It’s been a long time coming but finally – the blog that’s devoted to blushers, bulldogs and banana bread, actually has a post about banana bread. Momentous day!
Another cold Sunday saw me staring at a mountain of chores and work to catch up on. So, what did I do? Naturally, I found something to bake. I spied a bunch of perfectly ripe bananas in the kitchen and anticipating their slow descent into mush over the coming week, I thought I’d speed the process along by spending a couple of hours transforming them into the perfect wintery treat: a warm, meltingly delicious loaf of banana bread.
Nigella’s had it pretty rough in the last couple of weeks but whatever you think of her, I don’t believe anyone could deny that the cookbooks she created are flippin’ marvellous. This recipe’s from How to be a Domestic Goddess – though once again, my ill-prepared storecupboards resulted in a little free-form re-writing.
Ingredients (and what I used instead)
100 grams sultanas (had these, and added some dates)
75 ml dark rum or bourbon (or light rum)
175 grams plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon salt
125 grams unsalted butter (er… Anchor Spreadable again)
150 grams caster sugar –
2 large eggs (two mediumish eggs)
4 small very ripe bananas, mashed (three medium perfectly ripe bananas)
60 grams chopped walnuts (60g chopped hazelnuts)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
An offhand comment by Nigella at the end of her recipe mentions the possibility of adding dark chocolate: at which I squealed and reached for the fast-depleting jar of buttons to hoy some into the mix at the appropriate moment.
1. Put the sultanas and rum into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Put saucepan hat on pan, and leave fruits to soak up hot booze.
2. Chop nuts and chocolate into smaller pieces.
3. Remember dates in cupboard from premature Christmas food shopping trip:
4. Chop dates, then add dates to pan of rum-fattened sultanas.
5. Empty oven of trays. Preheat oven to 170°.
6. Put the flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt into your largest mixing bowl and combine, then set aside.
7. Having used your largest bowl, grab an inappropropriately small bowl, melt the butter, then add the sugar. Mix until it’s the consistency of a really squelchy body scrub.
8. Look for eggs.
9. Mix eggs in…. an even smaller bowl.
10. Add eggs to sugar & butter. Add mushed banana. Add nuts. Consider getting larger bowl. Push on through. Add chocolate. Mix everything together.
11. Read the recipe, which now calls for adding the “drained” fruit. Not wanting to waste perfectly good rum, turn Nigella’s face away and add everything to the mix.
12. Realise recipe now calls for adding the flour to the mixture a “third at a time”. Look at size of bowls. Resolve to add mixture to flour a third at a time. Feel pleased with overcoming crisis.
13. Start looking for loaf tin. Realise all loaf tins have been requisitioned for restaurant life, and only remaining tin is branded with Lurpak on every side. Sigh, and pull it out of the cupboard.
14. Reach for baking paper. There is no baking paper. Sigh a bit harder. Butter loaf tin liberally and “flour” by sprinkling flour over the sides, muttering about how this’ll “never work”.
15. Empty mix into loaf tin. Notice how cake batter looks a bit like muffin mix. Place tin in oven for… for an hour and a half?!
16. Though suspicious, set timer to an hour.
17. Pile up assortment of bowls, ready to wash up. Turn hot water tap on. No water comes out.
18. Spend the next hour Googling the following words in different orders:
19. Find yourself watching a video of dogs who are too afraid to walk past cats. Hear oven timer go off.
20. At about 1hr 20mins, return to oven. Poke cake with skewer. Cake seems… cooked? Remove cake from oven.
21. Slide knife down sides of tin and turn out cake.
23. *curses sky*
24. But wait – how does it taste? Despite looking like something from the early rounds of Great British Bake Off, banana bread is delicious. Moist, chocolatey, full of banana & nut goodness – and all with a faint hint of rum.
26. Plan to remake cake with baking paper. Leave banana bread resting on side like a runaground tanker, and return to sofa with cake scrapings from the bottom of the loaf tin.