My allotment neighbour James has an amazing talent for growing marrows. This is not something he particularly works at. Indeed, he is merely trying to grow a few courgettes. I did suggest he should find himself a champion marrow contest to enter but he didn't seem impressed. He was on the verge of throwing away what he considered to be inedible courgettes (but what I could see were beautiful marrows) when I said I could make use of them if he didn't want them. This started a weekly delivery of a crate of marrows. Although overwhelming for some, I know I can make use of the marrows in chutneys as well as in every day cooking and baking. They are lovely in small amounts, chopped up and added to casseroles, stirfries and any number of savoury dishes. They also work well grated into cakes. Indeed, on one marrow delivery, I asked James if he fancied trying my chocolate courgette muffin recipe, which he was enthusiastic about. In fact, since then I've not had another marrow from him!
Anyway, I'm now in the process of working my way through a lovely pile of marrows. I guess we get through 1 or 2 marrows in everyday cooking during an average week. They are particularly good at bulking out mushroom recipes, with onions and garlic added too.
There I was thinking that I would make some chocolate courgette muffins myself when I spotted two bananas in the fruit bowl looking too far gone to survive a trip to school in a lunchbox. Two bananas are a little tricky as most banana bread recipes call for 3 but I thought, like the mushrooms, they could perhaps be bulked out with a bit of marrow. And so Banana & Marrow Cake was born.
Banana & Marrow Cake
350g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
180g light muscovado sugar
150 grated marrow/courgette
2 over ripe bananas, mashed
3 large eggs
225ml sunflower oil
Preheat oven to 180°C, gas 4 and grease a 23cm deep square cake tin and line the bottom with baking parchment. Put the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and combine. Stir in the sugar. Add the sultanas. Grate in the marrow and add the mashed banana but don't stir. Beat the eggs into the oil then add this to the bowl. Stir together until combined. Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for 1 hour, testing with a skewer. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes or so then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.