Baking, not wasting!

Banana and Date Loaf and Apple Flapjack Recipes

Apple Flapjacks Banana and Date loaf

The fruit in the fruit bowl was looking a little on the wrinkled and soft side today but it feels so wrong to throw away food.  The average household throws away around £60 a month worth of food, so I figure if I waste less that’s more to spend on the slightly more expensive but more ethical, local or eco friendly options!  Hence my purchase today of fair trade tea and coffee at our local village shop (which I once would have thought of as indulgent and beyond our budget), balanced out by me using the 4 apples and 2 bananas that were considered inedible by the rest of the family to make apple flapjacks and banana loaf.  Actually I’ve saved twice there because if I hadn’t baked I would have had to buy snacks too.

Apple Flapjacks

4 oz butter
4oz golden syrup or honey or any combination of both
10oz oats
I pinch cinnamon
2 small apples, grated.  You don’t have to peel them
optional handful of raisins

Line or grease a baking tray. Preheat oven to 180oC/gas 4
Melt butter and syrup/honey in a large pan until bubbling, remove from heat and stir in everything else.
Tip into baking tray and bake for 20 mins or until golden.
Allow to cool for a few mins then cut into slices.  leave to cool a little longer then place on rack to cool completely.

Banana and Date Loaf

125g butter
150g Caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, beaten
2 very ripe banana’s
1 handful dates, finely chopped (optional but I love the toffee flavour they give to the cake)
190g Self raising flour
60ml Milk

Line or grease a 2lb loaf tin.  Preheat the oven to 170 oC (150 for fan)/gas mark 3
Melt butter, sugar, vanilla and dates in a large pan over a medium heat, when it’s all melted let it come to the boil to soften the dates then remove from heat and add mashed bananas, mix well.
Add beaten egg and mix well then stir in flour and milk until combined.
Pour into loaf tin and bake for 35 mins or until golden on top and a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Optional extra: a sprinkle of Demerara sugar over the top before baking gives a tasty, crunch.

Our family tries to do it’s bit to be environmentally friendly; we reuse and recycle wherever possible (the first time I still had an almost empty black wheelie bin after a fortnight because we’d recycled so much was something of a personal triumph!).  I cant bear wasting food (Good job we like fruit based cakes!).  We use environmentally friendly products wherever possible, especially washing detergents and household cleaners.  I like to buy ethically made products so go for fair trade where possible and try to source local produce.  It can be difficult when you’re really busy to think about the process that’s gone into making something, what it’s packed in and whether it’s healthy, ethical and eco friendly when all you really want is something that will do the job quickly or fill up a hungry family at a good price with food that can be prepared quickly between working and ferrying children to various clubs.  I quite often find myself worrying whether I should have brought that ready chopped stir fry that comes in plastic because I know full well it possibly won’t be as good as preparing a meal from scratch myself and that plastic will sit in a landfill for a very long time, or pondering the air miles in my shopping trolley or, whether the fruit juice I just gave the children will be good for them or rot their teeth (probably both), or which cleaning product is best for the environment, or if using a dishwasher is better or worse than washing up by hand (my Dad swears dishwashers are better, I like to believe him because I hate washing up!).  It’s a minefield but I try whenever possible to make the choice that sits well with me, that feels like the right thing to do, and hopefully some of that is rubbing off on my children too.  I know I don’t always get it right but I hope that the fact that I think and care about it is a step in the right direction.

Ooh I think I deserve a nice cuppa and a slice of cake…

P.S. I’ve been using this app to check my beauty products to make sure they don’t contain micro plastics.  These minute bits of plastic kill marine life of all sizes and are causing damage to our oceans.

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