Let me start today by thanking you all. Yesterday I was absolutely gobsmacked to discover that I was one of the five finalists for the Best Australian Blogs 2013 in the Lifestyle category. For all those of you who took the time out to head on over there and cast me a vote, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. For all those who wrote to me yesterday and today, I am touched by your love. For all those of you who read what I write, I am truly amazed and thankful for your support! You rock people!
A few days ago I bought Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar cookbook. Sarah Wilson is an Australian journalist and media personality who decided to take up the 8 weeks sugar free challenge that was later published into a book. I am nowhere close to restricting myself to a set diet, I believe in moderation and sensibility. I also like to think of food as a gift, an adventure that has to be enjoyed. But I like to stay informed and make healthier choices wherever possible based on that knowledge.
The I Quit Sugar cookbook is very interesting, definitely a page turner. If used wisely without delving into drastic tactics that might not be possible for many of us because we don’t have the time, can’t afford it, have kids etc., it can be a great starting point for eating healthier. It talks about good sugar and bad sugar in great length. By steering clear of bad sugars and incorporating more good sugars and consuming less sugars in general, I found after 2 weeks that my skin had cleared up. Score!
One of the ingredients the book talks about is rice malt syrup. I discovered Pure Harvest Rice Malt Syrup that is made with organic brown rice by culturing rice with enzymes and cooking it down to a syrup. It resembles thick honey in texture and colour but is not as sweet. It is gluten-free and fructose-free (that is the bad sugar I was talking about earlier) whereas honey has 40% fructose, table sugar has 50% fructose and agave syrup has about 90% fructose. In terms of substitution, rice malt syrup can be substituted 1:1 for any kind of sugar/honey but the result will always be much less sweet.
People who know me very well know that I am not a big fan of sweet. So I was very excited to try this syrup in a beautiful bread filled with veggies and nuts that I could slice up and carry in my lunchbox for a delectable not-so-sweet treat. The recipe for this Zucchini Coconut Lunchbox Bread came about slowly, one lingering ingredient at a time. There is zucchini, pecan nuts, coconut, olive oil and rice malt syrup in it. The flavours develop and become beautiful after a day or two. It is the most delightful bread I have baked in recent times.
ZUCCHINI COCONUT LUNCHBOX BREAD
A beautiful healthy autumn bread baked with grated zucchini, pecan nuts, coconut flour, coconut butter and rice malt syrup for a power packed lunchbox treat.
Makes – 2 loafs
2 large zucchinis, finely grated
1 cup rice malt syrup
1 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons coconut butter/oil
3 large eggs
2 cups plain flour
1 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 cup toasted pecan nuts, crushed
1 tablespoon raw sugar (for topping)
shredded coconut (for topping)
Pre-heat oven to 180C.
Grease and line two loaf tins with baking paper. Squeeze grated zucchini and drain as much liquid as you can before adding to baking mix.
Mix zucchini, syrup, oil, eggs and coconut butter in a large bowl.
In another bowl sift the flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Add the coconut flour.
Add flour mixtue to the zucchini mixture. Add pecans and mix well using a wooden spoon. Scoop mixture evenly into the prepared loaf tins. Smooth the tops and sprinkle the raw sugar over the batter.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until cooked through when tested with a skewer inserted down the middle of the breads. Remove from oven. Cool in tins for about 10 minutes before turning out onto wire racks to cool further.
Eat warm with butter.
It keeps well for a week if the weather is really cool (perfect for autumn!) otherwise butter it and freeze it in ziplock bags to carry in your lunchbox for a nutrient packed treat.
Olive oil can be directly substituted with a nut oil or rice bran oil.
Plain flour can be substituted with gluten-free flour or wholemeal flour.
Adding dried cranberries or raisins can increase sweetness and flavour.