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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Excess Bananas

Well, not so long ago bananas were very hard to source and expensive in Australia due to Severe Tropical Cyclone Larry which wiped out approximately 80% of the Australian banana crops in March 2006.  The new crops are now producing bananas and the prices have come down so they are back on the shopping list.  Instead of throwing them out when they get a little too soft, I freeze them whole in their skins, then I can use them in biscuit, cake, muffin or smoothie recipes.

Here are some of my favourite banana recipes.

Banana Chai spice biscuits:
Make chai spice mix by combining 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 1 tablespoon ground cardamon, 2 teaspoons ground cloves, 3 teaspoons ground ginger and 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg.

Combine 1/2 cup oats, 1 cup raw sugar, 1 cup plain flour. 1/2 cup dessicated coconut, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon bicarb soda and 6 teaspoons chai spice mix in a large bowl.  Make a well and add 2 mashed bananas and 100 grams melted butter and stir until combined.  Drop heaped teaspoons of mixture onto oven trays lined with baking paper, allowing room for spreading.  Bake for 20 minutes or until starting to brown in a moderate oven.

Hummingbird Cake:
Sift 3 cups plain flour with 1 teaspoon bicarb soda, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 1/2 cups sugar into a large bowl.  Make a well in the centre and add 1 1/2 cups canola oil, 3 eggs, 225 grams crushed pineapple (undrained), 2 cups of mashed banana, 1 cup of chopped pecans and 1 teaspoon vanilla essence.  Pour mixture into a greased cake tin and bake in a moderate oven for just over an hour or until cooked when tested.  When cool, ice with cream cheese frosting, which is made by creaming 75 grams unsalted butter, 250 grams softened cream cheese and 1 teaspoon vanilla essence.  When combined, gradually beat in 2 cups sifted icing sugar.

Banana and blueberry muffins:
Sift 1 cup self raising flour, 1/2 cup wholemeal self raising flour, 1/4 teaspoon bicarb soda and a pinch of salt into a large bowl.  Add 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup chopped dates.  Mix well, then make a well in the centre and add 1 large mashed banana, 1/3 cup sunflower oil, 2/3 cup milk and 1 egg and stir with a fork until just combined.  Spoon evenly into 12 muffin cases and add about 4 blueberries to each muffin.  Bake in a moderately hot oven for about 25 minutes or until cooked when tested.

Easy Banana Smoothie:
Half fill blender with crushed ice, add 1-2 frozen bananas, 1 teaspoon honey and a little milk.  Blend until smooth and creamy (add more milk if required).  You could add yoghurt or icecream if you want but I find that the banana already has a nice creamy texture.

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