Posts tagged Gluten-free

Halva_truffles_1
Raw balls are all the rage at the moment it seems. The raw food movement is an enticing one which I have lofty dreams of one day incorporating into my day-to-day eating. My skin will glow like someone half my age, my gait will be sprightly and full of zest, my general demeanour will be that of someone who is grasping life by the (raw) balls. But until that time comes I will continue to eek tiny amounts of many a dietary movement into my life in what appears to be my own melting pot style of eating.

I’ve realised that I’m in the ‘everything in moderation’ culinary camp. Make it wholesome, delicious and full of goodness and I’ll be all over it like a rash. I like food too much to put any longterm restrictions in place and fortunately I don’t suffer from any food allergies or intolerances which might hamper my general grazing style of eating. I’ll put goodness in wherever I can but ingredients have to be accessible and methods not too complex. I think that’s why I’ve developed quite the obsession for a plethora of raw ball variants which now fill the fridge on a weekly basis. Guilt-free sweet treats which are quick and easy to make, readily available to munch away on when in need of a pick-me-up. I’ve even found a combination which The Threenager will eat with gusto, further deepening my respect of these little nuggets of goodness.

Two of my favourite, truly ‘raw’ ball recipes come from the beloved Petite Kitchen blog. Eleanor’s lemon and coconut truffles are to die for and her ginger cookie dough truffle recipe is the one I tweaked slightly to pander to my fusspot daughter’s tastes (* if you’re interested to see what works for my daughter take a look at the bottom of this post for my version of Eleanor’s recipe).

My truffle recipe below is not strictly raw as I like to toast the coconut and sesame seeds for an intensified flavour base. They fall slightly more into the ‘treat’ truffle category as I’ve included one of my all-time favourite sweet ingredients…halva. Halva is a dense, crumbly dessert made from sesame seeds, tahini, sugar and vanilla. It’s the stuff of obsession for me. It’s incredibly intense, in all the right ways. Cloyingly sweet with hints of savoury, it’s an explosion of flavour for your mouth and unbelievably moreish. My favourite way to have halva is with a degree of subtlety, it’s wonderful as a background flavour as it can be overwhelming served neat. You can find halva in any good delicatessen – I buy mine from either Nosh or Farro foodstores. Make sure you get plain halva (vanilla) and not one of the many available fancied-up types with such things as rosewater or pistachio added.

INGREDIENTS (makes approx 15 truffles)
1/2 cup ground almonds (almond meal)
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1 cup desiccated coconut – lightly toasted
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tbsp coconut oil (gently melted by placing jar into bowl of hot water)
85g halva – crumbled
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup sesame seeds – lightly toasted, to coat

METHOD
1. Place all ingredients except the sesame seeds into the bowl of a food processor. Blitz for 1-2 minutes until a paste forms, not unlike cookie dough. You will need to scrape the sides down a few times to make sure all the ingredients are being well incorporated.

Halva_truffles_2
2. Squeeze spoonfuls of the mix (20g approx per ball) between your hands to compress into a solid mass, then roll around between your palms to form into tidy balls.
3. Tip the toasted sesame seeds into a shallow bowl and roll the truffles in the seeds to coat well.
4. Place in an airtight container and leave in the fridge for 2-3 hours to firm up. Store in the fridge and consume with 5 days.

* DATE & CACAO TRUFFLES (adapted from this recipe): place 1 cup of pitted dates (soak for 10 minutes in boiling water, then drain well), 1 cup of ground almonds, and 2 tbsp of cacao powder into a food processor. Process briefly to incorporate then add 1/3 cup peanut butter, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 2 tbsp of extra virgin coconut oil (gently melted by placing jar in a bowl of hot water). Process again, scraping the sides down a few times, until everything is well blitzed and one homogenous mass. Roll into balls, approx 20g each, then store in the fridge.

Cookies_1
I can’t claim this recipe. I can’t even claim having found this recipe. The thing is, my friend who shared the love my way doesn’t have a food blog of her own (though the way she cooks, she should) so I feel it’s my duty to in turn share the love to you lot…whomsoever you lovely bunch are.

I’m constantly on the hunt for ‘treats’ which house relatively sound levels of goodness, both so that I don’t feel pangs of guilt every time I reach for the cookie jar, but also so I can have some control over the level of sugar which hits the thirsty veins of my threenager on a daily basis. Trouble is that most of the time I make something in the ‘vaguely healthy’ treat category she can sniff it out from a mile off and turns her picky little nose up at it.

These cookies, blessedly, have achieved the seemingly unachievable…being miraculously delicious and healthy at the same time. The original recipe is also very malleable which means you can tweak to your heart’s content depending on how you’re feeling on any given day and what’s in the pantry. You can roll them in sesame seeds or desiccated coconut or just leave them nude (as Thea demands). I’ve used liquid honey, brown rice syrup and pure maple syrup as the sweetener on various occasions. Maple and honey will yield a sweeter cookie if that’s what you fancy. Use all peanut butter, all tahini or a mix of the two. Leave out the cacao and chocolate and the recipe will be close to the original.

Cookies_4
I’ve never made Elana’s recipe in its original form (though I have no doubt they’re great). I made a few little changes in the desperate hope my daughter would go for them and go for them she did. So…cook them à la original or mix it up a bit and get creative. Either way this recipe is a keeper. They’re regulars in the cookie jar now, which is almost always half-empty.

Makes approx 16 cookies (plus a little extra for eating raw…don’t deny yourself the pleasure).

INGREDIENTS
1 1/4 cups ground almonds (almond meal)
2 tbsp cacao powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Pinch sea salt
30g dark chocolate (I like to use 85% dark) – finely chopped
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
1/3 cup mix of tahini and peanut butter
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup sesame seeds (or desiccated coconut)

METHOD
1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C and line an oven tray with baking paper.
2. Combine the ground almonds, cacao, baking soda and sea salt in a mixing bowl along with the chopped chocolate.
3. Put the honey, tahini, peanut butter, coconut oil and vanilla in a separate bowl and stir well to combine.
4. Tip the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir well to bring together into a dough.
5. Roll portions of the dough into walnut-sized balls (approx 20g each) then roll in the sesame seeds to coat well.

Cookies_2
Cookies_3
6. Place on the lined oven tray and flatten just slightly with a fork to about 1cm thick (they spread a bit while cooking). Bake for 10-12 minutes in the middle of the oven (too low/high and they will burn). I like these nice and crispy so tend to bake to 12 minutes but if you prefer them a little chewy err, on the side of caution and aim for 10 minutes. My oven is a little temperamental so to ensure they cook evenly I rotate the tray half-way through the cooking time.

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7. Remove from the oven and gently transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Toasted_2
I’ve always loved the idea of spending Christmas day cooking up a storm in the kitchen. Investing my energy into creating all sorts of culinary treats is my idea of festivity…particularly when you have a glass of bubbles in hand. In years gone by I’ve managed this to a certain extent, one memorable year comes to mind where I spent a romantic Christmas in wintery Copenhagen, cooking up a Spanish extravaganza for my newfound love. The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach right?

These days my two daughters demand a bit too much of my attention to be able to immerse myself in foodie pursuits for hours on end. This year breakfast had to be something I could easily pre-make in the week leading up to Christmas and simple to put together on the day. We also wanted a fairly light and healthy start to the day given the afternoon of rich food which was to come.

This toasted muesli is the right combination of delicious and nutritious and can be dressed up with toppings of your choice to make it a little bit fancy. The recipe makes about 5 cups so I was happily munching away on the leftovers for the rest of the week. Making the muesli will take about half an hour out of your day so it’s very convenient for those of us who are time-poor.

I used a bit of maple syrup for a little extra ‘yum’ but if you wanted to keep this even more virtuous simply replace the maple content with liquid honey. You can easily play around with the type of nuts, seeds and dry fruit used…change it up depending on what you have to hand in the pantry or to preference.

TOASTED MUESLI WITH FRESH FRUIT & PISTACHIO DUST

Toasted
INGREDIENTS (makes approximately 5 cups)
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup coconut (I used desiccated but flakes would also be great)
1/4 cup roughly chopped almonds
1/4 cup flaked almonds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
3 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 cup dates – roughly chopped
1/2 cup unsulfured organic apricots – roughly chopped
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp maple syrup
4 tbsp coconut oil – melted

TO SERVE
1/4 cup pistachios – ground to a slightly chunky powder
fresh strawberries and cherries
natural yoghurt
your choice of milk – cow, rice, soy or almond

METHOD
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line an oven tray with baking paper.
2. In a large bowl combine the oats, coconut, nuts and seeds and toss well to combine.
3. Gently melt the coconut oil, honey and maple syrup together in a small saucepan then pour over the dry ingredients and mix well to coat all the grains.
4. Pour onto the oven tray and spread out evenly. Bake for 15 minutes until lightly golden, turning once or twice during the cooking time.
5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before transferring to an airtight container.
6. Serve half-cup volumes into individual bowls and top with the fresh fruit and yoghurt, dusting the top with the ground pistachios.

cake_1
Just a quick little post today…my new baby has decided that day sleeps are overrated, unless she happens to be attached to my chest, so as you can imagine any spare time is pretty much non-existent. Having said that I have managed to throw a thing or two into the oven since August arrived a couple of weeks ago. Mostly these baking sessions have involved one recipe set to ‘repeat’ as it’s one of the quickest and easiest baking recipes I’ve come across. Not only that but these little cakes are one of the healthiest treats you could dream up being free of refined sugar, gluten, butter and oil. The original recipe comes care of the much-loved Petite Kitchen blog – I’ve made her Upside Down Mandarin & Poppy Seed Cakes innumerable times now but today felt like experimenting with the basic premise of the recipe whilst changing up the ingredients a bit.

My version below is even quicker and easier to make. I replaced the mandarins with frozen berries and used coconut in place of the poppy seeds. No need to boil mandarins for an hour – just defrost a cup of berries and you’re good to go.

These are truly a one-bowl-wonder. Everything gets put into the bowl of an electric mixer and whisked until well combined. Couldn’t be easier! The cakes are stained a shade of blue from the berries breaking down in the mix but they can be dressed up with a light dusting of icing sugar if you feel that way inclined.

Serve them with a large dollop of something on the side, depending on your required level of virtuousness…thick greek yoghurt and a drizzle of honey for a guilt-free treat; my favourite – a half-half mix of greek yoghurt and whipped cream with a touch of vanilla extract; or a large dollop of mascarpone for a slightly naughtier version.

BERRY, COCONUT AND ALMOND CAKES

INGREDIENTS (makes 10 mini-cakes)
1 cup frozen berries – I used a mix of blueberry and raspberry
Juice 1 orange (or tangelo)
4 free-range eggs
2 cups ground almonds
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
Finely grated rind of 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup liquid honey
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

METHOD
1. Place the frozen berries into a small bowl, squeeze over the orange juice and set aside to defrost.
2. Preheat the oven to 160°C and grease 10 muffin tin recesses well with butter.
3. Put the eggs, ground almonds, coconut, lemon rind, honey, baking soda, apple cider vinegar and defrosted berries/juice into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on a medium-high setting until well combined.
4. Divide the mix between the 10 muffin tins and bake for approximately 30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre of a cake comes out clean.
5. Leave to cool completely in the tins then gently lift out with a knife.
6. Dust with icing sugar to serve if desired and accompany with your choice of yoghurt, cream or mascarpone.

Pilaf_1
I had a summery moment of inspiration yesterday. Something about being out walking in the early evening sunshine filled my mind with dinner ideas where fish, rice and leeks were at the fore. We eat a lot of potatoes in our house, which I’m quite happy with most of the time but let’s be honest, you can’t eat them every night of the week and last night saw me drawing a starchy line in the sand. So from one starch to another I dreamt up this absolutely delicious little meal that turned out even better than I had hoped for.

I’m a huge fan of pilaf. It’s a very satisfying way to eat rice. A good pilaf should be light and fluffy, well-flavoured and nourishing. This pilaf is flavoured with buttery leeks and lemon and makes the perfect bed for a fillet of baked white fish finished off with a vibrant herb and caper salsa. The buttery flavor of the pilaf is perfectly offset by the zesty, tangy and slightly salty salsa.

It might look like there are a few steps involved, but they are very simple steps to take. This is easy enough to pull together on any given night for the family but would also make a beautiful dinner party meal that’s guaranteed to help you win friends and influence people (if that’s the desired outcome) but won’t tie you to the kitchen all night long. The salsa can be made in advance, the pilaf is simple to prepare and the fish and asparagus can be cooked minutes prior to serving.

You could serve this dish with just the pilaf, fish and salsa but seeing as it’s asparagus season we are throwing them into every second meal while they are fresh and delicious and they certainly work very well as an accompaniment in this case.

LEMONY LEEK PILAF WITH BAKED FISH AND HERB CAPER SALSA
Serves two (very generously)

BEFORE YOU START
A few hours before you want to start cooking the pilaf, start the rinsing/soaking process which ensures lovely fluffy rice and will also reduce the required cooking time. Put 150g long-grain white rice into a bowl and cover with water. Use your fingertips to rub the grains of rice to release the starch, then drain and refill the bowl with fresh water. Repeat this process 2-3 more times until the water runs clear. Drain one final time, add 1 tsp sea salt and cover with warm water. Stir to dissolve the salt and leave the rice to soak in the fridge for 3 hours. When you are ready to cook the pilaf, remove the rice from the fridge and drain well in a colander until ready to use.

NOTE – when you are ready to start cooking the pilaf, preheat the oven on to 200°C so it’s at temperature to bake the fish when the pilaf is almost done.

INGREDIENTS – SALSA
Large handful each basil leaves, flat-leaf parsley leaves and fennel tops
Juice 1 lemon
Heaped tablespoon capers
3-4 tbsp good quality olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pilaf_2
METHOD – SALSA (can be prepared ahead of time and kept in the fridge)
1. Place the herbs (leaves only) into the bowl of a food processor along with the lemon juice, drained capers, olive oil and season generously with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
2. Blitz until a rough paste forms, you may need to scrape down the sides a couple of times. Add a little more oil if needed to achieve a good texture – the salsa should be slightly looser in consistency than a pesto without being too runny. Set aside until you are ready to serve.

Pilaf_3
INGREDIENTS – PILAF
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 large leek – white/pale green part only
1 large clove garlic – crushed to a paste with a large pinch of sea salt
150g long-grain white rice (prepared as per notes above)
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
1 cup vegetable stock
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp pinenuts – lightly toasted

METHOD – PILAF
1. Finely slice the leeks and then roughly chop the slices to break down a little further.
2. Add the olive oil and butter to a heavy-based saucepan and melt over medium-low heat. Add the leeks and garlic and fry very gently, stirring often, for 10 minutes until tender but not browned. Add the grated lemon rind to the leeks and cook a further 5 minutes.
3. Add the prepared/drained rice to the pan and stir well to coat in the leeks.
4. Add the stock to the pan along with 1/2 cup water and season generously with freshly ground black pepper. Place a sheet of greaseproof paper over the surface of the rice then put the lid on top of this.
5. Bring the rice to the boil and cook fast for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes immediately reduce the heat to low and continue cooking (lid on) for a further 8 minutes. Remove from the heat but leave the lid on for another 5 minutes while you cook the fish (and asparagus, if using).

FOR THE BAKED FISH
2 medium fillets of white-fleshed fish (I like gurnard but tarakihi and schnapper would also work well)
1 lemon – cut crosswise into thin slices
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

METHOD – BAKED FISH
1. Rinse the fillets in water and pat dry on kitchen towels.
2. Lay the fillets side-by-side on a sheet of tin foil, season generously with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and lay the lemon slices along the length of each fillet.
3. Fold the foil around the fish to seal and place into the oven for 5-8 minutes, depending on the size/thickness of the fillets.

TO SERVE
Place a large spoonful of the pilaf on each of the serving plates, top with the baked fish and a generous dollop of the herby caper salsa. Finish off with a sprinkling of pinenuts and serve immediately with your favourite greens on the side. Absolutely delicious!!

Macaroons_4
I’ve becoming more than a little obsessed with coconut of late. My rather more glamorous friend visited recently from Sydney and brought all her lotions and potions along for the ride which made not only her smell delicious but our house as well. Her aura made its olfactory mark, let’s say. I was jealous. I wanted to waft about the house smelling divinely sweet and just a little bit less like the mother of a toddler. You mothers out there will know what I mean.

Short of investing in the mini-apothecary that my friend carries with her, I made sure I nosied about in her stash to find out the scented secret of my lust. There were a few things I would have loved to get my hands on, but one in particular struck me as both unusual and so scrumptious to the nostrils that I had to give it a go. What was it? Why the humble, pantry-stored, cook-em-up Coconut Oil. How I have yet to discover this apparent miracle substance is beyond me. How did I miss the boat on this one?? I’ve recently discovered that there are a million and one uses for coconut oil and as many benefits from smearing it on every corporal surface possible (including the interior). I’ll extoll the full list in another blog post, but suffice to say that it’s so good for the body that you could be forgiven for bathing in it every day. Though naturally you’d be a little greasier for it.

oil
I’ve now taken to smearing my skin, head to toe, in this delicious substance twice daily after I shower. The first few times you do this you’ll find yourself sniffing your limbs every few minutes to fully inhale the intense coconuty delight that now resides on your epidermis. I smell like a Krispie biscuit 24/7 which is a very fine thing indeed.

All this skin-talk aside, the constant reminder of Krispie biscuits has made me crave coconut cookies. Not the packet, processed kind, but the homemade variety made from real ingredients with real goodness and flavour. So, I whipped these tasty little morsels up this morning to fulfil my wanton needs.

These macaroons are not the delicate, multi-coloured French variety but rather more of the Moroccan ilk which are chewy and tender and incredibly moreish. They’re made them with a mix of ground almonds and coconut, sweetened with honey and scented delicately with orange zest. Perfect for morning tea with a freshly brewed coffee.

NOTE: Be sure to place the tray of cookies in the middle of the oven. If you place them too low or high you’ll burn their bums/heads.

ORANGE SCENTED MACAROONS

INGREDIENTS (makes 16 small cookies)
1 cup ground almonds
1 cup desiccated coconut
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
1/4 cup liquid honey
2 large certified free-range eggs – whites only

METHOD
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line an oven tray with baking paper.
2. Place the ground almonds and coconut into a mixing bowl and zest the orange directly on top.

Macaroons_1
3. Add the honey and egg whites (no need to whisk first) and stir well to bring all ingredients together into a sticky mass.

Macaroons_2
4. Roll walnut-sized portions into balls and place on the baking tray. Flatten slightly with a fork and bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly golden.

Macaroons_3
5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. Serve with freshly brewed coffee…these cookies are great for dunking!

Soup_4
I always find the tail end of winter and arduous time of the year. I’m starting to pine for warmer, longer days where the sunshine breathes energy into your skin and bones and your spirits lift like only the promise of Spring can. We’re right in the thick of the Spring-time-tease right now. The occasional glorious and mildly temperate day is usually followed by a day or four of rain to dampen those spirits back to their default winter setting. Luckily…dark chocolate and red wine exist to give our souls a cuddle when needed. And if we overdose on that there’s always soup to warm the cockles of our hearts through these late-winter days.

I’ve fallen in love with celeriac, or more accurately…rekindled by love of celeriac. It’s very much a winter flavour for me, absolutely divine cooked up into a rich and nourishing gratin served with lamb or beef and a fresh crunchy salad on the side. Celeriac also lends a wonderful flavour to soups and this recipe below hits all the right marks for me where winter soups are concerned. I’m not a broth kind-of-a-gal. I like my soups thick, creamy and smooth.

Soup_1
Celeriac is a variety of celery and is one of the less beautiful of vegetables thanks to its knobbly, odd-shaped root and green tufted hairdo. It has a mellow, subtle flavour with a hint of celery and a sweet nuttiness which is absolutely divine when turned into mash, oven roasted or combined with other vegetables into a soup. You can even eat it raw, either grated finely or with a mandolin, mixed into a salad to add an interesting, flavoursome and crunchy texture.

This soup is one of my favourite ways to eat this unassuming root vegetable. The sweetness of the leeks, the richness of the butter and the sharpness of the dijon combine beautifully in this hearty, creamy soup.

You can convert the recipe easily to dairy-free by omitting the cream and butter if needed. Leftovers can be frozen – the soup will separate as it defrosts but is easily restored to its former creamy goodness by whisking well as you reheat the soup in a saucepan.

INGREDIENTS (serves four)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
250g leek (white part only)
2 large garlic cloves – finely chopped
250g celeriac (peeled/cubed weight)
2 large potatoes (about 400g once peeled/cubed)
2 cups vegetable stock
1.5 cups water
1/4 cup cream
2 tbsp dijon mustard
Juice of half a lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Large handful chopped flat-leaf parsley and a drizzle of good quality olive oil to serve

METHOD
1. Cut the leeks into slices approximately 5mm wide, using only the white part of the leek. Use a paring knife to remove the knobbly skin of the celeriac and chop roughly into 2-3cm chunks. Repeat with the potatoes.

Soup_2
2. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large heavy-based saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the leek and garlic and cook gently, stirring often, until the leek starts to soften and caramelise (approximately 10 minutes).
3. Add the celeriac and potatoes and stir to combine well with the leek and garlic. Add the stock and water and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover with a lid (allowing some steam to escape) and cook for approximately 15-20 minutes until the root vegetables are tender.
4. Add the cream, dijon mustard and lemon juice, stir well and remove from the heat to cool slightly.
5. Use a stick blender to blitz the soup until smooth and creamy. Season generously with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and return to the heat to warm through gently prior to serving.
6. Serve in bowls topped with a sprinkling of finely chopped flat-leaf parsely, a drizzle of good quality olive oil and a final grind of black pepper to garnish. Delicious served with crusty Turkish bread fresh out of the oven.

Soup_3

Loaf_3
It’s been quite some time between blog posts I must say. I’ve been a little on the busy side, to say the least, and sadly the first thing to drop out of my days is creativity in the kitchen. I’m a creature of habit when I’m stretched for spare time so all the usual culinary suspects have been boring me to tears lately in a desperate attempt to simplify my daily routine. About the only thing I’ve managed to squeeze in has been a spot of baking brought about by my monthly hosting of a group of friends and their rugrats at our house.

I had a mound of overripe bananas on the cusp of Rotsville which were destined for the rather disparate fates of either baked glory or rubbish bin demise. The day of hosting arrived just in a nick of time as the bananas reached their full-flavoured baking potential, mere hours before they were only ripe for turfing out.

Loaf_2
So, bake ’em I did. Into this very moist, very delicious loaf which has been naturally sweetened with honey, dates and aforementioned bananas. With a base of ground almonds it’s gluten-free and incredibly moist thanks to the fruit content.

Loaf_1
As divine as cakes are hot from the oven, this one does need a good 30 minutes to cool down before you carve into it. It’s dense from the fruit content yet light in texture, a combination which means it’s a little fragile when hot out of the oven. Exercise some restraint if you can muster it and leave the loaf to sit in the tin for 30 minutes before lifting out and carefully cutting into thick slices.

This recipe makes a large loaf so any leftovers can be put under a hot grill for breakfast the next day. Absolutely delicious smothered in butter or topped with a dollop of greek yoghurt if you want to keep it on the virtuous side.

INGREDIENTS
125g butter – at room temperature
1/3 cup liquid honey
2 large free-range eggs
100g dates – roughly chopped
2 large bananas, approximately 250g peeled weight (the riper the better)
1.5 cups ground almonds
1/2 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
80g walnuts – roughly chopped

METHOD
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a loaf tin and line the base with baking paper.
2. Place the roughly chopped dates into a small bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Drain well in a colander and set aside.
3. Put the butter and honey into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until pale and creamy. Add the drained dates and beat well again – this helps break the dates down a little.
4. Add the eggs to the butter mix, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
5. Mash the bananas well and add to the butter/egg mix and stir to combine.
6. In a large mixing bowl combine the ground almonds, flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and chopped nuts.
7. Tip the egg mix into the dry mix and fold together gently until just combined.
8. Pour the batter into the greased loaf tin, smooth the top and bake in the oven for approximately 1 hour until a skewer inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean.
9. Remove from the oven and leave to sit in the tin for about half an hour before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

NOTE: If the top of the loaf starts to darken too much during cooking, place a sheet of tin foil very loosely over the top to prevent it burning.

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