Saturday 20 December 2014

Recipes: Go Bananas

Bread made with rye and bananas is not only delicious, says Susan Jane White, it has great health benefits

Susan Jane White

Published 26/01/2014 | 02:30

Rye is traditionally associated with those beautiful Norwegians. The Danes love it, too. As I fancy the arse off both populations, I've been playing with rye recipes in a futile attempt to lure them into my orbit. I think this banana bread will do the trick.

What makes rye so attractive? Aside from its ability to lure Danes, this grain is rich in B vitamins, which act as spark plugs for energy ignition. Rye is also thought to have a higher concentration of cancer-protective lignans than any other cereal crop. Studies show that plant lignans can behave like anti-oestrogens in the body, which is particularly useful in the fight against hormone-related cancers. Winner!

Even more interesting, rye is the grain of choice for body builders. Its unique amino acid profile can help to build muscle mass. But don't worry, nibbling away on Ryvita won't leave you looking like a Transformer.

Instead of dairy in this recipe, I use extra-virgin coconut oil. Don't be put off by its saturated fat content. These fats are in the form of medium-chain triglycerides. MCTs readily convert to energy, in contrast to longer-chain triglycerides, such as sunflower oil.

This is done through our cell's mitochondria – the gateway to our body's fuel. No wonder sporting stars choose this oil over any other. What a shame no one told Lance Armstrong.

Rye Banana Bread with Homemade Nutella

For the homemade Nutella, you will need:

About half a small jar of hazelnut butter

3 tablespoons cacao or cocoa powder

2 tablespoons maple or brown rice syrup

For the bread, you will need:

¼ cup coconut flour

¼ cup rye flour

handful of dried dates

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon sea salt flakes

3 eggs, beaten

1 cup (about 3) bananas, mashed

5 tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil, melted

3 tablespoons maple or date syrup

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180°C, 350°F, Gas 4, then line a small-to-medium sized loaf tin with baking parchment.

To make the Nutella, in a cup, mix the hazelnut butter, the cacao or cocoa powder, whichever you're using, and the maple or brown rice syrup, whichever you're using, with a fork.

To make the banana bread, get two large bowls. In the first one, stir in the coconut flour, the rye flour, the dried dates, the ground cinnamon, and the baking powder. In the second bowl, add the sea salt flakes, the beaten eggs, the mashed bananas, the melted extra-virgin coconut oil, the maple or date syrup, whichever you're using, the lemon juice and the vanilla extract, then blend well. Using a balloon whisk, beat the wet mixture into the dry mixture, and when combined, transfer to the loaf tin. If you have any banana left over, add a few thin slices on top.

Bake for 40 minutes. Remove the bread from its tin and cool it on a wire rack for 25 minutes. Smother great big slices with your virtuous Nutella. A side of Ricky Martin works equally well.

  • Taken from 'The Extra Virgin Kitchen' by Susan Jane White, published by Gill & Macmillan and released on February 14

Irish Independent

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