Can you believe it's been snowing in some places near me today?! Snow in October!
Today has been windy and stormy and rainy. The kind of rain which soaks all of your "covered" outdoor areas as well. It's the kind of day for staying late in bed, drinking lots of tea, having hot soup for lunch and baking. Baking is a lovely thing to do on a cold windy day. The oven helps warm up the house and at the end you get a nice still-warm baked treat to devour. Preferably with a cup of tea.
I recently did a clean out of my cupboard and found that I had 48 different types of tea, I'm serious - 48! I decided that I had better not buy any more tea until I had consumed some of what I already have. I am pretty crazy about tea, but even to me 48 seemed excessive. Even though I drink several cups of tea a day, I decided that it would take me too long to work through them just by drinking. So I decided that it was time to do more baking with tea and to experiment with some new fresh iced tea drinks (if the weather ever warms up enough!).
One of my 48 types of tea was this beautiful Tulsi Chai Masala, which my friend brought back from India as a gift for me. It's quite different to other Chai Masala that I've had, it's a blend which is very strong on cinnamon. So I thought that this strong spice would make it perfect for baking. If you've read much of this blog before then you'll also know that I really don't get into breakfast. So I settled on Chai Banana Loaf - to serve the joint purpose of using up some of my teas and getting me excited about breakfast. It didn't disappoint.
2-3 heaped tsp chai masala (this depends on how strong your chai is)
2/3 cup boiling hot water
1 banana, mashed well (should make about 1/2 cup, a bit more or a bit less is fine)
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup canola oil (to make a healthier loaf you can substitute 1/3 cup apple sauce and 1 tbsp canola oil)
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 cups wholemeal flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (if your oven is fan forced then reduce to 170).
2. Steep the chai masala in the boiling hot water for at least 10 minutes. You can leave for longer if you want a stronger flavour. Strain and allow the tea to cool.
3. Combine the banana, sugar, oil, tea and spices in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
4. Sift in the flour, baking powder and bicarb into the batter and mix well. You'll have lots of little wholemeal husks left in your strainer after sifting, but you can just throw those in too.
5. Line a 22cm/9inch long loaf tin and line with greaseproof baking paper. Pour in the batter and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Makes 1 loaf.