Banana bread

You can use only dates, only figs or maybe experiment with apricots or other moist dried fruits. Your bananas should be really ripe, with spotty skins and maybe a few black bits.


  • 125g butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed (4 if small)
  • 190g self raising flour
  • 60ml milk
  • 150g dates, chopped into chunks
  • 150g semi-dried figs, chopped into chunks
  • walnut pieces for decoration
  • a little demerara sugar to sprinkle over


  • Pre-heat the oven to 150 C (fan).
  • Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin.
  • Melt the butter, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over a medium heat.
  • Remove from the heat. Add the bananas and mix well.
  • Add the egg, mix well.
  • Stir in the flour and milk.
  • Mix in the dates and figs.
  • Pour the mixture into the loaf tin.
  • Decorate with walnut pieces and sprinkle over a couple of spoons of demerara sugar to give a golden crunchy topping.
  • Into the oven and bake for 35 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean and there is a golden brown crust. Cooking time can vary according to the quantity and moisture content of the banana and fruit, sometimes up to 45 or 50 minutes.

Nasi Goreng style fried rice

A modified recipe from Waitrose Food magazine.

Serves 4, or 2 normal people with hearty appetites.
Preparation – 15 minutes
Cooking – 30 minutes
Note – where the recipe says “finely sliced”, it means sliced, not chopped.


  • 2 shallots, finely sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 Thai red chillies, finely sliced – more if you’re up for it.
  • 1 and a half peppers, finely sliced. Yellow and orange work best for appearance
  • 400g chicken breast, cut into cubes of about 1.5cm
  • 200g spring greens, sliced into ribbons
  • 1 bunch spring onions, sliced on an angle into 2cm pieces
  • 3 tbsp ketjap manis, maybe a little extra
  • half tbsp nam pla fish sauce, or perhaps a little more
  • 2 x 250g pouches of cooked basmati rice
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 50g salted cashews, roughly chopped or broken
  • coriander leaves for garnish
  • oil for frying


  • Heat a tbsp of oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat and fry the chicken until thoroughly cooked and just a hint of golden brown. This should take 6-8 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat about a tbsp of oil in a very large wok or frying pan over a medium-high heat.
  • Add the shallots, garlic and chillies. Fry for 3 minutes, stirring to stop any burning.
  • Add the pepper with 1-2 tbsp water and fry for a further 3 minutes until soft.
  • Add the spring onion, and fry for a minute.
  • Add the spring greens, ketjap manis, fish sauce, 2-3 tbsp water and the rice to the shallot mixture. Stir everything together and ensure it is all heated through.
  • Season the beaten eggs. Push the rice/vegetable mixture to one side of the pan and pour the eggs into the space.
  • Cook until the egg is almost set, stirring gently all the while (watch the rice/vegetable mix to ensure it doesn’t burn). Then break up the egg and mix it together with the rice/vegetable mixture.
  • Stir in the fried chicken.
  • Serve in bowls, sprinkled with the cashews and coriander.

Serve with crisp white wine, or a full red wine. Or crisp cold beer.