Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Totally Scrummy Choc-Banana Bread

My boyfriend and I are very different in many ways. One of these ways can be illustrated through the following story... We had invited friends over for brunch and B was going to go out to get some milk. He asked if I needed anything. I thought perhaps a banana would be a good addition to the fruits I already had for fruit salad, and asked for one, adding to pick up maybe a kiwi or some other more exotic fruit if there was anything nice.

45 minutes later, guests were due to arrive and he finally returns (he'd been for milk via the bike shop to check on progress of his new handlebars - another way in which we differ; I'm a little more 'time-sensitive'...), bearing a bunch of 8 bananas, and two mangos as big as rugby balls. Fine, if we were expecting 20, but no, I only had 6 mouths to feed...

Me? I probably would have come back empty-handed because the choice between fairtrade bananas that looked nice but you had to buy in 6s in plastic packets and the normal bananas which were looking just slightly too ripe for my liking was proving a bit taxing. And then I might have started thinking about airfreighting and whether maybe another pear would be better, and then the decisions would all get a little too much and time would have been ticking on and I'd just turn back round and go home again...

Anyway. After I'd used the one banana that I actually needed, we had a whole load of ripe bananas that sat there steadily ripening. Something had to be done before they were only good for the bin, and that something is normally banana cake... (do you know of anything else to do with overripe bananas?)

I tried Joy the Baker's Oatmeal Banana Bread recipe on the Friday, and we wolfed it down so fast, I made it again on Sunday, with a few tweaks this time. This is the kind of cake I absolutely adore. It's got a wholesome satisfying feel to it. It's soft and not too dry and pairs beautifully with a cup of tea. It feels at home as breakfast or dessert, or afternoon tea. It leaves you feeling like you just ate a warm hug. And you get the benefit of knowing that there is all kinds of goodness in there - vitamins and minerals in the wholemeal flour and oats and bananas, some protein from the eggs, complex carbs so it's not too sugar-rushy. Why it's practically a health food.

So, my adaptation of Joy's recipe is as follows:

First, preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas 4. Grease and flour a loaf pan.

You are going to need three bowls.

In one, put:
- 11/4 cups wholemeal flour
- 1/2 cup muscovado sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 3 tsps cinnamon
- 1 cup porridge oats
and stir together

In the second, mash 2 or 3 ripe bananas. Add:
- 3 tsps sunflower (or other) oil
- 1 egg
and mix, then add:
- about 50g dark chocolate, chopped into small chunks

In the third bowl, beat 2 egg whites until medium stiff peaks form.

Fold bowl 1 into bowl 2 (recipes always say put wet into dry, but I always put dry into wet, just because it leaves the dry bowl less messy for washing up). Then fold bowl 3 in as well, in three additions.

Pour batter into tin and bake for 45-50 minutes until top is firm to the touch.

Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then cool on wire rack.

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