Rum And Banana Bread

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I’m pretty sure most households at times end up with a few bananas sitting in the fruit bowl that nobody will touch as they have gone pass the point of ripe! Well, this very simple recipe can turn those bananas into something pretty special. The aroma that fills the house while its cooking is just amazing. The rum soaked sultanas add a wonderful little extra flavour to this delicious loaf.

What you will need

100g (4ozs) sultanas
75ml (3flozs) bourbon or dark rum
175g (6ozs) plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Half a teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Half a teaspoon salt
150 ( 5ozs) unsalted butter, melted
150g (5ozs) sugar
2 large eggs
4 small, very ripe bananas (about 300 g weighed without skin), mashed
60g (2ozs)chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
23×13×7 cm loaf tin, buttered and floured or with a paper insert

How to make your banana bread

1. Put the sultanas and rum or Bourbon in a smallish saucepan and bring to boil. Remove from the heat, cover and leave for an hour if you can, or until the sultanas have absorbed most of the liquid, then drain.

2. Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3 and get started on the rest.

3. Put the flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt in a medium sized bowl and, using your hands or a wooden spoon, combine well.

4. In a large bowl, mix the melted butter and sugar and beat until blended. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the mashed bananas. Then, with a wooden spoon stir in the pecans, drained sultanas and vanilla extract.

5. Add the flour mixture, a third at a time, stirring well after each bit.

6. Scrape into it the loaf tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 1 to 1 1/4 hours. When it’s ready, an inserted toothpick all fine skewer should come out cleanish. Leave in the tin on a rack to cool, and eat thickly or thinly sliced, as you prefer.

Brioche Bread and Butter pudding with Cointreau

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I love bread and butter pudding and it’s a pudding we often had when I was growing up. This one is more extravagant, but it’s worth the extra cost as you end up with a truly stunning dessert. I made this with my ‘Two Creative Cooks’ hat on for a function this weekend and it went down a storm. I had a loose recipe to follow, but then changed it to suit my very naughty taste buds and then served it with thick Cointreau cream. I know I will never be thin, but quite honestly I don’t care, I know which side my bread is buttered!!

What you will need

A pack of eight small brioche rolls ( you could use a loaf and slice it, if you prefer)
A little Butter for spreading
8 tsp Apricot jam
75g (3ozs)sultanas
6 tbsp Cointreau or Grand Marnier if you prefer.
Zest of an orange
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
500ml (18flozs)double cream (I did tip a bit more in than this as I like lots of custard!!!!)
250ml (9flozs)milk
2tsp Demerara sugar

How to make the pudding

1. Preheat the oven to gas 179c /325f/ gas 3.

2. Butter a 2 litre (4 pint) shallow pudding dish.

3. Put the Cointreau and sultanas in a small pan, bring to the boil and simmer for one minute, turn off the heat and leave the fruit to plump up in the liquor.

4. Slice the rolls in half length ways and spread one half with apricot jam and the other with a little butter ( you only need a very light spread of butter, as the brioche is already very buttery) sandwich back together and cut the brioche rolls into three thick triangles.

5. Stand these with the points to the sky in the dish, sprinkle with the sultanas and remaining liquor. Grate the zest of an orange over the brioche.

6. In a bowl whisk the sugar, whole eggs, egg yolks, cream and milk together. Pour over the brioche and leave to stand for 15minutes.

7. Sprinkle over the Demerara sugar and bake for 45 mins, the rich custard should just be setting.

8. Serve warm with ice cream or cream flavoured with some of your chosen liquor.