Ode to Wales Banana Bread
I love any excuse to escape to Anglesey, the beautiful Welsh island where my husband-to-be John grew up. We managed a couple of days of my last book shoot up there, and some of my favourite shots were taken on Newborough Beach – a stunning coastline backdropped by Snowdon and its sister mountains, with a magical forest at one end and a tiny island all of it’s own at the other.
With St David’s Day coming up, as an ode to Wales, I thought I’d share the banana bread John and I picnicked on at Newborough.
Soft, moist, and light all at once and studded with chunks of darkest chocolate, all without any flour, dairy, eggs, or refined sugar. Toast this for breakfast with wild abandon and congratulate yourself for making something that is insanely indulgent tasting and incredibly delicious without dragging you down, or pack it up for a picnic and enjoy with a flask of tea as an afternoon treat like we did on this sunny winter afternoon.
ULTIMATE PECAN BANANA BREAD
MAKES 1 GOOD 900G LOAF
75ml melted coconut oil, plus extra for greasing
200g pecans (walnuts work too)
200g rolled oats
4 large ripe bananas
100g coconut sugar, plus 1 tablespoon (optional)
100ml maple syrup
100ml unsweetened almond milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
a good pinch of caraway seeds (optional)
75g dark chocolate (70%)
Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/gas 3 and get all your ingredients together. Grease a 900g non-stick loaf tin with coconut oil.
While the oven comes up to temperature, roast the pecans in it for 10 minutes, then roughly chop and set aside. Meanwhile, blitz the oats in a food processor until you have a scruffy flour. Put the oat flour into a bowl.
Put the bananas into the food processor with the 100g of coconut sugar, maple syrup, almond milk and melted coconut oil and blitz until well combined. Add the oat flour, baking powder and a good pinch of salt. Blitz until combined, then stir in the pecans. Add the caraway seeds, if using.
Pour half the batter into the loaf tin. Break the chocolate up into thin strips and lay it along the middle of the batter, leaving space at the end. Pour in the rest of the batter and top with the extra spoonful of coconut sugar. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes.
Images: Matt Russell