Thursday 23 February 2012


On Sunday morning, as we were drinking coffee, and after I had finished painting my nails dark blue, I thumbed through a pile of books to find something to make for dinner, stopping eventually on a lamb, cardomam and cabbage pilav from the first Moro book and pointing it out to Chris. And while I had been thumbing, marking recipes for stews and braises, I was also marking rhubarb cake, muffins, chocolate chip cookies, and this, banana bread.

I didn't think I was going to post this, I've written about banana bread here more than enough times but then, on Monday, when I was sitting at work, I unwrapped my foil wrapped slice, took a bite, and... oops, here I am again.

Banana Bread
From How I Cook by Skye Gyngell

I used regular caster sugar instead of golden and skimmed milk instead of whole without any problems. I also used far less than 75g of muscovado sugar, maybe 30g. You're looking for a coating over the top of the batter, how much sugar you want to use to get that coating is up to you.

125g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra to grease
250g plain flour, plus extra to dust
4 ripe bananas, peeled
a few drops of lemon juice
300g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
125ml whole milk
75g light muscovado sugar

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Butter and flour a loaf tin, measuring approximately 20x10cm, and line the base with baking parchment. Mash the bananas with the lemon juice in a bowl, using a fork.

Beat the butter and caster sugar together in a large bowl until pale and creamy. Beat in the eggs one by one, then incorporate the mashed bananas and vanilla extract.

Sift the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon together over the mixture. Using a large metal spoon, fold in carefully, until evenly combined. Finally fold in the milk.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf tin, gently spread level and scatter the muscovado sugar evenly over the surface. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Leave the banana bread to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool further.

Make 8-9 slices.

Saturday 18 February 2012


I've been meaning to write about pizza for, well, for as long as I've been making it at home. Those first few times were sporadic. I would stand in our old Edinburgh flat kneading dough on the worktop and then we would sit at the table in the red walled kitchen, the table where we used to sit listening to the radio or to music that Chris would put on in the box room and which would reach us through the little high up window that connected the two rooms. I don't think I ever made pizza in London. I always meant to but maybe there wasn't enough space, maybe there were just other options.

Last Summer I decided to start again, using the recipe from Jamie's Italy that I had always used, making a half batch of dough for three pizzas, mixing the dough in my biggest bowl, topping them with tomato sauce, prosciutto, courgette slices, mozzarella and basil.

I made pizza when Brian came to stay, arriving on the train, tired, hungry, and thoroughly fed up after being forced to stand for too long, cheered by slices of pizza and a giant cookie. I went from making three pizzas to four much thinner ones with that same half batch of dough when we made dinner for friends. There were pizzas when Molly and Brian came to stay, followed by some oddly textured brownies, granular but edible. At New Year, pizzas and brownies again (the latter just because I needed to redeem myself).

And on Valentine's Day I made pizza for the two of us, one of them turning out wonkily heart shaped, by accident (sort of), the rest of the dough sitting in the freezer for next time.

Tuesday 14 February 2012


Happy Valentine's Day.

Sunday 12 February 2012


When you're helping to organise a surprise 40th birthday party there are a few necessities...






Happy birthday Sylvain!