Sunday, 7 August 2016

Banana loaf (#ReadCooEat - The woman who walked in sunshine)

The Woman who Walked in Sunshine by A.McCall Smith is the latest installment of Mma Ramotswe's best-selling series. Its gentle humour, kindness and humanity for me are a literary equivalent of comfort food, the kind your Mum cooked for you when you were a child, and when the world appeared smaller and kinder. There is also comfort in recognition of the same behaviours from the same characters. In a way, this series is a bit like fairy tales for grown-ups, and I love it.

Mma Ramotswe is "forced" to go on holiday, and this proves to be quite a challenge for her, as she is not sure what to do with all her free time.

As a foodie, I'm always curious to read just what the book characters cook and eat:
"A bowl of meal porridge, drowned in milk and sweetened by a spoonful of syrup, was followed by a piece of toast spread with dripping and then sprinkled with salt and pepper. The toast was an indulgence - even by Mma Ramotswe's standards - but it was the one culinary treat she felt unable to give up, even in the face of evidence that it was really not very good for you" I don't even eat dripping on bread, but this delicious description makes me want to run to the shop and buy some. The power of word! "Mma Ramotswe finished her piece of toast, licking the last of the dripping off her fingers. It was the most delicious foodstuff imaginable; there was nothing, she thought, to beat dripping. You could order the most expensive dish on the menu at President Hotel and it would not taste anywhere near as delicious as dripping. Bread and dripping, preferably eaten outside, in the shade of an acacia tree, with the lowing of cattle not far away - what could be more perfect than that?"

Clearing the kitchen cupboards, Mma Ramotswe discovers some semi-forgotten foods: "Right at the top were the sweet things - the jars of produce she bought from the sale of work out at Kgali Junction: melon jam, cumquat spread, marmalade made out of bitter oranges from the Cape..."

Still on the matter of clearing off the pantry shelves:
"Dessicated coconut - something that Mr J.L.B. Matekoni loved on the rare occasions when they had a curry... And brown sugar, normally so useful for making the banana loaf that Puso and Motholeli so hankered after, was similarly spoiled when ants had somehow worked their way into the package..."

I've tried to find if there is a specific banana loaf, typical of Botswana. The only recipe for the banana loaf that originates in Botswana which I manage to find appears in Mma Ramotswe's Cook Book. I have seen this book in the library in the past, and even borrowed it to read last year or so.

If you want to read how to cook Motholeli's Disappearing Cake, The Dessert Spoon blog has reproduced the recipe from the book. It is a very basic banana bread recipe. I decided to jazz it up a bit, but not too much, trying to take into consideration which ingredients could be found in Mma Ramotswe's kitchen.

Banana loaf for Puso and Motholeli
3 ripe bananas
100g demerara sugar
4tbsp olive oil
2tbsp golden syrup
2 eggs
pinch of salt
1tsp baking powder
1/2tsp cinnamon
1tsp vanilla essence
225g self-raising flour

In a mixing bowl mash ripe peeled bananas with a fork. Add the sugar, olive oil, golden syrup, salt, baking powder and vanilla and mix well. Beat the eggs in, finally add the flour and mix well together. The batter is quite thick. Spoon into a greased loaf tin, sprinkle a bit of demerara sugar on top, and bake at 180C for an hour.

It is a lovely, not too sweet banana bread. Great with a cup of tea. Of course, for a proper Mma Ramotswe's experience you'll need to have it with a cup of rooibos tea.

Have you read a book recently which inspired you to run to the kitchen and cook to your heart's content?

I hope you are inspired by books to join in the #ReadCookEat challenge.

The idea is to choose a book, either a world classic or modern fiction, or even memoirs and pick up a dish mentioned or described in that book and then recreate it in a recipe. Please say a few lines about your chosen book, and maybe even do a quote from the book.

If you decide to take part, please add the badge to your post and link up back to me, and either use a link-up tool or add the url of your post as a comment. Alternatively, email me with the link to your post (my email is sasha1703 at yahoo dot com).

I promise to Pin all blogs posts taking part in this challenge, as well as RT and Google+


  1. aw this challenge is such a cool idea! Too bad I suck at cooking haha

    1. Thank you Kristina! It doesn't have to be anything complicated. A quick and easy dish will be just fine, as long as it is mentioned in a book

  2. I'm doing some baking this week and really enjoyed this post. I've not made banana loaf before so I'll be giving this a try xoxo

    1. Thank you, Holly! Have fun baking this week!

  3. Always love a good banana bread slice. I've enjoyed this post too - Whats to deadline and how many can you share . I am a terrible book reader, but I do love the sound of this challenge that may get me to pick up more books and join in

    1. Shaheen, it's until the end of August. Would love you to join in, if not this month, then there's always the next month. :)

  4. Love these books and the literary equivalent to comfort food is a very good way to describe them. I'd completely forgotten about this challenge of yours. If only I had the time to read! The banana cake sounds wonderful.

    1. Thank you Choclette, this challenge is slowly ongoing, so if you ever fancy joining in, you're most welcome.

  5. I LOVE banana bread - I always pounce on the over-ripe bananas to make one whenever I get the chance ! I also have a couple of #readcookeat recipes that I already posted so I'll go and hunt them out :)

  6. I LOVE banana bread - I always pounce on the over-ripe bananas to make one whenever I get the chance ! I also have a couple of #readcookeat recipes that I already posted so I'll go and hunt them out :)