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!

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strawberry + rhubarb crumble muffins, a recipe made for mixing it up

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Are you a list writer? Or more of a free spirit, able to roll through life and summon the gods of ‘winging it’?

I confess, I am a bit of a list writer. Believe me, I often wish it weren’t so. But writing things down helps clear my mind for other, more fun things. Otherwise I am constantly reciting the things I need to do, hoping not to forget anything. Pen and paper help me out with that. But when it comes to food, that’s where my hidden free spirit is really allowed to shine.

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Yes, this may mean that I am always without one thing we really need, but hey, this just inspires extra creativity, right? When it comes to savoury food, I hardly ever have a plan when I start to cook. An idea, yes, but rarely an end. Maybe this is why I find it hard to ever cook a recipe as it is written, and why it is even harder for me to write one, because I usually end up throwing in a bit of this and a pinch of that, never really measuring, just going with the flow… anyway, here is a recipe just for the likes of me, where you can add whichever fruit takes your fancy and it will always turn out super delish.

Strawberry and Rhubarb Crumble Muffins customised from Classic Earth Market muffins found in Wholefood Baking by Jude Blereau

CookedMuffin

  • 1 quantity cinnamon and nut crumble topping
  • 400g fruit of your choice, chopped into good-sized chunks
  • 130g white spelt flour
  • 145g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 75g rapadura sugar or raw sugar
  • 125ml milk
  • 125ml buttermilk, kefir milk or yoghurt
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 80g unsalted butter, melted and cooled a little

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Place paper cases into a 12 hole muffin tin.

For the dry mix, place the flours, baking powder and sugar in a bowl and give it a good whisk, breaking up any lumps. Add your chopped up fruit (keep it chunky so you get good fruity bits in your cooked muffin) and stir gently, giving the fruit a light coating so it doesn’t clump together. I used rhubarb and strawberries as they were calling my name, but here is where you get to make it your own! Choose whichever fruit is calling to you, bananas, berries, plums, figs… you get the idea, it’ll all be good. If your fruit is on the fragile side, we’ll add it later so it doesn’t get smooshed.

For the wet mix, place equal amounts of the two milks in a measuring cup to make 185ml. Add in the egg, vanilla and cooled, melted butter and whisk together.

Fold together the wet and the dry mixes gently, until just combined. Here is where you add that extra milk if you feel you need to. And if your fruit is fragile you can fold it in now too.

MuffinMix

For the topping combine 70g raw nuts (I used walnuts), 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 2 tablespoons desiccated coconut and 2 tablespoons rapadura sugar in a bowl. Please, please make the topping!! It makes these muffins a bit more special, and adds great texture. Trust me, do it!

Spoon the muffin batter into your cases, and sprinkle generously with the crumble topping.

ReadyForOven

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven, cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove from tin and cool on wire racks.

I must confess I didn’t have any wholemeal spelt, so I used only white spelt, and substituted in 40g hazelnut meal which I did have hanging around. Yes, I can never play it straight when it comes to cooking.

TrayBaked

And when you think they are just cool enough to eat, make yourself a cup of tea, call the kids into the kitchen and enjoy a quiet moment of freshly baked goodness.

These muffins aren’t super sweet, but they are beautifully light and pretty delicious. And as per usual when it comes to muffins, eat them as soon as you can! The same day is best, but if it is the following day, give them a gentle warm in the oven and they will breathe life anew. Enjoy.

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how to make a Monday, feel like a Friday

Mondays. I know it’s the start of the week, woo hoo, umm yeah, the start of something great, right?! Let’s be real, sometimes they are just hard work.

Enter: pizza. It’s cool, go with me here.

I have long been a believer in cake, and how it can make almost any moment feel more special (don’t tell me you’ve never had an emergency piece of cake!). Well, my latest idea is pizza, and how it makes any night of the week feel like Friday night.

Go on, give it a go. Shake it up and make pizza on a Monday night; it might just be the start of something great…

pizza with red quinoa salad

Spelt Pizza with Red Quinoa, Fennel and Apple Salad

250g spelt flour

125ml warm water

pinch of salt and sugar

25ml olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons instant dried yeast

Combine the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a bowl and give a little stir. Combine the warm water and olive oil, and pour into a well in the centre of the flour. Give it a quick mix around with a spoon until it comes together into a ball. Now, do yourself a favour, and give the dough a little knead whilst it’s still in the bowl (mix in all those little bits around the sides). This makes it less sticky when you turn it out, and you will need less flour on your kneading surface (i.e. bench top!).

Turn your dough out onto your nicely floured benchtop and knead that baby until it looks smooth on the outside when you shape it into a ball. Depending on your enthusiasm, this will take around 5 minutes. I like to hold one edge of the dough with my left hand, and push the bulk of the dough away with my right, virtually stretching and smearing the dough across the bench. Give it a try.

When it’s looking all nice and smooth and dough-like, pop it in an oiled bowl, cover it with cling-film and let it rise somewhere nice and cosy for about an hour.

Now is a good time to preheat your oven to 200 degrees celcius. If you have a fan forced oven, then put on the fan for a crispier base.

One hour later, divide your beautiful dough into two. Give it a workout with a rolling pin and roll it as thin as you dare (the thinner the better in my books). Don’t worry, pizza isn’t supposed to be round, asymmetrical is how the cool kids are doing it, trust me.

Transfer your magnificently shaped pizza base to a tray lined with baking paper, and top it to your liking. Tomato paste or pizza sauce first, then some mozzarella and then – go crazy! I chose salami cause I think it’s hard to beat a classic. If you’ve got some garlic oil hanging around, drizzle it around the edges and your house will smell like a real deal pizza shop.

Pop it into the oven for about 20 mins or until it’s nicely golden. Eat, enjoy, sigh and forget that tomorrow is only Tuesday.

PizzaSlice

And in my house, every good pizza needs a good salad. Give this one a go.

Cook yourself up about a handful of red quinoa. One day I will actually measure how much quinoa and how much water I put in, but sorry, today was not that day. Once it is beautifully cooked (I know you can do it), let it cool. Grab a salad bowl and put in a generous teaspoon of honey, a splash of olive oil and a swig of red wine vinegar (technical measures I know, but it’s hard to go wrong here). Oops! Don’t forget a pinch of salt. Give it a whisk! Pop in your cooled quinoa and let it soak up that dressing goodness. Tear up a few leaves of lettuce (I had cos on hand, but I think wild rocket would be awesome). Pop them in. Slice up half a bulb of fennel, and one small apple. Pop them in too, along with a handful of toasted walnuts. If you’ve got some good goat’s fetta in your fridge, then crumble in a little bit of that too. Salads in my mind are supposed to be freeform, substitution is totally allowed. Give it a toss to dress it all up, and you’re good to go.

Salad

And if you have a bit of salami and some lettuce leftover, why not make yourself a cracking sandwich the following day. Just pop the salami on a tray in a 200 C oven for 5 – 10 mins until crispy and bubbling, then layer it on some good sourdough bread with mayo, tomato, avocado and a leaf or two of lettuce. Hey, this pizza even makes Tuesday lunchtime feel special. Thanks pizza.

SLAT

banana, date and cacao nib muffins

whitemuffin

A few months ago, I read about Gwyneth Paltrow’s new book ‘It’s All Good’ in the Sunday paper. ‘Delicious easy recipes that will make you look good and feel great’… yes please! The book grew from a tricky patch in Gwyneth’s life (look at me talking about her, like we’re friends), but her story was something I could relate to. Last year I took our family down the whole foods path, and let me tell you, we are all the better for it.

ingredients

I like to keep seriously sugary treats for just that, a treat. When I bake for a special occasion, whoa, I don’t hold back! But for everyday, I try and sneak in as much nutrition as I can. Occasionally we still succumb to an emergency muffin whilst out and about, but I much prefer to make snacks of my own. This allows me use less refined sugars (to get all of the nutrition from them you can) and add in some sneaky nutrients! So here are some muffins, inspired by Gwyneth’s, which use better sugars and include a superfood! High five to me!

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Banana, date and cacao nib muffins inspired by Banana-Date Muffins in It’s All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen

  • 2 bananas, roughly smashed
  • 250g spelt flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 30g cacao nibs
  • 40g dark chocolate chips
  • 100g dates, chopped into small pieces
  • 100ml rice syrup
  • 30ml maple syrup
  • 150ml milk
  • 120ml oil of your choice (I used grapeseed, but I think coconut oil would be an awesome substitute)

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with papers.

Whisk together the flour and the baking powder. Add cacao nibs and chocolate chips into the flour mixture and stir to combine.

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In a separate bowl, combine the rice syrup, maple syrup, milk, oil and smashed bananas (a few chunks are just fine). Stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture, then add the dates (try to separate them from each other, they are super sticky!) and mix until combined.

bowlliquid

The mixture will look and feel really runny. Don’t stress! They will puff up beautifully in the oven and taste totally delish. Divide the mixture among the muffin cups and get ready to put your feet up. Pretty simple, huh? Bake them in the 200 degree C oven for 18 mins or until beautiful and golden and your house smells like an amazing banana wonderland.

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Then tuck into them, as fast as you can!

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