Today’s recipe comes to you from heart-achingly beautiful Yangshuo.
Yangshuo is a part of China I’ve wanted to visit for years. On my very first day at work in Hong Kong, the two other girls at my school left on a long weekend here, and ever since then I’ve been longing to visit. I was worried though, travelling around central Laos, and visiting areas like Halong Bay, we’ve been to lots of stunning karst country. Excited as I was to arrive, I had a hint of trepidation, would it feel like we’d seen this all before?
Yangshuo, however, hasn’t disappointed.
In the mornings, mist clings to the karst mountains. They become misty, mystical far away monoliths, rising silently from the earth and dominating the landscape. Come mid-day, the sky a bright, burning blue, they shimmer with the heat. Some tree covered, others with limestone exposed. Those far away become little more than shades of grey going on and on into the distance; an image of China deeply ingrained from childhood. As the evening falls the sun dips behind the hills, and the light pours through between them in long shafts, breaking up the long shadows cast across the yellow glowing rice paddies.
Hiring a bike and getting lost in the back roads, rice paddy tracks is the perfect way to see this beautiful part of the world.
Do you want to take a look?
Beautiful, isn’t it?
Enough about the scenery though, lets get onto the cake!
Its not long since we’ve had a banana and chocolate recipe, but it’s such a wonderful combination of flavours I find myself revisiting it over and over again.
These muffins are deliciously chocolatey, with cocoa powder flavouring, and dark chocolate chips.
The recipe is adapted (very slightly) from a Nigella Lawson recipe and, as with so many of her delicious baked treats, is so quick and easy.
Mash your bananans, add the liquids and the sugar, throw in the dry ingredients and you’re done. Pop them in the oven and 2o minutes later they’re ready to enjoy. Tender, delicious muffins warm and ready. They’re generously sized, and could easily be counted as a breakfast food if you’re that way inclined.
I’ve used dark chocolate chips, to compliment the sweetness of the bananas. If you’re making these for children though, or the particularly sweet toothed, you could swap the dark chocolate for milk chocolate.
Why not give them a try this weekend?
Ps, if anyone is interested, we stayed at The Giggling Tree. Its a beautiful restored farm house set in a village in the countryside outside Yangshuo. Its a lovely, friendly place with a family feel, and I’d recommend it for anyone wanting to explore this beautiful area.
Quick and easy Banana and Chocolate Chip Muffins
(slightly adapted from Nigella Lawson)
3 very ripe or over ripe bananas
125ml vegetable oil
2 large eggs
100g soft light brown sugar
225g plain flour (all purpose flour)
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
200g dark chocolate chips or chunks
Preheat the oven to 200C/ 280F/ 400F.
Line a 12 hole muffin pan with papers.
In a large bowl, mash your bananas with a potato masher or a fork.
Still mashing, pour in the oil, then the eggs and sugar.
In a separate bowl, sieve together the flour, cocoa powder and bicadonate of soda.
Switch to a wooden spoon, and fold into the banana mixture until everything is just combined.
Stir through the chocolate chips or chunks.
Divide evenly between the 12 muffin papers.
Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes, until well risen and firm to the touch.
Cool completely, then serve.