Holidays are grand, aren’t they? It’s been pretty hard to summon the motivation to do anything other that swan around in sun dresses, kick back on banana lounges watching movies under the stars, and having marathon sessions of my favourite TV shows (Dexter, True Blood, Mad Men and White Collar so far).
Being on holiday in Perth, Western Australia, where the temperature is a solid 35 – 40 degrees Celsius during the day, also makes it difficult to be motivated to turn on the oven. Hence my daily impression of a wilting violet under the air-conditioning while watching TV. (FYI, Melbourne. This is what summer is supposed to look like).
There is, however, one redeeming quality about the summery warm air. I love how it intensifies smells. Summer is the sun’s warming rays releasing exotic scents of rockmelons, mangoes and ripened bananas. It’s the latter fragrance that roused me from my summer slump and inspired me to bake again. As the fan pushed tendrils of mushy banana past my nose, i could only think of one thing: fresh banana bread. I also spotted a tub of the most beautiful pure unprocessed honey from Bartholomews Meadery in Denmark, WA, and tipped in a little of that too. The Wandoo variety imparts a little bit of butterscotch flavouring to the bread.
For inspiration I turned to an old recipe from another WA gem, the Nyamutin Farm Cookbook, having success previously with their Caramel Chocolate Cake. I replaced white sugar with brown sugar and reduced the total amount, replacing it with a few spoons of honey instead.
The raw cake batter tasted awesome! It set phenomenal high hopes for the cooked version, which, predictably tasted just like banana bread. My recommendations are to make sure the bananas are ripened to their sad squishy blackened state when used. Also pureed them well, otherwise chunks will fall to the bottom of the batter and make it a tad denser. Sadly, I managed to overcook this particular loaf – working with a unfamiliar oven and a newfandangled cheap silicon pan, yadda yadda, so it lost a little moisture. It was still fantastic though. (And far better than the last time, when I completely forgot to add sugar).
Please tell me someone else out there has popped something into the oven and then noticed the missing ingredient sitting on the kitchen counter…
Banana and Honey Bread
Makes one medium loaf
You Will Need:
115g Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups Self Raising Flour
2 very ripe Bananas, mashed
2 large Eggs, lightly beaten (close to room temperature)
1/3 cup Brown Sugar, packed (or omit the honey and use 1/2 cup of brown sugar)
2 heaped dessertspoons of good quality Honey
Pinch of Salt
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease a medium loaf tin with non-stick spray.
Beat the brown sugar and butter with a whisk attachment on an electric mixer until pale and creamy. Switch to the paddle attachment. With the beaters on medium speed, slowly add the eggs and mix until well incorporated. If the mixture appears to curdle, beat in some of the flour too. Stir in the sifted flour, banana, salt, cinnamon and honey with a wooden spoon (you can briefly microwave the honey to make it easier to pour into the batter). Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and bake for 35-40 minutes. When done, a skewer inserted into the middle will come out clean, the top will spring back when lightly touched, and the loaf will be a rich golden brown. Allow to cool slightly in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack.
Serve warm or cold with butter.