Gluten Free Banana Coconut Bread

 

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This really is a mishmash of different recipes I have tried in the past. The result is a light, fluffy, sweet bread that is delicious on its own, with a wedge of melted butter or topped with your favourite nut butter. The hardest part of all is waiting for the loaf to cool before devouring it! The banana, coconut and vanilla bring a good amount of natural sweetness to the recipe on their own, so I’ve tried to keep the actual sugar content to a minimum.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 large or 3 small very ripe bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 60g coconut oil (or unsalted butter), melted but not too hot
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g buckwheat flour
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 50g soft brown sugar (or equivalent in maple syrup or honey)
  • 25g dessicated coconut
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon or mixed spice
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • A dash of milk (oat or coconut milk are nice alternatives)

 

Method:

Preheat the oven to 190°C and grease a bread tin with butter or coconut oil.

Place the bananas, egg, coconut oil/butter and vanilla extract in a food processor, whizz for a few seconds, then add the dry ingredients and process until fairly smooth. If the mixture becomes too dry, add a dash of milk until you are happy with the consistency. It should be gloopy, not runny. Alternatively, good old fashioned manual whisking can be employed!

 

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Pour the mixture into the bread tin and bake for 30 – 40 minutes, until golden brown and cracked on top. Place a knife through the middle and if it comes out clean, your loaf is ready.

 

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Now the hard part – waiting for it to cool before digging in! Give it a good hour on a cooling rack before attempting to cut the loaf into slices.

 

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This is what happens if you’re impatient like me – it crumbles into chunks….perfect bite-size chunks that have just got to be eaten on the spot!

 

 

Homemade Nut Milk (your mother will be proud of you)

Whatever the reason, you’ve decided against consuming cow’s milk. So now where do you go? The long-life milk aisle of your local supermarket may offer an array of dairy-free alternatives, but take a closer look at the ingredients and you may start to feel a little…cheated. Most shop-bought ‘nut milks’ only contain around 5% nut content. The rest is water and a whole host of other additives that are not altogether necessary.

Yes, it’s easy to grab a carton from the shelf and pour it straight over your muesli. But why not have a go at making your own nut milk? It’s fresh, wholesome and deliciously easy to make. And the bonus is, you know exactly what’s in it, because you made it.

 

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Ingredients

  • 200g of your favourite nuts such as hazel nuts, almonds, brazil nuts or cashews. Feeling adventurous? Why not try a mix of several different nuts?
  • 1litre of filtered water
  • Natural sweetener (optional), such as date syrup, agave syrup, honey or pitted dates.

 

5 simple steps to heavenly nut milk:

1. Soak your chosen nuts overnight in a bowl of filtered water. This softens them ready for blending, and also makes their nutrients more bioavailable to us by decreasing the amount of phytic acid they naturally contain. (Cashew nuts will need less soaking time – about 3 hours. Brazil nuts don’t need soaking.)

2. In the morning, drain and rinse the nuts, place in a blender and add 1 litre of filtered water (less if you want a thicker milk). If you want a sweetened version, add a tablespoon of date syrup, agave syrup, honey or 3 large pitted dates. Another option is to add in a tablespoon of raw cacao or  good quality cocoa powder to give it a chocolatey kick.

3. Blend for 1 minute. In the meantime, prepare your straining device. A muslin cloth, placed over a sieve, placed over a bowl works well.

4. Strain your mixture. Pour just enough mixture into the muslin cloth so that you can bring the four corners up to meet and squeeze the liquid out through the sieve (you could say it’s a bit like milking a cow…if you’ve ever milked a cow). Shake out any dry mix (the ‘nutmeal’) into a separate bowl. Do this until all the mixture is strained.

5. Et voila! You now have at least a litre of smooth, fresh nut milk, that can be stored in a glass bottle for about 5 days (although I challenge you to make it last that long!).

 

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But wait! Don’t discard the leftover nutmeal. Here are three suggestions to make your nut-milk-making-experience even more worthwhile:

  • Nutmeal makes a great porridge (soaked, funnily enough, with your home-made nut milk), topped with a sprinkling of flax, pumpkin and hemp seeds for added Omega intake, and a drizzle of date or maple syrup to sweeten.
  •  You could follow the recipe for energy balls (coming soon!), and create delicious, protein-packed snacks for on the go.
  • Alternatively, use it to make your own nut flour (as a base for baking wheat-free bread and pastries). Spread the nutmeal out on a baking tray, and place in a low-heat oven (100°C) for 2 – 3 hours. Once the mix has dried out, place in a coffee grinder until it resembles flour. Store in an airtight container for up to a month.

 

 

 

Check in to Yogi Kitchen for more ideas on delicious ways to make the most out of your ingredients.

Easy EggyVeggie Breakfast Muffins

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I have the beautiful and knowledgeable Hemsley sisters to thank for this gem of a recipe (from their book, The Art of Eating Well). It is so easy and so nutritious that I just had to share it. It’s basically 50/50 egg to veg, so packed with protein, good saturated fat and a whole heap of vitamins and minerals to start your day on the right track. They are a colourful twist on a classic breakfast omelette, and made as muffins the night before, are easily transported in lunchboxes to school or work. I’m normally one for a sweeter start to the day, but when I feel like a savoury breakfast, these hit the spot and do a brilliant job of keeping me topped up until lunch. They are even builder-approved (devoured in an instant by the hardworking builders working on our house!).

Adding grated cheddar, parmesan or crumbled feta cheese adds even more flavour and fullness to these muffins. Either mix the cheese in with the vegetables, or sprinkle on top of the muffin mix before they go in the oven.

 

Ingredients (makes 12 muffins):
• 8 eggs, cracked and whisked into a bowl.
• The same amount of raw vegetables, chopped finely.

I find a mix of 1 large grated carrot, 1 large grated courgette, 1 chopped red pepper, half a diced onion, a handful of peas (fresh or defrosted) and 5 or 6 cherry tomatoes, halved, is enough. But use whatever you have available that will taste good lightly cooked.

• 50g of grated cheddar, parmesan or crumbled feta cheese
• A small handful of fresh herbs, such as basil (goes well with tomatoes and feta), mint (best herb friend of peas) or oregano (lovely with cheddar or parmesan).
• 1 tsp of paprika
• Sea salt and black pepper to taste (the more cheese you use, the less salt you need).

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Method:
• Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a 12-portion muffin tray with butter.
• Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.
• Spoon the mix equally into the greased muffin tray. If you prefer, keep the cheese out of the mix until this point, and sprinkle on top of the muffins before putting in the oven.
• Pop in the oven for 15 minutes until the muffins are lightly browned on top and just set in the middle. Remember, egg keeps on cooking while it is hot so be careful not to dry them out.
• Take the muffins out of the tray to cool on a rack.

 

Enjoy them while they are still warm or wrap them up in parchment paper to take with you to work, school, the gym, hiking, cycling…whatever you do in the morning that requires a good EggyVeggie muffin to keep you going!

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