Thursday, November 6, 2014

Chocolate Banana Bread

Recently, I've been having trouble eating bananas raw.

I used to love them. But now I can't seem to eat them without gagging. So they need to be baked or blended or caked or cookied or waffled...

You get the idea...

I've made banana bread loads of times but I thought I'd try baking a chocolate banana bread this time.

Adding chocolate can only make things better, right?

I used a recipe from Smitten Kitchen and it was delicious; very chocolaty and very banana-y, both flavours strong but perfectly balanced, neither overshadowing the other.

And it could not have been easier. Dump everything in a bowl, stir, and stick it in the oven.

Chocolate Banana Bread
adapted from Deb Perelman


1¼ cup mashed bananas
4 oz butter, melted
¾ cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
a pinch of salt
1 cup flour
½ cup cocoa powder

  1. Preheat the oven to 350⁰F (180⁰C).
  2. Grease a 9x5 inch loaf tin with cooking oil or butter, and line it with wax paper (parchment paper).
  3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In another large mixing bowl, add the mashed bananas, melted butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla. Mix well.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until well combined.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin.
  7. Place in the oven and bake for about 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  8. Allow the loaf to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

More loaf cake recipes:

Banana Chocolate Chip Walnut Loaf

Orange Loaf

Date, Pistachio, and Lemon Loaf

Chocolate Chip Walnut Loaf

Monday, October 20, 2014

Cherry Crumb Bars and Snapshots from Skardu

How have I let almost a year pass by without posting anything new?! 

I mean, I sort of know how...

I never thought I'd let this much time go by though.

I had started to stress and obsess a bit over each post. I love working on this blog but I decided not to let it take over my weekends and my life. There's no point if it's adding to my stress levels instead of reducing them. 

So I decided to dial it down a bit. It was okay if I didn't get a post up every week. But one week passed, then two weeks, then a month, and somehow 10 months without a new post.

But I miss it. And I'm getting back to it.

What better way to begin again than with more gorgeous photos from Skardu? 

I was lucky enough to make another trip with my friends this summer (you can read about my trip two years ago here and here). We had been trying to plan this trip for a while and I'm glad we went when we did. It was a much needed break and definitely goes down as one of the best holidays ever.

Masherbrum Mountains

Fresh cherry juice at Khaplu Palace and Residence

Our hotel room at The Shigar Fort Residence
Clockwise from top-right: tea and Zerchoon, fruit for breakfast, fresh garden salad with local cheese, 
and Pharingbath for dessert.

We hiked all the way up to the ruins of the old Khaplu fort (pictured below) as well. Now hiking is quite possibly one of my least favourite things to do (I greatly dislike any sort of exercise really) and I gave up at least five times, but it was so worth it in the end because the view from the top was amazing.

Ruins of the old Khaplu fort

Khaplu Palace and Residence

I brought back a jar of cherry jam and I know this recipe is very similar to the last recipe I posted but, as I was looking through old recipes, I thought the jam would be perfect sandwiched between layers of buttery crumble. 

Cherry Crumb Bars


1 cup flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ cup caster sugar
a pinch of salt
4 oz cold butter, cut into cubes
1 small egg
¾ cup rolled oats

¾ cup cherry jam (you could use something else too, like strawberry or raspberry)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375⁰F (190⁰C). 
  2. In a large bowl, sift in the flour and baking powder. Add sugar and salt and stir to combine.
  3. Add the butter and egg. Using a pastry cutter or a knife, cut the butter and egg into the dry ingredients until the mixture starts to look crumbly and no large pieces of butter remain.
  4. Stir in the rolled oats.
  5. Grease a sheet of foil and press into a 8x8-inch square baking dish or pan. Press half the crumble mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.
  6. Spread the jam evenly over the crumb base.
  7. Sprinkle the remaining crumble mixture evenly over the jam filling.
  8. Place in the oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan before cutting into 16 squares.
  10. Store in an airtight container.
Makes 16.