Fairtrade fun with fruit aka – my Banana Loaf

banana loaf

You know how you mean to eat more fruit, especially now it’s the New Year, and you are going to make 2013 the year you eat properly?

You know how you now buy rather a lot of lovely, healthy, one-of-your-5-a-day apples, and pears, and ‘nanas and stuff?

Well, you know how bananas do that brown spotty skin thing and then no-one fancies them anymore? That!!

This is the solution to your problem, what to do

with that brown banana and its sad blotchy chums.

My delicious, healthy Banana Loaf.

I try to buy Fairtrade bananas cos I hope it makes a difference to some fruit grower somewhere, but the other sort will do. It is also up to you how healthy this loaf is – as there are at least 3 options as to what you add to it, chocolate (also Fairtrade if it floats your boat), date and walnut or mixed fruit (you may even have some left over from your festive baking).

I use a silicon loaf tin (2lb/1 kg) size, and if you are new to baking, try and nip to a Pound shop, and buya loaf tin, they are rather wobbly but work fine, and a pack of waxed paper loaf liners, cos they are a.) quick and easy to use, but b.) look professional and therefore impressive!

An example of the silicon loaf tin I use         An example of the type of silicon loaf tin I use

Paper loaf liners - available in the Pound shop

Paper loaf liners – available in the Pound shop.

If you remember to, leave the butter or margarine out for an hour or so, to allow it to soften, and put the oven on at 180c or 160c if you have a fan oven like me.

The ingredients you need are

4/5 lovely bananas, who look as if their work on earth is almost done; mashed

225g self raising flour,

125g sugar (I like demerara or soft brown, but caster is fine – again Fairtrade is readily available),

100g softish butter or margarine ( I tend to use Stork for this recipe),

2 eggs (medium or large, I like free-range)

and  150g of EITHER dried mixed fruit OR milk or dark chocolate chips OR dates & walnuts OR any other blend of dried fruit you want to use up. (If you are using dried fruit you may want to also add 1 teaspoon of mixed spice)

Then beat the bananas for a bit and add the eggs, beat some more, then add the flour, sugar and fat, and mix til everything looks much the same. Then add a good pinch of salt (unless you have a real objection or medical need) then stir in the fruit or choc chips. Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin, which you have lined with your loaf liner,put on a baking sheet and bake for about  1 and 1/2 half until a knife pushed into the middle comes out cleanish.

Allow to cool before removing from the loaf tin, and dust with icing sugar if you like.

This recipe can also be useful when baking for fairs or cake stalls, as if you double up the quantities and use about 10 bananas, it makes 3 reasonable looking loaves, but check them after about an hour of cooking. (You can buy browning bananas very cheaply in most green grocers and supermarkets ).

This cake will keep for up to a week in an air tight tin – if you hide it well!

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