Thursday, 8 November 2012

Manky old bananas

Exhibit A:

We always seem to have a few over-ripe bananas hanging about hopefully in the fruit bowl. When my children see them, they look at me, roll their eyes and suggest politely that we get on and make some banana bread. The relevant page of Nigella's How to be a Domestic Goddess is so covered in cake batter and fingerprints that it's almost illegible. But today I was looking for something quick and easy to make with Smallest of All, who had declared that he had a burning desire to do some baking. The banana loaf is not exactly challenging, in fact it's pretty foolproof, but I wanted super-quick-before-the-others-get-back-from-the-supermarket. Muffins! Again! But you can freeze them, and if you take one out first thing, it's defrosted by breaktime, so perfect for the school snack or lunch box as well as for breakfast.

Clearly, the first thing you must do when baking with bananas and a 5 year-old is to perform the magic trick of Making The Banana Sink Into The Table. <dim the lights, roll of drums>

Exhibit B:

<rapturous applause>

You can then proceed to the baking proper. This time, we decided on banana and blueberry muffins. I based this on Gordon Ramsay's recipe from Healthy Appetite, which we've made often before. Packed with fruit, and made with wholemeal flour, they are pretty healthy as cakey things go. I feel a need to at least pay lip service to health with my children's breakfast. I've made a few changes to the recipe in the book, mostly for reasons of wanting something I could fling together with what I had in the house. I've used a mixture of wholemeal and plain flour. GR uses just wholemeal, which is also good; I just wanted something a bit lighter. The original recipe also uses buttermilk, but I didn't have any and I always use milk in muffins because I never do have buttermilk (well, do you?) and it's always worked fine. I also use frozen blueberries, because they are a fraction of the price of fresh blueberries. I use a slightly smaller quantity, and just bung them in frozen, so the batter will take a little longer to cook.

Smallest of All loves breaking eggs, pouring wet into dry, mixing, and sprinkling the demerara sugar on the top ('The bad thing is, you see mummy, I really like this part' <shoves whole hand in sugar jar>).

Blueberry and banana muffins

The dry stuff:
150g plain wholemeal flour
150g plain flour
100g brown sugar
1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

The wet stuff:
2 large manky bananas, mashed
280ml milk
75g oil or melted butter
1 large egg, beaten

The extra stuff:
250g-300g frozen blueberries
demerara sugar (for sprinkling)

The method:
1. Preheat oven to 180C and prep the muffin tray (ie put the cases in the holes).
2. Mix the dry stuff together in a big bowl.
3. Mix the wet stuff together in a jug/bowl.
4. Add the wet stuff to the dry stuff until it's just mixed and there are no floury bits. Add the blueberries with the last few stirs.
5. Pour into the muffin cases - they'll be quite full. Sprinkle the demerara sugar on top. Bake for about 25 mins. Small helpers may lick bowls and spoons, assuming you aren't too concerned about raw eggs.
6. Cool in the tin for a few mins and then on a rack.

Exhibit C:

Bon app!


  1. Yum these look amazing. i love ALL breakfast food - esp good muffins and pancakes. B

    1. Thanks becca for dropping by - they are good. I'll be back to pancakes soon!

  2. Love muffins, breakfast lunch tea, not fussed :) These look great, did they last long??

  3. Thanks MLM - they are just such a cinch to make. I eked these out by freezing most of them and doling them out as snacks for school, so almost a week!

  4. Mmm these look yummy :0) I'm always looking for healthy breakfast or snack options for the girls so I may have to try your recipe out. And every house have at least one "manky" banana that needs a new home ;0)

    1. Too true Charlotte - certainly this house does. Apparently, you can freeze them and turn them into instant banana ice cream, but I never remember to do it before they go black.

  5. Great idea, do you think I could replace blue berries with strawberries or raspberries? Leyla (thisdayilove)

    1. I'm sure raspberries would be OK. Strawberries don't cook so well, in my experience, but might be worth a try - they go wekk with bananas, don't they? Now, raspberry and white chocolate muffins are good, though not quite so healthy, obviously!

      Thanks for having a look at the blog.