Tag Archives: dessert

banana bread Great British Bake Off

Serves: 8

Now, I’m not a baker by any means. For a start, I can never resist tinkering with a recipe, and baking instructions are supposed to be followed to the letter. Second, my temperament is not suited to anything fiddly or dainty and we’re surrounded on all sides by families with small children who could presumably do without a live demonstration of the fruitier words in the English language. And third, if you make a cake, you then have to eat it – and frankly, my waistline needs no further temptation.

Still, despite all of the above, I adore The Great British Bake Off. Mel and Sue, food porn and Mary Berry all in one show – what’s not to love?

What’s more, however much I fear the dark art of baking, I love any recipe that provides a neat solution to foodstuffs that are slightly past their best. So when one of the supper club boys bought a chunk of his mum’s banana cake round to share, and told us she’d just knocked it up one afternoon to save some squishy bananas going to waste, I had to have the recipe.

As I said, I can’t resist a tinker. I added some walnuts and rum into the mix… well why not?

1 overripe banana

100g caster sugar

100g margarine

150g self-raising flour

2 eggs

A handful chopped walnuts

A capful of rum

A handful of sultanas

1/2 tsp vanilla essence (note to self, do not pour onto spoon over bowl, or it may come flooding out! Oh well, still tasted great!)

Preheat oven to 175C

Mrs Marshall’s recipe read thus: mix all ingredients in bowl, pour into greased baking tin and bake in oven until a skewer comes out clean. And that is just what I did. There was an ‘OR’ and for those of you who are more method than madness, it reads thus:

Cream the margarine and sugar, gradually mix in the beaten eggs, add the banana, sift the flour, stir in, then add the vanilla essence and sultanas (you can add the rum and walnuts here too). Give it one last stir and pour into a greased baking tin.

It took just under 30 minutes – let’s call it 25 – for my skewer to come out clean, and the top of the loaf to turn a luscious golden brown. I think the best advice is to keep an eye on it and not, as I did, to wander off, get engrossed in the exciting new season of cookery shows that has started in earnest on every channel now the Olympics is over, and release a couple of expletives when your husband wonders aloud whether the cake is ready. Reader, I was lucky – it was perfectly cooked, but I had meant to check on the ****ing thing after 15 minutes. Told you – baking and me do not mix!

I served mine at Supper Club with mascarpone, simply because I had some left from yesterday’s pasta – crème fraîche would no doubt be delicious too.

Best of British: apple crumble with salted caramel sauce

Best of British: apple crumble with salted caramel sauce

Serves: 4-6 (depending how greedy they are)

For the filling:

4 sharp green apples (Granny smiths or Bramley)

4 sweet red apples (I used Coxes, Pink Lady are also great)

25g dark brown soft sugar

A pinch of ground cloves

1 level tsp cinnamon

For the crumble:

75g plain flour

75g wholemeal/buckwheat flour

75g ground almonds

50g demerara sugar

50g light brown soft sugar

75g butter

Crunchy oat cereal and flaked almonds to garnish

For the salted caramel sauce:

350g unsalted butter

350g granulated sugar

250ml double cream

10g  Maldon sea salt

Best of British: apple crumble with salted caramel sauce


Pre heat the oven to 180C

Peel and core the apples, cut into chunks and layer over the bottom of an oven-proof dish. Sprinkle over the sugar and spice.

For the crumble topping, mix all the dry ingredients into a bowl. Add the butter and rub together until the mixture is crumbly and soft.

Press down firmly on the apples, then pour over the crumble mix, completely covering the apples. Press down firmly and rake the surface carefully with a fork. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, before sprinkling over the oats and almonds and baking for a further 10 minutes until the top is brown and crisp.

While the crumble is in the oven, make the caramel sauce. Heat the sugar in a saucepan, and the cream in another saucepan. Once the sugar turns brown and liquid, pour in the hot cream (stand back, this will bubble fiercely on contact). Stirring constantly, gradually add the butter, a few cubes at a time until you have rich, opaque sauce. Stir in the salt and heat for a further couple of minutes to ensure it is dissolved.

Serve the hot crumble with vanilla ice cream and salted caramel sauce. Happy jubilee everyone!

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