Some people are afraid of making mistakes, myself included. I’m the type who would stubbornly dig around, suffering in silence, for answers that can easily be found just by asking people. To me, asking for help meant admitting the lack of my ability. The fear, I figure, comes from the fear of being judged and criticised by parents and teachers as a teenager, and I often associate making mistakes with failure as if falling into a deep, deep puddle, which gives me anxiety and stops me from trying a new thing. But the truth is that the puddle is never deeper than ankle high and you only get your shoes and pants wet. When you finally turn for help, it always seems too late and the embarrassment bigger. You think you will be more confident when you know more, but having more knowledge hasn’t helped me to overcome the fear, so far, resulting in higher expectations. So I tend to think the best strategy for me is spontaniety, which leads me to rely on fate and to give too much meaning to my surroundings, whether it be people, things, or natural occurences.
In my early times of cooking, I used to be bold with new and unusual recipes, and I point to the fact that I was a newbie, therefore was concerned very little about screwing things up considering everything I did as an experiment and I really had fun playing around with recipes, putting a dollop of me in here and there,and also with photos, shooting a point-and shoot camera, but over time my cooking and photography seem to have taken on a conventional and rather copy-cat style with less risk and consequently the sheer pleasure of cooking has been somewhat adulterated with my obsession with perfection and trends, resulting in losing my unique style. Another thing I’ve realised since I got this new expensive camera set is that a new anxiety of being accepted started to surface, and funnily enough, my satisfaction with cooking and photography has been working counter to the price of my equipments. But before I knew better and got the fancy gear, it was all about offering and showing something of me and being appreciated because I found that when it comes to food, people tend to be more forgiving; no one spits the food at you no matter how horrible it is.
There are many sayings on mistakes; making mistakes isn’t a shame but not learning from the mistakes is, people who never make mistakes never try new things, the more mistakes you make the more you learn, people only regret not having tried, not having failed, and so forth – you probably know better ones than I do. Anyhow, they all ring deep inside me. I shouldn’t afraid of screwing up and keep trying, one thing at a time. My problem is to try many things at once and it is also the case in cooking. I always cook two things at the same time to save time and the result is always a disaster, not happy with none of the two like the prawns I screwed up by grilling on a bed of sea salt and forgetting to leave holes on the top for the steam to escape, so what I got in the end was awfully salty and dry prawns. They tasted as if they had been soaked in Dead Sea-like brine, eww…yuck! The memory will haunt me every time I grill prawns on salt.
I’m going to go off topic here for a bit.
I often wondered what it’d be like to witness death or to have someone close to me die, but I’ve finally experienced it and felt a body losing warmth and stiffening up, through a dog dying in my hands. Now I can imagine – I’d never been able to before this happened – what it is like. It was a big wake up call for me in some ways. I wrote about her in the previous post and wondered if she felt that her time was coming to an end prior to her disappearance and just ran off to die alone away from her loved ones, but I feel she was lucky to die in her home not in the cold place with strange dogs where we found her. That made me think that it’d be lucky in a way to die beside someone I love, but then it wouldn’t be fair for the person who has to watch me dying. I can only hope and try to make sure is that I don’t die of illness and I hope she was happy because she died of old age.
I just thought I had to mention the tragic event since it brought me to think of important things and people in life and I hope you didn’t mind reading it. I sometimes stumble upon a food blog whose owner is fighting for cancer but is still cooking and talking about what she is going through. And I thought, “Wow, would I be able to do that?” Staying positive in difficult situations is the key for happiness in the end.
People have fond memories connected to certain food and for me banana bread seems to take a special place in my heart as I tend to offer this simple bread loaded with goodness and extra love to people who cross my paths. And sometimes I think the length of encounter with someone isn’t necessarily proportional to the significance of it. Just like banana bread, because I bake it so often that I’ve forgotten till this moment to document it.
I love adding wheat bran in my banana bread and try to add a little in my baking whenever I can. And one day it struck me that the barley malt that Koreans use to make a rice punch would work perfectly in my banana bread recipe. Even though I didn’t use it for this time, I should remember to get some for the next time.
Another change made to the original recipe is the reduced amount of butter in favour of vegetable oil, not because I don’t like butter, mind you I’m absolutely in love with it since my trip to France, but because I find oil makes the bread more moist for some reason. So I substituted 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil for the missing butter, and since it’s nutty and brany I didn’t taste the lack of butter.
The recipe yields a bigger sized loaf, I should point out, and the reason mine isn’t quite big is that I saved some of the mixture to make a mini banana bread for myself so that the person would receive a perfect looking whole loaf that eliminates the suspicion that a portion of the bread might have got lost on the way. Yes, I’m the sneaky Nancy pants!
I do appolise for this yet another boring banana bread recipe. Please give your kind and forgiving heart to this one because, believe or not, it’s my first time to actually POST a recipe for banana bread despite the fact that the hundred loaves have gone into my throat. So I can say this recipe has been tested and approved…by WHOM?
Moist Healthy Delicious Banana Bread
1/3 cup (115 grams) walnuts or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)
1/2 cup bran
1 2/3 cups (230 grams) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (150 grams) brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
80g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/3 cup buttermilk
3 ripe large bananas (approximately 1 pound or 454 grams), mashed well (about 1-1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a 4×8 loaf pan.
2. Whisk eggs, sugar and vanilla, and mix in butter and banana.
3. Mix in the dry ingredients
4. Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 1 hour. Cool on a rack.