Saturday, June 2, 2012

Banana and blueberry bread

S has been struck down with the man flu, and luckily, I haven't! I don't know how I've avoided it, but I have. My diet has been loaded with Beroccas, blueberries and fruit, trying to keep my immune system strong so I don't get sick, as S has taken 2 days off work which is testament to the strength of this cold! I've been feeling run down, and we've both been in bed by 9:30... So I was very much in fight off the bugs mode!

I decided to make something that would give us some energy, fill us up with antioxidants and most importantly, be delicious. So banana bread it was - and to make it extra yum, I added blueberries, walnuts, and cocoa nibs. The cocoa nibs were added for their health benefits - when we visited Gabriels Chocolatier in Yallingup, I was told cocoa nibs contain 300 times the amount of antioxidants than blueberries! So I figured these both had to go in...

To fight a cold, blueberries are a pretty amazing way to go - one serving has about 25% of your daily vitamin C needs. Speaks for  itself doesn't it! The antioxidants (which it is EXTREMELY high in) work to neutralize free radicals (unstable molecules linked to the development of cancer), cardiovascular disease and other age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s. Substances in blueberries called polyphenols, specifically the anthocyanins that give the fruit its blue hue, are the major contributors to antioxidant activity (info found here). I'm also told that purple carrots contain these anthocyanins, which is why they are more nutritious than their orange brothers (not only are they way cooler, they're better for you!).

Cacao nibs are said to be even higher in antioxidants than blueberries! What's great about the antioxidants in the nibs, is that they're more stable than other food sources, and so are more easily taken in by your body. They're also really high in magnesium, which plays a major role in nerve and muscle function, bone strength and circulation. It cannot be produced by the body, and therefore, must be obtained through food sources or supplements.

Is there anything BETTER to throw into your banana bread? I think not.

I used my fave Tessa Kiros recipe and changed it up a bit...

Banana, Blueberry and Cacao Nib Bread

125g Butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
350g (3 or 4) old bananas (mashed or chopped)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp milk
1 generous cup frozen blueberries
2 handfuls crushed walnuts
1/2 cup cacao nibs (you can add more if you want to!)
Handful rolled oats

1) Preheat oven to 180C and prepare your loaf tin.
2) Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth, and then add the bananas and cacao nibs.
3) Add the milk, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, and mix well.
4) Sieve in the flour and baking powder, and mix well until smooth.
5) Pour in the walnuts and blueberries, and mix gently to ensure even distribution.
6) Pour the batter into your loaf tin, and sprinkle the rolled oats on top.
7) Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
8) Leave your cake to cool for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

Enjoy on its own, with butter, toasted... However you like! It's worth waiting till the next day though, the loaf will cut better, and the flavours will have made friends by that stage, and will be a much more cohesive flavour. 

Without the additions of blueberries, walnuts and cacao nibs, this is my fave recipe for banana bread, I don't use any others now. It's soft, tasty, not too sweet, but just sweet enough. It's really worth trying!

Keep your eyes open for an even better version of this loaf! Im going to be experimenting with different flours and sweeteners to make this a snack that is healthy, not just "healthy"!


  1. Yum this sounds so delicious. I like how you've thrown in the cold fighting ingredients into it too, so its healthy and delicious. Hope that man flu doesn't ruin your long weekend :)

    1. Thanks Michelle, the manflu didn't do too much to our weekend, thankfully I managed to avoid getting sick, and S improved enough to function! I'm gonna put it down to eating plenty of flu fighting ingredients!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks! I couldn't taste them as much as I expected to, but every now and again you get a little chunk and its lovely! I think next time I'll add more, sprinkled on top with the oats!