Bananas are everywhere in the shops at the moment so I thought it was time look at a few recipes. Bananas are botanically a berry and in some countries Bananas used for cooking are called ‘plantain’ with no real difference between them, although bananas can be softer. Both can be bought in Spain and although ‘plantain’ can often be very green, this is only the starch in the skin. The flesh inside a green banana has less sugar as they are high in starch, but once they ripen, the starch turns to sugar. If you suffer from Type 2 Diabetes it is healthier to eat a green banana for this reason. The recipes below are some I have used before and as always, are quick and easy. Many people tried Banana Loaf in lock down last year, but I prefer the cake recipe. In particular, the recipes for the smoothie and the pudding are a very good way of using up over-ripe bananas.

Buen Apetito

Banana Cake

  • 140g butter, softened, plus extra for the tin
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 140g SR flour
  • 2 very ripe Bananas, mashed
  • 50g icing sugar
  • Handful of dried banana chips
  • Handful dried Banana chips, for decoration

Heat oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan/gas mark 4. Butter a 2lb loaf tin and line the base and sides with baking parchment. Cream the remaining butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then slowly add the eggs with a little flour. Fold in the remaining flour and Bananas. Pour into the tin and bake for about 30 mins until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 mins, then remove to a wire rack. Mix the icing sugar with 2-3tsp water to make a runny icing. Drizzle the icing across the top of the cake and decorate with Banana chips.

Microwave Banana Pudding

  • 100g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 2 ripe Bananas
  • 100g light muscovado sugar
  • 100g SR flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • Icing sugar, toffee sauce and ice cream, to serve, if you like

Put the butter in a 1-litre baking dish and microwave on high for 30 secs-1 min until melted. Add 1½ Bananas, mash into the melted butter, then add the sugar, flour, cinnamon, eggs and milk. Mix together well. Slice the remaining Banana over the top, then return to the microwave and cook on high for 8 mins until cooked through and risen. Serve warm, dusted with icing sugar, or if you like, with a drizzle of toffee sauce and a scoop of ice cream.

Banana Flapjacks

  • 50g butter, plus a little extra for greasing
  • 2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • 2 ripe Bananas, mashed
  • 1 apple, peeled and grated
  • 100ml hot water
  • 250g rolled oats
  • 85g apricots, chopped
  • 100g raisins
  • 85g mixed seeds (we used pumpkin and sunflower)

Heat oven to 160ºC/140ºC fan/gas mark 3. Grease and line a 20cm square tin with baking parchment. Heat the butter, peanut butter and honey or maple syrup in a small pan until melted. Add the mashed Banana, apple and 100ml hot water and mix to combine. Tip the oats, the dried fruit and the seeds into a large bowl. Pour in the combined banana and apple and stir until everything is coated by the wet mixture. Tip into the cake tin and level the surface. Bake for 55 mins until golden. Leave to cool in the tin. Cut into 12 pieces to serve or store in an airtight container in the fridge. They will keep for up to 3 days.

Banana Pancakes American Style

  • 8 rashers smoked streaky bacon (or pancetta strips)
  • 140g SR flour
  • 2 tbsp light soft brown sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 ripe Bananas, 1 mashed, 1 thinly sliced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 25g butter, melted, plus a little extra
  • 125ml milk
  • Maple syrup

Heat the grill to high. Arrange the bacon on a baking tray lined with foil. Cook for 5-7 mins until crisp, then turn off the grill, but leave the tray inside to keep warm. In a bowl, mix the flour and sugar with a pinch of salt. Make a well in the centre and add the mashed banana, eggs, butter and milk. Whisk to a smooth batter without any flour lumps. Heat a little butter in a large frying pan. Once sizzling, ladle in small dollops of the pancake batter, leaving a little space between each, as they will spread out. Put 2 or 3 slices of Banana onto the surface of each pancake and cook for 2 mins over a medium heat. When you see bubbles appear between the Banana slices, flip the pancakes over and cook for 1 min more, until puffed up and golden. Transfer to a plate and keep warm with the bacon while you cook the rest. Serve the pancakes with the crispy bacon and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Banana, Hazelnut And Honey Smoothie

  • 1 peeled, sliced banana
  • 250ml soya milk
  • 1 tsp honey
  • A little grated nutmeg
  • 2 tsp toasted chopped hazelnuts, to serve

Blend the Banana with soya milk, honey and a little grated nutmeg until smooth. Pour into two large glasses and top with the toasted, chopped hazelnuts to serve.