Home baking is certainly in fashion at the moment (that’s my excuse anyway). What’s more, as Halloween approaches, with winter and Christmas to follow, I find myself in need of more and more warming, healthy treats (and other mischievous options) to help cope with University life, deadlines and the colder weather. There is, however, the small problem of those Christmas party dresses and so I have endeavoured to create some “healthy”, fruity treats (although for that extra lift to the spirits individual chefs do reserve the right to add chocolate or ice cream at their discretion.)

Baked bananas

Banana, Greek honey and fat free Greek yogurt, on the face of it rather the dull combination except… does your house have a grill? Because, if so, then you my friends are in for a tasty treat. I tried this the other day on a whim and it was… well, decide for yourselves ☺

1) Take one banana, peel and halve it length ways.

2) Lay both halves side by side on your pan or baking tray. Look at them they want to be together, bless (preferably on some foil else wise this could get messy).

3) If using a squeezy bottle draw a line of Greek honey to top each half. Place the tray under the grill and keep a, very close, eye on it. Really this is a matter of taste but ideally you want the honey to be nice and melty and the banana to be warm and slightly browned. Placing the tray under a preheated grill is probably the best way to get this effect quickly.

4) Top with Greek yogurt and, if you’re feeling decadent, more honey.

5) If you’re feeling opulent top with ice cream… and more honey.

Bananas can also be placed in a baking dish (peeled and sliced in half length ways) with orange juice, a little sugar, cinnamon or mixed spice, and raisins. Bake at 200C/ 180C fan for 10-15 minutes. Serve with ice cream, cream or yogurt.

Great, but where’s the chocolate?

There is an alternative to this that my mum showed me once; it involves a banana and some milk chocolate buttons, personally I prefer the giant buttons, so be prepared for significant chocolaty niceness.

1) Heat and oven to 200C/180c fan.

2) Take a banana but this time leave the skin ON.

3) Cut a slit along the top with a knife so you can press chocolate buttons into the banana, don’t cut all the way through to the skin on the other side but you can afford to cut quite deep.

4) Proceed to press chocolate buttons into the cut.

5) Place the banana in a piece of foil and crimp the edges to form a parcel.

6) Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.

7) Leave to cool for a few minutes and unwrap carefully. Warning: contents will be hot.

8) Best eaten out of the skin. Serve with ice cream, cream or yogurt for preference.

Apple crumble

I was in Canada for a while and I used to make this quite a lot, it’s a quick and easy (almost to the point of lazy) remedy to both cold weather and homesickness; and goes particularly well with a dollop of ice cream.

1) Peel and core an apple, chopping the fruit into small cubes

2) Place the cubes in a bowl, stirring in a spoonful of sugar along with a little mixed spice or cinnamon for preference

3) In a separate bowl melt a tablespoon of butter in the microwave before stirring in a tablespoon each of plain flour, sugar and porridge oats (these measurements can be easily adjusted depending upon the texture of crumble you prefer).

4) Top the chopped apples evenly with the crumble mixture and microwave on full power for a couple of minutes.

5) Top with ice cream or cream for an extra special treat.

Oh, and be sure to enjoy; Christmas dresses are all well and good but there’s rarely enough of them to warm you through on a cold winter evening.