As a little girl I spent most days with my grandmother in her traditional european second kitchen baking. What I adored most was the rhythmic way in which she’d throw things together, confident that they’d always work out. She’d tip flour out onto her rustic wooden dining table and casually throw in a bit of salt before making a well and beating in the eggs with her bare hands.
I’d watch her wedding ring get coated as she worked the floury mess into a smooth dough. She’d roll it out both gracefully and with abandon, handing me the cutter to run along it’s surface into long, thin, frilly strips.
”Why don’t you measure anything Nonna?” I would ask her, tracing my name into a pile of flour I’d just thrown all over the table. ”No need measure when you cook, you feel the food, use your hands”. And so I’d plunge my little hands into the pile of dough and giggle as I rolled it around.
Everything that women touches turns into culinary gold. I would stare hypnotically as she stuffed home-grown zucchini flowers with fresh ricotta and spinach. I traipsed along beside her while she rummaged through her enormous vegetable garden, chatted with her about 5 year old things while shelling peas and bonded with her over freshly baked bread covered with layers of heirloom tomatoes plucked from their plant moments before. To get me out of her way she’d serve me up a bowl of cherry tomatoes and snow peas to snack on while I watched the Flintstones.
I vaguely remember locking her out of her own house so I could surprise her with a cake I baked myself. I had to let her back in when I dropped the carton of eggs on the kitchen floor.
I’m grateful to have her style confidence and passion running through my veins in the kitchen. I’m far from a domestic goddess, but there is nothing I relish more than spending a quiet afternoon alone in the kitchen. Music humming, a fresh hot coffee on the counter, tossing ingredients into a bowl with reckless abandon intuitively knowing they’ll always turn out.
My gastronomic pursuits are a little different to those of my childhood, opting for organic, plant based ingredients and my most loved super foods to recreate my favourites.
This Cacao, Raspberry & Zucchini bread is the delicious results of this very thought process:
I want to make zucchini bread, but the last one tasted weird. Maybe I could put berries in it. Nah, that won’t work but that chocolate zucchini cake I tasted a while ago was awesome. Maybe I could do that with berries.
It is the loaf to feed to skeptics of combining vegetables with fruit in a baked good. Gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free.
Here’s how to make it:
Cacao, Raspberry & Zucchini Bread
2 cups buckwheat flour
2 free range eggs
50mL melted organic cold pressed coconut oil
1 pinch baking powder
splash apple cider vinegar
200mL almond milk
3 tbsp organic maple syrup
1 sml zucchini – grated
1 cup raspberries
1 tbsp organic maca powder
2 tbsp organic raw cacao powder
Combine all ingredients except for raspberries in a bowl with a whisk until the batter reaches a cake like consistency. Pour the mixture into a lined loaf tin. Sprinkle the raspberries over the top.
Bake at 180C for 30-45 mins or until cake tester/skewer comes out clean.
*if the loaf colours quickly but isn’t ready, cover with baking paper.