I’m sure there’s some kind of psychological name for it, but for some reason when I’m trying to be good – trying not to eat is wrong, what I actually mean is trying not to eat either when I’m not hungry or eat rubbish – I find it therapeutic to project my food fantasies into sustenance for others. They usually or not unusually I suppose, take the form of baked goods. With the non-sugar theme continuing at home, we seem to have a glut of spotty bananas, which combined with a wet post-school afternoon can really only mean one thing…a cake which calls itself bread and can be eaten as breakfast. This one is actually a muffin recipe from Nigella’s book Kitchen and I picked it because it uses vegetable oil (I wasn’t sure if I had enough butter for other versions). Actually it’s a chocolate banana muffin recipe, which produces a dozen muffins but I decided to make two small loaves instead – one plain banana bread and one chocolate with chocolate chips. I’m not a massive banana fan; it’d be rare for me to eat one in its natural state, but I’m ok with most things when they’re transformed into cake, especially vegetables I find a bit boring like courgette (must also try beetroot one of these days).
So I set the 5 year old to work mashing overripe bananas, flicking them onto windows and fridge as he went and measured out the wet and dry ingredients – easy peasy. All combined, I halved the mixture and added cocoa and plain chocolate chunks to one bowl of batter and poured each into their own paper-lined loaf tin. I’m all about easy, lazy bakes that look like you’ve made an effort, so any recipe I can hack a little bit to make more than one end product is right up my street. I toyed with adding coconut and frozen raspberries to the plain version but held off freestyling and just topped it with a few banana chips, with plans to toast slices of this one for breakfast later in the week.
The only problem with baking with children is they’re so used to everything being instant now, that their impatience reaches fever pitch about five minutes after something’s gone into the oven. “Is it ready yet is it ready yet is it ready yet?” becomes the non-travel version of, “are we there yet?” The concept of allowing something just out of the oven to cool is also a struggle. I remember my mum making pancakes for dinner on pancake day, standing over the electric griddle when she’d already produced tens of them for the kids she taught at school during the day. She ladeled and flipped and there they sat on a wire rack while we had to wait for them to cool. Torture and now I think about it, completely ridiculous, since they’re much better warm than anywhere nearly approaching cold. So I wait the minimum amount of time before slicing the chocolate version as requested. Thankfully the bananas give the loaf a bit of sturdiness and it doesn’t completely fall apart. The chocolate chips are gooey and the quiet chewing is perfect against the rainy view out the window. Needless to say the chocolate loaf didn’t last long enough for a photo.