In case you've been in a cave, London has been overwhelmed by riots for the last three days. Last night was definitely the worst of it and as a result constant sounds of sirens (some a bit too close for my comfort) kept me from sleeping well.
Today I woke up determined to help with the clean-up. I walked around my neighbourhood to nearby areas that I heard were affected, but they were already clean. I heard through Twitter that people were meeting at Hackney Town Hall, so I walked up there. It was already tidied and those of us on the clean-up crew ended up being more props in a photo opp than anything else. Then, I heard that they needed help in Clapham, so I hopped on a train and went down there. I waited with people for several hours for forensics to finish and apparently also for Boris Johnson to show up and have his little photo opp before we could begin. (As a side note we got heckle Boris, which was satisfying) I was able to help clean for about half an hour when I heard rumours that things were starting to be dodgy around my neighbourhood tube stop, so I decided I should head home. When I arrived I discovered that the rumours were in fact just rumours and that all was fine, although shops were closing early. However, as I walked down the street to my flat complex, I saw a police car enter the carpark. This disturbed me a bit until I discovered they were there because one of my neighbours had called the police on the neighbourhood kids who were playing in our carpark. They always do that.
I fell on the sofa, exhausted, had a think and decided that the day called for a bit of baking. Carolina, my housemate, had some bananas and suggested I make banana bread. I agreed. But alas, as I rummaged through the cupboards for ingredients, I discovered we didn't have a few items. Since the shops all around us closed early, I had to improvise. The result was quite yummy, so I've decided to post my recipe for what I'm calling "London Riot Banana Bread". You should know that the original recipe came from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook and I have made some...ahem...notes of my modifications.
-217g dark brown sugar
-53g caster sugar
(note: Original recipe calls for 270g light brown sugar, which I didn't have)
(note: These were my last eggs)
-2 bananas peeled and mashed
(note: Original recipe calls for 200g, but who the hell weighs their bananas for this?)
-280g of plain flour
-slightly more than 1 teaspoon of baking powder
(note: I spilled some over the measuring spoon as I was chatting with Carolina)
-1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
-about 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
-slightly less than 1 teaspoon of ginger
(note: Yes, you guessed it. I didn't have enough ginger or cinnamon. This should have been 1 teaspoon each)
-140g light margarine
(note: The original recipe calls for unsalted butter, but I'm on a diet)
-95g white chocolate chips
(note: The original recipe doesn't call for white chocolate chips, but I had this 100g bag and needed to justify eating 5g of them)
Preheat the oven to 170C 325F or Gas Mark 4
(note: It's actually Gas 3 in the book, but my gas oven is weird so I go to 4)
Put the dark brown sugar in a bowl and use a mixer to smoosh them together so you can pretend you have light brown sugar. (Yes I made this part up)
Add the eggs to your fake light brown sugar and use a mixer to beat until well incorporated. Then beat in the mashed bananas.
Add the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and ginger into the sugar and egg mixture. Stir it with a wooden spoon until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated (The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook uses the word "incorporated" a lot) into the sugar and egg mixture. Pour in the melted butter and beat until all ingredients are well mixed.
Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin (I prepared mine with low calorie sunflower oil spray. I'm on a diet, remember) and bake in the preheated oven for about an hour. Bread should be firm to the touch and toothpick inserted should come out clean. Leave this to cool slightly in the tin on a wire rack before turning out completely.
Eat, enjoy and be happy that tonight in London is nowhere near like it was last night, but spare a thought to those in Manchester and other areas where the unrest continues.