Saturday, 27 February 2010

Gone Bananas.......

Bananas are a fruit I struggle with. I know they're good for me, packed full of vitamins b and c and, as a highly toned athlete, I obviously welcome a rich source of potassium. But bananas present me with a very short window of opportunity, too hard and I gag, too soft, ewwwwwwww, and I really gag. I buy them every week but rarely eat them so unless you can inhale the health benefits through the skin as you throw the rotten bananas in the recycling bin I'm missing out.

But this week I decided to try and use up the soft bananas and a quick google search found me a banana cake recipe courtesy of  nibb'lous which has to be one of the easiest and yummiest cake recipes I've ever tried. It's this.........

4oz butter (I always use Lurpak for baking, it's the best)
6oz sugar (granulated, caster, or mix in some demerara, whatever you have to hand)
8oz self raising flour
2 eggs
2 large or 3 medium, very ripe bananas (I used 2, any more and I reckon the cake would be a bit wet)
(I also added 100g of dark chocolate chips after the daughter turned Peter Kay at the thought of the original cake - banana cake? cake with banana.....dirty b*st*rds....)

Heat the oven to gas mark 4; 180C and grease a 2lb loaf tin.
Mash the bananas with a sturdy fork.
Cream the butter and sugar together and mix in the eggs
Mix together the two yellow sludges you now have and mix in the flour.
Scrape into the loaf tin and bake for 40 minutes then lower the temperature to gas mark 2; 150C and cook for a further 30 minutes.

Cake baked, domestic goddess bit over and it's time for a beer, but what beer to match such a scrummy cake. I went for a complimentary beer, Grolsch Weizen.  If you haven't had the joy of a Grolsch Weizen yet it is yum, somewhere between a spicy, lemony Belgian wheat beer and the heady banoffee character of a German Weissbeer, with a rich caramel aroma that made it a perfect match for the sweetness of the banana cake. The beer has a lovely refreshing mouthfeel that you don't often get in a wheat beer that lifts and cleanses the palate in between mouthfuls of cake that stops any sweetness being too much.

And there's still bananas left over (I obviously buy too many in the hope that I'll become a health freak) so next is a Banoffee Cheesecake that I tried at our national conference and was just divine. The mix of sweet banana and caramel making it difficult to tell where the pudding stopped and the beer started - divine.

Butter Shortbread
125g butter
63g sugar
250g flour

Mix butter with the sugar and add flour, mix until combined
Roll out onto floured surface, place on baking tray and chill for 10 minutes in the fridge
Cook in oven for 15 - 20 minutes at 160 degrees

Vanilla Cheesecake
240g milk
216g sugar
drop of vanilla essence
100g patis mousse
400g cream cheese
600g whipped cream
4 sliced bananas
1 tin of condensed milk
Put the can of milk, unopened, in a large pan, cover with water, bring to the boil and boil for 4 hours, topping up with boiling water from the kettle as needed. Remove and leave to cool and it will have turned to toffee
Heat milk, vanilla essence and sugar, add patis mousse and whisk until thickened slightly
Add milk mixture to the soft cheese and mix until smooth
Beat in a third of the whipped cream
Fold in remaining cream
Layer up in a dish, ring or flan case - shortbread, toffee, cheesecake cream and bananas

Am not sure I have the culinary skills to match the professionals that whipped it up on the day but if I get it even half right it'll be divine, I think I need to buy bananas more often!!

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