Chapter Four – “Béchamel Gate”

The Banana Bread That Saved the Day (made 1 large cake, served 30)

  • 6 massive bananas + 1 banana to top 
  • 4 tablespoons milk 
  • 250g butter
  • 5 small eggs
  • 500g self-raising flour 
  • Shake of salt 
  • Cinnamon – however much you want
  • 4 tablespoons of runny Greek honey 
  • 1 bar of chocolate (minus 1 piece…), chopped
  • Weird Greek vanilla powder (?) that you’ve never seen anywhere else, or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract 
  1. Smush bananas in a bowl 
  2. Add milk and vanilla powder
  3. Add eggs one by one to banana mix, mixing well after every egg 
  4. Add honey 
  5. Smush butter in a bowl with a wooden spoon (if you, like us, are whiskless). If butter is too hard hold over electric heater, because funnily enough butter doesn’t smush easily at temperatures of -1C
  6. Slowly pour banana mixture into butter using a spoon. Realise this doesn’t work, find a hand whisk, there must be one somewhere even if it is 30+ years old and one-armed. Beat until incorporated
  7. Fold in flour, salt and cinnamon 
  8. Add chocolate 
  9. Pour into oiled baking tray 
  10. Slice banana in half lengthways and press into top of mixture 
  11. Sprinkle with more cinnamon and a Syrian spoon of sugar 
  12.  Bake in preheated oven (180c) for 1 hour, or until golden brown and a knife comes out clean 
  13. Make sure everyone has had a chance to taste the leftover cake mix 
  14. Leave to cool for 10 minutes, or outside for 1 minute, before slicing and serving 

All-Hands-on-Deck Oat and Currant Cookies (made 40-50, varying sizes)

  • 300ml olive oil
  • 400g sugar 
  • 3 small eggs
  • Cinnamon
  • Salt
  • Vanilla powder (see above)
  • 200g currants 
  • 100ml boiling water 
  • 280g self-raising flour 
  • 600g oats 
  1. Mix together oil, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and salt 
  2. Forget you’re meant to have soaked the currants, put them in a wok or any other heat proof receptacle you having lying around, and add boiled water 
  3. Pause for 10 minutes while currants soak, lick some more of the banana bread bowl 
  4. After 7 minutes just pour the currant water into the oil/sugar mixture anyway (after all what difference can 3 minutes really make) 
  5. Fold in flour, oats and currants 
  6. Send everyone to wash their hands with soap, and hope for the best
  7. All hands in bowls, squeezing, squidging and rolling into balls of every size 
  8. Lay onto oiled baking trays and bake in preheated oven (180c) for 15-20 minutes, or until golden on top but still squishy
  9. Serve piping hot and fresh from the oven 

This post should probably start with an explanation of its title. After a trip to the local Saturday market to pick up the veg for today’s pasta dish, we set about making a bechamel sauce. Having been asked to make a creamy pasta we watched on in helpless horror as one thing after the next burnt to the bottom of the pan. We don’t recommend cooking bechamel sauce for 40, or cooking 3.5kg of pasta in one, albeit huge, pan. Slightly ashamed we carried a heavily improvised pasta bake upstairs. Safe to say you won’t need this recipe, but below are some photos for your entertainment. 

  

With bechamel gate safely behind us we turned our attention to the eagerly anticipated afternoon of baking. With all hands on deck, everyone crowded around the table to measure, smush, stir, beat, taste-test and hold bowls over electric heaters. Once the smell of banana bread and cookies had wafted through the OH, everyone gathered around to chat and enjoy a slice of their own home-baked goodness (although Ibrahim proudly declared them his cookies, and proceeded to thank himself for every one he ate!) Just like pizza Fridays, baking Saturdays are here to stay. 
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