How would you answer if I asked you what your favourite meal of the day is? Technically I'm not sure that afternoon tea counts as a meal, but even if it did, you may be surprised to know that it's not my favourite. No, if I had to choose, I would actually plump for brunch. 'Why?' I hear you ask. I'll tell you for why!
- Firstly, brunch is not a meal I have the pleasure of eating often, thus, because of it's rarity, I appreciate it all the more when I do get to have it.
- Secondly, the days that I eat brunch are usually weekends or luxuriously languorous days off, therefore I associate brunch with happy times (agreed, all meal times really are happy times for me, but when you have nothing planned ahead of you other than hitting the shops for some retail therapy, or catching up with friends, a meal to set you up for such a day is particularly delightful).
- Thirdly, and probably the biggest reason why I love me some brunch action, is that it's about the only meal where it is acceptable for your main sustenance to come in sweet form rather than savoury. Tell someone you're eating a stack of pancakes drowning in maple syrup for dinner and you'd probably get more than a few tuts of disapproval over your unhealthy meal choice, but tell them it's for brunch and all of a sudden it becomes acceptable. Just think about it: waffles, pancakes, French toast, Danish pastries, muffins, cereal, all sweet and all edible sans judgment. Ohhhhh yesssss, big-up the brunch!!!
Not surprising then that for my brother's birthday last Sunday, I suggested we should celebrate with a get-together over my favourite meal. My family doesn't do food by halves so there were all manner of delicious things to eat, but my primary concern was, of course, what I could bake. I opted for banana and chocolate bread - delicious (studded with satisfyingly large nuggets of chocolate) and nutritious (well, it's got banana in it!) - and so an ideal brunch option methinks.
So what the 'ecky-peck are you waiting for?! Make your next day off a brunch day and bake this bread for the occasion. Trust me, your life will be all the better for it!
- 200g plain flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 125g caster sugar
- 250g mashed bananas (approx. 2 bananas)
- 1 large egg
- 115g unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
- 4 tbsp milk (I've used both whole and semi-skimmed; both worked equally as well)
- 125-140g plain chocolate (40% cocoa), chopped into chunks
Sift the flour, baking powder and spices together into a large bowl, then add the caster sugar and lightly mix.
In a separate bowl, beat together the mashed bananas, egg, melted butter, oil and milk.
Being careful not to over-stir, gently fold the dry ingredients into the bowl of liquid ingredients.
Stir in the chocolate chunks, reserving a few, if desired, for sprinkling over the top.
Pour the batter into your lined tin, sprinkling your reserved chocolate chunks over the top.
Bake for 10 minutes at 180C (160C fan), before reducing the temperature to 160C (140C fan) and baking for a further 45-55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes before removing from tin and leaving to cool on a wire rack.
Taking inspiration from Bill Granger, might I recommend serving slices lightly toasted, dusted with icing sugar and with a spoon of ricotta cheese on the side.