Honey and the (almost) Spring time
It’s not really any great secret that I haven’t been in the best of moods these last few weeks. In fact, that’s probably a giant understatement, I just hope all those around me can forgive! It’s funny how the seasons impact on our moods but they do. We’ve only had a hint of what’s to come in the Spring time (albeit through a delightful 26 degree day) but already the light feels different, the days longer and the black cloud that has been encompassing me for the last few weeks has started to lift. I’m even wanting to get back into the kitchen… finally!
Whether it is Autumn or Spring, I find the change of seasons the most exciting time of the year. It brings relief from the harshness of the season before and great anticipation about the season to come. For me, one of the first signs Spring is on its way are the gorgeous plum blossoms at my Mum’s place. There is nothing nicer than coming up the drive way and seeing the sea of delicate pink beautiful blossoms covering the what looked like dead tree branches only a few weeks before. They don’t last long but they are pretty.
I always associate Spring time with bees and with bees obviously comes honey. It’s not an ingredient I use a lot of in my baking but it has a unique flavour which I do really love. The intensity of the sugar is different, it almost tingles on your tongue and just makes life that little more interesting. Plus it works really well with banana (which I always seems to have plenty of) and dates (which I rarely use but love).
Now I can’t take all the credit for these babies, my adorable little (ok not that little!) brother Ant helped me. We love cooking together, it’s our thing. Getting to spend time with him is very restorative and I really notice it when I don’t see him for a while. He loves unconditionally and is a complete character so it’s always good for the soul to spend time together, especially in the kitchen. Funnily enough though he very rarely indulges in whatever we’ve created, more for the rest of us I guess!
Honey and banana loaves with tea soaked dates (makes 8-10 mini loaves or 12 medium muffins)
- 3 self raising flour
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 3 medium ripe bananas, mashed,
- 1 medium ripe banana, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup strong earl grey tea
- 1/2 cup chopped dates
- 2 eggs
- Chopped walnuts (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and lightly grease a non-stick mini loaf pan or muffin tin.
- Soak the dates in the tea for the about 10 minutes to infuse.
- Sift the flour into a bowl and add the caster sugar. Mix to combine and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, combine the mashed banana, vegetable oil, honey and eggs and mix well. Add the dates and tea.
- Make a well in the flour and sugar mix and add the wet ingredients. Mix gently with a wooden spoon until just combined. Don’t over mix as the cakes will end up tough.
- Divide the mixture into the mini-loaf pan or muffin tin, filling each hole until it is about 2/3 full. Top with the sliced banana and walnuts (if using) and bake for about 25-30 minutes until golden brown and cooked through (they are rather moist so don’t worry too much if the skewer doesn’t come out completely clean, you just don’t want it wet).
Enjoy the change of seasons, wherever you are in the world!