Saturday, 10 March 2012

Feeding the Soul

I truly believe that there are foods that make you feel better.  For me, banana bread is one of these.  While I am typing, I am munching away on a warm, buttered slice of banand bread and in a happy place.  Whether it is because of the crunchy walnuts, the dense banana or the naughty bourbon-soaked dates I snuck in,  this recipe is soul warming.

I started on this recipe at 7am yesterday morning, so eager was I to get into baking!  However, the warm, aromatic fug that took over the kitchen wasn't quite so appropriate for the time of day.  My first task was boiling up chopped dates in bourbon and setting them aside to soak.  They looked simply beautiful: a thick, dark potion of sweetness.  This, however, was nothing compared to the familiar, homely aromas of my amazing loaf rising in the oven later on.

While I am including the recipe for you today, what I love most about it, is its flexibility.  You can pretty much throw in whatever you have sitting around in the pantry.  Don't have dates?  Use sultanas.  Or frozen blueberries.  No walnuts?  Chuck in pecans or slivered almonds, or even leave them out altogether.  Chocolate fiend?  Substitute some of the flour for dark cocoa and/or add in some dark chocolate chips. Anything goes so enjoy experimenting with this one.

100g pitted dates
75mL bourbon
1 cup plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb
1/2 tsp salt
125g unsalted butter, melted
1 cup caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed banana
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp vanilla extract

Bring dates and bourbon up to the boil before covering and leaving soak for an hour, then drain.  Preheat your oven to 170 degrees C.  Sift together flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Blend together the butter and sugar until the sugar has dissolved and then add the eggs, mixing well after each addition.  Stir in the mashed banana, followed by the walnuts, drained dates and vanilla.  Add in the dry ingredients, a little at a time, stirring well.  Pour the golden batter into a prepared loaf tin and bake for an hour. 

Hot from the oven, cold or toasted this is sure to be a crowd favourite!

F. x

1 comment:

  1. Good to see you're putting that new oven to good use!