home | The Proof of the Pudding

As I told you in my last post, we have just moved into our new flat and are starting to settle in. The shrewd-eyed of you will have spotted the bunch of bananas sitting on the work top in the photo of our kitchen. I bought them on Friday for essential energy snacks over a weekend of moving and by Monday there were still a few left, browning in the fruit bowl. In an attempt to make our new house feel like our new home, I decided to make the homeliest and most comforting bake of all…banana bread. I was inspired by Joy’s recent post where she did exactly this (although she writes about it so much more eloquently than me!).

Banana bread will forever remind me of home, childhood and my mum, whose recipe this is. And I can say with confidence that it is the best banana bread recipe you will find. It is dense and satisfying, but with a light flavour. The crust is dark and caramelised and inside are bursts of moisture from the banana and raisins. Although my mission of house-to-home was the main reason for baking this banana bread, it also provided much-needed sustenance for us and our handy man (dad) while we spent an evening putting up blinds, cabinets, spice racks and assembling our new bed (we have a bed!).

This is such a brilliant recipe; I really hope you give it a go. It uses basic store cupboard ingredients, plus some old bananas that you may otherwise throw out. And remember, your bananas cannot be too ripe – the squishier the better.

Ingredients 170g light brown muscavado sugar 85g butter, very soft 2 eggs 3 very ripe bananas, weighing approximately 500g unpeeled 75g raisins 200g plain flour 2 tsp baking powder ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda

½ tsp salt

Method 1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4. Grease a loaf tin with a little butter and line with a piece of parchment – as shown in the picture below for easy lifting at the end.

Or in this case, my kitchen is my castle.

Apologies for the hiatus in blog posts, but things have been pretty crazy over the last few days. Ross and I got keys to our new flat at lunchtime on Friday and since then we have not stopped. Most of the flat looks like a bomb site: there are piles of boxes and bin bags everywhere, a gigantic cardboard box (sofa bed inside) in the hallway, our “bed” is a sofa bed mattress on the floor and you will struggle to get into the spare room.

However, the kitchen has been unpacked, organised and ready to go since Friday afternoon. You can tell where our priorities lie. I don’t mind eating take out on the floor, sleeping on a make-shift bed or having to rummage through bags to find a pair of shoes. As long as the kitchen is an oasis of calm, with daffodils on the window sill, a scented candle lit and the coffee machine switched on, I’m happy.

So I’m afraid there’s no new recipe today. Although the kitchen is ready and waiting for cooking to begin, we have not been! We had time to make our first home cooked meal last night (Rock Salt Roast Chicken, garlic and rosemary roast potatoes and steamed green vegetables) and it was a welcome break from pizza and Ikea hot dogs.

I am so excited to cook in our new kitchen (I have been allowed my own “baking cupboard”) and, since I have to spend the next two days in the flat unpacking and waiting for deliveries, I’m going to get baking. I plan to make the ultimate in homely baking (clue in the picture below). Although we adore our new flat, it is yet to truly feel like home, and I know that the smell of this item wafting through the rooms will help in getting us there.

Expect good things soon…