Two old bananas in the fruit bowl, looking sadly at me and urging me to turn them into something wonderful. I suppose it is good that I view overripe bananas as something to get excited about because of their potential, rather than simply something else to go in the bin. Having feasted on banana cake for as long as I can remember since I got back to Oxford, I couldn't face another just yet (especially as I am still gobbling the brownies that Mother McCausland sent me, with gusto). So out came my other recipe for past-edible bananas: pancakes.I love the combination of banana and blueberries, particularly when it involves sliced banana stirred into hot porridge and covered in burst blueberries. It works very well in pancake form too: just add mashed bananas to a mixture of plain flour, a teaspoon baking powder, enough milk to get the desired consistency, an egg, a spoonful or two of melted butter, a pinch (or more in my case, as I love it) cinnamon and the zest of an orange, a handful of blueberries, and whisk it all with an electric whisk (my hand whisk has broken...must remember to get a new one). Meanwhile, put some more blueberries in a pan with a splash of water and heat until burst and juicy and a sauce-like consistency - you may have to let some of the water boil off. Cook the pancakes in batches in lots of melted butter and put into the oven to keep warm, then stack up, pour over the blueberry sauce and relish. Some toasted flaked almonds would be nice on top for some texture, but by that point I wanted to eat. I love fluffy American-style pancakes as opposed to papery French crepes, especially in the morning, and the banana makes them just the right texture. Delicious.
I have also been living off this for the past week during my Finals:
I made it last week and luckily it's one of those recipes that improves in the fridge: a Sicilian caponata. I used Nigel Slater's recipe from his latest book, Tender (a great book if you're a vegetable fan), and it's better than the recipe I usually use. Caponata is an Italian aubergine stew with an intriguing sweet and sour flavour, made by stewing chopped aubergine, tomatoes, red wine vinegar, capers, olives, raisins, onions and red pepper (not traditional I don't think, but Nigel uses it, so who am I to argue?). It is truly delicious, one of those recipes that sounds a bit weird but when you try it, all is revealed. Lovely with M&S green olive ciabatta rolls (which have red chilli in, and give the whole thing a nice kick) or couscous (again, unorthodox, but it soaks up the lovely sauce nicely). I urge you all to make it.