Banana bread has become a lockdown cliché for a reason. It’s quick, easy and delicious. It’s an easy introduction to baking, something to pass the time with the kids or a quick way to create a relatively healthy treat using up overripe bananas and soggy courgettes. If you haven’t tried it and can get hold of eggs and flour, now is the time.
At the beginning of lockdown social media was full of posts insisting a failure to learn a new language, start a new business or write a novel by the end of it would be a failure to take advantage of a golden opportunity. Essentially due to laziness or lack of ambition. You’ll still find articles detailing how you should be spending your time constructively but the further we’ve got into lockdown the more we’ve discovered that just surviving it is the real test.
Whether you are a key or essential worker, probably working much harder than you would normally and worrying about putting yourself or others in potential danger every time you go to work; home schooling young children while trying to work from home and provide all the extra cooking, cleaning, shopping and entertainment that accompanies it; furloughed, living on your own and lonely; self-employed, not working and wondering how you are going to the pay the bills; or completely isolated from the outside world because you are shielding, the real challenge is surviving.
There are probably as many combinations as there are people and everyone is trying to deal with the reality that life in lockdown is for them.
If you have the time and ingredients to bake it’s a great way to de-stress. If you didn’t bake before lockdown maybe you do now. Maybe you now have a sourdough starter or want to try creating one. Baking isn’t a new thing for me but I’m enjoying baking for pleasure rather than just for orders. I haven’t written a novel but I have managed to acquire a new skill: I’ve had to start learning how to cut hair. Although I’m ridiculously pleased with the results, I’m pretty sure the hairdresser will take a dim view of my talents. I’ve also conquered my fear of video calls and actually enjoy catching up online with friends in our new socially distant world.
And if you’re just surviving lockdown, that’s a new skill too.
100g butter or dairy-free margarine
125g soft brown or coconut sugar
125g grated courgette (approx one medium courgette)
200g mashed ripe bananas (approx two bananas)
50g raisins or other dried fruit
250g SR flour
Grease a 2lb loaf tin and set the oven to 175°C.
Put the butter and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat together until pale and creamy. Alternatively use a handheld mixer or wooden spoon.
Beat the eggs together and then add them, a little at a time, to the butter and sugar mixture, making sure each amount is properly incorporated before adding the next lot.
Mix in the grated courgette, mashed banana and dried fruit.
Sieve the flour and fold in carefully. Make sure it is fully mixed but take care not to overwork.
Spoon or pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin.
Bake for approximately 50-60 minutes. The top should be well risen and browned and a skewer inserted into the centre of the loaf should come out clean.
Leave to cool for a few minutes in the tin and then remove and leave on a wire rack to cool completely.