Banana Bread? Yes, Please

Baking. It’s all anybody seems to be planning to do, isn’t it? Judging by the lack of flour on the shelves, at any rate. But what, exactly, to bake? We’ve made gazillions of cupcakes throughout the last few years (and still, believe it or not, I suck at them). We’ve done sponge. We made brownies the other day. What’s guaranteed to be eaten, and tasty?

Well, banana bread, of course. Filling, simple, with one of your five a day – what’s not to love? I found a recipe on Pinterest using 4 very ripe bananas (my kids never want bananas when we have tons of them… strange little beings) and changed it a bit to suit us.

We used

  • 4 ripe bananas (we like them browning for cooking)
  • 45g melted butter
  • 100g sugar
  • 1 egg, pre beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla paste
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Generous dash of salt
  • 200g plain flour
  • Generous handful chopped Brazil nuts
  • 3 rows of Dairy Milk (from the sharing size bar)

We used the Aga, and I slightly miscalculated the heat of the ovens – next time, I’ll use the bottom one, but for standard ovens, 180 is recommended. Preheat it before you start – not something I had to worry about!

I got the girls to mash the bananas and the melted butter together, then we added all the dry ingredients, flour last, then the nuts and chocolate chips (some may have escaped – into tiny mouths or large ones? Who knows… shush). It’s really that simple – then just pour into a bread pan, cook for 45-60 mins (until a skewer comes out clear) and Bob’s your Uncle.

We decided to use our daily exercise allowance to take the banana bread on a picnic in the field next to the house – with some Dairy Milk spread, too, of course!

Sum Ting Fresh

If you’re a follower on Instagram, you may have noticed my now-monthly obsession with fried chicken. A specific fried chicken, in fact, from local food-truck-turned-restaurant Sum Ting Fresh.

Started in 2012 by Hezron Louw and Andrew Leeuw as a loose idea of a food truck, they opened their restaurant in trendy Norwood in 2016.

I first tried the wonder which is their Gua Bao in early 2017 at the St. John’s Rugby Fest. I was on the lookout for something gluten free for my sister, and found these beautiful little fluffy buns of joy. A few weeks later, we went to Neighbourgoods Market in Braamfontein for the first time, and found them again. I was hooked. Pete took a bit longer to come around, but we soon found ourselves making excuses, on Saturday mornings, to drive into town for our fried chicken fix.

At the end of 2017, when I was 8 months pregnant, that same sister got married in Hartebeesport, the most beautiful location an hour from Johannesburg. The day after their wedding, guess who did the catering? Yup, the one and only Sum Ting Fresh popped up again. Imagine my pregnant excitement? I think I ordered 2 portions of Gua Bao.

Then, the Bedfordview Night Market came to town. On the last Friday of every month, Jeppe Quondam, a local sports centre, allows the market to take over their cricket pitch. After a couple of months, Sum Ting Fresh moved in. Well, that was us happy forever. We could have our date nights in between, at their Norwood location, and, once a month, we could sit outside in the lovely evening air and enjoy our chicken while the kids go crazy on the bouncy castles.

The Norwood cafe is now closed for renovation, until further notice. We are exceptionally thankful for the Night Market, especially as we are heading to the U.K. for the next 7 weeks. We managed to get our final Sum Ting Fresh fix for the year, last night! I wonder if it’ll tide us over long enough, until we’re back in the lovely, hot, African summer sun?

Sprout

So any reader knows, Elia can’t handle cows’ milk proteins in my milk. This is different to a lactose intolerance (often commonly mistaken) which is found in all milks, including human, and is very rare. Cows’ milk protein sensitivity/intolerance is quite common in small babies. Mostly they grow out of it by about a year, but until then, it’s up to the breastfeeding mama not to ingest any form of cows’ milk.

So, with that in mind, my friend, Alésia, took me to Sprout cafe in Greenstone. Alésia’s 7 month old son, Thomas, has a very strong reaction to cows’ milk proteins, so she has become my guru in finding safe places to eat.

Elia and Thomas – besties!

Sprout opened fairly recently, and is a sort of vegan-health-food paradise. The majority of the menu shies away completely from animal products, adding them in if you ask for them (like in the spring rolls) or making it very clear on the menu (burgers, anyone). But it’s a very clear winner for people with sensitivities or allergies – or whose babies have the same!

Unfortunately they had run out of decaf coffee when we went (this isn’t a breastfeeding ‘thing,’ I just haven’t drank caffeine for about 5 years, since it started giving me heart palpitations) so I didn’t get to try their famous almond milk cappuccino – but I did have a lovely berry smoothie.

We had both eaten already, so decided to have something ‘small’ and go for a piece of cake. Their cakes are completely devoid of anything animal based, so I treated myself to a glorious carrot cake (seriously, it was the best) and Alésia had the chocolate. This was also amazing – you’d never know it was vegan!

The total price for both of us was R180, super reasonable. I brought a menu home to show Pete, and he wants to go now, too!

Sprout is in Stoneridge Centre next to Greenstone mall in the east of Johannesburg. They are also now on Mr. Delivery!