Tea Time- banana bread without the flour

I’m continuing on with my adventures in flourless baking.   And seeing as I frequently seem to have a couple of bananas in my fruit bowl quietly going brown and mushy, perfecting a recipe for a flourless banana bread seemed not only obvious, but imperative.  Not in the grand scheme of things, but, you know, on a micro-level.

I feel like I’ve really nailed it with this recipe.  It has that light bready texture without the density normally associate with flourless or gluten-free baking, despite the addition of pulpy banana.

To make the cake completely gluten-free, you could of course use gluten-free oats.  This recipe is also relatively low in sugar, as I find that the over-ripe bananas lend more than enough sweetness for my palate.   You may, however, prefer to make your loaf a bit sweeter by adding an extra 100g or so of caster or brown sugar (which would give the bread a more caramel flavour). 

Flourless Banana Bread

You will need:

4 over-ripe bananas – mashed
3 eggs
100ml oil
120g casterl sugar
350g gluten free self-raising flour
100g oats
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
2 tsp zantham gum 
Water

Method: 
 

1. Place all ingredients except water in a large mixing bowl.

2. Mix everything together until well incorporated.  If batter seems too stiff, add a bit of water by the tablespoonfull. 

3. Pour into greased loaf tin (a 2lb or  22cm long by 11cm wide by 6.5 high loaf tin and bake at 180 degrees until brown and ‘springy’ when the top is pushed gently – about 30 minutes.  Keep an eye on it and cover with tinfoil if getting too brown.
4. Allow to cool slightly before removing from the tin.  You could now leave the loaf to cool down completely, however, it is pretty fantastic whilst still a bit warm, spread with butter. 

Foodcycling!


I’ve been volunteering with a fantastic charity called Foodcyle recently. They take surplus food from local supermarkets and suppliers that would normally get chucked out and turn it into fresh, nutritious and home-cooked meals. They then serve this up to people in the community who may not have access to freshly cooked meals for whatever reason- money, time, knowledge, ability, etc.

I’ve been making quite a bit of banana bread with them, but also soup, stews, etc. Here’s some pics from the cook-a-thon. It’s a bit like Ready, Steady, Cook as we never know what’s going to arrive from the supermarkets and suppliers!
I’m totally blown away by what gets chucked out at the end of the day as ‘waste.’ Foodcyle estimates that 400,000 tonnes of surplus food can be reclaimed each year from food retailers and made into healthy and nutritious meals. ANe with 4 million people affected by food poverty in the UK and diet related illnesses costing the NHS 6 billion pounds each and every year, I feel like this is a great way to put the two together.

If you want to get involved, check out their website http://www.foodcycle.org.uk/ or drop me a line.

Brilliant Banoffee

Office pie! For when your holiday is still two weeks away and you need a little lift.

This old school banoffee pie is a serious contender for my favorite pudding. I think it might have something to do with the textures as well as the flavours (I love a banana split and the flavours here aren’t dissimilar, really). There’s the satisfying crunch of the biscuit base, the silky caramel centre, soft fruit, cool cream and just a hint of chocolate (nothing too cloying). Two of my poor, deprived colleagues had never had this expereince before. Luckily, that situation was easily rectified.

OK, so a note on the recipe method here, first of all. I know the whole exploding tins of boiling condensed milk sounds a bit scary… OK, totally petrifying… but honestly, it’s never happened to me. I’ve never even heard it happening to anyone (you?). The trick is to use a HUGE pan and just keep it full throughout. I mean, it’s simple, really.

Banoffee Pie:

You will need

  • 1.5 packets of chocolate hobnobs or digestives
  • 1 pint double cream or whipping cream
  • 2 400g tins of condensed milk
  • 4-5 bananas
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter

Do This:

Boil a huge pan of water. Massive. The biggest you can find. Plonk the tins of condensed milk in, just as they are, no shaking or piercing or opening or anything. Keep the water topped up and simmer for 2-3 hours. So keep checking- make yourself something nice for dinner, watch the next episode of Mad Men, but keep checking (ad breaks are good).

While this is going on (but before dinner and Mad Men) you can sort out the base. You need to get those hobnobs or digestives to a crumb consistency. I put them in a bag, wrap it in a tea towel and let out any of the day’s tension with a rolling pin. But any method will do.

Melt the butter and add this to the crumbs, mixing very well indeed so that all the crumbs are coated before putting this into a cake tin (preferably one of those 9″, loose-bottomed ones). Distribute evenly and use your knuckles to flatten the crumbs out so they fit snugly in the tin. Pop in the fridge. Now dinner. Now Mad Men.

Once the tins are done boiling, leave them to cool (running water is good or a sink full) before opening to reveal the toffee. Pour this onto the crumb base, smoothing out with a knife to get a nice even layer.

Add sliced bananas- at least one layer, two if you prefer.

Add the whipped cream.

Grate some chocolate over the top. Refrigerate until you need it.

Or bring it in to the office.

Or just tuck in.