Saturday, 2 May 2015

Banana, nut & seed loaf (grain & dairy-free)

I'm back!! It has only been just over a year (oops!) since I posted a recipe on this blog . . have you missed me? A lot can happen in a year and has! I could offer up all sorts of excuses but I'm sure you're more interested in some new recipes right? I am very conscious that I haven't been holding up my side of the deal with new Likes to my Facebook page for this blog, dribbling, sometimes pouring in weekly (thank you!) as Thermomix users stumble across my recipes here on Mixing it up HK for the first time. 

To share a little with you of what I've been up to, the 'HK' part of my blog title hasn't been strictly true since December last year. I have returned to my home country of Australia, and to a very beautiful part of the world situated on the surfcoast in Victoria. As my husband still works in Hong Kong commuting home to be with us as often as he can each month, I feel very lucky to still have a link to this vibrant city (and my cherished friends) where I spent 14 years of my life, with an opportunity to visit several times a year. My own work also keeps me connected with Hong Kong which I enjoy. 

Here in Australia, my girls have settled in better than I could ever have hoped for at their new school, and have already established some beautiful friendships. Like any other mother, I'm performing a bit of a juggling act of work (my new nutrition & health coaching business here), home duties, and just being mum (sometimes dad too) to my two girls. I also make it a priority to incorporate fitness and 'me' time into my week. Whether this is my regular pilates class, a stroll on the beach, a bike ride to the local shops and farmers market, or getting to know new friends and catching up with old ones at a real food cafe . . . I'm a better parent and a happier, more balanced individual for doing so. There's too much stress to contend with in our daily modern lives, and as a health coach, I understand the negative impact this can have on the body. However, scheduling in some blogging time, something I really enjoy, needs to make it back onto my 'me' time list! So that's why I'm here. Hopefully you're happy about this too :) 

And now for the recipe . . . this grain and dairy-free loaf is perfect lightly toasted for breakfast with ripe avocado smashed or sliced on top, or simply enjoy with a thick lather of organic butter. I have to confess that it's also lovely topped with my mum's lemon butter, which I make with coconut oil these days, as a treat. The loaf has a mild banana flavour with a nuttiness and rustic texture that I adore. I love that it's extremely satiating and nurtures my body with minerals, healthy fats and a good dose of protein in the process. It's also the perfect way to use up almond pulp leftover from making my regular batch of almond milk. I simply dehydrate the pulp for about 6 hours at 47C before using in this recipe. You could also do this in a low oven. In place of almond pulp you can opt to use commercial almond flour or preferably finely ground almonds made in your Thermomix. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do X

Banana, nut & seed loaf (grain & dairy-free)

40g flaxseeds (linseeds)
110g dehydrated almond pulp, almond flour or finely ground raw almonds
70g raw cashews
2 ripe bananas, cut into quarters
4 large organic, free-range eggs
½ tsp bicarb of soda
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp Himalayan or sea salt
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp raw honey or coconut nectar (optional)
100g walnuts, roughly chopped & optional - see variation below
100g tapioca flour/starch
30g chia or hemp seeds
40g pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
30g sunflower seeds

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a loaf tin with baking paper. My tin is 19.5 x 9.5cm. 
  2. Grind flaxseeds for 10 seconds on speed 9. 
  3. Add dehydrated almond pulp (or raw almonds) and cashews and grind into a flour or very fine meal on speed 9 for 10-15 seconds. Set aside. 
  4. Add the bananas, eggs, bicarb, baking powder, salt, apple cider vinegar and sweetener (optional) and mix on speed 4 for 15-20 seconds until bananas are mashed well and mixture is frothy. 
  5. Roughly chop the walnuts by hand. Add to the TM bowl (or save some to sprinkle on top of the loaf) with the ground flaxseeds and nuts mixture, tapioca flour, chia, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Add your flavour variations (below) at this step. Mix on reverse, speed 5 for a few seconds to combine. The mixture will be quite thick and stiff. 
  6. Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and spread evenly with spatula. 
  7. Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Slice and store in a ziplock bag in the fridge or freezer. 
Please note that it is preferable to use activated nuts and seeds for easier digestion and improved nutrient uptake by the body. To incorporate this extra step you need to plan a day ahead . . . simply weigh out the almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pepitas and sunflower seeds and soak in filtered water overnight. Cashews only require a couple of hours soaking. The next day, drain the water from the nuts and seeds and dry on trays in a 50C oven or in a dehydrator until crisp. 

Topping ideas:
  • Add desiccated coconut in place of the roughly chopped extra nuts
  • For a chai flavoured bread, add 2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground cardamon, 3/4 tsp ground ginger, 3/4 tsp allspice and 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

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