This is weird and scary and lonely, isn’t it?
I’m in a lucky position is so many ways. My freelancing income has gone down but I’m busier than ever in my day job, and able to work from home. Andy and I are able to get a mortgage break if we need one. We’re generally healthy and my family are, for the most part, safe and well. We have access to outdoor space on the balcony, and enough money to feed ourselves well. We don’t have children, which I’m counting as a blessing right now, and – while I’m an introvert and were not a 24/7 kinda couple, we do for the most part enjoy one another’s company.)
But I’m still scared. I’m on edge all the time, worried and missing people. I’m crying a lot and eating a lot and trying to ‘make the most of this time’.
I’m scared to create anything because the world out there has become so big and scary and fast, while my world inside here has become so small and safe and slow. It feels like a disconnect that I can’t bridge.
Anything I write is just so small and inconsequential to the real world that I’ve been scared to write anything at all.
So I’ve been mostly baking, instead. I’ve been working on my vegan and gluten-free banana bread recipe for a while now.
I know its become a lockdown cliche (it’s amazing how quickly we adapt, isn’t it? I don’t enjoy the phrase ‘new normal’, but having anything become so popular that it’s now a cliche in the middle of *gesticulates wildly* this? That must say something about how we cope with, and adapt to, vast changes).
My banana bread recipe. It’s gluten-free and vegan (obvs). It also uses up all those bananas you panic bought on your one weekly trip to the supermarket.
I think we’ve all been eating as well as we can, trying to balance:
- Physical health (getting your five-a-day and suddenly transitioning to a very sedentary lifestyle).
- Mental health (the world is so scary right now, comfort food is basically an essential at this point).
- Practicality (now that casually popping down the shops is no longer an option).
I’m currently living on a steady diet of stress-baking, getting a takeaway ~to help the economy~ and some truly wild food combos. ‘Hummus’ made from dusty cans of plain beans from the back of the cupboard? 5 different ways to cook cabbage because that’s the only vegetable left at the shops? A box of unidentified leftovers from the freezer? All legitimate meals at this point.
The banana-bread-for-breakfast habit I’ve picked up can attest to how delish this cake is. Its banana-ey (duh) and sweet, but with a tangy edge, thanks to the vegan buttermilk you add. It’s moist and dense and heavy, like a banana bread should be, and I’ve taken to decorating the top of mine with banana chips (from a long-forgotten snack bag I found in the back of the cupboard).
Baking banana bread seems to have become another basic millennial stereotype. But if creating something in the kitchen distracts me from the global pandemic for a while (and I end up with a tasty AF cake), I am absolutely fine with that.
- 3-4 Bananas (approx. 300g)
- 1 tsp. Lemon juice (fresh or bottled, either is fine)
- 250 g Gluten-free self-raising flour* (I use Dove's Farm)
- 0.5 tsp. Salt
- 1.5 tsp. Cinnamon
- 120 g Vegan margarine/butter, at room temperature (I use Stork)
- 60 g White caster sugar
- 60 g Light soft brown sugar
- 2 tbsp Ground flax meal (can substitute with chia seeds)
- 1.5 tsp. Vanilla extract
- 0.5 tbsp. Lemon juice (fresh or bottled, either is fine)
- 0.5 cup Vegan milk (I normally use soy milk)
- Banana chips (to decorate)
- In a small bowl or ramekin, add the flax meal or chia seeds with 5 tbsp. warm water, mix with a fork and set to one side
- Peel the bananas into a small bowl, add the lemon juice and mash with a fork, then set to one side
- Weigh the flour, salt and cinnamon out into a bowl and set to one side
- Put the vegan butter and both the sugars into a large mixing bowl and cream together with an electric hand whisk for about a minute
- Add the thickened chia/flax into the big mixing bowl and continue to beat with the electric hand whisk for another minute or so
- Add the mashed banana into the big mixing bowl and fold in
- Add the vanilla extract into the big mixing bowl and briefly beat with the electric hand whisk
- Make simple vegan buttermilk: Take your half-cup measure and add 0.5 tsp. lemon juice to the bottom, then fill to the top with vegan milk and stir quickly
- Add the vegan buttermilk mixture into the big mixing bowl, and beat with the electric hand whisk for one more minute
- Sift the flour mixture into the big mixing bowl and gently fold all the ingredients together
- Pour the batter into your greased loaf tin, decorate with banana chips (pictured), slices of fresh banana, or even with nuts or chocolate chips
- Bake in the oven for around 60 minutes – the top should be golden-brown and beginning to crack, and a knife or skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean
- As soon as it comes out of the oven, brush the top of your banana bread with a little more vegan milk, then allow to cool completely before removing from the tin and slicing
Just a quick FYI: My intentions with this blog are to help people who eat vegan & gluten-free. This is not diet, health or nutrition advice. Go and see a qualified medical professional for that sh*t, take care of yourself, & see my full liability policy here.