Saturday, September 10, 2011

Weekend foodie: Guilt-free banana loaf

OK, let’s get one thing straight here. Who came up with the name “banana bread”? It’s clearly not bread. Since when did bread have a whole heap of sugar and butter and eggs? It’s clearly a cake. And usually not one that’s as good for you as the name might suggest. That is, unless you follow this recipe.  Inspired by the Babycakes NYC and Sophie Dahl versions (I can’t help but mess around with recipes), below is my butter-free, sugar-free but utterly delicious version.  I use agave nectar instead of sugar. It’s a much lower GI, so slowly releases into your body avoiding the spike in blood sugar you get from ordinary refined sugar (and therefore giving you lots of energy to pursue your creative pursuits without needing a nap). And I use olive oil instead of butter (something the Italians have always known). I also find wholemeal spelt flour easier to digest than wheat flour, but use whatever you have in the pantry.

4 x ripe bananas, mashed up
50ml olive oil plus extra for greasing
¾ cup of agave nectar
1 egg, beaten
1tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1½ cups of wholemeal spelt flour (or whatever flour you normally use)

1.  Preheat oven to 180C/350F (or if your oven is fan forced, 160C/325F) and grease a loaf tin.
2.  Put the mashed bananas into a large mixing bowl and mix in the olive oil, agave nectar, egg and vanilla extract.
3.  Add the baking powder and then mix in the flour last.
4.  Pour into the loaf tin and bake on the middle shelf for 1 hour, or longer if necessary to ensure that a knife comes out clean.
5.  Leave to cool (if you can resist) and serve with some fruit and yoghurt (or as the Australians do, toasted with a little butter)

If you want to vary it, you can add in some chopped walnuts at stage 3, or (as I did for the one in the picture), grate in a square or two of dark chocolate and add a tablespoon of cocoa powder.

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