Thursday, 14 June 2012

Banana Bread with Rum-Soaked Raisins

So, funny story. Being middle-class cliches, as we are, we made the momentous decision a couple of years ago to stop braving the bustling, crowded supermarket aisles in person (and in our hard-earned free time) and move to online shopping. Which, by the way, is one of the wonders of the modern age and I won't hear a word said against it. Wait, don't yawn! I haven't got to the funny bit yet!

And before you say it, I know that some people claim "they like to choose their own courgettes" or some rubbish like that, but I think they're totally deluded. Don't try to tell me that you wouldn't prefer to order the boring stuff in your pyjamas and let someone else hoik around 8 tins of tomatoes, hulking great barrels of washing powder and a couple of frozen chickens? Not just hoik it around, but bring it at a time of your choosing, right into your kitchen? Everyone would! It's amazing! Anyway, where was I? Oh right, funny story.

Over these few, blissful years, there's only been one slight hitch. This problem - the only teeny weeny snag - happened a couple of weeks ago, courtesy of those nice people from Waitrose. They came, they carried, they deposited, and departed with a cheery wave. But as we unpacked the shopping, we saw that there had been a slight misunderstanding. You see, we'd ordered 6 bananas. They thought we'd ordered 6kg of bananas. As it turns out, there's quite a difference between those two.

Now we're sure that we didn't make the mistake, but I just can't imagine what they thought when they saw our order. Did they imagine we were monkey-breeders? We're talking serious bananas here. There were loads of them. Hundreds. We had bananas piled up on every surface, speckling and ripening by the second. It was madness. The whole situation was bananas! Sorry, couldn't resist. But seriously, banana mayhem. I've never seen so many.

We ate as many as we could in their natural state, gave them away left right and centre, and then took the obvious step. Banana bread. Nigella's How to be a Domestic Goddess supplied the recipe, we doubled it up (for obvious reasons), and the results almost made the whole banana shebang worthwhile. God, I love banana bread - and particularly with rum-soaked raisins. This one's got a slight crust and a tender crumb, packed full of banana flavour and just dying for a nice cup of tea and a sit down. We made two, took some to work and packed half away in the freezer - along with the remaining, black-skinned bananas. Good thing this turned out well! I think it's due for a repeat any day now. 

Banana Bread with Rum-Soaked Raisins
Adapted from Nigella, available here
NB: these are the normal quantities, that is half the amount we did. Feel free to double up if you've had a banana explosion too.

- 100g raisins (or sultanas)
- 75ml dark rum
- 175g plain flour
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
- half a teaspoon of salt
- 125g unsalted butter, melted
- 150g sugar (we used regular caster)
- 2 large eggs
- 4 small, very ripe bananas (about 300g, weighed when peeled), mashed
- 60g chopped walnuts (skip these if you're nut averse)
- half a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste

You'll need a loaf tin - she says 23 x 13 x 7cm, I just used whichever sizes I had.

Start by chucking the raisins and rum in a small saucepan together and bring to the boil. Then turn the heat off, cover the pan and leave it for an hour or as long as you can. The aim of the game is to get the raisins to absorb the booze and get plump and sticky. After that time, drain and get rid of the raisiny rum (either down the sink, or down your throat).

Preheat the oven to 170C and mix the flour, bicarb, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In another bowl (or a mixer), beat the butter and sugar together until well blended. Add the eggs, one by one, then the mashed bananas. Stir in the walnuts, vanilla and raisins. Add the flour mixture in three goes, mixing well after each. Then pour it all into the loaf tin and bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until a skewer comes out cleanish. Cool in its tin. Yum!

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