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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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.

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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

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.

Cherry, rocket and walnut salad

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Believe it or not, it is almost summer down here in Melbourne. How do I know? Certainly not from the weather, but a few days ago and for the first time this season, my organic grocer had cherries! Oh, rejoice! Nothing declares summer to me more than cherries, and as is the tradition in our family I always make a wish when eating the first one of the season.

Cherries often feature on an Australian Christmas table, sometimes atop pavlova or often just piled high in a bowl to be popped one by one as the fancy takes you.

We ate the first of these juicy jewels on their own, with pleasure, but then a whim took me and told me to make a salad. Salads are actually one of my favourite things to eat… and with the addition of cherries even the kids were diving right in.

Light and peppery, crunchy and sweet, this salad is fresh, simple and ticks so many boxes, it’s a world of right.

Cherry, Rocket and Walnut Salad with Goat’s Cheese

serves 2 as a side or 1 for a light meal, perhaps with some bread

rocket

  • 50g walnuts, toasted
  • 100g rocket, rinsed
  • 80g cherries, halved and pitted
  • 50g goats fetta
  • a splash of olive oil and red wine vinegar

Toast your walnuts in an 180 degree C oven for 5 mins, or until golden and fragrant. Allow to cool.

Rinse your rocket and cherries; cut the cherries in half and remove their stones.

Grab your favourite salad bowl. Heap in the rocket, and sprinkle with the walnuts and cherries. Using your fingers, tear up the goats fetta. Give it all a good drizzle with olive oil and red wine vinegar. I like my salad dressings on the tangy side so I give two slurps of vinegar for each of olive oil, but you follow your tastebuds.

Using your hands give everything a good toss and tumble, scooping up a few of the walnuts and cherries to adorn the top…

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yum.

Tangelo + Honey Buttermilk Cake

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We seem to have entered the deep dark depths of Winter this past week, and with super early sunsets and late start mornings, I feel like I am often up with the birds. It is at these times when I yearn for bright colours, bold flavours and warming aromas… anything to remind me of a little golden sun.

How to quench these yearnings of warmth and sweet summer fragrance? Come on, bake a cake! Pairing honey with the most vibrant of citrus fruit, the Tangelo, makes a little slice of warmth.

Tangelo-cake-ingredients

Tangelos are a relatively new discovery for me. As a kid I only ever had the ubiquitous lunchbox mandarin, with the occasional navel orange thrown in for good measure. Tangelos are a cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit, they are fragrant and zingy without being as bitter as grapefruit can sometimes be (okay, I admit it, I am a little afraid of grapefruit), and they are seriously beautiful. They are boldly orange, almost luminescent in their colour and are oh so cute with their little knobbly bottoms!

Tangelo-rind

This cake is rich and buttery, tangy and fragrant, just slightly sweet and perfect for feeling warm from the inside out. If you have a fragrant honey, this is a perfect use for it, as the honey really shines through. And the buttermilk provides a little extra tang. The almond sugar sprinkle creates a nice little crunchy layer on the bottom of the cake, a delicious contrast to the top.

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Tangelo and Honey Buttermilk Cake

Makes one bundt cake

  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh tangelo zest (this was 1 tangelo for me)
  • 3 cups white spelt flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 225 g butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) tangelo juice (again, from 1 tangelo for me)
  • 30 g slivered or flaked almonds
  • 1 tablespoon demerara sugar

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease well and lightly flour your bundt tin and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine your flour, baking powder and pinch of salt and give it a whisk.

Next, melt your butter in a small saucepan over a low heat. Once the butter has melted, turn off the heat and add your honey and tangelo zest. We don’t want to cook the honey, just warm it slightly  to make it easy to mix.

Juice your tangelo and add it to the melted butter mix.

Once the melted butter mix has cooled slightly, whisk in your eggs and buttermilk.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just smooth.

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Pour the batter into your prepared bundt tin. Sprinkle over your slivered almonds and demerara sugar.

Pop the tin into the centre of the oven, and bake for around 45mins or until golden and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. You should also have a lovely little golden crunchy crust!

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Allow to cool in the tin for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

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This cake is delicious when warm, and would be lovely with a dollop of clotted cream and a good strong cup of tea. It also slices well and would be great to take on a hike or Winter picnic with a steaming thermos. And you could even pop a piece in your lunchbox the next day.

Keeps for 3 – 4 days in an airtight container.

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.

Bite

banana, date and cacao nib muffins

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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.

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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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