I'm beginning to wonder if we should even say that we're cooking through Nigella's book, because we seem to have firmly established a routine of deviating from her recipes. This week was no exception; when we saw "sultanas" listed as the first ingredient we immediately agreed that this element was pointless and would not be included in our bread. As much as we love Britain and the Brits, we really can't understand this propensity to clutter everything up with raisins. Shudder! Can any of my British readers help me understand?
We did, however, think the rum was a good idea...(What? It is!) so we included it, as well as the 100g of dark chocolate Nigella suggests. The bread certainly comes together really easily and is a fantastic way to use up bananas, which seem to go incredibly ripe before we can finish them. I love the subtle kick from the rum, and the texture and depth added by nuts and chocolate chunks. Our one critique is that it could stand to be just a bit sweeter. In her book, Nigella says that this is the recipe for someone who is hesitant to try their hand at baking. I don't know if I would go that far -- I might suggest something like this or this -- but it is a yummy twist on a classic! Here is the recipe as I made it, with converted amounts for my fellow Americans :-). If you make it, do check it after an hour; I find that Nigella's recommended baking times can be a bit wacky.
75ml (4 T.) bourbon or dark rum
175g (1 1/4 cup) plain flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
125g (8 T.)unsalted butter, melted and cooled
150g (2/3 cup) sugar
2 large eggs
4 small, very ripe bananas, mashed
60g (about 1/2 cup) chopped walnuts
100g (about 2/3 cup) dark chocolate, chopped small
1 t. vanilla extract
loaf tin, buttered and floured or with a paper liner
Preheat oven to 170C/340 F. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, mix the melted butter and sugar and beat until blended. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the mashed bananas. Then, stir in the walnuts, vanilla extract, bourbon or rum, and chocolate. Add the flour mixture, a third at a time, stirring well after each addition. Scarpe into the loaf tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 1-1 1/4 hours, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Leave in the tin on a rack to cool. Makes 8-10 slices.