One of the other reasons I haven’t been blogging lately, apart from work as elucidated in my Blog Amnesty post, is the fact that I also recently moved house. After all the requisite box-shifting, followed by questions of “where should I put this?” and “oh god why the hell did I bring this with me?”, I was finally ready to give my new kitchen a proper work out with some baked treats.
I first road-tested my new oven with these triple-choc brownies from Where’s the Beef (which were great, I followed the recipe to the letter – apart from changing the name, as they really are filled with ALL THE KINDS OF CHOCOLATE – and they turned out like little squares of pure chocolate indulgence). Once I ascertained that, yes, it was a halfway decent baking oven, I couldn’t wait to find a reason to start playing around with some more sweet treat baking.
My next chance came quite quickly with a bunch of black bananas coming into my possession via work (no one eats the bananas out of our weekly fruit box delivery, it transpires). With the threat that they would end up in the bin unless someone wanted them to make banana bread with them, I rescued them with the thought that “Yes, yes I CAN make banana bread!”
I started by using a basic banana bread recipe, chanced upon through a quick Google, as a base. Yet both myself and my resourceful co-cook and housemate Emma were quick to notice that the original had no spice, which JUST ISN’T DONE. We added in generous helpings of cinnamon and nutmeg, scaled down to a teapoon each in the ingredients list below, but honestly I am all for spice, don’t measure that shit, just throw it around until your tastebuds explode with happiness.
- 5 ripe bananas (the more black and squishy the better! You could use less if you don’t have 5, maybe take it down as far as 3, but really you want to have a lot of nice fat seams of banana.)
- 1/3 cup melted butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1 teaspoon bicarb soda
- Pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 cups plain flour
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Preheat your oven to 175C. Grease up a loaf tin with the melted butter. I honestly didn’t take note of the measurements of the pan we used. I’m sure you can all peer into your cupboards and find something that looks at though banana bread could emerge from it, I have faith in you.
2. Mash up the bananas with a fork in a big mixing bowl. Leave it a bit chunky so there’s more chance of having those nice banana seams we’ve been talking about.
3. Add in the sugar, egg and vanilla and mix well with a wooden spoon. Then sprinkle over the bicarb, nutmeg, cinnamon and the pinch of salt and mix again.
4. Add the flour in last (no need to sift), and, you guessed it, mix.
5. Pour mixture into your prepared pan. Pop in the oven and bake for 45 mins-1 hour. Keep an eye on it, if it looks like the top might over-brown, take it out of the oven, cover the top with foil and pop it back in. Do a skewer test and once it comes out clean without any batter sticking to it it’s ready to come out.
6. Let it cool for about 5 minutes before turning out onto a cake rack. Now, you COULD wait for it to completely cool before tucking in, but that would be, to my mind, THE WORST THING YOU COULD DO, as piping hot banana bread slathered in butter or your spread of choice is one of life’s great experiences.
This was honestly one of the best banana breads I’ve ever had, so you better believe that it is going to be a staple of my new kitchen. It’s also the perfect thing to cook with housemates, or to use as an incentive to try and make them believe that they have indeed made the right choice in living with you, even if you do spend a lot of time in your pyjamas watching Top Gear.