This beautiful recipe was born of a Sunday morning trying to impress my still-quite-new but comfortingly familiar paramour, that settling in period where weekend pancakes with the newspapers have become a routine, but I still want to pull the proverbial rabbit (!) out of the hat every now and then. She had never had banana bread – never – and I made it my mission to give her her first.
I dug out my first cookbook, A Girl Called Jack, and flicked over to the vegan banana bread that so many of you send me photographs of on a weekend. It was going to take an hour to cook. I wrinkled my nose. I wanted banana bread and I wanted it NOW. A fiddle and a fidget and 20 minutes later, these were produced with a flourish, and a use for the mushy blueberries I had found on a yellow-sticker reduction in the local shop the night before. To save you all pounding down to my corner of Essex in the hope of cheap blueberries, I’ve costed them at full price, but, uh, mine were cheaper. Sorry about that.
Makes 8 comfortably chubby muffins at 13p each
2 large, overripe, mushy bananas, 34p (85p/5 Fairtrade bananas)
75ml cooking oil (sunflower. vegetable, coconut all work fine), 8p (£3/3l, sunflower oil)
50g sugar, or more to taste, 4p (80p/1kg, Fairtrade granulated sugar)
300g plain flour, 13p (65p/1.5kg, Sainsburys Basics
2 tsp baking powder or 1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 3p (90p/180g)
1 tsp ground cinnamon, 2p (80p/100g, Natco or KTC brand in the world food aisle)
50g blueberries – or more to taste, 41p (£1.25/155g, Basics)
First turn your oven on to 180C, you’ll need it in just a moment.
Then take your bananas and slice them thinly, and sling them into a large mixing bowl.
Add the oil of choice and mash vigorously with a fork until roughly smooth. It may look a little gross at this point, but persevere with me, as this lumpen mess will turn into something delicious before your very eyes. (It’s what I say to myself in the mirror most mornings, too, but I promise with the banana muffins it is actually true…)
Add the sugar and mix well. If you have a small bullet-style blender (I got mine from Wilkos for around £20 and it has outlasted 2 popular big name bullet blenders and a large jug blender, so it is well worth the investment if you can spare the pennies…) then you can sling the mixture into it with the sugar, and pulse it briefly to a liquid, for super smooth and light muffins.
If you don’t, don’t worry about it, this recipe works just as well without it. I’m just getting fancy. A fork works just fine.
However you mix it, when the banana, oil and sugar are combined, add half of the flour and all of the baking powder or bicarb, and mix well to make a sloppy batter. When smooth, add the blueberries and the remaining flour and mix to form a stiff but soft dough.
Lightly grease your muffin tins, no cake cases or papers required, and evenly split the batter between them. You can load them up for huge puffy muffins, or half fill them for smaller ones and eat two (or more!), it’s up to you. I actually used shallow, wide
Yorkshire pudding tins for these, and made enormous, floaty-light ones, which I can highly recommend!
Pop the muffin tin into the centre of the oven for around 18 minutes, or until risen, golden, and a skewer/knife/chopstick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for as long as you can bear to smell them for, and serve.
For the butter, I simply mixed 40g sunflower spread (8p) with 20g sugar (2p), and a dash each of nutmeg and cinnamon (<1p). It’s a favourite in my household, on toast, on pancakes and now, on banana blueberry muffins… (Sunflower spread £1/500g. Sugar 80p/1kg. Nutmeg and cinnamon 80p/100g Natco or KTC brand).
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