Monday, 12 May 2014


April was hectic, containing a road trip round the north of England with the Frozen soundtrack on a loop, surprisingly sunny nursery-school holidays, the annual Easter chocolate extravaganza, family visits and two VIP birthdays. So we find ourselves washed up in May with chocolate foil wrappers still embedded in our fingernails, talking jibberish. Tonight at bedtime, H’s final words (just-one-last-thing) were on the subject of a future birthday, preferably before she is ten, when we would POUR chocolate all over the house and then garland the chocolate walls with those-marshmallow-thingies and sweetie necklaces for her and all her friends to find and EAT.

Obviously I agreed. At 7pm I’ll agree to pretty much anything in order to make it downstairs and on to the sofa. She knows it.

Meantime, what with it being the twelfth day of the month, I ought to make good my promise that May would mean getting back on track, running a bit further in the new morning sunshine, eating a bit better and brighter. But I’m not a cold-turkey sort of a girl. There must be sweetness, so I’ll dress it up, as I so often do, in the humble oat.

If you’re partial to the Apricot and Cardamom Flapjacks recipe I posted in the very early days of this blog, you’ll recognise the format. I’ve added mashed bananas to flapjacks a few times and never achieved a texture I liked – too squishy, nice only when warm – but banana chips are the answer. Dark and sticky, these flapjacks are a satisfying treat when you cannot face another chocolate bunny and know in your heart of hearts that neither, really, can your five-year-old.

Spiced Banana and Walnut Flapjacks

Makes 16 large squares

300g rolled oats

200g unsalted butter

100g dark brown sugar

100g dried banana chips, bashed into rubble

50g walnuts, crumbled

4 tbsp golden syrup

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan).

Line a non-stick brownie tin (mine measures 23cm square).

Using a heavy-bottomed pan, gently melt the butter, sugar, syrup together, then add the cinnamon and nutmeg.

Pop the banana chips into a freezer bag and bash them to a chunky rubble (technical culinary term).

Add the oats, banana chips and walnuts to the butter/sugar mixture and stir to coat. If you can keep the spoon from your mouth at this stage, you’re a better (wo)man than me.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until lightly golden and just bronzing at the edges.

Cool in the tin, then turn out and cut into squares.

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