Banana Cake

Here’s the old fashioned Kiwi recipe that inspired my stage show, A Slice of Banana Cake.

125g (4oz) butter
175g (6oz) sugar
2 eggs
2 mashed bananas (the riper the better)
1 teasp bicarb soda
2 tablespoons boiling milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
225g flour

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs mashed bananas, then bicarb soda dissolved in boiling milk.

Lastly add flour and baking powder. Pour into eight inch greased tin lined with greaseproof paper.

Bake 180 degrees (350F) for about 30 mins, until risen and golden brown.

Serve with lemon butter icing.

(NB Gluten and I have parted ways, so I substitute wheat flour with gluten free flour and a teaspoon or so of xanthan gum.)

Carrot Cake

Deliciously moist and flavoursome, this cake takes me back to the 1970’s when I was running to keep up with two little boys and a Golden Retriever – Sam and Rob and Rata.

2 Eggs
1 cup sugar
¾ cup oil
½ tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp mixed spice
½ tsp salt
Stir in 1½ cups grated carrot
½ cup chopped walnuts
Bake in moderate oven for 40-50 mins
1 oz butter
2 oz cream cheese
Lemon rind
1 ½ icing sugar
(Beat ingredients together)

Afghan Biscuits (Crunchy Chocolate Cookies)

A Kiwi classic, these delectable treats are addictive.

Preheat oven to 180C degrees (160 fan forced). Grease two large baking trays and line with baking paper.

250g butter
1 2/3 plain flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
2 ½ cups cornflakes
Walnuts to decorate
Chocolate Icing
1 ½ icing sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons hot water

Beat butter and sugar together till light and fluffy. Add cocoa and flour. Beat until combined. Stir in cornflakes. Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls. Flatten slightly.

Bake 15-18 mins or until just firm to the touch, swapping trays half-way through cooking. Once completely cooled on trays, apply chocolate icing topped with a walnut.


When Lydia’s pregnancy was overdue, a voice inside my head said, “I’m not going to be born until you make gingernuts.” Not long after I lifted the biscuits from the oven, Lydia went into labour, and baby Alice was born.

125g butter
1 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 egg
2 cups self raising flour
1 tsp bicarb of soda
3 tsp ground ginger (I double this, but we love ginger)
Glaced ginger finely chopped (optional)
¼ cup sugar in saucer to one side.

Preheat oven to 160. Prepare biscuit trays.

Cream butter, sugar and golden syrup

Add egg and beat

Sift flour, ground ginger and bicarb together.

Fold into wet mix with chopped glaced ginger (if using)

Roll teaspoon-sized amounts into balls, dip into extra sugar and place on tray, sugar side up. Leave room for spreading.

Bake 15 mins, or until browned.

Leave to cool until biscuits are hardened

You’ll Find Out

The name for my twist on apple crumble originated decades ago when little Sam and Rob tugged at my skirts demanding “What’s for pudding?”

When baby Alice stays over these days, she confirms You’ll Find Out’s still worth asking for. It’s popular with grown-ups, too.

4 large granny smith apples
2 cups oatmeal
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1 dessertspoon cinnamon

Peel and slice granny smiths. Add them to a pot of boiling water (roughly two cups. I prefer not to use sugar, but sometimes add an extra sprinkling of cinnamon) and simmer about 20 minutes, or until fruit is soft.

Meanwhile, place oatmeal in a large bowl. Rub in butter, sugar and cinnamon.

Empty cooked apples into an oven proof dish and sprinkle with dry ingredients.

Bake in a moderate to high oven till oatmeal turns golden brown.


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