I think it’s about time we got some healthy living up in here. I’ve loved the recent parade of cakes and pastries, but it’s hard not to feel guilty when you realise that your Instagram feed looks remarkably like a bakery’s shop window.
You may have noticed already, but I’m all about trying to pack as many of my five-a-day into one glass as possible. I’m a bit of a fussy eater – my allegiance lies with Pink Lady apples and no other – but blitzed up with honey and yoghurt, fruit doesn’t have to feel like a chore. It can even feel kind of like dessert.
In all honesty, this isn’t really a recipe, more of a flavour combination suggestion. You know when you get a mango that maybe is a lower grade than is ideal for just eating? Sometimes, when the flesh of a mango is fibrous or doesn’t quite have the right sweetness, you just need to throw it into a smoothie and be damned with any other plans.
1 banana, peeled and cut into chunks
150g fat-free yoghurt
1 small mango, peeled and cut into chunks
1tbsp desiccated coconut
1 tbsp honey
2tbsp cold water
Using a blender or immersion blender, combine the banana and yoghurt until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients, blend, and serve cold.
Sprinkle crushed up speculoos/Lotus biscuits on the top to be extra fancy.
Banana cake is one of those things that I’ll forever associate with home and childhood. It seems it’s also one of the few bakes that everybody has a version of, often that they proclaim to be the best. But hey, I’m not the boss of you, I can’t tell you what’s the best. I’ve not eaten every banana cake – proclaiming the best would be a huge responsibility! Although it’s a challenge I’d happily take on, it’d take a lifetime. All I can tell you is that this is my mamma’s recipe, and I love it.
It’s easy. It’s delicious. And it’s happy to be frozen, so you can have some at hand at all times. What’s not to love?
Mamma’s banana cake
225g self-raising flour
1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tbsp vanilla essence
3-4 ripe bananas, mashed
1) Preheat the oven to 160C and line a loaf tin. In a large bowl thoroughly mix all ingredients apart from the bananas.
2) Add the bananas, mix well, and pour into loaf tin. Bake for around 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
3) Enjoy with a cuppa and a magazine!
You know there are some days when nothing but chocolate will do? Well, I’ve been having that a lot lately – it’s all about the chocolate, and the bananas. These weekend I’m migrating away from chocolate and banana porridge in favour of something a little more fancy looking. The past few weeks have been pretty hectic, which led to an impromptu week away from the blog, but it’s felt good to be back in the kitchen. Nothing says weekend like baking in your pajamas.
So it’s full steam ahead now, and this weekend I discovered an amazing baking tray liner that filo doesn’t stick to, after a string of sticking catastrophes every time I’ve cooked with filo. My boyfriend’s mum gave it to me a while ago but it had been tucked away in one of my boxes of stuff that won’t fit in the kitchen, and was brought down to battle with the terror that is filo-greaseproof adhesion, which, despite extensive googling, I’d never been able to solve. But here we go – the Lakeland silicone baking mat (available here in various colours) is magic. Not a hint of sticking. Didn’t even have to get a palate knife involved.
When I rolled the wrap, I’d totally forgotten that bananas kind of expand when baked…which resulted in a teeny bit of popping out the side of the wrap in a slightly Alien-esque manner. I’d definitely recommend a looser wrap if this bothers you (it doesn’t affect the taste!). They’re super easy to make and a great way of dealing with those pesky chocolate cravings without being too unhealthy. Win-win, really.
Banana & chocolate filo wraps
Serves 1 – 6pp
Ingredients 2 bananas 1 sheet filo pastry (45g), cut in half
Oven: preheated, 160C.
1) First, lay out your filo on a dry surface, and peel your bananas. It’s easier to wrap them if they don’t have the curve in them – cut them into pieces along the curve (the tighter the curve, the more pieces) and flip every other piece to make a straighter shape. Lay on one half of the filo, diagonally and so that the end of the banana just reach the sides of the pastry.
2) Fold over the corner to cover the banana, then use a pastry brush to brush milk over the corners of either end of the banana, and fold them over, creating a covered end.
3) Roll the banana up loosely and use a dab of milk at the end to secure. Repeat with the other banana. Place onto the baking tray, brush the tops with milk, and bake for around 20 minutes or until golden brown.
4) When cooked, melt the Nutella in a small bowl and pour over the top or use as a dip. Enjoy!