Tag Archives: banana

Angelique’s Banana Bread

This is a gluten-free banana cake I put together for a friend of mine.  It’s a nice, easy cake to put together, and good for afternoon tea, as it’s solid, but not too sweet.

I must admit, I had my doubts about this cake initially.  You see, I used quinoa flour, and I used a different brand from usual (McKenzies, if you’re wondering), and it turns out that this particular brand has quite a strong taste.  I could still detect it in the final, baked recipe, which was annoying.  But in fact, it grew on me pretty fast, and I actually rather like it.  Though not enough to use the same brand next time.

Looking around, it turns out that quite a lot of people don’t like quinoa flour.  If this is you, don’t despair – more rice flour would work.  Alternatively, I note several food writers suggest ‘heat treating’ or toasting quinoa flour before use – apparently the trick is to spread out your quinoa flour on a baking sheet and bake it at 100°C for two hours.  I’ll be doing this next time – quinoa is a useful flour because of its high-protein ways, and this is an advantage worth keeping.


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2 over-ripe bananas
3 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup (approximately one drained tin) crushed pineapple
1/3 cup tightly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp gingerbread spice mix, mixed spice, or ginger
1 cup rice flour
1 cup quinoa flour
1 cup almond meal
2 tsp baking powder

For the icing:
250 g light cream cheese, softened
zest of 1 lemon
2 1/2 cups icing sugar


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Recipe: Banana Buns (da DA, da-da-da!)

It’s not actually possible to say the phrase ‘banana buns’ without developing an attack of the Muppets, really.  Seriously, try it.  You’ll be humming the Muppet theme before you know it.

Anyway.  This recipe, like so many banana recipes, came out of the discovery of a couple of very daggy-looking bananas on my fruit stand.  But I wasn’t really in the mood for making banana bread this week – I feel like I’ve been doing cakes all week, when what I really want to play with right now is yeast and sticky buns.  And then I was considering my failure to come up with a good vegan variant on my sticky cinnamon scroll recipe a couple of weeks back, which is when I started wondering if you could enrich bread dough with bananas instead of eggs.

It turns out you can.  These are quite wholesome buns, sweet (though not excessively so) from the fruit,  faintly banana flavoured, but with a reasonable amount of heft from the rolled oats (which melt into the dough, incidentally, but are still very present in terms of texture).  They have what I think of as a ‘squidgy’ texture – not fluffy, not dense and heavy, but soft and a bit chewy.  The kind of bread that has a bit of substance to it, without being hard work to eat.

Exactly right for breakfast.


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1 1/4 cups sultanas that are taking a walk on the dry side
1/2 cup sherry, marsala, rum, or anything along those lines
275 milk or almond milk or a mixture of both if that is what you happen to have on hand
1 cinnamon stick
5 cloves
a pinch of nutmeg
7 g yeast
2 daggy bananas
550 g flour
1 tbsp maple sugar or brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
75 g rolled oats
50 g butter, ghee, or canola oil
sunflower or canola oil for your hands (you will need this)
maple syrup to glaze

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Recipe: Green Rainbow Smoothie

thumbLet’s start by admitting one thing about this smoothie: it isn’t green.  Nor is it rainbow coloured.  But it is still a Green Smoothie, because from everything I can see, any smoothie with green leafy stuff in it counts as green.  And it definitely starts looking a bit more swampy after a few hours in the fridge, though that probably isn’t a selling point in most circumstances (it still tastes fine, honest). As for the Rainbow Smoothie side of things, I feel the ingredients speak for themselves:


See? Rainbow.  True, blue is a tad under-represented, but I felt that adding Blue Curaçao to a breakfast smoothie might undermine its credibility in the healthy breakfast stakes. Though the flavour would be quite complementary, if you wanted to go with the Healthy Yet Hair Of The Dog option.  Just saying.  Not that I am advocating alcoholic breakfasts, unless they are pancakes, which are a different matter entirely.

Wow, this recipe went off the rails pretty fast, didn’t it?

Anyway.  I have to admit, 9/10 of the inspiration for this recipe was the ‘hey, I can use lots of colours’ thing, and the other 1/10 was ‘hmm, better use up this kale before it leaves the fridge under its own steam’.

God, this is sounding worse and worse.

It’s actually a pretty nice smoothie, not that I expect you to believe me at this point.  It’s fairly mild in flavour – I was a bit iffy about it at first sip, but liked it more and more the more I drank (and now you really will think I filled it full of Blue Curaçao and truly and honestly I did not, it’s just late on a Thursday night and I’m apparently insane), so the almond milk actually gets to be a bit of a feature rather than just the thing you use to thin out your smoothie, and the banana is a little more present than usual, too.  I’d be inclined to add a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg next time, in fact. 

And no, I really wouldn’t add Blue Curaçao to this.  (Rum would be a much better match for the almondy flavour…) (Stop it, Catherine!)

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1 small banana
5 smallish kale leaves
90 g blackberries or blueberries, frozen is good
110 g strawberries (you really can fiddle around with the berries a fair bit, though.  This was just the contents of my fridge and freezer)
1/3 cup orange juice, to which you will not add vodka, because this is not that sort of breakfast, what are you thinking?  You might also peel a medium-sized orange, remove most of the pith, and put it all in whole – I would have done this, if I had been able to find a ripe orange on my tree.
1 cup almond milk

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Recipe: Strawberry Mint Smoothie

Look, I’m not even sure if you need a recipe to make a smoothie, but this one has been on the menu at our place a lot recently, generally in lieu of breakfast, and I’m excited about it, because I’d never thought of using non-dairy milks in smoothies (still loving your book, Amber!), and they are really lovely.  Much less rich, somehow, and if you use almond milk, you can start the day feeling that not only do you have your daily 2 servings of fruit covered, but you’ve also made a good start on all those healthy nuts you’re supposed to eat.  This is especially helpful if, like Andrew, you don’t actually like nuts – these are stealth almonds, cunningly disguised as milk (which Andrew also doesn’t like – did I mention that he can be a little bit difficult?) and just adding a light, slightly almondy backing note to the strawberry lead singer.

And speaking of backing notes, I just have to pause here and say something totally un-cooking-related, because I had an absolutely brilliant time on Saturday night getting to sing with a Scottish dance band at a wedding – I’ve never sung with a band before and I’m still totally excited from the experience and can’t actually hold any sort of conversation that doesn’t include a mention of it.  Including, apparently, a blog post about smoothies.  And they want me back – halfway through the evening, there were all these discussions about things they could do ‘now we have a singer’.  Yay! 

Also I got to dance, which was also fabulous, because I usually avoid dancing, on the grounds that I am horribly unco-ordinated, but I actually really love the kind of dances where you just need to be able to skip and count and make patterns, because these are more reliant on one having a brain and a working pair of legs than an ability to remember where one’s hands and feet are, and that’s what most Scottish dancing is, and it’s really fun.  Though I do think the definition of courage is dancing country dances in a strapless wedding dress for four hours.  I’d be terrified of dancing right out of the dress…

Oh, and while I’m just generally bragging about singing stuff, I passed my singing exam with Distinction and 84%, which was much better than I expected, and what’s more, the examiner’s comments suggest that he really enjoyed my performance, which is a bonus (and something no piano examiner ever implied about me even slightly, I might add).  So I’m very happy right now! 

Right, anyway, about that smoothie!  I really love this recipe – it tastes fresh and a little minty and is one of those things that you can just *feel* is doing you good as you drink it, but is still fun, which is important.  I’m not much of a believer in healthy foods that taste aggressively healthy and kind of boring. 

Also, it’s pink!  Very pink!  Pink like my new blender!  I cannot tell you how much this adds to my joy in this recipe… though I imagine all the pictures of pink blenders and pink cups in this post are a bit of a giveaway in that respect…

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1 banana, smallish
1 date, fresh, not dried, because if it is dried it will not smoosh up properly in the smoothie, and a smoothie should not have chewy bits in it
9 tinned apricot halves.  But if you had fresh apricots, that would probably be even better
250 g strawberries, hulled
6 big mint leaves, or to taste
1 cup almond milk

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Recipe: Hummingbird Cupcakes

These are the hummingbird cupcakes I made for a recent wedding.  By request of the bride, they contained tinned apricot, which is not something I’ve seen in hummingbird cake before, as well as nuts, which are a traditional part of the recipe, but one I normally skip.  By sheer tiredness on my part, they are also somewhat low fat, because I forgot to put oil in the first batch.  When I added it to the second batch, I found that the cakes tended to erupt and weren’t as tasty anyway, so I decided to skip it when writing it up.

These cakes are lovely – fruity and tangy and light and luxurious all at once, with a suitably decadent cream cheese icing.  If you want to know how to make the toffee spikes I used as garnish, I recommend visiting Brave Tart, who provides an excellent description of the process.  Have a look at the comments, as they contain more information – I wound up using styrofoam to stick the toothpicks into, which is excellent, but you do need to weight it with something, or it will tip over and all your beautiful spikes will fall onto the floor…

This writing up will be slightly approximate, as while I did write down what I did, my notes were a bit cryptic, and I haven’t had the opportunity to make these cakes since the wedding, so there is a little guesswork involved.  Especially as I know full well I kept on putting more fruit in.  I’ve adjusted the recipe to allow for this.  It is, however, a very forgiving recipe – I’ve made it several different ways – and it will work just fine so long as you don’t do something silly like forgetting to put in the eggs…

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330g self-raising flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp bicarb of soda
330 g brown sugar
120 g shredded coconut (much nicer than the desecrated kind, so use this if at all possible)
150 g macadamia nuts, chopped
150 g glacé fruit (pineapple, apricot, ginger) chopped
250g tinned apricots
300g tinned crushed pineapple
1 1/2 cups banana, a bit past ripe, mashed (this was about 3 bananas)
3 eggs
250 g cream cheese
250 g light cream cheese
160 g icing sugar
zest of two lemons

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Recipe: Nearly Vegan Banana Bread with Indian Flavours

This recipe is as vegan as a cake can be that has honey in it.  I don’t actually know any vegans who eat honey, but I’ve heard they exist.  But don’t worry – honey could easily be swapped out in favour of agave nectar, or possibly even golden syrup, though I would be inclined to reduce the amount for that.  There’s no dairy or egg to worry about, and in a pinch, you could probably just use sugar.

I must confess that this is not the recipe for the cake I currently have cooking in the oven.  You see, I started making this based on a recipe from Less Meat, More Veg, but didn’t have enough bananas, so I replaced two bananas with 200g frozen raspberries, which I think will be lovely, but less unified in its flavour than the recipe below.  The combination of coconut milk, sweet spices and banana makes me want to play with the Indian theme some more – not that I know anything about Indian cooking!  Still, if I had mango puree or a really mild mango chutney I’d be tempted to swap out a banana for 100g of it, and if not, I’d be tempted to replace the chocolate with dried mango.  Or pawpaw.  Or maybe add some lime juice somewhere.  Or go a bit Carribean with rum-soaked raisins, allspice, nutmeg and maybe a hint of chilli, just to be daring.  Think of this, in fact, as a template for a lovely, nearly-vegan, banana bread with a tropical twist, and have a ball!

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3 overripe bananas (or 1 banana and 200g raspberries)
75g raw sugar
75g honey
240g light coconut milk
250g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cardamom seeds, pounded in a mortar and pestle
1/2 tsp ginger (freshly grated, or dried and powdered)
100g dark, dark chocolate, chopped

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