Plant-Powered Banana Bread



Autumn leaves fall; a time when we start to wrap up a little, stay in indoors a little bit more too & also start perhaps to bake again.


I have made this recipe a few times already for you Yogis, sharing it in class; and with neighbours too, well before Covid-19 hit us in 2020 & the world went mad for both sourdough & banana bread.


So I've been making it for years, on & off. I am a bit of a fussy divil when it comes to eating fresh bananas Yogis; they HAVE to be just changing from green to yellow - that is MY perfect very short-lived eating 'sweet spot' (i.e. NOT too sweet). The moment they change to pure yellow (let alone have ANY brown on the skins), I'm outta here! And so are they - straight into the freezer they go, either for baking or for pancakes at some stage. I peel them, chop them into thirds & then pop them in a freezer bag.


Now, that usually ends up in Banana Take-Over of the freezer; a situation ideal for this recipe, calling as it does for heaps of bananas.


The recipe below is an adaptation of a Ballymaloe version; I have changed it from the original version (dairy/egg) to dairy-free & egg-free.


It is a very 'forgiving' recipe too Yogis, allowing for tweaks & substitutions - but the one thing it won't forgive is us opening the oven door while baking. Don't do it Yogis when baking recipes like this or cakes in general, just go do a lil Yoga practice & patiently wait for the baked goodies.


You can also so easily vary the 'additions'; if you don't like walnuts, try pecans.

If you don't like or have the cherries, leave them out.

I have also used Mixed Fruit (peel, sultanas etc) when I haven't had just plain sultanas to hand & it still tasted great.


The original recipe doesn't use Cinnamon, I do. Cinnamon in baking is like garlic in cooking for me - every recipe should have it & the more the better (within limits)!

Don't like cinnamon? Leave it out. Maybe add a little Vanilla extract (not the nasty synthetic essence, go for extract every time or even fancy-pants vanilla bean paste).


Finally, re flour - you can make this even healthier & 'nuttier' too, by a swap of some of the flour for either Wholemeal or Gram Flour (also known as Chickpea or Besan Flour). Not too much, say 50 grams of Gram Flour or up to 100 grams Wholemeal flour. Gram flour adds a nutty taste, fibre & a boost of protein; wholemeal flour will do the same re. nutty taste & adding a boost of fibre.


Speaking of Gram Flour, I am experimenting with Besan Omelettes (thanks to lovely Yogi Pia!) so stay tuned for a new recipe at some point too. If you've ever eaten a Poppadum, then you've had Chickpea flour Yogis. Or you can Google this super versatile flour Yogis & get experimenting yourself. Another tasty plant-based option & good for your brain too, to try something new.


This Banana Bread recipe will be whipped up in a flash. Let it cool completely before tucking in Yogis. And if you can (cue the need for massive levels of self-restraint here), it tastes even better after a day or two, or even three. It keeps very well & freezes very well. Very reliable recipe to have to hand. And quite healthy too Yogis; it's sugar-free (ie. no additional sugar other than what is naturally in the bananas & the dried fruit) & has oodles of potassium from the bananas & both protein & good healthy fats from the nuts & fibre from both the flaxseed & the bananas.


Last word before the recipe itself Yogis. Please - for your power bill & for the planet, try & use your oven in the evening (if you're on Night Saver electricity that is). Also try & use your oven in multiple ways. For example, cook your dinner (batch cooking even better - i.e. cook enough dinner for two meals, dinner tonight, lunch tomorrow); maybe then make some homemade granola or roast some vegetables for lunch & then, finally use the oven to bake this Banana Bread. Heating up an oven takes time & energy, so make the most of it. Save your wallet & the planet. It also means you'll be less likely to waste food; again, saving your wallet & the planet.




Ingredients


Makes 1 large loaf

225g (8oz/2 cups) self-raising flour

1/2 level teaspoon salt

1 level teaspoon Cinnamon

110g (4oz/1 stick) Flora plant butter or other dairy-free spread of choice

110g (4oz/3/4 cup) sultanas or seedless raisins (or Mixed Fruit in a pinch)

30g (1oz/1/4 cup) chopped Walnuts (or Pecans)

110g (4oz/1 cup) Morello glacé cherries, rinsed & halved (I get mine in Tesco)

450g (1lb) very ripe bananas (weighed out of skins)*** (see below)

2 Tablespoons Ground Flax Seed & 6 Tablespoons Warm Water

Loaf tin 24cm (9 1/2 inches) x 13.5cm (5 1/2 inches) x 5cm (2inches), OR 4 small loaf tins 5.75 inches (14.6cm) x 3 inches (7.62cm) lined with greaseproof or silicone paper.


Method:

Preheat the oven to 180ºC / 350ºF / Gas Mark 4.


* Whisk the water & ground flax seeds together in a bowl until combined, about 30 seconds. Let sit until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Whisk again, about 30 seconds. Let sit until thickened, about 2 minutes more.

* In a large wide mixing bowl sieve the flour(s), cinnamon & salt.


* Rub in the vegan spread/plant butter.


* Stir in sultanas or seedless raisins, the walnuts & the glacé Morello cherries.


* Mash the bananas with a fork, add the moistened ground flax-seeds & mix this well into the other ingredients. *** if you are using frozen bananas, defrost them in a bowl ahead of time (even a few hours should do it); drain the excess liquid before mashing & if necessary, you can use a little of the reserved 'banana water' if the dough needs a little fluid to get it to the nice soft consistency we want here.


The dough should be a nice soft consistency.

* Pour the mixture into the lined tin & spread evenly.


* If you like, & only if you're using fresh bananas (it won't work with frozen ones sadly), you can be a bit 'fancy-pants' & per the photo up top, use some additional long slices of bananas for a 'prettier' crust to the loaf.


* Place in the centre of a moderate oven & bake for 1 1/2 hours.

It is vital that the oven door is not opened during cooking or the banana bread will collapse.

* Cool before removing from the tin.

It is even nicer served after a day or two. It doesn't need anything to serve but will be extra delicious if you do - see below.

Note:


If the bananas are not fully ripe –(that is, not super soft & really easy to mash), you may need to add some caster sugar; perhaps maybe 110g (4oz). But Yogis, try & use up the older riper bananas - they are perfect for baking, naturally sweet & softer.


To serve:

Strong black coffee!

Barry's Tea - Earl Grey Tea - Green Tea - or your libation of choice.


Vegan/Dairy-Free Spread:

Flora Plant Butter


Vegetarian:

Butter or spread of choice.


Let me know what you think Yogis & looking forward to seeing you on your Yoga mats soon.

Liagh x


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