It’s been some time since I’ve felt creative enough to experiment in the kitchen. With tests, assignments and exams to prepare for, my nutrition has slipped place by place to the bottom of my priority list, and it has shown. I started this blog, not because I’m a chef, or a nutrition expert, or anything like that, but because I wanted to show others what a difference nutrition can make to your life and your health. When I started this blog over a year ago I was determined to battle whatever it was that was causing my health struggles (now known as ‘fibromyalgia‘) with positive nutrition, rather than box after bottle after box of pills. At the beginning of this year I could confidently say that I had eliminated almost all of my symptoms with a combination of excellent nutrition, exercise, and some help from my physio and acupuncturist. I felt far more energetic, healthy and pain free than I had in years.
Unfortunately, I’ve never had great stickability (ask my parents who signed me up for the Pippins & Girl Guides that I desperately wanted to join, only to have to drag me there a few weeks in. Ditto soccer; hockey; netball; piano; guitar; and sailing lessons…), and I have always been academically competitive, so the minute that uni started back up I let my healthy habits slide in favour of trying to make good grades. It shows.
So, this weekend I hit refresh with not one, but two delicious breakfasts (and takeaway snacks for the study sesh) courtesy of Little Bird Unbakery in Ponsonby. Starting the day with their delicious Açai bowl and a smoothie was incredibly refreshing, and gave me energy I haven’t had in months. My study sessions at the library were focussed and far more effective than ever this semester, and I didn’t feel as achey and tired as usual. I might not be perfect every morning, and I might not have raw chefs at my disposal to make every meal for me (though if you do know any volunteers, please send them my way) but I know I can do better than I have been…
So voilà. This little delectable treat is my compromise. It’s sweet enough to satisfy my sweet tooth, but nutritious enough to be able to get away with it for breakfast (on occasion). I give you Blueberry & Chia Banana Bread! An incredibly inventive name of course, apparently I used up all my creativity on the assembly… It’s modelled off variations of Paleo Banana bread that I’ve made before, but that I’ve often found too eggy for my liking, and if they’re not full of eggs then they fall apart and crumble before they even get to the plate. I think I may have hit the jackpot with this one. It is deliciously moist, yet not overly sticky; the blend of syrups gives it the sweetness it needs, without the overpowering flavour of maple; and finally, the blueberries burst like little bubbles of freshness on the tip of your tongue (as long as it actually touches your tongue as you wolf it down that is…).
Go on, dress this baby up with some Coconut Yogurt and Chia Jam. You know you want to…
3 tablespoons chia seeds
9 tablespoons water
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup apple syrup
2 large bananas
1 large handful blueberries
2 pinches himalayan pink salt
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
3/4 cup coconut flour
Desiccated coconut to top
1. Preheat your over to 180C
2. Add the chia seeds and water into a bowl, and stir to combine. Let this sit for five minutes, or until jelly-like in consistency, while you prepare the rest.
3. Add the eggs and all the wet ingredients into a food processor. If you’re making this by hand, then whisk the eggs before adding the rest.
4. Add the chia jelly and mix all ingredients, sifting dry ingredients in as you go until fully combined.
5. Finally roughly break the bananas into your food processor, and add in the blueberries. If you prefer whole blueberries in your bread, as I do, then you will get the best result using frozen berries.
6. Give a very brief blitz in the food processor until all combined, and the bananas are in small chunks, but not pureed into the mix. If preparing by hand, then mash the bananas and just mix everything in.
7. Line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper, or grease with coconut oil.
8. Spoon the batter into the tin. It should be quite thick, due to the high absorbency of the coconut flour- similar in appearance to cookie dough. Pat it down to ensure the batter properly fills the tin.
9. Sprinkle over desiccated coconut, and pat it down just enough so that it sticks into the batter.
10. Bake for 40-45 minutes at 180C, or until a wooden skewer comes out clean, and the top is solid. If, like me, you prefer very moist banana bread, then check for doneness at 35minutes (the skewer should come out fairly cleanly, but the centre of the loaf may look a little moist still), and then reduce the heat to 100C for the final ten minutes.
11. Cool on a wire rack.
Serve with Coconut Yoghurt and Chia jelly for a decadent breakfast treat, or toast and slather with creamy grass-fed butter.
This loaf should keep up to a week in an airtight container in the fridge, but it probably won’t last that long…