Mike Armstrong is an award-winning Keighley master baker with a big passion for baking. See facebook.com/bakermike001


WHETHER you call it panic buying or simply stockpiling, chances are you’ve thought about the supplies in your kitchen cupboards over the last few weeks.

As coronavirus hit, people have seen all hand sanitiser sell out. There is also the weirdness of a rush on loo rolls, and those seeking pain relief have found paracetamol suddenly in short supply along with pasta and long-life milk.

Having worked in retail for over 40 years I can only remember times like this in 1977 when we had the bread strikes.

Thankfully now the plague of locusts that rush into the supermarkets at 6am has settled down and those people who chose to bulk buy have now filled their kitchen cupboards and freezers, and are unable to fit any more in.

Most people do shop responsibly and all supermarkets now have limits on what you can buy; we are recovering well to keep up with the demand so our key workers fighting the disease will not face empty shelves when they try to shop.

My company like others have taken steps to open our stores to all NHS workers 30 minutes before opening time, along with the elders and vulnerable people.

Please remember there is plenty of food in the supply chain.

The issue we have seen is getting the lorries out of the distribution centres: getting that food right into the front line and on to our shelves has been very challenging, which is why we’ve seen some shortages. We have adapted well to this.

There is a billion pounds more food in people’s houses than there was a few weeks ago. So think on, make sure you eat it, and if you don’t, think about donating it to local food banks and the Salvation Army, because food parcels have shrunk in size with numbers of people going up.

Work from home if possible, the government says, but not in retail, public services and many more key roles: we all play an essential role in getting this county through the crisis.

We need your support, as we know your frustrations and anger when you shop and can’t find the items you want.

Please treat us all with courtesy and respect we deserve, which most people do through this stressful and difficult time as we are on the frontline everyday to help you.

Over the coming months I will be simplifying my recipes to adapt to store cupboard basics and appeal to bored children now on an extended holiday.

Stay safe and look out for the elders.

Store Cupboard Banana Loaf Recipe


100g/4oz butter or margarine, softened  175g/6oz caster sugar 2 eggs, beaten  3 overripe bananas, mashed (around 300g without the skins)  225g/8oz self-rising flour or plain flour with a teaspoon baking powder, sifted  1 teaspoon baking powder  2 tablespoons milk, or more if the batter is on the thickish side

Method    1. Lightly grease a 2lb loaf tin and line the base and sides with parchment paper.

2. Preheat the oven to 180c/Gas Mark 4.

3. Measure all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and beat them all for around two minutes with a wooden spoon.

4. Spoon the mixture into the tin and level the surface.

5. Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for around one hour, until it is well-risen and golden brown. If you are unsure, a fine skewer inserted in the centre should come out cleanly, if the cake is ready.

6. Leave to cool in the tin for five minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

7. If you wish so, melt a little chocolate on top with a handful of crushed walnuts to make it extra special, or simply slice and spread on some butter. 

* Also try adding a handful of chocolate chips for the kids to the batter before baking.