Gluten-free banana & zucchini bread

When you feel like baking but also don’t want to go out shopping for any specific ingredients, then you search the fridge and pantry and get a bit experimental. Today it was an excess of zucchinis, a soft banana, and half a packet of coconut flour that provided inspiration!

I do love making banana bread, for so many reasons: it’s easy, it’s delicious, it’s toddler-friendly, and it is great to slice and freeze to have on hand for snacks or a quick breakfast. What I don’t really love is the feeling I get when I’ve been eating a lot a wheat, like I have lately. Bit yuck. So being able to make this wheat-free was definitely a bonus. Note that this recipe uses coconut flour, which behaves in a very different way to regular flour or even standard GF flour, so if you want to substitute anything else it will require different quantities and a rebalance of the other ingredients.


1 banana, mashed
1 medium zucchini, finely grated
3 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk (or regular milk with some lemon juice)
50g butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
3 tablespoons golden syrup
2 tablespoons chia seeds
3/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon bi-carb soda

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease and line a loaf tin. Mix together the banana, zucchini and eggs. Add the milk, butter, sugar, golden syrup and chia seeds and mix well. Sift in the coconut flour, spices, baking powder and bi-carb soda, and add the flaxseed. Mix well then pour into the loaf tin. Bake for about 50 minutes, cool in tin about 10 minutes, and turn onto a wire rack to cool.

Can be eaten as it is, fresh and warm from the oven, or spread with butter, peanut butter or even cream cheese! Will keep a couple of days in an airtight container, or it can be sliced and frozen.


Zucchini muffins

When you haven’t got a lot of time, and you want to bake something that you know is going to work, then I can’t recommend muffins highly enough. And these ones have so much going for them: perfect snack size, hidden vegies, not too much sugar, easy to adapt to dairy-free, they can be frozen… They are also toddler-friendly, according to my 2-year-old daughter, who has figured out how to get them down from the kitchen bench!


I make them in a small muffin/standard cupcake size tray, but you could make them as giant Texas-style muffins if you wanted – just increase the cooking time a bit. I also like to use individual silicon liners because they’re so easy to turn out, which is particularly good if you want to freeze the muffins.


125g butter, melted
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 cup finely grated zucchini
2 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground allspice

Whisk the butter, eggs, milk, sugar and chia seeds together in a small bowl. In a larger bowl combine the flour, flaxseed, baking powder and allspice. Add the zucchini and toss lightly to coat. Make a well in the centre and pour in the butter mixture. Mix briefly until just combined – remember that muffins work best when worked quickly and the mixture isn’t beaten too much. Spoon into muffin tins and bake in a preheated 180C oven for about 20-25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

If you want to make these dairy free you could switch the butter for coconut oil and the milk for coconut milk. Another tasty thing to do would be to add 1/2 cup sultanas or chopped walnuts to the mix!


No-Bake Chocolatey Green Protein Balls

I’ve been very slack on the baking front lately, sorry about that. And I’m not sure you could even call this particular recipe ‘baking’ as there is no actual cooking required at all. But it’s something, and it’s different, and it’s healthy, so here you go!

I decided I wanted to make some kind of snack food that I could have with my tea during morning or afternoon breaks each day, but I needed something healthy and preferably with some kind of protein, because I’m about to start personal training and gym-going on a regular basis. (I’ve been talked into doing this Spartan Race thing in June, so I need some level of fitness…)

And so, here we have my version of protein ball things. If you don’t have, or don’t like, green powder stuff then substitute with extra protein powder. Also feel free to add or change things according to what you have in the pantry – I might try adding some cinnamon and/or coconut next time.


200g (approx 12) fresh dates, deseeded
1 1/2 tablespoons protein powder (I used chocolate flavoured soy protein)
1 tablespoon green powder (I found this in the health food section of a pharmacy, it has wheatgrass, spirulina, chlorophyll and such things in it)
3 tablespoons almond meal
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 tablespoons almond milk

Put everything in a food processor and pulse until the mixture starts to come together, then process until it becomes a paste. It will look like some kind of gross sludge, but don’t be put off, it tastes better than it looks. If it’s too dry, add some more milk, if it’s too squidgy add some more protein powder or almond meal.

Wet your hands and roll into small balls, about a heaped teaspoon per ball. Roll the balls in a coating such as coconut (I intended to use coconut but didn’t have any, so I used a mixture of almond meal and protein powder instead). I found this mixture made 12 balls. Keep them in the fridge, and have them as a snack, or post-workout.