Sunday 10 February 2013

Random Recipe 25 The Choice is Yours - "unadulterated manna"


...That's how Sophie Dahl described her banana bread, when fresh out of the oven, eaten "with a lick of butter."She also said that she used to make it "in the fierce winters" when she "lived in New York and it was too freezing to do anything but bake."

We have nothing to compare with the snowstorm that's raging New York at the moment. But at the weekend it felt like someone had taken the little snow globe of Oxford, given it a subtle shake to produce a gentle powdery dusting of snow. The kitchen beckoned, as did the five black bananas in the freezer. Sounds a bit like the start of a horror film doesn't it? But actually it turned out to be just the antithesis.

I must explain. Dom's monthly Random Recipe Challenge that you can read about here, said that this month we could select a recipe book of choice. It was a toss-up between a few favourites, but Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights won. I randomly opened it at page 266 and 'Banana Bread'. I was a bit dubious that banana bread could ever be described as mana. But for the sake of the challenge, to use up the black bananas and  because I didn't think Miss Dahl would risk her reputation by telling  porkies, I was prepared to try.

You can find the (less than) Voluptuous Miss Dahl's Banana bread recipe on her website here. I can't print it here because it's copyright. As usual her ingredients were healthy and wholesome. Things like spelt flour and butter. I know what you're thinking, but butter is healthy. And her instructions were minimal. Just a bit of banana mashing, beating eggs and then combining everything. My kind of recipe. I did just adapt one of the items. The recipe asks for a cup of brown sugar. As we're trying not to use too much sugar but alternatives I only used half a cup of sugar, and half Maple syrup/honey mixture. I was worried that swapping all the sugar a dry ingredient for the other two wet ingredients may cause problems. I needn't have feared. It rose beautifully.

And the results amazingly are just as she described. Which is why it was speedily wolfed down by everyone. I must admit that I had more than my fair share. Especially when I discovered how well it tastes with a big dollop of Greek Yoghurt, freshly grated ginger, a sprinkling of ground cinnamon and the last drizzle from the bottle of Maple syrup.

Thanks to Dom's challenge I returned to a favourite book that I'd neglected of late. And I remembered a challenge I'd set myself a while ago, to try out each and every one of Miss Dahl's Delights...somehow on the way I got lost. So maybe it's time to begin again.


  1. I love this cookbook and as far as i'm concerned her banana bread is as good as manna... what a brilliant random recipe pick, lucky you!... lovely pictures too, makes it all look very homely and delicious... thanks so much for entering! xx

  2. I am glad to hear I am not the only one who throws black bananas in the freezer!
    Looks so wonderful Debby.

  3. Well banana bread made with maple syrup and honey is bound to be manna - no wonder you all polished it off so quickly. Interesting what you say about Sophie Dahl, I didn't know she was into health (ish) baking, so I shall look out for her recipes / books now.

  4. Oh my goodness! My kiddos love banana bread. I think we try this one especially with your sugar substitute. We also try to limit the extra sugar around here. Have a beautiful rest of your weekend.

  5. I haven't had banana bread since summer time and I have no excuse for it! Love mine cold with butter (I like lots of stuff cold).

  6. Looks delicious. I have a hand of black bananas and Miss Dahl's cookbook at home so I'll think of you this week when I make it. I'm working on a Chocolate and Date Brownies recipe at the moment using cocoa and maple syrup instead of chocolate and sugar so will let you know how it turns out.

    1. I've made a few since with a couple of adaptions the best one was when I only had one banana in the fruit bowl and all the black ones used up, so I subtituted with a couple of ripe pears just peeled, cored and cut into nice chunks. It was even better.
      The chocolate date brownies sound awesome...I can't wait to hear how they turn out.

  7. Sounds wonderful - there's something very comforting about banana bread.

  8. Having a good banana bread recipe under your belt is a great thing. This one looks like a classic.