It's been an exhausting few weeks with all the prep work for the photo shoots for my book, Boutique Wedding Cakes, occupying every spare minute I have. I've been so busy, in fact, that the contents of my fridge has run so low, it now resembles Edward Norton's character's in Fight Club, containing only the opened jars of condiments and preserves. Outside the fridge, three overripe bananas have been sitting in my kitchen looking sad for about a week. There was no way these bananas were still going to hold it together enough to retain any bite. If I'd tried to slice them over Greek yoghurt, they'd have evolved organically into a mildly alcoholic banana compote - which sounds strangely appealing in description, but would be a bowlful of slimy horror in actuality.
My guess is we had about a day left before the fruit flies descended, so I knew I was going to have to act quickly. Tired as I am, with so many wedding cakes on the brain, I wanted to use these bananas up in a way that would cause as little fuss as possible - both in the effort to prepare and in the amounts of washing up left afterwards. Banana bread was the obvious option, and I took it. I decided it had to be gluten-free so I wouldn't be left to eat it all myself, as the only other occupant of the flat is my gluten-dodging boyfriend, Richard.
One bowl, one sieve, one fork, two spoons and a loaf tin are the only things left waiting to be washed up, which is manageable even for my tired, aching bones. Feel free to add raisins, chopped dates or anything else you've got lurking at the back of your cupboards that seems vaguely suitable.
Gluten free banana bread
3 ripe bananas
1 large egg
4 tbsp sunflower/ vegetable oil
4 tbsp maple syrup (I used this because we have a glut due to Richard's recent work trip to Canada, but don't buy it specially - honey or soft, light brown sugar would be perfect equivalents)
8 tbsp milk
A splash of vanilla extract
2 tsp mixed spice
2 tbsp ground almonds
8 tbsp plain gluten free flour
1 tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
A couple of handfuls of walnut halves (you can use pecans or leave them out altogether)
Preheat the oven to 160°C (140°C Fan assisted) and butter and flour a loaf tin (you could make these into muffins also)
In a large(ish) bowl, mash the bananas with a fork and whisk in the egg. Add the oil, maple syrup, milk and vanilla and stir it round a bit. Mix in the almonds, mixed spice and salt and sift over the flour and baking powder. Mix it all thoroughly before stirring through the nuts. Pour the batter into the oven and bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour, 10 (depending on your oven) or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave it on a wire rack still in its tin for 10 minutes before turning out.