Banana Flour Crumble

I would post a photo, but I ate it before I took one. Seriously, I was ravenous, which isn’t at all like me. I think the bug drained me more than I knew. Thankfully I’m back to normal. It’s really strange to think that only a few years ago, well nearly seven now, I spent all my time ill, always sick and miserable. It’s scary what becomes normal. I don’t have much to say here, this is just a very basic crumble, based on this, the sugar cuts out the banana flour flavour and it isn’t too dry. This is the last of my banana flour recipes. So, farewell to banana flour, you were mostly a gimmick, but I beat you! Hah! I’m in the process of tagging grain free recipes, I don’t follow a grain free diet, but did you know that most of the recipe on here are grain free? Me neither. Heh. I cover such a wide variety of diets and I like to list them when applicable. I’ve added a Freezer Friendly category too.

You ever feel the need to talk, for no other reason then to kill time? That’s the one benefit of these posts, dearest reader, I have an imaginary captive audience. You could skip or skim all of this and I’d never have any idea, happy in my ignorance. So, your pal Jack, your forever friend, the man of many names, well, two, hasn’t been doing much. The Winter months are tiresome. I’m really glad I finally got into music, it’s funny how I spent years being assured that I should enjoy what others did and just couldn’t see the attraction. It takes finding our own preferences to really get into anything, doesn’t it? I’m of the school of thought that everyone should be let enjoy what they do, assuming no one gets hurt by it. I’m one of those people who’ll give anything a fair shake and don’t look down on anything. I’m currently repeatedly playing the newest Icon for Hire album. It’s independently released so you can support them directly. It’s something I wish I’d had growing up, a positive message without the usual banal generalised platitudes. From a place of experience. Of course it’s cut with the newest EP from Band Maid because I tend towards the non-mainstream and you can’t beat Kanami’s insane solos. I find music helps me to stop dwelling, whenever I’m doing something repetitive my brain refuses to stop thinking, so the headphones go on when preparing meals and it all become a better experience. Now, I’m not one of those people who insist that you’ll love this song, or band, or book, really I doubt if you will, but maybe you’ll surprise yourself. I don’t push things like that onto people. I spent the other night, feeling better for the first time in three days, reading the newest volume of Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-Kun and laughing out loud. Which is a rarity, your friend is pretty quiet in the real world, shocking, eh? Manga, Japanese comics, have supplemented my reading for, what, fifteen years, probably more. It’s strange to read a series over a decade, volume by volume. Worst is when they get cancelled, which happened in the thirty-sixth volume of Negima after reading it for a decade. It was a painful experience I can tell you that. Why so much Japanese interest? No idea, it just resonated with me and I know there are those that take it too far and can’t accept that people don’t like it, like there are those that can’t accept when people do, but the way I look at it is this: I found something that’s continually made me happy for a long time now. Why should I worry what others think. It’s all to easy to start in on the sanctimonious, elitist, supercilious idea of what is “proper” to enjoy. Do what makes you happy, life is too short not to and made too long by people who can’t accept that. All this ramble for a crumble, well, the internet, am I right? See you soon.

Ingredients

100g Berries, or Other Fruit, of Choice
35g Sugar
35g Ground Almonds
35g Banana Flour
35g Butter, Cold and Chopped

Method

1. Pre-heat oven to 180c (Fan).

2. Place the Berries in an oven proof dish. Set aside.

3. In a bowl mix together the Ground Almonds, Banana Four, Butter and Sugar. Work together with fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs,

4. Sprinkle Crumb Mixture over the Berries and bake for 15-20 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Banana Flour Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bread

 photo WP_20161201_014_e_zpswifws8sv.jpgThe batter is thicker.

This might be a bit muddled as I’m still not feeling all that well. This recipe is basically this one redone. I’m just using up my banana flour, it’s edible. Fast too. It’s a springy, slightly dry loaf that is pretty much my last resort when using new flours. I know I shouldn’t run down a recipe, but it’s mine, I can do that and I wouldn’t sell you on a recipe that wasn’t worth much. You can eat it and you won’t die, that’s about it. I’m being a  bad blogger, but forgive me for I know exactly what I do, but I have the recipes. Bribery? Tut. I like to think of it as blackmail. Okay, yeah, rant below, recipe below that. Below all that is me passed out. Until later.

 photo WP_20161201_017_e_zps6hzph779.jpgI just popped it out of the tin and cut it. Don’t do that. Not that it matters.

This isn’t a clever, intricate recipe. If anything it’s the most basic kind of free-from recipe, it’s comprised of ingredients that can be interchanged without altering the end result, which might sound impressive until you realise the end result is just, well, being edible. So it means that the ingredients aren’t being used to their utmost. It’s a matter of utilitarian baking, use what you have and end up with the same end product. It’s similar to recipes you see from companies trying to push their product. They’ll use one ingredient, whether a combination, or another ingredient would be better, to the detriment of the recipe just to sell you on the product. That’s their choice, but you see then we have the assumption that nothing better can be made, I mean, if you’re new and your first exposure to free-from baking is company’s recipes, and will likely be, then that means you’re starting from an erroneous position and will need to learn from scratch to get better. I’m not being arrogant here, it’s not that I’m some kind of expert, perish forbid, but I know what I’m doing and I started the same way. It’s just now I can look at these recipes and go: Oh, yeah, no that’s just not good enough. Serviceable is fine, but that shouldn’t be where we stay. You can eat better, much better, with the same amount of work, you just need a better understanding of the ingredients and anyone selling you on a product or service might not be able or willing to help with that. I’m dizzy, I’ll hope this isn’t taken as offensive. Just my point of view. If someone like me can do as I’ve done and continue to do then you can do it too, dearest reader.

Ingredients

Wet

125g Natural Peanut Butter/Almond Butter
100g Hokkaido Pumpkin Purée or Other Sweet Fleshed Squash
1 Medium Egg (60g-65g in Shell)
1 Tbsp Honey or Maple Syrup
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 Tsp Vanilla Extract

Dry

1 Tbsp Banana Flour
1/2 Tsp Pumpkin Spice
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder

Can be frozen.

Method

1. Preheat oven to 175c (Fan). Grease and line the bottom of a baking tin.

2. Mix together all the dry ingredients and set aside.

3. Add all the wet ingredients to a bowl and beat together, using an electric mixer, until smooth. Then add the dry and beat until mixed completely. Scoop into the prepared tin and bake for 20-25 minutes, turning halfway if necessary, or until a knife comes out clean. Loaf should be golden brown and firm.

4. Let cool in the tin for 15 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Banana and Buckwheat Flour Pancakes

  photo WP_20161120_004_e_zpsnno7xwxb.jpgQuartered from: Real Food Healthy Body

Here I am again, dear reader, Johannes Factotum! Hmmm? I’ve been reading up on the origin of the idiom: Jack of all trades. Yes, I can read! I would say I’m well read, but that makes me sound like a dog-eared magazine, left on a waiting-room coffee-table. You know, dear reader, I was reading a guest post I made and I noticed something, well, aside from the lack of other offers for guest posting, hinting strongly here,, dearest reader, I wouldn’t risk me either to be honest, but as I was saying, I notice that you haven’t always been my dear reader, no, don’t break gentle heart! It turns out I used to use the address: Gentle Reader. Funny, huh? I honestly can’t remember that. Strange, isn’t it? These posts come together to create a story, but one that we often can’t remember the beginning of. Where it’ll all end is anyone’s guess, but stay with me, whether I be Jack, your forever friend or just your darling blue eyes, though my eyes are hazel, we’ll end up somewhere and if nothing else it’ll be interesting. Hopefully. Thanks for sticking what me so far. Be ye gentle, dear or darling even, it means a lot.

So, you’ll notice I stubbornly haven’t given up on banana flour. I’m almost at the end of the bag, the first and final bag. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s just a novelty flour, it has no properties that are of any value, perhaps nutritionally it has some value, but I’d rather buy dehydrated yellow bananas and enjoy them than struggling to make this flour even halfway decent. Brutally honest, but you’ll save money from my honesty. You could say I haven’t given it a fair shake, which would earn you a fair shake. All joking aside, I’ve made it work, but it just isn’t worth the price. There are better flours out there, with more varied properties of absorption, binding and taste. I still have a little left so you might see something else in this category. The pancakes were okay, a bit dry, the sweetness kept the flavour of the flour at bay for the most part. The texture was firm, but springy, pleasant enough if you slather them in flavourful toppings. What’s weird, no other word describes it, is the texture of the batter. It was simultaneously too thick and too runny. It had this rubbery feeling to it, like silicone from a tube or thick glue. I just made two pancakes as I didn’t want a huge stack of these. This is probably the best recipe yet, which isn’t saying much for this flour. Buckwheat saves the day again. I’d swear it’d make any flour work, it’s magical or at least very, very useful. So, that’s it for now. I do have a large post in the works all going well it should be ready in a few days. Nothing major, but a bit of baking fun. I’ll see you then.

 photo WP_20161120_008_e_zpsuyc1cgwr.jpgThe light faded and I had to wander all over to get a decent photo.

Ingredients

1 Large Egg
40g Banana Flour
25g Buckwheat Flour
30ml Low Fat Milk
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
1/4 Tsp Baking Powder
1/4 Tsp Vanilla Extract

Makes 2 Medium Pancakes.

Method

1. Add the dry ingredients to a bowl and then add the Egg, Milk, Vanilla, Maple Syrup and mix until a smooth thick Batter has been formed.

3. Over a medium-high heat some Oil and swirl it around a non-stick pan, then add some of the Batter, just enough to form a medium circle. Cook for a minute or two until bubbles start to appear on the edges and centre and the underside is brown, then flip and cook the same on the other side. Repeat until batter is used up.

Microwave Banana Flour Cake

 photo WP_20161103_004_e_zps89jutpq9.jpgWibble wobble, goes the cake. I wonder if it’s cooked goes the baker.

In your heart of hearts you believed in me. You knew that given enough time I’d make something decent with banana flour. Your faith in me is boundless. I am the rock that you stand on. Truly I am humbled by your great admiration of me. Or not, whatever. So, here we are, yet another microwave cake, this recipe could almost be described as foolproof. It seems to work with almost any flour, bar almond flour, and each only changes the recipe slightly. But you know me, I won’t make claims without tests. So, banana flour, in a microwave cake. It’s still got that strong taste, the sugar cuts that down, the cake is really light and airy. Less spongy than when using quinoa flour, just puffy and airy. I did find it very filling. You might be best to share this with someone. Nothing much to note here. It’s fine, fine and dandy. I’ve run out of anything to say, honestly. I planted some garlic today. A bulb’s worth of organic garlic cloves. It worked last year. I also have two miniature roses I’ll be growing in the greenhouse. I hope to get cutting and to repot these when they start to become dormant. These force grown flowers don’t always do well, but they were really cheap so I thought I’d take a chance. Okay, I have another recipe, which will be posted when I can figure out what to call it. See you soon.

 photo WP_20161103_006_e_zpsoncefdko.jpgIf you have friends you could foist some of it off on them. They may not be your friends for long. Joking….sorta.

Ingredients

45g Banana Flour
7g Ground Flaxseed (1 Tbsp)
1 Tsp GF Baking Powder
1 Large Egg
50ml Milk or Water
30g Sugar
Dash Vanilla Extract

Method

1. Grease microwave safe bowl with Butter or Olive Oil.

2. Whisk together the Egg, Milk, Vanilla Extract and Sugar. Then Whisk in the Flour, Flax and Baking Powder. Batter will be smooth and runny. Pour into greased bowl.

3. Cook on full heat for 2-2 1/2 minutes. Cake should be springy to the touch and will triple in size. Place plate on top of the bowl and turn out. Let cool slightly and serve.

Buckwheat and Banana Flour Scones

 photo WP_20161029_043_e_zps61o0xtq7.jpgGot another post coming, let’s do this quick.

Banana flour, oh, banana flour, you’re just not clicking. Think of this recipe as more instructive than useful. I have far better scone recipes, this is based on the Buckwheat and Amaranth, but it turns out more like the original recipe all the scone recipes came from. It’s dry, crumbles and dries out much too fast. You’re probably wondering why I’m sharing it at all. Well, it’s edible, nothing special, but you can eat it. Also: It uses banana flour, which I’m trying out every way I can think of. As I said it’s instructive rather than useful. Maybe you’ll take something from it, maybe you won’t.

 photo WP_20161029_044_e_zps8fyb4xf5.jpgOily, greasy mounds that spread.

Okay, yeah, the dough was a tad crumbly, it was also oily which seems to happen whenever I use oil and banana flour. It just doesn’t seem to be absorbent. At least not to a useful degree. I’m not bashing banana flour, it’s just there are better flours and I’m going to be honest in all I do here. The taste is still there even with the small amount used, as I suspected the sugar does help cut it down a bit. Enough, but be prepared for a strange taste. Not much to say, they were dry, not as dry but that’s probably more to do with the amount of flour to egg ratio.

 photo WP_20161029_045_e_zpsp9gozvfd.jpgCut them carefully.

I think, and this is pure speculation on my part, that banana flour might work best in a runny batter. The bread, as I said was like water when it went it yet it baked solid. Dry even. It’ll probably mean it’ll make springy pancakes, but I will look into other uses for it. I won’t be trying it again, I’m not happy with it so far. Not to scare you away, you have to try everything once, you never know when you’ll find the perfect ingredient for your dietary needs. I’ll keep using it until its gone.

 photo WP_20161029_047_e_zpsysmf1iug.jpg Onto the fun post.

Ingredients

100g Buckwheat Flour
30g Banana Flour
25g Sugar
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
45ml Olive Oil
1 Large Egg (70g-75g in Shell)

Method

1. Preheat oven to 200c (Fan) and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

2. Add all the dry ingredients to a bowl and set aside. Mix the Olive Oil and Egg with a fork until combined, then mix in the Egg mixture into the dry ingredients with a fork. Keep mixing until a dough starts to come together and stops crumbling. Knead by hand when firm enough to work. Dough should be fairly firm, may be crack slightly and need to be reworked and slightly oily. Form into a ball.

3. Divide Dough into equal parts and roll into a ball and press onto the prepared tray.

4. Bake for 20-25 minutes until scones are firm and lightly browned. Transfer to a wirerack and let cool. Eat while fresh.

Running My Mouth and Banana Flour Trials

Heya, Dear Reader, it’s that time again: Time for your pal, often-times Jack, always himself, to possibly put his size eleven foot in his mouth. What’s the haps? As the kids are wont to say, probably, well, how do you say this without sounding like a walking contradiction? Just carry on and hope. I’ll be talking about my first foray into banana flour based baking and its future in a moment. But first I’d like to say something, it’s a problem I feel that’s become ingrained in dealing with any free from flours and ingredients, more so the flours. As the absolute authority on this topic I can tell you everything I saw is infallible, if proved otherwise the fault is yours. Got the idea yet? Yeah, it’s the idea that any single flour can replace wheat flour seamlessly, every flour be it blend or single seems to claim this. You see that irks me on many levels. I’ll add here that blends are useful, I know, I’m not picking on them I just can’t and don’t use them, nor do I ever find I’m missing out, perhaps the opposite at times, that’s a topic for another time, you can tell how anti-antagonistic I am with this run on sentence, so I’ll just say it. No. No you can’t just swap flours and emulate anything exactly, blends often work due to the presence of gums, but they’re still not perfect emulation of wheat flour. Single use flours are even trickier as they have less in common again. So, why get annoyed, why? Because today my banana flour blend claimed it could replace wheat flour in any recipe with ease. No it can’t. Its taste, binding properties and texture are all different, but here’s where it rubs me wrong. I know that’s a crock, but how many newcomers to free-from baking don’t? They believe the hype and end up disappointed. They end up wasting an expensive ingredient (I cut down recipes when trying new flours). They never bother trying it as a brand new untested flour as I have and as other do, we build on the strength of the flour, not as replacement, but as its own ingredient.

As I said I’m not ragging on blends, but you know what? I’m tired of being, or at least feeling like a minority in my use of single flour taken in whole new directions. I’ve made o many recipes that I would never have dreamed possible when I first started a few years back. I certainly never have bothered trying at all if I’d been able to just grab a blend and use that. But I stopped trying to emulate years ago, I took what made these flours worthwhile and sometimes combined them, more-often kept them separate and made them work in ways, this is in no way arrogant, that I’ve never seen matched. Now here’s what gets me: If everyone tried that, instead of letting product sellers and bloggers tell us their proprietary blend/flour is the only answer to free-from baking, that starches and gums are the only option, we’d have so many option and we could help so many people. Imagine the possibilities, look what I’ve done when only using one, or two, flours. I’m nothing special, I just kept pushing and never fell into the trap of believing that everyone else knew better. This is new to everyone, we’re all starting at nothing, chef or home baker, it doesn’t matter, you can discover the possibilities, the combinations, the abilities of these flour and take them in directions that rival, and even occasionally, exceed gluten based flours. So, in the full knowledge it could cost me a lot of readers, in no way meaning to be disrespectful, when you see a claim that this blend, this flour will replace any gluten based one, be it by bloggers claiming it as a hack, one weird trick, or by marketers extolling the virtue of the newest fad, then do this for your old friend: Doubt. Be just a little weary, keep an open mind sure, but be sceptical. There are more roads on this journey and in taking the time to look and think you might find a more suitable one. Now, that being said I feel better. I hope I haven’t made anyone feel attacked, but I figure I should speak out, one voice against dozens daily claiming magical replacement. Gluten is great, but we can do just as much without it. Limits push us further if we use them instead of being scared of them. Remember I’m just one person. Gather up all the opinions you can and make up your own mind. If I’d kept quiet I’d have been doing you a disservice. Now onto banana flour.

More negativity. The bread wasn’t good. It was unpleasant. It’s my standard test for a flour, a way to gauge the taste and texture. This doesn’t mean I stop, it just means I know what direction I’m going in just a  little bit more. So, what I used was my basic buckwheat bread recipe, and it went in like water, but it did bake. Which is interesting, somewhat similar to quinoa in that regard, though it doesn’t thicken like quinoa. Now, after the first rant you might ask what do I know? You know what? I’d have doubted myself once, but I know a damn, excuse the language dearest reader, sight more than most. I’ve worked like a dog, making, creating baking and toiling to use and understand all these flours. So you can be sure that I’m not just guessing or acting superior when I talk about them. Me being negative is my way of protecting you from wasting these expensive ingredients, but give me time and you’ll see what can be done with these flours. On the positive side I found there was a lovely spring to the bread, though it was dry, I’ll probably try it mixed with fruit or vegetable purées. One other problem is the taste, somewhat similar to flaxseed, when baked is strong, not unpleasant in itself, though the bread did have a slightly unpleasant edge to it, but it’ll have to be worked with too. Sugar is probably the answer, but we’ll see. I only have 200g left, I used 50g, but I’ll try to stretch it as far as possible. I did that with quinoa flour and ended up with so many wonderful recipes, so we’ll hold out hope. I’m not giving up on this flour, but I can’t afford to spend any more on such an expensive flour. I’ll just do what I can, my contribution to the struggle of food issues. I’ll be back again, probably sooner than later.

 photo WP_20161027_001_e_zps0ohza8cv.jpgIt’s made from green bananas. It doesn’t taste like banana, sad in a way.

 photo WP_20161027_002_e_zpsp8uyhwab.jpgRough, but edible. I probably won’t return to bread, I want to make other recipes instead.