As I sit here in Barcelona summer, trying not to stick to the leather chair, or my clothes, or myself, I think back on a day a few months ago where it was pleasantly sunny day, not too hot, not too cold, just Goldilocks. It wasn’t a normal spring here, there was actually no spring present. We went from a long, cold winter that ended with a couple months of rain, and finally came to a halt mid-June, when we were smothered immediately with summer. Thanks Barcelona. Global Warming, El Niño or something, I don’t know. Anyways, it was on this beautiful day that I decided to celebrate with a little picnic in a very green, tiny park in the middle of the city. It’s a university park, so only open to the public on the weekends, but it’s never too crowded and really nicely landscaped.
I had already been planning on trying some banana nut bread, which we all know are best friends, the banana and the walnut. What we don’t all know is that they’re quite chummy with whole wheat, oats, and honey too. I had an urge to go to a health store here and make something with whole wheat, and while I was there I found oats too (sorry, no Quaker oats in every grocery store you go in Spain). I’m also used to having fruit for breakfast and having my heavier stuff later, so I did some quick searching on the internet for some ‘healthy’ recipes. I came up with my own version, and I like it because it doesn’t have any sugar in it, and uses honey instead to sweeten it. And it almost seems like whole wheat is necessary; you want a good, dark bread to balance the nuts and banana. And it wasn’t dry because I threw in some yogurt. So then I felt really good about myself after I baked this pure, wholesome bread, and even better about myself when we slapped a couple pats of butter on it and enjoyed ourselves a lovely picnic.
It must be said that there were some lovely drinks at this brunch picnic, these were a mixture of cava (Spanish champagne), grapefruit juice and a touch of casis. Quite refreshing and slightly intoxicating, in a good way.
It must also be said that after taking pictures of the pretty drinks, my camera decided to do it’s favorite thing and become exhausted. Literally ‘battery exhausted,’ and it just cant’ go on anymore. So I don’t have pictures of pretty bread in the park, but instead of a later re-enactment with some sidewalk in the background. Not as nice, I know, but it was exhausted.
Whole Wheat Banana Nut Bread
3 really ripe bananas, mushed
1 container plain yogurt (about ½ cup)
½ c honey
¼ c vegetable oil
¾ c oats
1 ½ - 2 c whole wheat flour
1 c chopped walnuts, toasted
pinch of salt (but don’t skimp)
1 tsp baking soda
To start make sure your banana is well mushed, and then stir in the yogurt, honey, egg, and vegetable oil. Now pour on the flour, salt, baking soda, oats, and walnuts and stir everything well together. If you see the batter’s a little too runny, add more flour. Remember, this is a pretty dense batter/bread, and it’s pretty chocked full of oats. I like to taste it and make sure it’s sweet enough, because if it’s not, add more honey, don’t be shy. That’s all you gotta do. Now pour it into a loaf tin or some sort of baking dish (mine ended up being in an oval soufflé like glass thing) and bake at 350F/180C for 45 minutes to 1 hour, when the center is almost dry. It seems like the edges are going to get too dry and overbake, but they turned out just fine even though they formed a nice crust.