Jen's Banana Bread with Chocolate & Cinnamon Sugar

Jen's Banana Bread with Chocolate & Cinnamon Sugar

Don't you just love an old- fashioned bake like this banana bread?

The original recipe was from Jen's blog A little bit of what you fancy, she kindly allowed me to transfer the recipe into grams and share her fabulous recipe with you. I tweaked it a little bit, but it is basically the same.

Needless to say, didn't have any ripe bananas, so I had to go out and buy some, which is just sod's law, but at last, I at last I was armed with the ingredients and ready to bake!

The gorgeous smells from the banana bread wafted around the house and tempted Graham when he got home from work. I was just leaving for yoga, so I warned him not to touch the banana bread. I still needed to take some photos!

How mean am I? That poor man had to wait two hours before I came home, but showed great strength of will and left it alone! I sliced a piece for him to try (after taking photos, of course). He really liked the strong banana taste, but reverted to type and slathered his second piece with butter!

It's all gone now, sigh!

You really have to make it! I insist!

Yield: 1 banana bread loaf

An old fashioned banana bread studded with chocolate chips and topped with cinnamon sugar.
prep time: 15 MINScook time: 35 MINStotal time: 50 mins


  • 3 large ripe bananas
  • 2 large eggs (at room temperature
  • 180g/1 ½ cups plain flour
  • 200g/1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g/2/3 cup chocolate chips
Sugar topping
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 190c/170c fan/375f/gas mark 5. 
  2. Line a 20 cm (8-inch) square or round baking tin
  3. Mix together the topping ingredients and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl mash the bananas until gooey, whisk in the eggs, vanilla extract and  sugar.
  5. Sieve the flour, cinnamon and baking powder in another bowl, then fold into the banana mix. Then gently fold in the chocolate chips.
  6. Pour into your tin and bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes. A skewer should come out clean, when you test it.
  7. When it comes out of the oven top with the cinnamon sugar and leave to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing from the tin and finishing the cooling on a rack.
  8. Enjoy!
Created using The Recipes Generator

If you like this old fashioned bake try my treacle gingerbread.

Avocado, Roast Tomato & Pesto Fusilli

I wanted a pasta dish, but I needed something summery to chase away the winter blues, so I came up with this dish.

Avocado, Roast Tomato & Pesto Fusilli

1 avocado, peeled, stoned and chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon
12 cherry tomatoes
1 tsp olive oil
3 tbsp fresh pesto
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
parmesan to serve

Toss the chopped avocado in the lemon juice to prevent discolouration.

Toss the cherry tomatoes in the olive oil, salt & pepper and grill or oven roast until the skins start to brown.

Cook pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta and mix in the pesto, avocado and cherry tomatoes. Serve, with a grinding of black pepper and a grate some parmesan over the top.

Serves 2

Fresh Basil Pesto

handful basil leaves
handful pine nuts
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
50g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
5-6 tbsp olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

Whizz up all the ingredients. Add more olive oil, if required. Taste as you go. If you dry fry the nut until they get  bit of colour it does give a good flavour

 The pasta dish serves two, but you'll find you have plenty of pesto left. Why not serve it on some bruschetta, with roast peppers & mozzarella.

Scottish Pear and Ginger Crumble

A traditional Scottish crumble made with pear and flavoured with ginger. Perfect served with vanilla ice cream and custard.

Scottish Pear and Ginger Crumble

Scottish Pear and Ginger Crumble

A good old fashioned Scottish crumble is a glorious thing. Soft juicy fruit topped with a chewy and crisp crumble topping.

The perfect family weekend pudding served with vanilla ice cream or custard.

I do believe some people enjoy it with pouring cream. Whatever floats your boat, I say!

three green pears


The pears are taken to another level with some cinnamon and ginger for warmth that works so well against the sweet, juicy pears.

The pears don't need to be cooked before they are added to this crumble, but I did give them 2 or 3 minutes with the sugar and spices before adding them to the ovenproof dish. 

It's not vital, but it warms up the spices and if the pears are hard, it just gets them started.

They will cook in the oven while the crumble topping crisps up and turns golden.

a pile of porridge oats

Oats in Crumble

A standard British crumble is made with just flour, butter and sugar, but a Scottish crumble also includes oats, which gives it extra texture.

Porridge oats are the best type of oats to use for a crumble. Oatmeal is too fine and jumbo oats are too coarse and won't work as well.

You could leave the oats out, but in my opinion the oats make all the difference.

a bowl of flaked almonds

Flaked Almonds

You don't usually find almonds in a crumble, but the flavour works so well with pears I decided to add a handful to the crumble. 

As well as adding extra flavour the flaked almonds add a bit of crunch.

They work really well in a pear crumble.

pin it for later

Scottish Pear and Ginger Crumble - an old-fashioned Scottish fruit crumble, also known as a pear crisp. A popular and comforting winter British pudding that families enjoy for dessert. #pearcrumble #pearcrisp #pearpudding #Scottishcrumble #Scottishrecipes #Scottishdessert

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What did I think of the crumble?

This crumble was amazing!

The first time I made it I was a bit worried that it looked full of juice as it baked, but the juice turned into a beautifully gooey sauce.

I also added brown sugar and almonds to the top of the crumble and this was a great success. The sugar turned to toffee and the almonds added a nice crunch.

I hope you try it soon!

crumble, pear crumble, pear crisp, pear pudding, pear dessert, Scottish crumble, Scottish recipes, Scottish pudding
Yield: 4

Scottish Pear and Ginger Crumble

Scottish Pear and Ginger Crumble

A traditional Scottish crumble made with pear and flavoured with ginger. Perfect served with vanilla ice cream and custard.
prep time: 10 Mcook time: 20 Mtotal time: 30 M


Fruit Base
  • 3 pears, peeled and chopped into chunks
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp demerara sugar
  • 2 heaped tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
Crumble Topping
  • 100g plain flour
  • 50g porridge oats
  • 3 tbsp raisins
  • 100g demerara sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • finely grated peel from 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp almonds


How to cook Scottish Pear and Ginger Crumble

  1. Heat the oven to 200c/180c fan/400f//gas 6.
  2. Toss the pears in the lemon juice as you chop them, then heat the pears, sugar and spices in a small pan for 3-4 minutes until the pears begin to soften, then set aside.
  3. For the topping, tip all the dry ingredients in a large bowl with the butter and rub with your fingers until you have a course crumble mixture.
  4. Pour the pears into an ovenproof dish and pile on the crumble mix. Sprinkle with brown sugar and almonds and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the topping is gorgeously golden brown and crunchy.
  5. Serve with cold vanilla ice cream or hot creamy custard
  6. Enjoy!


This crumble can be frozen when made, then baked from frozen.

Leftovers can be kept covered in the fridge for a couple days and reheated in a microwave or an oven (covered with foil).

For a vegan crumble substitute the butter with dairy free spread.
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Created using The Recipes Generator

Here a few other crumble recipes:

Strawberry & Rhubarb Crumble - Tinned Tomatoes

Almond, Greengage & Plum Crumble - Little Bird Eats

Pear & Cranberry Crumble - Closet Cooking

Apple Crisp - Besides Pizza

Gingerbread Loaf

Fresh Gingerbread with Lemon Icing
How to be a Domestic Goddess - Nigella Lawson

150g unsalted butter
125g dark muscovado sugar
200g golden sugar
200g black treacle
2 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated
1tsp ground cinnamon
250ml milk
2 large eggs, beaten to mix
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, dissolved in 2 tbsp warm water
300g plain flour


1 tbsp lemon juice
175g icing sugar
1 tbsp warm water


  1. Preheat the oven to 170c/gas mark 3.
  2. In a saucepan, melt the butter along with the sugar, golden suagr, treacle, ginger and cinnamon. Off the heat, add the milk, eggs and bicarbonate of soda in it's water.
  3. Measure the flour out into a bowl and pour in the liquid ingredients, beating until well mixed (it will be a very liquid batter). Pour it into the tin and bake for 3/4 to 1 hour until risen and firm. Be careful not to overcook it, as it is nicer a little stickier, and anyway will carry on cooking as it cools.
  4. And when it is cool, get on with the icing. Whisk the lemon juice into the icing sugar first, then gradually add the water. You want a good, thick icing, so go cautiously and be prepared not to add all the water. Spread over the cooled gingerbread with a palette knife, and leave to set before cutting.

Notes:  Nigella calls for this to be baked in a 30 x 20 x 5cm, greased and lined roasting tin, but I decided to bake it in a loaf tin and there was actually enough for 2 loaves.

I baked the loaves for 1 hour and 20 minutes, which resulted in two lovely moist loaves. They are lovely, but not really sticky, so I think I will take one of them out 10-15 minutes earlier next time, to see if I can get the real stickiness! I iced one of the loaves, but Graham just cut it off, he prefers it plain and I can see his point, it is very tasty and you don't really want to hide that taste.

Charred Tomato Soup

This is a really quick and easy tomato soup with lots of flavour. Perfect if you have a glut of tomatoes or a batch that are nearly past their best.

Charred Tomato Soup


1 red onion, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 chilli pepper, finely chopped
900g/2lb ripe tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 pint/300ml vegetable stock
pinch of sugar
handful basil
salt & freshly ground pepper
a splash of yogurt or cream or soya milk (optional)

Heat the grill to medium high.

Meanwhile, mix together the tomatoes, onion, garlic, chilli,a pinch of sugar and olive oil in a large bowl.

Scatter the tomato mixture onto a baking tray and grill until the tomatoes are starting to brown.

Whizz up the tomatoes, add the basil at this point.

Pour the smooth mixture into a pan, add the stock, mix well and season. You can strain the mixture, but I like there to be a little texture, even in quite a smooth soup. Reheat gently.

Serves 4

I reserved a little of the soup, before the basil was added and spooned it on top before serving, with a little chiffonade of basil. Boy, did I have too much time on my hands at the weekend! I swirled some cream I had left in the fridge, through the soup for Graham and he loved it! It is definitely a new favourite and so quick to make!

Deep Pan Pizza

It was a success! Yeah!

I have made several pizza bases from recipe and packet, but none have ever hit the spot! Back in July I got a great recipe for a thick crust or what I would call a deep pan pizza from Shelly over at Kitchen Ranch. Her pizza just looked great! I filed the recipe and forgot all about it.

Boy was it worth the wait!

I topped my pizza with a really simple pizza sauce, mushrooms, onion, mozzarella, freshly ground pepper and dried oregano. You will notice that my pizza is quite well done, I like my pizza to be really crispy and starting to brown!

Deep Pan Pizza 



3 cups flour
1 cup warm water
1 package of yeast
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

  1. Pour the warm water in a bowl. Add salt and the package of yeast and allow to sit for 5 minutes
  2. Add 1 cup of flour as well as the olive oil and mix well. Add the rest of the flour and form the dough into a ball
  3. Knead the ball for a couple minutes until it starts to become stretchy.
  4. Cover the dough with a tea towel and leave to rise for an hour. The dough will double in size. 
  5. Knock the dough back.
  6. Cover and leave to rise for another hour.
  7. Roll the dough out with a rolling pin. 
Makes 1 large deep crust pizza

Simple Pizza Sauce


6oz/150g/1 tube tomato puree
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
freshly ground pepper


  1. It's super easy, just mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and leave to stand for at least 1 hour.
  2. Spread over your dough and top with your favourite toppings.
  3. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

It's the weekend, I have pizza, a glass of red wine and a movie. 

What more does a girl need?

It's Snowing, it's Soup Time!

Squash & Spinach Soup

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
5cm piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped,
2 tsp turmeric
1 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks
4 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
3 handfuls spinach, chopped
1 handful fresh coriander, chopped
2 - 3 pints vegetable stock

Saute the onion, garlic and ginger in the olive oil until the onion becomes translucent. Add the turmeric and a little water to prevent from sticking. Add the other vegetables and cook for a few minutes, mixing well. Add the vegetable stock and spinach. Bring to the boil, them simmer for 30 minutes. Add the coriander and whizz the soup until smooth. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Serves 6

I made this yummy soup for a small dinner party last night. It was simple fare.

For starters, we had soup with some crusty brown bread, then we had Penne with a tomato & chilli sauce (I made way too much pasta as usual, I never learn!) and we finished with chocolate cheesecake. No booing and hissing please, it was a shop bought cheesecake! I arranged the dinner party at the last minute, so out of the freezer it came, just waiting for such an occasion.

I bet the soup will taste even better today! I am going to have some for lunch.

I am having a lazy, indulgent day today, snuggled up warm in the house with the cats, looking out at the snow as it drifts down. Back to work tomorrow! Sigh!

Happy Non-Alcoholic New Year

Well, I did actually have a couple of glasses of red wine to see in the new year, but that's not too bad, is it?

Here is healthy start to 2008.

Whizz up 1 ripe mango, spoon into 4 tall glasses and top with ginger beer. Be careful because the ginger beer fizzes up quite quickly! This is a lovely refreshing drink and if you buy a fiery ginger beer, like I did, then just wait for the kick! Wow!

I hope 2008 is a happy and healthy year for you!
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