24 May 2007

My friend ran away to work on a cruise ship and all I got was...

...a bunch of rotten bananas.


After a dozen or so years as the stayed, conservative banker, my friend Jen decided to chuck it in for a job on a cruise ship. Well, truth be told, she wasn't all that conservative...but, you know, when your corporate colours are navy blue and cream, how wild and crazy can you be at work?

For the next three or so months she'll be sailing the high seas, doing the Mexico-California-Alaska route, telling people where to find the bingo, the buffet, the formal dining room, the other buffet, the gym and yes, the other buffet. Then she does her real job...telling people people what to do, and how to do it.

The change was a bit of a whirlwind...I think she had 10 days to settle her affairs before she flew out to the States. This meant she had a condo full of food that needed to be eaten or given away. So what do you do when you have litres of alcohol and kilos of food that need to be eaten? You throw a condo-warming-and-going-away party (she never did get around to the condo warming when she bought it six months ago). The rule (which I totally ignored) was to not bring any food.

How could I follow such a missive? I brought a squidgey chocolate loaf and a pina colada ice cream to share. I'm still perfecting the recipe...when it's good enough to be posted, you know it will show up.

A good crowd turned up--most of whom I'd only previously met through stories. Lots of "Oh! You're Jasmine!" with lots of "Oh! You're (insert name here)."At the end of the night when I packed up my things to return home from Toronto, little parcel came with me. A bunch of very, very, very ripe bananas. I of course, forewarned of this post.

So, what do we do with overripe bananas?

Well, I used this opportunity to expand my banana cake repertoire. I have an ol' faithful recipe which morphed from a Nigella recipe--it's fantastic, but I'm always looking for something new.

I found this one from Dorie's Baking: From my home to yours. Unsurprisingly it was excellent (all the recipes I've tried have been fabulous). A good, moist crumb, perfect for tea..or breakfast...or a midnight snack. I topped the cake with a makeshift topping comprised of some of the pina colada ice cream mixed with cream cheese--I thought the tropicallness of the topping matched with dried mangoes I mixed into the batter. Very nummy.

Banana-Mango Cake,

adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Lots-of-Ways Banana Cake, from Baking: From my home to yours.

200g ap flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp vanilla salt
75g softened butter
150g light brown sugar
2 overripe, medium-large bananas, mashed
1 egg
1/2 tsp almond extract
175g yoghurt (one small pot)
125g dried mangoes, chopped

Putting it together:

Preheat oven to 180C/350F and prepare one 22cm/9"round springform pan.

Sieve together the flour, bicarb and salt; set aside. Cream together the butter and sugar, then beat in the egg and almond. Add the bananas and give the wet bowl a good stir. Incorporate the flour and the yoghurt into the wet bowl in alternate additions, stirring after each addition (start off with the flour, then add some yoghurt and then repeat twice more). Fold in the fruit and pour into the pan.

Bake for 45 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out cleanly.



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Brilynn said...

You really can't go wrong with Dorie... and bananas have earned a special place in my heart for being the fruit that's still good even when it looks terrible.

K and S said...

That bread sounds really great. My mom usually makes banana bread or mango bread, but it was the first time for me to read about the two ingredients together :)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

This only uses 2 bananas Jasmine, so how many cakes did you have to bake to use up all these bananas?

Rachel said...

how fun! and what an adventure for your friend!

Aimée said...

I don't have a favorite banana cake as of yet, maybe this will be it! It looks scrummy.

Lis said...

Sounds heavenly, Jasmine! I love the combo of bananas & mangos. Yum!

And I can't wait for the squidgey chocolate loaf and pina coloda ice cream. *swoon*


Shaun said...

Jasmine, dearest - I have never been the biggest banana fan, except when bolting out the door without a sit-down breakfast. Bananas are always good to go. And while I am concerned about the fuel miles bananas and mangoes make to get to New Zealand, I may just try this recipe, especially since it is a Dorie Greenspan one, and she seems to be the know-it-all baker in vogue. The ice cream topping is inventive - how fortuitous that you had homemade pina colada ice cream on hand.

Helene said...

That cake has become the staple one to use bananas and I love your variation. Sounds moist and very flavorful!

jasmine said...

Hello all

Brilynn -- It's amazing how consistant her recipes are.

Kat -- It seemed to make sense to me as they are both tropical fruit.

Tanna -- Ask and you shall receive.

Rachel -- She started a private blog--we'll have to see how her enthusiam...evolves.

Aimee -- Hope you like it!

Lis -- I'll work on them for you!

Shaun -- I understand what you mean about being concerned with travel...Unfortunately, if I were only to eat food that was grown within 100 km of here, I would have a very boring and bland diet (few spices).

Helene -- Glad you like it !