it's nearly been a week since I've posted anything. oops.
well now that's dealt with, how are we all? and yes, they are my stumpy hands in the photo, sadly i don't have a beautifully long fingered hand model to hold my cakes in shots. i was blessed with many things, long fingers was not one of them. a down side is that playing the piano can be quite tricky. a plus? my hands apparently don't feel heat, so i don't get burnt as easily as most.
hands aside, let's talk about this loaf. i'm experimenting with different flours, in search of a preferred flour blend. for this recipe, as i was after a spicy, nuttier, warmer flavour (can flavours be warm? they can now...), i went for a mix of oat flour, wholemeal spelt flour, brown rice flour and plain gluten free flour. this loaf is quite light, as opposed to it's dense cousin banana bread, and it's due to subbing coconut oil in the place of vegan butter. the brown sugar and honey add some sweetness, whilst the eggs are essential to bind it together. for a vegan version, i'd recommend using some 'no egg' and swapping the honey out for agave. honestly, without the eggs, the mixture didn't look like it was going to bind together at all.
when it comes to the pears, you could do as i did and slice a whole, ripe, pear and slot it in after you've poured the batter into the tin or you could totally just throw caution to the wind and chuck a couple whole pears in there standing up. either way, you'll have this moment of "oh my gosh the mixture isn't going to rise enough to cover the pear" , but it will. trust me. it will.
now as someone who loves banana bread, and i mean loves banana bread, this is delicious. it's moist, it's light and it's easy to cut. there's no more crumbly falling apart pieces, as it holds together until your fork (or teeth if you're taking the hands on approach) decide to break it apart. but a warning though: it won't last long and your skinny jeans may not thank you afterwards.
this week has been insane. it's probably the busiest i've been in a long long time. i love being busy, and it's a sure way to avoid procrastination, purely because there's no "later" to put anything off until, but i am always grateful for the weekend. we had our first round of debating on Thursday night and despite our team's avid preparations over Korean food, we lost. it was tight though, three points the difference.
busy-ness is hard when you're a perfectionist though. because you can't let anything go. each and every piece of work, assignment, test, speech, meeting etc... must be intensely prepared for and a success. and i don't know about you, but if i drop the ball on one thing, it snowballs and all of a sudden, each commitment, be it an essay or a performance, is deemed a 'failure'.
it's hard to find balance and it's even harder to admit that there simply isn't time in my day to please everyone. i talked about intention in my last post, and i'm talking about balance here. see it's all well and good to have intentions, but seeking a balance is the real challenge - balance between work, life and sleep. it's a hard task, one we all struggle with, and often something (erhem sleep) loses out. but it's important to know that stuffing up on monday, doesn't mean that the rest of your week will suck too. it's also important to realize that 'perfection' is different for everyone and almost always unachievable without significant sacrifice. i forget that sometimes and i don't think i'm alone in saying that.
so have a relaxing weekend, a slice of cake and remember: the secret to happiness, is to lower your expectations.
note: this recipe isn't gluten free, but you can swap out the flours for 300g of your preferred gluten free flour blend. to make a vegan loaf, sub the eggs for 'no egg' and replace honey with agave. ensure that you cool it in the oven, to prevent caving in.
pear, date & spelt loaf
30g oat flour
180g wholemeal spelt flour
30g brown rice flour
50g gluten free plain flour
1 tablespoon honey (or agave)
150g brown sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
120ml vanilla almond milk
1 tablespoon boiling water
1 cup pitted dates, chopped
1 teaspoon bi-carbonate soda
1-2 ripe pears
line a medium sized loaf tin. preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
sift flours and sugar into a large bowl. add honey. milk , eggs and oil. using a whisk, mix until combined.
in a small jug, place the dates and bi-carb soda. add the water and using a fork, mix until all lumps are removed. the mixture should froth. leave for one minute, then add to cake mix.
combine dates evenly into the cake mixture.
pour into a lined loaf tin. slice the pear(s) vertically and stand them up in the cake tin at about 2 cm intervals. make sure the bottom of the slices are as close to the bottom of the cake as possible.
bake for 50-60 minutes. cool the loaf in the oven for 30 minutes, before transferring the loaf to a wire cooling rack. serve warm or cool and store in a sealed container for 3-4 days.
- jess x
p.s. thanks to almond breeze for helping make this post happen!