Monday, April 8, 2013

Gluten Free Banana Bread

Yes, I did say gluten free.  There comes a time in some of our lives when, like it or not, we must accept the fact that wheat flour and it's glutinous properties may not be the best match for our gut ( I said "some" of us OK  - so don't start jumping up and down if you are one of those lucky buggers who can eat whatever they like and feel fabulous! ) and that replacing certain foods with their gluten free, wheat free alternatives might just possibly be of benefit.

I feel terribly geriatric admitting this but both my partner and I do tend to suffer when we eat pasta,  bread and the like so we have taken to trialling versions based on white or brown rice, spelt, even corn (not great...)... and eating such bizarre things as quinoa bread - you know, that kind of thing.  We have had to trial a number of brands to find product that tastes good and satisfies when it comes to texture  but we have managed to score a few beauties over time. They aren't cheap but we simply eat less (not a bad thing), and less regularly and really enjoy it. And importantly it has made quite a difference to the way we feel post dining. I won't go into detail - if you suffer from the same you will know what I mean...

So, the other day I had the responsibility of squishing some evil looking, overripe bananas into oblivion in order to make some banana bread. I have a quirky aversion to raw monkey treats (there's a story for another time) so having to touch, let alone PEEL,  the  err, flaccid, assaultingly aromatic fruit was a total love job  - however I am considering seeking some form of compensation when my partner least expects it.

I found a couple of recipes for reference then did my own thing - the result was wonderful (although this instagram pic does not do it justice and the edges did get a little charred under the grill when I was toasting it...  but never mind).  The flavour and texture were both excellent.  We enjoyed some straight away then I sliced the remainder, wrapped them individually and froze them - ready to pop in the toaster when the mood strikes. Oh how domesticated.

So - I'd like to share with you a little bit of my new found gluten free joy. And it is super easy  -well apart from the banana handling bit...

Makes about 10 thick slices

4 large overripe, slushy bananas
4 large, good quality eggs from happy chooks
1/3 cup organic maple syrup or honey
1 teaspoon or so of pure vanilla extract
1/2 -1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
80g good quality butter, melted
a rounded 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
13/4 cups finely ground almonds/almond meal
1/2 cup potato or rice flour/starch - I added this to help soften the texture but if you wish to leave out the flour all together - increase the almond meal to just over 2 cups. It makes a more dense loaf but still tastes great.

Preheat your oven to 160C. Grease a loaf tin - approximately 23 cm long, 10cm wide and 12 cm deep and lightly flour with a little potato flour.

Put the bananas in a large bowl and mash them until as smooth as possible. If they are super ripe they will become quite fluid.  Add the eggs, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and melted butter and beat well to ensure all ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Add the bicarb in the centre of the bowl then add the lemon juice on top - this will start the reaction you need to lighten the texture of the loaf. Stir well then add the almond meal and potato starch and mix well again until all ingredients are perfectly well combined.

Pour into the prepared tin and cook in the preheated oven for around 45-55 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out reasonably dry. Every oven is different so you may need to cook a little less or  more depending on how accurate the temperature guage is. Leave to cool a little in the tin before turning out onto a serving plate or wooden board.

Eat that day, refrigerate for up to a week or cut into slices and individually wrap for freezing for up to 3 months. Toast when ready to enjoy. Some good quality butter  is probably all you need but the slice above is topped with some of Burch and Purchese's wonderful pineapple jam. Tres Tropical.

Jane x

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