Gluten-free Vegan Banana and Coconut Loaf

Just want the recipe? Click here.

Okay so this one is an adaptation of a vegan ‘brownie’ recipe a friend of mine sent me last year.

I lived in London during my first year of university, and whilst I decided to continue my studies back home in the North East, I made some great friends whom I still keep in regular contact with. The Christmas before last, I went down to London to stay with my friend Becca, who lived with her fellow coursemate Cecilia, in a tiny little basement flat on Old Kent Road. I was a little dubious about staying in such close proximity with a girl I had never met before, but Becca told me not to worry, Cecilia and I would get on just fine. And of course, she was completely right. They both made me feel completely at home, and as they are both fellow food lovers, I had so much fun cooking with them. The few days I stayed there were an absolute blast, with the highlight being getting completely wrecked off homemade mulled wine, and covering ourselves in glitter.

Anyway, during the time when I first decided to become vegan, in July last year, I noticed Cecilia had posted a photograph on Instagram of a delicious looking vegan brownie. So naturally, I hounded her for the recipe, which she gave up willingly. I was a little dubious as to how this was going to turn out, as the recipe seemed far too simple, in comparison to many vegan recipes. Nonetheless I gave it a go, and my-oh-my was I pleasantly surprised. I had produced a moist, well risen, and most certainly scrummy, chocolate banana bread! Now, I wouldn’t quite call it a brownie, as I feel it lacked the gooeyness and richness of a traditional brownie, but hey, I definitely wasn’t complaining!

Obviously I needed a second opinion, as you know, I may have just been biased, but I received confirmation from both my fellow foodies and my housemates, that yes, it was indeed delicious. I was so proud of this recipe that I boasted to my granny, who immediately wanted to try out this recipe. I received a text the next day saying it had gone down a treat, and both her and my grandad loved it. Now if that’s not a success, I don’t know what is.

So, even though I loved this tried and tested recipe, I wanted to see if I could tweak it, and make different variations. I’ve had a bag of coconut flour sitting in the back of my baking shelf for a while, unsure as to how best to use it. I’ve been wanting to try it for a while, as it’s gluten free (meaning my Coeliac mam can eat it), but I didn’t fancy making a cake that tasted ‘coconutty’. However when revisiting this recipe recently, I had a bit of a brain wave. Banana and coconut are both tropical, so why not combine them, and attempt to create something magical?

The end product is light, fluffly and melts in the mouth, with the coconut flour giving it a unique texture. It is definitely something I’ll be baking again!

Serves: 10

Calories per portion: 317kcal

Carbs: 22.5g

Protein: 2.8g

Fat: 22.5g

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas (roughly 80-100g each)
  • 170g coconut flour (OR gluten free flour/ plain flour)
  • 115g sugar of your choice (I used granulated)
  • 25g dessicated coconut
  • 200ml sunflower oil
  • 140ml water
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius/350 degrees Fahrenheit/ Gas Mark 4, and grease and line a brownie tin, or a small loaf tin.
  2. Using either a fork or potato masher, mash the two bananas in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Sieve flour to remove any lumps and add to the banana, along with the sugar, coconut, oil and water.
  4. In a small bowl, add the bicarbonate of soda and 1 tbsp of water. Mix thoroughly then add to the mixture and gently fold.
  5. Pour into the lined tin, and bake for 50 minutes, or until the loaf has risen. To check it is cooked through, stick a knife through the middle, and if it comes out clean you’re good to go.

‘3 Bean 1 Legume’ Vegan Chilli

Just want the recipe? Click Here.

As I’m sat here writing my first proper blog entry, Taylor Swift is blasting and I’m having a little cry to myself. Not my most dignified moment, but who cares, we all need a good sob once in while right?

So yes, it’s safe to say this day hasn’t been the best day, and everything that could’ve gone wrong, has. However, if there is one thing I can rely on to make me happy, its food. I started the fasting part of the 5:2 diet today, so I haven’t managed to cook up anything delicious, though I do have a recipe to share from last week.

Before I divulge the details of this delicious recipe, I’ll give you a little background information. Just over a year ago, I and a number of other fellow foodies set up a brand new social enterprise within our university, Teesside University Student Food Co-op. For those of you who don’t know, a ‘food co-op’ is a food business that is run by the people, for the people. So for us this meant setting up a stall that sells healthy and ethically sourced food, at a low cost price, for the staff and students of the university. Long story short, over the course of a year we’ve managed to establish ourselves as a fully functional business, evening achieving a 5* food hygiene rating from the FSA (if you know your food law, you’ll realise this is pretty damn impressive for a group of students).  Anyway, even though we’re doing amazingly well and have the support of many influential people, we’re struggling to keep it going due to a shortage of willing volunteers. Hence, as my role of Vice-chair of Communications, I thought it was about time we held a social to spread awareness of this amazing opportunity. I suggested to my fellow society members that we each cook a dish based on the food we sell on the stall, to show people how they can best utilise our business, and make the most of the ingredients they buy. The dishes would then be available for anyone to come and taste, completely free of cost. I mean c’mon, what student in their right mind would turn down free food? I know I definitely wouldn’t.

So, let’s move onto the creation of the recipe

When it came down to it, I realised I wouldn’t have time to cook my dish on the day (I am overwhelmingly busy these days, final year of university is hard, and if anyone else tells you different, sorry folks, they’re lying). Therefore I needed a recipe I could quickly whip up the day before and would still taste yummy when left overnight, and reheated the next day. Now personally, I am a huge fan of one-pot dishes, as it means less washing up, and, more than likely, enough food to last me the week, so I decided I’d make a 5-bean chilli, vegan friendly of course.

After an unsuccessful trip to two different supermarkets, I realised it was going to be impossible to create a 5-bean chilli, as the only beans I could source were butter beans and kidney beans Feeling a 3-bean chilli didn’t have quite the same impact, I looked in my cupboard and found an old tin of chickpeas along with some baked beans, and it was then the 3-bean-1-legume chilli was born.

I based it on traditional chilli recipes, and the smell that filled my house was pretty incredible. I couldn’t wait to share it with my friends the next day.

Once presented, the dish was devoured in a matter of minutes, and everyone at the social gave it rave reviews, and insisted I must make it again. Well, wasn’t that a lovely little confidence booster? I find this recipe wonderfully warming on these awful cold nights we’ve been having, and of course it’s packed full of protein and essential micronutrients. I like to enjoy leftovers in a wrap the next day. Enjoy!

Serves: 4/5

Calories per portion: 196kcal

Carbs: 30.2g

Protein: 9.1g

Fat: 4.2g

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp Coconut oil (or any other cooking oil)
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 pepper (I used red but it doesn’t really matter)
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled, crushed and diced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin of kidney beans, drained
  • 1 tin of chickpeas, drained
  • 1 tin of butter beans, drained
  • 1 tin of baked beans
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • Paprika
  • Chilli flakes
  • Hot chilli powder
  • Black pepper
  • Fresh coriander, finely chopped

Method

  1. Roughly chop the onion and pepper, and crush and slice the garlic clove. (Some recipes say to finally dice the vegetables, but personally I like them quite chunky.)
  2. Heat the oil on medium heat in a large pan, and add the cumin seeds, stirring until the smell of the seeds is released. Then add the chopped onion, pepper and garlic, cooking for 5 minutes or until the vegetables have softened and there is a wonderful aroma of garlic.
  3. Add the chop tomatoes, kidney beans, butter beans, baked beans (including the juice) and chickpeas. Simmer for a further 5 minutes then add the stock.
  4. By now the dish should be looking a little watery, but don’t worry, this is fine, it will thicken in time. Now it’s time to season. I haven’t given exact measurements of the spices as I believe a lot of flavourings are based on personal opinions, so this part is up to you! Add your spices and coriander and keep tasting until you’re satisfied.
  5. Once you’re happy with the taste, add the pan lid, and gently simmer for around 30 minutes, tasting every 10 minutes or so. By now the mixture should have thickened up nicely, but if you feel it is still too watery, continue simmering for a short while longer, or add corn flour to thicken.
  6. Remove the pan from heat, and either serves immediately, garnishing with coriander, or if you can resist, cover and reheat the next day for intensified flavours.