Thus far I have enjoyed making the preserves in English Food and was very much in the mood to make a new one – the Banana Chutney was selected as I had all the ingredients other than the masses of bananas in already, plus it seemed like a no-brainer; no faffing about with pectin and sugar thermometers here!
Begin by slicing up 12 bananas and simmering them in ½ a pint of cider (or white wine) vinegar until the bananas are cooked and mushy. Stir in 8 ounces of sugar and allow to cool. Next stir in 2 medium onions that have been finely sliced, 4 ounces of finely chopped sultanas, an ounce of curry powder (whatever strength you like), ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, a pinch of Cayenne pepper, and salt – and salt well; chutneys should be salty, add up to 3 teaspoons. Cover the bowl or pan with Clingfilm and allow to stand for 12 hours. Taste and check for seasoning again before potting in sterilised jars and store somewhere cool.
#127 Banana Chutney – 5.5/10. Nice and sweet; Griggers says to serve with ham, salt pork and chicken, but I had it in a cheese sandwich and it was very nice, though it was quite dry – I prefer chutneys to have a bit of sauce to them. If I were to make itagain, I would add more vinegar and sugar and would also cook the curry powder out too in a little oil before adding the bananas and vinegar at the start (but what do I know).
It was my turn to make a cake for the Evolutionary Biology department’s Wednesday Cake Day, and as there are many a non-Briton in the department I thought I’d do something very English – a tea loaf. Tea loaves are great for several reasons; they taste nice and are lovely and moist, you can make them in advance (in fact they taste nicer if you do leave them); you put butter on the sliced loaf, and they are very easy to make. This one is particularly easy as there is no creaming of butter or anything like that to do.
First, sieve 8 ounces of self-raising flour, ¾ level teaspoon of mixed spice, ½ a teaspoon of salt and 4 ounces of caster sugar into a mixing bowl. Chop 4 ounces of butter into small pieces and add it to the flour along with one tablespoon of honey, 4 ounces of sultanas, 3 ounces of glace cherries, 3 ounces of blanched almonds or walnuts (or a mixture). Now the wet ingredients: 1 pound of mashed ripe bananas, 2 eggs and the juice of a lemon. Once mixed together nicely, turn the mixture out into a buttered 9 inch loaf tin and bake of an hour at 180ºC and then half an hour at 160ºC. Allow to cool on a wire rack and store in an air-tight container.
#118 Banana Tea Loaf – 8.5/10. Marvellous! This is quite a hefty tea loaf and I didn’t think our wee group would get through it, but we made light work of it. The addition of the cherries and nuts made it a little Seventies-looking and I thought would make it overly rich, but it wasn’t the case. Very, very good – thinking about when I’ll make the next one!