This week has been the week of unwelcome visitors. First we had the mouse, very much alive and cowering in the one corner of the kitchen wholly unreachable by cat or human (the solid oak dresser which takes three men to move). Eventually (once the cats had retired for the night – seriously, our cats sleep habits mirror those of LBB) said mouse left the safety of his/her lair and crawled out into the open to die, for which I shall be eternally grateful. More recently we had a bird. Very much not alive, but this was compensated for by the roomful of feathers left behind (not it’s fault I grant you).
The mitten responsible for this behaviour has shown as much contrition as you would expect from a small cat who has seen not one but two playthings unceremoniously removed from it’s reach in almost as many days. I’m pretty sure she’s sulking, though as she generally spends 20 out of every 24 hrs sleeping it’s hard to tell.
Anyway, all of this put me in no mood to do more baking when I realised that it was my turn for the toddler group cake. Hmmm. Realising that apart from egg whites, my freezer is also unreasonably full of half bananas (the result of LBB demanding ‘nana’ and then taking one bite, maybe two and discarding the rest), banana bread it was. Unfortunately I do not have a great track record with banana bread. I have grilled it (a long time ago) and under-baked it (not a long time ago). In order to avoid such issues I made sure to use the large oven (which doesn’t have a grill function – little things) and a fail-safe recipe. It could have been Delia, but in the end I chose Mary since her book was closer to hand. And she didn’t disappoint. This is very much the Ronseal of banana bread, but sometimes that’s all you want. And indeed can manage.
Recipe from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible
Ingredients:100g unsalted butter, softened 175g caster sugar 2 ripe bananas, mashed (the riper the better – I used frozen and defrosted ones, just drain the banana juice off first) 2 eggs 225g self-raising flour (or plain flour plus 4 tsp baking powder) 1tsp baking powder 2 tbsp milk
Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment and pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.
Put all of the ingredients in a bowl/free standing mixer bowl and beat until everything is well blended – about 3-4 minutes. That’s it. I know.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 50mins to 1hr, until well risen and golden brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.