March, for all its beautiful events, is definitely a time of immense celebration – of weddings, of birthdays, and of friendships.
Last week was a flurry of activity; and between the hen party we threw for Barbi, and dinners with friends from all over the world – Argentina, Australia and Singapore – my soul is deep in gratitude for all the love that I’ve seen and am witnessing.
When I first relocated to Argentina some almost four years ago, there were days where I’d huddle in bed and cry because I felt so far-removed from my friends and family back in Singapore.
On special days like my birthday or Christmas or New Year’s in particular, the weight of my re-location and a life far away from Singapore falls hard upon my shoulders, and it is in those moments that I wish hard for friends to be closer, both physically and emotionally.
Because of the fact that the future, and where I will live next time is unknown, I’ve come to realize and accept the fact that there are friends who are gems to be kept for life; and friends with whom you will pass certain seasons, but that each friendship, whether long and rich or short and fleeting, is worth being thankful for.
Now that I’m reaching the four-years-in-Argentina mark, I know I’m blessed to have developed friendships with some of the most honest, beautiful people in the world.
Friends whom I can call on a Friday night and chill out with over a cocktail of campari and orange juice, and friends with whom I can have a 30-minute conversation on the phone, between uncontrollable sobs and snippets of laughter.
Especially because this March, there is so much celebration and festivity in the air, and there are plenty of occasions which involve sparkling champagne, clinking of wine glasses, and toasts to life, love and happy marriages.
At every gathering, I witness the blossoming of new bonds; and the proof of decade-long friendships, and be I a participant or an observer, I feel tremendously and incredibly enriched.
And in this month of so many good and happy things, despite the eventual transition from summer to autumn, despite the fact that it marks the end of the first quarter of the new year, and despite the fact that time is flying by much too quickly, I’ll take the time to savor every single bit of it; every bite and morsel.
In line with the richness and fullness of this amazing period, and in honor of the wonders of summer, here’s a loaf of sweet bread that’s befitting of all the goodness that’s permeating the air.
You already know that one of my secret ingredients is the humble banana – a fruit whose simplicity and subtle sweetness lends a hint of flavor to any sweet treat – and as I’ve mentioned before, it’s one food my kitchen feels incomplete without.
This time, in a marriage of summer’s prettiest blueberries, freshly ground almond meal, delicious honey and bananas, we get a loaf of blueberry almond banana bread that’s moist without being too wet, and crumbly but soft.
I made this bread one Saturday morning, and we stuffed ourselves with it for tea as we watched episode-after-episode of Breaking Bad.
I remember Juan asking for repeat slices of it, and I watched as he ate with delight – wondering how on earth banana bread could be made without wheat flour. I laughed at his expression of shock when I told him all that was needed was to swap wheat flour for almond meal, and ta-dah – we get a grain-free snack to eat without any of wheat’s inflammatory problems.
But besides all its healthy plus points, I loved that this bread incorporated both bananas and blueberries, one of the most deliciously beautiful combinations in the kitchen. And like all good things, you just can’t get enough of it.
So this March, we’re savoring every bit of it, blueberry banana bread, weddings, birthdays and friendships. May your March be filled with plenty of love as well!
GRAIN-FREE BLUEBERRY ALMOND BANANA BREAD (Makes 1 loaf)
Adapted from: Paleo Spirit
1) 2 cups blanched almond flour
2) 1/3 cup coconut flour (or more depending on texture)
3) 1 teaspoon baking soda
4) 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
5) 1/4 teaspoon salt
6) 1 cup of mashed ripe bananas (approximately 2)
7) 4 large eggs
8) 1/4 cup honey
9) 1/4 cup liquified coconut oil (or butter or ghee)
10) 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
11) 1 cup of fresh blueberries
1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (160 deg cel)
2) Grease one loaf pan or line with baking paper (the waxy side up)
3) Combine/sift dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
4) Combine wet ingredients in a large bowl and whisk them together (or use a stand mixer).
5) Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix well until they are fully incorporated.
6) Gently stir in blueberries.
7) Pour batter into greased/baking paper-lined loaf pan and smooth the top of the batter.
8) Bake for about 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
9) Remove banana bread loaf from oven, let it cool in the pan for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling.
10) Store in the refrigerator. Can keep for at least 5 days in the refrigerator (that’s if you don’t eat it up by then!).
P.S. If you’re wondering why I’m trying to eliminate wheat from my life, I strongly recommend Wheat Belly – a book that will empower you and make you determined to get rid of wheat and it’s terrible health effects!