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.
This may sound like a totally indulgent and luxurious dessert but really its not so bad for you at all! The ‘cream’ filling is made from raw cashews and coconut milk which is fluffy and flavoursome and so much better for you than a regular cream filling! Along with a nut base and fresh seasonal fruit on the top it’s the perfect guilt-free treat. My mum has been going all out and taking a slice for her morning tea at work, piled high with sweet figs and tangy passionfruit it’s the perfect morning indulgence. It would also be beautiful on an afternoon high tea platter.
The cream cake filling is scented with vanilla beans and raw local honey which adds not only sweetness but floral fragrances making it the perfect backdrop for whatever seasonal fruit you have on hand. I have chosen figs and passionfruit as our garden is bursting with them both at this time. Plus, the sweetness from the figs and tang from the passionfruit work beautifully together. I would also say mango and raspberries would be a delicious topping. Strawberries, kiwifruit, peaches and even cherries. Choose whatever fruit you have available in abundance and by doing this you will be getting the tastiest option. Sprinkle a few little mint leaves on top and you have a picture perfect and flavour packed treat!
For the base, I have chosen to use mainly buckwheat groats as these make the dessert a little lighter, there’s only so many nuts we can have, right?! But by including a few walnuts the base still has a delicious nutty flavour and is packed with nutrients.
Notes about the recipe
I like to make the cream cake and place it sliced in a tupperware in the freezer without adding the topping. This way it will last up to 1 month frozen. Before serving I simply remove the desired amount of slices 30 minutes prior and top with the fresh fruit topping.
To achieve a really creamy filling it is best to use a high speed blender, such as a vitamix.
Vanilla & honey cream cake with seasonal fruit
makes approximately 16 slices
for the base
- 1/2 C raw walnuts
- 3/4 C buckwheat groats (buckinis)
- 1/2 C shredded coconut
- 8 fresh dates, pitted
- 4 dried figs
- 2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
- a pinch sea salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
for the cream filling
- 2 C raw cashews (soaked overnight)
- 1/2 C full fat coconut milk
- 2 T raw honey (or maple syrup)
- 1 tsp vanilla bean powder
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
for the topping (choose whatever locally grown, seasonal fruit you have available)
- 1 C sliced fresh figs
- 4 passionfruit, pulp only
- a few fresh mint leaves
- edible flowers to decorate, if desired
- Start but soaking your cashews overnight or for at least 6 hours.
- For the base, place the walnuts, buckwheat and coconut into a processor and blitz for about 1 minute, or until a rough crumbly textures is achieved. Add the dates, dried figs, coconut oil, sea salt and cinnamon before processing again until a sticky texture.
- Press this mixture firmly into a lined 20×30 cm tin. Place into the freezer.
- For the cream filling, drain the cashews and place in a high speed blender along with all the other filling ingredients. Blitz for 2-3 minutes or until a VERY creamy texture is achieved. Check the balance of flavours as you may need to add a little more honey if you’ve got a sweet tooth.
- Pour the filling over the base and place back into the freezer to set for 4-6 hours. Once completely set slice into 16 bars. If serving now top with fig slices, passionfruit pulp and mint leaves and let sit for 30 minutes to thaw.
- Otherwise store the slices in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Show me your creations by tagging #goodnessgraciouskitchen on Instagram xx
University goes back today, school has been back for a few weeks and I’m sure most of you have been back at work for at least the last month. For me, this means long days at uni filled with chemistry labs and the need something delicious and energising to keep me sustained. I have previously posted the recipe for my Nutty fruit cake, which is a great snack while you’re on the run and is often found in hanging around the bottom of my bag. These bars are another delicious snack and with the addition of cacao which is full of antioxidants, magnesium and iron they really will give you a boost.
I must admit though that these energy bars don’t travel nearly as well as the indestructible Nutty fruit cake however they are just as delicious enjoyed at home with a big cup of tea or a glass of fresh nut milk. Filled with the rich taste of cacao and spicy ginger these are the big kid addition of a chocolate bar so if you want to make them for some little people reduce the ginger and perhaps addd a little honey for a sweeter version.
Cacao & ginger energy bars
makes 16 bars
- 2 C rolled oats, gluten free is necessary
- 1/2 C pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 1 C pitted dried dates soaked in just boiled water for 10-20 minutes
- 2 C puffed quinoa or millet
- 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 1- 2 pinches flaky sea salt
- 3/4 C tahini
- 4 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius. Place the rolled oats and pumpkin seeds on a baking tray and pop it into the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the oats are just golden and smelling delicious.
- Meanwhile, line a 20x30cm lamington tin with baking paper and set aside. Drain the dates, place in a small bowl and mash with a fork into a sticky smooth paste. Add in the tahini, coconut oil and ginger, mixing to combine.
- In a large bowl mix the puffed quinoa, cacao powder and sea salt. Add in the toasted oats and pumpkin seeds.
- Finally spoon over the date/tahini mixture and mix quickly to combine.
- Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared tin and press down firmly with your palm. You may want to wet your hands very slightly to stop the mixture sticking to you!
- Place in the fridge to set for about 4 hours before slicing into bars.