Mr Stovies isn’t so much of a cake maker but this banana loaf is a stalwart of his recipe book and even he can’t mess it up! We’re also led to believe it’s at least 1 of your 5 a day. Maybe even more…

Just in case the title of this post got you wondering if the 80’s popsters were still alive, they are and they’re still performing. It’s not pretty but this cover of their hit Love in the First Degree is.

4 medium ripe bananas
100g white chocolate, chopped into chunks
125g softened butter
3 eggs
3tbsp golden syrup
1tbsp coconut
250g selff raising flour
200g sugar

First things first, preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and grease a reasonable sized loaf tin (about 1lb size).

Peel the bananas and break them into a large mixing bowl. Smash to a pulp using a hefty wooden spoon. Takes a bit of time but it’s fun!

This bit is a little more taxing – dump all other ingredients in and mix very well into a nice smoothish cake batter. There will still be some lumps of chocolate and banana but the rest of the mixture should be smooth. It’s best to use a spoon and some good old elbow grease for this, mechanical mixing devices will destroy the good lumps.

Pour the batter into the greased tin and bake for an hour to an hour and a half. From an hour onwards check on the loaf regularly as the ripeness of the bananas and the strength of your oven will vary the cooking time. When baked fully it will have risen and be nice and springy to the touch. The standard spike test may not work too well here though as the choc chips and banana will leave goo streaks on it!

Leave in the tin for about quarter of an hour before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

Great served warm with some crème fraîche or custard. The white chocolate turns deliciously caramelly but you could swap it out for a rich dark chocolate and some walnuts instead.


A New York state of mind

Ok, so this isn’t a cook from scratch recipe, it’s more of a Delia’s How to Cheat style recipe. You could make the dough, wait for it to rise whilst you make the sauce and have a lovely jubbly homemade pizza to top in a New York stylee. Or you can do what we did in new baby mode and add toppings to a fancy cheese and tomato pizza from the supermarket.

For one New York Deli Pizza you will need:

1 posh cheese and tomato pizza
pastrami slices
sliced gerkins
1 ball of mozarella
caraway seeds
American mustard

Firstly sprinke some caraway on top of the pizza. Tear up the mozzarella and scatter. Double cheese is always good. Lay on plenty of  pastrami strips, top with gerkin slices, drizzle with mustard and finally sprinkle on a touch more caraway. Bake in the oven according to the instructions on the box.

Ta da! Lazy but oh so good.

This is for Lovers

If you are in the mood for romance this Valentine’s Day, why not rustle up a tasty little supper for your loved one, have a love in instead of braving the mania that is every restaurant on earth on the 14th of February. With a ruby red beetroot puree to remind you of red roses, these pork valentine steaks are quick and easy and will make the kitchen smell heavenly. 


Pork Valentines with Leek and Potato Cakes and Beetroot Puree
Serves two

For the puree (make the day before):

2 Medium beetroot
2 Cloves of garlic
2 Sprigs of thyme
1 tbsp Creme fraiche
Apple juice

Individually wrap the beetroot in tin foil placing a sprig of thyme and a whole, unpeeled garlic clove into each parcel too. Put the beetroot bombs into an ovenproof dish and roast in a medium oven (gas 4, 180’c) for two hours. The beetroot should be soft in the centre when tested with a knife. Allow the beetroot and garlic to cool then peel and blitz to a smooth puree adding a little apple juice to help it along. Keep in the fridge overnight, reheat before stirring in the creme fraiche and serving. 

For the pork:

2 Pork valentine steaks or 4 thin loin steaks
25g Butter
1 Good pinch each of fresh Thyme, Rosemary, Tarragon, & Parsley
1 Fresh sage leaf  
Freshly ground black pepper 

Finely chop the herbs and mash into the butter with the pepper. If you have the chance, leave the herb butter in the fridge overnight to absorb all of the flavours. Lay out the pork on a baking tray and split the butter between the pieces, just pop it on top of the steaks/loins. Grill the pork in a low grill turning once and basting with the melted herb butter. They’ll take around 10 minutes to cook through. 

For the leek and potato cakes:

4 Good sized potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed
1 Small leek, sliced. Include the green bits for a little colour
1 Heaped desert spoon self raising flour
White pepper

Lightly cook the leek in a pot of boiling water, once it has softened drain off the water and cover with cold water to keep the colour. Mix the leek, flour, salt and pepper into the potato. In a large frying pan heat a little butter and olive oil. Spoon two large dollops of the leek and potato mixture into the pan and shape into round patties – simply pat around the sides and top with a spatula to make a neat edge. Cook for about 5 minutes each side on a medium heat. 

Now to put it all together……Make a little bed of beetroot puree, add on the potato cake and top with the pork. Drizzle on some of the lovely melted herb butter from the pan to finish. Add some candle light, a bottle of velvety red wine and a kiss for a lovely evening in.  

Happy Love Day Stovies’ fans! 


Beans, beans, good for the heart…

You have probably realised by now that here at Stovies’ Towers we like to eat meat. However, many of our recipes can be adapted to suit a veggie, or even a vegan. If you’re that way inclined.

This risotto is one of those dishes, leave the pancetta out and you have a filling vegetarian version. Alternatively use the meat-free version as a side dish for grilled fish or chicken. The quantities below will feed 4 as a main course on it’s own or 6 as a side.

Butter Bean and Pancetta Risotto

250g Risotto rice
1 Can of butter beans, drained and rinsed
130g Pancetta cubes (for some reason pancetta always comes in wee packs of two, use both and it’ll be dandy)
1 medium Onion, finely chopped
A handful of chopped flat parsley
1 tsp dried Tarragon
2tbsp Cold pressed rapeseed oil or butter.
200ml White wine
500ml Hot vegetable stock + 500ml hot water (or 1l hot water + 1 stock cube)

In a large, flat bottomed saucepan fry the pancetta in the oil, when it is slightly coloured add the onion and cook until soft. Add the rice and stir well so that each grain is coated in oil and turn the heat to medium-low. Pour in the wine and stir continuously until almost absorbed.

Add the stock a ladle at a time stirring and allowing each to be absorbed before adding another. When you have added half of the stock pop the dried tarragon into the pan, when you have about two ladles to go, throw in the butter beans. Keep adding and keep stirring until the liquid has all been absorbed and the rice is glossy.

To finish grate in lots of parmesan and stir through the parsley. Eat straight away.