Sunday, 31 January 2010

Banana tea bread crisis

I’d tweeted a request for a banana bread recipe and tried it the other day but when I tried to find it again I failed.

After an emergency tweet request Steph (aka @NorthNorfolk) came through a second time around.

So, to save the recipe for posterity, having made another lovely loaf this evening, here is Steph’s recipe:


  • 75g butter – softened
  • 175g caster (or granulated) sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 225g SR Flour
  • 1/4 tsp bicarb of soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 450g ripe bananas weighed with skin (about 4 medium bananas), peeled and mashed
  • 100g walnuts (optional and I sometimes substitute with plain choc chips)


  • Heat oven to 180 degrees C or Gas mark 4.  Or 160 degrees C in a fan oven.
  • Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin.  Or grease with butter and then flour.  If you’ve never done this before you just tip a bit of flour in and swizzle it around a bit until all the inside of the tin has a thin  dusting of flour.  It’s a good idea to do this even if you have a non stick tin.
  • Mix flour, bicarb and salt.
  • Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.  I use a Kenwood Chef and blitz with K beater on max to achieve this.  Doing this by hand is good exercise.
  • Add eggs a little at a time with a little bit of flour each time.  Mix thoroughly.  I give this another full blast mix in the Kenwood.
  • Stir in bananas, remaining flour and walnuts (or choc chips) if using.
  • Tip into the tin and bung it in the oven for an hour and a quarter.
  • When the timer bleeps (and I recommend setting a timer to avoid  the smell of burnt disappointment) check the loaf with a skewer.  If the skewer goes in the middle of the loaf and comes out clean out then the loaf is ready.  This loaf does need a lot of baking and it’s tempting to take it out when the top is a light brown.  This is a mistake because it won’t be cooked properly in the middle.
  • Wait until the loaf has cooled before slicing and I cut the loaf into lunchbox size portions and freeze, taking out a fresh slice for the children’s lunchboxes in the morning. 
  • If you do freeze the loaf, as mentioned above, then each piece will defrost and be nicely warm after 30 seconds in the microwave.

So thank you Steph, for saving me twice.  And the next time someone asks, feel free to share this link.

Monday, 25 January 2010


I know. A weird title for a blog post, my first via iPhone (may delete tomorrow).

There's been a lot of tweeting over the last week with the hashtag #kickcancer. It seems to have been popular to use that hashtag whilst encouraging people to retweet.

Well why? Sarah Brown and a host of celebs feel they need to join the bandwagon and #kickcancer has been everywhere.

I hate cancer as much as the next person. Maybe more in some cases. It robbed me of my mother when she was just 58. She never saw me get married or have children and I never got to say goodbye.

What is my problem with the #kickcancer hashtag then?

Let me tell you. It does nothing. It's just words. Cancer isn't an entity that will feel threatened or bullied by the use of this hashtag. It's not going to go away just because we say we don't want it. It's pathetic.

If you want to do something constructive then give to a charity that spends money on researching the disease or that raises awareness about how to obtain early diagnosis. Don't just tweet rubbish.


Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Drugs don’t work

I’m on medication. 

Those of you who know me will have one of two reactions, I imagine.

1.  Yeah.  I knew she was on something.

2.  Nah.  Really?  Nah, she’s not on medication, she needs medication!

Well thanks.  You see drugs and me are not a good combination.

I’m supposed to take these little tablets, one in the morning and one in the evening.  I am not supposed to miss a dose.  If I do miss a dose I need to try and catch up as quickly as possible.

I am useless at remembering.  I have done a couple of things to try and help me remember though.

I have a note blu-tacked to the back door that says “TABLET”.  I’ve also written on the cardboard box containing the tablets.  On one side I’ve written “Morning” and on the other side “Afternoon” to help me remember whether I’ve taken a morning or afternoon dose. I turn the packet so the word that is uppermost is the last dose I’ve taken.

OK so this makes me sound like I’m about eighty years old.  But that’s how I feel because, even with these pathetic memory aids ,I still forget to take this wretched medication.

I would set an alarm on my phone but I know I’d dismiss the alarm and wouldn’t actually act on the alarm.

Does anybody have a foolproof method that I can use, please?

Saturday, 9 January 2010

The School of Statistics

It probably hasn’t escaped your notice but it’s been a bit wintry of late.

As we know the UK is a bit rubbish when it snows.  We run out of grit.  The grit we do have isn’t applied at the right time or in the right place.  As soon as there is the slightest hint of the white stuff on the ground then so many people decide they simply can’t venture out of their house and driving to work is simply out of the question.  And I’m as guilty as the next person.

On Wednesday there was snow on the ground in the morning and it snowed during the day.

I’d planned to work from home because I had an inkling that schools might close early.  Sure enough a text came through mid morning advising that children could be picked up at 1:15pm.  At the time I didn’t understand what was so special about 1:15pm but I was glad I’d stayed at home so that I could be around to collect my children.

Later that evening we were advised that the school would be closed on Thursday.

On Friday morning we were told the school would be open for the day, but would close early at 2:00pm.

So what is special about 1:15pm? 

That’s when the afternoon register is taken.  So on Wednesday, despite the fact that most children were collected at 1:15pm, all children will have been marked as present, even though they were in fact absent for 99% of the afternoon.

The same is true for Friday afternoon except that children will have been absent for about 60% of the afternoon.

Am I too cynical, or was the school behaving unethically to ensure their attendance statistics were the best they could be?

Friday, 8 January 2010

For coffee

I quite like coffee.  I don’t like it too strong, sometimes a Nero double shot is too bitter, and I don’t like it too weak either.

My designer coffee of choice is quite dull really because I like a white americano: and espresso shot plus hot water and then cold milk.

A latte is a bit like having a meal and a cappucino is a lot of froth about nothing. (Although I do enjoy the froth with chocolate sprinkles.)

At home we only have cafetiere coffee.  It might sound affected not to have instant coffee in the house.  I don’t mean to be.  Beans go in a coffee grinder, grounds go in cafetiere followed by water that has boiled but isn’t boiling anymore.  Plunge the plunger and then pour.  It really isn’t a hassle.  I don’t know how the cost compares with instant, but I think the taste is better.

Given that this is how I make coffee at home, I don’t really understand why, if you have all of the equipment and ingredients at home, why you’d have instant instead.

I guess you’re thinking that instant means instant and speed is an issue for some people.  The amount of washing up created is also a factor.  I’d buy both of those arguments but allow me to outline another scenario.

I know someone who chooses to put milk in a saucepan, heat it on the hob, add instant coffee and then pour and drink the results, in preference to preparing a cafetiere.

That’s more effort and a worse taste experience.  I don’t understand.