Zucchini Bread

I hate to say this, but nobody is going to get excited about a loaf of banana bread right now. We are living in a post-banana bread, post-lockdown culture. You’re ready for something new, I know you are. So may I introduce you to your new wholesome loaf cake – zucchini bread. Its American; its got that cosy, spiced, delicious, moist character that we all love. Its not too sweet and cake-y to be eaten with morning coffee. I think you should let it take the place of banana bread, or even carrot cake, in your life this spring and summer… 

I recently spent a life-affirming 24 hours at the North Coast with a few good friends. We went for a walk on Whiterocks beach on a blustery, fresh, (baltic) afternoon. I love that cold wind coming straight off the Atlantic and stinging my cheeks. I love the towering white cliffs at one side and the roaring sea and the other as I walk on that beach, making me feel small. But the highlight of this particular walk was the flask of tea we shared, and the thickly sliced, thickly buttered Zucchini bread we ate from the shelter of the rocks. As a brief aside let me just say, eating outdoors is great. A lot of things taste better in the fresh air, and of course, the fresh air builds up ones appetite. Don’t come to me to complain about sandy sandwiches or napkins blowing away, I’m all for it. Watch this space for more picnic foods and outdoor eating in the coming months, as I am full of ideas and inspiration. Chefs spend way too much time cooped up in hot, loud, kitchens. When I get the opportunity, you’ll find me out in the fresh air, snacking. 

The recipe I started with comes from an American cookbook my mum picked up while living there. It was put together by local families as a school fundraiser in an affluent and stylish Philadelphia suburb called Chestnut Hill. So this book captured my attention immediately when I found it on her shelf. I’m a sucker for an American culture that probably doesn’t really exist…I love escaping to Stars Hollow with the Gilmore Girls and watching The Barefoot Contessa pottering around her garden in the Hamptons on Food Network. And also, these kind of cookbooks are always great, as people will only put forward for submission the recipes that are tried and true over many years, and that their family love. I, of course, have put my own tweaks on the recipe to suit Northern Irish ingredients. Ive also reduced the sugar content and upped the “zucchini” content of the original recipe. But I’ve made it enough times recently that it is now on my own tried and true, favourites list. And so I give you my version, make it as soon as you can, enjoy with your cuppa, feel that Americana, be the Gilmore Girl, be the Barefoot Contessa. Feel comforted and bolstered knowing that something more exciting, but just as delicious as banana bread, is here. 


2 loaves (give one to the neighbours, or wrap in clingfilm and freeze. It freezes very well.)

I use American-style measuring cups for this recipe, and one large mixing bowl, to keep it as effortless as possible. If you don’t have measuring cups, just use a teacup or small coffee cup. It’s a pretty forgiving batter.


3 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups caster sugar

3 cups plain flour

1 tsp. Salt

1 1/2 tsp. Baking powder

1 tsp. Baking soda

4 tsp. Ground cinnamon

3 tsp. Ground ginger

3 tsp. grated nutmeg

3 courgettes, grated. (Finer grate on a standard box grater)

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

2 tsp lemon zest


  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  • Grease and line 2 loaf pans. I buy the loaf pan liners from Lakeland and they make this effortless.
  • Mix the eggs, oil and sugar. 
  • Add the flour, salt, raising agents and spices and fold through.
  • If the courgettes are very wet, squeeze through a sieve to remove excess water. Usually the ones I get from the 3 pack in Tesco don’t require this step. 
  • Fold through the courgettes, lemon zest and nuts (if using).
  • Divide the mixture between the loaf pans and bake for 1 hour, or until a skewer comes out clean. 

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