Semolina cake with bananas and coconut milk (and banana-pear chocolate chip bread)

Semolina banana cake

The first film I ever made was called The Real World. It was about seven hot strangers living together in one house – O! the drama that ensued! I’m joking of course. My first film hit the streets several years before MTV’s seminal reality show. It was, in point of fact, a three-minute in-camera-edited powerhouse of a film. A young man walks down a long, brick path, holding a blue jay feather. He’s obviously delighted with it! He encounters a very tall couple dressed in evening clothes – dressed all in black, and wearing top hats and veils. He shows them the feather. They laugh and point. He feels foolish and drops the feather. And that’s pretty much it. Exeunt omnes! To this day, I find it heartbreaking when somebody is happy about something or proud of an achievement, and they’re teased or belittled. Nothing so sad as deflated enthusiasm! Last night we started watching the documentary Marley with the boys. (So far so good). Malcolm was very impressed and he wanted to wear my Bob Marley shirt to school today. He was so excited about it that he wore it even though it was picture day, and he wore a button-down shirt over it, which he planned to remove with a flourish once picture-taking had ended. I met them after school on this grey and drizzly day. Malcolm looked as dapper as ever in his tweed cap and plaid skater’s jacket. After about half a block he said, “I’m never wearing this shirt to school ever again! Everybody teased me! They said it was a girl’s shirt!!” Ouch. He didn’t seem that upset, but I felt like crying. We caught up to some friends of theirs. Isaac said, “Everybody teased Malcolm’s shirt.” Their friend said, “What! That’s Bob Marley, he’s the coolest guy ever. He wanted peace! Anybody who teases you for wearing a Bob Marley shirt is an idiot!!” Huzzah! I felt like crying all over again, and giving their little friend a big hug! I think we should invent a super hero that travels around the world being glad to see people, and noticing when they’re proud, and giving them little pats on the back for their achievements, and admiring their treasures.

So…we had some overripe bananas. I’d just made a sort of traditional banana bread last week, with pears and chocolate chips. It was delicious! I don’t have a picture, but I’ll give you the recipe anyway. I wanted to try something different this time. So I mixed semolina flour into the batter, which gave it a lovely texture – large crumbed and dense, but light and delicate at the same time. And I flavored it with cardamom and ginger. And I added a half cup of coconut milk, which gave it a lovely creaminess and flavor. There’s no actual coconut in the cake, so it’s quite a mysterious and subtle flavor.

Here’s Bob Marley with Rastaman Live Up! Don’t be afraid of the wolf pack!

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semolina flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cardamom
1/2 t ginger
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 large banana – mashed
1/2 cup coconut milk

Preheat the oven to 350, and butter and flour an 8 or 9 inch cake pan.

In a large bowl, beat the butter till creamy. Beat in the sugars and then the egg and vanilla. Add all of the dry ingredients and mix well. Beat in the mashed banana, and then stir in the coconut milk.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until golden brown on top, and until it springs back when you lightly press it – 30 to 40 minutes.

BANANA-PEAR CHOCOLATE CHIP BREAD

1 stick (1/2 cup) softened unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
pinch each cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger
1 pear, peeled cored and finely diced
1 banana, mashed
1/3 cup chocolate chips.

Butter and flour a bread pan and preheat the oven to 375.

Cream the butter with the sugar. Stir in the egg and vanilla, and beat till well-mixed

Add all of the dry ingredients and mix well.
Stir in the fruit, then the chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake till the top is golden brown, puffed, cracked, and springs back when you press it lightly. 30 – 40 minutes.

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