Hipster Banana Bread

Am I a hipster? Oh god. I like organic food, make my own kefir and ride a cruiser. Yes, I’d love to save the world and my husband has a beard. Hmmmm….. maybe I am just enough of a hipster to be allowed to call this Hipster Banana Bread?!

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Eating a bite of this loaf made me think of my Mum. I’m sure she would have baked something like this, while I watched at her elbow; something wholesome and healthful, and knowing her she would have spread on some tahini and honey for extra goodness/yummyness.

Times change, and now I am the mum with my little one standing at my elbow. And so whilst I originally thought to call this recipe Hippy Banana Bread (as I think of my mum being somewhat of a hippy earth mother) I decided that for my times, perhaps it is more of a Hipster Banana Bread.

So get out your spelt and your cocoa nibs, mash a few bananas and then sling a few slices into your satchel for a snack whilst out on your bike. Lovely alongside a good cup o’ chai.

Hipster Banana Bread

This really is more bread than cake, and is abundant in seeds and cocoa nib crunch. I imagine it would be a great snack to take on a hike; it fills you up in a good way and keeps you going for a long time. It stores well for at least 5 days, and actually gets better after a day or two. And as with all banana breads (in my humble opinion) a generous buttering is a must.

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Adapted from Seeded Banana Bread from A Modern Way To Eat by Anna Jones.

  • 250g wholegrain spelt flour
  • 125g brown sugar (I think coconut sugar would substitute well here, I’m going to try that next time)
  • 150g little seeds (I used 50g golden linseeds, 50g sesame seeds and 50g cocoa nibs)
  • a pinch of salt (go on, rock in some Himalayan Crystal salt)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large bananas, mashed as you will
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons natural yoghurt
  • 2 large organic eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C fan forced. Butter and line a loaf tin with baking paper, and let the paper reach up the sides so it is easy to remove.

Mix together in a bowl all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, seeds, salt and baking powder) until there are no lumps.

In a separate bowl mash the bananas, then stir in the olive oil, yoghurt and eggs.

Gently mix together the wet and dry ingredients, just until there are no pockets of flour left. Hippies or Hipsters alike, be gentle and loving to your mix.

Pour the mixture into the tin, then bake a little lower down in the oven for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the loaf comes out clean.

When the loaf is cool enough, transfer to a cooling rack. This is pretty yummy still warm, but also good at room temperature or toasted and spread with either butter and a little honey or your favourite nut butter. I also had the notion of making a slice into french toast and topping it with some maple, greek yoghurt and extra bananas, but haven’t got there yet! Let me know if that’s where you take it!

hipster_banana_bread_sweetpea_darlingheart_slice

Buckwheat Crepes with oven roasted Rhubarb

High fives to all the amazing cooks and chefs out there at the moment championing wholefoods and more healthful and mindful ways of eating. I feel an amazing shift happening towards a more natural and delicious way of conscious eating and farming, and it’s so great to see it becoming more mainstream. I have been adding to my cookbook collection because there are so many gorgeous books out there that I find them hard not to take them all home. There are so many exciting, vibrant recipes that I can’t wait to whip up and I’m sure I will be feasting on them coming into Spring and Summer.

Buckwheat Crepes with oven roasted Rhubarb

One gorgeous book that I bought a little while back is My Petite Kitchen. Eleanor Ozich is a gluten free rock star, making special food delicious for all the right reasons. She cooks from a place of love (you can just tell) and her pictures are just so pretty, they really do make it all feel like home.

I bought her book without even opening it (yes, I knew if would be that good) and it has proven to be a mega source of gluten free inspiration. I have it literally post-it noted all over.

She sounds really, really nice and has just opened a cafe, and I tell you, if I lived in New Zealand I would be down there for some lunch quick smart.

This recipe was inspired by her Buckwheat Pancakes; mine are crepes because that is what my kids want to gobble at the moment and I served them with some oven baked rhubarb. Gluten free, refined sugar free, just get them into you. Preferably whilst still in bed, or at least in your pyjamas.

Buckwheat Crepes with oven roasted Rhubarb

For the crepes:

130g buckwheat flour
310ml milk
2 beautiful organic free range eggs

Whisk together the flour, milk and eggs until nice and smooth. Simple huh.

Heat a little coconut oil or butter in a fry pan (I have a little flat cast-iron crepe pan and it is awesome, go and get yourself one if you really like crepes, you won’t regret it). Heat the pan until just before smoking point, you need the pan to be hot before you try and make your first crepe.

Pour a ladle full of crepe mixture into the pan, and swirl it around quickly to create a thin, even layer. Pour any excess mixture out of the pan and back into the bowl, ready to make the next crepe.

Cook the crepe until it is just opaque, and you can run a rubber spatula around the edges of the crepe. It won’t take long to cook if the crepe is thin enough. Truth be told, the first crepe probably won’t turn out right (sometimes I’m lucky and the first one works out, but honestly if you tear the first one then cook’s treat for you). With your rubber spatula flip your crepe over and cook on the other side for just 10 or 20 seconds more, until the little bubbles on the second side are just browned. Slip it out of the pan and onto a beautiful plate that is magically waiting there for you, begging to be filled with a little stack of crepes.

Keep cooking crepe by crepe, keeping the first ones warm in a low oven on their beautiful plate, but covered by some tin foil so they don’t dry out. Do a little dance, shuffle in your slippers and give yourself a high five. Yay, crepes!

Drizzle them with maple syrup if you want to, and maybe some creamy yoghurt.

And if you do prefer your breakfast whilst reclining, these keep well in the fridge, so you can make them the day before, then wrap them well and pop in the fridge waiting to be warmed up by your loved one in the oven the next morning, to serve you breakfast in bed.

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Oven Roasted Rhubarb

One bunch of beautiful pink rhubarb, ends and leaves discarded
2 or 3 tablespoons of stevia
Juice of half a lemon

Cut your rhubarb into little finger sized lengths. Place into a glass or ceramic bowl.

Sprinkle the rhubarb with the stevia and lemon juice and shake it all about. I am vague here about the stevia because personally I like rhubarb a little on the tart side, but some of us out there (well, pretty much everyone else that lives at my house anyway) like things a little sweeter, so you can add more. And if sugar doesn’t bother you, then go ahead and use brown sugar, oh my, it will be delicious.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C.

Let the rhubarb, lemon and sweetness mingle for 20 minutes of so, until they are juicy friends.

Pop the rhubarb and juices into a deep roasting pan (like a brownie tin, something with some depth to hold the juices) and cover with a piece of tin foil. Roast in the oven for around 20 minutes or a little less, rhubarb loses it’s shape quickly, so if you’d like the pieces to retain their roundness, check it after 15 for tenderness.

Eat.

Amazing photography by Sarah of Love Katie and Sarah, thanks S xx

roasted rhubarb

Hazelnut and Pumpkin Tart

As I write this, I am sitting here grabbing a little slice of Winter sun. Inside, beside a window. It may not be the great outdoors, but it’s something. And sitting in the sun is making me think that a picnic would be a good idea. And whilst there is nothing like a picnic somewhere verdant and lush, either just in the backyard or out somewhere adventuring, on a day like today I think the blanket might just blow away. So let’s have an indoor picnic instead, and dream of a new day in Spring, with some flowers out and some birds singing, and just soak up a little bit more of that sun.

WholePumpkinHazelnutTartNapkinPumpkinFettaSprinklingSlicePumpkinTartPumpkinTart

This tart is earthy and sweet and gluten free. The base is crumbly, but deliciously so. Don’t skimp on the fetta, rocket or the dukkah, together they make for a perfect picnic combination of flavour and texture; smooth and sweet pumpkin alongside creamy, tangy fetta, a little spice from the dukkah and freshness from the rocket. Best enjoyed with friends.

Hazelnut and Pumpkin Tart

20cm loose bottomed tart tin, greased with butter

For the filling:

  • 600g pumpkin, sliced into wedges and roasted until tender
  • 3 tablespoons of dukkah for sprinkling
  • 150g ricotta
  • 4 beautiful, organic, free range eggs

For the hazelnut crust:

  • 75g butter, cold and cubed
  • 65g brown rice flour
  • 45g hazelnut meal
  • 2 tablespoons potato flour or cornflour
  • a sprinkling of cold water
  • a pinch of good quality salt

Combine the rice flour, salt and hazelnut meal in a bowl. Add your butter, and use your hands to crumble it all together, until things are looking a little lumpy and pretty well mixed. Sprinkle in some cold water, and give a light knead until a dough forms. You should need around 2 or 3 tablespoons of water. Wrap the dough in cling film and pop it in the fridge for 30 mins to firm up a bit.

Preheat oven to 190 degrees C.

Once the dough has had a rest, use your hands to press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of a well greased tart tin. Yes, no rolling pins required!

In a bowl, whisk together the ricotta and eggs until smooth, along with a good pinch of salt and a crack of pepper.

Pour the ricotta, egg mixture into the tart shell, then place the roasted pumpkin pieces on top. Sprinke with the dukkah, then place in the oven to bake for around 35-40 minutes. It will be ready when the sides of the tart will have puffed and it is slightly golden all over.

This tart is delicious hot out of the oven or at room temperature. Bring it to the table or the picnic rug and top with a handful of wild rocket and a crumbling of goat’s fetta. The base will be delicious and a bit crisp and crumbly, just mop it all up with your fingers and enjoy.

Photos by the amazing Sarah of Love Katie and Sarah

Hummus. Yes.

Hummus

So, it’s really, really freezing. Melbourne has just decided to blast Winter right up in your face and not let you escape, nowhere, no how. Many cups of tea are needed, and make it spicy. After an Autumn where I craved Japanese non-stop and made Nasu Dengaku pretty much every week, I am now turning to warmth and comfort from the warming spices of the Middle East. I can’t get enough of cumin, paprika, coriander seed, a little chilli… I’m sprinkling dukkah on pretty much everything. Add in some lemon and some chickpeas and you will make me a happy woman.

Hummus has made a big comeback for lunchtimes, alongside a little of last night’s leftovers and a crispy fried egg, sprinkled with dukkah of course and some wilted greens with lemon. I am having desert dreaming, I need warming from the inside out.

So because all things Middle Eastern are floating my boat right now I am turning to my main man for delicious Middle Eastern inspiration – Yotam.

I have a food crush on Yotam Ottolenghi. There, I’ve said it. It’s not like I have met him, it’s just that every thing he makes I want to eat.

There are some people whose cookbooks I would buy without even opening the cover, just because I know how good they are going to be. People who just get it. Yotam is one of these people. His collection of books hold an important space on my bookshelf. My bookshelf has two layers of books now but Yotam’s books always stay in the front. The flavour just flies off the page. The way he talks about food, the way he plates it, they way it is all just make some deliciousness and stick it on a big platter for all your friends to devour. I just like it.

A few weeks ago, the kids were in bed and I flicked on the television and chanced upon Yotam visiting his home town of Jerusalem. He journeyed and remembered delicious food memories and made some new food discoveries, and he just made me want to eat every single thing. I may not be able to go to Jerusalem but from his cookbooks I can share in some of that magic and majesty and dream a little in my own kitchen.

Pomegranate

So here is one of our staples at the moment… Yotam’s Hummus. Add some pops of pomegranate from your neighbour’s yard (no really, she insisted I take them 😉 and you have yourself some comforting deliciousness.

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Basic Hummus from Yotam and Sami’s Jerusalem

  • 250g dried chickpeas
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 270g light tahini paste
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 100ml ice cold water
  • salt

A day before you want to eat your hummus, rinse your chickpeas and pop them into a large bowl. Cover with double their volume of cold water and leave to soak overnight.

The following day, drain the chickpeas and place them into a medium saucepan. Add the bicarbonate of soda and place on a high heat, stirring and cooking for about 3 minutes. Add 1.5 litres of fresh water, and bring to the boil. Allow them to cook until they become soft (this can take somewhere between 20 and 40mins, you want them very tender, so you can crush them easily with your finger and thumb), skimming any foam that floats to the surface whilst cooking.

Drain the cooked chickpeas, and pop them into a food processor. Blitz those chickies until they become a thick paste, then whilst the machine is still running add in the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and a decent pinch of salt. Whiz whiz. Then trickle in the cold water and keep whizzing until your hummus is super smooth (about 5 minutes). Taste it and adjust the flavourings if you so desire.

Yotam and Sami recommend you let it rest for 30 minutes before eating, although I find this part tricky. And serve it at room temperature with something good and crunchy.

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Thanks Sarah from Love Katie and Sarah for my lovely photos… you’re a gem!

 

a little romance with some Persian Love Cake

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Life’s big experiences always feel a little easier when you have someone to share them with. Having your first baby changes you immensely, and I was lucky enough to make two dear, dear friends just after we all had our first babies. We’ve shared hard times and happy times, day to day hum-drum and excitement, and now our children have the most special kind of friendship that hopefully they will take with them through their entire lives, friends you have had since birth.

These ladies are my kin, and our families feel interwoven.

Times may come when we don’t get to see each other as much as we have in these formative years, but I know that we will always hold a special place in each other’s hearts. My life has been so much richer for having grown alongside them.

Congratulations to beautiful H + D, we love you and all you are. Another of life’s big moments, what a treat to share it with you.

And whilst I made this as a wedding cake, it really is perfect to share for morning or afternoon tea with some close friends or loved ones.

Persian Love Cake for H + D…

honest and exotic just like you, to help celebrate your declaration of love xx

adapted from Nutmeg Love Cake by Amber Rose, from Love Bake Nourish.

  • 80g mix of toasted pecans, almonds and pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 260g spelt flour
  • 200g rapadura sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 280ml natural yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 large free-range egg

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and flour a 20cm springform cake tin.

Measure the flour, salt, sugar and nutmeg into a medium bowl and stir to combine.

In a saucepan, melt the butter and maple syrup together, until liquid.

Pour the butter and syrup into the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the butter has been incorporated. Press half of this mixture into the base of your cake tin.

With the remaining half of the butter/flour mixture, stir in the natural yoghurt, egg and bicarbonate soda. Mix well until there are no lumps, it will be quite runny. Pour this mixture into the cake tin over the buttery base.

Sprinkle your chopped nuts on top and place in the middle of the oven (pop an oven tray on the bottom of your oven to catch any buttery drips) and bake for around 40 minutes, or until the centre of the cake springs back when you touch it. I baked mine a little longer at H + D’s request, turning the oven down to 160 degrees C after 40 minutes to avoid burning the nuts. If you bake it until the centre just springs back, the middle layer will have the consistency of a thick, set custard… if you bake it a little longer it will be chewier and a bit more spongey.

Let the cake cool completely in the tin before removing the springform.

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Because this cake was for a celebration, I decorated mine with crystallized rose petals, nut praline, edible glitter and a touch of edible gold leaf. But really, the nuts look beautiful on top just as they are. Honest, comforting and delicious.

Coconut Berry Loaf Cake

coconut-loaf-above

The past few weeks I have been having an existential crisis of sorts… a baking related existential crisis. There are definitely worse things than baking crises. But things have been on my mind, none the less.

My particular deliberation is basically this. I love to bake. For sure. It is a space where my creativity is in flow, and also a platform from which I can nurture others. And on the other hand, I have recently made the decision to go sugar free for a while. I have Type 1 diabetes, an auto immune disease (gosh, I really don’t even like labelling it as that) and have been reading the buzz lately about others reversing their various forms of auto immune by going sugar free. I just want to say, I am not recommending any of these changes to anybody else, in fact my doctors are pretty much dead set against the whole idea of going sugar free (somewhat ironic, no?) but tired of merely managing my condition, I’m seeing what I can do to help support and heal my body.

So, how to marry these two ends of the spectrum? Sugar free yet love to bake. Oh, and the fact that I have a small business making delicious sugary cakes for other people?!

If you’ve visited here before, you will notice that many of the recipes I post tend towards the wholefoods side of things. I like creating and eating food that is delicious and full of nutrients. I want to have my cake, and get some additional goodness from it too. Goodness for the soul and for the body, if you like. And with a beautiful little girl by my side who has a definite sweet tooth, I want to make sure I can get as much good nutrition into her as well, whilst still giving her something she will want to eat for afternoon tea.

I will continue to make special treat cakes for others who are having celebrations, but have decided that I also need to work on a range of sugar free and wholefoods cakes that also taste delicious and look beautiful, so that people who have these different wants and needs can be catered for. And I guess I will also allow some room in my life for the freedom to have some treat cake when the time is right. But amazingly, having been sugar free for about 7 weeks now, I am not wanting it so much.

Anyway, my beautiful girl is totally in love with coconut at the moment, so here is a quick after kinder treat we whipped up. Low sugar, low fructose, high in protein and pretty darn delicious.

Coconut Berry Loaf Cake

Coconut-berry-cake

  • 200 g wholemeal spelt
  • 100 g coconut flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
  • 100 g butter, melted
  • scant 1/3 cup stevia (I use a one for one stevia which is mixed with erythritol to make it measure as you would for sugar, however, if you use pure stevia please put this in to taste as a drop of the pure stuff goes a long way!)
  • 1/3 cup rice syrup
  • 400 ml buttermilk
  • 120 g berries
  • handful of coconut flakes

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line a loaf tin with baking paper. In a medium bowl, combine the  spelt flour, coconut flour, baking powder, vanilla powder and stevia and give a good stir.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter, then add in the rice syrup and warm until just loosened. Pour the butter and rice syrup into the flour mixture and stir.

Stir through your buttermilk; the coconut flour is very dry and will absorb lots of moisture, it will make a fairly firm batter.

berries

Pour your mixture into your loaf tin, and push in the berries however you feel. Try not to eat them all along the way.

coconut-loaf-ready-to-bake

Top with a sprinkle of coconut flakes. Place towards the bottom of the oven, to stop the coconut flakes from burning, and bake for 60 – 65 mins or until a skewer comes out clean.

This is a subtly sweet, rustic style cake, very comforting and delicious with the pop of soft juicy berries. It is delicious eaten warm as is, or would also be good served with some orange or vanilla scented ricotta.  It keeps well in an airtight container for up to 4 days, although we gobbled ours all up long before then.

Coconut-berry-loaf-cake

birthday cake for saachi

I was recently asked to make a birthday cake for a special little boy who has a very special diet. No flour, no dairy, no sugar… no problem!

Harvest-cake

I have lots of beautiful resources for specialised baking, but upon looking at his list of allowed foods, I had one go-to girl in mind, Caitlin from the ever gorgeous and inspiring blog Roost.

If you have a specialised diet, especially one which needs to avoid grains, then you will find her story and her recipes invaluable.

Birthday Cake for Saachi adapted from the Harvest Cake on Roost.

Makes one double layer 20cm cake.

  • 5 cups almond meal
  • 3 tsp bi-carb soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 100ml coconut oil, melted
  • 100ml honey
  • 2 vanilla pods, seeds scraped
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 cups grated carrot
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 2 cups chopped apple

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line two 20cm cake tins. In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and mix thoroughly. Pour into the cake tins and bake in the centre of the oven for 45 mins or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Cashew Cream Frosting

  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for three hours, water discarded
  • 225ml fresh apple juice
  • 4 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • seeds from 2 vanilla beans

Blitz all ingredients in a blender or Thermomix until super smooth. If the frosting seems too loose, add some almond meal and blitz again, until you achieve your desired consistency.

gluten-free-harvest-cake

Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.