Thursday, 28 June 2012

Apple and Banana Loaf


Feeding children is a tricky one.

Angus refuses to eat any fresh fruit other than bananas. I've tried everything and consistently offered him a selection of delicious and seasonal (and often expensive - blueberries cost a fortune!) fruit since he was a baby, but he's having none of it. So I have to get creative and make cakes and muffins and smoothies and ice lollies that contain fruit but in a way that he doesn't realise. Others may scoff at this and say, well, if you do that he'll never eat fresh fruit, will he? That is your opinion and I respect it, but this is what works for us. Fussy toddlers can really take the joy out of cooking and you have to do what works for your family and keeps you sane.

I really like this cake, from Tana Ramsay's Family Kitchen. Lots of versions of this cake abound on the internet - if you google it you are sure to find the recipe or one similar. It is a winner for so many reasons. It uses up fruit that is soft and overripe; it is quite low in butter and sugar; the bananas are full of energy so it makes a good snack; it is quick and very, very easy to make. But my favourite reason is that it tastes so good - moist and nutmeggy and sweet. And it is a good recipe for apples that have been bashed around in a lunchbox once too often.


I also discovered that you can use frozen bananas in this quite happily and it tastes just as good. If I have too many overripe bananas to use, I freeze them as they are in their skins. A few hours before I want to use them, I take them from the freezer and let them defrost at room temperature (I wouldn't risk trying to defrost them in the microwave). They look revolting. They go completely black and the inside of the banana turns to liquid.


Gingerly peel them into a bowl, while trying not to be put off by the unattractive wormy appearance...


...then mash. Once mashed, they look just the same as they would have done anyway, and they cook just as well. (Please tell me that this is not the behaviour of a mad woman! I just really hate throwing food away...)


Enjoy! If anyone has any tips for feeding fruit to fussy, stubborn three year olds, then I would love to hear your thoughts...

32 comments:

  1. What a fab recipe! And while I grant you the frozen bananas do look a bit "wormy" once peeled this is a brilliant way of not wasting otherwise too-ripe-to-eat bananas and who's to know other than the cook? I completely support the infiltration method of getting small people to eat fruit and vegetables. I despaired of H at one stage ever tackling fruit just as fruit and used to look longingly at mothers who seemed able to give their toddler whole apple pieces or a whole peeled banana which they would eat happily All By Themselves while being pushed in a buggy or whatever but he's almost a fruit bat now! I recommend all the devious stratagems at your disposal! Go girl! Not least because you are so right; it is extremely depressing for the cook if things are constantly turned down. I found vegetables more of a problem than fruit actually but there are strategies for these too! Grated apple, courgette, carrot or sweet potato can all be added to homemade burgers - just squidge the grated stuff into fresh mince and bake, grill or fry. Vegetables that wouldn't be touched in a month of Sundays can also be made acceptable by making into thick homemade soup into which bread fingers or finger sandwiches can be dunked. (I know, I know a bit messy but one has to compromise on some things!) Muffins can include grated carrot or courgette and grated cheese to make savoury versions just sweet enough to get under the wire. If you are seriously after more ideas I am sure I can dig out a few more. I wanted H to eat "proper" homemade food from scratch when he was tiny and made everything by and large so I have a folder full of notes and recipes somewhere. My advice would be to carry on with what you're doing and the investment will pay off big time. Now that H is teenage I notice that he eats a far bigger range of foods especially the five a day things than any of his contemporaries even though he still wouldn't give you a thank you for a plateful of cabbage! Elizabeth x

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    1. I learnt quickly that cooking for children is a very emotional issue. It's very hard not to feel rejected when they reject the food you've lovingly prepared.

      Thank you so much for the wonderful ideas - grating stuff seems to be the way to go. It sounds as though H's early diet was nourishing and delicious! I just wish I could get Angus to eat fruit fresh rather than cooked. One day, that boy will bite into a apple and just eat it, one day... :-)

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  2. Wow, I never would have thought of freezing bananas, but it's a great idea. Your loaf looks amazing, it's making me hungry just looking at that last photo! I've got a great recipe for apple and carrot bran muffins (it's on my blog, maybe in my April 2012 archive?) which has hardly any fat or sugar so I let my kids have them for breakfast, they love them.

    I'm lucky in that my kids love fruit, and veg as long as it's raw, but they both absolutely refuse to eat any kind of soup or stew, which makes for frustrating dinner times in winter, because I'd happily eat home made soup every day when it's cold. Have you tried fruit kebabs? They might not appeal but my kids love sliding each bit of fruit off the skewer - it's a snack and activity in one!

    Don't worry about what anyone else thinks, you know your kids and you should just do what works for you! xx

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    1. I will look on your blog for that muffin recipe, thank you. It's nice to have something other than cereal or toast to offer them at breakfast time. How annoying for the soup/stew thing! Especially in the winter. I've found i can hide a lot of veg finely chopped in curries and chilli - my two seem to love anything that is served with rice for some reason!

      Fruit kebabs is a great idea, thank you! x

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  3. I love the sound of this cake! I am trying to eat a bit more healthily, but as cake and biscuits and chocolate are my favourite things, it is an uphill struggle. At least this would up the fruit intake, so it is definitely one to try. I shall make it over the weekend, if I can't quite summon up the energy before then. Thank you for sharing this recipe.
    Best wishes
    Ellie

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    1. You're welcome - it's good to have something "cakey" to eat with a cup of tea that isn't covered in buttercream. Although I do love buttercream...

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  4. Very unusally I have a mound of browning bananas - perfect timing.

    My suggestion to get the boy to eat fruit would be to serve it with a caramel or choc sauce to dip - though that would probably negate any health benefits of eating the fruit!

    Getting a teenager you know likes fruit but has wilfully decided to stop eating it 'because its not filling' is testing my patience at the moment so I offer no judgement what so ever!

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    1. Rachel, that is a genius idea! I could try banana and strawberries with melted chocolate for pudding. Quick and easy. THank you! :-)

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  5. i adore banana loaf. or anything banana flavoured.

    i'm in the do-what-is-right-for-YOUR-family camp. ;)
    my fave method is smoothies, 'cause then you're not killing any of the vital nutrients. cooking mostly provides the fibre. also freezing smoothie mixture into lollies (called different things around the world...). excellent hot-weather method.

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    1. Smoothies are good - as you say, cooking the fruit or vegetables takes away. I need to make more ice lollies - a project for this weekend!

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  6. Banana isn't my most favoured flavour for a tea loaf, but this is certainly one way to use up bananas-past-their-best! I love Devon toffee apple cake, with apples peeled, cored and sliced and then fried in a little butter with mucovado sugar, so they're all nice and brown and toffee'd all over. This you put on top of a cake before cooking, and just pop in the oven to bake. Lovely jubbly!

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    1. Devon toffee apple cake, that sounds wonderful! I will have a go at that, maybe when our apple tree yields some fruit. John is not a fan of banana cake/loaf either which is a shame as I seem to cook it often! He prefers chocolate cake, not surprisingly!

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  7. That loaf looks delicious and the 'wormy' bananas made me giggle :-) Such a good idea to freeze them - would never have thought of doing that. Kids go through all sorts of phases - mine only wanted hot dog rolls at one stage. I just went with the flow and he was bored of it very quickly. He loves fruit (thank goodness) but veggies are a bit more tricky... x

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    1. You're right, you just have to go with the flow. Bella was very picky as a toddler but is now, at 5, a very good eater, so I am holding out hope that Angus is the same! x

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  8. Oooooh this sounds and looks delicious. Thanks for the recipe.

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    1. I am only passing it on! Can't take any credit for writing it. It's a great family recipe book.

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  9. we like to bake mixed berry muffins. i am going to try this recipe over the weekend. thanks. xo

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    1. Mixed berry muffins - they sound good as "mixed berries" could be any one of a number of things!

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  10. Ah fussy kids. My 4 year old used to eat all fruit, but these days she's becoming more fussy. I'll be hiding it in cakes soon too ;-)

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    1. Oh no don't tell me that!! Bella currently eats everything - I hope I don't have fussy teenage years to look forward to...

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  11. It looks delicious. Try growing your own, kids love to eat things they have grown themselves, things like blueberries, strawberries etc. can be grown in containers and don't cost that much to buy the plants if you get them from places like Wilkos, in fact, a blueberry bush would pay for itself in no time the price they charge for them in the supermarket.

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    1. Jo, that is an excellent idea, thank you. It never occurred to me to try and grow my own blueberries, I don't know why! I will have a go at that I think.

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  12. Love that cake! My boy didn't eat fruit nor much in the way of vegetables and was so unwilling to try different foods. I used to worry about his diet so much. He's now 22 and 6' 1" and still doesn't eat fruit (he drinks the occasional smoothie) but he gets through mountains of veg and everything else and eats really well. Oh, and he loves to cook!

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    1. Oh good, it sounds as though he turned out ok! Maybe some people just don't like fruit. I hope Angus likes to cook when he grows up, that would make me very happy indeed.

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  13. looks delicious! i made banana muffins yesterday. i was one banana short, so i substituted with some apple sauce. they turned out moist and yummy.
    as for getting a toddler to try different foods, growing your own works with gigi. i'm pretty sure she never would have tried spinach or chard if 'she' hadn't grown it in our garden. also, does angus have friends that are more adventurous eaters? sometimes watching other kids eat berries or whatever will get the picky ones to give them a try.

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    1. Apple sauce, that is a good idea. I'm so impressed that Gigi eats spinach and chard! You are right about growing your own stuff - last year we grew a few tomatoes and Bella was so thrilled, she ate them straight off the plant. I planted strawberries this year and they have taken really well but apparently wont produce fruit till next year. I will be ecstatic if Angus eats one! x

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  14. I'm going to try this one out on an omniverous adult I know . It will disappear like snow before the sun .

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    1. Ok! I hope they enjoy it. Gillian x

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  15. *wow* I bet that is lovely and moist. A recipe definitely for keeping....and trying - yum.

    Have a fabulous weekend,

    Nina xxx

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    1. It is very moist, keeps for ages! Not that it ever lasts ages...

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  16. I love this recipe. Congratulations on your blog award.

    I am your new follower and look forward to knowing your posts and also to your visit and comments

    Helen

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    1. Hi Helen, nice to meet you, thank you for stopping by. Gillian

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