COZY BANANA BREAD FOR A RAINY SUMMER DAY






Let’s talk about rainy Summer days. This morning we woke and my first thought was that we’d skipped August altogether and had somehow been transported to the  middle of September. The morning air was crisp and the sky grey and gloomy. Jenna on the other hand didn’t mind at all a morning walk through soggy woods, the dew on the ground much appreciated after the recent heat wave. While zigzagging through wet leaves and bushes we encountered a small herd of elusive roe deer (six, I think) which were not nearly as amused as I was and did mostly what deer do: which is first panic and second hop off into the undergrowth.

Back at the house my socks and feet are wet and I’m feeling a bit uneasy to tell you the truth. I’m wondering if summer’s over with already and whether or not I should start brewing hot teas and rearranging the wardrobe with more seasonal attire. No, I’m being silly. I tell myself this is only the beginning of August and that means plenty of time for balmy dinners outside in the front garden and evening strolls with a gelato in tow. I check  the weather forecast for the couple of days ahead just to be sure, and it’s scorching sun all next week. Yes.

Today though, I’ve dried off and decided to beat the blues and enjoy the nice breeze by baking a rather cozy cake. It just sounded the right thing to do.


I hope you will excuse me presenting you with a recipe which has absolutely nothing to do with an Italian Summer day but my intent was solely to bring comfort to anyone in an (unexpected) rainy Summer morning situation.


This cake is nothing fancy, it’s an easy treat and the perfect accompaniment to a nice mug of coffee or afternoon tea with a good book.

Ingredients:
90ml milk of your choice (I normally use rice milk)
6 Tbsp. veg oil or coconut oil
6 Tbsp. maple syrup or honey
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 medium mashed ripe bananas
1 tbsp chia seeds+3 tbsp water
250gr flour (150gr self raising +50 rice flour+ 50 wholemeal flour)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder or cream tartar
½ tsp. sea salt
100gr chopped nuts + seeds (I used walnuts, pecans, flax and pumpkin seeds)
120gr chopped dark chocolate

Directions:
Preheat oven to 180° C.
Make the chia ‘egg’.
Put the milk, oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and bananas in a blender and blend until smooth.


 In a large bowl combine dry ingredients. Add banana mixture and combine using as few stroked as possible. Fold in nuts and chocolate.


Pour into a 24-cm cake pan and smooth the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean (1 hour and 10 min in my oven). If using a ring cake tin 35 minutes are enough.

And when the time came to take the cake out of the oven the clouds opened up just enough to show the glowing turquoise of an August sky. Typical.


Cheers to Summer and banana bread.

UPDATES - WHILE WE'VE BEEN AWAY

Hey there peeps,

We should really begin by apologising for the lack of content over this last month or so. From both of us...sorry. But hopefully this update will explain why, and what we’ve been up to. 

First on the list is some weeks ago Alessia found out she’s pregnant. We’re both thrilled to bits and I can’t wait until it’s born so we can start teaching him or her stuff. Having trouble agreeing on names at the mo but she’s not due until around Christmas so we’ve still got time. Her 20 week scan is coming up shortly so if we want we’ll be able to find out if it’s a boy or girl. Happy days. 

Item number two. One of my sources of income comes from farming sweet potatoes. Every year I help my in-laws plant, weed, water, turn and finally harvest the crop. It’s a process beginning around the end of March and by mid September they are ready to be dug up. Apart from the hot sun it’s also hard going on the legs, back and joints but it’s also peaceful, allowing my mind switch off and ponder. I’ll be in the field next week with a big stick turning the leaves for the last time this year. More on this in a future post.

The other week I borrowed my brother-in-law’s van to pick up 4 massive shipping pallets. When I say massive I mean it. These bad boys came in at 2.5x3 metres. Our friendly neighbour had to help me unload. Dismantling was surprisingly easy for a change. 

I didn’t split a single board. I used the block of wood and heavy mallet method. You have to flip the pallet upside down and raise it off the ground with some bricks, then position the block of wood so that one side is flat against the board you want to remove and the perpendicular side touches the pallet runner or rail. Give it a whack and repeat all the way down the line and once the nails come loose gravity allows the slat to drop to the floor. Maybe I got lucky though because some pallets are a nightmare. The amount of nails they use is a crime. 


Next is a brand new build project in progress. I won’t say what it is, but what I will say is it’s for the babe. When it’s complete they’ll be a separate blog post in the near future. For sure it’s my most ambitious wood working project to date, again using shipping pallets. Only this time I’ve taken things a step further by gluing the slats edge to edge to make panels. Really excited to see the finished product. Check out these snaps for a sneak preview.    


Have a look at these beauties. Home grown juicy goodness.


 So with a little one on the way we’ve been thinking that for this winter we’ll be needing to heat the house slightly more than in past years. Our idea is to install a small, cheap wood burning stove upstairs and have it connected to an external chimney attached to the side of the house. Most mornings when I walk Jenna I’ll come back with Jenna’s leash hooked to the belt loops of my trousers and a hefty log on my shoulder. Free fuel for the fire. I like it. 

And finally...look what Alessia made with her new loom. Oooooohhh!!


Thanks again guys for your patience, you won’t have to wait so long next time, I promise.

Bye for now

GIANT NEEDLES AND A WEAVING LOOM

Lately we’ve been inspired by some of the craft and home decor boards after browsing on Pinterest. There are so many creative and talented people with so many great ideas, it’s hard not to feel like trying something new, exploring our potential. I especially like the knit wear and textiles pages, in particular the cozy, wooly bedspreads and hand-woven cushion covers. Actually, all things soft. Only a lot of it is out of our price range. But that’s a good thing, right? All it means is we have to use our noodle, and have a go.
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