We recently had short notice that interstate friends were in Melbourne and turning up for morning tea. We had about two hours to put something together. We could have gone shopping. Instead we searched the fridge and freezer. We found five frozen bananas, some frozen cream and a pack of frozen butter. (If we have excess bananas, ripening too quickly, we peel them, wrap them in cling wrap, and then seal them in a bag. Or, if we are going away for an extended period, we freeze any leftover cream, sour cream, butter or cheese, sealing them well, of course. Or we freeze them if we don’t think we will get through them before they are past their best. They work out fine for cooking.)
With these three key ingredients – bananas, cream and butter – the obvious choice was to make some banana bread.
The recipe we use is based on one by Jill Dupleix: does she ever write a bad recipe? This one was published in The Age in November, 2014. It’s very versatile: easy to make your own variations. It is also very resilient and forgiving! For example, one time we popped the mixture into the oven to bake away, then seven or eight minutes later we realised the flour was still sitting on the bench. We pulled it out then stirred the flour into the then warm mixture as best we could while it was in the loaf tin, then popped it back in the oven. The loaf stuck a bit, and maybe didn’t rise as much, but it tasted terrific!
Here is the link to the original recipe: banana bread with salted caramel. You will see that it can be served with a caramel sauce along with ice-cream and walnuts. We omit the accompaniments and serve the bread “as is”, warm from the oven if possible and maybe with some butter. However, it is lovely cold or warmed gently in the microwave.
We often cook it when we are staying at Olive’s Cottage. We make it at the beginning of our stay as it is ideal for entertaining and lasts for days (if it isn’t all gobbled up the first day).
We won’t repeat the recipe here. You can follow it exactly or you can apply the following suggestions or options:
- We use less sugar, say 150g to 180g.
- Sometimes we use dark brown sugar, instead of brown sugar, with the former giving a darker result than the latter (as seen in some of our photos).
- Instead of buttermilk, we often use sour cream or thick or thin cream in about the same volume.
- We use fresh or frozen bananas, three, four or five, depending on size, but extra banana is good!
- We generally combine all ingredients using a food processor. We do that in stages, stirring the mixture in if it clogs up.
- Start by combining the sugar and butter.
- Whiz in the bananas.
- Add the eggs and the milk or cream and process to just combine.
- Add all the remaining ingredients for the “bread”: flour, spices, etc. (but not the walnuts or caramel sauce ingredients).
- Process to just combine. Tip into the prepared loaf tin.
- We find it doesn’t need 75 minutes in the oven. Thus, check after 45 mins, 55 mins, etc. Cover with foil if the top is darkening too much but the loaf still needs further cooking.
- The loaf does take on a dark colour, largely because of the ingredients. Just watch that it does not burn.
- If you can, enjoy it while it is still warm. Freeze some if desired.
Our friends raved about the morning tea, and were a little surprised to find that it was thrown together at the last minute from what we had in the freezer!
If you have any inspirational moments based on what’s in the fridge or on the shelves, we are happy to hear about them, including the ingredients, (good quality photos if you have any) and why it turned out so well.