OK, banana bread. I cook this probably about once a week, mostly cause I buy bananas and then am never home to eat them in time. I like to eat them fresh just a bit under-ripe but cannot bear them over-ripe. Bearing this in mind, please pay close attention to the bananas in the above photo – they are rank (to my eye) and, therefore, perfect for banana bread. Anyway my friends are now loathe to come over to my house lest they have yet another loaf of this cursed stuff thrust into their unwilling arms as it’s such a frequent occurence. Must do better.
Pre-heat the oven to about Gas Mark 5 (I suppose 160-180C), again all this depends on your own oven. By now we’ve established mine is shit. Grease and line two loaf tins with baking paper (the amounts below will cook 2 good-sized banana breads – which confusingly are more cake-like – but obviously if you’re a maths genius you can divide the amounts by half and get only one loaf). Don’t worry about neat corners and perfect tin-lining technique – it really doesn’t matter. Banana bread is supposed to be a bit agricultural, it’s hard to make it look pretty, so basically embrace the home-made look and you’ll be all good.
3 rankly over-ripe bananas
75g butter, melted
2.5 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cups plain flour
1 cup brown sugar of some kind, doesn’t really matter – it’ll just change the appearance and the darker the brown sugar the more caramelly the flavour will be
3/4 cup skimmed milk
vanilla extract (as always, the good stuff. don’t use that cheap shit essence)
3 eggs (in australia we often call these bum-nuts. well, my uncle did. i like the phrase).
dried fruit (sultanas, blueberries, cranberries, etc, whatever you fancy) and/or choc bits. anything nice.
the careful recipe, as it’s evolved to present day, as outlined above. i hope you’ll appreciate the care and effort that went into transcribing it.
OK. You’ll need two mixing bowls. Big ask in a recession, sorry. In one mixing bowl put the flours, sugar and cinnamon. Generally you’ll be advised to sift this. Don’t. See above – when you’ve put all the ingredients in it’ll probably look something like this.
BIG SECRET. I never sift. Sifting is, for the most part, unnecessary. For nearly (please note caveat) everything you’ll be able to get away with not sifting. I whisk, instead. Whisking is (i) faster, (ii) neater, (iii) more fun and, (iv) better. See above for dry ingredients, whisked. I think you’ll agree they are indistinguishable from sifted ones. That tip’s for free. You’re welcome.
In the second bowl, break up the bananas into small chunks and mash up with a fork. I find this bit a bit floral, aroma-wise, as the smell of ripe bananas is the same to me as dead-mice-under-the-floorboards (which is a situation we are currently living with in our house, delicious), so I tend to get on with it fairly fast. I usually always get creative, pointlessly so, with shaping the mashed up banana, as demonstrated. I mush it up fairly finely but if you want big banana-y chunks in your banana bread, be less harsh on the poor soft fruit with your fork.
Add the vanilla, melted butter, lightly beaten eggs and milk to the banana mix and combine, then add the fruit and/or choc bits. This time we went for a mix of milk and white choc chips. Today’s loaves are presents for the in-laws and a crazy Italian friend who doesn’t need the sugar but is getting it anyway.
You should now have two bowls of stuff – one dry and one wet. It should look something like the photo. If you don’t, you’ve gone horribly wrong.
Assuming you’ve gone wonderfully right, move onto pouring the wet mix into the dry stuff. Mix through.
It’ll probably end up looking something like this. This is a touch too dry. It almost always happens. If so, add literally about a small dessert-spoon full of milk. Mix.
Hopefully you can discern some kind of difference now. See it’s marginally smoother? Or less glunky or something. Anyway it’s naturally quite a thick cake mix, don’t get all stress-head about it, it just needs to have a level of fluidity. If you get it wrong this time you’ll need to try again next time. You’ll get it eventually. Probably. I don’t know you so that might be untrue. It might be setting you up for a lifetime of failure. Sorry.
Pour into your loaf tins, as equally as you can. I didn’t quite manage it today. Stick in the oven, note the time. These will take somewhere between 40-60 minutes to cook, depending on the mix and your oven.
Contemplate your ‘tache, and make an appointment to get it waxed. It’s been a while. It’s now so thick snow will stick to it and that’s never a good look on a lady.
Then do the washing up. Your washing up will likely include the pan the bacon was cooked in this morning, left over from when your boyfriend ‘cleaned up’ the kitchen in order that you might make banana bread for your blog. Clearly.
About 20 minutes in your loaves should look a bit like this – they should have a gentle rounding of the edges such as those found on most average ladies leaving their 20s and launching into their 30s.
‘Bout 40mins in, if you have a shit oven like me (please note unreliable flame at the top of this photo) you’ll see the top getting nicely browned but the middle will still have a wobble unseen since the last new year’s resolution to hit the gym.
Foil those babies up, baby, and stick them back in. Obv if you don’t have a shit oven you might not need this step.
Using a skewer (we prefer wooden ones in this house) keep checking the wobbly inside bits till they are less wobbly. Basically I like to have a few soggy crumbs clapsing desperately to the skewer, then leave the breads in the now-turned-off oven for a few more minutes to finish off. Then remove and let cool a bit before snaffling.
There are various ways to eat this. Fresh and warm it’s good on its own. Fresh and cool it’s ace with slabs of butter. I have a friend (an aces cook who is good at literally everything, it’s very annoying) who has recently discovered the art of frying slices in butter, in a frying pan, which was bloody delicious, albeit heart-attack-ish. Give all approaches a go, just enjoy.
Finally, make the dog wear the wig your boyfriend wore last night at the 70s party. Doggy Parton. Then post on the internet.