Monday, July 7, 2008

A Nice Loaf of Banana Bread (SCD) - Not Cake, Definitely Not Cake......



Yes, I know this bread looks like a cake with those nuts sprinkled carelessly over the top and billowing as it does - cakeishly - from its greaseproof nest. And if I'm honest, there is something cake-like about the texture that is simultaneously light and yet rich with ground almonds and egg yolks. I guess you could also argue that it has a certain, hmm, cakey taste of tea time indulgence bought about by those bananas, speckled to indecent ripeness, sweetened further by the oven. But it is not a cake.

Pictured above is the bread that Finley brandishes with delight in front of his school mates, Mothers Pride crumbs hanging from their slack jaws; the sandwiches he shows the dinner ladies as they peer at his unusual lunch box and ask is he having cake or muffins again for lunch? For Finley knows there is more goodness in a slice of this wicked lunch time treat than all those 'ham on white - hold the salad' sarnies his friends chomp every day. And for anyone daft enough to question the veracity of Fin's claims about the health benefits of his indulgent looking lunches, he is ready with a fistful of raw vegetables to beat some sense into them.

Enjoy your banana bread simply with some butter or a slick of nut butter, or toast a peice and slather on honey, or some 100% fruit marmalade. If you want to use it for sandwiches then think about something that will work with a sweet tasting bread; cream cheese and walnuts or hung yogurt cheese would be delicious - or maybe squash a really ripe fresh fig in there. Just remember, there's no sugar in this loaf - not a hint, so its ok to enjoy it at any time of day - you could even try banana french toast with apple sauce and cinnamon. We certainly don't believe that something so nutritious should be kept for tea time, just because it happens to taste like cake.

And as my inspiration for this very blog would say - 'That's why we have cake every morning'. Thanks Mickey!



Banana & Walnut Bread (SCD)

2 large extremely ripe bananas
4 large free range eggs
6 oz ground almonds
50ml olive oil (or 2oz (50g of melted coconut oil or butter)
juice of half a lemon
pinch salt
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 oz chopped walnuts


Preheat the oven to 160C fan assisted (175C without fan) and line a 9inch square deep sided tin with greaseproof. If you don't have that size of tin then use something approximate, round even - hey nobody will complain about the odd bits that get sliced off the end, believe me!

In a food processor (or using a hand held electric whisk) whizz together the bananas, eggs, oil (butter), lemon juice and salt (mash bananas first if using whisk). When everything is smooth and frothy sprinkle over bicarb and whizz again for a bit to mix it in thoroughly. Then tip in all the almonds and blend to incorporate.

Pour immediately into the waiting tin and scrape every last bit out. Sprinkle chopped walnuts over the surface of the mixture and bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown on top and a cake skewer comes out clean.

Cool for ten minutes and then remove from the tin using the paper to help you. Leave the paper attached until completely cool and then carefully peel off, using a knife to help separate crust from paper. Slice the square in half before cutting slices off - to make two loaf shaped peices. The bread will keep for up to three days in an airtight box in a cool place, but don't let it get warm or the fruit sugars will attract mould. Alternatively, slice and open freeze before storing in an airtight box in the freezer for up to a month.