Easy Bake Banana Bread

Banana-bread2

If you’ve ever been to Australia, I’m sure you’ll know just how big banana bread is out there. When visiting Sydney last year I became obsessed with the stuff – banana bread for breakfast, a little afternoon snack – whenever I could justify it. I returned home on a mission to find an Aussie style loaf, with just one café (Boyce Da Roca) coming up trumps so far. Thankfully, I found a good recipe and can now make my own.  The beauty of banana bread is you can throw in your own little twist –my favourite is walnuts and dark chocolate chips! Here’s my easy bake recipe to toast, snack, share and make your own!

You will need:

  • A loaf tin
  • A sieve
  • A wooden spoon, fork, large metal spoon and teaspoon
  • Two mixing bowls

Ingredients:

  • 150g soft unsalted butter, plus butter for greasing the tin
  • 270g soft light brown sugar
  • 280g plain flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 seriously ripe bananas (about 200g in weight)
  • Half a lemon / lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • Any other fillings. E.g. cinnamon spice, blueberries, nuts or chocolate chips

Method:

1) Preheat oven to 180C/ fan 160/ gas mark 4. Lightly grease a baking tray with butter (fine to line with baking paper on top of the butter if preferred)

2) Put the butter in a large mixing bowl and gradually add the sugar. Use an electric whisk or wooden spoon to cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

3) Lightly beat the eggs in a separate bowl and gradually beat into the sugar and butter.

4) Using a fork, mash the peeled bananas in a separate bowl, adding the vanilla extract and a generous squeeze of lemon juice. Combine well with the sugar, butter and egg mix.

Top tip: The mixture is very wet and looks pretty unappetizing at this stage, so don’t worry!

5) Measure out the flour, baking powder, salt and bicarbonate of soda and sift into the mixture. This takes a while, so try and stay patient! Mix gently until all ingredients are combined, adding in any extra fillings (e.g. chocolate chips, or spices) at the same time.

6) Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf tin, filling just over half full. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for approximately 1 hour. Baking time can vary depending on your oven, but the loaf is ready when a metal skewer is poked through the middle comes out clean. Careful not to dry it out as the loaf is best served moist.

7) Once out the oven, gently run a sharp knife round the edges of the tin to avoid sticking. Leave the loaf in the tin for approximately 20 minutes to cool, and only turn out once cooled completely. Store in an airtight container.

Top tip: to turn out the loaf, place a plate on top of the tin. Flip it over and knock the base of the tin until the loaf pops out. You can then sandwich the loaf between two plates and flip again, or put straight into your cake tin.

8) Serve sliced. A little bit of Oz heaven!

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Primrose Hill Bakery

Picnic_o

I’m very lucky that a close friend of mine tends to celebrate her birthday with a picnic on top of Primrose Hill, including chocolate and vanilla cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery and champagne. Top it off with a great view, games and party hats and it makes for one fantastic day.

Primrose Hill_n

Sadly, as her birthday is only once a year and English weather doesn’t allow for picnics on the hill all year round, this doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. The good news is you can eat in at the small bakery (just by Chalk farm). The bakery hosts fifties diner style chairs and tables, with room to seat around 10 people. The Chalk Farm shop seemed particularly child friendly due to the residential area, so if you’re in the mood for reading a newspaper, peace and quiet and some ‘me time’ with your cake you may be better off in the Covent Garden bakery during the winter months.

There’s a daily specials board detailing the various flavours on offer; this weekend it was carrot cake, caramel, apple crumble , cookie dough and malteaser. Check their website for the daily flavours.

Primrose bakery_n

All the cupcakes are delicious, but the chocolate is definitely the best I’ve tried. I like Primrose Bakery as, though undeniably a serious sugar high, their cupcakes aren’t as sickly as some of the other big brands. Can’t wait for my next visit in February.

See you on the hill in the summer!

Mary Berry’s Very Best Scones

Scones_n (3)For my first ever attempt at making scones, there seemed no other option than to turn to the legend that is Mary Berry for her ‘Very Best Scones’ recipe…and what a recipe it is! Simple, speedy scones as they should be.

I can’t stand doughy scones that are too sweet, and not surprisingly Mary’s recipe was spot on. So chuffed with these cream teas I wish I could deliver you all a Sunday night treat right to your door!

Check out Mary’s Baking Bible for more amazing recipes – I’m looking forward to my next bake from this fabulous book!