Friday, May 30, 2008

Nuts at Breakfast? Me? (Hazelnut Pan-Bread, gluten and grain free)



All of you who entered this month's 'Go Ahead Honey! It's Gluten Free', rest easy, I am on the case and your delicious breakfast round up will be here in a day or so - with the exciting announcement of our next gluten free jolly and its lovely host...

But before I can get to that I need to post this - my entry to the Great Peanut Butter Exhibition Number 2, hosted by the illustrious, indefatigable (and possibly insane) Peanut Butter Boy. Who, whether by telepathy or empathy or single-white-female-athy has also chosen Breakfast as this month's theme. His criteria for judging entries is (loosely) nut butter quality, speed and ease of recipe and whether the image makes him drool so much that he rushes to the kitchen immediately and reaches for the peanut butter.



Now peanut butter is off limits for me just at the moment, although you may be pleased to hear that the SCD diet is going well - I no longer look like a rag doll with over rouged cheeks now that I am digesting fats and sending some of them to my skin for essential repair work, I have lost 2 inches from my waist as it is no longer bloated and sore and those windy nights are a thing of the past, (for any of you who remember the long windy night of my post on coconut bars). However, caution is now my mantra and I am surely on the peanut butter wagon as its leguminous nature makes it hard for us IBD types to digest. Instead I turn to other nut butters to get my gooey nut fix, in this case the most delicious organic roasted hazel butter.

This recipe came about one morning when I really fancied some pancakes, but was so pooped I couldn't be bothered to actually stand over something delicate and grain free and turn it with the requisite care. The best solution seemed to be one large pancake, cooked slowly and finished under a gentle grill like a frittata. I mixed up a nut batter with what apparently seems like arcane knowledge to Nick, but just seems lodged in there like culinary algebra to me, and eased it into a heavy cast iron frying pan frothing with butter.

About twenty minutes later we sat down with a cup of tea, enjoying a slice of something not unlike a moist hazelnut cake with a buttery crust.

'Is that cake?' asked Fin incredulously as he was drawn in nose first, on a ribbon of hazelnut scent.

'Cake?' I chortled indulgently, 'of course it's not cake - who has cake for breakfast? It's hazelnut pan bread Fin, sit down and have a slice.'

And Fin sat down and ate two slices of not-cake, the first piece swift and greedy and the second with more consideration, all the while giving me little knowing smiles at the cakeyness of this pan-bread and our conspiracy to make it a breakfast item.

I've since made it a few ways, once with ground roasted hazelnuts, a spoonful of ground coffee and another dessert spoon of honey added to the mix, another with chopped walnuts stirred in and finally a lighter mixture of almonds, lemon zest and roasted almond butter. It was delicious every time!

If you have IBD, (IBS, chrohns, colitis etc) then make sure you soak your nuts in salted water for 24 hours and dehydrate or roast them first. This makes the whole thing much more digestible.

Hazelnut Pan-Bread

3oz ground hazelnuts (I grind mine in a coffee grinder and store in the fridge)
1 very ripe banana
2 medium eggs or 1 large duck egg
1 dessertspoon maple syrup (or molasses for a very dark bread)
2 heaped dessertspoons roast hazelnut butter (or almond, brazil, cashew or peanut butter)
pinch of sea salt
2 oz dried dates chopped roughly (about 8) - optional
1 tsp cream of tartar (1 tsp of vinegar for SCD)
1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
dessertspoon lemon juice
unsalted butter to cook

Put a heavy cast iron pan on a low heat to heat through. I used a 6" diameter pan with 2" deep sides, if you use a larger pan, you'll have a flatter bread. It must be a pan that can also fit under your grill or go into the oven. The bread is finished under the grill, so if your pan won't fit - the only thing you can do is preheat your oven to 160C and finish it in there.

Mash the banana in a mixing bowl and put in all the other ingredients apart from bicarbonate of soda. If you want to add a spoonful of fresh ground coffee or walnuts - do it here. Beat until smooth and then throw a large lump of butter in the pan on the stove to froth - about the size of a large walnut. Don't let the butter burn, the pan should be on the lowest heat.

Swirl the butter around the pan to coat the sides. Beat the bicarbonate of soda into the batter and scrape it all gently into the pan. Gently place a lid on the pan and cook on the lowest heat for ten minutes, until the batter is risen and puffy looking, but still wet and uncooked. While it's cooking, preheat the grill to medium low.

Take the lid off the pan and gently ease it under the grill - not too close to the flames or element and let it cook for about 10-15 minutes until the top is golden brown and firm to the touch. Slide a knife around the edge, place a plate on top and invert, using tea towels or oven gloves to protect your hands. Slice and enjoy with knowing smiles.