I’d have to say I’ve eaten more bananas than any other fruit; an influence of my father’s occupation, my mother’s thrifty cooking style and the fruit’s versatility. My father owned a banana plantation during my childhood years, and the only fruit we ate were bananas and a seasonal crop of lemons and plums from our backyard orchard. It seemed like we ate bananas endlessly until of course I protested to my mother, why can’t I eat an orange!
Bananas are a versatile fruit, and my mother was up to the task to showcase their adaptability by making bread, pancakes, milkshakes, cakes, muffins, pies, cheesecakes, biscuits (cookies), porridge, all with bananas. The family favourite banana dessert, though, was mum’s rectangle banana galette: moist, succulent and with the perfect balance of sweetness that cooked bananas give. We never tired of it. Years later, my mum uses bananas almost exclusively for eating fresh, smoothies and nice cream, as not only has she eaten a vegan diet for over 40 years, she keeps up with food trends though in her 80’s. With such a heritage, it’s no wonder I use bananas every day in my diet.
My banana bread has been created as breakfast bread or for afternoon tea. It takes about 20 minutes to put together, yet needs a fair while in the oven. I make it two ways: sometimes with just Coyo yogurt (coconut yogurt) and other times with half Coyo yogurt and almond milk. The later is moister and is my favourite. The dates are optional, as is the topping of peanuts, yet I like their roasted crunchiness with a bite of bread. If you’re in a hurry, forgo the sifting and separate mixing of wet and dry ingredients, and put all the ingredients together and mix. The reason I separate the wet and dry ingredients is to avoid lumpy coconut sugar. Another variation is to include ½ cup of either GF rolled oats, millet flakes or desiccated coconut and use only 1 cup of flour. This would really make the loaf breakfast bread.
Bananas combat depression, counteract calcium loss, protect against muscle cramps, aids digestion, relieves morning sickness, protects against kidney cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, and blindness.
Strengthens your blood and relieves anaemia with the added iron from bananas.
High in potassium and low in salt, bananas are officially recognised as being able to lower blood pressure and protect against heart attack and stroke.
Bananas are high in antioxidants, providing protection from free radicals and chronic disease.
BANANA PEANUT BREAD
V, RSF, DF, GF option
Makes a 24 x 14 cm (9 x 5 inches) loaf
1½ cups spelt flour, sifted
OR for GF, 1 cup brown rice flour & ½ cup buckwheat flour
½ cup almond meal
½ cup coconut sugar
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons vanilla powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch Himalayan salt
8 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
½ cup almond milk
1 cup coconut yogurt
3 bananas, mashed well
water from a 400ml tin of unsalted chickpeas
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 banana, halved
½ cup roasted peanuts
Preheat the oven to 160’C (325’F/ Gas Mark 3). Sift flour, bicarbonate of soda, vanilla powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt into a large bowl and stir to mix, add almond meal, coconut sugar and chopped dates and mix to ensure there are no lumps. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Pour the batter into a greased loaf tin. Press 3 halved bananas on a diagonal into the mixture, and top with peanuts, gently pushing them in to adhere. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes until the skewer comes out clean when inserted in the middle. Set aside to cool a few minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely. Slice to serve with banana slices and drizzles of maple syrup.