Easy Vegan Banana Loaf

If you are new to cooking and on a tight budget (who isn’t?) then Jack Monroe’s book ‘A Girl Called Jack’ is THE recipe book!

I’ve always thought that good food recipes had to be complicated, with loads and loads of ingredients and utensils/equipment that only the experts would have.

That was until I found Jack’s book!

It’s not a Vegan book by any means, but it does have recipes that are vegan and the one’s with meat you can substitute to make it vegan.

One of my favorite recipes is this beautifully easy Banana Loaf recipe, it’s only got a few ingredients (which I like ALOT) and it’s blinkin tasty!

AND I can guarantee it will come out like this!


So you fancy making it for yourself?

Here you go then – you won’t regret it!

What you’ll need: 

3 large bananas (over-ripe is the best!)
75 g oil (I used sunflower)
50 g sugar
225 g self-raising flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

What you’ll need to do:

Preheat oven to 180°C, and lightly grease a loaf tin.

Next peel your banana’s and mash them in a bowl. I kept mine a little lumpy just cos I could!  Next add the oil and sugar to the banana’s and stir.  Next add the flour, baking powder and cinnamon and stir well.

Once that’s done pour it all into the loaf tin and bake for approximately 30-45 minutes (depending if you have a fan over or not – mine is, so it cooks a lot quicker).  Just make sure you cover if the top starts to darken too much, before the inside had been cooked – do the usual test by putting in a knife to test if it’s come out clean or not.

Once done, leave it to cool for 5 mins and then pop it onto a cooling rack to cool down completely (not before you sneak a little bit, cos if your’e like me you can’t wait to try it!)

Keep it in a cool dry place, covered and it’ll last a week! (If you don’t gobble it all down before then that is!)

Note: This beautiful loaf will be available to buy as soon as my online bakery is open (hopefully early August) – check out my Facebook Page here for updates 🙂



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Courgette, Tomato & Spring Onion Gratin


I’ve courgettes coming out of my ears at the moment!!! 

After picking up a latest collection from Jacobs Well Care Centre -I was relieved that it didn’t include banana’s this week – instead, to my delight, it contained lots of courgettes!

It seemed an age since we’d rescued courgettes; so to be able to use them in today’s dinner made me very happy – plus I’d seen a rather good (and easy) recipe in ‘A Girl Called Jack‘.

This dish is a little different, firstly it’s vegan so doesn’t include brie and secondly I had a few left-over spring onions starting to go a little bit slimy in the drawer of my fridge.

It’s a really filling dish, mainly due to the rice to bulk it out – but more because it’s very easy to make especially if you have a big family with lots of mouths to feed.  It’s also cheap to make; making sure you use whatever you have in your fridge or store cupboard – because believe me whatever you slip in will make it just as delicious as if you were following this recipe to the letter!

Plus this recipe gets you using your home grown (or like me you have ‘rescued’ some) herbs


This recipe will feed 4 people comfortably.

What you’ll need:

1 red onion
4 spring onions
150g brown rice (just cos I find it better for you and more nutty, but white rice is fine too)
1 veg stock cube, dissoved in 200ml boiling water
1 x jar of tomato pasta sauce, or 400g tin of chopped tomato’s
a handful of fresh basil
a handful of fresh parsley
1 courgette
a drizzle of oil

What to do:

This is the easy bit!

Peel, dice your onion, and spring onions and place into a pan along with your rice.  Pour your stock in a little at a time on a low-ish heat, stirring most of the time until each part you put in is absorbed.  You may need to add a bit more water if your stock has finished before the rice is cooked, especially if you are using brown rice as that usually takes a bit longer.

Once the rice has just been cooked, add the pasta sauce you have or the chopped tomato’s.  Then add the fresh basil (torn up by hand) and parsley.  Then remove from the heat.

Take your courgette and chop very finely (width-ways).   Spoon the rice, tomato, onion and spring onion mixture into an oven proof dish.  Then place the sliced pieces of courgette around the dish until it covers the mixture.  Then add a drizzle of oil over the top of the courgette pieces to help them cook.

Right – once that has all done place the dish into the oven on about 180 centigrade/350 fahrenheit/gas 4 and leave in there for about 15 minutes until the courgettes are lightly toasted and soft.

Then you are done!

Serve with crusty bread (actually the bread in the photo was rock solid, that was until I learnt to revitalise it) – check out how in my next blog post!

See you soon



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Tinned Peach & Chickpea Curry (you know you have them in your cupboard!)


Now if you’re about my age (40) you would have probably grown up with always have ‘afters’ after your dinner every night – right?

Without fail my lovely mum would whip up either a delicious rice pudding, semolina, instant whip of some kind (butterscotch was my favorite) or the one that she never failed us on was tinned fruit (usually peaches) with cream.

These days, since we started intercepting food via The Real Junk Food Project Portsmouth and using it at our ‘Waste Not Want Not Cafe’ night, we are inundated with TINNED PEACHES!

Most are out of date, but many in date – which kind of raises the question: “are kids missing out on ‘afters’ these days?’  Perhaps they are, or perhaps they aren’t – who knows – yet I wanted to find something that would put these wonderful fruits into fruition (pardon the pun!) together with a few chickpeas and other essentials!

So here it is!

Tinned Peaches & Chickpea Curry

This recipe was taken from a brilliant book by Jack Monroe.  Whilst not a Vegan book, she includes lots of recipes you can use to a Vegan advantage – of which I’ve done so here!

Serves 2 (and some!)

1 Tin of chickpeas (250g drained weight)
1 Onion
1 Clove of garlic
1 (or 2) shakes of chili flakes or 1 chili (whichever you prefer)
Bit of oil
1 shake (or 2) of cumin
1 shake of curry powder
1 Tin of peaches (halves or quarters)
a handful of sultanas
1 Tin of chopped tomato’s (or plum but chopped up)
A handful of fresh coriander (or a shake or two of the dried stuff)
1 Veg stock cube (I used gluten free, vegan, vegetarian)

What to do:

Start off by draining the chickpeas and then popping them into a pan and bring to the boil – just to get rid of any toxins (esp if they are ‘out of date’ which I have used)

Whilst that’s happening peel, chopped the onion and garlic.  Put oil in the saucepan and sling in the onion, garlic and a couple of shakes of chili flakes (or the chopped chili).   Then add the cumin and cook it all gently (not frying) so the flavors can latch hold of the onion and really infuse it.

Drain your peaches (keeping hold of the juice in a jug) and chop up into bite size pieces.  sling them in with the juice you’ve retained.  Your chickpeas should have boiled now, so take off the heat and leave to one side.

Pour over the chopped tomato’s together with the coriander crumble in your stock cube.  Then reduce the heat and leave on a low setting for about 20 -30 minutes so it all blends in together (stiring occasionally).  Whilst this is happening you can cook the rice (I just used boiled white rice), but you can also use mash potato or pasta if you fancy it that way too – or on it’s own.

Once it’s all done, nicely thickened up, add the chickpeas to your curry sauce and then serve!

Let me know what you think – remember you can add any variations of fruit too if you so wish – let me know what you’ve tried!

P x

p.s here’s Jack’s book – I’ll be referring to this little gem lots!


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