One of my favourite things about blogging is the amazing people you 'meet' through it. I have made so many new friends...foodies,restaurateurs, hoteliers, creative whizzes, authors, poets and all round sweethearts! And I was particularly thrilled to find the blog of actor/writer, Francophile & wonderful cook Robin Ellis... Robin has been a hero of mine since he starred in the 1970's drama 'Poldark' which captured my mind and heart when I was about 10 and has stayed there ever since. A fabulous swashbuckling saga of love, shipwrecks, tin-mining & treachery in late 18th century Cornwall....made in the days when TV drama serials developed the storyline properly, over 3 months or so...leaving the viewers with a cliffhanger each week and something to look forward to and anticipate on Sunday evenings. Robin played the male lead, Ross Poldark - a dashing, non-conformist maverick of noble birth. Unforgettable!
He & his wife, Meredith, now live in a beautiful part of south western France where they enjoy a somewhat quieter life! Robin was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 12 years ago and has managed to control his blood sugar levels by changing his diet to a healthy, Mediterranean based one and increasing the amount of exercise he takes. He devises many of his own recipes and recently published a book of them: Delicious Dishes for Diabetics. I have a copy...even though I'm not diabetic, the recipes are suitable for anyone who wants to live a healthier lifestyle and there are some great ideas in there.
Inspired by the book, I have created a no-sugar Banana Date Cake...based on a recipe my Grandfather (who also had type 2) gave me years ago. I've adapted it slightly, and it will be on my Farmer's Market Stall tomorrow. I find that there are more & more people suffering with diabetes...also gluten & wheat allergies. So I try to offer something for them, too, on the stall. Why should anyone miss out on cake?? My youngest nephew, William, adores this - and my sister is happy for him to eat plenty as there are only good things in it!
Banana Date Cake
150g dried, chopped dates
450g very ripe bananas (peeled weight)
2 eggs, beaten
200g spelt or wholewheat flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
100g ground almonds
300ml buttermilk or plain yoghurt
Grease & line a 23cm round tin with baking parchment & preheat oven to 175c
Put the dates in a small bowl or measuring jug & cover with hot water (from the tap is fine) Leave to soak for about 10 mins, then drain and squeeze out the excess water (I use my hands for this!) to leave a thick paste.
Mash the bananas well in a large bowl and stir in the dates, along with the eggs. Fold in the dry ingredients and then finally stir in the buttermilk or yoghurt. Turn into the tin, smooth the top and bake for 45mins-1 hour. It will be a lovely brown on top and pulling away slightly from the sides of the tin when ready. Cool in the tin before turning out. It's even better if you make it the day before you eat it...the banana flavour intensifies and the dates get stickier! It keeps very well for a few days in a tin or wrapped in foil.
This week is bittersweet for me. Saturday will be the last time, after almost 8 years, that I make my daily delivery to The Coffee Tree. The current owners, Barry & Sandra and Sue & Roy have decided to retire...and I shall be leaving with them. I feel sad already! This morning was my last Monday...it has all been such a big part of my life for such a long time. But everything moves on - and change is good. I will miss it, them and the customers (who have become friends) very much, though. Next Monday will feel very strange!
I am delivering Old Favourites this week.. I've had.many requests for cakes & pastries that I've made over the years, so watch for that update next week. I'll still have plenty to occupy my time - including a book to finish!
And there have been some recent creations, of course:
And finally....my Brownie of the Month on the stall tomorrow will be....
It should be a good day on the stall...I hope the weather stays the way it is today - sunny, mild and blustery. Perfect!
Enjoy your week xoxo