For a blog titled Courgettes and Limes, I’d realised that there is a dearth of recipes using courgettes or limes. So, I started writing this post in the middle of courgette season in the UK, but have only gotten round to finishing it now when the season is pretty much over. Short story – I was working abroad, got ill and then went on holiday.
This is an easy courgette pasta recipe that I love to make because it is versatile and quick. Over the 10 years that I’ve been making it, there have been so many variations. I’ve listed a few of them at the bottom of the post. I like it because it is tasty and fresh from the herbs and lemon/lime juice, easily counts as one of your portions of vegetables per day and is naturally vegetarian and vegan. Over the summer, I experimented with it once more, substituting extra virgin oil with sesame seed oil, which added a rich nuttiness to the dish. Oh my – for me, it was a game changer.
One tip that I learned recently is for a dish like this is that to prevent burning the garlic when cooking, do not chop the garlic too finely, or crush it.
Simple herby courgette pasta for one. If you want to feed more people, then double, triple, quadruple… the ingredients list and allow a bit more time for cooking.
enough dried pasta for you (anything between 60-90g according to the internet) – fusilli, linguine, spaghetti, are some that I’ve used that work well
1 tbsp of vegetable oil
1 medium sized courgette – any colour (or half a large courgette)
1 garlic clove
1 red chilli or chilli flakes – as much or as little as you like
A large handful of a variety of fresh herbs (parsley, coriander, dill, mint)
1 spring onion (optional)
1 tbsp of sesame seed oil to garnish
1 tbsp of sesame seeds or pine nuts or flaked almonds (toasted)
salt and pepper
a squeeze of lemon/lime juice
Before you boil the pasta, use the pan to toast the nuts or seeds. Put the nuts or seeds into the pan, heat them up on a medium heat until they turn a brown colour. Tada, they’re toasted. They will also smell glorious. Take out of the pan and set aside to cool.
While they’re toasting, prep the vegetables. Finely slice the courgette, roughly chop the garlic, deseed and finely slice the chilli (if using).
Boil water in the kettle to cook the pasta, and then add the pasta into the pan used to toast the nuts/seeds. Add the boiling water and salt to the pasta and cook according to the instructions on the packet. If you don’t have a kettle, bring enough water to cook the pasta to boil in a pan. Add salt and pasta and then cook.
In a medium sized frying pan, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil and a pinch of salt, fry the courgettes and garlic until the courgettes are translucent and browned.
While the courgettes cook, roughly chop the herbs that you’re using and finely slice the spring onion.
Once the pasta has cooked, reserve half a cup of the starchy pasta water, then drain it and add the pasta to the courgettes (I guess if you quadrupled the recipe, you might want to add the courgettes to the drained pasta).
Add as much or as little of the pasta water to loosen it, then mix in the herbs, spring onion, 1 tablespoon of sesame seed oil, the toasted nuts/seeds and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. Season with salt and black pepper.
Use extra virgin olive oil instead of sesame seed oil for a more Mediterranean flavour.
Use a mint and basil herb combo.
Add a finely sliced shallot in with the courgettes
If I only have one herb at hand – I like to use parsley or coriander
Other nuts and seeds that I’ve used: hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, mixed seed mix.
Instead of salt at the end, season with finely grated parmesan or grana padano, or even a strong cheddar.
Recently, I felt like I have had a breakthrough with my approach to vegan baking thanks to the MsCupcakes book. So I have been leaning into it. The book helped me reevaluate how I approach the free-from baking category. I’ve noticed that many vegan recipes have adapted an existing recipe purely with substitutions for ingredients, like ground flaxseed instead of an egg, or oil instead of butter. Sometimes the ingredient can seem peculiar and unusual, depending on where you live. For example, flax seeds were difficult to get hold of for a while. However, the book helped to start thinking that rather than finding substitutions for things, I should try to think about what that particular ingredient brings and whether I can replicate that texture or flavour in another plant-based way.
Therefore in the last month, I have been testing out vegan hot cross buns because it’s Easter and because enriched bread should, in theory, be quite simple to adapt. Spare a thought for the family that I live with. They have been through five iterations of a vegan hot cross bun recipe in my quest to perfect them.
The first time, I substituted soy milk for milk and oil for butter and omitted the apples. They were alright but under-proved and missing the freshness from the apple. Next, I made buttermilk, using soy milk and cider vinegar in order to create a softer, rich dough. Buttermilk helps to create a soft texture normally in bread. They were better but the texture was a bit dense. Then I used the tangzhong method to create springy soft buns that would last longer and they were amazing. Why didn’t I stop there? They took 3 rises. One for the dough, then an overnight one with the fruit added in, and a final prove once the buns were shaped. The buns were cracking a bit as if they were underproved. As amazing as they were in flavour and texture, I wanted to simplify and shorten the method. (You can, of course, still do this recipe in 3 rises.) The fourth time, I decided to try reducing the number of rises to two, but they ended up under-proving and cracking at the top. I left it for a week while my brain mulled over it. Do plant-based enriched bread recipes generally take longer to prove than non-vegan recipes? I felt like they shouldn’t as they don’t contain eggs that can slow down the rise. Perhaps it has just been my impatience to get them baked that has resulted in under proved buns. I almost hit publish on the recipe at the end of March but then my perfectionism kicked in. A few days later, I hit on an easy solution – double the yeast in the recipe. It is such a simple answer that you wonder why I hadn’t thought of it earlier. Anyhow, that is what I did and this is what I present to you now.
I adapted this by adding the tangzhong knowledge I learned from last year’s sticky apple and raisin hot cross bun recipe to Paul Hollywood Hot Cross Bun recipe because mixed peel is back in the shops this year. However, I reduced the amount because I think that 50g is just fine. Some more notes on how you can vary the method. I like making this in the stand mixer as the tangzhong makes it a wetter dough. You can knead by hand but it will take longer.
I’ve also been trying out different ways of mixing in the fruit with varying degrees of messy success. Method 1 is the put the fruit and the dough into the same bowl and mix it in. A slightly more detailed explanation of this is in my non-vegan version of Paul Hollywood’s Hot Cross Buns. Method 2 is to roll out the dough into a rectangle, scatter the fruit evenly over the top and then to take hold of one of the shorter sides and fold it a third into middle, and repeat on the other side so that it looks like a long rectangle. Next take one short end of the rectangle and repeat the folds again, so that it becomes a more compact rectangle. It is a neater process until the point when I roll it out into a long sausage shape in order to portion out 15 buns. At which point the dough starts breaking and the fruit spills out and away from the dough like runaway gems onto the countertop. Maybe I just need to work on my method 2. Finally, you can also make this with three rises or two, depending on your schedule. If going for three then reduce the yeast to 7g to allow for the overnight rise. The first rise is just the dough, the second as an overnight one after the fruit is mixed in and the third after the buns have been shaped. The method below details it for two.
Ingredients for vegan hot cross buns. This makes 15.
500g strong white bread flour
125ml water for the tangzhong
250ml soya milk (or any unsweetened plant-based one) + 20ml apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
60g caster sugar
14g instant yeast
1tsp (10g) salt
1tsp mixed spice
70g dairy free margarine (I used vitalite) or vegan butter
Zest of 2 oranges
50g mixed peel
Ingredients for the crosses
45g plain flour
2-3 tbsp cold water
Ingredients for the orange glaze
1.5 tbsp granulated sugar
Juice of half an orange
First, make the buttermilk. Mix 250ml of soya milk and 20ml of apple cider vinegar in a measuring jug. Stir and leave to coagulate.
Next make the tangzhong. Weigh out 500g of bread flour into a mixing bowl and from it take 25g (about 1 heaped tablespoon) of flour and put it in a small saucepan. Add 125ml of cold water, put it on the hob at medium heat and whisk or stir to combine the flour and water together in order to make a roux, or a paste. Keep stirring until it comes together and your whisk or spatula leaves a line. It’ll take about 1.5-2 mins. Leave to cool while measuring out the dry ingredients.
In the mixing bowl with the flour, add in the yeast, sugar, salt and spices. Stir to mix.
In the saucepan with the tangzhong, add the margarine and buttermilk and stir to combine. The margarine won’t melt completely and the buttermilk will make it look bitty and curdled but that’s okay. It will all get mixed in.
Now add the wet ingredients to the flour and knead. I knead it in the stand mixer. I start at low (1) until all the ingredients are mixed in and then continue at medium (3) for about 9-10 minutes until the dough is stretchy and smooth. Take the dough out of the mixing bowl to form into a ball. Put a bit of oil in the bowl and place the dough back in there and cover. Leave for about an hour or until doubled in size.
In the meantime, chop the apples, zest the oranges and stir to combine in a small bowl with the sultanas and mixed peel. Line two baking trays (or one large one).
When the dough is ready, lightly flour the surface and turn the dough out onto it. Gently make it into a rough rectangle using your fingers to gently knock the air out of the dough. Take one long end, fold into the middle and press down with the heel of your hand. Repeat it with the other side. Then fold it in half and gently roll. The dough should feel stronger.
As you know, I’ve been trying out a new way to incorporate the fruit with varying degrees of messy success. Here, I’m going to say to go with the second method because I think that with practice and tweaking, it will be easier. Roll out the dough into a rectangle, scatter the fruit evenly over the top and then take hold of one of the shorter sides and fold it a third into the middle, and repeat on the other side so that it looks like a long rectangle. Next, take one short end of the rectangle and repeat the folds again, so that it becomes a more compact rectangle. Then roll it out into a long sausage shape, divide into 3 equal parts, and then each part into 5. Each piece of dough will roughly weigh 90g. Cover the little portions with a tea towel as your form the buns.
Add more flour to your surface. I like to have a little mound of it to dip into. Form the buns by taking each corner into the middle so it is a tighter round shape. Then flour the palm of your hand, or dip the top of the bun into some flour. With the dough in the middle of your hand, make your hand into the shape of a claw and move it around quickly in a circular shape. I’ve included a video of it below because it’s easier to show it.
Then put each bun onto the baking trays, leaving 2-3cms between each bun. Cover and leave to rise.
As you wait, make the paste for the crosses by mixing the flour and water together. Put it into a piping bag and snip a little hole off the end.
The buns will have finished their second rise after about an hour, when most of them will be almost touching each other or if you press down slightly on them, they will spring back gently but leave a small indent. Of course, this depends on the weather. In a hotter climate, this will take about 30 mins. About 15 mins before you think they’ll have finished rising, preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.
Pipe crosses on them by piping a line along each row of buns and then repeating in the other direction. The crosses want to hug the sides of the buns.
Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 10 mins and then lower the temperature to 180°C. Bake for another 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. My oven has hot spots, so I turn the tray around after the first 20 mins.
As they bake, make the orange glaze. Measure out the sugar and juice from half an orange into a small saucepan and melt the sugar over a gentle heat. Then turn it up to a medium heat for a few minutes so that some of the water evaporates and it thickens slightly. Brush the sugar syrup over the warm buns and leave them to cool.
The verdict? I can’t resist one, still hot from the oven, sticky with the glaze and too hot for my mouth. They are full of flavour from the orange zest, fresh apple, spices and dried fruit and the kitchen smells delicious as you’re making them. The texture is springy and soft and they stay like that for 3 days. I love the sticky glaze on them. They are yummy toasted and buttered but honestly, I prefer to just eat them as they are. So, after day 3, when they are a little hard, I will heat them on high (800W) in the microwave for 15 seconds and they’re perfect.
Finally, everyone who has tried them tells me that they can’t tell that they are vegan.
I decided to lean into vegan baking last month, it being Veganuary. I came across a recipe book at the library, The Naughtiest Vegan Cakes in Town by Mellissa Morgan, of Ms Cupcake (a London vegan bakery which sadly closed 2 years ago). First off, this is a fantastic recipe book if you are new to vegan baking. She includes a Quick Start guide with explanation on ingredients, which is useful if, like me, you’ve felt overwhelmed by them, and a guide to baking without eggs and dairy. There is an additional section on substitutions (e.g. if you want to go gluten-free and refined sugar free) and trouble shooting common vegan baking problems. However, as the best way to review a book is to test out the recipes, I duly borrowed the book and tried out the Victoria sponge cake, which turned out very well. Then when my vegan colleague mentioned that she craved muffins, I set out to make them.
Now, there is no double chocolate chip muffin recipe in the book. Therefore, I adapted her mint chocolate chip cupcakes. The first iteration were incredibly good. The texture and the flavour were spot on. I made the first batch with soya milk and another with almond milk. They both worked and the type of plant based milk didn’t make enough of a difference. However, I calculated the amount of sugar in each muffin and at the original 200g in the recipe (which makes 12) that was just over a tablespoon of sugar per muffin. That’s without the additional sugar from the chocolate chips/chunks. A little high perhaps? Thus began a series of experiments to reduce the amount the sugar in the recipe. I detailed it in a little table for you.
Amount of sugar in the recipe
Sugar per muffin (approx) without the addition of chocolate
16.67 (just over a tablespoon)
1.5 tsp instant coffee
15g (1 tbsp)
1.5 tsp instant coffee
2 tsp vanilla extract and 1 tsp instant coffee
10g (2 tsp)
denser texture, slightly too bitter
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Results of sugar reductions in double chocolate muffins
I took it as low as 120g, which then changed the texture of the muffin so that it becomes denser, slightly stodgy and began to taste a bit soapy and bitter. The chocolate chunks in the muffin masked that unpleasantness. However, let’s be frank. When you bite into a double chocolate muffin, you want it to taste good, not healthy.
So, in the recipe below, I’m going to suggest that you could add anything between 150-180g of sugar. Consult the table above to decide how much sugar you’d like and how to adapt the additional flavourings. I think coffee always complements and enhances chocolate. The vanilla extract brings out sweetness without adding any sugar.
In the end, as I was testing out many variations of this recipe, I decided that I’d halve the recipe each time. That is one of the joys of this particular recipe. It’s pretty simple to scale up or down.
By the way, I like making this in a large measuring jug. It is easier for pouring the mixture into the muffin cases at the end, but a medium sized bowl also works. I alternated between using a whisk and a metal spoon/spatula to mix, but I prefer the whisk for the quantity below.
Top tips: mix until it has just combined and bake them immediately.
Ingredients for Double Chocolate Chip Muffins, adapted from Mellissa Morgan. It will make 12 muffins.
200ml unsweetened plant based milk – I tend to use soya milk
20ml cider/rice vinegar or lemon juice
150-180g caster sugar (my favourite is 180g*)
170g self raising flour (or 170g of plain flour and 2tsp of baking powder and omit the 1/4tsp of baking powder that follows)
30g cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder (omit this if you’re using plain flour + 2tsp of baking powder)
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp salt
150g 70%+ dark chocolate roughly chopped up, alternatively use dark chocolate chips (check to see that they are dairy free)
80g vegetable oil
1 tsp instant coffee granules/powder*
2tsp of vanilla extract*
*When using 180g of sugar, add 1 tsp of instant coffee but no vanilla extract. Unless you really want to.
Mix the soya milk and the vinegar together and set aside for 10 minutes. This makes a soya buttermilk. Then add 1tsp of instant coffee so that it has a chance to dissolve. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4 and line your muffin tray with muffin cases.
In a large measuring jug or a medium sized bowl, measure out the dry ingredients, that is the self raising flour, caster sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarb of soda, salt and the roughly chopped dark chocolate. Whisk it together so that they are all combined thoroughly.
Add the vegetable oil and the vanilla extract (if using) to the curdled soya milk mixture and whisk to combine. Then add this to the dry mixture and mix quickly until just combined. It’s important not to work quickly and not over mix it. If there are a few lumps, that is okay. If it is lumpy, on the other hand, I’d continue mixing it for a few more seconds.
Tap the jug onto the surface. This stops the raising agents from working too quickly. Then pour or measure out the batter evenly into each of the muffin cases. Tap the muffin tray hard on the work surface to pop the bubbles, then bake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes. They’re ready when a skewer comes out without cake crumbs but may have a little bit of melted chocolate hanging onto it. Let them cool in the muffin tray for 5-10 minutes before taking them out to cool completely. They will store in an airtight container for 5 days, maybe more..? Honestly, they haven’t made it any further than that in my house.
The verdict? Incredibly good. The texture is airy and light, and the chocolate chunks in the muffin are so satisfying. I always think that almost every chocolate baked good will taste better the next day. So, make them at night and have one for breakfast the next day. 😉
On the note of vegan chocolate. I’ve observed a greater selection of vegan chocolate, which is great. However, they are often much pricier. A lot of dark chocolate, 64%+, is dairy free. I will always check the list of ingredients on the packet before using. I prefer to chop it up roughly and then add it. I haven’t ever checked to see if dark chocolate chips are dairy-free. If you do, then please let me know in the comments.
One Christmas back in 2010, my friend Andrew introduced me to a cranberry mincemeat recipe using very fresh ingredients that is quick to make and can be used on the same day. There is no suet or butter, nor gentle cooking or baking of the ingredients so the trade off is that it will not last as long as more traditional mincemeat recipes. It was a game changer for me in two ways. Firstly, I loved how the lime zestiness and cranberry tartness cut through what can be the overly rich sweetness of mincemeat. Quite a few people, who object to the richness of traditional mincemeat, like this one. Secondly was the fact that it could be made last minute and used immediately. At that point, I don’t think it registered with me that it was also vegan.
I realised that I hadn’t noted down exact quantities when I went to make it the following year and the internet helped me to find a Delia variation of it. Then I moved to Cambodia, where I couldn’t get cranberries so I created another version of it using local dried fruit. However, when I discovered frozen cranberries in Thai Huot, I happily reverted back to using what had now become my own version of Andrew’s original recipe. When I returned to the UK, I took a 2 year hiatus from making this to try out Delia’s more traditional versions because suet was available. However, this year, when my Christmas holiday plans got derailed by the Omicron variant and I suddenly had a week at home, I decided to cheer myself up and make mince pies with this last-minute mincemeat.
This recipe will make about 650-750g of mincemeat. I sterilised a 500g beetroot jar and 330g jam jar to store them in. When I want to bake a lot of mince pies, I double this recipe and prepare more space in the fridge.
Ingredients for Cranberry Mincemeat, adapted from Andrew.
225g fresh or frozen cranberries
1 large green apple – preferably Granny Smiths or Bramley, but any tart apple will do
100g currants – can be substituted with raisins
100g mixed peel
zest and juice of 1 lime
half a fresh nutmeg, grated
65g dark brown sugar
Method – also in the photos below.
Cut the cranberries in half and put into a medium sized bowl*. If they are very large cranberries, then cut into thirds or quarters. If they are very small cranberries, then you can leave them whole. Very small cranberries are difficult to cut and are more commonly found, in my experience, in the frozen packets.
Add in the currants, sultanas, mixed peel, the zest and juice of 1 lime.
Grate the apple with the skin on, into the bowl. Then add in the sugar and grate in half a fresh nutmeg. Give it a good mix to combine it all and use straight away.
Top Tip: I halve cranberries this way because I think it’s slightly faster. Lay one hand down firmly on the cranberries so that they don’t move. With your other hand, use a sharp knife parallel to your palm and carefully cut the cranberries horizontally. I haven’t got a video of this – but if you search for how to halve cherry tomatoes, you should be able to see it.
From experience, you can store this in sterilised jars or tupperware for up to 4-6 weeks in the fridge. Sterilise jars by washing them and putting them in an oven (140°C and above) until they are dry. This normally takes less than 10 minutes.
As well as the usual mince pies (bottom photo), I’m planning to use it to make a stollen babka wreath using a challah dough that was far too chilled out to rise over the weekend, and now finally is ready to be used.
I’d planned to share this recipe in January in case anyone had resolved to do veganuary. I wanted to let you know that this scrummy, flavoursome cake was possible to make and eat. You probably have the ingredients in your cupboard and fridge already, unless you aren’t vegan and possibly don’t already have an alternative dairy free milk in your fridge.
However, I don’t know whether people will have given up on their January resolutions, like dry January (not drinking alcohol in January) and veganuary (going vegan for January) after last week’s announcement about England going into lockdown 2.0. Whoever had been hoping that the stroke of midnight on Hogmanay 2020 was going to herald in a better year had their hopes cruelly dashed. Lockdown was something that I’m guessing most people were hoping would be left behind in 2020.
In the last real lockdown in March 2020, (I’m not counting what happened in November because there were fewer restrictions than what we have now), the internet exploded with stories and images of people baking banana cakes, banana breads, cookies and sourdough breads. Flour and yeast disappeared off the supermarket shelves and a little black market for flour and yeast began. I’ve bought a 25kg bag of flour, who wants to buy some from me? XX bakery is selling yeast. I understood the sourdough bread fascination – more time at home on their hands perhaps, so could feed the starter, watch the starter, turn the dough, bake the bread. I didn’t understand why banana cake or bread held the same fascination. I still don’t. Anyone want to enlighten me?
I created this vegan cake simply because of a combination of reasons. I’ve been wanting to create a good vegan banana cake recipe for a while, one of my colleagues is vegan and on Fridays, it had become a custom to have some sort of sweet treat that one of us would share. That was before Christmas, and the wildfire spread of the new Covid variant when we were able to go into the office.
Previously when I had researched vegan baking, bananas came up as a common, easily accessible substitute for eggs. If you’re interested, the other common substitutes in a cake are applesauce or a mixture of vinegar and bicarbonate of soda. Often they suggest replacing one egg with one banana: it helps to hold the structure of the cake together, which is what an egg does in a cake. I’m still a novice when it comes to vegan baking and I’ve only tried this in a banana cake, so I don’t know how it would affect the flavour of another type of cake.
I mushed together my recipes for vegan chocolate cake and spiced banana cake to come up with this recipe. The addition of boiling water at the end, was the one final comparison test that I did before I wrote up this blog post. In the final taste test when I was paying particular attention to the texture, my taste testers and I noted that the addition of water created a slightly lighter and more moist cake crumb.
You can play around with the filling. In version 1.0 I used purely currants and in 2.0, a mixture of currants and raisins. Both work. I think that walnuts and pecans, or dark chocolate would work too. You can also vary the spices. I chose to go with vanilla so that more of the banana flavour would come out. However, I know that lots of people like to add ground cinnamon or ginger or mixed spice to their banana cakes. I like doing it too. I also vary whether or not I add the icing. I think the addition of the lemon drizzle icing takes the cake up another level. However, if parents are trying to limit refined sugar from their children’s diet (or their own) then you can omit it completely. I think there is enough sweetness from the bananas and the dried fruit. It’s also less messy to transport as muffin snacks if there is no icing.
Edit 30th Jan: yesterday, I added an extra banana because I had one; reduced the sugar slightly to 80g (I think that I could have reduced it further) because overly ripe bananas have their own sweetness; replaced vanilla with ground ginger for a hint of heat and paired it with the lemon icing. It produced a bigger loaf and the house smelt glorious. Half of it disappeared within a day.
Just to add, I’m currently living with 4 other humans.
Lastly, I experimented to see how easily this cake could adapt from a banana loaf to muffins. Very easily. This recipe will bake in a 2lb loaf tin (21x11x7cm) or 16 muffin cases.
The verdict? “Moist, scrummy, yummy, amazing, delicious..” – my colleagues, former housemate and the family that I currently live with are fans of this banana cake. Sometimes though, I’m not sure whether they’d say anything negative because they like homemade baked goods. You’ll have to try it for yourself and let me know.
Ingredients for Vegan Banana Cakeor Muffins
75ml vegan buttermilk (70ml soy milk or any vegan alternative milk + 1tsp of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice)
85 ml of sunflower oil
3-4 very ripe bananas mashed (about 300g-400g)
80g-90g light brown sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
75g currants + 1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda – soaked in boiling water
225g self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3/8 tsp salt
50g boiling water
Ingredients for the lemon drizzle icing
80-100g icing sugar
juice of half a lemon, you want between 3-5tsp so it really depends on the size of the lemon.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mask 4. If you are making a loaf, then oil and line a 2lb loaf tin. If you are making muffins, then line two muffin tray with 16 muffin cases.
Prepare the dried fruit and make the buttermilk. In a cup combine the soymilk with one teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice. Leave to one side for 10 minutes so it curdles. Boil the kettle and in a heatproof cup, measure out the currants and 1/2tsp of bicarbonate of soda. Add in the boiled water and leave it to one side while preparing the other steps.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together to combine the sugar with the mashed bananas, oil, buttermilk and vanilla extract. There will be white flecks where the buttermilk breaks up (I’ve included a photo below so that you don’t worry when you see this.)
In another small bowl, measure out the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt. Whisk together to combine.
Drain the currants and I rinse them with cold water to wash off any residual bicarbonate of soda.
Add the currants and the flour to the wet mixture and use a spatula to combine together.
Finally carefully add in the boiling water and mix thoroughly.
Pour the mixture into a 1.5lb loaf or measure out into the muffin cases. I used silicone ones and put in 2 tablespoons of mixture in each.
For the loaf: bake in the centre of the oven for 40-50 mins. Check after 30 mins and if it is browning at the top too much then cover with foil and continue baking. For muffins: bake for 15-18mins. To check if they are done, test with a sharp knife and it should come out clean. Leave to cool for at least 10 minutes.
Prepare the lemon drizzle icing by sifting the icing sugar in a bowl and add in the lemon juice one teaspoon at a time until you get a runny consistency that coats the back of a metal spoon. Once the cake/muffins have cooled for 20 minutes poke holes in them and drizzle it over the cake or muffins in whatever shapes you desire.
Storage: Store the loaf/muffins in an airtight container. I think it tastes better the second and third day. It keeps well for 5 days and maybe longer, but it has always been all eaten by then.