Banana Loaf – Mary Berry’s recipe

Ever since I had my Carpal Tunnel Decompression operation on my left hand I have been trying to test how soon my wrist can take what kind of strain and one of the things I sorely missed was cooking what I wanted when I wanted and of course blogging too.

This week I finally managed to get back to cooking though I must admit that my wrist is still wobbly. So for such a wobbly wrist but determined to bake me ,Mary Berry’s easy recipe from her book Mary Berry’s Baking Bible, is a blessing. It’s a dead simple but fabulous recipe and even though I added a few tweaks it turned out so very perfect. My friend popped over tea and was so happy to see it baking in the oven, all her praise did good things to my ego as well no doubt there 😉

So the thing is I have stopped buying regular butter and am big on low-fat options right now , trying hard to reduce the calorie count in my cooking while still getting the taste just right.

I am also pretty crazy on kitchen cleanliness and need to organise my thoughts before I press the start button in my head so I neatly gather all the ingredients and the vessels required for baking and my food photograph – which again is just about ok thanks to very ,very shaky hands! God , I need to use a tripod and how!

I do hope that all my friends who have been asking for the recipe ever since I posted the picture on FB will get baking and tell me how it turns out 🙂

As you are aware you need very,very ripe soft bananas for this , perfect for a lazy bum like me who can totally forget that there are already bananas at home and go get some more . So this is a thrifty recipe too with a proper feel good factor post baking, even for first time bakers – just 7 ingredients and 2 minutes of whizzing with your whisk – so therapeutic I tell you!

Ingredients:

  1. 2 ripe bananas
  2. 2 large eggs or 3 small will do – I used 3 small-sized ones
  3. 100 gm unsalted ,softened butter – I used a salted olive spread – still superb results!
  4. 225 gm self-raising flour
  5. 175 gm golden castor sugar
  6. 1 tsp baking powder
  7. 2 tbsp milk – I use skimmed milk

Method:

  • In a large mixing bowl sift the flour through a sieve, I always do but if you don’t have a sieve handy just skip this doesn’t matter in this recipe at least.
  • Peel and break off pieces of the banana and drop them into the dough, add the sugar,crack the eggs into this and add the remaining ingredients.
  • Stir properly folding in the dry ingredients with the wet to get a squidy mixture. I like to do this before using my hand-held blender – prevents the flour from flying all over the place .
  • Meanwhile , preheat the oven to 180 °C / Fan 160 °C / Gas 4 and grease a 2 lb/900 gm loaf tin with the soft butter. I did not line the tin with a baking parchment but the loaf after it has cooled down totally came off so easy no mess whatsoever!
  • Blend the mixture for 2 minutes (I counted it in my head while I used the hand blender , primarily because it was quite an agony to do this with my poor sore wrist)
  • Spoon the mixture in the loaf tin and use a flat spatula to scrape off all the remaining mixture from the bowl into the tin – again a rather satisfying thing to do 🙂
  • Level the surface of the mixture in the tin.

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  • Bake for one hour until it has risen and is a beautiful brown colour.
  • A few tips for fan oven users , I kept the tray on the level just off the base of the oven and kept a wire rack 2 slots above it before preheating and throughout the baking process. I just feel that somehow the wire rack placement above the tin distributes the heat more evenly if you please? Humm, just a mad theory but works for me.  Another thing in the oven setting use the heat from top and bottom even heat setting if that makes sense.
  • After one hour turn off the heat in the oven and wait for 5-10 minutes before opening the door as a huge blast of heat will slap you in the face. If you want to sure that it has baked through insert a fine skewer or a fine knife , if it comes off clean you are there !
  • Remove the loaf tin onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely before  you cut off a piece . My friend and me had to literally stop ourselves from grabbing huge chunks from the hot bake , it looked so good ummmmm!

One beautiful thing about baking is that it’s an exact measurement game and if you get the measurements bang on the result is always really good.So invest in a decent weighing scale!

Starting to bake with easier simple recipes like the  Baking a Banana Loaf  is a great way to boost your confidence until you graduate to the more complex bakes.

Bon Appe’tit folks 🙂

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Sun Dried Tomato and Chilli Spiced Bread

It’s amazingly sunny this week and my spirits are up so I decided to make some  spiced bread with sun dried tomatoes and chilli, it turned out so yum I want to gobble it all up! This bread is a very filling,wholesome bread and is great for mopping up a thick gravy or having perfectly scrambled eggs with asparagus sprigs a dollop of butter – ah – sounds heavenly, my breakfast tomorrow for sure!

The oil from the sun dried tomatoes and the oil that goes in dough and really adds to the taste. It takes some kneading as I don’t own a bread maker (yet !) and didn’t really want to get into the hassle of trying the dough function on my food processor, still if you do possess one the bread bread dough tools, good for you!Recipe adaptation from here

Considering it was my first ever homemade bread, it turned out really nice, bursting with aroma and rich flavours and am now prepared to move on to well more bread making!

Ingredients:

  • 500 gm strong bread flour
  • 25 gm butter
  • Sun dried tomatoes and chillies about a large spoonfull
  • A sachet yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 280 ml water at room temperature
  • Plain white flour for kneading
  • Oil from the chillies and tomato
  • Oil to grease loaf tin
  • Cling Film

Method:

  • Sift the flour and add the yeast salt and sugar with a wooden spoon.
  • Ensure butter is soft and rub in the butter with your hands till the mix looks like breadcrumbs.
  • Add the finely chopped sun dried tomatoes and chillies and some of the oil and mix well.
  • Now add the water slowly, folding it using a wooden or plastic spatula and then knead to make the dough.Keep kneading till a soft dough forms, fold in some oil and plain flour as and when needed.It will take about 15 minutes, yes I know but its worth it!
  • While kneading use the same process as you would while kneading chapati/roti aata , kneading out from center and then folding sides back into the center.
  • Cover in cling film and coat with some more oil. Leave to rise for about 2 hours in  a warm and dry place.
  • Now remove the cling film and knead the risen dough again at least for 8-10 minutes, you will notice that the dough will loose air and will almost go back to its original size.Its like mini air pockets getting tiny punches with your hands.
  • Repeat the cling film process and leave to rise for 30 minutes in a loaf tin in a warm place.
  • Preheat oven to 210 degrees , I have a fan oven,bake for 25 minutes,to ensure it’s well risen.
  • Cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then on the wire rack.
  • Serve sliced and enjoy with curries as a great alternative to regular wholemeal bread or as I plan to tomorrow with soft, perfectly done runny scrambled eggs, thinly sliced ham and asparagus sauteed in butter!

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