A few years ago I heard lots of people on pod-casts talking about banana bread and it just sounded very different and something I wasn’t into.I honestly thought it was the new generation of bread. Silly I know but its in the name. I was not really in to it and didn’t even look or research how to make banana bread. One day I really fancied something sweet but knew I could not binge on sweets and chocolate – and to be honest…I didn’t want to. So I picked up my baking books and thought I would make something easy and light. As the kids were with me I thought it would keep them entertained too.

When I looked into the ingredients I was shocked as to how much sugar and white ingredients there were in cakes.

Until I picked up Fearne Cotton’s Cook Happy, Cook Healthy. I brought this when I was pregnant with Lorenzo. I remember walking into Waterstone’s one evening after work thinking yes I will start to eat good so I will feel better, its great for the baby etc and I have cooked some delicious meals from her book. They are easy and fast to make and there are so many nutritious meals mentioned that I would never thought about cooking. But I remembered there was banana bread so I checked it out.

The first thing I noticed was that I had barely any ingredients that were mentioned. In fact I had just the Baking Powder and that was out of date but after googling what was needed I realised I could buy the sugar on Amazon Prime and the flour from Holland and Barrett and everything else |I could order from Asda (online for the next day). The great thing is that I was able to clear out my baking cupboard.

Yes, I am lucky to have one. My mum and my Nonna have always baked and I loved helping them – just as my kids help them and me now. It is very therapeutic and I love that you have made yourself something delicious at the end just with a few ingredients from inside your cupboard. So I decided to clear out my cupboard and start fresh. Some tips…

  1. I went through all the other baking recipes in her book that I liked, and what I thought the kids would eat, as most of them had the same ingredients. One big tip. There is no point getting ingredients and then you will never make anything again. I know I will use the flower, chia seeds, sugar, coconut oil etc again so I highlighted the recipes I liked and saved them for next time.
  2. Always check the sell by date. If it is off – throw it away. Don’t be stingy just buy new ingredients.
  3. Clear out the cupboards. If you haven’t used anything for a year in the sense of nuts, syrups etc. You probably will not.
  4. I brought a lot of my dishes, baking trays etc from Poundland. Amazing baking section. Amazing!!!
  5. Have fun and experiment – I started off easy with the banana bread but I plan to go all out and make a show stopping cake soon.

This is my baking cupboard and everything is healthy – and by that I mean you can eat the cake, cookie etc and not feel so guilty about it as you have tried that little harder to cook healthily and not throw in lots of butter and sugar etc. I have since made the banana bread 2 more times. Its great when your kids do not eat the bananas you brought and you have lots of ripe ones left over!

This was the end result – It was absolutely delicious! My whole family have had it and agree – its the hidden magicness that makes it yummy…The mixed spice. If you want to try it here is the recipe below. I don’t think you will eat another ‘normal’ cake again…

SERVES 8-10

100g coconut oil, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing

150g coconut palm sugar

2 medium eggs, beaten

2 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed with a fork

3 tbsp almond milk (homemade from the book or shop-bought) or rice milk

150g white or wholegrain spelt flour, sifted

2½ tsp mixed spice

½ tsp fine sea salt

2 tsp baking powder

60g walnuts, roughly chopped

20g chia seeds

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/350F/gas 4. Grease a 1kg (10cm x 20cm) loaf tin and line the base and sides with baking parchment.
  • Place the coconut oil and sugar in a large bowl and cream together until light and fluffy. Then beat in the eggs by hand or with an electric hand-held mixer, a little at a time, followed by the mashed bananas and almond or rice milk, mixing until well combined.
  • Combine the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl. Gradually fold the dry ingredients into the coconut oil and sugar mixture until it just comes together. Don’t over-mix as it will make the banana bread tough.
  • Transfer the mixture to the lined loaf tin and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean. If the top is browning too quickly, cover it with foil. Remove from the oven and let it cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn it out on to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • The cake is best eaten the day it’s made, but it will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container and it can be frozen for up to 2 months. Serve with anything you like: coconut oil, jam or nut butter work well.

I hope you try it and please do let me know what you think.

Much Love as always

Assuntina X

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