Gluten-free banana bread

Gluten-free banana bread

Well, that’s the Olympics over with for another four years. Shame really. I was enjoying it in the same way that I enjoy Christmas – there’s the long build up, the main event, and then the sad, regrettable end when you wonder how you’ll cope until the next one. With reports of sports clubs being inundated by punters wanting to replicate the prowess of their idols, it seems I’m not the only one bathing in the glow of the Olympics. I’m not sure if it was all the slow-motion montages of athletes jumping up and down in fits of joy or seeing 400-metre hurdler Felix Sanchez cry like a baby at his medal ceremony, but something about the Olympics made me want to become better at two things in particular – yoga and food photography.

Gluten-free banana bread

For full effect, smear on some unsalted butter and wash it down with a glass of organic milk.

Don’t worry, you didn’t miss anything – yoga and food photography haven’t qualified for Olympic contention. Can you imagine? “And Australia wins gold for the perfect photo of gluten-free banana bread!” Unlikely. But in the same way that Udain Bolt makes running the 100-metre sprint look like a walk in the park, my two hobbies both look deceptively easy and require daily practise in order to master.  Okay, maybe they’re not as difficult as the modern pentathlon, but you get the general idea.

To help along my bid for self-improvement, I have converted our lounge room into a makeshift yoga-cum-photo studio. As well as getting in the way of the television, this results in me usually being in one of two positions. When I’m not standing upside down trying to perfect the downward-facing dog, you can find me loitering around the windowsill with a plate of food and a tripod or craning my head inside a light box trying to capture the perfectly-composed, lit and framed food photo.

Of course, I’m not doing this without the help of experts. For yoga, I am consulting Elena Brower, a New York-based yoga teacher who does brilliant online classes (did I mention I’m going to NYC next month?!). And to win gold at food photography, I’m consulting Helene Dujardin of Tarlette fame who has written a bible of food photography, Plate to Pixel. Helene says practice makes perfect, so I’m sure she’d be impressed at yesterday’s efforts of spending three hours photographing this banana bread in my pyjamas and forgetting to eat breakfast. You know you’re obsessed when natural light dictates when you eat. Don’t worry, I rewarded my efforts by eating the slice of banana bread in the photo. I tried all sorts of angles, inside, outside, with props, without props. You name it. At one point, I took the light box outside and was sitting on the gravel getting a very sore backside waiting for the clouds to float away and reveal some shafts of sunlight. If it was an Olympic sport, I would enter food photography in the “extreme” category.

Gluten-free banana bread

Did you know that banana bread is banana cake in disguise. But we still love it.

I’ve written about banana bread before on Food Crush and ranted about the misuse of the word “bread”. While you can toast it, let’s not kid ourselves into believing this is bread. It’s cake. And if you eat it for breakfast like I did, you are eating cake for breakfast. Simple as that. I’m yet to figure out whether its huge popularity in Australia is due to its taste or possibly a case of very good marketing.

This is my first attempt at gluten-free banana bread. I am so happy with the results as I made up my own gluten-free flour mix from scratch. I altered the flour mix from the one I posted a couple of weeks ago on Food Crush as I was keen to see how the addition of brown and white rice flour and a bit of almond meal would impact on the end result. All I can say is you would never know this cake/bread is gluten-free. I think you could easily yield two loaves out of this mixture, but since I only have one loaf tin (and I like big cakes), I just made one big loaf.  My oven is particularly hot (and fan-forced), so I tend to bake on a nice, gentle heat of 160°C over a longer period. My biggest tip with all baking is to befriend your oven and get in sync with its idiosyncrasies. It will make the difference between good and bad baking.

Gluten-free banana bread

The inclusion of walnuts and chocolate create a lovely crunchy texture that compliments the soft texture of the “bread”.

Gluten-free banana bread

Ingredients:

300g gluten-free plain flour (see version 2)
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (or baking soda)
1/4 teaspoon salt
50g cup walnuts, chopped
50g milk choc, chopped (I used Green and Blacks milk chocolate with toffee pieces)
3 eggs
100g caster sugar
300g bananas, mashed
1/3 cup sunflower oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
60ml milk

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan forced) and grease and line the base of a loaf tin.
2. In a large bowl combine the sifted flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt with a wooden spoon. Add the walnuts and chocolate; stir until combined.
3. In a small bowl, combine the whisked eggs,  sugar, mashed bananas, oil, vanilla and milk. Stir into dry ingredients until just combined.
4. Pour into prepared pan and bake, uncovered, for about an hour or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
5. Stand in pan for 5 to 10 minutes before turning onto wire rack to cool.  Serve smeared with butter and a hot cup of tea.
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8 Responses to Gluten-free banana bread

  1. Adrian (Food Rehab) August 15, 2012 at 11:17 pm #

    Gluten free but still amazing! I gun down a slice of banana bread from the cafe near work- makes more sense to make your own and save $$$ – thanks for the inspiration!
    Adrian (Food Rehab) recently posted..Your Top 5 Eats of THA Moment – Animal Cake Pops to DIY Pork wraps at HihouMy Profile

  2. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella August 16, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

    Your photos look great Amy! And three hours is great dedication! Now you’ll just have to perfect a Usain like pose at the end ;)
    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella recently posted..Pierre, Hong Kong & Pierre Gagnaire InterviewMy Profile

  3. Jackie @ Domestic Fits August 17, 2012 at 2:51 am #

    HA! There should be a metal for gluten free baking! This looks metal worthy for sure :)

    • Amy August 17, 2012 at 3:04 am #

      Thanks Jackie!

  4. Iron Chef Shellie August 20, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

    I was rather enjoying the Olympics too!

    omg yes, bring on daylight savings… where I can cook dinner and photograph it. not try and use my lightbox, or wake up early before work to photograph it :P
    Iron Chef Shellie recently posted..{Eating Out} Snow PonyMy Profile

  5. Anna @ The Littlest Anchovy August 20, 2012 at 5:29 pm #

    Amy, your photos are lovely! I like that it is gluten free and it definitely doesn’t look it.
    Anna @ The Littlest Anchovy recently posted..Blood Orange Cordial and Blood Orange and Rosemary Gin FizzMy Profile

  6. Kelly-Anne September 2, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    Nice recipe :)
    I also like the below banana bread recipe.
    http://www.wascene.com/food-drink/delicious-banana-bread-recipe/
    Thanks for sharing,
    Kelly

    • Amy September 2, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

      Thanks Kelly-Anne. :)

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