Tuesday, 11 September 2012
Banana and white chocolate blondies (and some stuff about pubs)
We'll get to the blondies in a minute, don't you worry. But first I want to talk about pubs - we all like pubs don't we (No? Then be off with you, there is no place for you here)? I tend to mention them in passing a lot, in regards to where we live and what we do, so I thought I'd take some time to explain - there is a tedious link to the cakes here too.
Despite neither Ben or I ever having done a shift behind a bar (don't get any ideas that we haven't had our fair share of shit jobs - I spent three summers working at the Dinosaur Adventure Park, serving turkey pterodactyls and cleaning up child sick off trampolines), pubs play a big part in our lives. We live above one, we own one (or technically B does, but what's yours is mine and all that, darling) and Ben works for a load of them.
To break it down; Ben works for a small chain of Norwich bars. Not pulling pints, but doing the finances. And all the planning stuff. And the shouting at the council stuff. And occasionally the BEING TAKEN ON A BOOZE MINI BREAK BY BACARDI stuff (Jealous? Me? Whatever). Basically, the sobering and complicated jiggery pokery that goes on behind the scenes.
Through his position we managed to wangle ourselves a flat above one of said pubs. Lovely flat, 2 floors, city centre. Yes, we're a jammy pair of pricks, karma is coming for us. If it makes you feel any better, we are subjected to Ed Sheeran cover acts through the floorboards at least once a week and the chap who does the cleaning at 8am on a Sunday morning listens to nothing but 80s power ballads, VERY LOUDLY. Also - hordes of drunk people - they really suck when they're not you.
So that's pub involvement parts one and two. Then there's part 3: our pub, The Plasterers Arms.
Ben took it on last year, and we've been gradually doing it up and trying to get it back to its former glory (it had been let slip a bit by previous owners). It's a lovely little pub and we're very proud of it. Need a few more customers before I get a holiday to Barbados though, so perhaps pop by for a G&T sometime and help a sister out? It's a traditional pubby pub. Cosy, lots of ales, pork pies, weekly quiz, that sort of thing. A microbrewery is currently being set-up in the back room, so the most local beer you could imagine will soon be on sale, and at some point I hope to get a supper club in there (oven dependent). Any ideas are most welcome - what makes your favourite pub your favourite pub? Answers on a postcard (a.k.a. in the comments section).
Oh, and the company Ben works for is also opening a brewery. Just to keep things simple.
And me? I don't technically have anything to do with pubs. I work for a charity.
So...what was the poi...oh yes, cakes! The other day, Stuart, the manager of the pub we reside above, very sweetly asked whether I might be interested in a little sideline of cake making for the pub. I used to 'do' cakes (NO, BY 'DO' I DO NOT MEAN SEX THINGS, YOU SICK FREAK, I mean I had a cake making business), so this would be a simple and fairly obvious arrangement, yet I'd never really thought about, or actively pursued, doing them on the side (AGAIN, NOT CAKE SEXING). So - partly through flattery - when asked, I thought 'why the hell not?', I like baking, I like cash, I'll do it. Might as well make some for the Plasterers too. So, this weekend I set to, using up a haul of bananas which had been left over from a work event.
And this is the result, banana and white chocolate blondies. Really fucking good. Shove them in the fridge overnight and all your diabetes inducing dreams will come true. Size zero dreams, not so much. Rush on down to the Plasterers (like, now) and you might be able to pick one up and avoid the elbow grease.
Banana and white chocolate blondies
2 decent sized/3 small bananas (you can use ones which have started to go a bit brown and manky)
2 large eggs
280g caster sugar
280g plain flour
160g softened butter/stork
1tsp baking powder
300g white chocolate (chips or bars, cut up into chunks)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
Heat the oven at gas mark 5. In a mixer (or with a spoon and powerful arm muscles) combine eggs, sugar, butter, flour, baking powder, extract and cinnamon until you have a smooth mix. Roughly mash your bananas and stir these in, along with 200g of the white chocolate chips/chunks.
Line a roasting-sized baking tin with greaseproof paper, and spoon in the mix. It should be about an inch thick. Bake for about 30 mins, checking after the first 20. Do the old skewer trick, should come out without any mix on it. You want it golden on top, still fairly soft but not raw/wet in the middle. Leave to cool.
Once the blondies are cool, melt the remaining white chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Once runny, trickle it over the top of blondies. Slice and preferably refrigerate overnight in an airtight container, for maximum gngnrwmrrrrjf.