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Squash bananas

Updated: Nov 6, 2020

Banana and squash pancakes

Banana and squash spicy loaf

Date and squash caramel Homemade peanut butter

T'is the season! Our local market is piled high with pumpkins and squashes of every size and colour, all but begging to be roasted and whipped up into something whimsical. My favourite variety of the moment is the red kuri squash, this little beauty:

For some reason the butternuts here in Paris just aren’t as good as in the UK, but red kuri have all the sweetness you could want, and more of sweet potato texture and colour once roasted. Delicioso. If you can’t get them where you are, butternut, acorn squash, sugar pumpkin or regular pumpkin would all work just fine for these recipes. Whenever I roast one up I’ve now got into the habit of keeping some leftovers in the fridge. You just never know when you might need a squash and banana pancake, for example. This Sunday was just one of those days. Sure we missed our (somewhat ambitious) 10am cinema trip, but it was worth it.

They're an experimental variation on my usual (and magical) banana pancake recipe, using extra baking powder and oats instead of buckwheat flower to help make a more ‘american’ style fluffy pancake. What a SUCCESS, is all I can say. You whizz them up in no time, they’re still really rather good for you, and look super pretty with a pomegranate seed, honey and natural yogurt topping. Sure, you could lather them with maple syrup/bacon/naughtiness for a more decadent treat, but really they don’t need it. You get plenty of sweetness and spice from the pancake itself.

The banana and squash loaf was another variation on a regular feature. I swapped some of the bananas for squash, added some oats and a few extra spices. It was supposed to be for an afternoon tea at home with MA, but he ended up having to cancel. Luckily I’d already made the cake. Phew. And a choice of toppings, just to be safe.

There are only two tablespoons of maple syrup in the batter, so the loaf itself isn’t too sweet. It makes a spicy tasty breakfast (toasted with e.g. home made peanut butter) or a more sumptuous teatime slice (toasted with e.g. home made date and squash caramel).

Date and squash caramel you say? Oh yes indeed.

Date caramel is a relatively new instagram inspired discovery for me. Wowzer. I mean I really WOULD say that it’s as good as regular caramel. Ok, it’s still pretty sugary, but those sugars are all so natural and unrefined that’s it’s still BASICALLY good for you. Possibly. The couple of spoonfuls of roasted pumpkin/squash (another reason always to have some left over in the fridge at this time of year) help give a creamier consistency, and the ginger gives a spicy hit which goes oh so well with the loaf. You need this in your life. Stocking filler? I think so.

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Banana and roasted squash pancakes

Serves 2, takes 15 minutes

brunch / dessert / gluten free / dairy free (option) / vegetarian / ready in a jiffy / on a budget / easy peasy / quietly smug / detox / baby / refined sugar free / ready in a jiffy / autumn / winter

Light, fluffy and spiced gluten free pancakes with no guilt attached. They're basically bananas and eggs whizzed into deliciousness. Difficult to beat.

* Eggs - 2

* Banana - 1 large

* Roast squash/pumpkin - 2 tbsp

* Rolled oats - 2 tbsp

* Cinnamon - 1/2 tsp

* Salt - a couple of pinches

* Baking powder - 1 tbsp

* Coconut oil or butter - for frying

* Pomegranate - seeds of 1/2

* Natural yogurt and honey, to serve

Place the eggs, banana, squash, oats, cinnamon and salt in a blender and mix until completely smooth. Add the baking powder and mix to combine.

In a large, non-stick frying pan, heat a little coconut oil or butter over a medium high heat. If you like, get two pans going at the same time so you can cook all the pancakes at once. Ladle the batter into the pan, one ladle per pancake. Cook for about five minutes on one side before delicately flipping. You can tell when the pancakes are ready to flip as you’ll start seeing air bubbles coming up to the surface. Cook for a few minutes on the other side.

Serve immediately with a scoop of yogurt, pomegranate seeds and a drizzle of honey.

Banana and squash spiced loaf

Makes 1 loaf, takes 10 minutes plus oven time

dessert / brunch / baking / autumn / winter / easy peasy / quietly smug / party / gluten free / dairy free / vegetarian / on a budget / refined sugar free / detox / baby* / ready in a jiffy

Spiced and satisfying, this gluten free and dairy free loaf is going to be a new festive season staple for me. It’s best enjoyed warm and toasted with one of the toppings below.

* Roast squash/pumpkin - 1 cup

* Banana - 2

* Oats - 1 cup

* Ground almonds - 1 cup

* Ground cinnamon - 1 tsp

* Allspice - 1 tsp

* Ground ginger - 1 tsp

* Maple syrup - 2 tbsp

* Salt - a couple of pinches

* Eggs - 3

* Baking powder - 2 tsp

One loaf tin, greased, the base lined with baking paper

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (170 degrees fan assisted).

Place all the ingredients except the eggs and the baking powder in a mixer and blend until smooth. Add the eggs and blend to combine, then do the same with the baking powder.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for an hour. Keep an eye on the loaf towards the end of the cooking time - if the top looks like it’s browning too much cover it with a sheet of tin foil.

Test that the loaf is done by inserting a knife into the centre. It should come out clean.

Serve warm or lightly toasted with some date caramel or home made peanut butter.

* If making this loaf with a babe in mind, I leave out the maple syrup and of course the salt. If you substitute the oats for wholemeal flour you also get a lighter texture which is easier for mini mouths.

Date and squash caramel

Makes 1 jar, takes 10 minutes

dessert / breakfast / baking / autumn / winter / easy peasy / quietly smug / gluten free / dairy free / vegetarian / vegan / on a budget / detox / ready in a jiffy

Try and use the freshest, stickiest dates you can find. As a variation, replace the squash with a nut butter for something…nuttier.

* Dates - 1 cup, deseeded

* Vanilla extract - 1/2 tsp

* Ground ginger - 1 tsp

* Roast squash - 2 tbsp

* Salt - a couple of pinches

Start by soaking the dates in boiling water for about five minutes (you’ll need to soak dryer dates for a bit longer). Place the dates in the blender with a few tablespoons of their soaking liquid and the remaining ingredients. Blend until very smooth. Add extra spoonfuls of the soaking liquid to reach your desired consistency. Place in a jar and you’re all set.

Homemade peanut butter

Makes 1 jar, takes 10 minutes

dessert / breakfast / perennial / easy peasy / quietly smug / gluten free / dairy free / vegetarian / vegan / on a budget / refined sugar free / store cupboard / ready in a jiffy

CB’s been telling me to make my own peanut butter for years. I’m not sure why I never have. Literally couldn’t be simpler. This is thick and about as nutty as it gets.

* Roasted unsalted peanuts, ideally with skin on - 1 cup

* Salt - a pinch

Place the peanuts in a blender and blend until you have a smooth buttery texture. This will take about five minutes. Add a couple of pinches of salt and blend to combine. Pop into a jar and enjoy.


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