1. Storm Abigail has arrived in Ireland and is set to take up residence in our fair green isle for at least the next 24 hour
2. I have too many bananas .
3. I have 4 “easy” running days this week as part of a post-marathon recovery plan.
How do all of these things come together to form a single post? It is really windy and wet outside, I have no obligation to spend excessive amounts of time out in the blustery madness and have a great excuse to stay indoors in the warmth and bake till my banana heart is content.
The 4 “easy” (and I will keep enclosing this term in brackets until the gale force wind outside leaves our little green island) runs that I am doing this week are reasonably short, which suits me just fine with the weather outside taking a turn to the dark side. That being said, there is something strangely satisfying in being drenched by torrents of rain, whipped around by a gale on the roads while out on a run and then coming in the front door, closing it behind you and getting into a hot shower. Feels a bit like a cleansing. Beauty salon full body salt scrub…doesn’t even come close.
Like a fact of the day? Storm Abigail is Ireland’s official first named storm and its name is the result of a joint recent pilot project between Met Éireann and the UK Met Office, “Name Our Storms”, aimed at raising awareness of severe weather conditions and improving public safety. The premise of the project was to invite suggestions from the public via facebook, twitter and email for storm names, when a storm is deemed to have the potential to cause a substantial impact in Ireland/ UK. Nice idea.
Black bananas are also a nice idea. In fact, I generally have too many nice ideas when it comes to black bananas, which can pose a problem seen as how there is usually only one black banana slouching among the remnants in the fruit bowl on the kitchen table. It usually leads to me buying more bananas just so I can make something with the overripe leftover one but hey, if that leads to more leftover bananas later in the week then so be it 🙂 It’s a
vicious magnificent circle.
Now, banana bread is one of my favourite things to eat. Breakfast, mid-morning snack with coffee, with afternoon tea, for supper, whenever I pass the kitchen… it always tastes yum. Needless to say I have become so partial to this particular manifestation of a banana that it is something of a challenge for me NOT to make banana bread with a leftover blackened banana. However, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
This brings me to Banana Granola Slices. They’re filling, wholesome, they use up old bananas and they go really well with a mug of tea, coffee, cold milk or just on their own while you’re sitting beside a window watching the Storm Abigail whirl about outside, swinging the dog kennel around the garden. They go with every occasion.
As if any further introduction were needed, they are ridiculously easy to make and like all granola bars, when you make them yourself, you really do realise how much better they taste compared to shop bought versions and you also know exactly what goes into them. No E numbers, no preservatives, no stabilisers. Just oats, awesome (see how I’ve replaced the words old, black, overripe and leftover… 😉 ) bananas and bucket loads of enthusiasm. I don’t know about you but I love a bite of enthusiasm. Sets me right up for another run about in Abigail.
Banana Granola Bars
- 50g butter
- 2 tbsp smooth nut butter (I went with cashew but peanut works very well too)
- 3 tbsp honey or maple syrup
- 2 ripe bananas , mashed
- 1 apple, peeled and grated
- 250g rolled oats
- 85g chopped dried apricots (dried pineapple or dates could be substituted here either, whatever you fancy 😉
- 100g raisins
- 85g pumpkin seeds
- Preheat oven to 160C/140C (gas 3). Grease and line a 20cm square tin with baking parchment.
- Melt the butter, nut butter and honey together in a small pan. Then, add the mashed banana, apple and 100ml hot water. Mix.
- Tip the oats, dried fruit and seeds into a large bowl. Pour in the contents of the pan and stir well.
- Tip the mixture into the tin and level the surface. Bake for 55 mins until golden. Leave to cool in the tin before cutting into slices. These can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge and will keep for up to 3 days.