Half term holidays are my most favourite kinds of school breaks - only a week long, it feels like you have to pack in the fun quickly before it's time to go back to school and they always leave you wanting more - which is a nice way to enjoy family time. This week, the weather has been mixed. Pouring with rain some days and then beautiful sunshine but cold days the rest of the time. Today we have been making bonfires and climbing trees in the winter (I should be saying springtime, but we're most definitely still feeling the chill of winter) sunshine.
A week with grandma and grandpa always leads to far too many treats and sweeties so I've been looking for a bake that's secretly packed with superfood goodness. For many years, I've been an avid fan of Donna Hay - of her cooking, baking and styling - but she doesn't always cook the healthiest of food. Although about a week ago, a post popped up for her new magazine Fresh & Light which is geared towards a healthier and more balanced lifestyle. There's lots of recipes I plan to try in here, but being half term, I wanted something for the kids that didn't take too long to make (having both children in tow).
Now who doesn't love banana bread? In this healthy magazine, a few variations of the classic bread are included so I decided to pack my little loaf with blueberries and chia seeds as well as the banana. This is so easy to make and completely gluten free. The ingredients mean a trip to the health food shop rather than the local supermarket, but it is whipped together in no time and the longest part of making it is the baking - which is great when you want a lovely home-made treat but don't have hours to spend in the kitchen.
The resulting loaf is very moist and packed full of fruit. Regular sugar is switched for coconut sugar and the other sweetness comes from the maple syrup and bananas. At this time of year, the blueberries, not quite in season, are a little tart, but this works well. We're not traditionally a gluten-free family, but this is yet another recipe that shows me that gluten-free baking can be just as yummy as the alternative and doesn't even feel like a compromise!
Banana, Chia & Blueberry Loaf (from Donna Hay's Fresh & Light)
- 1½ CUPS (225G) BUCKWHEAT FLOUR
- 1 CUP (220G) COCONUT SUGAR
- 1 TSP GLUTEN-FREE BAKING POWDER
- ½ TSP GLUTEN-FREE BAKING SODA
- 2 TSP GROUND CINNAMON
- 1 CUP MASHED BANANAS (APPROX 3 BANANAS)
- 1 EGG
- ½ (140G) CUP NATURAL YOGHURT
- ¼ (60ML) CUP GRAPESEED OIL
- 1/3 (80ML) CUP MAPLE SYRUP (PLUS EXTRA FOR BRUSHING OVER FINISHED LOAF)
- 2 TSP VANILLA PASTE
- 1 CUP (150G) BLUEBERRIES
- ¼ CUP (45G) CHIA SEEDS
- Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees.
- Place the dry ingredients in a bowl (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon) and stir to combine.
- Add the banana, egg, yoghurt, oil, maple syrup and vanilla paste, then mix to combine.
- Stir through the blueberries and chia seeds.
- Pour into a 1½ litre loaf tin, greased and lined with baking paper.
- Bake for 1 to 1 hour 10 mins until a skewer comes out clean.
- Leave for 5 mins and then turn out carefully onto a cooling rack and leave to cool.
- Brush the top with maple syrup and serve!