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In my humble opinion, there is never a bad time to help yourself to a delicious, moist slice of banana bread paired with hot coffee or if you’re a Brit like me – a great cup of tea. There are of course fantastic recipes abound for this baked staple, this is just one my favorites that i originally found on food.com and then played around with by adding various ingredients until I was satisfied with the perfect outcome.

Total time: 2 hours (Prep 1 hour/Bake 1 hour)

Yield: 1 loaf

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (or all purpose white if you prefer)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet dark chocolate chunks or chips

Method

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and butter a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan. (The non stick variety are by far the best).

Cream the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. (Note, if you have a stand mixer, it helps to use here so you can go ahead and prepare the rest of the ingredients in parallel, just beware – you may still need to give the mixture a good hand whisk at the end as even my beloved Kitchen Aid didn’t get that light fluffy consistency you are looking for here.)

In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Mix in the milk, vanilla, honey and cinnamon.

In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add the banana mixture to the creamed mixture and give it a good stir until combined. Then add the dry ingredients, mixing until the flour just disappears – you don’t want to overwork the dough here or the bread will become stodgy. Now add the chocolate chunks and give the dough one final gentle mix.

Transfer the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for an hour  – or until a toothpick/skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Once baked and out the oven, leave to cool in pan for approx 15 mins. Then turn the pan over and gently slide the loaf onto a wire rack to cool before serving. Although chef’s prerogative is to try a warm slice, you know – just to be sure it tastes good…

TIP! If you’re not a fan of chocolate but you’re still reading this recipe – thanks for sticking with me. Here’s the good news – you can happily leave out the chocolate chunks and substitute with walnut or macadamia nut pieces, the proportions  stay the same and instead you’ll enjoy a slightly crunchier but still moist loaf. Chocaholics can also increase the amount of chips by a 1/2 cup or mix it up by adding some milk choc chips in there too. Delish.

If you keep this bread in an airtight container, it will keep for 3-4 days… although I dare you to not eat it all by day 2!

 

This dish and many simple variations is one my favorite sides to throw together on a week night when all I have in my fridge are a few lonesome potatoes and half a pot of sour cream. You can easily miss out the sweet potatoes altogether and it is equally tasty – I’m just obsessed with the tangy creaminess of nicely mashed sweet ones, especially as they’re now known to be even healthier than the average tater. Serve this side with salmon, chicken or even a good burger. Yummy anytime.

Total time: 45 mins – 1 hour (Prep 20 mins/cook and finish 20-40 mins)

Serves 3-4 depending on those appetites!

Ingredients:

  • 1 small bag fingerling or any small/new potatos
  • 2-3 large sweet potatoes (the orange variety) – if in doubt at supermarket, scratch a tiny pinch of potato skin away and the flesh inside should be bright orange
  • 1 knob butter
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt/Pepper for seasoning
  • Touch of Garlic Powder (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
  • 2 tbsp Creme fraiche or Sour Cream
  • 1 good handful fresh Italian parsley (roughly chopped)

Method

Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove

Rinse and clean your fingerlings (or new potatoes) and chop any very large ones into smaller halves.

Peel your sweet potatoes and rinse thoroughly, cut into roughly same size chunks as your other potatoes (this is so that they all cook equally in the same time).

Plop all potatoes into now boiling water with the knob of butter and a tbsp salt and reduce to a decent simmer for approx 10-15 mins, cooking time will vary depending on size/type of potatoes.

Check that both types of tater are cooked so that they are soft but still have some bite (you don’t want the fingerlings to just fall apart) and then remove from heat and drain from the boiling water.

Leave potatoes in hot pan and add a generous slug of olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.

Then with a hand masher start to smash the potatoes together. The effect you are looking for is for the sweet potatoes to almost completely break down but the fingerlings to retain some shape – these are smashed, not mashed!

Finally when you have the potatoes at a consistency you are happy with, transfer to serving bowl and while still warm , stir in remaining ingredients: onion, vinegar, creme fraiche (or sour cream) and chopped parsley. Check the seasoning one last time.

Voila, double smashed potatoes. Now serve, spoon, eat and repeat! Enjoy

TIP! True vegans or veggies can leave out the dairy in this dish, it’s just a taste I like – if doing so just increase the amount of olive oil and vinegar slightly.