Regular readers of my blog know that I have been a champion of Loving Earth for the past few years after discovering their beautifully packaged products and being completely smitten by their logo (design nerd alert!). When they sent me a box of goodies to play with, I was thrilled at the opportunity to expand my superfood/whole food experiments beyond the cacao nib and chia seed bandwagon. There was a pack of mesquite powder in the box that intrigued me. A lot! I googled it and instantly jumped onto the mesquite wiki, the all encompassing source of irrefutable true knowledge on the internet. Wiki told me “Mesquite powder is high in calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc, and is rich in the amino acid, lysine.” Which means that it was quite similar to eggs, lentils and meat-based protein sources. Lysine is essential in our diet as it fuels and supports collagen growth and keep skin’s elasticity thriving. Mesquite has a rich nutty caramel flavour and is naturally sweet. It is therefore used in baking, cooking pancakes and similar food.
I wanted to use mesquite for this recipe that I created for Loving Earth. So I started playing with the flavours to get that winning taste combination. For those of you who are curious as to how I pair ingredients (and I get asked this time and time again), I have read Niki Segnit’s Flavour Thesaurus more times than I can remember. It has helped me gain and insight into the way ingredients and colours come together and how opposing flavours balance each other. And then it is just practice and a gut feeling that has now developed from years and years of throwing ingredients together. I used amaranth flour, another recent discovery of mine. And just when I thought there couldn’t possibly be another way of baking banana bread, this dish proved me wrong. This banana bread loaf is dense and has a nutty sweetness that comes pre-dominantly from the over ripe bananas and mesquite as I haven’t used any sugar here. The cacao adds a rich chocolate taste and the hazelnut meal adds that beautiful texture. I love topping my cakes and breads with fresh fruit and herbs. I topped this one with strawberries and another one with bananas.
CACAO BANANA BREAD WITH STRAWBERRIES | gluten free/vegetarian/dairy free
A gluten free and dairy free chocolate loaf baked with cacao and sweetened only with over ripe bananas. This bread is wholesome and has a fabulous crumb and a subtle nutty caramel flavour due to mesquite and amaranth.
Makes – 1 loaf/ serves 8
4 small eggs
5 small over ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 melted cacao butter (or mild olive oil)
3 tablespoons cacao powder
2 tablespoons mesquite powder
1 cup coarse hazelnut meal
1/2 cup amaranth flour
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
sliced strawberries and mint leaves to garnish
Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line a standard loaf pan with baking paper.
Place eggs, banana, cacao butter in a large bowl and mix with an electric beater until combined. Add cacao powder, mesquite powder, hazelnut meal, amaranth flour, salt and baking powder to the bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until combined.
Spoon batter into prepared tin. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 35 to 40 minutes until cooked through.
Top with fresh strawberry slices, mint leaves and a dusting of icing sugar.
You can substitute mesquite with a tablespoon of raw sugar and a tablespoon of sweetened cocoa powder.