Because all you need some days is a slice of freshly baked banana bread…
They say Mondays in January are the worst: the holidays are over, we are back at work, days are still short, it’s cold, it rains all the time (at least here in UK) and pay day feels far away… so how do you fight the January blues? Stay in bed all day could be the answer (they call them “duvet days”), but being lazy makes me feel even more depressed so it’s not an option. One way I can beat the blues is by being active and productive.
One thing I realised last week was that I hadn’t baked in a couple of weeks and I was missing it.
I digress, but did I ever tell the reason why I started baking 5 years ago? I was going through a hard time at work in an advertising agency; it was a new job, but the client I was hired to work for was not running any campaigns so I had very little work to do. Some days I would go to the office, sit at my desk and stare at the clock, praying for the minutes and hours to pass by quickly. My husband was working in Manchester at the time so he was away Monday to Friday. I had just moved into a new flat (not weird flatmates to share the kitchen with) and finally had invested some money in baking tools. I would read food blogs to pass the time at work, and in the evenings at home I would try new recipes. Ah, the sense of pride of baking my first ever muffins and scones, how to forget that! It made me feel creative and productive, exactly what I was lacking from my job. And it was the first step towards launching Mondomulia… :)
Since those days back in 2010 my life has changed a lot. I work full time on things that I love: my blog, taking photos, writing about food and travel. But I still enjoy baking as a creative outlet and also as a distraction on gloomy days.
Today I baked a Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bread, adapting a recipe from Broma Bakery, which I found on Pinterest months ago and saved to my board Recipes to try at home. On days like this when I feel the itch to bake, I look at that Pinterest board to find inspiration.
I wanted something easy and straight-forward. Banana bread always works for me, even better if there’s chocolate and peanut butter involved! Banana Bread is also a versatile cake: it goes very nicely for breakfast, but you can also eat a slice for dessert, perhaps warm with chocolate sauce or ice-cream on top.
- 3 tbsp peanut butter (I use one with 100% peanuts, no added salt and no palm oil)
- 1 cup demerara sugar
- 2 ripe bananas
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup plain flour, sifted
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
- a thin banana slice, cut lenghtwise
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160°C fan. Line a 900g / 2lb loaf tin with baking paper. Set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor, mix together the peanut butter, sugar, mashed bananas, butter, and eggs. After mixing, stir in cocoa, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda, salt, and vanilla. Stir in flour last.
Pour the mixture into tin and top with banana slices.
Bake for roughly 50-55 minutes, until a knife inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.