Food to me is life. I don’t care much for the material things of this world, really. For as long as I know, I’ve been searching for food experiences to keep in my memory bank. Food gives me comfort, it is the epitome of love – love for yourself (feeding your body well), love for others (expression of your love to others), and love for the world (respecting food, by enjoying the ingredients and making it well).
It is to no surprise then, that I found a chef to marry me (I must have cast quite a spell, I like to think it was my baking) and who still wants to be with me even after almost 4 years of marriage. Given the current circuit breaker (Singapore’s version of a lite lockdown), I was ready to face a version of us that was all snark, and no patience. With 5 warm bodies under 1 roof, tensions will run high and it has. Thankfully we are in tune to our love languages – that being acts of love, like cooking for one another.
So last Saturday, I woke up and decided to bake Daryl some stupendously delicious banana bread. He had casually mentioned the other day that banana bread was one of the first things he made for me. As I have a memory as non-existent as Dory from Finding Nemo, I could not remember. He told me to go check Instagram and lo and behold, I found that dish of love:
That brought back so many warm and fuzzy feelings! We had only just started dating little over a month by then. All our dates were about food – checking out that new cafe, or him surprising me with a night picnic (a small grass patch just below his apartment ha) with a charcuterie platter. Just thinking about those memories made me relish our time and bond together. It was a good reminder of what a great team we make. And I truly believe any day is a good day to say ‘thank you’ via a loaf of pure banana-nana love (trust me on this, it’s that good).
I will have you know first that I’ve not made many banana breads in my life. Probably only 5 other times. And each time, I have used only recipes from Smitten Kitchen. She’s a great cook and baker and she’s so precise with her instructions. This time, I made several small tweaks just to change things up. Dang, it turned out to be a bonus! One thing I did right was to buy Pisang Raja bananas (or Musa Belle, here’s a guide on which is which), and to wait patiently for it to go really black and ugly (overripe). You will know when they are ready to be used for your banana bread – that intoxicating scent catches you when you walk past.
Once ripe, and if you’re not going to use it immediately, do freeze it – they last a long time.
- 115 grams unsalted butter (vegan option – swap with coconut oil)
- 50g coconut sugar
- 50g light brown sugar (small note on sweetness. I prefer to let that natural ripe banana sweetness come through thus I use less sugar. you can tweak sugar amount to preference)
- 4 large mashed large Pisang Raja bananas (try not to use Marshall Cavendish ones – they have the least flavour)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt (sea salt or otherwise)
- 1 heaped teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- Heat oven to 175°C. Butter a loaf pan or coat it with a nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- Keep 2 slices of banana for decorating the top, before you mash the rest.
- Melt butter (or coconut oil, if going vegan) in a large bowl and whisk in the sugars until smooth.
- Stir in mashed banana. Whisk in eggs and vanilla. Sprinkle the surface of the batter evenly with salt, cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder, and whisk until the ingredients are mixed well.
- Add flour and stir until combined. Scrape batter into prepared loaf pan. It should come to just over 1/2-inch from the top rim. Place your two bananas at the top. If you like a nice caramelised top, sprinkle some raw demerara sugar
- Bake banana bread for 65 minutes. It is done when a toothpick or skewer inserted into the bread is batter-free
- Let cool completely in pan. Remove from pan once cool. Make sure not to slice it until it’s completely cool.
- It keeps for a week in the fridge (or 5 days at room temp).
Have a lovely week, and remember, love one another and if you’re not one to verbalise it, then use your actions! Bake a banana bread, go bananas!