This easy-peasy banana bread has become my frequent go-to for using up fruit that’s quickly losing freshness in my fruit bowl. Originally from Nigella Lawson’s excellent book, How To Be A Domestic Goddess, this banana bread is cheap to make, freezer friendly and super versatile. If bananas have become over-ripe I often throw them straight in the freezer whole, skins and all, and then thaw them out to use another time – upon defrosting the insides just slop right out of their skins, and don’t even need mashing. And this recipe copes really well with almost anything you want to throw at it: old, bruised strawberries, rhubarb, a drained can of pineapple chunks/crushed pineapple, a handful of nuts, crystalized ginger… whatever floats your boat. Just keep the bananas!) The loaf pictured above features rotten bananas, too-far-gone pears and a handful of frozen raspberries from the freezer, and cost about $5 to make.
- 175 grams plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 125 grams unsalted butter (melted)
- 150 grams caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 4 small very ripe bananas (mashed)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 170ºC and line a loaf tin with baking paper. Put the flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt in a medium-sized bowl and, using your hands or a wooden spoon, combine well.
In a large bowl, mix the melted butter and sugar and beat until blended. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the mashed bananas, along with any other fruit you’ve decided to use – just blitz it in your food processor first. Then, with your wooden spoon stir in vanilla extract and any other ‘bits’ you want – nuts, raspberries etc… Add all this to the flour mixture, then scrape into a loaf tin (23 x 13 x 7cm) and bake in the middle of the oven for 1-1¼ hours (start checking at 1 hour). When it’s ready, an inserted toothpick or fine skewer should come out cleanish. Leave in the tin on a rack to cool, and eat thickly or thinly sliced, as you prefer. Also can be toasted and spread with butter for a yummy brunchy breakfast.
So it seems I’m slowly being converted out of my anti-biscuit baking funk by some contributors and their awesome recipes. My old uni friend Katherine has sent in this fantastic contribution – cookies with just two ingredients + whatever mix-ins you might like. There’s so much to love about this recipe: no butter, no eggs, no refined sugar, minimal mixing, less than 5 minutes prep before they go in the oven, they’re much healthier than their mainstream counterparts, they taste terrific and the oatey substance of them is so homely. But since this is a blog about easy and affordable hospitality, I should mention too that they’re a great option to make for last minute guests who drop in (no rolling mixture, just dollop the mixture on the trays using 2 dessert spoons), a yummy addition to a meal provided for folks in need or freezing in advance for the never-ending stock needed for healthy school lunches. Originally from a terrific blog called The Burlap Bag – all credit is given to its author, Lauren who invented these. Using the quantities listed below, with choc-chips used as my mix-in of choice, these little babies will cost you no more than $6 to make 40+ cookies and less if you get bananas cheaper than $3/kg. Thanks for sharing, Katherine and thanks for inventing, Lauren!
- 8 bananas, mashed (or blitzed in food processor)
- 4 cups quick cooking oats (homebrand is fine)
- My mix in: 1 x 230g bag cadbury choc-chips
Mix ingredients together. Old bananas are amazing for this, but you can use fresh ones too. I buy a bunch of bananas, let them get old on my counter, giving the family the opportunity to eat them and then stick what remains in the freezer – whole with the skin on.
Then add in what sounds yummy to you (or nothing!) Lauren suggests these:
– a handful of chocolate chips
– crushed walnut pieces
Lauren’s tip: Since all bananas are different sizes, the needed measurements can vary. If it seems too runny and the cookies would flatten out too much, add in more oatmeal. And make sure to not add in TOO many mix-ins as the cookies won’t hold together very well. Dollop onto trays using dessert spoons and flatten before baking with a fork. Bake in a moderate oven for around 15 mins. Enjoy!