Recipes, restaurant recommendations and more hidden gems from Donal’s Little Black Book.
This recipe comes from my auntie Ann who spent a lot of time in America over the years and has picked up some really great US-inspired recipes. This banana bread is deliciously moist and is extremely easy to throw together. You can also add some chocolate chips or toasted chopped nuts for an extra flavour layer.
Makes 1 x 900ml loaf tin
You will need
110g butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
190g caster sugar
2 large eggs
240g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 large bananas
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl with a hand-held mixer until light and pale. Add in one egg and a little flour and mix through. Repeat with the other egg and the rest of flour and baking soda, until everything is mixed through and smooth.
Peel the bananas and mash them with the back of a fork. Add them to the bowl with the vanilla extract and mix through. Pour the mix into a 900ml well-greased loaf tin and place it in the oven for about 50 minutes.
Insert a metal skewer into the centre of the loaf and if it comes out clean, the banana bread is ready. You can cover it with tinfoil after 25 minutes to stop it browning too much on top if you need to.
Remove the banana bread from the loaf tin and place on a wire rack to cool. Cut into slices to serve.
Keen Nut Butters
Keen Nut Butters is an Irish company based in Bangor, Co. Down, which is producing a fantastic range of healthy nut butters. With blends including Macadamia & White Chocolate, Maple Pecan and even Hazelnut & Extremely Dark Chocolate, it’s no surprise that Keen already has a cult following. Spread on toast, dolloped in your morning porridge or even straight from the jar, this stuff is dangerously delicious.
Riot Rye is a bakehouse and bread school based in Cloughjordan Co. Tipperary. Its owners are dedicated to creating artisanal breads without using additives or chemicals. They use exclusively natural and organic ingredients and employ sustainable production methods when baking their breads. Book a place on one of their bread-baking courses or learn more about their common loaf movement — an initiative aimed at getting Irish people baking bread again. There’s more information as well as instructional baking videos to be found on their website.
There’s a definite spring feeling in the air and with the clocks going forward soon, it’s time to get into the garden
to plant those veggie seeds. I’m a big fan of Brown Envelope Seeds, an Irish company offering a huge variety of seeds, most of which you won’t find in shops or garden centres. They even offer a range of gift boxes.
Brown Envelope Seeds