Ocelot Chocolate & Banana Loaf

It's a summer's morning and the sun is blazing through the blinds: you put on your shorts and t-shirt, grab your sunglasses and roll up your rug for the park. You're just at the door when you hear someone throw a handful of stones at the window... Except it's not stones, it's just icy rain. Out of the window you watch as impenetrable grey clouds descend and shiver as the temperature drops 10 degrees. That's British Summer for you. But don't let a rainy midsummer's day get you down, it's a perfect excuse for curling up with a piece of warm buttered banana bread, a cup of tea and a good book. This chocolatey version is extra good, super easy to whip up on a whim (or at the first splash of rain) and the best bit is, you don't have to wait ages for it to cool - it's all the better when it's warm from the oven!

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Makes 1 medium loaf/ approx 8 thick slices
INGREDIENTS

250g Self Raising Flour
Pinch of Salt
75g Caster Sugar (you can increase this to 100g if you have a sweet tooth, or if your bananas are not super-ripe)
1tsp baking powder
100g butter, softened
75g dark chocolate (e.g 1 bar of Ocelot Chocolate 75%), broken into small pieces
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large or 4 small, very ripe (even black is good) bananas (approx 500g).

1 x (approx) 5 x 9inch loaf tin

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 170C /325F. Grease and line your loaf tin.

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a large mixing bowl and stir well. Add the sugar and butter, and using your fingers, rub everything together until it resembles bread crumbs. Stir in the pieces of chocolate, making sure they are dispersed through the mix.

In another mixing bowl mash the bananas to a pulp (you can use a potato masher or a fork). Next add the eggs and the vanilla extract and using the fork whip everything together really well.

Create a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, and pour in the banana mixture. With a wooden spoon, gently bring all the ingredients together, making sure you don’t miss any little pockets of flour.

Tip the mixture into your prepared loaf tin, smooth the top, and place in the oven for around 1 hour, or until a sewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Allow to cool for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack and remove the paper.

Slice a piece and eat warm, with (ideally unsalted & organic) butter. Coconut butter or chocolate spread also work well. The loaf will keep in an airtight container for up to a week - eat it toasted as the week goes on.