You will be pleasantly surprised when you taste this deliciously moist loaf, it contains apple, blueberries and a few dates as its only sweetener. There's a hint of cinnamon and ginger and these spices also help reduce the amount of sweetener needed in a recipe. Apple and Blueberry Loaf is nut-free (without the topping), making it suitable for school lunch boxes. It's also suitable to use as a grab-and-go breakfast as it's full of protein, healthy fats and fruit, making it a great way to start the day. (Also suitable to bake in muffin tins).
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Preheat oven to 175c (fan-forced). Line a 21 x 10cm loaf tin with baking paper and allow a little overhang (this will help when lifting out the cooked loaf).
Add the quartered apples, dates and lemon juice to a food processor. Process for 6 - 7 seconds until finely chopped (if organic apples aren't available, peel or scrub skins very well). Scrape down sides of the bowl.
Add the eggs, ghee and vanilla, process for 10 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl.
Add the coconut flour, arrowroot, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda and salt. Process for 6 seconds to combine. Remove the blade.
Add the blueberries and stir them gently through the mixture (if you are using frozen berries, don't allow them to thaw before gently stirring through to prevent them bursting).
Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and spread evenly into the corners and smooth the top. Sprinkle with chopped macadamia nuts and gently press down (for nut-free omit the macadamia topping).
Bake for 60 - 65 minutes or until the top springs back when gently pressed. Cool in the tin for 30 minutes and then remove the loaf gently by using the baking paper. Place on a wire rack to completely cool.
Apples can be eaten fresh, cooked or dried, they are low in kilojoules and are a good source of vitamin C, which makes them a good choice for a healthy snack. When using fresh sliced apple, the surface will go brown as oxygen from the air reacts with an enzyme in the apple flesh. This reaction can be stopped by cooking the apple or brushing with lemon juice, drying the apple slices will also kill the enzyme. Apples are high in fibre, including soluble fibre. Packed with numerous phytochemicals such as quercetin that is know to help prevent heart disease and cancer. Purchase organic if possible, apples should always be washed before eating, if they have been waxed it's best to peel them as it will prevent pesticide residues from being washed off.
I use Medjool dates in my recipes, I like the flavour and softness of these dates. A bonus, there are no preservatives used with these dates. They blend easy when adding to recipes and give a slight caramel flavour.
Medjool dates are an excellent source of dietary fiber, rich in potassium, copper, manganese, magnesium and vitamin B6.
Use freshly squeezed lemon juice. Most store bought lemon juice containers preservatives.
I have used large free range or organic eggs from a 700g carton in my recipes. Eggs are one of the few foods considered to be a complete protein because they contain all 9 essential amino acids, also studies have shown that lutein (yellow colour) in egg yolks protects against the progress of early heart disease.
Ghee is clarified butter, it is pure butter fat that has had the milk solids removed. You can get the flavour of butter in your cooking without the dairy (please don't consume if you have an allergy to ghee). My favourite brand is Organic Valley Purity Farms which I purchase online from iherb. It is also very easy to make yourself.
Use an organic vanilla extract (not an essence) or vanilla powder. Vanilla makes a big difference to the flavour of a recipe, I recommend keeping to the quantities I have stated in a recipe. I prefer Madagascar pure vanilla extract manufactured by ‘Simply Organic’ and for powder, Vanillamax 100% pure, finely ground Madagascar vanilla beans produced by Bulletproof.
Coconut flour is made by drying and grinding the meat of a coconut to a fine texture. Coconut flour is a low-carb flour that's an excellent source of dietary fibre and protein. It's a good grain-free and nut-free alternative but does require a larger amount of liquid than normal when used for baked goods. When replacing in a recipe that calls for wheat flour (or almond meal), use this guide; 1 cup of regular flour = 1/3 cup coconut flour, add an extra egg and an extra 1/3 cup of liquid. It can be used in soups, gravies and stews as a thickener and adds a boost of nutrition. There are now quite a few brands of coconut flour available and they all seem to perform differently depending on how coarse the texture is. In my recipes I used Organic Coconut Flour from 'Let's Do Organic' and 'Red Tractor Foods' I like their finer texture.
Arrowroot is a herb, the roots are cultivated for its starch properties. It is used in my recipes as a thickener and I also like combining it with almond meal to produce a much lighter texture, more like a gluten flour. I find the starch helps to bind the ingredients together. You can substitute tapioca flour, which is made from the dried roots of the cassava plant. Tapioca can be used in baking, it has a slightly sweet flavour. However, I do not recommend thickening with tapioca, as it has a stretchy, gummy texture. Supermarkets only sell in very small containers, which is not cost effective. Purchase from baking specialty stores, health food stores or online. ( When substituting for cornflour in recipes, 2 teaspoons arrowroot = 1 tablespoon cornflour/starch).
I am sure you will notice as you read my recipes that cinnamon appears quite frequently. It lends itself to savoury and sweet dishes. I have used ground cinnamon in my recipes if not stated otherwise. The best cinnamon to use is Ceylon (Verum). It has huge health benefits in regulating blood sugar levels. Cinnamon has antifungal properties and candida (yeast overgrowth) cannot live in a cinnamon environment. Added to food it inhibits bacterial growth, making it a natural food preservative and these are just a few of the benefits.
Ginger root is widely used as a spice but also for medicinal purposes. It is a hot spice which you will find in many commercial curry powders. It's often used to prevent motion sickness and nausea. Some studies have shown joint swelling in people suffering with arthritis experience less pain and swelling when taken daily. I like to use fresh minced ginger in my meals and dry ground ginger in baked goods.
Also known as Bicarbonate of Soda or Sodium Bicarbonate and is used as a rising agent in baking, it contains no gluten or grains. I use Bob's Red Mill baking soda as I find it rises better than other brands I've tried.
Raw pink Himalayan salt crystals is unlike common table salt which can be a highly refined industrial byproduct, otherwise know as sodium chloride. Himalayan salt is completely pure and may naturally balance the body's alkaline/acidity and regulate water content. In addition Himalayan salt helps in the absorption of nutrients from food and contains many trace minerals for healthy cell structure. I purchase fine pink Himalayan crystal salt so I can use it in my shaker and for cooking.
Blueberries come from a perennial flowering plant. These indigo coloured berries are not only a very popular fruit but have one of the highest antioxidant capacities among all fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants are essential to combat the free radicals that can damage our cells. Blueberries are an excellent source of vitamin K and manganese, also a good source of vitamin C, fibre and copper. Purchase local organic in season, when not in season purchase organic frozen blueberries.
Macadamia nuts are tree nuts that have a subtle, butter-like flavour and creamy texture. The Macadamia tree is indigenous to Australia. Macadamias are full of heart-healthy fats, they have more omega 3 fats than any other nut. They are also rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. There is no need to soak macadamias like many other nuts and they make a very creamy delicious dairy-free milk.