I recently treated myself to Susan Jane White’s book, The Extra Virgin Kitchen.
I’ve only recently become acquainted with Susan Jane’s brilliant blog, as regular readers know, I have been more of an infrequent visitor in blogland these last couple of years due to the addition of two unruly toddlers.
Shame on me, I know.
Susan Jane, by her own admission is a health geek, here in the Simply Homemade house I am trying to live a healthier lifestyle, Mr Simply Homemade is a very supportive participant, the off spring you ask, well some are drawing a battle line, one is a more willing participant and the toddlers aren’t given any choice.
This book is for anyone who may have some health issues, wants to improve their own health , wants to experiment with alternative ways of cooking. For me it’s about improving my own health and of course I am addicted to very attractive cookbooks, it is a great one to have on your shelf.
I wouldn’t suggest that you buy this book and become a complete convert, it isn’t easy source all of the ingredients, though we are lucky to have a fantastic health food shop, Only Natural, here in Wexford, but also, as someone who is shopping for a family of 7, it isn’t the most budget friendly way to eat either, however, one or two dishes every week, or simply adopting the approach to suit your budget is very much within grasp.
Now as someone who is keen to cook everything when I get a new cookbook, I did almost run away with myself and wanted to prepare the entire book, luckily I reined myself in and over the past couple of weeks have given a couple of things a go.
Some were a hit, some I’m sad to say were not.
The Only Granola Recipe You’ll Ever Need was my first recipe to try, now himself has never been a granola fan, however, he asked could I make this mix into granola bars to have with his afternoon coffee, he loved it!! The children wouldn’t try it, clearly it looked too good 😉 I love it, I often make my own granola, a version of this will be made from now on, it is super.
The Badass Breakfast Bars were a hit with myself and the males, I was chuffed about this as Jack is such a fussy eater, I couldn’t believe it when he declared his likeness for these.
The Chia Bonbons and Freezer Cookies were also a big hit and have been requested again.
And then we have The Rye Banana Bread with Homemade Nutella, I had a house full of happy children when presented with this for breakfast this morning. My children are allowed Nutella once a week for breakfast, it’s a treat, so to get this on a Wednesday morning, they thought they were in heaven and I wasn’t checking the label, checking what was in it, wondering were they going to be bouncing off the classroom walls; guilt free, healthy, homemade food, exactly what I want to feed them.
The Rye Banana Bread with Homemade Nutella
For the bread:
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup rye flour
handful of dried dates (I didn’t use these, partly because I hadn’t any left and because I know my children!!)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 medium bananas)
5 tablespoons melted extra virgin coconut oil
3 tablespoons maple or date syrup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the ‘Nutella’:
1/3 cup hazelnut butter (about half a small jar)
3 tablespoons cacao or cocoa powder
2 tablespoons maple or brown rice syrup
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160°C fan /350°F. You’ll need a small to medium bread tin, lined and ready.
To make the ‘Nutella’, whip the ingredients together in a cup using a fork. This can be quite stiff, I added a drop of water to loosen it up a bit.
For the banana bread, get two large bowls. In the first one, stir the flours, dates, cinnamon, baking powder and salt together. In the second bowl, add the remaining ingredients and blend well.
Susan Jane advises that however tempted you may be, don’t add nuts to this particular recipe, they don’t get on well with the coconut flour.
Using a balloon whisk, beat the wet mix into the dry mix and transfer to your pre-lined loaf tin. If you have banana left over, a few thin slices on top works well. They also turn sweet and squishy in the oven.
Bake for 40 minutes. Remove the bread from its tin and cool on a wire rack for 25 minutes. Then smother the deliciously moist slices with the Nutella and watch as your children wolf down their breakfast for the first time in a long time without the usual threatings of war.
If there is any Nutella left, highly unlikely, but if there is, it will keep in the fridge and just add more water when you take it out.
Susan Jane has a wealth of recipes and valuable & educational information on her website if you wanted to dip your toes before buying the book.
I promise you won’t be disappointed J