Banana bread

We like our bananas in varying shades of green in this family: C very, me mediumly and L is far less fussy – just as long as they aren’t mushy. But mushy is what bananas are after about two days of sitting about in the summer heat of Umbria, at which point they have to be dealt with swiftly.

This banana bread is fast to make and deliciously sticky and chewy for a filling breakfast or – sliced very thinly – with afternoon tea. It’s definitely not light and its texture is arguably utterly un-summery, but banana forms such a large part of the mix that it’s resoundingly fruity and therefore somehow seasonal. At least, that’s what I tell myself…

Bananas – 3
Wholemeal flour – 180g
Sultanas – 20g
Honey – 1 tbsp
Baking powder – 1 tsp
Egg – 1
Lemon – juice of half

Heat the oven to 190°.

Mix the flour, baking powder and sultanas together in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, mash the soft bananas with the juice of half a lemon, then spoon in the honey and stir it round. Your bananas don’t have to be completely liquid: a few lumps will make the finished cake more interesting. You can use more than half a lemon for a sharper taste if you like, or add a little more honey if you want it sweeter.

In yet another bowl, beat the egg well, then fold the egg and the bananas into the flour and mix them all into a soft gooey dough.

Grease a bread tin and line it with baking paper. Bake for 40 minutes. You can try testing it with a skewer but the skewer will never come cleanly out of this dense mixture: as long as what clings doesn’t look too runny, the banana bread should be fine.

Remove the cake from the tin and leave it to cool on a wire rack. If you can resist cutting into it while it’s hot, the cake will be slightly less chewy – but the difference is negligeable and the smell so inviting.

You can spice up the mixture with a teaspoon of cinnamon, or introduce a nutty element with a handful of roughly chopped walnuts.

© Anne Hanley, 2011

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About Gardens, Food & Umbria

I am a garden designer, working throughout central Italy. I have lived in Italy for over 30 years – for many years in Rome but now in the wilds of Umbria where I have fixed up one wreck of a house, am working on another, and tinker endlessly with two and a half hectares of land, some of which is my garden.
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