Tag Archives: ultimate

“Ultimate” banana bread?


‘Ultimate’ is a fraught word. When someone claims something is the ‘ultimate’, I can just see the pitfalls open up and a line of other ‘ultimate’ versions ready to fight for the title. For something as simple as banana bread, the word ‘ultimate’ becomes even more complicated.

Everyone has an opinion on what makes a banana bread the ‘ultimate’ of its kind. Research on the internet reveals a panoply of secret techniques / ingredients / you name it. All for what is basically a cake made with mushy bananas.

Some say the secret is really ripe bananas (but, there are even disagreements about the right degree of ripe: whether we are talking a few black spots, or black all over and squidgy and, you know, the word ‘rotten’ starts to come to mind). Some say it’s how the bananas are mashed / pureed / chopped. Still others say the secret lies in the other things in the batter – type of flour or sugar, baking soda versus baking powder, vanilla / cinnamon / nuts / chocolate, even yoghurt / butter / oil / sour cream.

There are ‘quick’ recipes, ‘quick’ and ‘ultimate’ recipes, ‘best’ recipes, ‘quick’ and ‘best’. Recipes with icing, recipes without icing, recipes with cinnamon sprinkled on top, and recipes made with coconut oil. I half expected to find a recipe for raw banana bread (now I’m curious, is there such a thing as raw banana bread?)

Finally, some swear that the secret is for mum, or grandma, or that special friend who runs that bakery, to make the perfectly imperfect banana bread that brings back childhood memories.

Phew! Are we overwhelmed yet?

Continue reading

Ultimate highway season cookies


It’s highway season again. When we, our family, neighbours, friends and colleagues all hop in the car and drive somewhere at least 300km away. This is the Thursday before Easter, the start of a four week public holiday long weekend.

Last night, we drive for 6 hours and arrived at the Mr Gander family beach hut at 11.20pm.

It seemed all of Sydney was on the move with bumper to bumper traffic (all following that truck). Leaving the cities behind, the highway wound past bushland and forests, we rolled through a sleepy town, sleepy suburbs, bushland, a sleepier suburb, a solitary street with hushed houses and a solitary street light. Then “home”.

I was never happier to see the beach hut, with its solitary street light. And Mr Gander’s mum in her silk pyjamas, coming to say hello and offer a cup of tea.


During the drive, we ate the last of these chocolate chip cookies. They proved to be unexpectedly comforting and heartening after a hasty dinner by the highway.  I made these a couple of days ago for friends who had driven from Canberra and had a similarly stodgy dinner on the highway (the most exciting thing was the boiled vegetables used for garnish). One of them ate inhaled three cookies, and then talked about Banach space while nursing a glass of wine.

Continue reading