Hey you- that’s right, you – don’t you dare throw those bananas away!
So, you bought a bunch of bananas – could it be you got a few too many? Or perhaps you’ve been out of the house and not had a chance to finish them. Or maybe they were already ripe and you have some kind of prejudice against a brown-spotted skin, or the occasional bruise.
Well, never fear and, more importantly, NEVER waste! Those bananas will rise like a yellow phoenix, and be tastier than ever.
At my office, I am responsible for ordering in some food to keep the hard workers going – but it’s always a bit difficult to judge how much we’ll need, as sometimes people are working away and some work on a part-time basis, so one week we had a huge surplus of ‘nanas which were turning brown and no one wanted them – I am perfectly prepared to eat a slightly gone banana, but others are weak. Weak I say!
So, instead of consigning them to the bin and on my constant vigil against food waste, I took them home, promising to return them in better shape – and so here are two recipes for you, both easy, both delicious and both packed full of banana!
1. Banana and Lemon Muffins
This is another from the 101 Cakes and Bakes book I mentioned in my Welcome Cookies blog. It also uses the same lemon-and-icing-sugar glaze.
- 4-5 ripe bananas
- 100g dried banana chips
- 300g self-raising flour
- 4 tsp baking powder
- Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
- 8 tbsps light muscovado sugar (or light brown sugar if you can’t get muscovado)
- 10 tbsps of milk (or milk substitute, I used soya milk)
- 2 beaten eggs (you can substitute chia eggs – see the banana loaf receipe below!)
- 100ml sunflower or vegetable oil
- 8 tbsp icing sugar
Per Muffin: 330kcal, 57g carbs, 11g fat, 4g protein
1. Preheat the oven to 200℃ (or gas mark six) and grease and line a muffin tin with muffin cases
2. Break up half your banana chips into pieces
3. In one bowl, sift together your flour and baking powder, then stir the zest, sugar and banana chips into the flour mixture
4. In a second bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs (or chia eggs) and oil
5. In a small bowl, mash the bananas with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and then add to the wet ingredients
6. Fold the wet ingredients carefully into the dry bowl – don’t overwork it or the muffins will become bread-y. This is the part I always have trouble with, but ideally you should still be able to see a little flour after mixing.
7. Take a spoon and divide the mixture between the muffin cases (you can chill it for a few minutes to make it easier to work with) and put it in your oven!
8. Bake them for 20 minutes until they have risen and are firm to the touch – leave for 5 minutes and then cool on a wire rack.
9. For the topping, sift your icing sugar into a bowl, then blend with the 4 teaspoons of the lemon juice – this will form a pourable liquid/paste which sets very nicely! Pour it onto the muffins, then add the remaining banana chips to the top. Yummy!
2. Easy Banana Loaf (with Vegan Version!)
This incredibly simple and tasty recipe I found in a Mary Berry book (confusingly also called ‘101 Cakes and Bakes’) but I decided to try it with a small change, replacing the eggs with ‘chia eggs’ a combination of ground chia seeds and water. This was primarily out of necessity (I had only one egg left and the recipe needs two) but it has the pleasant bonuses of a) making it Vegan-friendly b) upping the protein content c) adding a speckled effect, much like poppy seeds!
Ingredients (NB: I doubled the ingredients here to get to loaves)
- 100g softened butter (or olive spread/soya butter for vegan version)
- 175g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs (or 2 tbsp ground chia seeds mixed with 4 tbsp water)
- 2 ripe bananas
- 225g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp milk (or soya milk/other non-dairy substitute)
1. Preheat the oven to 180oC and grease and prepare a loaf tin with baking paper
2. Mash your bananas in a small bowl
3. If using chia eggs, combined your seeds and water until they form a gooey, sticky paste.
4. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl, then add all the other ingredients and beat until well blended – an electric mixer will make this easier, but I did it all with a wooden spoon and it worked a-ok!
5. Spoon the mixture into your prepared tin, and level the surface – use a silicone spatula or a palette knife for this
6. Pop your tin into the oven and bake for 1 hour until risen and golden brown – you can test it with the old skewer method – if the skewer comes out clean, then you’re done!
7. Leave the cake to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, then turn in out, peel off the baking paper and leave on a wire rack to cool – then eat up!
NB: This cake is great for freezing – I pre-sliced and froze one of my loaves and defrosted it two weeks later in the microwave, and it was as good as fresh!
Okay folks – that’s it for now. Don’t let me find you throwing away good fruit, d’yhear?
Until next time, happy baking!