Yes I have made a fair few banana breads in my time & this one has been the absolute favourite over the last few months. It’s incredible simple to make, requiring no special equipment, which means its perfect to whip up when your away on holiday, at a friends or just want a quiet evening of baking.
Maca is an ancient superfood of the Andes district where it has been consumed for thousands of years. It is packed full of vitamins, minerals, enzymes & all essential amino acids. Maca has unique alkoloids which are known to improve the function of the endocrine system. It helps to regulate hormones as well as increasing overall energy levels. Loving earth Maca is sourced directly from the organic grower in Peru therefore making it a great fair-trade choice when ensuring producers are being paid for their hard work.
Coconut sugar is the sap from coconut palm blossoms which is tapped directly from the palm tree. It’s processing is minimal which means it is left with a wide range of minerals. It is also low G.I, which helps to avoid those sugar highs & lows. In comparison to cane sugar, coconut palms can produce over 50% more sugar per acre while also requiring less water & nutrients. This make it an extremely sustainable choice.
Cosy banana bread
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Line a loaf tin with baking paper (approximately 25cm x 12 cm).
- Peel the bananas & mash with a fork.
- Mix the chia seeds & water together in a jug & set aside to form a gel-like consistency.
- Sift the spelt flour, vanilla, bi-carb, baking powder & cinnamon into a medium mixing bowl. Add the almond meal, coconut sugar & maca powder & gently whisk to combine.
- Add the melted coconut oil, coconut milk & apple cider vinegar to the chia gel. Whisk to combine. Add in the mashed bananas & mix again.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry & gently fold together, being careful to not over mix.
- Spoon into the prepared loaf tin. Sprinkle over the chopped chocolate, press the banana into the top & sprinkle over the coconut sugar.
- Place in the preheated oven & bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean & the top is a golden brown colour.
These buns are filled with all the warm & comforting flavours you can imagine. A fragrant whole spelt dough scented with cinnamon, nutmeg & allspice is then combined with juicy fruit, orange zest & chunks of rich dark choc. It’s the perfect treat to wake up to on easter morning.
I know I have left it a little late & you might already have given up on making any buns this year but this recipe was just too good not to share. So if you haven’t got plan today pop into the kitchen and you’ll be thanking me later when the smell of spicy fruit is wafting around your home. Otherwise, there is always next Easter!
Spelt and chia hot cross buns with figs, raisins & dark choc
- 1 C soy milk
- 4 tbs raw honey (or maple/ rice malt syrup)
- 1 tbs instant yeast
- 2 tbs sourdough starter (if you don’t have just add 2 tbs soy milk, extra)
- 2 tbs chia seeds, 3 tbs water (mix and let sit for 5 minutes)
- 1 Orange, zest & juice
- 1/2 C raisins
- 1/2 C currents
- 1/2 c dried figs, roughly chopped
- 1/4 C mixed peel
- 1 1/2 C whole spelt flour
- 2 C white spelt flour
- 2 tbs ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- a pinch of salt
- 1/4 C macadamia or extra virgin olive oil
- Soy milk, extra, for brushing
For the crosses
- 1/4 C white spelt flour
- 2 tbs water
For the glaze
- Gently heat the soy milk until just lukewarm. Add the instant yeast and honey. Stir, and let sit for 5 minutes. Add in the sourdough starter and set aside.
- Mix the orange juice & zest with the dried fruit.
- In a large bowl of a stand mixer combine the flours, spices and salt. Add in the soy milk mixture, chia seed mixture, macadamia oil and fruit mixture. Mix until combine in a firm dough.
- Need on a floured bench for 5 minutes. Cover in a large bowl and place in a warm area for 2 hours.
- After the 2 hours and when doubled in size knock the dough back. Roll into 16 even sized balls and place on a baking tray. Let rise, covered with a damp detail for 30 minutes, in a warm place.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.
- Mix the flour and water together, pop into a snap lock bag and cut off the corner. When the buns have risen pipe crosses onto them.
- Place into the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 180 degrees celsius and cook for a further 5 minutes.
- While still warm brush with the lime marmalade.
- Serve warm with jam, coconut cream or coconut butter.
As I sit down to write this, it is not cookies on my mind but the rice paper rolls, the soy eggs & squash fritters from some well recognised food bloggers who are sharing their stories. These are not any story but the deepest of stories about their families & their childhood. Each one has made my heart swell & my eyes fill with tears as I think about the hardships they & (their families) faced & the tough decisions. One thing is the same in each story – it’s about finding a safer home. Somewhere they could bring their children up without the threat or fear of violence & persecution. I urge all of you to go & have a read & remember now, while all this craziness is going on in the world that in the end we are all human & we all deserve to live without fear. #immigrantfoodstories
Here are some cookies that will bring a little hope & warmth into your life. They will fill you up & make you feel good.
Makes approx. 24 large cookies
- 1 C whole spelt flour
- 1 C rolled oats, plus 1/2 C extra
- 1/4 C brown rice flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- a pinch of sea salt
- 1/4 C desiccated coconut
- 1/2 C raw almond, roughly chopped
- 1/2 C dried cranberries
- 1/2 C roughly chopped dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
- 1/2 C macadamia oil
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1/4 C rice malt syrup
- 2 over-ripe bananas
- Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees celcius & line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
- Place the 1 C of rolled oats into your blender and pulse for a few seconds to turn into oat flour. Pour into a large bowl and sift over the flours, baking powder, cinnamon & sea salt. Add the whole oats, coconut, almonds, cranberries & dark chocolate. Mix to combine.
- In a large jug mash the bananas then add in the oil, vanilla & rice syrup. Whisk together before pouring over the dry ingredients. Mix into a thick dough then with damp hands roll tablespoon size balls. Place onto the trays and flatten with the palm of your hand.
- Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until golden. Cool for 5 minutes on the trays before transferring to a wire rack.
- Delicious eaten on the day otherwise will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
Enjoy & spread love xx
It’s that time of year again when my parents avocado trees are dripping with fruit and the local markets are full of gorgeous avo’s ready for the picking. I’ve been filling my bag with them at the markets, for a very decent price, and I can’t wait for my parents visits when (hopefully) they come with arms full of them. Of course, nothing beats the simple avo on toast combination , and I can’t go past that. But when I have so many I look to other ways of including them in my diet. Smoothies are one of my favourite things and I don’t think a day goes by when I don’t have one. So it’s no wonder that the avo’s have ended up in my smoothies. They are perfect in a vibrant green smoothie, with lots of kale, mint, lemon and cucumber, adding a very welcome creamy texture.
Today I mixed it up with a very decadent shake, using the avocado to make the drink extra thick and creamy. This is the perfect breakfast treat or dessert. It’s packed with the goodness of raw cacao for that rich chocolate flavour, mesquite adds a lovely hint of caramel and is a good source of calcium & potassium as well as stabilising blood sugar levels and of course the hero avocado is high in vitamin K and healthy monounsaturated fats.
Cacao & avocado shakes
- 1 large frozen banana
- 1/2 large avocado
- 2 ice cubes
- 2 sprigs of mint
- 2 tbsp cacao powder
- 2 tsp mesquite powder
- 2 tsp almond butter
- 2 medjool dates, pitted
- 2.5 C unsweetend almond milk
Place the banana, avocado flesh, ice, mint cacao powder, mesquite powder, medjool dates & almond milk into a high speed blender. Blend for 1 minute or until thick & creamy. Pour into 2 glasses and top with an extra sprinkle of cacao & a few cacao nibs. Drink immediately.
Imagine crispy puffs of quinoa and buckwheat, crunchy peanut butter, creamy tahini, a hint of sea salt and dark chocolate all rolled into one bar. It’s the chocolate bar of my dreams. And now I can have it everyday because, really, it’s not as unhealthy as you might think. Puffed quinoa and buckwheat are both nourishing seeds, which makes them gluten frees, and they are packed with protein and calcium. So we’ve got a chocolate bar that’s both delicious and nutritious!
A little peanut butter and tahini are also great sources of protein and healthy fats, which will help keep you full for longer. These really are the chocolate bar you should be reaching for when the 3pm slump hits. That’s exactly what I’m doing now, along with a big cup of tea. It’s the perfect post tennis treat.
I also made these for my parents last weekend and they thoroughly enjoyed them. Especially my Dad. Now that the recipe is up, my mum might even make them for him!
Don’t be shy with your pinch of sea salt as it really lifts these bars to the next level. Also, feel free to add whatever nuts or seeds you have on hand instead of the pistachios and almonds. Of course, these bars can also be made vegan by using an alternative sweeter such as rice malt syrup or maple syrup, however I truly love the taste of a beautiful floral honey.
Chewy chocolate bars
- 1 1/2 C puffed quinoa
- 1 1/2 C puffed buckwheat
- 1/4 C flaked almonds
- 1/2 C pistachios, roughly chopped
- 1/4 C chia seeds
- 1/2 C honey
- 1/4 C natural peanut butter
- 1/4 hulled tahini
- 40g drak chocolate (70% cocoa solids minimum)
- Combine the puffed quinoa, puffed buckwheat and chia seeds in a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a heavy based pan, gently toast the almonds and pistachios over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
- Combine the honey, peanut butter and tahini in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until combined.
- Add the toasted nuts and tahini mixture to the puffs, quickly mix to combine.
- Press into a lined lamington tin (30 x 15 cm), you may need to wet your palms slightly to prevent the mixture sticking to you.
- Refrigerate for about 4 hours, or until set firmly.
- Remove from the fridge and slice into even sized bars. Gently melt the dark chocolate then use a small spoon to drizzle it over each bar. Pop them back into he fridge for the chocolate to set. Serve, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
The last few days of Autumn are shining upon us which means my breakfasts have started to heat up. On the mornings when I don’t have to eat my breakfast post yoga & in the car, I enjoy beautifully creamy, warm oats with an assortment of toppings. Lately we have been getting the last of the passionfruit from my parents vines, lots of bananas at the markets and the first of my favourite golden kiwifruit. These make the most delightful topping on creamy coconut porridge.
I’ve got one more week left of this semester at University then a couple of weeks of exams. After that, my boyfriend, my parents and I will be packing our bags and heading to Sri Lanka! I’m beyond excited and can’t wait to swim in the warm ocean, walk through some splendid tea plantations and feast on fragrant curries. We’re heading through the hill country then to the east coast. I would be forever grateful if any of you have some travel advice and must see/do places. I’m also hoping to do an Ayurveda cooking class, so any information about that would be most welcome.
Anyway here is a beautifully warming porridge recipe with a little tropical inspiration.
Creamy Coconut Porridge
- 1 C rolled oats (gluten free if necessary), soaked overnight
- 1 C coconut milk
- 1 tsp vanilla powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamon
- 3 passionfruit, pulp scooped out
- 2 bananas, sliced lengthways
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp coconut sugar
- 1 golden kiwi fruit, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp coconut flakes, toasted
- Coconut milk, extra to serve
- Coconut syrup (the sap from the coconut palm), to serve
- Soak the oats overnight in a generous amount of water. Drain in the morning and place in a small saucepan along with the coconut milk and 1 C of filtered water.
- Place the saucepan over very low heat and add the vanilla, cardamon and cinnamon. Bring to a low simmer and stir for 5-10 minutes or until thick and creamy.
- While the porridge is cooking, heat the coconut oil in a small frypan. Sprinkle the sliced bananas with coconut sugar before placing cut side down in the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until golden. Flip and cook the other side for 1 minute before turning off. Set aside.
- When the porridge is ready pour into your serving bowl and top with the caramelised bananas, passionfruit pulp, kiwi and coconut flakes. Serve with extra coconut milk and coconut syrup.