The beach house was tucked away in a sleepy suburb 45 minutes away from the city center. At first, no one seemed to mind the trek to what would be our home for the next four days. We were all excited about the prospects of an extended weekend, a long overdue family vacation. My first impression was that the house itself was almost like a secret that was too good to be true. It felt like this house had exclusive access to the pristine beach front situated right in front of it. I couldn’t believe how lucky we were NOT to be sharing such a wonderful view with anyone (or at least it seemed that way!).
Might as well be upfront and let you know that sometimes vacations sounds more idyllic when you’re thinking about them – than actually going on them. Especially when you are a group of four families, with each family having at least one representative who is very outspoken and stubborn about getting their way. In fact, my brother in law, commented one day after an hour of healthy debate, that it was easier to organize the European Union than it was to organize our family lunch. But somehow, we always managed to resolve things quickly. The easiest way, we found, was to separate during the day – one group would explore the various surrounding towns, driving to the markets and searching for Tasmania’s famous scallop pies. The rest would stay in the beach house, go for a swim, build sandcastles and pass the time playing computer games. When we got back, we’d trade stories about the day’s adventures. We were all very impressed when my nephew found a beautiful seashell which he was planning to keep for a souvenir.
At night however, we’d gather around the lounge room and reminisce – funnily enough – about our old holidays! We’d talk about how we’d go to Baguio, one of the popular holiday destinations in the Philippines every Christmas time. We’d talk about the games we used to play to pass the time (hours and hours of monopoly), the neighbors we used to hang around with. And of course, the dishes we used to eat – the first meal would always be adobo, and lumpia. So one night, in honour of the olden days, we had adobo.
And then there was the Banana Bread. I had no intention of baking or cooking this weekend. But somehow all resolve vanished when I saw in the general store we passed on the way to the house, a box full of brown, overripe bananas just waiting to be baked. Some people may have turned their nose up at the produce, but I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to get them for 50 cents!
And so, I baked a homely and delicious banana bread made from the goodies I could find from the general store. Chocolate chips, walnuts, dates and of course the 50 cent bananas. As a testament to how good it was (that and of course, as a testament to how many bananas I actually bought!), I made two batches. The first one using white sugar, and the second one using more dates and brown sugar I managed to find in the cupboard. I’m sharing with you the second recipe – which I personally enjoyed more.
I never got to find out if Ben took the seashell… oh well – at least we will always have memories of this great vacation and of course…the banana bread…
- 2 cups flour
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup dark/semi sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1 cup dates, steeped in hot water for 5 minutes and chopped
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 100 grams melted butter, cooled (I didn’t have a scale so I just eyeballed it)
- 3 large ripe bananas, mashed
- Mix the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl
- In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, butter, bananas, chocolate chips, walnuts and dates
- Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and pour into a brownie pan or a loaf pan that has been buttered
- Bake in a 20cm by 20 cm brownie pan (or a loaf pan if you’ve got it) in a pre-heated fan forced oven at 180c for 30 to 40 minutes until you can pierce the batter with a knife and it comes out clean.