Sunday, May 20, 2007

Banana Bread

There is nothing quite like a spot of baking. Saturday night aged 27 and single, I should probably be out flaunting my wares but last night dragged down by work deadlines I decided it would be better to stay in. And work. Working on a Saturday night is all wrong and it didn't take long before I felt the call of the cookery book. I had some over-ripe bananas sitting in the fruit bowl, all speckled and unattractive (not entirely unlike myself aged 13). They were crying out to be made into some delicious sort of cake. I hauled out Nigella's 'How to be a Domestic Goddess' and was delighted to find that I didn't even need a trip to the shop to whip up her very easy banana bread. It is very satisfying recipe to bake requiring very little effort, but enough to make you feel suitably smug as the kitchen fills with a glorious 'aromatic fug' (as Nigella herself describes it). I almost felt the need to invite some friends round so I could bask a little in my domestic glory.

I have been baking a fair bit recently. Living solo and being fairly rotund I felt for some time that I should never bake unless I was entertaining a crowd lest I got carried away and ate the spoils in one sitting. Recently it has come to my attention that nothing is more cheering in the office than a home-baked something-or-other to help us all through Monday morning. One quick e-mail to those seated on my floor and they swoop like hungry gannets, leaving nothing but a few crumbs and words of praise for my domestic prowess...


100g sultanas

75ml bourbon or dark rum

175g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarb of soda

1/2 tsp salt

125g unsalted butter

150g sugar

2 large eggs

4 small, very ripe bananas (about 300g without skin)

60g chopped walnuts

1 tsp vanilla extract

23 x 13 x 7cm loaf tin, buttered and floured or with paper insert

1. Place sultanas and rum/bourbon in a small pan, bring to boil and leave covered for an hour, or until sultanas have absorbed most of the liquid. Drain.

2. Preheat oven to 170c.

3. Mix flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt in medium bowl.

4. Melt butter and mix in a large bowl with sugar, until blended. Beat in eggs one at a time.

5. Mash the bananas with a fork and add to the wet mixture along with the drained sultanas, walnuts and vanilla extract.

6. Add flour mixture a third at a time.

7. Pour and scrape into loaf tin and bake for 1 hour/1 1/4 hours until a skewer comes out cleanish.

8. Leave in tin on a rack to cool and then serve sliced.

Notes - Nigella does not specify a type of sugar. I used half caster and half demerara as I love the combination of bananas with darker sugars.

This recipe comes from 'How to be a Domestic Goddess' by Nigella Lawson.

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