Tag Archives: bananas

The Household Sale: More bakings than takings

After the excitement of the reunion, Sunday saw the Household Sale in which I attempted to shed the unwanted portion of my possessions.  The dining room was full and I hoiked it over to the village hall, where I was joined by my friend Mrs Lincoln-Park who was also attempting to purge, and my sister-in-law Mrs Grable who is a wizard with a tea pot.

It was unfortunate that the only day I could possibly hold the sale was a beautiful summer’s day which just happened to coincide with the Wimbledon final.  All I can say is that a small profit was made which is better than nothing.  The Heart Foundation and Help the Aged’s shops have also been re-stocked.  Sadly, many things had to go to the tip because no-one will take electricals because they haven’t been PAT tested or toys without a CE stamp.

Regulation Village Hall tea set

Great Bowden also chose that afternoon to have a power cut and Boy the Elder was swiftly dispatched to fetch a couple of camping stoves which I keep for just such an emergency and we were only deprived of a brew for half an hour.  I was about to start a chorus of ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’ when electricity was thankfully restored.   On the bright side, I was pleased to be introduced to the writer of Liberal England who was both charming and younger than I expected.

I spent most of Friday afternoon baking for the stampeding hordes of bargain hunters and consequently I will not need to bake again until the end of the week.  Boy the Younger’s school also benefited by a batch of Banana & Branflake Muffins and a small tin of fairy cakes.

This is what I made:

26 x Banana & Branflake Muffins

26 x Banana & Walnut Fairy Cakes

18 x Sponge Fairy Cakes 

1 x large Rich Chocolate Cake

1 x large Malted Cinnamon Cake

These were iced or filled with a triple quantity of Mock Cream

I was also given a batch of Eccles Cakes and I must remember to post this recipe because it’s so quick and simple and an Eccles Cake is a thing of beauty.  I’ve just realised I’ve already given you the recipe for Eccles Cakes – find it HERE.

Actually, I’m feeling quite peckish….

Walnuts are good brain food, bananas are full of potassium, ergo these cakes are health food


Filed under Food, Recipes

Coconut and Banana Tart

Sister the First ‘phoned this evening and I was immediately inspired to give you a tart recipe.  This is a lovely tart that I have made for many dinner parties over the years.  Tarts, sweet or savoury, are always impressive on the table, whether they are large ones for slicing or individually served with an attractive garnish.  Don’t be afraid of making pastry or baking blind – it’s all about lightness of touch.  Follow the instructions and you’ll be as right as ninepence.


Cococnut & Banana Tart

1 x large bowl
2 x medium mixing bowls
1 x small bowl
1 x rolling pin
8” / 22cm flan dish – greased and floured
1 x lemon squeezer
2 x small pan
Piping bag and nozzle for piping cream

7oz / 200g plain flour
A pinch of salt
3 ½ oz / 100g butter
3 tablespoons cold water
7 tablespoons of milk
3oz / 90g caster sugar
3 ½ oz /100g dessicated coconut
2 eggs – beaten
1 tablespoon rum
5 bananas – sliced
the juice of 1 lemon
1 tabelspoon rum
4 tabelspoons sugar
To decorate:
¼ pint / 150ml double cream
8 glace or maraschino cherries

Pre-heat the oven to 200 / 400 / 6
Make the pastry:  Sift the flour and a pinch of salt into a large bowl
Cut the butter into small pieces and rub into the flour
Add the water and mix to a dough, keeping your movements quick and light
Roll out the dough on a floured surface and line the prepared flan dish
Prick the base lightly with a fork and place a circle of foil on top of the base of the dish on top of the pastry – this is one method ‘baking blind’
Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until the pastry is beginning to form a slight crust
Remove the foil from the pastry and return to the oven for about another 10 minutes, the pastry should be lightly browned
Remove from the oven and leave to cool
Now make the filling.  Boil the milk in a small pan and leave to cool slightly
Mix together the coconut and the sugar in a small bowl, then stir in the eggs
Add the milk, stirring in a gentle figure of eight
Return the mixture to the pan and thicken over a low heat, still stirring in a brisk figure of eight
Stir in the rum and set aside to cool
Toss the banana slices in the lemon juice to stop them going brown
Strain off the juice and put it aside
In a small pan, mix the rum, sugar and strained lemon juice
Heat the mixture over a low heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves
Turn up the heat and bring the mixture to the boil, stirring constantly, to form a thick syrup
Pour the coconut mixture into the pastry case
Arrange the bananas attractively on the top
Pour the syrup evenly over the top of the bananas and leave for half an hour to settle down
Decorate with the cream and cherries
Et voila!

Note:  Tarts and quiches are always best served at room temperature or above and should never be unpleasantly cold


Filed under Entertaining, Food, Recipes

Shrove Tuesday: Banana and Bacon Pancakes

I was rather relying on Backwatersman to cover Shrove Tuesday, but in his absence, I will give you a nice twist on a pancake which would make a hearty breakfast or lunch.

The word ‘shrove’ is the past tense of ‘shrive’ which means to gain forgiveness for one’s sins through confession and penance.  Shrove Tuesday is the last day before the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday, and during Lent Christians are expected to fast, or give up something they like.  This lasts for 40 days and corresponds with the time that Jesus spent in the wilderness, ending on Palm Sunday with his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. 

It has also become known as Pancake Day as the making of pancakes was a good way of using up foods such as sugar, butter and eggs from your storecupboard, which were traditionally restricted during the Lent fast.

Make pancakes according to the recipe in Breakfast and a Recipe for Crepes.

Frying pan
Fish slice
Mixing bowl
Electric mixer

4 Bananas
8 rashers of bacon of your choice (I prefer back but you may like streaky)
2 tblspns Golden or maple syrup
2 tblspns of Lime or lemon juice
Pancake mixture

Wrap two slices of bacon round each banana
Place under a hot grill until the bacon is lightly browned, turning as necessary
Remove from the grill and keep hot
Mix the syrup with the lime or lemon juice
Make pancakes as per the above recipe
Wrap each bacon banana in a pancake
Drizzle with the syrup


Filed under Food, Recipes, Seasonal, Storecupboard

I’ve gone completely bananas and a little bit nutty! A recipe for Banana and Walnut Slice

Oh yes, we’re all completely mad here (doesn’t your heart sink when someone really says that to you?  “Don’t mind me, I’m completely mad!!!!” They never, ever are).

On this occasion, however, I have not so much gone bananas as been inundated with bananas.  The ones that are so ripe that you have about a minute to eat them before they turn into alcohol.  Coincidentally, I was also given a carrier bag full of walnuts at Christmas, some of which were used up in some delicious Huntingdon Pears for my last dinner party, but a large amount still remain and must be dealt with.  And remember that the other things you’ll need are storecupboard ingredients.

The only avenue left open to me was a large and rather marvellous Banana and Walnut Slice.  The great thing about this cake, is that you can bake it in three tins and fill it with buttercream or mock cream, or you can bake it in one tin and, when it’s cool (of course it’s cool, I made it), just slice it and spread it with butter.  This recipe makes a substantial cake that will last a few days, so halve the quantity if you only want a small one.


1 x large mixing bowl
1 x food mixer
1 x stick blender or masher
3 x loaf tin – greased and floured

8oz / 240g butter
8oz / 240g dark brown sugar
2 tablspn honey
4 eggs
2 good sized, very ripe bananas – pureed or well mashed
4oz / 120g walnuts – chopped
10oz / 300g wholemeal self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder

Pre-heat the oven to 180 / 350 / 4
Cream the butter and sugar until it is light brown and fluffy
Beat in the honey
Beat in the eggs
Beat in the mashed bananas
Fold in the flour, baking powder and walnuts
Divide the mixture between the three tins
Bake for about 30 minutes until the tops are golden and a knife comes out of the cake cleanly.
Turn the cakes out onto a wire rack to cool
When completely cold, spread mock cream onto the first and second cakes and sandwich all three together.
Ideally, leave for a couple of hours before serving as the mock cream will have firmed up and makes it considerably easier to slice.

If you are baking a loaf that you are not intending to fill with butter cream
Preheat the oven to 160 / 325 / 3
Prepare the mixture as above
Put all the mixture into one tin
Bake for 45 minutes, then cover the tin with foil and bake for about another 15 minutes
Keep testing the cake with a knife until it comes out cleanly

very popular when real cream was not available and less sickly than buttercream

1 x medium mixing bowl
1 x hand mixer

3oz / 90g butter
3oz / 90g icing sugar (approx, you may like a little more – taste it and see)
1 tblspn white flour
1 tblspn milk
1 tsp vanilla essence

Beat the butter, icing sugar and flour together until they form a thick paste
Add the vanilla
Gradually add the milk until it reaches the consistency you want.
*Remember that buttery fillings thicken up after a few hours


Filed under Food, Recipes, Storecupboard

You’re never alone with Custard

Birds Custard 29.10.09

This is custard not an alternative to Ovaltine

Embrace custard; it is versatile, comforting, can be served hot or cold and can be made with skimmed or whole milk depending on how your conscience dictates.  Also, if you make your own custard, you can regulate how much sugar goes in.  I only ever use a dessertspoonful and I find it’s quite enough.

As long as you have custard powder and milk you have the basis of a pudding.  And if you maintain a healthy storecupboard, the world is at your feet (or in your tummy).  If you use the microwave a scrumptious pudding can be made in minutes.  Anything with apples can also be made with pears don’t forget.

Just a plug for the book from which this picture was taken.  Take a look at ‘More from Unmitigated England’ by Peter Ashley.  There is so much more than custard contained within its pages.  For instructions on how to make ‘real’ custard or Creme Anglaise click here.


Never forget the humble Banana Custard.  Make up a pint of custard according to the instructions and add one sliced banana for each person.  I do custard in the microwave as it saves on skanky pans.


Make up a pint of custard. 
Peel and slice 3 eating apples and place in a pan with a tablespoon of water
Simmer until soft and pulpy
Whisk the apples into the custard with a fork
I like to add a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg as well


Make up a basic 4 4 4 2 sponge mix.
These recipes suggest using the microwave because a pudding can be made in minutes.  If you have the time, pop it in the oven at 180/350/4 for 15-20 minutes.

Chocolate sponge
Add 2oz / 60g of cocoa powder to the sponge mix with the flour. 
Mix 2 tablespoons of golden syrup with 1 tblspn cocoa powder in a pudding bowl
Put the sponge mixture on top
Microwave for about three minutes then serve with custard

Sticky Dickie
Add 3oz / 90g raisins and a pinch of mixed spice to the sponge mixture with the flour
Put 2 tablespoons of golden syrup into a pudding bowl
Put the sponge mixture on top
Microwave for about 3 minutes
Serve with custard

Eve’s Pudding
This one is definitely better in the oven but the microwave would do.
Peel, core and slice 2lb / 1kg apples and place in the bottom of a heatproof dish
If using cooking apples, sprinkle with brown sugar
Spread the sponge mix over the apples and sprinkle the top with sugar.
Bake in the oven at 180/350/4 for 15-20 minutes.

If you need to microwave this, put the dish with the apples in the microwave for 1 minute on their own, then put the sponge mixture on top and cook for a further 3 minutes.
Serve with custard


Divide a tin of fruit between 4 dessert bowls or sundae glasses and sprinkle with sherry
If you have any leftover cake, or some that is not quite good enough to eat, put this in first and sprinkle  with sherry, then put the fruit on top
Make up a pint of custard and pour onto the fruit.  Leave to cool completely in the fridge.
Top with whipped cream and a glace cherry.  Oh and some sugar strands (sprinkles) because I was a child in the Seventies.


Filed under Food, Recipes, Storecupboard

Super Quick Banoffee Ice Cream

Ice cream is a firm favourite in our house and can be a great way of using up slightly over-ripe fruit, or taking advantage of a special offer at the shops.  Personally, I’m quite happy to eat a black banana, but many people are not and this is a great way to use them up.  Yet again, this is made from storecupboard ingredients.

Remember that home-made ice cream will freeze much harder then shop bought, so take it out of the freezer a little before you plan to eat it, to let it soften.

If you are fond of ice-cream, I do recommend you think about buying an ice cream maker.  You can get a perfectly decent one for about £30, which has a gel-filled bowl which you keep in the freezer and a separate motor driven paddle which fits on the top.  The recipe below could be on the table in just over half an hour – very handy for feeding an unexpected guest.

1 x ice cream maker * see below if you don’t have one
1 x stick blender
1 x large mixing bowl
1 x medium bowl – microwaveable
1 x scraper
1 x freezer-proof container with a lid

1 397g tin of sweetened condensed milk
3 large ripe bananas
1oz / 30g butter
1 heaped tblspn dark brown sugar
2 tblspn golden syrup
2 tblspn double cream (optional)

Puree the bananas
Whisk in the condensed milk and consign to the ice cream maker until it has turned into ice cream
Scoop it out into the lidded contained and put in the freezer.

You can of course leave it here and tuck in with gusto (or a wafer, whichever) but I like a rich vein of toffee in mine.  So…
Put the butter, sugar and golden syrup into a bowl and microwave for about 1 ½ minutes.  It should be bubbling furiously.
Leave to cool, stirring occasionally.  If you add cream at this point, it gives it a more fudge like consistency
Take the ice cream out of the freezer and pour the toffee on the top
Swirl the toffee through the ice cream with a fork to create a ripple effect
Put the lid back on and return the tub to the freezer until your tummy gets the better of you

* If you don’t have an ice cream maker:
Pour the banana and condensed milk mixture into the lidded container, put the lid on firmly and put in the freezer.  Leave for an hour then take it out and give it a good whisk.  Repeat the process about every 30 minutes until it has frozen properly.


Forget the toffee and whisk in ¼ pint of Baileys Irish Cream with the bananas and condensed milk for a slightly more grown-up variation.

Stir through some chocolate drops and pour into lolly moulds for a healthy treat


Filed under Food, Recipes, Storecupboard

Breakfast plus a recipe for Crepes

Breakfast 14.08.09Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  This is a cliché and I don’t care.  I’ll say it again.  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Allow me to elucidate. 

 Most people probably eat dinner at about 7.30 – 8pm and go to bed between 10pm and midnight and this means it will be approximately 11 hours before breakfast.  Believe it or not, a person actually needs a reserve of energy to get a good night’s sleep and without this reserve, the body’s reserves will be significantly reduced by the morning.   When the alarm goes off, one has a lot of tasks to accomplish which need focus and mental and physical energy; get yourself out of bed, shower, dress, feed the children, remember everything that everyone needs for the day, get them off to school, travel to work, start work.  Meanwhile, you’re body’s reserves are being slowly consumed.  Assuming your lunch break is between 12 and 2pm, you have asked your body to last for perhaps 17 hours without fuel by which time you will be starving, grumpy and lacklustre and may not make the right decisions about what will actually feed your brain and body to it’s best advantage come lunchtime.  The Wartime Housewife is painfully aware of this as, although I have breakfast with The Boys, I have to go from one job to another without a break and often end up stuffing a fat-laden sausage roll down my throat during the three minute car journey, which frankly I might as well have sellotaped  to my ample bottom as that’s where it’s going to end up.

Some people (and you know who you are) then decided that they are far too busy and important to stop for lunch and keep going, without food, until they get home and have dinner.  By this time, the body is in meltdown because it has no idea when it will next be fed so it hangs onto every single one of the calories you give it in case it never gets them again.  The metabolism slows down and people who actually don’t eat that much find themselves putting on weight.  A little and often is the key.

Pull yourselves together.  Even if you miss lunch, which is not advisable, eat something in the morning.  It doesn’t have to be complicated.  A bowl of bran flakes with milk takes 20 seconds to prepare, 5 minutes to eat and will provide you with a slow release of carbohydrate to fuel you until lunch.  (Don’t eat sugar puffs or anything with chocolate or clusters in – the clue is in the name – this is pudding not breakfast and no good will come of it.)  A slice of wholemeal or granary toast with a smear of butter, marmite or honey will do the same.  A banana is full of energy.  Cereal bars are a bit heavy on the sugar, but usually have oats or bran and dried fruit in them and are better than nothing.  You don’t have to be conventional either.  I know a man, who does a very physical job, who grills a large piece of fish while he’s getting dressed and eats it between two slices of wholemeal bread on his way to work each morning.

I have put this in very simplistic terms, but if you would like to learn more I would direct you to an excellent book by the eminent Naturopath, Rod Lane, entitled ‘The Adam and Eve Diet’ http://www.amazon.co.uk/Adam-Eve-Diet-Biologically-Tailor-made/dp/0340819367. This is not a conventional diet book, it is a blueprint for understanding how your individual metabolism works and how you can feed your body properly and naturally to its best advantage.


Natural yoghurt, chopped up banana, tablespoon of honey – 5 minutes to make,

Boiled egg with toast or bread and butter – 5 minutes to make

Cheese on toast – 2 minutes in the toaster, 30 seconds in the microwave

Kippers – grill in 5 minutes

Porridge (proper rolled oats if possible) – 5 minutes in the microwave, fantastically nutritious

Pilchards on toast – fry them in their own oil until hot – good for your heart

Mushrooms on toast – toss sliced mushrooms in a little butter – 5 minutes – low fat protein

Beans on toast – 5 minutes

Omelette – whisk eggs up the with a fork, cook in a frying pan with a little oil – 5 minutes

An apple & a handful of raisins – 1 minute

Lean Bacon and Eggs – 5 minutes – don’t eat the fat!

CREPES  Serves 4.
These need more time but make an excellent emergency breakfast when you have nothing in, or just as a treat.  These are all storecupboard ingredients.

Small frying pan
Medium sized bowl

4oz (120g) wholemeal plain flour
2oz (60g) white sugar
2 eggs
½ pint of milk
1 large knob of butter – melted
1 tsp vanilla essence
A little cooking oil

Can be served with lemon, sugar, golden syrup, banana, jam, cocoa, honey, raisins etc – improvise, be adventurous!

Place the flour and sugar in a medium sized bowl and make a well in the centre
Add the eggs and beat to a thick paste.
Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth and creamy.
Leave for 15 minutes while you go and get washed and dressed
Put a little oil in the frying pan and put on a medium heat (this needs a bit of practice according to your cooker)
Whisk the mixture again and transfer to a jug
Pour about 2floz (60ml) of the mixture into the pan and keep it loose and mobile with a fish slice. Flip it over when it is lightly browned underneath and cook until browned on that side too.  If you are an accomplished tosser of pancakes, this is your chance to shine.  The Wartime Housewife is not accomplished and does not lose sleep over it.

Serve immediately to the first person sitting down, run back and cook another one etc.  You can keep them hot on a plate but this takes more concentration.

* * * * *

To use yet another appalling cliche, your car will grind to a halt without fuel.  So will you.  I feel a feature about lunch boxes coming on…


Filed under Nutrition & Sensible Eating, Recipes, Storecupboard