At my request, every birthday brings me a new crop of cookbooks to wallow in. This year was particularly fine, bringing me the two books from bloggers: David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop” and Heidi Swanson’s “Super Natural Cooking“.
Super Natural Cooking is the one intriguing me most at the moment (and only partly because I don’t have a freezer yet, so can’t make David’s ice creams!) It is one of the most unusual books I’ve come across in a long time: a book of healthy, natural, vegetarian recipes containing a wealth of unfamiliar ingredients … that all look incredibly delicious and tempting. All this has been said before, but this is a really beautiful and interesting book, and I look forward to getting to grips with quinoa, farro and sprouted chickpea burgers in the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, something from my more usual baking repetoire – banana muffins. A bunch of organic bananas had been sitting on the windowsill glowering at me for more than a week, and getting browner and browner. This was the solution – and they seemed to go down very well at work to cheer up a grey and rainy monday.
Espresso Banana Muffins
- 290g light brown self-raising flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- (or 145g whole wheat flour, 145g plain flour and 2 tsp baking powder)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 150g walnuts (I used pecans)
- 1 tbsp espresso powder
- 85g butter, room temperature
- 120g soft brown sugar
- 60 golden caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 250g plain yoghurt
- 310g peeled bananas, mashed (about 3 large bananas, the riper the better)
Heat the oven to 180C/350F. Spread the pecans or walnuts onto a baking sheet and toast for about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven, cool a little and chop. Set aside. Turn the oven up to 190C/375F. Prepare a 12 cup muffin tin with paper cases.
Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, espresso powder and around two-thirds of the chopped walnuts together.
Mash the bananas and mix in the yoghurt and vanilla. Set aside.
Beat the butter and sugars together until creamy. Mix in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the yoghurt mixture.
Add the flour, and stir together briefly, just until the streaks of flour have pretty much disappeared. Don’t overmix; it’s better to leave it too lumpy than too smooth.
Spoon the mixture into the muffin cups and top with the remaining chopped nuts.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out without batter clinging to it. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.