Monday, October 02, 2006

Good Weekend

It seems like months since we entertained at home or I baked for Guillermo. Actually, the last time was just over a month ago when we had our friends, a sweet young couple, Matt and Lorena, over for scones and brownies. Maybe I am being too demanding on myself, not allowing enough down time to recover fully.

While a full scale dinner party for eight is not on the cards just yet, I couldn't help but faffed around the kitchen when I found myself home alone Sunday afternoon.

Since returning from England where chess is not a popular competitive sport like here in Argentina, Guillermo has been keen to boost his international ranking by playing with other ranked (accredited) players. No, no, please stay calm; he is not an Argentine Kasparov or Fischer. He just enjoys playing competitively and coaches a couple of chess Grand Masters in cognitive skills; both are professional players on the international circuit and one of them the Argentine National Champion.

When there is a tournament, usually lasts over a month, I become a chess widow. For the past few weeks, he has been involved in a team tournament but had the substitute player stood in a couple of times because of my condition. One game is 4 hours' long and these tournaments are held in chess clubs in the sticks so a game takes him away for a good 6-7 hours. I am keen that not just me but both of us get back to our normal lives so I encouraged him to go for Sunday's match.

Before his big game on Sunday, we had a leisurely walk late morning which ended at Como en Casa in Barrio Norte. It was a very nice day and the cafe/bakeshop was simply too alluring so we ended up having cheesecake with berries and coffee as early lunch (viewers at home, please do not copy this unhealthy act).

Guillermo then left for his match and I stayed home to watch movies which do not interest him. We go to the cinema often and still average one movie rental a week; so far we have managed to find common grounds thanks to our local Blockbuster – my choices are eclectic but my husband's are downright "selective" – no horror, no action, and no Hollywood fluff. Well, it was perfect time for my dose of "fluff" – I watched The Family Stone.

Movie over, I still had too much time on my hands. I looked around my kitchen and spotted some bananas so I thought of the tub of dulce de leche, originally bought for making Nicolás' cake (my sister-in-law's one year-old). There are types of dulce de leche for normal consumption (some eat it with everything) and those for dessert making (para repostería) which are much gunkier.

I bought the latter so I felt inspired to make "banoffee bread". Since I made it up in my head, I had to find some basic recipe to adapt. I had previously adapted Bill Granger's banana choc-chip bread recipe with success – I replaced half the plain flour with wholemeal, butter with sunflower oil and cut sugar by half. This time, I did the same with the flour, oil and sugar. I also left out the chocolate chips completely; instead, I added some walnuts and rolled blobs of this dulce de leche in the flour; then I mixed them into the batter. The result is like a banana and toffee ripples bread. I reckon if you don't live in dulce de leche land, you can chop up some fudge.

Banoffee Bread

1 cup wholemeal flour
1 cup plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
120ml sunflower oil
1/2 cup organic sugar
4 large, ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla exact
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup soft fudge, chopped in small pieces

Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 19cm x 11cm loaf tin with baking parchment.

Sift flours and baking powder into a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix oil, bananas, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Now add dry ingredients to the wet and mix to combine.

Pour batter into the loaf tin and bake for 1 hour and 15 min or until a tester comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 min. It stores well and improve in moistness.

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