Banana bread was the first bit of baking I did for my boyfriend. We had met just before Christmas and, while I wanted to send him home for the holidays with a present, I was not sure of the etiquette of gifting to a man I had only seen twice. Aftershave seemed presumptuous and socks a little bland.
He also thought to present me with a token and handed me a beautifully wrapped package, in which later I would find a replica wind-up tin toy of a 1950s girl on a scooter. He said he bought the gift because the girl reminded him of me. I, in turn, presented him with a small cake in a paper bag. In my defense it was a Fortnum & Mason paper bag.
Thankfully, the banana bread was tasty and made up for the discrepancy in imaginative gifting. Some six months later he’s still enjoying the fruits of my baking. I was convinced the reason he found that first batch of banana bread so good was due to the heaps of sugar I’d accidently tipped into the mixture.
So this weekend when I once more made banana bread, but cut out the sugar, I was slightly concerned at the results. Recently I’ve been trying to reduce the amount of sugar, white or brown, in my baking as I try to steer my diet towards a more healthy one. Not to lose weight, but so that I don’t lose anymore teeth. Years of chomping down on sweets have weakened my chops, and I need them to eat pies with!
As with the cupcakes, I did the trick of adding a couple of teaspoons of honey to the mixture. Then, once the cake was out the oven and still warm, dripping another two spoonfuls over the cake so that the more natural sweetness soaks through.
My boyfriend was just as impressed with the banana cake as the first time he tasted my baking on a train back to Birmingham. Cutting out the sugar did not take away any flavour and the over-ripe bananas ensured that it still had that lovely moistness.
Although I’m partial to a nice cup of Earl Grey to accompany a fresh batch of baking, with banana bread it’s always a mug of coffee. At home we brew our coffee in the usual way, naked! Only joking, that’s at weekends.
However, when we visit Brighton we head for the Small Batch coffee company on Jubilee Street for what I call a science project beverage experience but the shop calls a syphon coffee. It’s how I like to think Sheldon out of The Big Bang Theory would make his morning brew.
Only he would describe the process a lot better than me, but here we go. First the water is boiled in a glass bowl thing over a Japanese halogen heater, as it expands it’s sucked up into a glass funnel sitting on top of it. Freshly ground coffee is then added to the water in the funnel. The apparatus is taken off the heat and as the water cools, the coffee flows through a filter back to the bottom of the glass bowl.
To be honest, the coffee tastes just as good as the regular brew from the machine but for the extra 50p or so you get a show too! Click here to see my attempts to film it.
Believe me, it’s far more interesting in real life than my video.