Green Banana Flour

Am I going bananas? It this a thing? Well ( some would argue yes to both if they know me) green banana flour is the latest grain free flour to hit the ever growing “free from” market.  I can hear health fashionistas jumping for joy from here.  However my burning question was what is it exactly, and do I need to try it/ incorporate it into our allergen riddled lifestyle? 

I’m interested both personally, and professionally, I’m often asked about diet and lifestyle and giving advice to patients, so I was keen to find out. That and by nature I’m quite inquisitive so one no show the other afternoon had me looking at the research. 

In the green phase banana has a high starch/ resistant starch content. This type of carbohydrate isn’t as quickly absorbed by the body- keeping us feeling fuller for longer, and helping to regulate insulin levels ( Bras et al 2013).  Also by nature it is high in potassium and gluten, dairy and nut free. 

  
Natural Evolution kindly sent me some flour to experiment with, and I’ve had great fun with some creations. It is a difficult flour to get to grips with in baking, you need less than conventional flour and a fair amount of liquid. Bear with it though. It gives a lovely almost nutty taste and a fairly light fluffy texture.   My tip ( as advised by Natural Evolution ) was to start out trying a spoonful in your smoothie, it provides  a thicker texture and I swear I felt more satisfied after, which is a bonus in a morning if you are In a rush. 
So my next trial was a cake, and being autumn, coupled with the fact we grew a lot of apples I decided on a spiced apple cake.  This works well either on its own ( with a coffee obviously) or as a pudding with custard. The nutty taste of the flour also lends itself well to spices like cinnamon and mixed spice. 

Ingredients 

  • 140g banana flour
  • 50g brown rice flour
  • 150 g sugar of choice (caster, stevia etc) 
  • 1tsp gf baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp xanthum gum
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice 
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of oil eg, coconut, vegetable or grape seed ( I used coconut) 
  • 1/2 cup of milk of choice
  • 1-2 sweet apples. 

Method 

  • Preheat your oven to 180 and line a cake tin. 
  • Melt your oil if using coconut. 
  • Mix dry ingredients together. 
  • Beat the eggs and add to the oil. 
  • Mix wet and dry together. 
  • The mixture goes like a crumbly dough- add your milk at this point and mix well. 
  • If it’s still a bit dry add some more milk a splash at a time until a smooth batter is achieved
  • Pour half into a tin and add a layer of Apple. 
  • Cover with the rest of the mixture
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. 
  • Leave to cool in the tin for ten minutes then transfer to a rack. 

  

Serve and enjoy.

  

Have you tried green banana flour yet? What are your thoughts or tips? Let me know in the comments below. 

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Spaghetti Bolognese  

This is one of those  mid-week meals that are easy, simple and a cunning way to get vegetables into your fussy toddler. I also love the fact that once you have mastered the rich, tomato sauce you can adapt it to suit your tastes. If you don’t want pasta, use spiralised vegetables (butternut squash or courgette work best), if you are vegetarian omit the meat or use quorn. If you are busy in the day, use a slow cooker and come home to very little left to do. 

  
Ingredients Serves 2-3 

  • Olive or coconut oil
  •  1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic 
  • 300g mince – I used lamb
  • 1 courgette 
  • 5-6 mushrooms chopped  (you could also use celery and carrot) 
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes 
  • 1 tbs tomato purée 
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried mixed herbs 
  • Fresh basil chopped( 1 handful)  and a few leaves to garnish if you are feeling cheffy 
  • Optional small glass of red wine. (125ml) 
  • 200g dried pasta or spiralised veg. 

Method. 

  • Heat some oil in a heavy bottomed pan,  And gently fry the onions, crushed garlic clove, mushroom and courgette for about 8 -10 minutes over a medium heat until the veg has softened. 
  • Turn up the heat and add the mince and brown off the meat. 
  • Stir in the tomato purée 
  • If you are using a slow cooker at this point I put this into the dish. I then add all the other ingredients apart from the pasta, give it all a good stir, and leave to cook on the low setting for at least 6 hours. 
  • If using the cooker method now stir in the tinned tomatoes, dried herbs, basil and wine . Let the sauce heat until you have a gentle simmer. Turn the heat down, put a lid on and let it gently ” plop” for about 15 minutes. 
  • Stir occasionally so it doesn’t catch. 
  • In another pan heat some water for your pasta. Cook your pasta or vegetable spaghetti according to the packers instructions. 
  • I like to add a spoonful of the pasta water to the sauce- the starch gives it a silky texture but you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to. 
  • A few minutes before serving you can also stir some Parmesan cheese into the sauce if you like. 
  • Drain the pasta and serve with a generous spoonful (or two) of your Bolognese on top. 
  • Garnish with fresh basil. 

  

If you didn’t use the wine in the dish- have it now with your dinner you deserve it. I should add I served this with dough balls from Tescos new dough mix. See Here for the link. 

Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoy the recipe.  

Toffee Apple Cupcakes

Well happy Halloween folks, it’s that time of the year where you think of pumpkins, and fireworks and apple bobbing, which inspired this next recipe. I have a glut of apples, and everyone likes toffee sauce right?? These cupcakes work well as a tasty treat or equally warmed with custard as a perfect autumn pudding. 

 
Ingredients

2 eating apples (1 cored and grated, 1 sliced) 

250g gluten free plain flour

2tsp baking powder 

1tsp ground cinnamon 

70g light muscavado sugar

50g butter melted 

100 ml apple juice

100ml milk of your choice 

1 egg beaten. 

Toffee Sauce. 

2 generous tbsp double cream

40g light muscavado sugar 

15g butter ( unsalted works best unless you want a salted toffee sauce) 

Method.  

  • Sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon together in a bowl, then stir in the grated apple. 
  • Mix the milk, beaten egg, apple juice and melted butter together
  • Add wet to dry ingredients- it’s a sticky wet mixture so don’t worry
  • Spoon this into muffin cases and place 2 slices of apple on the top. 
  • Cook for 20-25 minutes at 180C 
  • They are ready when rise, and golden brown. 
  • Allow to cool on a wire rack. 

For the sauce place all ingredients in a pan and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Increase heat and boil for 2 minutes. Cool slightly and drizzle over the cakes. 

Enjoy your efforts as a reward for pumpkin carving, serviving  half term and going trick or treating.