FLOW Project volunteers on a well earned tea and cake break © Jane Reeve, 2019
I could not celebrate our volunteers without talking about their love of all things “cake”. As I mentioned, last week, you have to add in the mid-volunteering sweet treat (with a cuppa, of course!) to keep the momentum up.
Let us look at a few facts about this great sweet food, first. The word itself is of Viking origin, from the Old Norse word “kaka”. Cakes are traditionally round, symbolising the cyclical nature of life, the sun and the moon. The Germans would celebrate children’s birthdays with cake, calling the celebration Kinderfest. In Medieval times, parties would be held to mark the end of Christmas and live birds and frogs would burst out of a giant cake. Thank goodness our job is to look after these creatures now.
What better way to celebrate and thank our volunteers than to offer them cake. It is part of the 3 vital “c’s”(cake, cuppa and chat). I think if we took a poll, the favourite type would be a fruit cake of some sort. So with full permission from our FLOW Project Leader, Jane Reeve, I can share with you her much loved banana bread (that acts like a cake!).
Jane’s Banana Bread
1lb banana (without skin)
4oz butter chopped into small pieces
8oz self-raising flour
1⁄2 tsp salt
1⁄4 tsp mixed spice
2 large eggs
6oz of any combination of the following: chopped peel, nuts, cherries, chocolate chips, chopped crystallised ginger, fresh mango, pineapple, desiccated coconut – I sometimes put 3 or 4 of these ingredients in, depending what is in the cupboard, as long as the weight is correct.
Heat the oven to Gas mark 4, 350°F, 180°C. Line a 2lb loaf tin with grease-proof paper or grease well with oil or butter.
Put the peeled banana in a blender or mash them up completely (you might need to add a tiny amount of fruit juice or smoothie to make this work).
In a large bowl combine the flour and sugar, the mixed spice and salt and the rub in the chopped pieces of butter. Add the eggs to the dry mixture and then pour in the blended banana and stir it all together. Add the other ingredients and ensure that it is all well mixed. Pour into the loaf tin or into a well-greased muffin tray to make individual portions.
Put in the oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes – for the 2lb loaf tin or 20 minutes if in individual muffin cases or tray – keep an eye on it to ensure that the top of the loaf / muffins do not become too dark.
Remove from the oven and tip from the tin while still warm to ensure that it does not stick (and to test a big chunk just to make sure it’s done!).
What could be better than the outdoors, exercise and the 3 “c’s” to make volunteering a perfect way to spend any day!