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So, I got a day off work today due to snow!!!
On a downside, the gale-force winds scuppered my planned long run. But there was still enough time after the wind died down for me to go and get a fun run in the snow done: I don’t often get the opportunity!
The day off work also meant that I could spend some time having a snowball fight with my son 🙂 and a failed attempt at building a snowman (snow too dry and powdery).
It also gave me time in the kitchen to make a batch of carrot and ginger soup (recipe coming soon), previously featured zingy parsnip soup, and this yummy banana, date and pecan bread.
The run was good fun – if hard work! I wore my faithful Inov8 Mudclaws for the run. Bought for running through mud on the steep slopes of the Brecon Beacons, they laugh in the face of snow!
Looking to tomorrow though it looks like the snow is going to become compacted and frozen over – not so much fun. In these conditions, I dig out the Yak Trax Pro. These fit firmly on to ordinary running shoes and provide excellent grip on compacted snow and ice.
Anyway, no ice today, and the run was great fun – but I had to cut it shorter than I would have liked as there wasn’t much daylight left and, more to the point, the snow and gales were forecast to return. And there was banana, date and pecan bread waiting with a nice hot cup of tea!
This is a healthier version of traditional banana bread, which has gone through several trial versions – all of which have been taste-tested and approved by my 11 year-old. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it, right? 🙂
This banana, date and pecan bread uses wholemeal spelt flour, the usual butter is replaced with heart-healthy olive oil (really – try it!), and the sweetness comes from the bananas, dates and a little honey – all of which offer micronutrient benefits that you won’t find in refined sugar. Cinnamon and orange zest provide added flavour.
This bread is beautifully moist too on the inside with a contrasting crumbly thin crust on the outside. While banana bread is often served with butter, I don’t think this needs it due to the moistness supplied by the fruit and honey.
This bread can be prone to going too brown too quickly, so make sure that you check it as the notes say, and cover with foil if necessary. I always need to.
Try it and see what you think. As always, leave your comments below the recipe.
Banana, Date and Pecan Bread
A healthy version of banana bread. This uses olive oil instead of butter and gets its sweetness from nutritious banana, dates and honey. You can always ring the changes by varying the nuts. I chose to use pecans here for the buttery sweetness they provide.
You will need a 2lb loaf tin and some cooking foil.
- 1 large egg
- 120 ml olive oil
- 110 g honey
- 60 ml milk I used semi-skimmed. Substitute for non-dairy if you like
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 bananas
- 1 orange – grated zest only
- 225 g wholemeal spelt flour
- 200 g chopped dried dates
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 50 g pecan nuts, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 325F/165C/gas mark 3. Grease the sides of the loaf tin and line the base with a greased piece of greaseproof paper.
Mash the bananas in a bowl with a fork.
Mix together the flour, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda in another bowl.
Place the oil, orange zest, honey and milk in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together with an electric whisk.
Add the flour mix, pecans, bananas and dates. Whisk together well.
Transfer the mix to the prepared loaf tin, using a rubber spatula to get all the yumminess out!
Place the tin in the centre of the oven and cook for 50-55 minutes. Check it after around 15 minutes to see how it is doing. This loaf is prone to overbrown because it is cooked for a good while. If this is the case, cover the top with the foil and return to the oven. I usually need to do this at around the 15 minute mark.
After the 50 minutes, remove from the oven and check to see if it is cooked throughout with a skewer. The skewer should come out fairly clean when pushed into the loaf. I say 'fairly' clean as it obviously won't be totally clean if you go through a chunk of date! If not, return to the oven and check again after another 5 minutes. Don't forget to replace the foil!
Leave the bread to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.