Bananarama Bread

Baking, Bread, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

I can’t believe it has taken me this long to reconnect with my girls, Sara, Keren and Siobhan – aka Bananarama. Late last year I started receiving voicemails from all of the girls individually, asking to drop by and talk.

“Hey Ben, it’s Sar! Give me a call, I’d love to reconnect. Don’t make me Bobby D for you!”

“Ben – its Kez. I hear its been a Cruel Summer in Brisbane, call me back we need to talk.”

By the time Sio-b-han called to confess her guilt of love in the first degree, I knew what they were playing at and was equal parts excited and terrified. As you should already know, Siobhan returned to the group earlier this year and as the other founding member of Bananarama, I knew they’d be desperate to get me back.

I attended St. George’s School for Girls with Sez and Kez, and we became the fastest of friends. Sara and I then met Siobhan while studying fashion journalism and the band was quickly formed. Fun fact: I convinced them to name the band after my passion for penis … which ultimately led to me leaving the group.

Oh, I should clarify – I convinced them to name it Bananarama without explaining that it was also a festival I held in the West Village in the late 50s / early 60s.

The truth got me kicked out of the group in the early 80s for lying to them – they loved it, thus keeping it, but the betrayal cut deep – and we didn’t speak until 1987 when they wrote the hit song Love in the First Degree as an apology. While our friendship was renewed, I couldn’t rejoin the group as Maggie Thatch had banned me from the U.K.

While we’ve stayed in contact throughout the years, we haven’t seen each other in close to a decade. I guess there was always a part of me that knew that they’d want to reform but due to the nodules I shared with Julie Andrews, I wasn’t sure I could bring myself to sing again.

After holding each other for what felt like hours, we quickly caught up on life and laughed the night away. Sure the girls were disappointed that I couldn’t bring myself to rejoin the band – they don’t have to know I’m a bee’s dick away from convincing Celine Dion to start a duo – they were just thrilled to see me and share a delicious Bananarama Bread.

 

 

Like Apu and Mandula, I am a firm, firm believer that banana bread solves all of life’s problems. Throw in some walnuts and chocolate? Well I guess you’re in for a damn delightful treat.

Enjoy!

 

 

Bananarama Bread
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
4 very ripe bananas
1 tbsp vanilla extract
pinch salt
150ml vegetable oil
2 eggs
150g raw caster sugar
¼ cup fresh espresso, cooled
200g plain flour
½ tsp bicarb soda
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ roughly chopped milk chocolate

Method
Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a loaf tin.

Mash the bananas in the bowl of an electric mixer with the vanilla and salt. Using the paddle attachment, mix on low while adding the oil. Add the eggs one by one, still mixing, before adding the sugar and coffee.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and add the flour and bicarb and quickly stir with the paddle until the mixture binds. Return to the mixer and stir on medium for a minute. Remove again, fold through the walnuts and chocolate, and pour into the loaf tin.

Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until golden, risen and a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven, allow to cool in the pan for fifteen minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely … if you can wait.

If not, just devour.

 

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Really Saying Something

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

While Robert De Niro is waiting for a slot on my dance card, my dear friends Bananarama have finally worn me down for a date.

I know that sounds like I don’t want to catch up with them … but sometimes I wonder, is there a friendship I couldn’t bare to take advantage of?

I then laugh heartily, realising there is nothing I wouldn’t try to monetise and get about menu planning.

What do I make that will make me their fire, at your (and their) desire?

Image source: Unknown.

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr.

Kanyebullar

Baking, Bread, Cake, Dessert, Sweets

In the wise words of my dear friend Kanye and I, that that that that don’t kill me, can only make me stronger. Oh, haven’t I mentioned I co-wrote Stronger? Well I did but then Kans changed it to be more his style and stole it for himself – I leant my version to Lena Dunham (who I must catch-up with soon) for Marnie’s triumphant performance after crashing Charlie’s party.

Anyway, documenting 200 celebrity catch-ups has been hard work – what with the jetting around, traveling through time and the emotional drain of making so many amends – but it has been so rewarding and has only made me stronger.

If that is possible.

I am so thankful that you’ve joined me in this journey. I mean, I’m not at all surprised by my success given the fact that my friends are A-list and I am arguably more talented than Boomer Phelps’ is cute / successful at the 2032 Olympic Games but I am thankful that you’ve taken the time to support me.

Better start talking about Kanye, lest I want to start a new feud.

To mark my momentous 200th catch-up, I gave Kan a call knowing that no one – living or dead – would be as self-important enough to help me celebrate such an honour! I mean, after banging Skarsy for my 50th and gossiping with the best Knowles (sorry Kanye) for my 100th, I really needed to up the ante, spectacle-y speaking.

I first met Kanye in the 80s while running a professor scam at Nanjing University. Kans’ mum was teaching at the uni and offered her son to act as my language tutor. While I generally don’t respond well to authority figures, I quickly bonded with Kanye over our love of music.

Despite being run out of Nanjing after the uni learnt that I wasn’t a teacher and nor could I speak Chinese, we stayed in contact and have been making beautiful music ever since.

While Kanye was still a bit sore about it taking so long to catch-up, I was able to quickly win him back with the reminder that I introduced him to his dear wife Kimmy.

Oh and he is an absolute fiend for a big ole Kanyebullar.

 

kanyebullar-1

 

Now I know that technically these beauties aren’t pronounced like Kanye, the spelling and grandeur of the man and the rolls mean that you have to overlook that fact. Ok?

And yes, that is a threat.

It is a fact universally acknowledged/assumed that Kanye is a man that loves a big ole bun (see Kim breaking the internet and the fact I am referred to as Benny from the Block) and these treats prove it. Spicy, soft and oh-so-sweet, they melt in your mouth and leave you wanting more.

More, more … which is what we’ll give you – thanks for the support these last 200 catch-ups!

Enjoy!

 

kanyebullar-2

 

Kanyebullar (adapted from an SBS recipe)
Makes: a shit tonne (aka 24-32, depending on how you chop it … literally).

Ingredients
175g unsalted butter, chopped
2 cups milk
7g sachet active dry yeast
125g caster sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cardamon
6 cups plain flour

Cinnamon butter
150g unsalted butter, chopped at room temperature
⅔ cup caster sugar
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 eggs
pearl or raw sugar, to sprinkle

Method
Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Remove from the heat, add the milk, stir to combine and leave to cool to just under 40°C. Stir in the yeast, sugar, salt and cardamon, and leave to foam for about five minutes.

Transfer the liquid to a large bowl of an electric mixer and slowly add the flour, stirring by hand with the dough hook. When it is starting to come together, attach the dough hook and turn the mixer on medium speed until smooth, a couple of minutes.

Remove the dough to an oiled (second) large bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to prove until doubled in size, about an hour and a half.

While it is proving, mash the butter in a bowl and combine with the sugar and cinnamon until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 225°C.

Once the dough is ready, knock it back, turn it out onto a floured bench and roll it out until it is a large ½cm rectangle. Smear – who doesn’t love a good smear, amirite – the cinnamon butter very liberally over the top and roll the dough lengthways to form a long cylinder.

Slice the cinnamon, doughy sausage in half, half again … and half again, and half again (or just evenly, depending on how tall you want them to be) until you reach the magic number – I prefer mine to be fat, so cut the 8 into 3 to make 24.

Place each disc in a flattened paper cupcake and leave them to sit, a couple of centimetres apart on baking sheets. When they are all lined up, cover with a tea towel and allow to prove a further 30 minutes.

When they are ready to roll – pun obviously intended – whisk the eggs and brush the buns before coating liberally with sugar.

Bake for 10 minutes or until golden and glorious. Then devour, they are amazing warm.

And thanks again for the support!

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+.

Imma let you reach 200

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Make no mistakes, Kanye is not happy that it has taken 199 dates for me to finally reach out and invite him over for a catch-up.

Oh, did I mention Kanye is coming over this week?

Well he is, despite the fact that he is so offended it took so long.

“Kanye, you keen to come and help me celebrate the 200th recipe on my anthropological, online study.”

“200th? Are you kidding me? Why did it take so long? You had Kim and the rest of the Kute Kardashian Klan drop by almost 100 ago – bitch, I made you famous!”

“I’m sorry Kan…”

“Imma let you finish … but Beyonce has the best personalised recipe you used to make her and you haven’t even had the decency to invite her over. In 199?”

“So…”

“Imma let you finish … but you had Taylor over. Taylor?! We are feuding!”

“S…”

“Imma let you finish. Ok I’m finished.”

So yeah, Kanye was not happy but he eventually agreed to turn up and help me celebrate.

What do I make to sweeten him up a bit?

Picture source: Screenshot from 2009 MTV VMAs.

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+.