28 Jun 2022

When a ‘bread’ is elevated to the heights of ‘cake’

Cooking in Kilkenny

Delicious banana bread

Bananas. They have a narrow window when I can enjoy them straight from the fruit bowl.
Eat them when they are too fresh and I think they have a weird texture, but wait until they are far on the other side of the ripening spectrum and they are black and ready for the green bin.
Or are they? I have to confess to allowing bananas get over-ripe on purpose to make this banana loaf. The addition of cardamom is what makes it really special. And the dark chocolate chips make it cross the line between ‘bread’ and ‘cake.’
Don't know what cardamom is? Have a look in the spice section of a supermarket and you’ll find it. It looks like a small jar of hard, pale green seeds. If you tear open this straw-like shell you’ll find tiny, brown seeds, and that is what you want for this recipe.

Cardamom is also frequently used in curry dishes. A native of Indian and Asia, it is now also grown in some areas of South America.
It is a common ingredient in Indian cooking. It is also often used in baking in the Nordic countries, in particular in Sweden, Norway, and Finland.

Banana and Cardamom Loaf
120g butter, softened
225g caster sugar
2 large eggs
300g plain flour
200 ripe, mashed banana
8 cardamom pods, seeds removed and finely crushed
half teaspoon of salt
75mls natural yoghurt
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
dark chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 190 degrees/ 170 degrees fan. Grease and line a 900g loaf tin (it is important to note this is not your standard loaf tin. You will need two standard loaf tins for this mixture).
In a mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and adding a tablespoon of flour to prevent curdling.
Add the mashed bananas, cardamom and salt, mixing thoroughly.
Beat in the yoghurt and lemon juice, then sift in the flour and bicarb. Fold until combined.
Pour into the prepared tin. When about two thirds of the mixture is in scatter over teh chocolate chips, then cover with the rest of the mixture.
Bake for 50 minutes to an hour, until the cake is well risedn and brown on top.
Allow the cake to cool in the tin for a few minutes then turn out to allow cool completely.
This is delicious served on its own with a cuppa, or for a more indulgent treat have it warmed with a scoop of ginger icecream.

Banana IceCream
This is in the running for the quickest recipe you’ll find on these pages!
The basic recipe has just one ingredient! One! Of course you can add other ingredients, and I recommend you do, because it makes this even tastier.
This recipe does take a little forward planning.
Banana, ripe and frozen

Optional ingredients
Peanut butter
Chocolate chips
Cocoa powder
Dessicated coconut

Peel, chop into large pieces, then freeze the bananas in an airtight container for at least two hours but better overnight.
One banana will serve one person generously.
Blitz the frozen banana until it’s smooth and creamy. This may take a few minutes as it first looks crumbly before getting smooth.
Variants: Donal Skehan starts his recipe with four bananas then adds 3 tablespoons of peanut butter and 75g of chocolate chunks.
You could also add dessicated coconut or some cocoa powder, depending on your taste.

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