Mary Berry’s Banana Bread

Don’t get me wrong, I love bananas, however once they start to turn brown I won’t touch them. I like them almost under ripe so that the fruit inside is still firm.

So, what are you meant to do with all of those bananas that you forgot about in the back of your cupboard or in your fruit bowl that are now past their best by quite some way?

For me, the answer has to be banana bread. It is utterly delicious and the natural sweetness of the fruit lends itself perfectly to baking! While it’s still not as healthy as eating bananas by themselves,  it’s at least slightly better than a cupcake smothered in copious amounts of butter icing or a deep fried, sugar coated doughnut.

When I told one of my friends that I was making banana bread they threw up a bit of a par-larva about the name. Which to be fair is understandable seeing as, strictly speaking, banana bread is more of a loaf- shaped cake.

Personally I’ve never understood the difference between banana bread and banana cake, and seeing as I can’t come up with a reasonable explanation I’m guessing that it probably isn’t all that significant! In fact, categorising it as a bread rather than a cake just legitimises it’s consumption at any time or hour of the day (i.e. making eating cake for breakfast socially acceptable), explaining why this is such a popular and successful recipe!

 

 

The great thing about banana bread is that it doesn’t matter how long they’ve been sitting in the back of your cupboard for forgotten about. In fact, in order to make the best banana bread it’s a well known fact that your bananas should be so ripe that they practically dance into the oven by themselves.

When I’m in need of a recipe quite frankly there’s only one person to turn to, and that is of course the queen of baking Mary Berry. This recipe has everything you’d want from banana bread, it’s moist, hearty and packed full of flavour!

I’ve added blueberries to the recipe but this isn’t strictly necessary, it just depends on how adventurous you are with your banana bread. Feel free to stick to the classic recipe or make your own additions such as chocolate chips, raspberries, peanut butter chips etc etc…

Mary Berry’s Banana Loaf Recipe

Ingredients

100g Softened Butter

175g Caster Sugar

2 Large Eggs

2 Ripe Bananas (mashed)

225g Self Raising Flour

1 tsp. Baking Powder

2 tbsp. Milk

150g blueberries

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C / Fan 160C / Gas 4.
  2. Lightly grease a 2lb loaf tin, then line the base and sides with greased proof paper.
  3. Measure all ingredients into a mixing bowl and beat for about 2 minutes, until well blended.
  4. Fold in the blueberries.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the tin and level the surface. At this point you can sprinkle a few oats on top before baking.
  6. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 1 hour, until well risen and golden brown. A fine skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean if the loaf is ready.
  7. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out, peel of the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack.

Happy Baking! x

Coconut Flour Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

I’m always a little sceptical about ‘healthy’ baking, it doesn’t quite have the same rich, sweetness that we all seem to crave. However after hearing a lot about the benefits of using coconut flour in recipes I decided to give it a go, and the result was extremely successful! 

Coconut flour is one of the healthiest flours available, it’s tricky to work with but rewarding in the right recipes! 

 

It’s rich in protein, high in fibre and as it is not a grain based flour it’s also low in carbs. As it’s a natural byproduct of coconut milk production it contains medium chain saturated fatty acids (i.e. the good type of fat) which gets used for energy not stored as fat and also improves metabolism. Coconut flour is also a great source of manganese which supports bone health, nervous system function and helps maintain optimum blood sugar levels. 

 
Coconut flour is extraordinarily absorbent so a little goes a long way. The key is to add adequate liquid and lots of eggs to act as a binder to prevent a dry or crumbly result. It is a unique gluten-free flour with a different composition to your standard grain-based flour meaning that there is no straight forward substitute for it. (I’d recommend trying out a few ‘tried and tested’ recipes before experimenting with it yourself).

 

Recipe: 

1 cup coconut flour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

4 eggs

2 tbsp vanilla essence

2 tbsp honey

1/2 cup coconut oil (vegetable oil can also be used)

3 bananas (mashed)

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees (C) 
  2. In a bowl combine the mashed bananas, eggs, vanilla, honey and coconut oil.
  3. Add the coconut flour and bicarbonate of soda and incorporate.
  4. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Spoon the cookie dough onto a prepared baking tray (I use greased proof paper, but greasing the tray itself will also work). These cookies won’t spread out or rise once baked so I use a spoon to flatten the tops before baking. 
  6. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes 

Happy baking ! x

 

Fluffy Blueberry Pancakes

I love pancakes. Whether they’re they thick american style ones, the classic crepe, covered in chocolate or smothered in maple syrup. These fluffy, light, blueberry filled beauties are no exception.

This recipe has to be my all time favourite (of course this may well change as I experiment and try out new recipes, however, for the time being this one tops the rest by a long way). It’s quick, easy and makes big, thick, fluffy pancakes! I honestly cannot emphasize enough how easy it is to make pancakes from scratch! Buying the ingredients also works out a lot cheaper than those naff packet mixes, and besides, they always taste ten times as good when you’ve made them yourself.

I usually only make pancakes once a year on the infamous pancake day, however having woken up to a torrential downpour outside I thought breakfast called for something a bit heartier than your standard granola and yoghurt or scrambled eggs on toast.

The basic recipe is pretty versatile. You can eat them with maple syrup, ice cream, nutella, fruit, lemon and sugar, and the list goes on…  I top them with a homemade blueberry sauce that comes together in less than 10 minutes with just a few staple ingredients. It’s delicious and can be eaten with anything like pancakes and waffles or stirred into greek yoghurt or ice cream!

The key to making fluffy, thick pancakes is to keep the batter thick. It should barely spread when you scoop it onto the pan. The next tip that I cannot underline enough is to keep the frying pan on the low side of medium. You also have to be patient and wait for bubbles to appear on the surface of the batter before flipping them over (difficult I know, but they’re worth the wait, trust me). Once you’ve flipped your pancake, it cooks much faster on the other side, just a minute or two.

I’d recommend using a non-stick pan as it’ll make your life a lot easier, however it’s not absolutely necessary. The key is to use a little butter or oil to grease the pan before the first batch, the first few are more likely to stick however DO NOT PANIC, this just means you’ll have to eat a few before any of your housemates even realise that you’re making pancakes!

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Recipe

For the pancakes:

2 cups self raising flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/3 cup caster sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 cups milk

2 tbsp butter (melted)

2 tsp vanilla essence

  1. Mix together all of the dry ingredients and then add egg, milk, butter and vanilla.
  2. Whisk well until all ingredients are incorporated and there are very few/no lumps in the mixture. At this point add any additional ingredients you’d like in your pancakes (for example blueberries, chocolate chips, lemon zest etc…)
  3. Heat frying pan to a medium heat and pour in the batter. I tend to use a small ladle, or 3 to 4 tbsp for each pancake.
  4. Flip the pancakes once bubbles appear on the surface. Once flipped they will only take a minute or two to finish cooking.

*The batter can be made up to a day or two in advance, just cover the bowl with cling film and leave in the fridge*

For the blueberry sauce:

2 cups blueberries

1/4 cup water

3 tbsp honey or sugar

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the blueberries, water and sugar or honey. Stir frequently, and bring to a low boil.
  2. Simmer until the blueberry sauce is just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  3. Remove from heat and serve.