Last month we flew into my hometown of Sydney for a week long reunion. The visit was to celebrate a landmark 60th birthday, my mothers, followed by a 6th party for Sofia. The children had a fabulous time as they rediscovered relatives and better acquainted themselves with cousins they barely knew or had forgotten, often the case with infrequent visits. A few tears were shed as we arrived back home, the downside of living thousands of miles from family.
The celebrations did not end there as my wedding anniversary reached a milestone of 15 years last week. Admittedly the occasion was a little more sedate, as I nowadays prefer to opt for a casual dinner at a favourite haunt followed by a homemade dessert. And so that is exactly what we ended up doing, a far cry from those earlier years of wedded bliss. A little jaded perhaps in my mature years... the truth of the matter is raising kids takes every ounce of energy that I try to muster up each morning. When dusk impatiently arrives I am truly ready to succumb to some soft candlelight, a glass of red if the inclination is there and some jazzy tunes on my favourite radio station. When the kids are asleep my home transforms into a tranquil refuge from the frenetic pace of the day and I can't imagine being anywhere else than in that space. So with the sweet aroma of peonies, currently my favourite flower, I quietly celebrated 15 years of marriage.
These muffins are a variation of the banana bread, it calls for oats and almond meal instead of spelt flour. Inspired by Heidi Swansons Oatcakes from her recent Super Natural Every Day Cookbook. I've seen a number of similar recipes online and no wonder as they are a delicious gluten free option (when using gluten free oats) that relies solely on the sweetness of bananas. I'm posting this for my sister as she was also seduced by these morsels of goodness.
Banana Oat Muffins
1 1/2 cups rolled oats (not instant oats)
1 cup almond meal
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6-8 chunks of grain sweetened vegan dark chocolate (for each muffin)optional
scant 1/2 cup coarsely crushed walnuts for topping
1/3 cup macadamia nut or olive oil plus more for greasing
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 large ripe bananas
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees celsius/340 fahrenheit. Makes 6-8 standard muffins, lightly grease a muffin tin with the oil.
Place the oats, almond meal, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk together. In a separate bowl, roughly mash the peeled bananas and combine with the macadamia nut oil and vanilla extract. Add this to the dry ingredients and stir until thoroughly combined.
Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, filling them up close to the rim. Press a piece of the chocolate (if using) down the centre of each muffin and top with some of the crushed walnuts. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until a skewer when inserted (around the chocolate centre) comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes in the tin before turning them out on a wire rack to cool completely. Makes 6-8 muffins.