Banana Hazelnut Bread

‘Procrastibaking’, a common word used amongst home cooks, means to put off something you SHOULD be doing, like filing paperwork, paying bills, ironing or cleaning out the linen cupboard, and turning to baking instead.

Hands up those who can relate? Yep…me too.

A long to-do list of things I don’t want to do, plus a little bit of rain and BAM, I am in the kitchen, measuring, pouring and mixing.

This Banana Hazelnut bread is sitting on my bench, in a red and white spotted tin. With an extra early start needed today, I traded my usual bowl of Quinoa Bircher Muesli with greek yoghurt and berries for a slice of this bread, toasted and spread with ricotta and honey.

And not just any Honey.

Honey from our good friends, who got them straight from their bees. And, oh my goodness, I am having to stop my family from eating the honey by the spoonful, straight from the jar.

The original recipe for this bread is from Louise Fulton-Keats, culinary legend Margaret Fulton’s granddaughter. I found it in The OzHarvest Cookbook, a book compiled of famous Australian foodie’s recipes, focusing on using leftovers at home and cooking simply.

I have played with this recipe to make it gluten free and refined sugar free for a loved one with a restricted diet. It came out moist and as delicious as ever, so I am including all options below to meet all dietary needs.

Banana Hazelnut Bread


  • 4 medium sized over-ripe bananas, mashed. You want 1 overflowing cup of mash.
  • 1/4 cup milk (soy, nut or coconut milk can also be used to make this dairy free)
  • 1/2 cup light olive oil or rice bran oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup pitted prunes, chopped (or dates if you prefer)
  • 1 1/2 cups wholemeal self raising flour (gluten free self raising flour also works well)
  • 1/2 cup hazelnut meal
  • 1/3 cup rice malt syrup (or 1/2 cup brown sugar if you prefer)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • a handful of whole hazelnuts and pumpkin seeds to sprinkle on top


  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius.
  2. Grease and line a loaf style tin.
  3. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, with a spoon, until all combined.
  4. Pour into tin and bake for about an hour, or until it's cooked when you insert it with a skewer and it comes out clean.
  5. If it's browning too quickly, loosely cover with a piece of foil for the remaining cooking time.
  6. Allow to cool in tin for a few minutes before you remove.
  7. Serve warm or toasted with ricotta and honey.
  8. This also freezes well, pre-sliced if you like for ease. It will last for 3 days in an air-tight container or a little longer in the fridge.

Raspberry & Pistachio Semifreddo (refined sugar free, gluten free)

A semifreddo is a fancy word for a ‘semi frozen’ dessert. It almost always has a base of cream, eggs and sugar, but when it comes to flavour, anything goes.

My boys and I agree that eating this one tastes like eating a frozen Creme Brûlée.

Another simple recipe that’s perfect for summer time entertaining, it only has 3 main steps – whip, fold and freeze and can be made many days in advance.

You will need electric beaters for this recipe, hand whipping won’t get you the desired thickness you need when it comes to whipping the egg yolks and honey.

This has made it to the top of our dessert menu for my family Christmas gathering – alongside my Mum’s Pudding of course.

A shout out to one of my fave’s, Bill Granger, for this recipe. His simple approach to cooking is one I love. I come back to his recipes time and time again. This is my version of his recipe from ABC Delicious magazine, November 2006.

Raspberry & Pistachio Semifreddo (refined sugar free, gluten free)

  • Prep Time: 15m
  • Cook Time: 6h
  • Total Time: 6h 15m


  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 250 milliliters thickened cream, whipped (1 cup)
  • 150 grams fresh raspberries, plus extra to decorate
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted, shelled pistachios, chopped, plus extra to decorate
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract


  1. Beat the egg yolks and honey together with an electric beater until very thick, pale and double in volume. This will take at least 5 minutes.
  2. Fold in the whipped cream and vanilla.
  3. Line a loaf tin with plastic wrap, leaving enough to hang over the sides of the tin. You will use this to wrap over the top of the semifreddo.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the tin, fold the wrap over the top and place in freezer for 2 hours, until semi-frozen.
  5. Remove from the freezer and carefully stir through the raspberries and pistachios.
  6. Cover with the wrap again and place in the freezer for another 4-6 hours, or overnight, until completely frozen.
  7. 20 minutes before you are ready to serve, invert the semifreddo onto a platter, remove the plastic wrap, decorate as you wish and leave to sit in the fridge to soften a little before cutting and eating.


Coconut Berry Chia Puddings (Dairy free, gluten free, refined sugar free)

My husband and I recently enjoyed a break away in beautiful Fiji to celebrate a special wedding anniversary. I’m not sure where the last 15 years have gone, but in what seems like a blink of an eye, we found ourselves enjoying some time by ourselves on the golden sands of Fiji, resting, reflecting and celebrating.

The beautiful spirit of the Fijian people just blew us away. An attitude of thankfulness and blessing flowed out of every one we met, despite having almost ‘nothing’ in terms of our standards here in Australia. From the little that we saw in the time we had, it was obvious that their priorities in life are their faith, providing on a daily basis the needs of their family for food and shelter, sharing all that they ‘earn’ each day with the people in their village. The highlight of their day is coming together to eat and celebrate, everyone contributing something, and everyone keeping an eye out for each other. They greet everyone regardless of whether they know them or not, making sure everyone feels welcome around them. They sing in almost any and every situation and the phrase that they are known for and which we came to love, is “No Hurry, No Worry.”

As we’re settling back into our full and crazy life, we are trying to remember some of these attitudes that contribute towards the Fijians being named ” The Most Happy People on Earth” (this quoted to us by many while we were there).

Our houses may be bigger, our food more fancy, our schedules more full, but I couldn’t help but come home, mulling over these ‘happy’ people and their way of not only simply ‘living’ but ‘enjoying’ life as they go about the journey.

On a few occasions I got the privilege of starting my day with a juicy, fresh drink of coconut water. Straight from the tree, the water from this young coconut was so refreshing and beautiful to drink. I know you can buy it in the supermarket these days, probably for a small fortune, but it just doesn’t quite taste the same as straight from the tree!

The Fijians drink it every morning and if they are going to work in the field all day harvesting sugar cane, they will simply take a coconut. That is what they will eat and drink to sustain them for the entire day of hard labour.  They call it their ‘natural sports drink.’

When you research the claimed health benefits, you can see that natural coconut water is quite an amazing drink with many health benefits, however, if you are not doing a lot of physical exercise and the supermarket variety is full of added sugar, you are probably better off with drinking plain water.

I think if I had a coconut tree in my yard and one of my boys could bring me one every morning, I would definitely drink it most days. But until that happens, I’ll stick with water as my drink of choice.

These Coconut and Berry Chia Puddings are an exceptionally easy dessert to make, with only 4 ingredients, they are low in sugar and are gluten and dairy free. Chia seeds are a great addition to any diet, high in omega 3 fatty acids, fibre and antioxidants, they are the ‘setting’ agent in this dessert, which my boys call ‘Berry Jelly’.

There are many versions of this dessert around the place at the moment, but this one I got from The Beauty Chef,

You can make this with any berry of choice or a mixture of your favourite berries.

Serves 4


1 cup coconut cream or coconut milk

1 cup frozen blueberries or raspberries or a mixture of both (you could use fresh berries, it will just take longer to set)

1 tablespoon of maple syrup

1/4 cup white chia seeds

Berries and shredded coconut to serve


Combine coconut cream, berries and maple syrup in a food proccesor and blend until smooth.

Combine this mixture with the chia seeds, stir well.

Pour this mixture evenly into 4 dessert glasses and refrigerate until set and the chia seeds have absorbed all of the liquid. This will take at least 4 hours.

Serve with berries and coconut.


Chocolate Avocado Fudge Cookies (gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free)

These cookies are for serious chocoholics. Rich and fudgey, I  recommend making them quite small, even bite size. They are best eaten after a little time in the fridge to firm up and need to be stored in the fridge if not eaten all at once!

This recipe is from blog


(makes about 10-12 cookies or more if you make them smaller)

3/4 cup of ripe avocado flesh

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup cocoa powder

50gm of 70% dark chocolate, chopped (milk free)

1/2 teaspoon of bi carb soda


Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius

Place avocado flesh and coconut sugar in a bowl and stir till combined.

Add egg and stir.

Mix in cocoa powder and bi carb soda.

Stir in chocolate chunks.

Place small spoonfuls of batter on baking trays lined with baking paper. These cookies won’t spread a lot, so flatten them with the back of your spoon slightly.

Bake for 10 minutes or until they don’t stick to the paper. Cool on trays. Store in single layers in the fridge. These will last for a few days in the fridge.