Banana bread is one of those things. One of those things that makes the house smell good and warm, and welcoming for days. One of those things that tastes like what I imagine it must be like to eat a slice of love. One of those things that, upon consumption, wherever you are instantly feels like home. One of those things that actually tastes like home. One of those things you eat and then realise you haven't been listening to conversation or taking in anything around you, because for a moment, it was just you and that slice of warm banana bread and nothing else mattered. Banana bread is one of many things then, I guess.
For me, banana bread reminds me of my home home - the place i grew up - and of my eldest sister, who was always greatly attached to it. I remember we'd have it at every picnic and for every birthday, smothered with our Aunty's dizzyingly good cream cheese frosting. This recipe, as always, is unlike your conventional banana bread. There is no wheat, dairy, refined sugar or grains, and you can work it around your own requirements - for example using all buckwheat flour to replace the ground almonds for a nut-free variation, or playing with the sweetener quantities to suit your taste. You don't really need sweetener at all in this recipe, as banana's are incredibly sweet themselves (and so are you). This bread is perfect as a breakfast treat, and if you make it one sunday evening when you've time to spare, it can last you the rest of the week, making an instant breakfast on-the-go, the perfect energy-rich snack or an offering if you have guests over for a cuppa. Lovingly spread it with Raw Chocolate Avocado Spread (recipe below), and kids will be all over it, without a care in the world that it contains fruit and super foods and is actually good for you!
Makes One Loaf
80-90g Coconut Oil (the more you use, the denser the bread will be)
60g Coconut Palm Sugar (or 4-5 tablespoons agave/maple syrups/coconut nectar)
3 Ripe Bananas
80g Chopped Medjool Dates (optional - can also use goji berries, raisin etc but these are all high in sugar, so use in moderation. Can also use chopped raw chocolate chunks or cacao nibs)
75g Chopped Walnuts or Pecans (optional - adds a nice texture)
90g Wholemeal Buckwheat Flour
100g Ground Almonds
2 Tablespoons Ground/Milled Chia Seeds
50g Desiccated Coconut
3 Tablespoons Whole Golden Linseeds
Pinch of Salt or a few drops of Tamari
1/2 Teaspoon Bicarbonate Soda or Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Mixed Spice
1/2 Teaspoon Cardamom / Nutmeg / Spices/Herbs of choice
Toasted Buckwheat (kasha) to top (i really recommend this - it adds an amazing crunch to the bread)
+ Note - for a lighter bread, use one extra egg, and replace the buckwheat flour with ground almonds.
+ You can also experiment with making this bread into a savoury sandwich bread. Simply reduce the sugar quantity to 2 tablespoons, use only 1 banana and 2 grated courgettes, and add plenty of fresh herbs and a tablespoon of nutritional yeast.
Preheat the oven to 170c.
Break the bananas into a bowl and then mash them until they become smooth and thick, but not lumpy. Measure the coconut oil, eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt and herbs and spices of choice into the bowl and mix using an electric whisk (you can also do this in your blender to ensure a smoother mixture, and less effort!). Once the ingredients are coming together, add the bicarbonate soda or baking powder and the lemon juice, then the buckwheat flour, ground almonds, milled chia seeds, golden linseeds and desiccated coconut. Whisk a final time, and then stir in the chopped dates, along with any nuts/seeds/cacao/chocolate of choice.
Sprinkle with the toasted buckwheat, and nuts/seeds if you wish. Place in the preheated oven for 1 hour 20 minutes. The outside becomes so crispy whilst the inside remains dense, spongy and moist, and full of flavour and texture.
Serve with Raw Chocolate Avocado Spread (below), pure tahini mixed with honey or coconut nectar, Berry Tahini Cream, Organic Butter, Ghee or Coconut oil - toasted or warm from the own.
RAW CHOCOLATE AVOCADO SPREAD/FROSTING/SPOON-IN-JAR SNACK
Makes roughly 10 servings as a spread. Store in an airtight container and use on cakes, porridge, pancakes, fruit and, well, literally anything.
1 Cup Coconut Oil, melted
1 1/2 Ripe Avocados (must be soft and almost squashy in order to blend)
16-18 Tablespoons Raw Cacao Powder
5 Tablespoons Agave
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt or Tamari
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cardamom, Cinnamon or Orange Oil/zest
Simply place all of the ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend. I find it helps to gently scrape layers of the avocado in to the blender, rather than large chunks of the flesh. You may need to scrape down the sides of the blender after 30 seconds, to ensure everything gets combined evenly, and you aren't left with any lumps.
TAHINI BERRY SPREAD
Makes 2-4 servings
4 Tablespoons Smooth Tahini
1/2 Teaspoon Agave/Honey/Coconut Syrup
Handful Fresh Raspberries/Blueberries/Blackberries (or a combination of each)
In a bowl, stir the tahini with the agave or your sweetener of choice, and gently mash the berries in, a couple at a time. Alternatively, you can whizz everything up in a blender, for a smoother variations.
+ Use less tahini if you want more of a jammy consistency/flavour.