When the Banana Boat Comes In


When my mum enquires as to what i’m having for dinner, I automatically go to my happy place, my recipe rolodex. I think of every meal i’ve ever made, and then what I fancy. Ruling out the carbohydrates helps me narrow it down to mere hundreds. Then comes whether I fancy beef, chicken, pork, vegetables etc. I do admit, fish is never the first, second or even third on my list. But I fancied something lighter tonight, so I decided upon salmon. This entire process lasts only a few seconds, eyes glazed and mouth gaping in deep thought.I made this really simple, sticky marinade for chicken not too long ago and I thought it would suit this just nicely so I gave it a whirl. I posted a recipe a while back for ‘Bridge Chow Mein’, and the marinade isn’t drastically different, just the addition of sesame and mirin, to add a little tang, and some heat with some chilli and cayenne. I’ll admit, I did sort of chuck things together to see what it was like, but it worked out as quite a nice combination of sweet BBQ and sticky teriyaki. 
 
Teriyaki is usually only mirin (sake rice wine), soy sauce and a little sugar, but I fancied something a little bolder, so I added garlic and chilli. Why the hell not? I’m a crazy person, I know. But yes, as well as yearning for bolder pastures, I was feeling pretty lazy, and what’s lazier than yummy fried noodles? I would love to put a picture up, but I am still phoneless (aka, camera-less) so i’m afraid you’ll just have to make do with someone who has a better camera than me and a full studio taking a picture of something similar!
 
You can’t beat a nice bit of stir fried broccoli!
In all fairness, it didn’t look drastically different from that; add some rice noodles, cucumber and peppers and you’re sorted. Word of advice though, when marinating salmon, don’t use every last drop as a sauce for your solo stir fry. It’s a lot of sauce, and if you’re heavy handed like me, it will have a fair amount of dark soy in it. Consequently you will most likely end up with a bit of an accidental soy-marinade-mixed puddle at the bottom of your bowl, especially seeing as you’ve probably just gotten it out of a piping hot wok. As lovely as the marinade is with salmon and as a sauce, it is mindblowingly salty in big doses, and when you get a completely sodden, sad looking bit of broccoli at the bottom of your bowl, it’s a bit disheartening. I think I might ease up on the portion size next time too, so at least i’ve got a fighting chance of getting to the bottom in time, either that or easing up on the soy sauce, but where’s the fun in that?
 
Onto my recipe of the post, I am aware that i’ve been very lax with my recipe giving recently, so I will make sure this is a useful, but happy recipe that will satisfy your tastes somewhat. I can also guarantee that about half of you will look at this recipe, look at your fruit bowl and realise that there is a very sad, blackened banana or five looking up at you, begging to be put out of their misery. Alas! As I am persistently resistant to trends, be them through any cultural output, I bring to you a timeless classic in my eyes. Something that it endlessly useful for picking up the wasted remnants of your fruit bowl, and pretty damn tasty. I speak of course of the humble variety of banana bread.
 
Isn’t this the cutest bread you ever saw? Nibbly bread!
 
This isn’t really a recipe from my childhood, i’ll be honest, but I really started getting into it when I got sick of eating baked bananas at University. But I grew to love this simple cake-bread and if I ever end up having children, they are going to have this every week. I’ve tried a few recipes over the years and I keep going back to my trusted old favourite, my good ol’ G & B recipe. ‘Green & Blacks Unwrapped’ is possibly my most prized cookbook when it comes to chocolate (I know that seems obvious to say but still), and I am quite happy to stick with it. So I give unto you today, my favourite banana chocolate chip bread recipe. 

G & B Banana and Chocolate Chip Bread
Makes 1 big loaf
 
125g unsalted butter, melted
175g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
150g caster sugar
2 large eggs
4 overripe ripe bananas, mushed
100g good-quality chocolate (white, milk or dark!)
1 tsp good quality vanilla extract
Optional: 60g walnuts, chopped
 
NB – This recipe was originally for ‘Banana, White Chocolate and Walnut Bread’, but dark and milk chocolate work just as well. And if you’re not a fan/are allergic to nuts, you can give them a miss. I leave them out normally, just in case I accidentily send someone into anaphylactic shock.
 
– Preheat your oven to 180C degrees/gas mark 4. Prepare your loaf tin by brushing with melted butter and a dusting of flour.
– Mix the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl.
– In a separate bowl whisk the melted butter and sugar, then the eggs one by one, followed by the bananas and vanilla. At this stage it looks disgusting, but it will turn out fine!
– Prepare the chocolate by tossing it in a little flour to stop them sinking too much in the mixture and set aside.
– Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in three intervals, stirring lightly, working up to a light fold at the end to not beat too much air out of it.
– Sprinkle in the chopped, floured chocolate and fold gently once or twice, add to the loaf tin and bake for about an hour – an hour quarter in the over.
– It should spring back under your finger when it’s done and a knife should come out clean, but after removing from the oven, run a knife around the edge of the tin to prevent too much hassle. It doesn’t normally play up, but you never know, sometimes the tin isn’t non-stick enough, a teeny little bit burns and breaks half the side piece off the bread or what have you.
 
How very artisanal!
Overall, it’s very very simple to make, and so nice, especially with a cup of tea and spread with nutella if you’re into that kind of thing, I just enjoy mine plain. This whole banana chocolate chip bread was all my sister’s idea, in all fairness. She mentioned my brother’s chocolate chip banana bread, in quite specific detail, and how amazing it was, so it naturally made me want to bake some cake. Dang it.
 
I’d like to briefly mention before I go about how happy I am with this little blog of mine, it’s coming up to the year mark and i’ve surpassed 2000 views. Which is pretty awesome to say it was just to document my journey. Thankyou if do read this though, it is kind of nice to share. Until another day my dear readers.
 
Peace
JR
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