Distinctly odd

I seem to have been sharing recipes which I don’t fancy making recently, rather than those I do! I suppose it’s because I am so interested in how our tastes have changed over the years – the same ingredients but in different combinations. I’m not really thinking of people ‘putting a new twist’ on something, as they say in Masterchef, I’m thinking about real changes in what people like in quite a basic sense. Few people these days would eat bread or toast and dripping, years ago people would have never dreamed of having a salty ice-cream – and yet salted caramel ice-cream is massively popular and the sweet/salty combination I’m sure is here to stay!

I’m still looking through and enjoying my Constance Spry Cookery Book from 1956; I was looking for something else when I came across Bananes Gratinées… surely gratinée means having cheese sprinkled on top, doesn’t it? Well, this recipe has no cheese, and in fact sounds rather nice:

Bananes Gratinées

  • 6 bananas, peeled and cut in long slices
  • zest, peel and slice 4 good oranges (as opposed to naughty ones I guess!) and remove pips
  • brown sugar
  • rum butter (the recipe in p186 has butter, brown sugar, zest of lemon or orange, lemon juice and rum all beaten together)
  • sweet short biscuits
  1. add zest to the rum butter, mixing well
  2. layer orange and banana slices in an oven-proof dish, sprinkling with sugar
  3. dot the top layer with some of the rum butter and bake in a moderate oven for 10-15 mins
  4. serve with the rest of the rum butter and the sweet short biscuits

Well, I have looked up ‘gratinée’ and most definitions say it is when something is oven-cooked with a topping of something, usually cheese or breadcrumbs but could be butter… so I guess rum butter would do as a gratin… I still think nine out of ten people would expect bananas with a cheese topping…

Talking of which…

In the same book, a couple of hundred pages later…

Bananes Gratinées

  • bananas (no number specified) peeled but whole
  • butter
  • salt
  • paprika
  • fresh white breadcrumbs
  • grated Parmesan and Gruyere in equal quantities
  • extra butter
  1. melt the butter in an ovenproof dish with the salt and paprika and cook for a couple of minutes
  2. lay the bananas in the dish, turning well to cover with butter
  3. sprinkle thickly with breadcrumbs and cheese
  4. add the extra butter in shavings
  5. bake in a moderate oven until golden brown

I have to say I am not convinced on this one… I can’t imagine cheesy banana ice-cream any time soon…

By the way I haven’t tried bananas with a cheesy topping – my featured image is of something completely different, I can just imagine this is what it might look like!


  1. Rosie Scribblah

    I had a delicious starter in a posh restaurant a few years back. A banana wrapped in parma ham in a shallow dish, covered in grated cheddar and baked until the cheese is bubbled and golden. Surprisingly delicious. Banana curry is also lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lois

      That sounds extraordinary! I think I may have had a Caribbean banana curry once in the very distant past… and enjoyed it… maybe it’s just the concept of banana and cheese which seems a little startling!

      Liked by 1 person

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