In 2019, one of my personal goals was to find my favourite banana bread recipe. At this age, some people think, “it’s time to have kids”, “it’s time to shift careers” or even “it’s time to buy a second home”. But for me, it was time to find THE banana bread. I love me some banana bread, but finding my favourite recipe has been quite a journey. Over the entire year, I tried no less than 5 different recipes, and here is the end result - the recipe that ticked all the boxes I was looking for; not too sweet, less flour-y, and maintains its moistness even after a day.
Tip 1: The bananas need to be ripe as shit. Ripe. As. Shit. Like almost blackened. This way, you’ll use less sugar and get better caramelization of the natural sugars in bananas.
Tip 2: Cover the cake with foil for the first 30 minutes of baking. This way, the top doesn’t dry up while making sure the cake is cooked through.
What You Need:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups mashed bananas
115 gm unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup Greek yoghurt
What You Do:
1. Pre-heat oven at 180 degrees. Grease your banana bread loaf pan.
2. Sift flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
3. In a mixer, beat butter and sugar for 4 minutes.
4. Add eggs. Then the yoghurt. Then the mashed bananas.
5. Stop the mixer. Add the dry ingredients. Mix everything, but don’t overmix it. It’s okay to have some lumps.
6. Transfer your batter into the loaf pan. Cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes.
7. Take off the foil and bake for another 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clear when you poke in the middle of it.
8. Eat warm, and if you feel deserving, eat with some butter too.
The first time I had this was in Amalfi, Italy. It doesn't get anymore movie-like, guys. I was sitting outside at a cafe by one of the small streets of that Italian town, the waiter was singing along to some Italian song playing softly on the radio, and the small plate with a slice of the most delicious, decadent chocolate almond torte was right in front of me. There's just something about the use of almond flour instead of regular flour that brings the dessert a nutty, fragrant quality to it. There's no oil or butter in the mix, which makes the whole thing taste light, and yet the dark chocolate, enhanced with some salt, makes it feel really luxurious.
Anyway, if I have any regret in life, it is that I didn't order a second plate of this at the cafe. This version I'm sharing comes close to the real thing - until next time I'm back in Amalfi, that is.
What You Need:
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup 100% cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Optional - sea salt flakes to garnish (I use Maldon sea salt flakes)
What You Do:
1. Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius. Take the mixer out for some action.
2. On medium speed, mix the eggs and sugar until it's a pale-colored mix.
3. Add the almond flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda until smooth.
4. Pour batter into a round baking tin lined with baking paper, and greased with a little olive oil.
5. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on your oven. The cake is done when you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.
6. Allow to cool, and then sprinkle the salt flakes if using.
7. Best eaten at whatever temperature, really. If you want to store it, make sure it's in an airtight container so it doesn't dry out (or wrap it in clingfilm).
My yoga classes are usually at night, after work. And by the time I get home, it's usually already 9.30 pm, and although I stay away from food at least 2-3 hours before bed time, sometimes hunger just screams, especially after a gruelling work out drill. At this point it becomes really easy to start on the junk. So enter this magical wonder - the chocolate chia seed pudding.
What the hell are chia seeds anyway? The first time I tried it I gagged because it tasted like frog eggs/spawn (ok I've never eaten frog spawn, but chia seed certainly looks like them). Chia seeds are actually edible seeds that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (like the one in salmon!), fiber, iron and calcium. Now, don't they sound better than that caramel pudding you're about to pound on?
After a few tries/errors, I now present to you a chia seed dessert that is so delicious and will NOT remind you of amphibian eggs.
And if you're feeling vegan, substitute the milk with coconut milk.
This recipe makes one portion of pudding.
What You Need:
3-4 tbsp chia seeds
fresh milk, 4x the amount of chia seeds you're using
1 tsp of date syrup
1 tbsp 100% cocoa powder
Fruits of your choice (I recommend blueberries, strawberries or bananas)
What You Do:
1. Combine everything except for the fruits in a bowl. Use a whisk to make sure everything is incorporated.
2. Relocate into a glass, cover with clingfilm.
3. It needs to sit for at least 4 hours. You know it's ready when it's firm but not dry (if it does seem dry, add a splash of milk/water)
4. Top with fruits, and some dark chocolate shavings.
5. Best enjoyed when it's cold, and you've just finished a yoga class.
I don’t care much for childish desserts. You know, the one where it’s all just too much sugar, too much colouring and too little indulgence. I stay away from refined sugar as much as possible, but for recipes like these it seems almost forgiveable to consume a dark, gooey mess of fine dark cocoa treat. Nigella Lawson perfected this ‘pudding’ using dark chocolate, making the dessert taste bittersweet and exquisitely delicious.
This recipe is a hit with my family, surprisingly my Dad who doesn’t really like sweet desserts. It pays to use good quality eating chocolate and good butter. Because I’m lazier than Nigella, I’ve altered the measurements so I could easily use a whole chocolate bar and half a common stick of butter. I also changed the type of flour to get a nice rise out of the puds.
This makes 3 large puddings or 5 small ones.
What you need:
100g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa*
¼ cup self-rising flour
¾ cup caster sugar
What you do:
* For God's sake, do NOT use Kijang/Nona/Cap Ayam Chocolate. Treat yourself and get a smooth bar from Frey, Lindt or others.