As with most children, I was a fan of cake. All kinds of cake, except coffee cake. That, to me, was a filthy abomination. I mean WHY would anyone put coffee in a cake, especially for children? I couldn’t understand it. Cake was a place for jam, cream, ice cream, lemon curd, chocolate, lots of things, but definitely not for coffee. (I get it now before you try to persuade me I should try it :)
When I heard that we would be making banana bread in school, I thought that we were progressing down a similar path. We had cooked mackerel, and I was starting to become suspicious that perhaps Home Economics would not be fun after all. Despite growing up almost on the Atlantic shore, as a child I hated fish. Or, at least I thought I did. So, mackerel, then banana bread, I was losing faith.
What does banana bread even mean anyway? It isn’t really a bread, there is no yeast or rising process, but then there isn’t for soda bread either. It is made with baking powder, sugar, eggs, bananas, flour. Doesn’t that sound like a cake? But it really isn’t one is it? It can be light or heavy, depending on personal preference, but it is sweet and fruity. I was converted immediately. For me, banana bread is a delicious confusion, and I think I have improved it a step here with my twist.
Stepping back a little bit again – I should explain that I have been travelling for over 24 hours and am writing my mini banana bread missive from Kyoto so forgive me when I inevitably ramble, as I am – banana bread was brought back to the forefront of my consciousness when I visited Vancouver. It was everywhere, and in many variations. They love it.
Then more recently, in the Caribbean, I started thinking about the versatility of banana as an ingredient, and I have quite a few new recipes for you now that I developed last week, although I will spread them out over the next few months for I have no desire for this to become a banana blog, that would be a different thing altogether. I could call it bananas for bananas or something similar, but I won’t.
Back to my banana bread. I love coconut as an ingredient too. Occasionally fresh when I have the patience, and maybe a hammer, more often I use coconut milk or coconut cream, and occasionally dessicated coconut. Coconut oil is a great cooking oil which I use a lot too, and it is a decent substitute for butter in baking when you are cooking for somebody that can’t eat it. I have a curd recipe which includes it, I really must blog it here. Lime goes especially well with it, as does banana. It was a no brainer really.
I used a punchy little wrinkly lime from my local Indian shop. It had such sweet strong perfume, if you are in London, seek them out. If you can’t get them, don’t worry, a normal lime will do, just be sure to get a good one, as you don’t want waxed rind in your lovely bread. Dessicated coconut gives extra coconut flavour and texture and also lightens the crumb.
I hope you like it as much as I do. It is nice and light and zingy. I realised after I made it that it is dairy free too (my first draft said vegan, jet lag is a beast! Thanks to those who commented to correct me :)