Tag Archives: banana bread

Banana bread with butterscotch, take two

20170318_115621.jpgAfter a week of visitors, it is a quiet Saturday with just us here. I do get some friends and colleagues travelling through Accra, so it’s been a sociable week. We went to Kakum National Park and Cape Coast Castle (more on that later),  we’ve been out to dinner and and it was great. Nice today though, to catch up at home: wake up early but get up late, fold laundry and tidy up, take stock of the fridge. As usual, there were blackening bananas in the fridge, along with 4-5 pineapples, so I made granola with banana, and banana bread.

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We may just have avocados on crisp bread (and banana bread…) for an early dinner, as we are going to the theatre tonight. A friend has kindly invited us to “The Prince of Egypt” at the National Theatre, with students from the Ghana International School. Should be interesting.  I’ve never been inside there.

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Banana bread with butterscotch chips

4 small very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed  (about 230 grammes peeled weight)
2 small eggs
60 grammes sunflower oil
60 grammes thick plain yoghurt
25 grammes brown sugar
200 grammes all-purpose wheat flour
60 grammes wholewheat flour
25 grammes large oatmeal flakes
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Optional: 60 grammes butterscotch chips

Mash bananas with a fork, then whisk in eggs, sunflower oil, and yoghurt. Whisk in the rest (I did this all with a fork, too sweaty to dig out mixer) until flour is mixed through. I was making granola, so I threw in the last handful of oatmeal here.  I also used some of my precious butterscotch chips bought in Ithaca last summer:  some in the middle of the cake, some strewn on top. I used a parchment lined loaf tin. Bake at 190C for 30-40 minutes, until a testing stick comes out clean and top is golden.

Notes: This was in for about 40 minutes but with the tray of baking granola over it in oven part of the time, it is probably faster if alone in oven. Not much sugar as the bananas here are really sweet, as are the butterscotch chips.  I was thinking of a peanut-butter espresso banana bread, but went for butterscotch again.

Here are some more Ghana@60 images: decorations on a fence, and commemorative free doughnuts delivered by Uber. Yes, we have Uber in Accra! Makes it so much easier to get around town and not have to haggle about fares. There are still Ghana flags all over town, and banners and decorations on red, yellow and green.

Another enjoyable point of the week: we got our one and only Christmas card sent to Accra! Mailed in mid-November, it finally reached us. Our office has a PO box, as there is no street mail delivery, and even then, some things do not arrive. Apparently Ghana and Italy were the two countries where my friend mailed Christmas cards, and they all arrived after 2-4 months.  We just tell family to send mail to our Rome address and someone will scan it for us. It was thus unexpected and very nice to get an actual card.

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Back from Harare, and butterscotch banana bread

banana breadLast Sunday was my husband’s birthday. I think he enjoyed it, but I left at 530AM that day for a quick work trip to Harare, Zimbabwe. So I missed most of it. Today I am making an impromptu delayed birthday cake: banana bread with butterscotch chips. The oven was on for a fish pie, for potluck Sunday lunch with our Canadian neighbours, and we had some very brown bananas, so hey presto! Bonus cake! Electricity is expensive here, so if the oven is on, we try to double up: granola while making pizza, focaccia while making cake, or here, banana bread while making fish pie.

Harare

Street corner, Harare. I was watching the US elections from Zimbabwe, since there was CNN and Sky News in the hotel room. In Accra we don’t have the TV connected to the aerials, and just get news online – hardly ever video, as bandwidth is slow and too expensive, so live TV in the evenings was a bit of a luxury, though the news was surprising. Of course, one must be politically correct when asked what one thinks. Well, I said, at least they have democratic elections in the US. That is not the case in some countries.

Driving to the airport Thursday, the taxi driver said “Mugabe is 92, but he is already endorsed to run for president [of Zimbabwe] in 2018. He will die in power.”  Zimbabwe is also in an ongoing currency crisis: government employees I met has been paid two weeks ago, but could not get the actual money paid out. The USD is used as the official currency in Zimbabwe, along with rand and euros, but the banks and ATMs do not have much cash. What cash they have is rationed. See BBC article from this week: Why Zimbabweans are spending the night outside banks. My driver said “No, only 50 USD withdrawal a day, if you are lucky. We cannot get bigger bills than 50 USD, the bigger bills have all vanished. People are hoarding them. How are we supposed to pay for fuel, schools, food?”

Zimbabwe Herald

The people I met were so nice, though. Very friendly and talkative, and forgiving of my attempts to use Shona phrases and pronounce their names correctly. Nditenda! (thank you). We would laugh over lunch, especially when they saw me not having meat. I explained that while I enjoy meat, I generally do not eat it every day, and since I had delicious Zimbabwean beef and sadza (maize porridge) the day before, I’d skip meat for a few days after that, but would look for lentils, cowpeas, sugar beans. “No, no!” my tablemates said, indicating that a meal without meat would not be complete. Indeed, even the hotel breakfast buffet had several meat options.

Coming to Harare, I brought 4 kilos of wedding invitations over for a friend — might as well take advantage of two checked bags, even in economy! The groom to be has paid 15,000 USD in bride price, still used in many countries here. Anyway, I still laugh about the time a colleague asked me to bring a small package from Windhoek, and it was actually 4.5 kilos of Namibian dates…. So now I budget some extra space when travelling. No time for shopping in Harare, but while in transit in Johannesburg I found coffee, roiboos tea, rooibos compote, cooking sauces, chocolate ($17 USD for a bag of Reese’s Pieces….!), Pimm’s, biltong and relish, so I was happy.)

food shopping JBG airport

Now, back to the butterscotch banana bread…..

brown bananas

Butterscotch banana bread

This is based on http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2013/10/butterscotch-banana-bread-recipe.html  which looks wonderful, but with less sugar, and some tweaks as we have small eggs and smaller but very sweet bananas here. As you see, they fit in the palm of my hand.

3 medium bananas, ripe and mashed (about 230 grammes peeled)
2 small eggs (108 grammes with shells)
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1/3 cup white sugar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
150 grammes all purpose white wheat flour
50 grammes all purpose white wheat flour
3/4 cups butterscotch chips

Heat oven to 200C. Mash your bananas. I weigh the eggs as they vary in size here, a medium egg would be 60-70 grammes. Mix mashed bananas, eggs, oil, sugar and butterscotch chips. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, baking soda, baking powder and flour. Stir. Pour batter into parchment lined loaf tin, and bake for 50 minutes or so, until the top is golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean.

Notes: Probably better to bake this at 180C, but this was co-baked with a fish pie that needed 200C. We had four power cuts while this was in the oven, so I am estimating the time. It’s still quite sweet so next time I’d reduce sugar or butterscotch chips further. 

The butterscotch chips are from a quick trip to New York this summer – hand luggage only, 8 kilos. When JFK security went through my bag, it was a jumble of laundry, computer gear and cables, and exotic food: Old Bay seasoning, celery salt, hazelnut flavoured coffee, harissa, taco seasoning, chow mein mix, ranch dressing powder, scone mix and butterscotch baking chips….. the latter now finally being used.

Now back from lunch with the Canadians and lengthy post-election discussions. There are loud  shouts from the neighbours, Egypt are playing Ghana in a World Cup qualifier and Egypt are winning.

Banana bread with honey

View from Garbatella metro Rome is in the midst of a heatwave, and our cooking is diminishing, as the temperature rises. This is the view from Garbatella metro, with the new bridge and in the distance, the old Mercati Generali under renovation. On the way home in the afternoon, I stock up: watermelon, figs, mozzarella, striped melons: what to eat? Anything requiring minimal time in the kitchen. Still,  these collapsingly ripe bananas obviously meant it was time to make banana bread! Cold showers before and after entirely optional.

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I’d bookmarked this recipe a while ago: Grov honning banana kake (in Norwegian), which is a banana cake with honey and wholewheat. It looks amazing. I tweaked it slightly, since I had three bananas, and it is actually rather nice.

Banana bread with honey and wholewheat flour

Banana bread with honey and wholewheat flour (2 loaves)

3 eggs
150 grammes sugar
150 grammes thick honey
140 grammes softened butter
3 very ripe bananas
200 ml semi-skimmed milk
220 grammes all-purpose flour
180 grammes wholewheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Whisk eggs and sugar. Add honey, butter and mashed bananas. Add flour, salt and baking powder. Add milk and vanilla extract. Divide between two loaf tins, bake 55 min at 180C. If still pale, add 10 minutes at 210C to crisp it up a bit.

Banana bread with honey and wholewheat flour

This has a lovely honey-banana flavour. It was a little moist in the middle, so maybe bake at 200C next time? Or reduce milk to 180ml.  I will see what it is like when cake has cooled down properly. Still, very tasty, and well worth turning the oven on for!