I almost had the audacity to call this recipe ‘Christmas-spiced Banana Bread’ as I am currently testing some new recipes for a December project (more on that below) but I didn’t think I could cope with the outrage of the Internet if I dared use the C-word halfway through September. So instead, euphemistically, this is an Autumn-spiced banana bread, warming, comforting, and pull-your-jumper-around-you warming delicious bliss. Based on the vegan banana bread recipe from A Girl Called Jack, but better. For best results you will need a small powerful blender to grind the spices into the sugar; I have used this one for years and absolutely swear by it as a blender, smoothie maker, curry paste machine and spice grinder, so it’s worth a look. And a third of the price of it’s hifalutin equivalent…

Serves 6 very generously at 11p each. This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate my recipe costs, and I may earn a small commission if you click the links or purchase any ingredients. All prices correct at the time of printing and are subject to change.

3 ripe bananas, 45p

75ml cooking oil, 8p (£1.10/1l)

50g sugar, 7p (69p/500g)

225g self raising flour, 7p (45p/1.5kg)

2 level teaspoons baking powder, 2p (69p/170g)

3 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 11p (85p/40g)

6 cardamom pods, peeled and deseeded, 8p (£1.99/50g)

1 tsp ground anise or 2 star anise stars, ground and sifted, 12p (89p/14g)

a generous handful of sultanas or mixed peel, 9p (88p/500g)

First preheat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and lightly grease a 1lb loaf tin.

Tip your sugar and spices into the blender and pulse for 30 seconds, pause, andf then pulse again. If using whole star anise, it will make an atrocious rattling noise – this is normal if slightly alarming. It is important not to run your blender with dry ingredients for more than 30 seconds at a time as – I have found to my peril – they can sulk to the point of catching fire if the motors overheat. I haven’t found a problem with my Wilkos one, but I have exploded two Nutribullets in my short lifetime, so they come with a warning!

When the spices are ground into the sugar, sieve the mixture gently to remove any large lumps of woody star anise. I pop these into a new jar with some fresh sugar, and the cardamom pods, and leave it to infuse for future cookies, mulled wine and more.

Peel the bananas, and slice them, and pop them into a mixing bowl. If they aren’t the old, squishy sort, add a little of the oil to soften them and start them off. Add the rest of the oil and the gently spiced sugar to the bowl, and mix well. It doesn’t look too great at this stage but don’t worry, it’s normal and gets better. Tip in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon, and sultanas, and stir well to form a lumpy batter.

Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and bake for 1 hour in the centre of the oven, until the loaf is risen and golden. If a knife or a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean, then it’s done.

Remove the tin from the oven and allow to cool before turning out and serving.

Recipe text, method and photography copyright Jack Monroe.

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