Have you heard this joke yet? “I recently took up meditation. It beats sitting around doing nothing!”
So yes, I’ve taken up meditation, and although I suspect I might be doing it wrong, I love its calming clarity.
I don’t know if it’s because it’s that time of the year or current affairs; but more and more, I long for solitude and sanctuary. I yearn for that simple and magical tranquility of sitting on an old porch overlooking the sea on a secluded rural island, with a steaming cup of tea and a slice of dark chocolate banana bread; it centers the mind and body.
I have a fantastic meditation app that helps me tune out the noise, and prompts throughout the day to take tiny moments to really breathe.
I’m also experimenting with baking as a form of meditation. I’ve always enjoyed the contemplative steps in bread making, and I’m learning to find the calming moments in other types of baking as well.
I was lucky to get away to that secluded island a little while back. A short ferry ride from the busyness of life, it’s lovely, verdant and unhurried, it feels like a remote piece of paradise.
There’s an old rustic cottage with a rickety porch overlooking a pebbled beach and the vast ocean. I was perched there for most of the time, bundled warm in cozy blankets and watching the surf roll in and out, soothing and repetitive. For tea we nibbled on the banana bread I brought, made in my tiny city kitchen, which felt along with my troubles, like worlds away.
I’m hoping to go back in the next few weeks, a detox of sorts before the excesses of the holidays. I’ll probably bring this dark chocolate banana bread again; it makes our warm cozy afternoons of purposeful idleness so much better.
This has been my go-to quick bread in the last few months, it’s easy as it is special. I brought back a large can of good cocoa powder from my travels, and my goal is to use it up before my next big trip. I have a few excellent dark chocolate bars too that shine in this cake.
It’s immensely rich, chocolaty and moist, and smells wonderful. I use whole wheat pastry flour to make it a little wholesome, and I think the cake is a bit more tender. It’s the perfect accompaniment to our restorative afternoon tea on the porch.
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seed + 3 tablespoons water
- 3 very ripe large bananas, mashed
- 1/3 cup butter or coconut oil, melted and divided
- 3/4 turbinado or raw sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup dark chocolate chunks or chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F., grease a medium-sized baking pan with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter or coconut oil
- Mix ground flax seed and water in a small cup, set aside and let mixture thicken for at least 5 minutes
- Combine mashed banana, flax mixture with the remaining melted butter or coconut oil in a large bowl
- Add sugar and vanilla extract, mix well to combine
- Sift flour and cocoa powder over wet ingredients (banana mixture)
- Add baking powder, baking soda, cardamom and salt, and mix
- Stir in dark chocolate and mix until just combined and incorporated
- Pour batter into prepared baking pan and bake for 55 – 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
- Cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 - 10 minutes, run a knife around the edge and remove cake from pan by gently turning it onto the cooling rack.