Published: 19/05/2011 23:59 - Updated: 19/07/2011 14:36

Spiced Grilled Bananas

Back in the 1970s, a very good writer called Katie Stewart published a cookbook of dinner party recipes.

Up to that point, my mother had been perfectly competent in the kitchen but once she got her hands on that book, she started (Masterchef voiceover here) turning out Plate after Plate of Exceptional Food.

Things one had never tasted before, like blanquette of chicken, sole in asparagus sauce, smoked fish pates, chocolate roulade.

Only on Saturdays, mind you. The rest of the time we had bacon and egg, a cake from Strachan's and a pot of tea as usual.

I seem to recall a recipe for spiced hot (tinned) peaches and, much as I loathed tinned fruits, I was very fond of the topping. Katie Stewart, I think, suggested using the topping for bananas too, as below I can't check as mother's copy of the book has long gone in the intervening 30-odd years.

However I still have, and use frequently, a stained and falling-apart copy of her The Times Cookery Book, first published 1972. Nowadays, of course, cookbooks are mainly by celebrities, full of arty photos, and weigh enough to stun a pig, but Katie Stewart's was just a paperback, no pictures, simply really good recipes and completely brilliant.

SPICED GRILLED BANANAS

4 bananas

4 tablespoons soft brown sugar or light muscovado

1 teaspoon cinnamon

teaspoon mixed spice

25g unsalted butter, plus more for buttering ovenproof dish

Butter ovenproof dish. Peel bananas, and slice lengthways. Arrange in dish, cut side up. Mix the sugar and spices together (taste the mix, and if it needs more spice, add more). Sprinkle it evenly over the bananas. Dot with butter. Pre-heat grill, and grill bananas on a medium heat for 5-10 minutes until butter is melted, sugar topping has melted and slightly caramelised, and bananas are soft. Serve with all the sugary juices, and whipped double cream.

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