Hi, I would like to make Nigella's Banana Bread but wanted to know if sultanas are the same as dark raisins or are they another variety?
Nigella's Banana Bread (from Domestic Goddess and also on the Nigella website) includes sultanas that are soaked in rum until they are plumped up and luscious. Sultanas and raisins are quite similar as they are both dried grapes. Sultanas are dried white seedless grapes and raisins are dried red seedless grapes. Sultanas are lighter in colour but dried sultanas and raisins are generally interchangeable in recipes and if you can't find one then you can use the other.
The dried sultana should not be confused with the fresh sultana grape. In some countries, such as the US, sultanas are labelled as "golden raisins". In the UK you can also buy "golden sultanas" which are very golden in colour and often slightly sweeter and juicier than regular sultanas. These are most easily found on-line, though can be found in some grocers.