Posts Tagged ‘bread’

Banana cake and lycra-clad sportsmen

Monday, January 14th, 2008

Banana and chocolate bread

This weekend we went to see a track cycling event at the Manchester Velodrome. I’m not generally a big fan of cycling but when given the opportunity of seeing large numbers of finely tuned, musclebound men in close fitting sportswear, I thought to myself there are worse ways to spend a Saturday night. It doesn’t tend to matter whether you are into sports or not as live sporting events are always quite exciting. This was no exception and what better way to keep up your energy up while watching hugely fit athletes pounding round and round a track than Banana and chocolate loaf.

This was another recipe out of my new book and it went down a treat, possibly making a record and only lasting about three hours between four hungry people.


  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 250g caster sugar
  •  4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 175g good quality dark or milk chocolate, chopped

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade. Beat together all the ingredients apart from the flour and baking powder. Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture and combine gently with a cutting and folding motion, making sure not to overmix. Pour the batter into a greased loaf tin (about 19 cm x 11cm) and bake for an hour and fifteen minutes, or until a skewer comes out of the center of the bread cleanly. Leave to cool for a few minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack. This doesn’t hang around so hide it away if you want some for yourself.

Revolution 19 at Manchester Velodrome

Butter bean soup with smoked pancetta

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

Butter bean soup with smoked bacon

I can never quite decide whether I like soup. If I’m ever in a restaurant and there is soup for starters on the menu, I never order it as I tend to think soup is rather boring. Don’t get me wrong, I have had some really nice soups and I have actually decided to do soup next week for an evening meal so I don’t know why I feel that way about it. It is generally a cheap quick and healthy meal, although I do tend to have a slab of bread with it, so it is ideal for a mid-week meal. Despite my indifference to soup I quite like this one.

I apologise for not giving quantities here as I never bothered to measure the ingredients and employed a slap-dash approach as usual.

Simply soak some butter beans overnight, then rinse and drain them and put into a saucepan with a couple of bay leaves, a sprig of thyme, an onion peeled and halved, pepper, a couple of garlic cloves and a potato and cover with water. Boil the beans until tender. Whilst the beans are cooking, cut pancetta into slices and fry until golden. Once the beans are cooked, remove the bay leaves and thyme and blend the rest of the ingredients (with the cooking water), seasoning with salt and a little more pepper if required. If the soup is too thick add a little water and if you want to be more indulgent add a drizzle of cream. Serve the soup in warm bowls topped with the bacon and drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and eat with crusty bread.