Baking Fairy Banana Bread

Well, I did it. I followed a recipe, with the exception of gluten free flour, a tablespoon of water, 1/4 cup less gluten free flour and a pinch of xanthium gum for us gluten free folk!

It was amazing! My son and I couldn’t stop eating it.

Looking at the picture I realised I added pecans and crystalised ginger to the mix. I have no regrets about this decision. I think this is definitely going to be a frequent contributor to snack time and breakfast in our family!

Check out the recipe for yourself and I promise you won’t be disappointed!

the perfect {vegan} banana bread

Apple, pecan and sunflower seeded vegan loaf

My new year’s resolution of learning to follow recipes has not been going to plan! Needless to say this loaf was a hit and my husband didn’t stand a chance on getting a slice after his lie in on Saturday morning. The kids and I demolished it!

What this was meant to be was an exact replica of deliciousness once I followed the recipe from the Baking Fairy for vegan banana bread >>> did not eventuate. At all.

The challenge of following the recipe became apparent when I didn’t have bananas but I did have apples!

I grated three into a bowl and added sunflower seeds and crushed pecans, for some texture to my loaf.

Then I realised I didn’t have almond milk but as oat milk is a hit for my daughter and I in it went. Brown sugar wasn’t available either, so I thought hey, how about coconut sugar? I’m still becoming acquainted with this tasty, complicated-to-bake-with, refined sugar replacement. I find coconut sugar dries out my bakes so I thought it could work well with my rather wet grated apple. For extra assurance that I wouldn’t bake a tasty brick I added some maple syrup and also sunflower oil – because I quite fancied having coconut oil instead of the Baking Fairy’s vegetable oil and oil does not dry evaporate or become absorbed by water hungry ingredients during the bake.

Oh, let’s not forget this is a predominantly gluten free household, so I also used gluten free flour which was quickly chased with an eighth of a teaspoon of xanthium gum for a bit of stretch. Then I added some resting time. Yes, time. I choose to look at resting time in my recipes as an added ingredient especially when using unrefined ingredients or gluten free flour. Allowing my recipes to rest, I find, changes the texture of my bakes, and I think makes them more enjoyable.

So here is my version. Give it a go and if you stray from the recipe I won’t be offended – but I would love to hear what you did and how your bake turns out!

  • 3 grated apples
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • I tablespoon of sunflower oil
  • ¼ cup gf oat milk
  • 1/3 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of gluten free flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • sliced bananas, for topping
  • 1 teaspoon of water
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Coat a 9×5 loaf pan with sunflower oil, then flour.
  2. Into a large mixing bowl, grate the apples. Add the coconut sugar, coconut and sunflower oil, vanilla, and oat milk, maple syrup, flax seeds, lemon juice and whisk to incorporate. My 18 month old woke up at this point and I ended up letting this mix sit, covered, overnight. To be honest I’m not sure how this affected the outcome but I would definitely have left this for at least half an hour predominantly to allow time for the coconut sugar to dissolve.
  3. Sift in the flour, baking soda, salt, xanthium gum and cinnamon into a separate bowl and use a fork to whisk spoon to mix until you can see the cinnamon is well distributed in the mix. Hopefully everything else is too!
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients mixing as you go. Allow the batter to sit for 30 minutes. I put in two tablespoons at a time, stirred and then repeat until wet and dry ingredients are all combined.
  5. Rest the batter for half an hour
  6. Transfer the batter to your prepared pan.
  7. Bake for about 45 minutes, then cover with foil and bake for 10-15 minutes longer, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a couple crumbs.

As I was writing the recipe I remembered flax seeds. I added flax seeds simply because I always wanted to know how they influenced a bake. Quite possibly not a clear picture as I had tweaked so much in the recipe already but hey, the bake worked and didn’t really last long with it’s buttery, spongy goodness. I hope yours worked out too!

A New Adventure…

Cocoa and ginger crispy bites

I have wanted to try these for some time. So, with one child napping and the other busy playing on his own it was the perfect time for a quick soul satisfying recipe that I have wondered about for some time.

I love ginger and the crunch of rice crispies but I want to challenge myself to make sweets with less sugar. This is where the dates came in, the addition of cocoa was driven by the memory of chocolate crackles growing up. I would have liked to add vanilla but it was not to be this morning as we were all out.


1 cup crispy bites

8 dates soaked in about three table spoons of warm water.

1 tablespoon of cocoa powder

1 teaspoon of crystalised ginger, crumbled.

1/4 cup of deidicated coconut

1/4 Cup of coconut oil

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon of water

Using a spoon make the dates into a paste by smearing them against container they were soaked in, or a fresh bowl if you prefer.

Add melted coconut oil, water, salt and cocoa to the date paste to make an oozy chocolate sauce type consistency.

Mix all the dry ingredients remaining – dedicated coconut, rice crispies and ginger together before adding to the wet mix. Mix well and refrigerate for at least half ano hour to allow the mix to set.

Once set have a bowl of water ready to dip your hands in before making small balls. If you like roll the balls in dedicated coconut, anything else you fancy or leave ‘nude’.

These are best kept in the fridge after being made and then make great sweet snacks.

Keeping cakes free from gluten, dairy and egg moist.

The first thing I noticed when I started eating cakes free from gluten and dairy was that the options available were often quite dry and crumbled before I even had a bite.

In my journey to make a better tasting cakes I began using blended, and I mean pureed texture, quinoa. Now, I tried blitzing dried quinoa and adding to flour before liquids. I tried blitzing and then adding water to the quinoa powder to form a paste. The results were not bad but much preferred the texture of cakes that used quinoa that had been cooked then pureed. See the picture above? That oozy drip that you would normally get with regular flour is achieved with the help of quinoa and also a pinch of xanthium gum.

My second tip is add about a teaspoon of water extra to recipes and let the mixture sit for at least thirty minutes. Think of your grains of flour as a sponge. Not a fresh out of the packet sponge but one that has been left to dry and become rather solid. Put the sponge into water and it is going to take some time before the water begins to get absorbed by the sponge. Those super dry gluten free flour blends work much the same. I find. Gluten free flour is dry and so needs a bit of patience when working with it. Trust me. Try a bit of extra water and adding some resting time.

Water conscious cleaning

Having fried courgettes much like I would a schnitzel I was left with a good few table spoons of oil.

We used to fry a lot more than we do these days and so a bottle of used oil would live under the sink to avoid oil ending up down the kitchen sink into the waterways.

I’ve long wanted a funnel but when I had looked previously there were none available or they were priced beyond what I was willing to pay.

Having found a bottle in the recycling I decided to make my own funnel and I honestly was quite proud of myself! Not only did it do the job of a funnel, it didn’t cost me a thing and still lives in our kitchen drawer several months later. That’s winning I’d say!

Seasonal salad #allotment courgettes

I won’t lie my energy for our newly acquired allotment has somewhat dwindled over the Summer Holidays.

My lively four year old autistic son and his accomplice, his one year old sister, had decided to wake at the LATEST time of 6a.m. Every. Morning. I was assured by the leader of the pack that the sun was awake so they were going to be awake. Hang on! Is that a Frozen quote? Google says it is. How have I just realised this? My husband and I have always wondered where this line sprouted from. Any-who back to the allotment and I will leave sharing my exciting discovery to the morning.

While mine and my husband’s time and energy over summer has been focused on our son, our dear friends, who share the allotment plot with us, have done well and harvested some courgettes amongst other fresh goodies. The first batch they shared were salted, dried, crumbed and fried. While they were tasty it wasn’t enjoyable in copious amounts.

Bring on dinner at Marta and Andy’s (gardeners) and Marta served up a salad of courgette skins, feta, mint, almonds, lemon, mint and olive oil. As well as the usual seasoning of salt and pepper. It was light, crispy and I could have eaten the whole salad bowl full.

Returning home we had already done our groceries for the week so I restricted our version of the courgette salad to what we had in stock at home.

The gifted courgette was dutifully peeled until I got to the seeded centre. We haven’t yet decided what to do with the centre, so suggestions are welcome!

Next almonds were replaced by 1/2 cup of toasted walnuts, feta was replaced with 1/4 cup of grated cheddar, freshness was amplified with some pear peelings (skin+flesh). Finally the lemon dressing had the usual lemon, olive oil and seasoning plus an added kick from some allotment grown garlic coutesy of Marta & Andy once again.

What can I say? We enjoyed the adapted version and we are looking forward to a second attempt, and perhaps another tweaked version, using the spare courgette resting in our fridge!

First steps…

So, this is me. My first step into the world of blogging.

How did I get here? Well, this blog is side show of my cake business, Not-so-Naughty.  Not-so-Naughty evolved following what was a rather dramatic time in my life. You know the times where it seems like you and everyone that holds signifcant value in your life just can’t seem to catch a break. Well it was one of those stretches in time and I gave in to the craving for change in my life that my circumstances gave rise to.

I have always been a fan of cake (not really a shock, hey) and without warning at the ripe age of 30 my body decided cake as I knew it was to be digested with ease no more. I can’t remember the specific road I travelled but I landed up being unable to eat dairy and wheat flour otherwise my belly would painfully swell and I would get curious eyes toward my belly. I was newly engaged, but these nasty food babies had nothing to do with the commitment.

So, my calculations take me to 2011 when this all took place and if you have ever tried allergen adjusted cakes you would agree they can be disgusting, right? Things have improved in that world and I assure you in 2011 the taste and texture of said foods was much worse and options were limited.

I have always been stubborn and a perfectionist which actually tied in nicely with trying to find a perfect, works every time gluten and dairy free cake recipe. I found one that I tweaked and tested on friends and family. Several birthdays later I took note of people saying I should sell my cakes and the journey of Not-so-Naughty began. Well, not immediately. Another person had the name but as luck would have it, their ownership of the name would expire in 2015. It did and I honestly have no idea what other name I would even have considered.

So, Not-so-Naughty has a focus on creating treats that are gluten free, dairy free and most recently I have also explored the world of refined sugar free treats. Of course muddled up in my creations has also been the challenge of making satisfyingly tasty vegan treats.

The blog element of Not-so-Naughty I hope to mix up with recipes, food for thought and a bit of eco awareness because let’s give our resources the respect they deserve.