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Do you have family favourites in your recipe repertoire? I have plenty in mine. These recipes are my tried and trues. Recipes that have been gleaned and collected through the years, handed down from family and friends. Shared recipes. Recipes that turn out every time and that never disappoint. Recipes with a history.
Don’t get me wrong. I love trying out new recipes. I have lots saved on Pinterest to try at some point. There are some wonderful gems in the new ones that I try as well, but after a time, I do tend to gravitate back to what I have known, loved, cooked and baked for many a year.
Using one of these old recipes is like visiting with a long lost friend. A companion that has kept you company for many, many years. Recipes like this are usually attached to fond memories, be they of family members or of friends.
This recipe I am sharing today is so old that I can no longer remember where it came from. It is one that I have been baking since before I finished high school. I strongly suspect it is a recipe that was handed down from my grandmother to my mother, to me. Its hand written into my Big Blue Binder . . .
along with a bazillion other treasured recipes. I wish that I had been a bit better at writing down the sources of these things through the years. I guess when I was writing them down I never dreamed that one day I would be sharing them with the world! Isn’t that a magical thought?
To think that my Grandmother’s banana bread recipe might could possibly one day be shared with the world. I wonder what she would think of that?? The whole idea would actually be quite mind boggling to her, as would the idea of her granddaughter living in the UK one day!
Most of my Grandmother’s recipes were written on the backs of envelopes or on scraps of paper. There were no instructions included, just a title and list of ingredients and measures, and sometimes very vague measurements at that . . . things like butter the size of an egg . . . or five cents worth of flour. Recipes she might have shared with friends along with cups of tea and conversations . . . or maybe even recipes which had been handed down from her own mother . . .
I actually remember my Great Grandmother. She was this tiny little white haired lady, as tiny as a bird, slightly stooped over, with dark wire glasses. This was way back when a grandmother looked like a grandmother. She had been a farmer’s wife and the community mid-wife in her day. Oh what I would give to be able to sit down and talk about cooking and recipes with her.
She passed away on Christmas Eve in 1959. I remember the time very well. My mother, sister and I were staying with my maternal grandparents, who my great grandmother had also lived with in her old age. She was in a bed in the back bedroom of the house, where everyone was gathered. They kept shooing me out of the room. I expect I was being a bit of a nuisance. My mother wasn’t allowed in the room because she was pregnant with my younger brother, and there was some wierd idea that my mother’s pregnancy would be affected in some negative way by being in the presence of someone who was in the process of passing over. They were a superstitious lot.
That was back in the day when generations of people lived in and shared the same house. In that modest home there was my Great Grandmother, my Grandparents, my Aunt Freda, her husband Harold and their wee boy Danny, along with my mother, sister and myself. As I recall it only had four bedrooms and an outdoor loo.
I can remember getting washed at the kitchen sink, whilst standing on a stool . . . while wood snapped and crackled in the kitchen wood stove. . . . the smell of the old linoleum floor and the noise it made when you walked across it. It was lovely and warm in that kitchen. There was a huge trap door in the floor below the lineoleum which led down into the root cellar beneath the house. The lineoleum would be rolled up to get to it. My grandfather kept his home smoked hams and bacon and barrels of Kraut down there, along with my grandmother’s preserves and pickles. There was probably plenty of root vegetables as well.
There was plenty of love in that house and lots of simple, but very good food. It was 60 years ago this next Tuesday, on the 3rd of March, my brother made his entry into the world while we were living in that house. I remember dancing around in the kitchen holding onto my 3 year old sister’s hands, and singing out with joy, “We have a baby brother!” It was such an exciting time!
And none of that has anything to do with Banana Bread, other than the fact that as much as we like to try new things, there is still a great great value to be found in the old. Things like this old family favourite Banana Bread.
Yield: 2 loaves (8 X 4 inch)
Author: Marie Rayner
Family Favourite Banana Nut Bread
I like to try new things, but I keep going back to the classics. Simply because they’re the best. One to eat now,and one to gift or freeze.
280g plain flour (2 cups)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
120ml vegetable oil (1/2 cup)
195g granulated sugar (1 cup)
2 large free range eggs, lightly beaten
4 medium, very ripe, bananas, peeled and mashed
120g chopped toasted walnuts (1 cup)
instructions:How to cook Family Favourite Banana Nut Bread
Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Butter two 8 X 4 inch non-stick loaf tins. Set aside.
Sift the flour, soda and salt together in a bowl.
Whisk together the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. Stir in the mashed banana combining well together. Add the flour mixture and stir together to blend completely. Stir in the walnuts.
Divide the mixture between both of the baking tins. Smooth the tops. Place on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of each comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before tipping out onto a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
Slice to serve, with or without butter.
Use the ripest bananas you can. If they look like they need to be thrown out, then they are perfect for banana bread. Bread can be stored, wrapped tightly, for up to 5 days. Alternately you can freeze it wrapped in plastic cling film, and then in aluminium foil for up to 3 months.
I like to toast my nuts before I use them in baking. Simply pop them onto a baking sheet and into a hot oven for 8 to 10 minutes. They are usually done when you can smell them all toasty and nutty! have a great Sunday everyone!
Debunking the myths of English Cookery, one recipe at a time. The English Kitchen http://theenglishkitchen.blogspot.com/
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