Alas, this is quite typical. I’m not the best sleeper. Normally it manifests in my taking hours to fall asleep after turning off the light, but this time I had sleeplessness working its way to the middle from both ends of the night. As I sit here typing in the dark, Tim, the minxy hellion, is sleeping like he always does, deeply, unflappably, and with enviable briskness. Meanwhile I’ve been lying thinking “I’m going to be so fragile tomorrow. Does thinking I’m going to be fragile mean I’m going to be more fragile? Aagh, it’s that insect that I hate!”
Especially when that banana bread was spontaneously studded with the roughly chopped remainder of a vanilla-fluttery, buttery block of Whittaker’s white chocolate. (Please scuse the pink stains on my chopping board. Either everything is stained permanently or you never eat beetroot, there is no middle ground in life.)
Banana bread always seems like a rather lovely thing to me, perhaps because I associate it with the banana bread that shy, lonely Charlotte Johanssen brought over for her the Ramsey family in Babysitters Club #13: Hello Mallory, while the majority of Stoneybrook ignored the newcomers, quite racistly. While I didn’t exactly know what banana bread was at the time – we would’ve likely called it loaf cake in New Zealand – something about its compact, sliceable practicality all wrapped in tinfoil and carried over by Charlotte conveyed the sense of neighbourly friendliness better than any other food could’ve.
This is, kinda bafflingly, the FOURTH time I’ve blogged about Banana bread (Nigella’s beautiful recipe in 2008, and then in 2010 a vegan recipe and a highly recommendable Banana-lime Palm Sugar Loaf) and yet this new recipe still has its rightful place. Oh and I say ‘bafflingly’ because I can’t believe I’ve only just now brought up the Babysitters Club connection. Four banana bread recipes itself is not baffling. What’s this one bringing to the table though? It’s simple, it’s strewn with white chocolate, and it has the snuggly scent of cinnamon. It’s also gluten-free, if you want it to be.
Cinnamon White Chocolate Banana Cake
Adapted somewhatish from a recipe in Meat-free Mondays. That book just won’t quit!
125g soft butter
125g sugar (optional – half brown, half white sugar)
3 medium, ripe bananas (or 2 large)
50g roughly chopped white chocolate
170g rice flour, or plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Set your oven to 180 C/350 F and beat the butter and sugar together till creamy and light. Beat in the eggs, then fold in the bananas and white chocolate. Finally, sift in all the dry ingredients and fold them in gently. Tip the batter into a paper-lined loaf tin, and bake for about 1 1/4 hours.
Something about the magical properties of cornflour make this light, puffy, and with a crisp yet mouth-meltingly tender crust. There might be more to it than that, but I’m pretty sure it’s the cornflour. While I’ll stand up for white chocolate’s deliciousness any day, sometimes being paired with a spice only makes it more delightful, and this is verily the case with the cinnamon. Its warm mellow fragranced-ness against the shards of creamy sweetness is brilliant, and makes me want to pair white chocolate and cinnamon together again in other baking. And soon.
Um, yes, that is a glass bottle with a stripey straw in it. Guess what’s in the bottle? Iced coffee. Part of me is all “but it’s so pretty” and the other half is saying “Ugghh this is so blogger-y”. As always, to prove to myself that form over function could still provide a function, and I wasn’t just using props in my photos for the sake of it, I drank that coffee through the straw. It gave the already fruity, complex brew distinct notes of warm cardboard. But, as Leslie Knope said when she married off two male penguins to each other at the zoo: “I firmly believed it would be cute”. I think I need to stop guilting myself out over this.
Speaking of cute, no sooner had I expressed a stunted desire to start drawing again in a recent blog post, than did appear a 31-day drawing challenge on the internet. Yay for the internet! Specifically I saw it on Instagram, the photo-sharing app, and so that’s where I’m posting all my daily drawings. You’re welcome to check them out here (just look for the photos that are of drawings), but to lure you in, here’s my keenly sensitive and profoundly artistic rendering of Day 3’s challenge – an internal organ.
And look, here I am at 6.45am! A blog post under my belt, and the day’s hardly begun. I think I’d still take the sleep though. Fingers crossed for tonight. Which is feeling a long, long way away – oh, did I mention it’s Monday? Cruel, cold Monday? Thank goodness for banana bread, hey?
Title via: I feel like there should be like, an airhorn going off or a balloon drop every time I use a song from RENT (which this blog’s named for) in the title of a blog post too. If I keep making banana bread I’m going to run out of title options, but for now kindly revel in the unspeakably glorious joy that is Angel’s big number, Today 4 U, performed with alacrity by Wilson Jermaine Heredia.
My capacity for being obsessed with songs is boundless. Boundless, I tell you. So the fact that I listened to Marina and the Diamonds’ Shampain almost literally a million times this week shouldn’t surprise you.
Monkees, Last Train to Clarksville. RIP Davy Jones, heartthrob.
Next time: whatever it is, let’s hope I’m telling you about it on more than three hours of sleep.