I’ve had something of a weird relationship with bananas over time. For awhile, I wouldn’t go anywhere near one, and the smell is not one of my favourites. I still won’t touch a banana chip, and the thought of them in something (like chocolate or banoffee pie) turns my stomach.
Oddly, I’ve always liked banana bread. On my recent visit to Ireland, I was greeted with a freshly baked loaf, and since I needed to do something non-work-related this week, I decided to bake my own (along with some roasted red pepper hummus and minestrone soup…but that’s a different story). Well, it turns out that getting bananas in Krakow is, like getting many other food-related items in Krakow, not the easiest thing to do! In the end, I just schlepped out to Tesco, the one place that consistently has decent produce during all four seasons – and after three days of constant checking to see whether my ingredients were ready to be turned into bread, they were finally ripe enough today! So – banana bread!
285g/10oz all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
110g/4oz butter, plus extra for greasing the pans
225g/8oz caster sugar
4 ripe/overripe bananas, mashed (or you can puree them in a food processor until they’re chunky)
85ml/3fl oz buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
110g/4oz toasted walnuts
1 Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Toast the walnuts for about 10-15 minutes, and remove to cool.
2. Sift the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
4. Add the eggs, mashed bananas, buttermilk and vanilla extract (at this point, I also threw in 2 tablespoons of golden syrup for kicks) to the butter and sugar mixture and mix well, then fold in the flour mixture, followed by the walnuts.
5. Grease and flour two large loaf pans (or four small ones) and pour the batter into them.
6. Bake one hour, or until the breads are firm. Remove to cool on wire racks.