Peggy’s banana bread – lovely!

12 Mar

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During our stay in Lardos, Rhodes, we ate at BoJangles a number of times.  The food was always great as was the service and the company.  On a couple of occasions Peggy, the owner, gave us a piece of her banana bread to take home with us.  In fact, on the last occasion it was a huge slab.  Both lots of bread tasted delicious but you could tell there was a difference between them.  Peggy explained that the bread is very forgiving and that you could throw anything in, it would still work.  In the first loaf of bread she had included some fresh figs that Paniotti had given her.  You could really taste the figs in the bread, they gave it a subtle sweet and aromatic flavour.  The second loaf was more traditional with the addition of dried fruit and walnuts.  We ate both with lashings of butter and had them for breakfast and as a snack with coffee.  Wonderful!

I always seem to be left with a few bananas in my fruit bowl that look as though they have seen better days.  I don’t know if others have noticed, but I am sure bananas only last half the time they used to do years ago.  I think it is because supermarkets store them in the cold and then they start to deteriorate as soon as they are taken out and put on the shelves.  Some people like bananas very ripe but I am not one of them.  I do hate waste though so I often  fish out Peggy’s recipe use them up in this bread.  Mindful of the fact that anything goes I always adapt the recipe to what I have in the cupboard but the basic cake mixture ingredients I keep the same as Peggy’s.  The loaf always turns out perfectly and, although it doesn’t usually taste the same as the ones Peggy gave us, it is always delicious. I sometimes intend to take some over to my children when I next visit but it disappears so fast There is never any left. Sorry kids!

Before I give you the recipe I though I would see if there is anything interesting to know about bananas.

The first interesting fact I found was that the banana plant is herbaceous and it is actually the largest herbaceous flowering plant.  It grows to 20+ feet so there is no wonder that people commonly mistake these as trees.  I also didn’t know that the fruit of the banana plant can be one of three colours when ripe, the common yellow, red or purple.  I’m not sure I fancy a purple banana!

They have been around for a long time and there is archaeological evidence of a banana plantation as early as 5000 BC in Papua New Guinea.  Did you also know that the banana is naturally radioactive?   This is because of their high potassium level and the small amounts of isotope potassium-40,  found in naturally occurring potassium.  Of course, they do not contain anywhere near enough to be harmful.

Nearly every part of the banana plant is used.  The fruit, flowers and the tender core of the trunk can all be eaten.  The leaves are used as plates in some cultures and, more frequently, as cooking vessels for steamed foods.  The fibres in the leaves shoots and trunk are used to make cloth and yarn and banana paper.

Well, that was certainly more interesting than I anticipated.  Here is the recipe as I made it but, as Peggy said, anything goes so feel free to experiment.

Peggy’s Banana Bread                               Makes 1 loaf

  • 8 oz Self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 oz butter
  • 5 oz castor sugar
  • 3 peeled bananas (about 8 oz) broken into chunks
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 oz roughly chopped walnuts
  • 4 oz seedless sultanans (or dried fruit of your choice)
  1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
  2. Put the flour, salt butter, castor sugar bananas and eggs in a food processor and process until well mixed and a smooth consistency.
  3. Coat the walnuts and dried fruit in a little flour and stir into the mix.  The flour will stop the fruit and nuts sinking in the bread and ensure an even distribution.
  4. Grease a 1 kg loaf tin then line with greaseproof paper and grease again.  Pour the mixture into the tin then bake in the oven for 1.1/4 hours or until it is risen and brown and a skewer comes out clean after piercing the centre of the bread.
  5. Turn out and cool on a cooling tray before slicing.  Serve with or without butter.

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