Cookbooks hold a very special place in my life and I adore my collection.
Each one tells a story, not only of the recipes contained within their pages, but also the where and when I purchased or was gifted each book.
Many have pages splattered with various ingredients, or scribbles from my overzealous helpers, whereas others remain pristine as I have never cooked from their pages, preferring instead to adore their food photography and styling.
It’s not a huge collection compared to some; I vividly remember being jaw-droppingly astounded when I saw Sophie Zalakor’s cookbook “library” at her home in Pemberton.
One of my all-time favourite books is one I picked up on my Farm Weekly travels, at a favourite café in Balingup which at the time was owned by the wonderful Katrina Lane.
On a sidenote, Katrina is currently involved in launching WA’s first Food and Drink Symposium to be held in May (check out chuffed.org/project/fads).
Anyway, back then Katrina had a beautiful collection of carefully selected cookbooks from around the world and she directed me to one by a Tuscany-based author/cook named Tessa Kiros.
I was taken by the simple magnificence of Tessa’s recipes, with their charming blurbs of how each came to be. And, importantly, I’ve never had a failure following any of her recipes.
So when I was trying to perfect my banana bread recipe (the dreaded lunchboxes beckon again), I looked to Tessa for inspiration and wasn’t disappointed.
This recipe features in one of her earlier cookbooks, Apples for Jam.
No food lasts very long in the Everyday Baker headquarters, but bananas always tend to go black in the blink of an eye and I loathe food waste.
I like some crunch so I add some pepitas or sunflower seeds (to keep it nut allergy friendly for school), but the recipe also forms a delicious crust on top while cooking – which is another must for banana bread accordingly to my lads.
A handful of choc chips never go astray either.
180g dark brown sugar
3-4 medium sized ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
250g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons warm milk
Pinch of salt
½ cup pepitas or sunflower seeds
Pre-heat oven to 180C and line a loaf tin with baking paper.
Cream butter and sugar until smooth and add bananas.
Add eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and salt, mixing well.
Sift in flour and baking powder, beating until smooth.
Mix the baking soda into the warm milk and fold into the batter.
Scrape into the tin and bake for 50-55 minutes, until a skewer poked in the centre comes out clean.