These days it’s hard to find something that our whole family wants to watch together. The Great British Bake Off does the trick at the moment – Mel and Sue’s tongue in cheek comments, Mr Hollywood’s icy stare and Mary’s utter gorgeousness – and of course, each week there’s the ‘who do you think will be going home’ debate to be had. It’s always accompanied by a Thursday night takeaway (we watch it the day after it’s broadcast here and it’s also the start of our weekend in Dubai) plus some kind of ‘it’s the weekend’ cake … because it’s wrong to watch GBBO without a cake to hand. Come to think of it, maybe it’s the food that comes with it that makes GBBO so palatable to our teenage sons – whatever it takes to buy their attendance, I guess.
The cinema is an even bigger can of worms when it comes to keeping everyone happy.
- A rom-com only gets a yes from Hella, me and my lovely husband.
- Action films get a thumbs up from #1 and #2 teenage sons + my lovely husband. I can be persuaded.
- Sci fi works for the men of the house but not the ladies.
- Thrillers are often my cup of tea with my lovely husband. Nobody else.
- And animated movies get the vote from everyone – apart from me.
Admittedly, the pull of a bucket of popcorn (the salt & caramel mix if you please) or a Haagen Dazs chocolate milkshake (or both) + tickets courtesy of the Bank of Mum & Dad helps. But even that is sometimes insufficient to ensure full attendance.
But this weekend we nailed it with ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ – have you seen it? S0 many aspects of it made my heart sing –
- a (fairly) low budget film – I’m always a sucker for something without Hollywood money and polish
- set in the stunning New Zealand countryside
- fantastic observational, laugh-out-loud comedy moments mixed with good, clean action and a heartwarming storyline.
And we all LOVED it. A result of the highest order.
If I was trying to create the perfect end to the day, we’d have come home from the cinema to a gorgeous home baked cake to share (yes – teenage boys can still eat cake after demolishing a bucket of popcorn + a chocolate ice cream milkshake). This Spiced Banana and Coconut Loaf would have been just right. But that only happens in the movies – so instead we tucked into a rather nice Spaghetti Bolognese for dinner – and that’s always a sure fire route to family harmony and rhapsody over dinner.
Anyway, back to that cake. It’s yet another way to use up those pesky overripe bananas. We’ve had a few on the blog – Chocolate and Banana Bread, Nutella and Banana Muffins and Super Healthy Ice Cream. And then there were the smoothies – Raspberry Protein Shakes, Blueberry Pie Smoothies, Healthy Chocolate and Peanut Butter Shakes, Mango and Lime Smoothies and Summer Strawberry Smoothies.
But this recipe is a bit different. There are Asian flavours here – chinese five-spice and cinnamon – and the addition of coconut is a great balance to that banana. It’s tweaked from a recipe in Asia Light by Ghillie James and it’s a BIT different, but a LOT nice. The wholemeal flour makes it more substantial plus it contains no refined sugar. It keeps well too – we can thank the bananas for that – so if you want to make it ahead of time for your next post cinema treat, you’ll be in great shape.
In fact we’ve got our next cinema trip planned already (oh, the power of the pre-film trailer) – The Great Gilly Hopkins … and I feel certain that this one will be girls only. Maybe we could leave the boys at home to bake a cake….
- 125ml (4½ floz) coconut oil, plus a but extra for greasing
- 2 medium overripe bananas (about 200g (7oz) flesh) + half a banana (cut lengthways) to decorate (optional)
- 4 tablespoons coconut milk
- 100ml (3½ floz) runny honey + 1 tablespoon for decoration
- 2 medium eggs
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 225g (8oz) plain wholemeal flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon chinese five spice
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut
- Heat the oven to 170°C / 325°F (gas mark 3). Grease and line a 900g (2lb) loaf tin.
- Use a fork to mash the bananas.
- Put the coconut oil, coconut milk, 100ml honey, eggs and vanilla extract into a large bowl and mix well. Stir in the mashed banana.
- In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients - the flour, baking powder, chinese five spice, cinnamon and coconut. Now add these to the banana mixture and stir with a metal spoon until just combined.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and place the remaining half banana on to the top of the mixture (you can freeze the other half to make a small smoothie).
- Bake in the oven for 50-55 minutes until golden brown and a skewer pushed into the centre comes out clean. Check it after 45 minutes - you may need to cover the top of the cake with foil if it is browning too quickly.
- Towards the end of the cooking time, warm the extra tablespoon of honey slightly in the microwave until it is runny enough to brush.
- Once the cake is out of the oven carefully brush the top with the warm honey to give a beautiful glaze.
- Leave the cake to cool in the tin before tipping out and slicing to serve.