My local greengrocers sells bags of roughly a dozen bananas for a pound. They’re the strays that have fallen off other bunches, or the green ones that people have rejected, or the slightly smaller but still perfectly acceptable ones. I eat a lot of bananas, not particularly because I love the taste of bananas but because they are powerhouses of nutrition and lend themselves well to all kinds of things, like smoothies, vegan ice cream and baking.
The first time I made banana bread I followed this BBC Good Food recipe to the letter. I didn’t add the optional extras, and the end result was tasty enough that the loaf disappeared in two days (with the willing assistance of my brother), but I felt it was lacking something. My first thought was raisins, but when I browsed the shelves in my local Tesco Express I was put off by the cost of a big bag of raisins and instead plumped for a much smaller, more manageably-priced tub of glace cherries and a bag of dark chocolate chips.
Making the bread was so easy with my Kitchen Aid that I made another loaf a couple of days later, but this time I upped the banana count to four, left them slightly less well mashed, added in a handful of cherries and poured in chocolate chips until I thought it looked about right. There’s no science behind this step – but another time I think I’ll probably add more of both! I also reduced the cooking time and temperature: the first twenty minutes were as instructed, but then I turned the oven down to about 170 degrees, covered the loaf pan with foil and left it in for about another thirty minutes. Basically bake until a knife comes out clean, like any cake.
The end result was even nicer; the extra banana added moisture and additional flavour while the cherries and chocolate gave an interesting texture and more tastes. It isn’t exactly health food but it’s not a dreadfully unhealthy treat – 100g of sugar in the entire loaf, which I would say should do at least ten slices and probably more if you cut them small and manage to resist going back for more! It’s certainly better than eating an entire packet of ginger biscuits, which I have been known to do…