Category Archives: Recipes

Tea Break – Banana, date and walnut loaf

This is a good recipe for using up those old black bananas lying at the bottom of the fruit bowl. It started off as a Mary Berry recipe for date and walnut loaf with an option to swap the dates and walnuts for banana and cherries.

I tried different combinations and came up with this version, which I think works very well. Slice it up and freeze it. When you are putting the kettle on for your afternoon cuppa, stick the oven on low, throw in a slice (or two if you have company!) and by the time your tea is ready to drink the cake will have defrosted and be just warm enough to melt the butter! Perfect.

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • 90g butter, plus some for greasing
  • 250g dates, stoned and roughly chopped
  • 150ml boiling water
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 1 egg (medium)
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 90g walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1kg (2lb) loaf tin


  1. Lightly grease the loaf tin with butter and line with greaseproof paper.
  2. Put the dates into a bowl, pour over the measured boiling water and leave for about 15 minutes.
  3. Combine the butter, sugar, egg, flour and baking powder in a large bowl and beat until well blended. Add the bananas, walnuts and dates, plus the soaking liquid and stir to mix well.
  4. Spoon into the loaf tin and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 C (350 F, Gas 4) for 1 hour 15 minutes until well risen and firm to the touch. It may need slightly longer but the way to tell if it is ready is by inserting a skewer into the middle of the loaf and it comes out clean.
  5. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes and then turn it out on to a wire rack and peel off the paper. Wait until it is completely cool before attempting to slice it – otherwise it just crumbles!

This recipe also works well using gluten free flour.

If you want to try it with the cherries add 125g of quartered glace cherries instead of, or as well as, the bananas, dates or walnuts.



Tea break – lemon and cardamom cookies

I am a firm believer in tea breaks and was inspired last night by The Hairy Bikers, of all people, to make these lemon and cardamom cookies. They are really easy.


  • 115g butter, softened
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1/2 lemon – zest only
  • 125g plain flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 3tsp ground cardamom or 1 heaped tsp cardamom seeds, ground in a pestle and mortar


  1. Preheat oven to 190C/375F/Gas5. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Beat the butter, sugar and lemon zest together in a large bowl until pale and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the flour, almonds and cardamom until the mixture is well combined and comes together to form a stiff dough.
  4. Split the dough into 12 equal pieces, roll into balls and place on baking tray.
  5. Press each cookie down with the bottom of a glass to flatten – you can make patterns if you are artistic (unlike me).
  6. Bake for 12-14 minutes until pale golden brown.
  7. Leave to cool then transfer to a wire rack. They will crisp up as they cool.
  8. The recipe does go on to say store the cookies in an airtight tin and eat within 7 days – not a problem in this house!!!!!!!!
Lemon and cardamom cookies

Lemon and cardamom cookies - might need to use a larger tray next time!