Hawai’ian Banana Bread with Lilikoi Cream
Yes, it’s exotic. We holidayed in Hawai’i when my son graduated from Vancouver. Beautiful isolated islands, tropical climate, incredible scenery, great people. The cuisine is very much centred around fish, fruit and vegetables, local and fresh.
We did a dive-day – snorkelling round the island of Lainai’i; food included. We had banana bread for breakfast, accompanied by passionfruit (Lilikoi) cream frosting. It was delicious and gave us so much energy, it set us up perfectly for a demanding day snorkelling in progressively more challenging environments. Our last snorkel was over a very deep ridge, pierced by a huge upswelling rock, which made the current flow up and over, bringing nutrients and fish from deep in the Pacific to our wondering eyes. It was like flying through the roof of a cathedral of light, shoals of fish flickering below. The taste of the moist sugary banana bread, with the icing cut through by the tang of passionfruit, brings back Hawai’i to me. I hope it brings you closer to that tropical paradise, too.
Our Seniors’ Lunch Group discussion this week was about Lent – and specifically about what we give up, why, and what we really couldn’t give up. Our chocolate-fiend (98 years old) gives up her daily chocolate, and really looks forward to Easter Saturday when she’s allowed to start again – she lines them up two days in advance to anticipate the taste. Chocolate, sherry, and crisps were the most popular self- denials, but we also had the daily news-fix to be renounced, and “biting my fingernails”. What we couldn’t give up included the telephone, the internet, the Saturday crossword and writing a daily diary – one of our members has written her own diary since the mid-1960s, which would be a fascinating social history if we were ever allowed to read it.
Makes 10 slices. 30 minutes preparation, 1 hour cooking, 30 minutes for the Lilikoi Cream
For the lilikoi cream: 90g softened butter, 120g cream cheese, juice of 4 passionfruits, 150g icing sugar
Pre heat your oven to 180°C. Grease and line a loaf tin.
Beat up the oil, sugar, vanilla essence and eggs in a large bowl until fairly fluffy.
In another bowl, mash the bananas with the yoghurt, then add them to the oil/sugar/eggs mixture.
Sieve in the flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt, mix well and then mix in the hazelnuts. You will have a gloopy delicious mixture. Do taste it thoroughly at this stage; it’s a cook’s prerogative to enjoy the cake mix. Scoop it into the loaf tin and bake for about 50-55 minutes until brown on top and beautifully spongy.
Take out and leave to cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, then turn out of the tin and leave to cool fully. You don't have to ice this to enjoy it, it's wonderful as it is.
To make the icing: soften the butter well – without melting it, but good and soft. Beat the butter well adding a spoonful of icing sugar at a time. I find a hand-held whisk is better at this than a mixer. When you’ve added half the sugar, start adding the juice and the cheese while whisking all the time and adding the sugar in spoonfuls. You will end up with a soft creamy mixture which tastes of fruit with a sharp edge from the cheese. If you can avoid eating the whole lot out of the bowl, just dollop the icing on top of the loaf. Keep somewhere cool until time to serve.
Are you on a beach? Listening to the surf?
A Hug from the Kitchen
Healthy, hearty, happy food, for good times and bad. Cheer yourself up, or spread the cheer around your family and friends.