I love nature and I love the idea of growing your own food. But I must confess that I do not have a green thumb. So when my neighbour, who is a member of the Singapore Gardening Society (I didn’t even know there was one!), recently took pity on our barren garden; I got really excited. Imagine the possibilities of growing your own herbs, tomatoes, vegetables, and fruits right in your very own home! This morning, he came over and pointed out to me that we already have two fruit trees in our garden – mango and fig! Unfortunately, because we didn’t know how to care for them, they were not bearing fruit. So we spent the next couple of hours pruning, removing mossy soil, and replacing it with good soil. My heart ached when I saw branches being cut off the huge mango tree. But he assured me that in order for the tree to flower and bear fruit, it must be pruned. It was a spiritual moment for me, for it reminded me of Jesus’ words: God is like a Gardener who will prune branches (believers) so that they will be even more fruitful (John 15). Reminding me that the pain, loss and hardship that I have to endure sometimes, is a necessary part of becoming a better human being.
Ok, enough preaching from me. After a morning in the garden and all that talk about fruit, I headed straight into the kitchen to make banana walnut bread. There is something about the smell of freshly baked banana bread that is so comforting and pleasurable. So much so that Post Foods packaged it into a cereal box almost two decades ago. It’s hard to go wrong with banana bread and you probably already have all the ingredients you’ll need in your kitchen. The key to packing a ton of banana flavour into each bite, is using extremely ripe bananas. And I mean seriously ripe bananas that you would think twice eating. Which is great if you have a bunch of bananas that are too ripe for consumption. Otherwise, I suggest buying ripe bananas 2-3 days ahead and let them blacken at room temperature.
The other essential rule of thumb when making quick breads is that all the ingredients should be at room temperature. So it’s a good habit to bring your butter and eggs out a couple hours ahead and let it come to room temperature before using them. As for the milk, you could pop it in the microwave and warm it gently in short bursts until it reaches room temperature just before you use it. If you abide by this simple rule and follow the simple steps below, it’ll be hard not to achieve success. And when you do, remember to look down from banana-heaven and thank me!
Banana Walnut Bread
Yields: One 9″ loaf
60g (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, soft
120g (1/2 cup) sugar
240g (2 large) bananas, mashed
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
180g (1 1/2 cups) plain flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
120 ml (1/2 cup) milk
1. Preheat oven to 180 C/ 350 F. Line baking tin with parchment paper.
2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.
3. Cream butter and sugar with a stand or handheld mixer (paddle attachment) until very pale.
4. Add in bananas and vanilla and mix until well blended. Then add in egg and mix until well incorporated.
5. Fold in roughly 1/3 of flour mixture by hand. Then fold in about 1/3 of the milk. Repeat this, folding flour alternately with milk until it is just combined.
6. Fill baking tin and bake at 180C / 350F for about 40-45 minutes, until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.
7. Cool it in the baking tin for ~ 10minutes, then remove and cool on a wire rack.
8. Enjoy immediately or cling-wrap it whole and enjoy for the next 2-3 days.