Saturday was one of "those days." The weather was uninspiring and Simon and Theo had gone into town to have a look in the new (expensive) toy shop in The Brooks Centre. Not wanting to trail along with the boys on their shopping trip, I decided to stay at home and bake. I had, and still have, lots of ingredients in the cupboard left over from Christmas baking, which included half a pack of desiccated coconut. I also had a few glace cherries left over from the Christmas cake so I set about browsing through my many cookbooks looking for a suitable recipe. I came across the coconut and cherry banana bread in Nigella Lawson's Kitchen, a perfect recipe for using up some of my left-overs. To me, it's one of those old fashioned cakes, not much to look at but tastes gorgeous. The bananas keep the sponge moist, the coconut gives a great texture and the cherries add a little extra sweetness. It's quick, easy and perfect for a tea time treat or to pack in lunchboxes. A real winner that I'll definitely be making again!
125g soft, unsalted butter
4 small-medium bananas
150g caster sugar
175g plain flour
2 tsps baking powder
half tsp bicarb
100g dried cherries (I used glace which worked perfectly)
100g desiccated coconut
1 x 900g (2lb) loaf tin
1. Preheat the oven to 170 degs C/gas mark 3. Put a loaf liner into your tin, or line it with baking parchment.
2. Melt the butter in a saucepan, and take it off the heat. Peel and mash the bananas in a bowl.
3. Beat the sugar into the cooled, melted butter, then beat in the mashed bananas and the eggs. Fold in the flour, baking powder and bicarb. Finally add the cherries and coconut.
4. Fold well so that everything is incorporated, then pour and scrape into the lined loaf tin and smooth the top.
5. Bake for about 50 minutes. When ready, the bread will be coming away from the sides of the tin and should have a hearty bounce when pressed.
6. Once out of the oven, leave it in the tin for 10 minutes, then carefully slip the cake out of the tin (still in the liner) onto a wire rack to cool completely.
7. Cuts into 10-12 slices. Enjoy!