Well world, I’m obviously at an all time low if my hardest task master is the brown banana that lurks in my fruit bowl. I wonder if its something to do with the fact I’m battling the gym pain that seems to be shooting across my body. I’m trying to get myself Mykonos ready. Mykonos ready is different to any other bodily preparation I have ever had to do. It’s worse than marathon training. With marathon training, one throws himself into a series of runs in anticipation of running 26.2 miles one Sunday. With Mykonos training, I am in preparation to wear one of 5 pairs of swimming trunks (in a brief style) on Elia or Super Paradise beach whilst surrounded by swarms of toned, cut gay men who will all notice my imperfections. So both Pete and I have upped our games as if we were Treyc Cohen in this years X Factor, desperate to get into the live shows.
Operation Mykonos does not include several things. Firstly will power. Secondly and thirdly willpower. We should have given up on cake. But anyone going through a 6 days a week gym programme will tell you that it would be miserable if the perk of it was not eating a bit of what you fancy. I don’t graze all day like in days of old. Instead I save my treats for evening time, for dessert. And as I looked around my kitchen I saw two lonely items. An egg and a browning banana in the fruit bowl. I got to thinking, what can I do with these.
Out of this, the following sinful treat was born. (Now you don’t have to get up at 6am to go to Body Pump to afford this treat, that was just me today.)
Almond Cupcakes with a Banana Frosting
100g Plain Flour
20g Ground Almonds
40g softened unsalted Butter
140g caster sugar
1 pinch salt
11/2 tsps of baking powder
1/2 tsp Almond Extract
50g soft butter
1 mashed Banana (roughly weighing 80g)
250g icing sugar
Using a stand mixer, or your own Popeye-like arm, cream the butter, and add the balance of the dry mixture into a bowl. This should become crumb like, but still rather dry. There is no need to sieve, unless your ingredients look like they could do with a shake up. A bit like the BBC demonstrated with Radio 2, everything needs livening up once in a while.
Add half the milk (roughly, don’t feel the need to be pedantic about this) whilst adding the egg and almond extract to the rest of the milk, roughly mixing, before adding to the batter. Give this a good whisk. It will become quite mousse-like, and a bit frothy. This is exactly what you need. Whilst one does not want to over beat, a couple of minutes does not hurt.
Grab a muffin tray. With some kitchen roll, add some flavourless (ie groundnut or veg) oil onto this and lightly oil the top of the muffin tray. This will help you lift out the cakes when they rise about the cases. Scoop the mix into lined compartments on the tray. An ice cream scoop means you get uniformity. Bake at 170 degrees C, 325 degrees F or gas Mark 3 for 25 mins, or when your tester (mine is from Crate and Barrel) comes out clean.
Meanwhile, add the butter to your mixer (or mixing) bowl and cream until smooth. Add the banana and incorporate the two together briefly. In slow stages, sieve in the icing sugar, mixing but keeping an eye to not loosen the mix too much. Once it’s all in, keep beating until happy with the consistency. This is pipeable, but not thick and will not form stiff piped peaks. I used a round nozzle, and it stays where piped, but it too lose to stand proud. You can see the brown seed found in bananas proudly through the icing.
Remove the cakes from the oven when cooked, and leave to cool in the tin until cool enough to handle, and remove to a cooling rack. When totally cooled, pipe the icing on top. You could spoon it, it’s not essential.
Delicious eaten fresh, the sponge firms when left to cool longer, which makes a more manageable sweet treat.
The rest of the week includes work tomorrow, a trip to see my parents and some well earned rest days from the gym. But all rest and no sweat will make Adam an itchy boy. I tell you, those ripped Italians last year have made my paranoid about my alabaster British complexion. I felt like Cate Blanchett starring as Elizabeth 1st as I lay on my sun lounger. I’m leaving nothing to chance this year and have stocked up on Piz Buin, factor 10. Damn those dermatologists and their warnings re anything below factor 30, the fate of the nation rests on my ability to look smoking on that beach.
Only three more weeks of this….. If you found reading this tedious, try living it. The other day I was in the gym and the theme from Blankety Blank would not leave my head. For 35 minutes on the treadmill, I had that running through my mind. That I didn’t run out screaming holding my ears shows the dedication I’m paying. It was torture. I may be walking like Mrs Overall tomorrow. My back is killing from deadlifts this morning.
And on that note, I’m off. It will all be worthwhile when gazing on this view again. T minus three weeks this weekend! Not that I’m counting…..
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