banana comfort on a rainy day

The weather had been quite damp as of late;– it rained the whole of yesterday, and the sun barely peered over the clouds today. I remember as a child, one of my friends used to say that the rain was her most dreaded weather. You had to stay indoors willing for the rain to stop by the fifth time you sing “Rain rain go away…”, and even when you happened to be out while it’s raining, you’ll be restricted by a raincoat, rubber boats, and a huge hat covering half your eyes, that your immediate concern is to break out of the stray jacket, and playing in the rain would be the furthest thing on your mind.

Yet, the rain somehow always spelled comfort for me.

Back when I was in primary school, each time it rained, I knew that by the time the bell rang, my mother would be waiting for me at the school porch. She would sit me by the steps, and while I removed my shoes and socks, passed me a little red plastic bag to put them in. With a small pink towel in hand, she would wipe my feet, before handing me my slippers. While I sit there watching my friends run by to play in the rain, I’d turn and look at my mother lugging my school bag over her shoulder, and the red plastic bag in one hand, and feel a warmth in my heart.

Till this day, the rain always brings me the nostalgic comfort of that childhood memory.

And with a slice of warm banana nut bread just out of the oven, the comfort of a memory could not have been more perfectly interwoven. I know I’ve already pledged allegiance to a particular banana bread recipe, but this loaf just brought on some tough competition. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much, but the sultanas and roughly chopped cashew nuts made for a perfect texture that won me over. The bread had the right amount of moistness (after the failed attempt at Dorie’s Black and White Banana Cake, I became very wary of cakes described as moist), and even when I had a slice warmed this morning, it was not dry.

Nigella describes this as “fabulously easy and fills the kitchen with that aromatic fug which is the natural atmospheric setting for the domestic goddess”, and I couldn’t have said it better. I didn’t even bother using a mixer for this; everything was done with a trusty wooden spoon. Minimum fuss, maximum comfort;– my ideal banana bread.

Banana Nut Bread
(adapted from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess, p.33)

50g sultanas
175g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
125g butter, melted
150g sugar
2 eggs
300g bananas (about 4 bananas), mashed
60g chopped cashew nuts

  1. Soak the sultanas in hot water. Set aside for about 10-15mins.
  2. Preheat the oven to 170C.
  3. Put the flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl, and combine well.
  4. In another bowl, mix the melted butter and sugar and beat until blended.
  5. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add in the mashed bananas.
  6. Stir in the cashew nuts and drained sultanas.
  7. Add the flour mixture, a third at a time, stirring well after each addition.
  8. Pour into a 23 x 13 x 7cm greased loaf tin, and bake for 60-75mins.

Recipe Notes: The original recipe calls for the sultanas to be soaked in bourbon/rum, or orange juice if you prefer non-alcoholic. Add the sultanas to the liquid and bring it to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and leave aside until the sultanas have absorbed most of the liquid.

p/s: To everyone out there, hope you’ve had a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones :)

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22 thoughts on “banana comfort on a rainy day

  1. the mister

    Hey! I suggested this! :D

    The rain makes me wanna rake in the Zs…. :P

    Reading your reminiscing, I fondly remember my yellow rubber rain coat from primary school that had a pic of a rubber ducky on the pocket!

    Reply
  2. faizah

    that looks really yummy for a damp, cold day. i’d be more than willing to try anything that has “minimum fuss” in it and “maximum comfort” is an added bonus. now to find for the right ripe bananas.

    thanks for sharing, miss!

    Reply
  3. ovenhaven Post author

    bie: Awww, you must’ve looked real cute with the rubber ducky raincoat! :P

    faizah: No problem, sweetie! Do give this a try; I’m a sucker for all things minimum fuss :P

    Helene: Merry Christmas to you, dearie! :)

    Reply
  4. happygrub

    Banana cake!! You beat me to it!

    And I must say I am doubting Dorie’s pound cake recipes, they kind of suck if I can say so without offending anyone. Hey how were ur christmas orders?? Obviously you are not baked-out yet!

    Reply
  5. Maya

    Moms are the most thoughtful human beings alive I tell u! I used to take those private transportation available in school coz mom was not able to send me to school everyday as I have 3 other brothers. She would send me downstairs everyday and wait for me at the void deck when I return from school all the way from Pr 1 to Pr 6. When I went for E sec 1 Orientation, she was bz going around E school looking for those “private transportation” She was so worried when she found out that, they don’t have such a thing in sec school! She sent me to and fro on E public bus for E next few days. I was E only student who had a parent sending and picking her up from sch in a bus! Back then it might not look right, but now it just feels so right. I’m missing my mom already. She’s on a 3 weeks holidays!!

    Btw, I have been wanting to try Mrs. Hockmeyer’s recipe. You had to come up with another “competitor” and make me wonder as to which 1 I shd try 1st! :p I know I said this b4, but I have got to say it again. Your photos are SO pretty and I love ‘em all! :)

    Reply
  6. Maya

    Btw, I loveeeeeeeee rains. I always hope that it rains everyday. I have no qualms abt walking in the rain as long I’m not in whites! I know, I’m nuts :P I wished that I lived in a bungalow or something so that whenever it rains, I can go and dance in E garden or take a bottle of shampoo and have a shower in E rain without any out-lookers staring at me!! I can’t do that now. I’m sure there would be so many heads popping out of our building and wondering who is that nutcase dancing in E rain!! I can imagine some kepo neighbour coming up to my mom and saying “Fatimah, semalam aku nampak anak dara kau menari-nari dlm hujan!! Lain macam aje aku tengok….” Haha! :p

    Reply
  7. ovenhaven Post author

    happygrub: No offence to Dorie as well, but I’m with you on that! I think I’ll stick to her cookies and madeleines. Christmas orders went smoothly, Alhamdulillah. I made all the fondant toppers before hand and stored them in my cookie tin; it saved me so much time! By the end of all the orders, my hands were a festive red and green :P

    Maya: Awwww, thanks sweetie! Why don’t you have a banana bread bake-off and try both recipes? :P Each loaf won’t last long, so you don’t have to worry about leftovers :D And dancing in the rain??? How Bollywood! You’re hoping your SRK would appear and join in, kan? Haha :P

    Reply
  8. oatmeal

    Hey!
    I found your blog from the LJ breakfast community [ofmornings]
    Just want to say–awesome recipe and awesome pictures! :D Putting sultanas in the batter sounds like fun–I’m definitely going to give it a try!

    Reply
  9. sweetrosie

    Oh I love the rain! I love the way the light changes, the smells change, sounds change, I love everything about it! Too bad it doesn’t happen that much here…
    The cake looks and sounds lovely. I am sorry to hear that your Dorie Greenspan book has let you down – you had such high hopes *hug* At least you can love her cookies!Oh, and those pretty, pretty madelines.
    I should make a banana cake, there’s some very black bananas on a plate in the kitchen. Trouble is, we’re still munching through Christmas cake, Christmas cookies, Christmas chocolates, Christmas nuts and sweets and fruits….I am very, very full.
    Take care my friend and here’s to a happy new year :)

    Reply
  10. Happy Homebaker

    I’m not as lucky as you :) I still remember how it feels to wear wet socks and wet shoes for the whole day in class whenever I had to walk to school in the rain. Even then, I still love the rain…and I hardly carries an umbrella since young…even up till now (unless I need to fetch my kids). When I was in secondary school, whenever it rains, I’ll purposely walked in the rain and get myself all wet. I’ve heard about this banana recipe some time back, you have inspired me to give it a try, thanks for sharing :)

    Reply
  11. ovenhaven Post author

    oatmeal: Hi sweetie, thanks for dropping by! I’m actually not a fan of sultanas at all, but I actually loved them in this :P Do give it a try when you can. It makes the perfect breakfast treat :)

    sweetrosie: Thanks, dearie :) Another thing I love about the rain is you can almost always smell it coming! I don’t know what it is, but I just love the smell :) And I guess Dorie hasn’t disappointed me totally; I’m just steering away from her cakes. I still love her book though! :P You sound like you’ve enjoyed your Christmas tremendously, especially with the huge spread! *numnum* :)

    HHB: Oh dear, wet socks and shoes; you poor thing! Funnily enough, as much as my mother always proselytised not playing in the rain, and the importance of keeping dry, I always leave the house without a brolly :P I wonder how you tell your kids not to play in the rain when you used to love doing that! Hehe :D Oh, and do give this recipe a try; it’s so easy and you can certainly rope in your sons to help out!

    Reply
  12. grace

    banana bread is a great comfort food, isn’t it! there’s nothing like a slab of slightly warm, freshly-buttered banana bread to make a person sigh with contentment. :)
    happy holidays!

    Reply
  13. Happy Homebaker

    Oh, just want to let you know, I do allow my kids to walk in the rain! but only when it is drizzingly though! It is really fun to hear them giggle and trying to ‘drink’ the falling rain drops ! I guess I’m really a crazy mum ;’p

    Reply
  14. ovenhaven Post author

    Eunice: Thanks, Eunice! :)

    grace: It sure is! Happy holidays to you too, dearie. Hope you’ve enjoyed your Christmas! :)

    HHB: Awww, that sounds like so much fun! It’s so cute how they try to drink the falling rain drops :P

    didally: Haha, I reckon it be the same for every one intending to head out as well! Have a great holiday, dearie :)

    Reply

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