Banana Bread- by special request!

After posting a picture in

#project365 3/12.

I was asked if I would share my recipe for banana bread, so superamazingmum, here you go!
This is a really easy recipe and one that I use regularly. I adapted it several years ago from a recipe that was meant for a bread machine. Even those who don’t cook have managed this in the past as it is so simple. It keeps week and can even be frozen – I freeze per wrapped slices for the kids lunch boxes and just get them out the night before.
It’s also a great way to use up those old bananas… know, the ones that are going black that no-one wants to eat? For this recipe, I find the riper they are the better so don’t throw them away.

So, here’s what you need:

225g self raising flour
1/4 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt ( I left this out when the kids were small )
75g butter or margarine
150g castor sugar
1 medium egg
450g bananas without skin (4 or 5 depending on size)

Optional extras:

Apricot jam
Banana chips

I use the all in one method – quick and easy!
Place flour, bicarbonate soda, salt, butter, sugar and egg into bowl and whisk with and electric whisk until smooth.
Using a fork and a chopping board, roughly mash or squash the bananas. Add to mixture and whisk further until there are no more lumps.
Spoon into a greased loaf tin, mini loaf tins or muffin cases.
Cook at 180-200c until skewer comes out clean – about 20 mins for muffins and 40-50 mins for the loaf.
Enjoy hot, or leave to cool.
Mine rarely lasts longer than a day but can be kept for a few days in a cool place or frozen for use later on!

If you want to use the optional extras, leave the bread to cool for 5 mins. Warm jam in a saucepan or microwave and brush glaze over the top of the bread and then sprinkle with banana chips.

Why not try other toppings too? Squirty cream, vanilla butter cream, melted chocolate, cream cheese icing or even custard
If you make this, why not come back and leave a comment to let me know how you have got on? Go on, you know you want to……


VIP’s coming to visit!

I have some very exciting news! On Monday, Raymond Blanc, Jamie Oliver, Henry Dimbleby, John Dimbleby Leon and Prince Charles came to visit my lesson and observe me teach……
It was obviously the highlight of my career and quite possibly of my life!
Preparations and practice runs began about three weeks before hand, and there were lots is meetings and discussions about how the day would run. My class had trial cooking sessions and fine tuned their recipes in order to make them perfect for the day.
When the morning arrived, I was confident that we were prepared and ready for our guests. There was a strict timetable with our guests being given different slots, but we were on our best behaviour at all times just incase things didn’t go to plan!
Having met Matt Baker of One Show and Countryfile fame, we had already had a trial run…. It’s just that it happened to be in front of the TV cameras ( gulp!!!). Things went amazingly well, and to plan, and the crew were really impressed with the boys and their cooking so we were on the right track! It was a bit scary when Matt Baker interviewed me though and they stuck a camera in my face ( I’m not really one for pictures, let alone TV ).
Anyway….. In at the crack of dawn Monday morning, getting ingredients ready- I’d been in the day before to get everything else set up! All that was left for me to do was teach and cook with the boys. So off we went, making starters, main courses and desserts.


So, our first visitor of the morning was Michelin starred chef Raymond Blanc. He was fantastic….so full of passion and such an inspiration. After lots of kisses on the cheeks, he was off tasting boys food and commenting, suggesting, helping and sharing advice. He was easy going and friendly and agreed to pose for photos too! He was saying how important Food education and cooking is, and commended me on the work that I was doing and the fantastic standard of cooking that was going on in the class.

The second group of visitors were also very important…. They included CEO’s and other “top dogs” from Food For Life, School Food Matters, Organic Society, top supermarkets….. We also had Henry Dimbleby Leon who has been appointed by the Government to review school dinners and John Dimbleby Leon too! It was surreal having more famous chefs in the room! Food was being presented at this stage, and to our surprise, Raymond Blanc returned. He had escaped from his group tour and found his way back to Food where he was handing out samples of the cooked food by the boys and encouraging everyone to try it! This was an honour…. for such an amazing chef to take the time to return and encourage the students and promote their cooking and learning was truly unbelievable.



By now, the classroom was really buzzing- the boys were on a high and cooking for their life! Not long now and Prince Charles and Jamie Oliver would be along…. As the time drew closer, the room turned quieter as the boys started to get a little nervous! I was getting that way too….. Remembering to address the Prince of Wales as your Royal Highness and then having him handed over to you is a big responsibility!!! Not to mention the film crew….
Well as time was drawing near, there was suddenly an onslaught of people into my room- all with long lens cameras and microphones, TV cameras etc. the paps had arrived…. And there was about 15 of them! We ushered them into the corner of the room and knew that HRH and Jamie would be following shortly- along came the butterflies in my tummy, the hot sweating feeling and a sudden urge to goto the loo! Deeeeeep breaths I told myself- in……. And…… Out! They’re here!
I welcomed HRH and Jamie Oliver and the next 15 minutes went past so quickly. I showed the future King of England ( how amazing is that!) around the room, and introduced him to the boys and let them explain what they were cooking. I had a chat with Jamie about Food Education and the importance of cooking as a life skill. I was directed(!) by the film crew and cameras were going twenty to the dozen- flash, flash, flash….. Over here please, Look this way! Wow….. A small insight into the world of celebrity and fame…… What a moment! Matt Baker also returned, so I was also being asked by the crew to talk to Matt in the background shots of HRH touring the classroom ( don’t mind if I do!)

Then after HRH had talked to the boys and viewed their food, it was all over. You could almost feel everyone relax as the VIP’s and film crews left the room. The buzz of excitement was replaced with relief and even disbelief of what we had just experienced. This was most certainly a once in a life time opportunity and one that neither the boys or I will ever forget!




This was such an amazing day, I cannot begin to describe the pride I felt, the excitement, the nerves, the enjoyment! I do know that I was exceptionally privileged to be part of such a momentous day, and I will have these memories, photos and of course, my blog as a reminder of this once in a lifetime opportunity.
The coverage of this visit was in lots of local and indeed national papers- you may have seen the photos and articles yourself! Jamie Oliver also mentioned on This Morning saying that “every parent deserved a school like this”. And there is more to come. The film footage is going to be part of a Countryfile episode to be shown sometime in February next year, so watch this space… You may see me on TV!


Teach your Monster to Read and Win £150 of Books!


Teacher Your Monster to Read is a brand new game that does exactly what it says – it teaches your child to read but in a fun and interesting way!  This is what the website says:

Teach your Monster to Read: First Steps is a new, free game to practise the first steps of reading.

Combining top quality games design with essential learning, the game is built on the principles of synthetic phonics and follows the teaching sequence of the Letters and Sounds programme.

It has been assessed by reading experts at the University of Roehampton

There is a playable demo on the site here:

If you are in the early stages of teaching your child to read, then you will just LOVE this game! Once you have signed up and logged in, your child can build their own monster……my daughter loved choosing all of the different body parts to make her own one.

 It is a really fun way to help your child to learn the phonics sounds and have fun at the same time. If your child is anything like my 6 year old daughter, she loves playing on the computer and so the fact that this is an educational game is a huge bonus…….it means that I can let her play but know that she is learning all the while she is playing.  The game is bright and colourful, and my daughter, once logged on could navigate her own way through the game and the different levels. She loved the fact that she was awarded a prize at the end of each stage and that she could choose which parts of her spaceship she could repair!

This is a screen shot from one of the games:

  This game asks you to round up the sheep and put them in the “a” pen. Once you have completed this task, you are set another and you play until you have reached the end of the level.

Another bonus with this game is the fact that it saves automatically, so if you child leaves the games, their progress will still be recorded.

The Usbourne Foundation have set up this game, and as a charity they are giving the game away for free as a way of encouraging children to read, and also to support those that may struggle or need extra help with their reading.

Here’s further information about the game and the Usborne Foundation:

Teach Your Monster to Read has been developed for the Usborne Foundation – a charity set up by Peter Usborne (who also founded The Usborne Publishing company). There will be a series of games, all of which will be given away for free. 

The game has been featured in the Sunday Times, the Times Educational Supplement and recently won Gold in both the Practical Preschool and Primary Teacher Update awards.

Now, here is the best part……..The Usbourne Foundation are running a competition and you could win £150 of books. All you have to do is get your Little Monster to create a monster of their own, by drawing, painting or building using whatever materials you have to hand. You then need to take a photograph of the monster and email it to:

All entries have to be submitted by Friday 9th November 2012. 


1st prize: £150 worth of Usborne books of your choice*
2nd and 3rd prizes: £25 worth of Usborne books of your choice*

You can find more details on their blog and there are also lots of ideas on the blog that you and your child can use to help you to create a monster of your very own!

Entries can also be viewed on their Facebook page

We have already entered our monster, and we had great fun doing it……….so why not keep your Little Monster entertained on a rainy afternoon and be in with a chance of winning £150 of Usbourne books that can read together!

Very First Reading: Easy phonics words         Very First Reading: abc        Stop that cow!

Please note that we were asked to review this site and will be receiving a couple of the Usbourne books as a thank you for doing so. My opinions  are my own, and I always give a frank and honest review of anything that I am asked to consider.