We have talked before about my cookbook fascination. You very sweetly didn’t judge me when I revealed that I own many more cookbooks than I actually use. I recently had a glimpse of what lay in my future when I visited the home of a friend of a friend whose cookbook collection put mine to shame. “Let me show you something” She said as she slid open her wardrobe doors to reveal a wall of cookbooks. An entire wall. Vintage tomes, the pages yellowed and slightly fragile sat alongside crisp, contemporary recipe collections adorned with breathtaking photography. It was not quite heaven but pretty darn close.
One of the latest additions to my collection (and one step closer to the coveted cookbook wall), is the Clean Living Cookbook (Hachette, Australia), by My Kitchen Rules alumni Luke Hines and Scott Gooding. I cooked from it no less than six times in the last two weeks, and I think it’s a safe assumption that this is one member of my cookery book army that will soon be thoroughly covered with ingredient stains, a sure sign of affection. It is packed with uncomplicated recipes for wholesome, moreish dishes that your body as well as your taste buds will thank you for.
Deciding which recipe to share with you wasn’t easy, but in the end, this one was an obvious choice. You see, I used to make banana bread with such frequency that I have been accused of buying bananas and deliberately ignoring them until they are ready for the banana retirement village that is banana bread.
When I decided to cut down on sugar, I reluctantly gave up my habit due to the sugar content of most banana bread recipes. Scott and Luke’s recipe on the other hand, is Paleo friendly, which makes it free of refined sugars as well as gluten. This is not the cakey, oversweet slice you get in cafes. No, this Or La La Banana Bread is a much more healthful loaf, dense with the chew that coconut offers and the rich, tight crumb that almond meal brings. I tweaked it very slightly, adding a little more oil for a more moist outcome. If you don’t have coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil would also work.
It is best straight out of the oven, still hot slices tossed gingerly between fingertips, or toasted and slathered with your favourite spread. Soon after I made it for the first time, I happened to discover some ripe mango flesh in the freezer, a welcome remnant of the summer just gone. So then there was a mango version, which was equally lovely and disappeared just as fast.
Or La La Banana Bread
Very minutely modified from Clean Living Cookbook
Makes 1 loaf
2 cups almond meal
2 tbsp nut butter (I used peanut)
3 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup shredded coconut
2 large ripe to overripe bananas (or 1 cup ripe mango flesh for mango bread), mashed
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 cup nuts, roughly chopped (walnuts, cashews or pistachios work well)
A small handful of shredded coconut, pepitas or sunflower seeds to sprinkle on top (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line a loaf tin (the boys recommend 10 x 20 cm) with baking paper.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the almond meal, eggs, nut butter and oil into a thick batter. Add the coconut, banana (or mango), cinnamon, chia seeds and nuts, and combine well.
Pour the batter into the tin and level out the top using a knife or spatula. Sprinkle coconut or seeds (if desired) over the top. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 25-30 mins, or until a knife passed into the centre comes out fairly clean. Allow to cool completely before turning out (if you can wait that long!).