Thursday, 29 October 2009

I did it !

Ok, so I told you the other day that I was contemplating cooking a roast last Monday (which was a public holiday in HK). Well that plan never got off the ground... however, I did manage to do some baking, and I am very please to report that I succeeded!

I have a terrible reputation (I mean terrible!) amongst my friends in Hong Kong (and in particular my work buddies) for being the worlds WORST baker. There is a long story behind that, which I might share with you some day if I can bare to go through the pain again.

Anyhow, since we have moved and I now have an oven - yes, for some of you that's not a big deal, but for us Hong Kongers it is a HUGE deal - I wanted to re-attempt some baking to see if I really was that bad. Ok, so hint, the last horrible experience was blamed, only partly I have to admit, on the fact that I was using a portable bench top oven with no proper temperature controls/regulation etc. This coupled with the fact that my lovely (and very generous) friends gave me a baby pink KitchenAid for my birthday (this deserves a post all on its own), there really were going to be no excuses if my baking didn't turn out. It was a brave move.

Anyhow, we had some very ripe banana's and so I got the idea to make banana bread. I settled on a Nigella recipe from her "How to be a Domestic Goddess" book, and began my quest....

Don't you just love the smells that come out of the kitchen when you are baking! This was no exception, and I almost felt content that if it didn't turn out - the aromas alone were enough to have made it a success. Ha, don't worry I wasn't going to let myself off the hook that easily.

Obviously the cake turned out (perfectly I might add), otherwise you wouldn't be reading this post. I certainly could not have publicised another failed attempt at baking, and would have quietly went to my room and cried!

Coincidentally, this morning on facebook a friend was asking for a good banana bread recipe and I couldn't refuse the opportunity to gloat about the fantastically scrummy banana bread I made on Monday. I know after reading this, you are all dying to try the recipe yourself, and don't worry, if I can pull it off, anyone can! So here it is:

100 sultanas
75ml bourbon or dark rum (I actually used frangelico cause I didn't have rum or bourbon, and it was amazing)
175g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb
1/2 tsp salt
125g unsalted butter, melted
150g sugar
2 large eggs
4 small, very ripe bananas (about 300g weighed without skin)
60g chopped walnuts
1 tsp vanilla extract
23 x 13 x 7 cm loaf tin, buttered and floured or with a paper insert.

Put the sultanas and rum or bourbon in a smallish saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, cover and leave for an hour if you can, or until the sultanas have absorbed most of the liquid, then drain.

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees and get started on the rest. Put the flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt in a medium-sized bowl and, using your hand or a wooden spoon, combine well. In a large bowl, mix the melted butter and sugar and beat until blended. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the mashed bananas. Then, with your wooden spoon, stir in the walnuts, drained sultanas and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture, a third at a time, stirring well after each bit. Scrape into the loaf tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 1-1 1/4 hours. When its ready, an inserted toothpick or fine skewer should come out cleanish. Leave in the tin on a rack to cool, and eat thickly or thinly sliced, as you prefer. Makes 8 - 10 slices.

DISCLAIMER: OK, so I have a little confession to make. I didn't leave the loaf to cool in the tin and tried to turn the tin upside down and get it out to cool on a wire rack. Obviously it was still too hot, and the bottom of the cake stuck to the tin. You wouldn't have believed how my heart sank after relishing in the joy of seeing the bread rise perfectly, and then having this happen. I tried to salvage the bottom and you know what, no one could tell...

I have to say that Will was so impressed with my baking, it tasted soooo yummy, that I might 'just' have salvaged my reputation for now!

Rach - let me know if you try the recipe, and how it goes!
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1 comment:

Karen said...

baby pink KitchenAid! Oh, really, really jealous.