Picture the scene: the market day was drawing to a close. Most traders have already packed up and left. Only a few remain. What was left to shift were made up into £1 bowls of fruit and veg. Someone had a lot of really not too great avocados to get rid off cheaply. Hmmm ... I wasn't in the mood for guacamole. Then the skies opened. I dashed to one side towards the shops to get out of the rain. I then found myself standing right across the street from another vendor who was getting absolutely soaked and was yelling at the top of his voice announcing that bowls of bananas (there were a lot in each bowl and they weren't too bad) were now reduced to 50p per bowl.
"It would cost me more to trash these!" he yelled.
This, it struck me, was Bananas Holocaust, to borrow a term coined by our Dear Leader (Kelvin, hee hee). Perfectly fine to eat bananas being wasted en masse is not good!! So below is what I got for 50p:
Banana Bread on a production scale
Since last Autumn, I have been making banana bread from a Sophie Dahl recipe found in Waitrose Illustrated magazine (which I can get for free because I hold a John Lewis card (which I never use for buying stuff. I just use it to get this magazine for free, ha ha)). It is a really forgiving recipe as one can make lots of substitutions and the end result is, invariably, very good.
Accordingly, this is a very useful recipe for FoodCycle for when we get a glut of bananas.
The basic list of ingredients is as follows:
110ml Sunflower oil
200g Light muscovado sugar
75 Desiccated coconut
400g Mashed banana (about 4 medium bananas without their skin)
200ml Creme fraiche
1 tsp Vanilla extract
170g Spelt flour
1tsp Bicarbonate of soda
half tsp Salt
Well, I decided to make double the quantities and made a few substitutions in order to use up ingredients I already had:
220ml Sunflower oil
400g Light muscovado sugar/demerrera sugar mix (more demerrera than muscovado)
150g Desiccated coconut, 30g of which was made up with almonds (chopped in the blender). It should be okay to subs with some chopped apricots, dried fruit, sultanas, other chopped nuts or chocolate chunks
400ml Soured cream (170ml) the rest made up with coconut cream thinned with some soya milk. I like soured cream because it reacts with the baking powder (below) to help raise the cake mixture. For a vegan version, I guess you can use only coconut cream thinned with water or soya milk
2 tsp Vanilla extract
340g plain flour with the end bit of a bag of semolina flour thrown in. You can also add some ground cinnamon and ground ginger if you like them. I forgot to put them in ....
1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda and 1tsp of baking powder
half tsp Salt
(optional: grated zest of a couple of limes can be added to the cake mixture. I forgot as well ....)
Start by getting your ingredients ready. If you are, like me, conscious of energy use, it is fine to leave preheating the oven to a bit later. The original instruction in Sophie Dahl's recipe tells you to preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4.
In an electric blender, blend together the vegetable oil and sugar.
Break the eggs into the blender bowl and blend on high continuously until the mixture is even. Put the desiccated coconut and chopped almonds into a large mixing bowl. Add the oil/sugar/eggs mixture to it.
Roughly blend the bananas in the blender in two lots. Then add the mashed bananas to the contents of the mixing bowl.
Make up the soured cream, coconut cream and soya milk mixture in the blender. At this point, I turned on the oven but if you are more conscious than I am about energy use, leave this until 2 steps later.
Add the blended cream mixture to the contents of the mixing bowl. Stir everything and mix thoroughly. Then sift in the flour. Add salt, baking powder and bicarb.
As I had used a bit of semolina, this was left behind in the sift. No matter. It was just chucked into the cake mixture at the end of sifting. The mixture was then thoroughly mixed using a balloon whisk.
In terms of cake tins, I decided to use some aluminium food trays (like the ones from Chinese takeaways) and paper cake cases which I bought from a pound shop. It was an inexpensive and effective solution. A paper case was placed inside each aluminium tray. This saved me having to grease the trays. The cake mixture was then ladled into each paper case to about 4 fifths full (not too full in case the baked cake spilled out).