As much as I love to travel, I always seem to be at my happiest when I can follow my normal routine, when I can make it to yoga and to the swimming pool, when there is time for at least one trip to the farmer’s market because I actually have time to cook. Especially when work has been as busy as it has been these last few weeks with various work trips thrown in as well for good measure.
After 5 days of staring at a computer screen reading (and responding to) email after email, often for up to 10h a day or more, there is nothing I love more than to start my Saturdays with a trip to the farmers’ market here in Brussels to stock up on seasonal fruit and veg and to spend the rest of my weekend pottering about in the kitchen.
I often batch-cook pulses and grains or prepare large batches of stews and soups on weekends for easy weekday dinners. Overripe fruit gets turned into crumbles, quick jams or easy compotes, and, in the case of overripe bananas, banana bread. The latter even more frequently now that I have discovered that banana bread freezes exceptionally well. It turns out you just need to tightly wrap the cooled banana bread, first in parchment paper and then clingfilm, either as a whole loaf or already sliced, before placing it in the freezer. Left on the counter overnight (still wrapped so it does not dry out) and the banana bread will be completely defrosted come morning.
So even if you have a bunch of brown bananas lying around but don’t really fancy banana bread right now, just go ahead and make it anyway and put it in the freezer – your future self will thank you!
This marble banana loaf is a variation on my favourite banana bread recipe but it is a little bit lighter. It contains less sugar because brown bananas are naturally already very sweet and I also replaced some of the fat with yoghurt (a neat way to finish off that last spoon or two of yoghurt in the jar that is not quite enough for your morning muesli bowl). And while cake for breakfast is still a bit of a new concept for someone like me who grew up in Germany, I don’t need to tell you how delicious it is to start your day with a strong coffee and a thick slab of this banana bread!
Marble Banana Loaf
Note: Wrapped, this loaf will keep well on the kitchen counter for several days. That being said, this banana loaf (marbled or not) freezes exceptionally well. So unless I am baking this for a special occasion, I simply cut the entire loaf into thick slices which I wrap in parchment paper and then slide into freezer bags or wrap in cling film (you can also freeze a whole loaf like that). I then just leave a slice or two (or however many I need) on the counter to defrost overnight (a whole loaf will defrost overnight as well).
350g bananas (3-4 bananas, depending on size), pureed
75g vegetable oil
50g plain yoghurt
Juice of ½ lemon
1 ½ tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
300g spelt flour
1 shot espresso
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease a loaf pan with butter and line with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl whisk the pureed bananas together with the vegetable oil, plain yoghurt, eggs and lemon juice using a handheld mixer.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the baking soda, salt, sugar and spelt flour. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir to combine.
Divide the batter in two. Add the cacao and espresso to one half of the batter and whisk until just combined.
Fill the batter into the prepared loaf pan alternating between the plain batter and the cacao batter. Once finished, use a fork to gently swirl the two batters together – this is what will give the finished cake a marbled pattern.
Bake the loaf for about 1h or until a wooden skewer inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean.