Our decorations came down early. Baubles wrapped carefully, pinecones buffed between layers of bubble wrap. Ribbon wreaths carefully laid down with ornaments snuggled in their hollows.
I admit, the cottage felt empty. The cats are visibly annoyed that the tree has been cut into three, bagged and awaiting a trip to the Christmas tree farm in the sky.
Maybe the emptiness influenced the things that started to come out of the kitchen. A big hearty vegetable gratin, a burgundy beef stew with horseradish dumplings and this banana bread. Smells filled the void. The smell of browning butter has been my favourite one to envelope the empty space.
Based on this recipe
120gr golden caster sugar
225gr plain flour
2tsp baking powder
Small pinch of salt
4 ripe medium sized bananas
Preheat oven to 160o/c
1, In a small saucepan, melt the butter and then simmer it, very gently until it takes on a golden brown hue. Nutty and fragrant, not black and bitter, is what you're aiming for. Pop this to one side to cool a little.
2, Sift the sugar, flour and baking powder together in a large bowl.
3, In a smaller bowl, mash the bananas until you have a chunky paste, and stir in the eggs and the browned melted butter.
4, Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and fold gently to combine into a smooth batter.
5, Pour into a well greased 1lb loaf tin and bake for 40-50 minutes until rise, golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Transfer onto a wire cooling rack. Sneak a warm slice.