BRANDY BANANA & DATE BREAD

‘This the season and whatnot…’

So it’s that time of year again and I have hit the point of the season where I don’t feel safe unless I have some form of baked item on my windowsill. I’m talking about festive baking. No it’s not a recipe for the Festive Bake from Greggs, it is actually something a lot more demure and humble. I can’t say anything about calories because I don’t know but it seems healthier than a Festive Bake? It has fruit in it!

The time came again for me to submit a recipe to Buzz Magazine and I was tasked with *drumroll* a recipe for something seasonal. I mean I could have gone into the whole discussion of how to roast a turkey or a beef joint but I would’ve felt like I was mugging you off. Roast beef should always come with roast potatoes and turkey should always come with sprouts etc and as all magazine columnist, I’m plagued with the demon of a word count.

So I figured that a nice festive bake fit the bill. It’s spiked with beautifully perky, liquor soaked fruits and holds its own against the sometimes sour mine pies of the season. No, it’s not exactly a Christmas Cake but it has a lot of the same components and does not take seven thousand years of ‘feeding’ to make.

A lovely shout out also to the Grandmother of my usual photographer (Lowri Bethan Photography) who provides me with fantastic marmalade every year. I love slathering this marmalade on slices of the loaf – as well in ham and mustard sandwiches, but that’s another story. Maybe next year I can steal the marmalade recipe and give it to you all as a Christmas gift… tis the season and whatnot.

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 (Find out where to find the magazine locally by clicking here —> http://www.buzzmag.co.uk/distribution-outlets/find-a-buzz-cardiff-and-outskirts/)

When it comes to baking, the festive season almost warrants laziness. In fact it demands it. It calls for something fruit filled and boozy to be placed on a table that keeps for a month at least, so that when callers pass through the home – you will always have something to offer. This banana loaf has all the seasonal splendour you want in a festive bake with not even a quarter of the effort of a Christmas cake.

• 70g Chopped Dates
• 5 tbs Brandy
• 150g Unsalted Butter
• 150g Brown Sugar
• 1 Egg
• 3 Bananas
• 140g Self Raising Flour
• 1 tsp Baking Powder

1. Preheat the oven to 180C and lightly butter a standard size loaf tin
2. Empty the chopped dates into a small mug and cover with the brandy
3. In a bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar
4. Add the egg and mix to combine
5. In a bowl, mash the bananas before pouring in the brandy that has been soaking the dates – leaving the dates remaining in the cup
6. Add the brandy bananas to the batter to create a paste
7. Fold in the flour and baking powder
8. Lightly dust the dates in the cup with flour before adding to the batter and mix
9. Empty the batter into the loaf tin and bake for 30-35 minutes until risen and slightly cracking on the surface – or until a skewer comes out of the loaf clean
10. Cool for 15-20 minutes before removing from the tin
11. Serve with lashings of marmalade for that extra seasonal spike

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