one of the first recipes i learnt to cook as a small(er) child was basic banana bread. now, as a slightly larger child, i still treasure the thick sliced banana bread on a sunday afternoon. this week, the kitchen clue i'll be sharing is a slight variation on that same basic recipe which can be found here (as you can see mum and i are big donna hay fans) topped with a classic staple in my house, of stewed rhubarb. normally, our rhubarb is supplied from my grandfather's blooming vegie patch, but sadly today we settled for a store bought bunch. the quality, needless to say, of the rhubarb itself was incomparable - fresh is best.
this weekend i celebrated the birthdays of two (!!!) friends. happy birthday you two! two birthdays in one weekend calls for LOTS of cake and celebratory foods, so here's something perhaps best enjoyed with a cup of tea as a "recovery" from birthday madness.
school in melbourne recommenced for the final term of the year and i hope you all had a lovely return to the grind of six am wake ups and due dates. my mind, however, is instead turned to christmas!! not that I'm counting down (total lies - 74 days to go) but it's my single most favourite time of the year. the food, the friends, the family, the decorations - I've not lit my christmas scented candle all year in order to save it, and for those who do not celebrate christmas, the holiday season and the new year is still a great time anyway to see those you love most. not to get ahead of myself anyway - it's still only october. but my question is, amongst all my sudden excitement is where has that year gone !?!? how can it only be october already!??!? years are one of those things i feel, that you lose in amongst the lost socks and bobby pins, that fall down behind furniture and only later do you realise "oh yeah that's where it went' as you look through photo roll on your phone and instagram account.
some may feel that twelve images to illustrate my clue this week might be a bit much, but other than the fact that I got snap happy, I feel that you can never have too much of a good (or mildly ok) thing right?
the rhubarb, other than being tangy, not-too-sweet, and delicious, is also a really good addition to a fruit salad, in between cake layers, on muesli, in porridge, with ice-cream and chocolate shaving (i've been told that last one is particularly good), with yoghurt, in smoothies and of course on its own. you can add other fruits to it as well when stewing your own; berries, pears and dried fruits work really well for example. sprinkles of coconut, brown sugar, nuts and grains are really nice touch on top also, for that crunchier texture. and depending on how runny you prefer the consistency to be, adding more or less water should do the trick. it is one of those things i find, that not only is great warm or chilled (or even frozen as an icy pole!) but also gets better as days go on.
my question for you all this week is how do you like your banana bread/fruit loafs: with butter or without? given my mostly dairy free existence, i'm a without girl, but if i could i lurrve the taste of butter (the real stuff - not margarine) on banana bread. other than the nostalgic aura surrounding it, there's something just so good about it.
given daylight savings has set in (is that just an australian thing or do other places in the world do that too?), each dinner time is getting brighter and brighter, as we adjust to not eating dinner in the dark, and dad is enjoying spending more and more time down at the house now that finally our permit has been approved. we are now officially renovating (yayyy!!). this means that as we interview builders, select tiles and eventually build the second story, we are all mentally picking paint colours, tea towels and lawn types (dad is convinced he prefers sir walter)
i'm think about doing a post on the renovation and documenting each step of the way, so hopefully one day when it's a happy memory we can laugh about, we have some weekly snaps to remember it by.
BANANA RASPBERRY + COCONUT BREAD
125g butter (or df nuttelex)
100g brown sugar
75g white (castor) sugar
2 tsbp. vanilla extract
2 mashed over-ripe bananas
3/4 cup golden syrup
255g self-raising flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
2 large handfuls frozen raspberries
shredded coconut (to sprinkle)
icing sugar (to serve)
preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius and line a 26 x 1 1 loaf tin w' baking paper. Set aside.
cream butter, sugars and vanilla in a bowl on high for 4-8 mins or until pale and creamy, scraping regularly the sides of the bowl.
add eggs and beat for 5 mins until pale, creamy and sloppy.
add banana and cinnamon, beating gently on a low speed to incorporate well.
on the lowest possible speed, add the raspberries and fold through gently. try and reduce bleeding as much as possible.
pour into prepared loaf tin and spread evenly.
gently press strawberry slices on top of the mixture in the tin, lining the surface of the loaf. sprinkle with coconut as desired.
bake in oven for 60-75 mins or until a knife comes out clean. be careful not to overcook, as cake will continue cooking during cooling. if the top of the cake is browning too much, cover with foil during baking.
cool the loaf in the tin, then turn onto a wire rack. sift a thin layer of icing sugar over the top. slice and serve w' rhubarb, cream, butter or as is.
500g rhubarb (approx 1 bunch)
1/2 cup sultanas
chop rhubarb into 3-5cm pieces and wash well
into a medium saucepan, add rhubarb pieces, sultanas and water
simmer uncovered for 10 mins, stirring occasionally, adding more water if the pot boils dry
reduce to a low-medium heat and continue stewing until pieces have disintegrated and mixture resembles a thick liquid