Banana Bread Recipe

This is one of our retreat breakfast favourites and very quick and easy to make.  I usually make it the night before and bake it in the morning.

Mix together in a large bowl:

2 cups of wholemeal flour

1 cup of oatmeal

A chunk of butter, about 2cm off the pack.

A chunk of coconut oil (about half the size of the butter chunk)

One egg

Two tablespoons of kefir (you could probably use natural yoghourt)

Two level tablespoons of sugar

Two or three ripe bananas, sliced

One teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

1/4 teaspoon of salt

Banana bread
Banana bread


Put it all into a greased bread tin and bake in a hot oven for about 30-40 minutes until it rises and is browned on the top.  I can’t give a temperature, because my oven is either luke warm or very hot!

It’s also really good with added walnuts and chopped dates.

Let it cool for a bit (if you can wait) and slice and serve with butter.

Regeneration and the Equinox

“Wanderer, your footsteps are the road, and nothing more; wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking. By walking one makes the road, and upon glancing behind one sees the path that never will be trod again. Wanderer, there is no road; just wakes on the sea.”

“Caminante, son tus huellas el camino, y nada más; caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar. Al andar se hace camino, y al volver la vista atrás se ve la senda que nunca se ha de volver a pisar. Caminante, no hay camino, sino estelas en la mar.”

 Antonio Machado

The theme of our Autumn Equinox 2014 was regeneration.  In Autumn the unpicked fruits of summer lay rotting on the ground so that the seeds can be released.  The leaves fall and cover the seeds, protecting them from the chill of winter until the vibrant energy of spring stirs them into life.

We find it hard to observe this pattern in our own lives, as attached as we are to our personal identities. Yet, the smell of rotting flesh creeps into our unconscious minds and we associate Autumn with death.  The energy that flows through us and gives us life never dies; it continues in an eternal cycle, through the seasons and greater tides of time.  Our lives are never our own.

Within this context we prepared for winter and the coming spring.  We did lots of hay rolling to cover the terraces for the vegetable garden and made plans for next year’s retreats.

On the Eve of the Equinox we planned an all-night vigil in the tipi.  At sunrise we buried the ashes from the fire that had burned all night in the tipi as Tony read the above quote from Antonio Machado.  Returning to the Earth the ashes of the old season’s wood for regeneration.

The vegetable garden

We cleared about an acre of pine trees for the food forest.  We decided to clear the trees because they were planted too close together and very weak and spindly.  We’ve left the stumps in the ground as they will rot within a couple of years.  The site slopes gently and is a southerly aspect.  The soil is clay, but very rich under the pines.

We used the ancient chestnut beams from the old house to lay out terraces.  The aim is to hold some of the rain that will wash down the slope.  The rain is plentiful in spring, autumn and winter, but we need to keep the moisture in the soil for the summer months.  We are working with the Fukuoka method as much as closely as possible, so we have cut the brambles to the ground with a brush-cutter, but we haven’t done and ploughing or weeding and we’re not using any chemicals.  We’ll have to eal with the brambles as we go along.

We then covered the whole area with a thick layer of straw from the fields.  Our neighbour cut and rolled the straw, but he doesn’t need it for his cows as he has over 750 rolls from his land apparently!

We will be planting fruit tees and shrubs on the upper terrace and vegetables lower down.  We debated using a cover crop or green manure, but the land is so rich that all we really need to do is cover it to prevent as many weeds growing back as possible and to keep in the moisture.

Luckily we had guests here for the Equinox retreat who were happy to help out and roll the straw bales from the well field to the food forest area.