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recipes and stories

On negotiation

There is a defining moment in any relationship that sets the course for how you'll negotiate tricky situations and deal with life's emergencies together. For me and my now two (!) decade (!) 'ship sitch (as the young folk like to call it) these situations have always meant two things: humour and silence.

When my husband makes a light-hearted joke in a tense situation I know that he is sees me and is listening. He knows that when things go (very) quiet that there's something is awry. Whatever the response; we find our way through together.

When it comes to our fruit purchases however; there is silence, nor are there any light-hearted jokes. If I am to be completely honest, there isn't much room for negotiation either. There's only the constant debate about how many bananas are too many bananas for the weekly shop.

From his side there's only a need to buy two, maybe three bananas at the most. On my side; the possibilities are endless. There's the option of procuring different types; lady fingers or sugar bananas for packed lunches,Cavendish for breakfast, green bananas so we have a few that ripen through the week, and extra to ripen just in time for weekend baking.

Yes, that's right. I fall into the camp of procuring bananas for the sole purpose of making homemade banana bread. It's my one negotiation trick on the issue. If I do the grocery shop for the week I get to buy as many bananas as I want. If he does the shop; he buys extra only for banana bread. It may not make perfect sense, but it works for us. Along with our sole decoy* banana in the fruit bowl, we have our negotiation points.

I have a couple banana bread recipes that are on rotation; one that uses only olive oil and eggs to bring everything together and is sweetened with maple syrup. Another that subs in half coconut flour for regular AP, and another which is more of a hybrid humming bird cake with mashed pineapple. The banana bread recipe I'm sharing with you today has evolved over the years; but it always has three strong constants: spices, a mixture of different flours, and a honey glaze.

For today's rendition I have used the three spices which will always remind me of Sri Lanka; cinnamon, cardamon, and ground ginger. I used some overripe ladies fingers in this loaf which created a gentle sweetness, but any type of banana would work perfectly fine with the yoghurt to for a soft cake-like crumb.

In the spirit of negotiation; I added a glazed finish because there was a request for cake this weekend. In keeping with the spiced island theme I introduced a semi-sweet glaze with kithul treacle and a pinch of espresso powder. The combination offsets the warmth of the banana bread perfectly here and invite you to try it.

*Side story: On a birthday trip to Hobart a few years ago we happened across a stall holder at Salamanca Markets who carved fruit from pieces of Tasmanian wood. There were all sizes of wooden citrus and of course apples; carved and polished to a smooth finish. Over to one side were a small batch of carved bananas and one made it home with me as a birthday gift from my husband. A reminder on those occasion when he "forgets" to add bananas to the shopping list; there's always one in the fruit bowl, even if it's a decoy. Boom-tish!


Spiced Banana Bread with Kithul Coffee Glaze

300g self-raising flour*

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

3 teaspoons ground ginger

Pinch of sea salt

120g raw caster sugar 
190g Greek yoghurt or curd

125ml sunflower oil

2 organic eggs

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

160ml mashed banana

1 banana cut in half lengthways

1 tablespoon kithul treacle

For the glaze

25 grams butter at room temperature

2 tablespoons kithul treacle

1/4 teaspoon fine espresso coffee powder

To start

Set the oven to 180C and grease and line a loaf tin (11 X 22 cm)

In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients together; flour bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, cardamon, ginger, and sea salt

Whisk raw caster sugar with greek yoghurt, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Once well combined add the mashed banana and mix.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and fold together until completely combined. Limit over mixing, otherwise your cake with will tough.

Pour the mixture into prepared loaf tin and place the sliced banana on top, nudging them gently to sit on top. Drizzle the tablespoon of kilthul treacle over the the bananas so they’re completely covered. Bake for up to 55minutes.

The bread is done when a skewer is inserted and comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before turning out of pan onto a board or platter.

To finish

Melt the butter and treacle until full combined. Add fine espresso coffee powder and whisk until thick. Cool until lukewarm. Whisk again before drizzling evenly onto banana bread.

Banana bread will keep covered for up to two days and refrigerated for up to four days.

Serves 10-12

*I used the White Wings Wholesome Blend with wheat millet, coconut, and oat flour, but regular all purpose self-raising flour works well.


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