There's something amiss in the dining room. There are five places set but only four of us are present. I look around and shrug my shoulders. My father is always late. He spends hours doing something that should take half an hour. The scary thing is that I'm pretty sure I'm inheriting that trait. The more I realise how similar I am to my parents and the more I push to be different, the more aware I become of how all the paths in front of me are leading to the same destination. But that's okay.
Sometimes you can't rush things. I like spending time mulling things over but I think that my dad could represent Lebanon in the Olympic mulling-things-over team. Not that there is such a thing. Sorry to disappoint. It takes another twenty or so minutes before he's back. He was at the supermarket, he says. He didn't buy much, he adds. My dad has a habit where he sticks by a simple set of essentials that he buys on every trip to the supermarket. This hasn't changed for years. Bread, eggs, milk, cheese and bananas. The thing is, those are all staple food items but he has one extra issue to contend with - he always buys far too much. In his mind it's better to have too much than to have too little. Not that I necessarily agree with that theory but he'd grown up in a country during a long civil war - you had to always stock up just in case.
The bread, eggs, milk and cheese all get eaten before their expiry date but the bananas always linger. As banana connoisseurs know, there's nothing wrong with a browned banana, but when they turn that unappealing colour the collective mindset changes and bananas get left to rot. Herein lies the problem. We always have too many bananas going off at the same time. So over the years we've had to find a way to use them. Aside from smoothies or milkshakes, this is probably the simplest and tastiest recipe you could make. I've layered it with crunchy peanut butter and nutella to make this really difficult to resist but having it naked (the cake, not you) is just as rewarding.
3 overripe bananas - mashed
130g of butter + more for greasing
250g plain flour
2 large eggs - lightly beaten
150g soft brown sugar
2 teaspoons of baking powder
a sprinkle of cinnamon + nutmeg
peanut butter (optional)
Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and flour a cake tin (1kg capacity). Whisk the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Add the bananas. Sift the other ingredients into the mixture and work until fully incorporated. Pour into the baking tin and bake for 45minutes -1 hour or until browned and a toothpick comes out of the deepest part clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cut up into big portions and serve up with peanut butter and the nutella or a vanilla cream. This is no-nonsense and decadent in a different way. It'll keep at room temperature for four days (covered in cling-film).