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Banana Bread:

I want to start off by sharing a recipe that I know is a crowd pleaser for sure and it is my Mom’s banana bread recipe. This was actually the first thing I ever baked/cooked and was what began my passion for baking and cooking. Also, I think of myself as a baker slightly more than a chef and thought it was only appropriate to begin with a baked good.

This recipe is the perfect solution for the bananas in your kitchen right now that are too ripe to eat but you just don’t want to throw them out. If you’re ever in this situation but don’t have the time to bake, just put your bananas in the freezer and defrost them when you’re ready to use them! Once they defrost they will become even mushier than they were before freezing, but that’s okay because we’ll be mashing up the bananas anyways. This recipe is completely fuss free because you can mix the ingredients together in any order and the final product will always turn out to be the same.

7d0067756390a78844f4e7d19f38b187748ce88e                                     http://www.thekitchn.com

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 bananas
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°C and line a large baking pan with parchment paper or grease with butter.
  2. Unpeel the bananas and put them into a large mixing bowl, using either a potato masher or a fork, mash the bananas until they are almost smooth and there are no large chunks.
  3. In a separate bowl crack the eggs and whisk them thoroughly before putting them into the mixing bowl with the mashed bananas. Mix everything together.
  4. Add the sour cream and oil into the mixing bowl and mix well.
  5. Measure the flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar and salt and add them all into the mixing bowl as well. Once everything is combined, grab a cutting board and roughly chop the walnuts and mix them into the batter as well.
  6. Pour the batter into the greased or lined pan and put the pan into the oven. Bake the cake for around 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Keep an eye on the cake because the baking time will vary between oven to oven.
  7. Take out the pan and let the cake cool completely. Release the cake from the pan and cut into thick slices and display on your desired platter or cake stand.

 

You can store this banana bread in an air tight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Enjoy!

– Harneet

 

chemistry, Mesopotamia, perfumery, science, women

The First Chemist – A Breath of 3000-Year-Old Air

Perfumes have been widely sought-after goods in many cultures for most of human history. Even Mesopotamia, the world’s earliest civilisation, had its talented perfumers working in their essential and highly technical aromata industry. However, one perfumer stood out in particular. Her name was Tapputi and she is considered to be the first chemist in history.

Image result for tapputi mesopotamia
Tapputi Belatekallium 

Cuneiform (first written language) tablets from c. 1200 BCE have recorded her titles as well as her concoctions. She held the title, Belatekallium (female overseer), meaning she worked at the royal palace and was paid to make perfumes for the king. One tablet’s recipe is also the first known reference to a still. She experimented with distillation, cold enfleurage, tincture and many other scent extraction techniques. Her most notable technique was using solvents, which gave similar results to modern perfumes. Tapputi blended oils, essences, and resins, then cut them with a mix of distilled water and grain alcohol. Hence, her scents were lighter, brighter, further reaching, and longer lasting than any perfume oil the Babylonians. Her methods became the foundation for natural perfume making. Then, to preserve her floral scents across the Babylonian Empire, she prepared fragrant oils in a concrete of fat and wax.

Here is the preparation of flowers, oil and calamus for the king according to the recipe of Tapputi-Belatekallium, the perfumer:

Image result for tapputi mesopotamia
Cuneiform Tablet

If you prepare flowers, oil and calamus as a salve, and you have tested the flowers; you set up… a distillatory. You put good potable water [into a hairu pot]. You heat tabilu and put it in. You put 1 qa haminu, 1 qa iaruttu, 1 qa of good, filtered myhrr into the hairu put. Your standard in this is the water taken and divided. You operate at the end of the day and in the evening. It remains overnight. It becomes steeped.

You filter this solution… with a filter cloth into a hirsu pot at dawn, on the rising of the sun, you clarify from this hirsu pot into another hirsu pot. You discard the residue. You use 3 qa of purified Cyperus in the solution with the aromatics. Discard the inferior material. You put 3 qa myrrh, 2 qa pressed and filtered calamus in the solution with these aromatics… 1 ½ pure gullu… two beakers… small beakers… you filter… kanaktu in a sieve. You decant the oil in the hairu pout… in the solution [you rub that which was with the solution overnight] [you examine] the comminuted material. You remove [its bad part]. You filter this solution which [you clarified into a distillatory] … 3 qa… [you throw]… balsam into this solution in [a hirsu pot]. [you kindle a fire]. When the solution is heated for admixture, [you pour in the oil]. You agitate with a stirrer. [When the oil, solution, and aromatics] continue to dissolve, [you raise] the fire… you cover the distillatory on top. [you cool] with [water]. When the sun rises,[you prepare] a [container for] the oil, solution and aromatics.

You allow the fire under the distillatory to die down. You remove the distilled and sublimed substances from [the trough of the distillatory].

When the sun [rises],[if] they continue to dissolve in one another and [the fire rises], you cover the [top] of the distillatory. You cool. You prepare a flask for the calamus oil. You put a filter cloth over the flask. You remove the dregs and residue left in the distillatory.

It is unfortunate that her works were lost for 1000 years, and even after being rediscovered, she still does not receive much recognition. Yet the fact remains that the first chemist in the world, was a woman named Tapputi.

-Saima