Hello guys–another week, another weekly iLIAd! Lia was unable to write her column last week as she was frolicking in London, but she’s back to black (she always dresses in black anyway) and here to share with you her piece on the theme of bananas. You can find her previous articles under the columns/reviews tab! I’ll see you on the flip side–sorry posting will be a little rough due to school. /cue staying alive/ -Lin
The banana bridge hangs in the air so tall and grand. It is, of course, a peeled banana. Observe carefully: its rising arch is proud as the curve of a queen’s neck, its glorious zenith the diamond in her crown, the smaller, gentler arch beneath her secret smile. No ropes bind it to the ground, nothing but the most monstrous typhoons swirl about its daffodil surface, howling and battering against its form. It is no use: it is like whittling a needle from a mountain with nothing but a feather. The banana is placid against such fury. The banana is puissant. It is secure in the knowledge that it is of a force primeval, for it is a well-plumped banana and could not be harmed by even the most doughty of elephants. This is the crescent moon overturned.
The banana bridge is tired. Long has it suspended in the air in wait for travellers to cross its pulpy arches. The air, as I have mentioned earlier, is not kind to the banana, and it is in fact lonely in its dangling, lonely where beasties hiss in hidden pits miles below, lonely where the swirling mists hide anything and everything to be seen, lonely where there is no light but the soft glow emanating from its flesh. The only sounds where the banana hangs are of the beasties and the typhoons, who have of late seemed to be getting rather disgruntled at their lack of success and have filled the silent space with more senseless roaring, an outrage to the banana’s sensitive ears, whose favourite musical artist happens to be Rachmaninoff.
The banana bridge sways slightly, caught up in its swell of sudden self-righteousness. When it was but a young banana, still on the stem, its mother-tree Yggdrasil did whisper to it, “Bob, my child, one day you will have a great destiny to fulfill. Emperors will traverse your mighty span, goddesses will scoop large restorative hunks of your flesh into their mouths, fables will be told about the banana bridge between worlds. Be still, my child Bob, and do not wiggle about on your stem so, for that is no way to become a legend.” And so the banana was still and did not wiggle, and yet there are no emperors or goddesses or fables in the nearby vicinity of the banana. Why is this so? It is a fine banana; any emperor would be honoured to sink his heels into its squishy flesh. But none come. None. And the banana is alone.
The banana bridge has had enough. “O,” it whispers into the mists experimentally. The beasties stop snarling. The typhoons stop raging. The banana gains confidence, and tries again. “O,” it declares. “O!” O, cruel fates, what a wretched existence you have cast upon me! I am but Bob, a humble banana bridge, located roughly around the Eastern seaboard of the land-where-stars-do-frolic-and-legends-are-born, only I have not yet myself become the legend I am fated to become, and no emperor sinks his heels into my squishy flesh, and beasties shriek amongst the howling winds, and ah, but my yellow heart roils and turns in my misery! O, mighty powers-that-be! Take pity on a poor banana bridge and lift me from this cruel existence. O! O!” And the banana rages and sobs in its pleading, and rages and sobs until the mists and typhoons flee from its pouring eyes, and the banana sees clearly for the first time since its youth.
‘Why,” says the banana in shock, “how very high up I am!” And the banana is, indeed very high up, in fact it is about five centimetres away from hitting a black plastic sheet on the ceiling. The banana finds this very odd. Then the banana gazes down, and its noble heart near crumbles in shock, for everything is below! The banana sees its mother-tree, Yggdrasil, far, far down, waving her branches gaily in greeting. The banana sees the sun, whose light it had craved so violently in those misty days, and the moon, two tiny dots moving about like ants on a highway. The banana has planets at its feet. ‘O,” says the banana, thrashing about frantically, “this cannot be!” It hammers and clobbers itself valiantly against the black plastic sheet, but to no avail. The plastic does not budge. Then the banana happens to gaze down as it thrashes, and lo and behold! The planets are crashing against each other like marbles in the gutter, everything flung into high chaos as the banana writhes. In fact – could it be? – they almost seem to be flying about in synchronisation to the banana’s thrashes. A cold fear grips the banana, and immediately it lays itself still as a statue. Everything is at peace. The banana twitches its tip, and an asteroid tumbles willy-nilly into a black hole. Then, oh, the banana bridge knows, and a horrible chill descends upon it. It freezes where it hangs in mid-thrash, pressed against the black plastic sheet and takes one last look at the worlds beneath it. It sees the crescent moon overturned. It closes its eyes.
A few milleniums pass.
The banana bridge hangs in the air so tall and grand.
banoffee super-fudge brownies
This recipe knocked me off my socks. So, so chocolaty–more fudge than brownie, this delicious masterpiece comes in the form of a thick, pillowy batter that makes little rising in the oven, therefore its beautifully rich denseness. The required chilling afterwards gives you that glorious, glorious fudge gradient. With the mellow sweetness of banana, a toffee flavor from the dates and a luxurious creaminess from coconut milk, this Banoffee Super-Fudge Brownie is both caramelly and supremely decadent–I assure you, it’s really hard to stop at one! But no worries–this is something you’ll be able to eat again and again without feeling heavy, overdosed or sickened. Plus, it comes together ridiculously easy!
-1.5 cups sweet potato, peeled, diced and cooked till soft and cooled (took me 20 minutes after it reached a boil)
-1 cup pitted medjool dates
-1 large banana
-1/2 cup coconut milk (you can use any plant-based milk, but coconut is the creamiest)
-2 heaped tbsp of nut butter
-1/2 tsp vanilla
-6 tbs flour–I used half wholewheat half all purpose, you can use brown rice flour I think!
-2 tbs potato starch/ corn starch
-6 tbs cocoa powder
-1/2 tsp baking powder
-generous pinch salt
-cinnamon, if desired
-1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks
Preheat your oven to 170 degrees Celsius and line an 8 by 8 inch brownie tin with parchment paper. Blend the sweet potato, banana, dates, milk, nut butter and vanilla in a food processor/blender until thick and smooth. Sift in the dry ingredients and mix slowly and gently with a spatula till homogenous–the batter will be thick! Fold in the dark chocolate, dollop into the pan, and spread out in an even layer with an offset spatula. Bake for 1 hour until the top is set and cracked slightly and a skewer inserted comes out only slightly wet, this makes it extra fudgy. Let cool completely before chilling for at least 2 hours in the fridge to set the fudge. Remove, cut into 9 slices and serve nice and chilled.