Oh hai! Suffice to say this book writing business is overtaking everything at the mo, hence the lack of recipes on the blog – it seems every time I have a good idea I feel compelled to save it for the publication. I can’t even claim this one was intended for this space, as it was originally created for the current issue of WED Mag (go buy it!), along with two other equally delightful dishes. Call it laziness or just my eagerness to share but this borrowed (from, er, myself) recipe is all I have to offer right now … although I have two blog posts lined up for the very near future (you loving that vagueness?) that I hope will make up for my persistent peasoupeats neglect.
This particular Banana Bread recipe is (no lie) an absolute lifesaver thanks to its gluten and (refined) sugar-free status … in fact, you could go as far as to say, it’s good for you – disclaimer; it’s probably not ‘good for you’. Moist, crumbly and ridiculously delicious, it flies in the face of everything you have ever thought about gluten free goods, which, let’s face it, are often bemoaned for their dense, stodgy texture that taste more like sand than cake – not appealing, not now, not ever. So, even if you think gluten free isn’t your thing, I urge you let this banana bread change your mind because healthy eating or not, this recipe officially ‘rules’.
what you’ll need
130g Gram Flour
70g Ground Almonds
1 tsp Gluten Free Baking Powder
½ tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
2 Ripe Bananas
3 Medjool Dates
1 tbsp Maple Syrup
1 tbsp Coconut oil
30g Flaked Almonds
what you’ll do
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and prepare a medium-sized loaf tin by greasing it with a little coconut oil.
Place the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, bicarb and salt in a bowl and whisk together.
Soak the medjool dates for 10 minutes in warm water.
Meanwhile, mash the bananas with the back of a fork to form a smooth puree.
Remove the stone from the dates and place in a small chopper or hand blender along with the maple syrup and blitz to form a thick, sticky paste.
Melt the coconut oil in a small pan on the hob … this will take mere seconds, be sure not to let it boil.
Whisk the pureed banana, date paste and melted coconut oil together, along with two tablespoons of water, until thoroughly combined.
Stir the raisins into the flour, ensuring they are evenly dispersed. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the banana mixture. Fold gently until everything is combined before transferring to the loaf tin. The batter will be quite thick so spread it out using a spatula before sprinkling over the flaked almonds.
Bake for 30-35 minutes. Let it cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tin. Place on a cooling rack for a further 30 minutes. Cut into thick slices and serve.
I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to be able to follow a recipe instead of creating one. In the midst of this book writing business, receiving this gorgeous offering in the post was a welcome relief and meant I could forget about my own creations for at least one meal. Although they probably don’t know it, the writers of this heavenly vegan cookbook were the first ‘real-life’ vegan cooks I ever encountered. Four years almost to the day, I was booked into a raw cookery class at Saf in Shoreditch (sadly now closed), which was led by the magnificent David Bailey who was accompanied by his lovely wife Charlotte. A newbie vegan at the time (I was about a year into my journey ) this was a real eye opener for me and I learnt so much… and tasted some pretty incredible food in the process – so you could say I’m already a bit of fan girl when it comes to this duo. Since then they’ve gone on to win awards for their scrumptious street food (keep an eye out for their WholefoodHeaven van at festivals) and, of course, release a wonderful cookbook.
Not only is it a stunning book to simply browse through but offers a range of dishes from the very basic (dips, dressings and soups) through to more adventurous fare that all have something of an Asian twist. I went for something moderately easy to begin with in the form of the New England inspired Corn Chowder … mainly because my fridge and cupboards are pretty bare right now so it was a bit of a make-do situation. I’m rather ashamed to say I had to use (don’t judge!) canned (cough) sweetcorn and I didn’t have any coconut milk (or stock) to hand either, however, despite my embarrassing modifications it was still a resounding success.
What I’m most excited about getting my chops around next is the Hot Aubergine Salad, which looks sensational, with the Churros a very close second. Hot, crispy, sugary goodness – you’re talking my language! What I love most about this book is the balance it strikes between uber-healthy recipes and more indulgent dishes that don’t shy away from things like flour. There’s something for everyone whether you’re raw, gluten-free or, like-me, dabble in a little bit of everything. It’s easy-going flair is its biggest selling point … I predict it’ll be a book I’ll come back to again and again. In a nutshell, it’s fuss-free food, full of flavour that will inevitably put a smile on your face.
adapted from The Fresh Vegan Kitchen
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small carrot, chopped
200g sweetcorn kernels
4 salad potatoes, roughly chopped
1 tsp hot sauce
juice 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup soya yoghurt plus more for serving
salt and pepper
for the herby croutons
1 slice of bread, cut into 1cm squares
1 tbsp olive oil
1 sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
1. Heat the coconut oil in a large pan and saute the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sautee for 3-4 mins, then add the carrot and sweetcorn, season and saute for another minute or so.
2. Cover the saute mix with water (about 1ltr) and add the potatoes. Season generously, bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for 15-20mins, until all the vegetables are tender.
3. While the soup is simmering make the croutons. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Put the bread in a bowl and toss with the olive oil and rosemary. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 10 mins until lightly golden, moving the croutons around every couple of minutes. Set aside.
4. When the soup is ready transfer to a blender and pulse until smooth. Return the soup to the pan, stir in the yogurt (or coconut milk), lemon juice, generously season and reheat for 10-15 minutes over a very low heat.
5. Divide into bowls and garnish with a few reserved sweetcorn kernels, sliced radish, spring onion and not forgetting the croutons, which I served alongside .
I am in such a blogging rut right now. Any good ideas I have are being poured into the book, which leaves very little to spare in terms of blog posts. I know things will settle down after my deadline but I can’t help but feel this space needs some much needed (and long overdue) TLC. I’m in the mood for a Spring clean – a yearly spruce up, if you will, although I can’t guarantee it’s all going to happen overnight. An image overhaul is definitely in order and I really want to make it easier for you guys to navigate your way around the site… I am fully aware my categories are confusing and totally outta control – seriously though, have you seen how many I have listed on the sidebar? Talking of control, I need to find a way of letting go of my daily control-freak ways a little, as it’s not only hindering my work but also my happiness. Truth be told, I poured over these images for an hour and half, tweaking this and that, and I’m still not satisfied with them. It was my first time using a DSLR for a while and I’d practically forgotten how to effectively use the settings – not to mention the light was piss poor, hence their ‘intentionally’ moody demeanour, ahem. I’m not sure how often bloggers talk about their photography woes but when you’re bombarded with brilliant images on an hourly basis, one can’t help but feel like any offerings I might be contributing to the internet’s growing library of incredible food shots fall somewhat short of the mark.
Or course, great food photographs aren’t the be all and end all of a good blog – I hope! I like to think the recipes and occasional (read negligible) witty repartee also go some way to making a blog, erm, ‘good’. Personally, I return to blogs that are open and honest, and don’t try to be something they’re not. I’m no professional photographer (heck, I’m not even sure I qualify as an amateur one) so recipes are where I can make up for bad lighting, poor composition and anything else that makes an image just okay. This Chocolate Orange Loaf is what I’ll be chowing down on over the next few days … and f.y.i. the frosting is not optional. Yup, it’s a total, unashamed sugar-fest because hey, it’s Easter and I don’t ‘eat clean’ all the time anyway. Frankly, I think we’re all becoming a wee bit obsessive about every (single, itty-ibtty) morsel that passes our lips, so take this recipe as a defiant stand against the ‘nutritionalistas’ of the world that have left us feeling ashamed for even thinking about a slice of the good stuff – or bad, as the case may be. Besides, I think portion control is much more effective than shunning all these so-called ‘naughty’ foods, which is why you’ll notice this is baked in a pretty small loaf tin and contains about the half the ingredients of a similar recipe. I figure this way I can have my cake and eat it, innit.
Look, I’m as guilty as the next person of using the ‘clean eats’ hash tag when promoting my wares on places like instagram and twitter, so you could say I’m perpetuating this fixation we have with ensuring everything we consume has some nutritional value – heads up, this loaf has none. Whilst I’m all for making healthy choices, I really don’t see the harm in having an all singing, all dancing chocolate loaf now and then… yes, I know there are great alternatives out there, and I partake in those too, but sometimes only cake (this kinda ‘hooray for cake’ cake) will do. If you’re of the same mindset, then read on for the recipe. If not, then there are plenty of raw/gluten-free/sugar-free recipes on the blog too. Either way I wish you all a very HAPPY EASTER – here’s to occasional, but necessary, full-fat, gluten-filled, sugar-laden treats.
Oh, and if you’re wondering where those gorgeous printed napkins are from, head over to the Tori Murphy website to oggle (perchance to buy) more of her incredible designs – I’m officially obsessed!
120g plain flour
30g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
45ml olive oil
120ml plant milk (I used homemade hazelnut milk)
1 tsp orange extract
for the frosting
3 tbsp vegan margarine
100g icing sugar
1 heaped tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp orange extract
Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees celsius.
Whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and bicarb together in a large bowl.
Mash the banana and whisk together with the oil, plant milk and orange extract until smooth.
Make a well in the centre of the flour mix and pour in the wet ingredients. Gently fold until everything has fully combined.
Transfer to a greased 71/2 inch loaf tin, tap it firmly on your worktop to get rid of any air bubbles. Bake for 30-35minutes.
Whilst the loaf is baking make your frosting by whisking together the margarine, icing sugar, cocoa and extract until smooth. Refrigerate until needed.
Once baked, allow the loaf to cool on a rack before removing it from the tin. Let is cool completely before adoring it with the chocolate frosting … I like to roughly spread it over the top of the cake using a spatula.