| banana bread

June 10, 2009

I should have worn my gumboots out today. I was distracted, walking through puddles, my breath still steaming at mid morning. It hailed and the sun came out and was so bright the streets went silver. For a second I thought this freezing cold was worth it, for that shining street. I’m hopeless in the winter, I whinge and whinge and whinge, until Sarah scolds me, and tells me to just please be quiet. Maybe for Sarah, the most irritating thing about winter is not the cold, but me? It seems though, there is forgiveness in an oven, and banana bread warm from it, spread with melting, salty butter.

I googled this recipe for banana bread at my grandmother’s house, the week after her death and before her funeral. I only have a vague memory of making it. At that traumatic time, as family members were gathering one by one, cooking was the only thing I felt that I could do to help. We all eventually came together in her apartment, surrounded by her things, and by her absence. Each family member was greeted with cups of tea, coffee and banana bread.

In Nigella Lawson’s Feast she has a chapter on funeral feasts that highlights the importance of cooking as a process of both mourning, remembrance and a celebration of life. She cooks Rosemary Remembrance Cake in honour of her grandmother. My bread is not so much in honour of my grandmother – it’s too homely a recipe for such a sophisticated woman – the banana bread was for us more about the process of dealing with grief.

I have made this bread many times since, for much more joyous moments, but it retains the ability to comfort. On a day like today, when my feet were icy and wet, I’ll take any excuse to put the oven on.

Banana Bread

This recipe is not a blended bread style. I like my banana bread chunky with nuts and dates, so this version leans towards the cake.

1 1/3 cups of self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate soda
2/3 cup of dark brown sugar
120g butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 cup of mashed banana
2 free-range eggs
3/4 cup of sour cream
2/3 cup of dates, chopped
1/2 cup of pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 180C. Sift dry ingredients. Cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla and banana to sugar mixture, then when mixed add eggs and sour cream. Add dry ingredients and mix. Add nuts and dates and mix. Pour into loaf tin and bake for an hour and 10 minutes.

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Category: cakes, recipes
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banana bread: 21 comments

  1. Lorelei Says:

    Girls, can you supply a variation on this one for those who don’t currently have an oven? Could you, for example, bake it on the sizzling bricks of an upper-level balcony? The blistering roof? The red-hot road?

    I am considering making up the mixture regardless – scooping it up in my hands, letting it drip through my fingers, and slurping at it like an exhausted traveller drinking water from a well in the desert. I think it would be just as yummy.

  2. Romy Says:

    Lorelei, do you have a pudding-like bowl and a saucepan? I reckon you could make it steamed pudding style. (Course you could just make a steamed pudding – jam at the bottom, then a sponge mixture on top.) But if you want to experiment, put mixture into the pudding bowl, cover bowl with baking paper sealed with string around the top so it’s airtight, then put into saucepan with boiling water half up the sides and boil for an hour or so with the lid on – topping up the water every now and then. It could work?

    Or yes, try the sizzling bricks.

  3. Lauren Says:

    This sounds lovely, and I shall make it as soon as my banana’s ripen. How much butter should I use, you left it out of the ingredients list?

    :)

  4. romy Says:

    Sorry! Butter is there now!

  5. Lauren Says:

    Beautiful thanks, this site has been bookmarked, i loveees it.

  6. Lorelei Says:

    Romy, I am going to try the steamed pudding! Thank you! I’ll report back. Might take me a week or two to source brown sugar, but I know I can get it somehow; maybe bribe someone or something. Very grateful for your extra advice, thanks again ladies!! xxx

  7. wens Says:

    My sweet friend Suse recommended me your site- it’s really beautiful and you are a lovely writer. I’ll be reading regularly!

  8. Rose Marie Says:

    I made this to take over to my grandfather, and it is incredible. He cooked on Naval ships, and once cooked for the queen. He loved it, and approved. Thanks!

  9. Emi Says:

    Your Banana bread is in the oven as I type, and the smell is unbelievable…my dad’s asked at least 10 times if it’s ready yet! x

  10. sarah Says:

    Thanks everyone for your replies on this one. I wish Romy would come back and cook it for me. It smells so goddam delicious! x

  11. Haylee Says:

    I made this a couple of rainy weekends ago and it was delicious. Thank you for making me smile with such a beautiful blog!

  12. Lauren Says:

    This has just gone in the oven…will report back!

  13. Lauren Says:

    Success!

  14. Lauren Says:

    One more thing, in all seriousness, I have tasted many banana breads (cakes) in my time, and only made a handful myself – but this one was truly the best I have ever tasted. The pecans and dates take it to the next level – yum! Thanks dudes!

  15. Laura Says:

    Well now there I was aimlessly looking through untrusted internet sites for a banana bread recipe when suddenly, no, Trotski and Ash wouldn’t happen to .. oh … oh yes they do! Oh! Thanks wonders. I bake tomorrow! x

  16. Laura Says:

    An update: no baking powder, yogurt and cream for sour cream, almonds for pecans – still a big beautiful bread. Tom and I are turning yellow with full. xx

  17. Gypsy Says:

    I looooove the sounds of this recipe, I’m going to make it this week sometime.
    xx

  18. Clara Says:

    I’ve been searching for a great, heavy banana bread recipe!
    Tried yours last night – perfect – thanks ladies! xxx

  19. Trotski & Ash « multi-faceted fragmentation Says:

    [...] blog/site/journal Trotski & Ash a little while ago, being specifically a deliciously date-y banana bread, once again using my fantastic Ikea loaf [...]

  20. Jax Says:

    Hi, I LOVE the sound of this Banana Bread, so much so I can almost taste it and haven’t even baked it yet. Is it easy enough to convert this to gluten free by substituting the flour for rice/almond flour and adding baking powder?? Must admit I’m a little scared baking GF but love the sound of this!

  21. Trotski and Ash « Love.Hate.Bake Says:

    [...] I found their site while looking for the perfect bannana bread, and while I am yet to test their recipe, their site captivated me, and made me homesick for a Melbourne homecooked meal with friends. These [...]

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