Lifestyle, Sarah

BB Free Days

Welcome to lockdown day number 3, which already feels like day 35.  It’s only day 7 of working from home for me and our office in Edinburgh has been closed for a day.  I’ve recently started keeping tally of a few of the things I’ve done during the day so when we come out the other end of this I can reflect on how productive, or unproductive, I’ve been.  Things important to me such as completing a day of work, exercise, learning a new fiddle tune or writing a blog post.  Right at the bottom of the whiteboard is my equivalent of an LTI Free Day tally – ‘Days Since Last Banana Bread’.  My current tally is 0 days.


It can be hard to find good banana bread on this side of the world so I was well pleased when my wonderful housemate a few years ago introduced me to her banana bread recipe.  Substituting half the flour for wholemeal or rye flour makes you almost feel virtuous and you don’t feel quite so bad about adding the odd chocolate chip or even an indulgent spiced rum cinnamon syrup drizzle.  The recipe is from the original Australian Women’s Weekly Cakes & Slices cookbook (of course it is!), and I’m sure they won’t mind us reproducing it below with a couple of suggested variations.


  • 125 grams butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • ¾ cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed banana (approximately 3 bananas)
  • ¾ cup self-raising flour
  • ¾ cup plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon bicarb soda
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts

** Side note – my bananas weren’t quite ripe enough so I found a trick on the net which suggested you could ripen bananas in the microwave in 30 second bursts.  Gave all my bananas an initial 30 second burst after which they weren’t quite soft to the touch so put them through a second burst each.  Coming back to the kitchen 5 minutes later and the bananas were past overipe and on to cooked so make sure you wait at least 5 or 10 minutes to decide if your bananas require a second burst in the microwave **


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease two 8cm x 26cm bar pans, line bases with paper; grease paper.  I just use a non-stick loaf tin with a little spray oil on the sides and I only use one tin so it ends up quite a large loaf.
  2. Cream butter, essence and sugar in small bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy, add eggs one at a time; beat until combined.


  1. Stir in half the banana with half the sifted dry ingredients and half the walnuts, then stir in remaining banana, dry ingredients and walnuts; stir until combined.
  2. Spread mixture evenly into prepared pan(s). Bake for about 45 minutes. Stand 5 minutes before turning on to wire rack to cool. Serve buttered.


  • Substitute the plain flour for wholemeal or rye flour.  I like the rye flour below which is easily found in UK supermarkets, but maybe not during the coronapocalypse.

Rye Flour

  • I leave out the nuts, but you could substitute for sultanas
  • Sometimes I add some cocoa, chocolate chips or roughly chopped chocolate
  • If you’re feeling super indulgent then a rum cinnamon syrup drizzle is worth making while the cake is in the oven.  Apologies but I’m rather unscientific with this part of the recipe. The syrup combines spiced rum, water and cinnamon in a saucepan, heating until it reduces to a syrup.  Once the cake is out of the oven poke some holes in it (I find a chopstick is a good size) and pour the syrup over.


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