It's my birthday. It's also the day we received news of the demise of my father-in-law. My husband & his siblings lost their father, baba, his mother lost her husband of 47 years and I lost not only my father-in-law but the one person who shared two things with me - a love for the same man and a love for good food and life in general.
You see, I adored him and I believe the feeling was mutual. I couldn't have hoped for a dearer father-in-law.
While my husband is on one of the most difficult journeys of his life, to peform the last rites for his father, my children aware of what is happening sees us oscillate between grief and bracing ourselves with courage. They are too young to understand the significance of what has occured - the loss of the first parent in our circle.
All I can think is...so here it begins.
In the 12 years that I have known Baba, not a day has gone by that I have fixed banana bread and not thought of him. Though we have been separated by a vast ocean and 7500 miles, whenever he would visit, he would make an appearance at the table at sharp 10.00 am knowing full well that his favorite banana bread topped with almonds or pecans or walnuts would be served any moment now along with nice hot cups of chai.
While my husband was at work, our late morning tea sessions would invariably last a few hours with conversations ranging from everything from architecture, corruption, politics and the general state of affairs in our world.
You see he too, was an Architect.
For us, he has not gone - he walks among the living. And as long as we think of him and we speak of him with love and affection and I continue to bake his favorite banana bread, he will always live on. This day, I cannot think of a better way to honor the man, who gave me my husband, who loved our children who gave us so much joy and so many memories to chuckle over than to once again bake his favorite banana bread.
So here it is a banana bread that is earnest and honest - very much like the man who loved it most.
Simple Banana Bread
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup white sugar
4 medium overripe bananas
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp cardamom powder
1/8 cup brown sugar - garnish
1/4 cup sliced almonds or pecan pieces
Preparation: Preheat oven to 350 deg F
Bananas - Peel and mash with a fork. Set aside.
Coat a 9 inch x 5 inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking or baking spray and line with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, Combine the softened butter and sugar in a bowl. Using an electric hand beater, cream together the butter and the sugar until smooth.
Add the eggs and beat together with an electric hand beater. Add the mashed bananas and mix with a fork.
Add the baking soda and the cardamom powder. Mix well.
Add the flour. With a rubber spatula begin to fold until just combined. Do not over stir but all the ingredients should be blended.
Empty the bread batter into the loaf pan.
Sprinkle with brown sugar, pecan pieces or sliced almonds.
Bake for approx 55 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the bread.
Remove from the oven and run a knife along the edge of the banana bread. Remove from the pan by inverting and gently tapping.
Let the bread cool on a baking rack. Cut into slices and serve warm.