would be more dependent on the inherent demand in the industry and the overall economic scenario across the world. Once the credit crunch situation gets better, the inherent demand in the industry that one senses should help attract funds easily as compared to some of the other sectors.

Some say the worst is over and India will be getting back on its feet soon. However, the key is not just to wait and watch but to try and be one step ahead. Be ahead and decide on when to stop waiting. Only the best would survive and we would be lying if we said we weren’t all eager to see who they really are.

Sudeep Jain is Executive Vice President, Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, a division of Jones Lang LaSalle India, the Indian operations of the international real estate consultants, Jones Lang LaSalle.

With an extensive geographic footprint across ten cities, Jones Lang LaSalle India provides investors, developers, local corporate and multinational companies with a comprehensive range of services including research, consultancy, transactions, project and development services, integrated facility management, property management, capital markets, residential, hotels and retail advisory.

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Easy Dessert Recipes – 3 Simple Tips

Always finding ourselves short of time in today’s world, easy dessert recipes are more important than ever. Have you ever wanted to make a wonderful and delicious dessert to magnificently top off a gathering meal but found yourself short on time? Or maybe you are new to making desserts and need some help? I’m sure it happens to all of us now and then.

As a dessert lover myself, I always try to make sure that the dessert I make will at least result in some words of praise from my guests. One of the best things about having great dessert is not just that it gives you that wonderful feeling, but it also makes you happy when you see how much your guests or family members are enjoying it. But how do you do that if you are new and find dessert-making difficult, or if you’re constantly busy and making dessert is too time-consuming?

This article gives you some simple tips for making life simpler by choosing the right easy dessert recipes, and some advice for making almost any dessert recipe easier.

1. Recipe Size

Often we overlook the fact that the dessert recipes we make can be downsized to fit our needs. This can be as simple as taking a normal dessert recipe and dividing all the ingredient portions in half or in quarter, but not every recipe may be so appropriately scaled down. When searching for easy dessert recipes, be on the look out for the serving sizes listed for each recipe. Some recipes are specially designed for a small number of guests and these will save you a lot of hassle and worry.

Small dessert recipes are easier to make and they bake faster too. This is especially so if your kitchen isn’t as big as you want it to be, or you don’t have enough large bowls. Also, keep in mind that desserts are normally eaten after a large, full meal, and smaller easy dessert recipes will go well with the guests. If you have any guests who are trying to keep control of their weight, they will thank you for this too.

2. Ingredients Required

The best easy dessert recipes to choose are preferably those with convenient ingredients that you can easily find in your local store. If you are in a rush, then you might want to opt for an easy dessert recipe that can be made with the ingredients you already have on hand in your pantry or refrigerator. Recipes that require fewer ingredients will generally be easier to make. Try searching for recipes with three to five ingredients for maximum easiness in making.

3. Component Substitution

Many long-winding recipes can be made easier to some extent by simple component substitution. If certain components of a particular easy dessert recipe can be store-bought, it will save you a lot of time and effort. For example, when making a tiramisu, instead of having to make the ladyfingers and cheesecake filling from scratch according to the recipe, it would also be possible for you to buy pre-made packages of ladyfingers from the store, and ready-to-eat cheesecake filling too. Then just add coffee syrup or other flavoring according to your tastes, and assemble it for a quick tiramisu dessert.

Some people may frown upon this saying that those ready-made components do not make a dessert that tastes as good as the ones you make yourself. Well for me, I feel that this in itself is an art. It takes a certain amount of knowledge and experience to know which brand of ingredients is of the best quality and go well together. Of course easy dessert recipes that are made from scratch will often taste better, if done right, due to the effort and thought put into them. But the difference is not always that large, and there are times when we don’t always get things done right. If you’re just a beginner who is just starting out, then this is a good place to start too.

Try these three simple tips for making easy dessert recipes even easier, and they will save you a lot of effort. You will even find that you have more time to enjoy yourself in the kitchen.

Art Young is a mysterious pastry chef and baker extraordinaire who has a special passion for home cooking. He is currently traveling the world in search of the secret ingredients for making the ultimate dessert…