For months, I followed Nigella as she worked on her new cookbook, so when it finally went to print, I made sure to order a copy for the release. I had hoped to catch her in Edinburgh for her book signing, with the release of her book, but sadly it conflicted with a family holiday – although I did seriously consider the 5 hour drive just to see her!!
As soon as I could get a chance, I went through the book to see what new recipes I would soon be adding to my rotation (this did take longer than I had hoped to be honest. My fault, nothing to do with the book). I love Nigella and am still madly in love with the Domestic Goddess book which was a gift from a dear friend. The cover is well-worn and the pages inside bear evidence of the recipe ingredients. I could say I have probably made every recipe in that book now. Quite literally. I turned to baking, or rather Nigella, as a stress relief when I loved in London.
Baking pulled me out of my head. I had to concentrate on what I was doing and not on work, which was a nice relief. I was also trying to watch what I was eating, so I took to bringing in my baking to the office. I instilled ‘Cake Mondays’ at the office. This allowed me to bring in my baking, have a slice for myself and not worry about how I was going to get rid of the rest of it without having to eat it all myself (or worse, put it in the bin). Thankfully my work colleagues obliged me.
Every Sunday was a new recipe. I didn’t have many cook books at the time, and as I enjoyed many of the recipes I had tried, I kept going with Nigella. One at a time. Page by page. Some more successful than others. And today, I still pull it out and make a few favourites – the chocolate meringue filled with chocolate crème patissiere being one of them.
Her new book still feels true to her style, but adds in the current spices and ingredients which are on trend – many of which I adore! I also like that she still makes compromises with her cooking. For me it is so very real to the way we actually live, which is probably why I find it so easy to use her recipes. In an ideal world, I would love to spend my days procuring ingredients from the finest shops in the country. In reality, I find it difficult to make it to my computer to finish the online shop which was interrupted from a few days before. This doesn’t mean I don’t aspire to this greatness. It just doesn’t, or rather it isn’t able to happen as often as I would like it to.
I had great hopes for this recipe. Not to say it disappointed. It is in fact a lovely Banana Bread, much more so than her other recipe. However, my children don’t seem all that keen on the cardamom and the ‘bits’ (cacao nibs), which meant it couldn’t serve its intended purpose as a substitute for breakfast. I however, thought it was beautifully fragrant (I love cardamom) and the texture was lovely, even with the ‘bits’, as my son calls them. So I have saved some for myself and frozen the rest in pieces for me to enjoy later. I will make this again, even if only just for myself!
Recipe adapted from Simply Nigella’s Breakfast Banana Bread with Cardamom and Cocoa Nibs.
Makes 12 slices, 2lb loaf
- 2 Bananas, very ripe
- 2 Eggs
- 200 ml Plain Yoghurt (I used Coconut Collaborative Coconut Yoghurt)
- 125 ml Olive Oil, light and mild
- 325 g Plain Flour
- 200 g Light Brown Sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
- 2 tsp Cardamom, ground (alt 1 Tbsp Cardamom pods, shelled and then ground)
- 50 g Cocoa Nibs (Cacao Nibs)
2lb loaf tin
Oven 170C / Fan 150C
Preheat the oven and line the loaf tin with parchment, set aside.
Mash the bananas in a bowl, then beat in one egg at a time. Mix in the yoghurt. Then mix in the olive oil.
In another bowl measure out the flour and other dry ingredients, keeping the cocoa nibs separate. Whisk gently to combine the ingredients before adding them to the bowl of wet ingredients. Fold through until just mixed. Add the cocoa nibs and stir through so they are evenly distributed, before pouring the mixture into the prepared tin.
Bake in the oven for an hour, checking after 40 mins. A skewer should come out clean when it is ready. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool completely in the tin. Once cool, remove from the tin and wrap the loaf, with its original parchment in some more parchment, so it is fully covered. Then cover this with foil. Allow it to sit for a day before consuming.
It should last a week in an airtight container, or freeze slices wrapped in parchment and then stored in a freezer bag or wrapped in foil.