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Heirloom Recipes: Banana Bread

I wrote this post last week and didn’t get round to publishing it before I went off camping with my daughter and some friends. Now, having conducted what I would like to call research, I feel the need to add a few more important details.

1. This banana bread stays good for ages, I mean, about a week.

2. Banana bread is excellent camping fodder because it keeps kids happy in between meals and you can bash it around without it turning to mere crumbs. It also makes a hearty breakfast in combination with porridge. (I will share a post about porridge soon because I am a latecomer to its fabulousness and I want to share the recipe that converted me.)

3. Banana bread couldn’t be easier or quicker to make and yet presenting a homemade loaf of anything always fools people into thinking you are a domestic goddess and your home isn’t such a building site that a tent in the woods seems a convenient alternative.

And here’s what I wrote earlier:

As far as feeding a toddler goes, there’s not much more reliable than a slice of ‘nana bread. S will eat it non-stop and I tend to feel alright about this because it is, after all, mostly made from fruit. I’d be lying if I told you that this recipe had been used every week throughout my childhood. It is my mum’s recipe, I found it in her recipe journal from 1977, but I have no poignant memories to share other than a rather generic recollection of stirring fruit cake in a bowl on top of our washing machine. I am so unconnected to this recipe I even forgot I had it, so the last few banana breads I have made have been to this Gregg Wallace recipe (not half bad!). However, like many ‘heirloom recipes’ I find it is in the eating that you feel most at home, and this banana loaf is most comforting to my taste. I find some versions too sickly, and this one is sweet, but having substituted Mum’s gooey glacé cherries for sharper currants, I find the balance is just right. Now glacé cherries always remind me of Mum: she LOVED them, and yet I have always thought they are abominable.

Becky’s Banana Bread

8oz/225g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp salt
4oz/110g butter
6oz/170g golden caster sugar
1oz/30g chopped walnuts
4oz/110g sultanas
4oz/110g glace cherries (I substituted with currants)
2 eggs
1lb/450g ripe bananas (3 lg bananas), mashed

Preheat oven to 180c
10 x 20cm / 4 x 8″ loaf tin, greased and lined on the bottom

Sift flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub in until the mixture is crumbly and the fat evenly distributed.
Add sugar, dried fruit and walnuts and mix together. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs followed by the mashed banana.
Fold the mixture together with a wooden spoon until combined to a soft consistency.
Place in the middle of the oven and bake at 180c for 30 minutes, turn the heat down to 170c and cook for a further 45mins to 1hr. Check with a skewer then cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack.

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About Chloe King

I'm a freelance writer, designer and webby type. I live with my husband and daughter in the south of England. I like to cook and can throw a good party.

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