You may remember the week I ate like Cher. No? Well, you’d be forgiven for forgetting since it happened just shy of two years ago now. This is how rubbish I have been at blogging. I had grand intentions of following a novelty celebrity recipe book each month but got as far as doing one before real-life and a full time job got in the way.
So, here I go again. Only this time, I will not only be making food from ridiculous cookbooks, but I will also be making my own recipes inspired by food seen in TV shows and films I like, and also food that is referenced in song lyrics.
First up is the ‘Cooking with FRIENDS’ cookbook which I found in my local British Heart Foundation charity shop for £1.50. Since I had a bunch of bananas which had turned as black as my heart, I decided to give Marcel the monkey’s recipe for banana bread a go. I haven’t documented the process, because to be honest I don’t want this to be a step-by-step cooking guide. It’s pretty much just an excuse for me to eat more food and have fun styling it. (Lesson one: I have no real interest in the cooking process, I just love eating; it’s all I think about.)
Remember the episode where Ross Geller’s pet monkey Marcel swallows a ‘K’ Scrabble tile and they take him to the hospital? That’s the inspiration behind my Scrabble-themed set-up.
‘Cooking with FRIENDS’ is a disappointment. I’m sorry to the creators, but largely the recipes are all ‘inspired’ by New York, and are not pulled from Friends episodes. That said, in their defense, it was published in 1995 so perhaps a lot of these foody-episodes hadn’t actually taken place yet. If you’re wondering how to make Rachel’s famous trifle, you won’t find it in here, nor will you find Ross’ Thanksgiving sandwich complete with ‘the moist maker’. A quick internet search will help you out in that department, but I’m sure I’ll be making my own versions soon enough.
On the upside, this banana bread is really easy to make. I got away with whacking all of the ingredients in a bowl straight away. Any recipe that tells me I have to separate wet and dry ingredients first makes me mentally switch off. I’m not sure how food bloggers cope – I didn’t have the time to style or take photos of the banana bread straight away and this ended up sat in the fridge for a whole week, so by this point the ends were a little dry but in the middle it tasted silky smooth, so I imagine eaten fresh this would have had the perfect velvety sponge. I guess I’ll just have to make it again (what a shame).
6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup of sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (roughly 3 bananas)
1 1/2 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
If you were to follow the recipe, it suggests mixing the wet and dry ingredients separately, before combining and then adding the nuts. Screw this – whack it all in the bowl, mix thoroughly and then throw in the nuts. I added some to the top of the loaf. It also instructs you to put the loaf in the oven at 350′ for an hour. I have a fan oven, which I set at around 180 and I kept an eye on it. This is my really high-tech level of cooking. Stick a knife or skewer into the middle of your loaf, and when it comes out clean, it’s ready. If you find it is starting to get too brown on top, simply put a sheet of baking paper or foil on the top to prevent burning, et voila! One delicious banana bread.
If I was to make this recipe again (which I’m pretty sure I will) I would like to try another variation and perhaps add chunks of chocolate to the mixture, but definitely not any Scrabble tiles.
‘Cooking with Friends’ was written by Amy Lyles Wilson with recipes by Jack Bishop, published by Rutledge Hill Press (1995).