This term is usually reserved for horse racing – not so in my case. Training for a marathon was nothing compared to running around after a going-on-three year old. If it can be scaled or run out of, it will be. Usually with me in pursuit – several steps behind – suggesting he may wish to slow down. And not, I will add, am I in the latest threads with flawless make-up and high heels with a child who turns around, stops, listens and says, “ok Mum”. I’m more the harangued geriatric mother with hair askew screeching ‘no’ at the top of my lungs type, hopefully in enough time to avert impending disaster.
After vaulting out of his cot last year, my wise friend Wendy texted that she had two words for me, “organised sport”. While I had hoped to avoid this until at least next year, I now tend to agree with her. I am somewhat buoyed by reading Mahe Drysdale’s mum comment what a determined and challenging child he was – and he didn’t turn out so badly.
It’s hard to focus on a hot stove top with Master, “Mum, I really fast aye”, racing around the open plan kitchen/sitting room. It is fair to say that cooking (and, sadly, the blog) has taken a back seat in recent times. Only the other day, while multi-talking on the phone and cooking dinner, I heard a knock at the French windows. How on earth did he get out there? Opened the window and climbed out. Of course he did, and with me in the same room not noticing.
So, as much a fan as I am of slow cooking, a good recipe is a fast recipe at the moment. Luckily for me my current favourite sweet treat, banana bread, is made in super quick time. This is an adapted version from ‘Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights’. While there is nothing voluptuous about Sophie Dhal these days, she still seems to enjoy her food. Her book is a treasure, it gives you an abridged life story and is full of rustic images and delicious recipes. The famous writer’s grand-daughter is impossibly beautiful. If you can get past that, she’s edgy and fun and offers a book of recipes that seems to match her personality. As much as I want to dislike her, I can’t.
75g soft butter (room temperature, cut into large cubes – it is important that the butter is soft)
3 ripe bananas
120g brown sugar (the recipe calls for 200g, but this is plenty)
2 tsp vanilla essence
160g plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp mixed spice
What to do
Heat the oven to 180C and grease a loaf tin (mine is 25×11.5cm, which makes a good size loaf). I often line the tin with baking paper.
This is where Kenny is worth his weight in just about anything. The recipe says to mash the bananas. I find that if I break them into a moving scraper blade, it does the mashing for you.
Meanwhile, sift the dry ingredients together. Then add them to the wet mixture. I turn Kenny back on low until the flour mix is just combined in. You may need to give it a quick stir with a spatula to incorporate all the flour.
I like to serve warm slices, smothered in butter (although you should wait until it has cooled a little for easy cutting). It’s equally delicious without spread and great for breakfast toasted (although it crumbles into the toaster if too fresh).
I grabbed some browning bananas from work and made a loaf for the team last week. It went down so well that they are now talking about leaving out eggs, chocolate chips and sugar in the hope they’ll turn into something as special as this banana loaf. We’ll see.