Nigella’s Chocolate, Banana and Tahini Bread

I’m at day 8 of COVID isolation and the boredom is real.

I’m lucky in that my symptoms, relatively speaking, haven’t been too bad. I’ve had none of the fever, headaches or flu-style aches and pains (although, touch wood, I’ve never had the flu so am only imagining what that’s like). Nor have I lost my sense of taste and smell. I have, however, had a nasty head cold and what they say about COVID’s ability to sap energy and breath is true. As for the brain fog…what was I saying?

But now I’m at day 8, well and truly back (remotely, of course) at the day job but I’m still testing positive on the RAT so unable to leave the house.

This is really the first time during the pandemic I’ve been this locked down so again I should think myself fortunate. When everyone else was doing jigsaws and making banana bread or sourdough I was beavering away at the day job as per normal – and was at least able to get outside for a walk.

It has, in fact, been years since I made banana bread. At least ten, I’d say. Which is why when Grant said we had two bananas that were over ripe and maybe I needed to do something with them I had to go looking for a recipe.

Luckily I had this one marked in Nigella’s Cook, Eat, Repeat, but had not yet had the chance to bake it – given that bananas rarely have the opportunity to get over ripe in this house.

Not your average banana cake, this one is darkly delicious and, with a couple of tweaks at the mixing stage, can be a pudding rather than a bread. A twofer if you like.

Nigella says it’s better if it’s left for a day before slicing and eating, but Grant ignored that piece of advice and said it was very brownie-like when eaten warm. He also had it with ice cream after dinner and declared it to be a banana split without being a banana split – whatever that means. Plus the melted chocolate chips (of which there were more than Nigella recommended simply because I wasn’t putting the remaining 20g back in the fridge) make it a tad fudgey in places – which is not a bad thing at all.

The recipe itself is an easy one and survived my post-covid brain fog when I added the salt and bicarb to the little bowl with my sugars instead of my flour and cocoa – and spilt the cocoa all over the kitchen counter. If you check out Nigella’s pic in the link (which I unashamedly attempted to copy the styling of) you’ll also notice I forgot to sprinkle over the sesame seeds before popping it in the oven. Heigh ho.

I suspect this one will be featuring in the second Philly Barker novel, so even though you can scoot across to the above-mentioned link, the recipe is below.

What you need

  • 250g (skin on weight) very ripe bananas (I used 2 medium)
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) ordinary olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 50g (1/4 cup) tahini at room temperature
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 50g caster (superfine) sugar
  • 35g soft dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 60g plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 25g cocoa
  • ½ tsp bicarb soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 100g dark chocolate chips
  • 1 ½ tsp sesame seeds for sprinkling

What you do with it…

Heat the oven to 170C (150C fan) and grease and line a 450g (1lb) loaf tin.

Smash up the bananas (I used my stand mixer, but you can do the whole thing by hand), then beat in the oil followed by the tahini, then the egg, then the sugars and vanilla – mixing well between each addition.

In a separate bowl fork together the flour, cocoa, bicarb and salt and then tip this into the batter too, mixing well.

If you’re using a stand mixer, switch it off now (put the beater aside to lick off later) and fold through the chocolate chips with a spatula.

Pour the batter (it’s quite runny) into the prepared loaf tin and sprinkle over the sesame seeds.

Bake for 45-50 minutes until risen and firm to the touch – and until a cake tester comes out mostly clean (the chocolate chips will make it a little sticky in parts). Don’t worry about the cracked top – Nigella says this is part of its deal.

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

7 thoughts

  1. I spied this bake on your IG … and here is it again, with a reminder that I always meant to try baking with tahini. I’ve seen a few sweet bakes calling for this ingredient which is always stocked in my kitchen for my hummus & bean dips … but I have dithered. Just like I hesitated with miso in sweets – which I absolutely love. So, maybe today is the day. Thank you, Jo!

    Hope you are able to leave C-isolation soon! Glad to hear you are feeling better.

    Liked by 1 person

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