I would love to be one of those homes where people don’t call before they drop by for a cup of tea and a slice of cake and a two-hour catch up. Where we threw big barbeques that start with a family or two and end up with friends of friends joining and kids running through sprinklers and people not leaving til 2 in the morning. Alas, our lives aren’t at that stage right now: we live an urban lifestyle on the 14th floor in a 2-bedroom apartment, and, more to the point, we’re rarely home! Anyway, if I did regularly have friends dropping by, this is one of many cakes I would have to hand. It has a fantastic texture, slightly crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and has a great depth of flavour thanks to the honey and cinnamon.
Banana, Honey and Walnut Teabread
115g unsaturated margarine
115g light soft brown sugar
225g self-raising flour
1 tsp cinnamon
2 large bananas
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease and line a loaf tin.
Beat together the margarine, sugar and honey in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs.
Fold in the flour and cinnamon.
Mash the bananas in a separate bowl and then gently fold them into the mixture with the walnuts.
Spoon the mixture into the tin.
Bake in the oven for about an hour, until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. The top should be golden and firm to the touch.
Cool in the tin for a few minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
Eat sliced, hot or cold.
My husband has been in a ‘juicing’ phase for the last six months (also accompanied by a vegetarian/pescetarian phase). For those that aren’t familiar with the joys of juicing, this has involved him eating and drinking nothing but raw fruit and vegetables , juiced and liquidized, for periods of up to a week. Now, whilst I am sure I will upset some by saying this, let’s acknowledge this for what it is- an unsustainable fad. Eat fruit and vegetables people! Eat them raw, eat them whole, dice them, steam them, boil them and fry them. They’re tasty all by themselves! Raw parsnip, juiced with spinach and beetroot on the other hand? Not so tasty!
He says that he would never eat that quantity of fruit and vegetables if it weren’t for juicing and he’s right. But it’s important to learn how we can incorporate fruit and vegetables into our diets in a ‘normal’ way, so that when we don’t have a juicer nearby, or we simply don’t have the time, our regular diet is filled with fruit and vegetables anyway.
Juicing, he says, makes him feel energised. Ever the cynic I put this down to the effect an overenergetic 40 year hold health guru has on ones psyche and the placebo effect. And then I made this smoothie.
I felt the Zing. It’s refreshing, icy cold, energizing, very tasty and full of goodness. And you can probably make it from ingredients you already have in your kitchen. Especially if you have a window box full of mint. (Now is the perfect time to plant mint in the middle east, and it grows all year round). Call it placebo, call it what you want, it made me feel great! I had this as a post-work out snack, but it would be great for breakfast too. What I particularly like about this smoothie is that there’s not chopping or peeling involved (except the banana).
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 banana (the riper the better)
75ml low-fat yoghurt
6 mint leaves
Put everything in a liquidizer or blender and blend for at least a minute. Pour over ice and serve with mint.