Banana Bread in a Pan

I’ve been neglecting my blog for a long time.

It’s not because I’ve ran out of ideas and stuff to blog on, it’s just that I’ve been bloody busy with university life this semester. Running a society is much, much, much harder than I thought. Especially if you have events every week and your members are all International or Exchange students who have high expectations of you to create the best Australian/ USYD experience for them.

On top of that, I’ve to make sure the society is running smoothly so that the Clubs and Societies Office don’t come down on our asses with the ferocity of Cerberus.

Luckily, I have a great Treasurer and Secretary who help me to keep track of things.

I have to admit though, as a lazy perfectionist, the majority of the pressure came from myself. I was determined to create the most fun environment conducive to the international student body n USYD. With almost 10,000 international and exchange students in USYD, it’s a tall, tall order. Certainly not something I can accomplish within my university academic career. But at least I can set the foundation. I hope.

And let’s not mention my academic career. Not too stellar as I wished it would be. I still try to keep up with my work, but it’s quite difficult to be honest. Doing three English Literature subjects as a third-year Uni student is terribly draining. The amount of novels and plays I have to read almost every week is more than my current personal monthly reading quota (1 book a month, to be exact). This does not include the articles and journals that the lecturers assigns every week for each seminar.

There’s this English Lit course that I took. It’s called Fantastical Women and it’s about how women characters are portrayed in Literature and how women writers attempt to break away from the traditional, patriarchal forms of literature.

Interesting, I know.

But some of the novels and most of the articles are complicated at best and confounding at worst.

Most of the time, I turn up for the Fantastical Women seminar without doing any of the readings. Under the eyes of all English Literature majors and professors, this is the worst insult you can ever hurl. As an English Lit major myself, I feel very insulted too.

Anyway, there’s this girl in my seminar who sits near the back of the lecture room with me. Because of our seating arrangement, we always end up in the same discussion group. After being in the same group with me for a number of times, the first question she’ll ask me is this:

“Have you done the readings/ read the novel?”

And my answer to her, age-old and ever unchanging as a rock:


Sometimes, she’ll subtly change her method, in hopes that my answer will come out different.

The girl will pick up my copy of whatever novel we’re covering in the seminar and her first comment will be:

“It’s so new!”

Of course it’s new. I just bought the novel a few days ago and I haven’t even read it. To be honest, I don’t even know why I bother buying the novel. Probably keeping up with the appearance.

Then she’ll ask me, “So… you haven’t read the novel, have you?”


I must have broke that poor damsel’s heart a million times.

Yesterday, it was our last seminar. We were waiting for the lecturer. So a bunch of people sitting near me was talking about the current novel. It was Jeanette Winterson’s The PowerBook. The girl, half turned in her seat (she’s always sitting in front of me), reached out and took my copy of the novel.

Holding the book, she hesitated, not sure if she could withstand another heartbreak.

Willing what must be the last vestige of her hope, she flipped through my copy.

She paused.

She glanced at my sleep deprived face.

“Hey, you’ve read the book.” The dog-eared pages betrayed my rough handling.

I just smiled.

She smiled, a glimmer of hope shone through. Maybe I wasn’t so hopeless after all.

Half an hour later, she found out the reason why I read the novel.

My partner and I had to give a seminar presentation on the novel. I think her hopes might have deflated a little.

But I have to say that she had such unwavering faith for a traitorous English Lit major like me. I would have asked her out if only I wasn’t so preoccupied with another girl.

Oh well. Life goes on.

Anyway, I’ve rambled on for almost 742 words without even reaching to the main part of my topic.


I love bananas.

I fucking love banana bread.

I seriously could orgasm when I eat banana bread with Nutella.

Since I love banana bread so much, I decided to bake it. I mean, why not? I have all the baking equipment and ingredients in my kitchen and banana bread is pretty simple to make.

So last week, I went out and bought bananas, some butter, eggs and a loaf pan.

After waiting for a week for the bananas to become nicely ripe, I decided I couldn’t wait anymore and burst out my baking hat and apron this afternoon (I don’t have a baking hat and apron).

It’s on.


Okay, ingredients.

You need:

  • 2 1/3 cups (525g) of mashed, overripe bananas
  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (115g) butter
  • 3/4 cup (110g) brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) BAKING SODA
  • 1/3 teaspoon (2g) salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten.


Pretty simple, really.

Now, what you do is this:

Take out bananas. The apple is there to speed up the ripening process:






Lay them out in a row on a baking tray. Adieu my good soldiers:






Then roast the shit out of them in the oven at 230 degree Celsius for 5-7 minutes. (You did preheat your oven, did you?):


They won’t explode. Trust me.




Take the roasted bananas and squeeze the gooey banana nectar into a cup and mashed them up. Mash them good:


I had to prevent myself from drinking that sweet, sweet nectar.




Now prepare the batter. You still remember the other ingredients, don’t you? Let’s have a recap:


Ignore the weighing scale. You won’t be needing it.








There’s a few things I would like to point out. First, use BAKING SODA. Not baking powder. BAKING SODA is also known as bicarbonate soda or bicarbonate of soda. Baking soda IS NOT the same as baking powder. Don’t screw this up.

Second, don’t buy raw sugar just because it’s brown. Raw sugar IS NOT brown sugar. This is how brown sugar is supposed to look:


Brown sugar has the consistency and feel of dark, wet earth.

Don’t fuck this up.




Oops, almost forgot the eggs:






Now, in a bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt together:






Melt butter in a saucepan:


Here’s a tip, don’t just leave the butter burning in the saucepan. You’ll only get burned butter. That’s not what you want. You just want to melt the butter. So remove the saucepan from the heat and constantly swirl the butter around. Get it? Good.




Once butter have melted, in a SEPARATE BOWL, mix butter and brown sugar together:






Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended:


Oh boy…..




Stir banana mixture into flour mixture:


Hmmm….. come to papa.




Now, when you stir the mixture, DO NOT OVER MIX. You’re not entering some ‘best-human-blender-arm’ competition. Just stir to moisten to the mixture and make sure there’s no more white flour specks left.


Get it? Good.




Lightly grease the loaf pan with butter. Use a brush to spread the butter around:






Now pour that sweet, sweet-looking mixture into the loaf pan:


I… cannot… wait… any… longer….




Now pop that into the oven (YOU DID PREHEAT YOUR OVEN, DID YOU?). Bake the banana bread for 60 to 65 minutes at 175 degrees Celsius.

Do not touch the oven. Do not open the oven to ‘speed up’ the baking process. Unless you have those ancient oven that doesn’t have a glass window on the oven door, just leave that fucker alone.

Go do the dishes. They’re not going to clean themselves.

After 60 to 65 minutes, open the oven and insert toothpick into banana bread. If the toothpick comes out clean, it’s baked. If not, bake for 5 more minutes and test it again.

The result is this:















Sob. So… beautiful.




Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack. I don’t have a wire rack, so I turned it out onto a cutting board:


Our banana bread in heaven, nourished be thy name.

Your bananas come, your bananas be done,

In our stomaches as it is everywhere else on earth.

GIve us this day, our daily banana bread,

And forgive us our hunger,

As we also have forgiven our hungerers,

And lead us not into over-bingeing,

But deliver us from our guilty snacking.

For thine is the banana, and the bread, and the banana bread, for ever and ever. Amen.


Thou shall now feast on the fruits of your labour.

As it was my first time making banana bread, it came out okay. Both my housemates said it was not bad for my first time. But there are improvements to be made:

  1. Let bananas ripen more. I was too impatient
  2. Get MORE bananas. 8 medium sized bananas were only enough to yield 2 cups. I probably need to use 10 or 11 bananas.
  3. Use slightly more brown sugar.
  4. Use slightly more flour, salt and baking soda.
  5. Bake it for 5 minutes longer. You can see the base is still slightly wet.


The banana wasn’t that sweet enough (due to the lack of overripe bananas), so NUTELLA came and saved the day!

Hmm…. chocolate and banana, the best of both worlds.

Now go bake your banana bread. May Banana bread bless you, my child.

I got the recipe here.





I wanted to use this song for my rally video for the Singapore Blog Awards 2011, but then decided not to because of copyright reasons.

Anyway, here it is. Fantastic, simple song.



The first quarter of this year has been filled with events, both for me and the world at large.

And some are not really good events either.

Jan 2011: Revolutions in Egypt, Tunisia and other Middle Eastern and North African countries.

Feb 2011: Earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand.

March 2011: 9.0 magnitude earthquake in Japan. Civil war in Libya.

Late March 2011: Earthquake in Burma. Civil unrest in Bahrain. NSW Labor Party lost power for the first time in 16 years to the Coalition. NSW Liberal leader Barry O’Farrell becomes NSW Premier.

A very busy first quarter.

For the media, this is a perfect field day for them. The perfect mix of politics, civil unrest and large-scale natural disasters. And since I’m a media politics student, it’s my duty to keep abreast with the news. But I’m reaching the point where I’m sick and tired of the news.

So fuck the news.

For approximately another 10 minutes.


Besides being updated on world news and checking if any of my Japanese friends were doing okay, I was busy feeding the masses of the Unimates society.

What’s Unimates? Basically we’re a society that brings together most of the international students in USyd and bring them around Sydney, New South Wales and Australia. More accurately, we are sort of like an international network, where people can meet and make friends with everyone from everywhere.

For this semester, I’m the Coffee and Cakes officer. Basically, this girl and I are the unofficial caterers.

We have Coffee and Cakes every Tuesday morning and the two of us are in charge of organizing, preparing the food and drinks, making sure that the members are kept sated and satisfied. It’s not an easy job, but we have people helping out, so it’s doable.

The only problem is that everyone keep asking for my brownies.

See, the problem was that I baked brownies for my friend’s Christmas party last year. It was my first time but it turned out to be a huge success. Unfortunately, 80% of the people at the party were or still are, Unimates committee members. So they recommended me to make brownies for Coffee and Cakes.

It was a great idea and at least I could bring something homemade for the event. So for the first C+C (Coffee and Cakes), I brought the brownies.

They were gone within 30 minutes and there were still at least 40 to 50 people who had not got the brownies yet.

Considering it was my second time making brownies, the response was pretty good.

The only problem was that the people (aka the people at the Christmas party) came too late and didn’t have the chance to try my brownies. The vice-president of the society, had heard wonders about my brownies but he was too busy helping out and didn’t have a chance to try it out.

So I promised that I would make brownies again.

For the next two weeks I didn’t make brownies cause I wanted to try something else for Week 2 (chili jam meatballs and vegan mashed potatoes) and was too fucking lazy and tired for Week 3.

Week 4 came and I decided to bake brownies.

Some people would usually bake the brownies the night before. But not me. I demand fresh-out-of -the-oven brownies. So I got up at 7am, baked two batch of brownies (after baking brownies for so goddamn many times, it only takes me about an hour) and brought them to C+C.

Good times were had by all.

But it’s tiring waking up so early or staying up all night just to bake brownies. So I’ve decided to put the recipe. I actually got it from this website and follow it closely. But you can make some tweaks to it. Be creative. Just don’t blow up the oven.



The Recipe

Note: The original recipe calls for 16 servings of brownies. But I double the ingredients to make 32 servings (I have mouths to feed after all). If you want to bake 16 servings of brownies, use a 8 x 8 inches baking tray. If you want 32 servings, use a 9 x 13 inches baking tray. The recipe below is for 32 servings.



  • 225 g (1 cup) butter
  • 400 g (2 cups) white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 10 ml (2 teaspoons) vanilla extract
  • 55 g (2/3 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 125 g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 3 g (1/2 teaspoon) salt
  • 2 g (1/2 teaspoon) baking powder

You might want to ease up on the vanilla extract cause if you put too much, your brownies might have a slightly bitter taste. Also, I use Cadbury’s Baking Cocoa Powder (I think that’s the name).


Baking time:


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 9 x 13 inch pan.
  • In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook.

    Seems pretty simple right? That’s because it is. But there’s some things you need to take note first. Always, always preheat the oven first. That’s the first thing you have to do. My oven is some brand-new, fan-forced, Italian-made oven, so I can turn it on and know that it’ll be hot and toasty within a few minutes. If you have an old one, it might take longer. As a rule, I preheat the oven while I’m preparing the batter. Rule one: Know your oven.

    Rule 2: Shift the cocoa powder. Especially when you are greasing the pan. What I do is that I grease the pan with some butter (using a brush makes things easier) and shift a mixture of cocoa powder and flour over the pan. This prevents the brownies from sticking to the pan during the baking process. I usually use one part flour and one part cocoa powder. You don’t have to use a lot. The most you should use is about 1/2 cup. Also, when you are making the batter, I recommend to shift the cocoa powder. It makes the brownies much more ‘smoother’. But it’s up to you to decide.

    Rule 3: Don’t over mix! Just mix the batter enough to make sure that all the ingredients are mixed together. You want to retain the thick, fudgey taste.

    Rule 4: Don’t overcook. Seriously, I can stress this enough. I usually bake my brownies for 25 minutes and then I take it out and let it cool. While it’s cooling, the brownies are still baking due to residue heat. The last thing you want is burnt brownies. So don’t overcook.


    As for the frosting:

    • 85 g (1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons) butter, softened
    • 30 g (1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons) unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 30 ml (2 tablespoons) honey
    • 10 ml (2 teaspoons) vanilla extract
    • 240 g (2 cups) confectioners’ sugar

    To make:

    • Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and heat it. Remove from heat and stir. Pour onto warm brownies. Wait for frosting to set.

    I can’t find confectioners’ sugar in Sydney. So I got chocolate icing sugar from Coles. If you use chocolate icing sugar, I suggest using 1 cup. Oh, and shift the cocoa powder.

    The frosting is optional. The brownie is already quite sweet by itself. But if you have a huge sweet tooth like me, then go ahead, make the frosting.

    That’s it! Brownies for all!

    Sorry no pictures.

    Now will people please stop hounding me for brownies.