Picnic recipes: yoghurt bread

I had to make bread for a picnic last weekend. Mistakenly I thought I had a packet of  my handy country loaf bread mix in the cupboard. By the time I realised that I didn’t have a bread mix, it was too late to go and buy one so I had to come up with a bread recipe using whatever I already had. I was a bit nervous about it working out (I’m not a very confident baker) but somehow it did. It’s a lovely moist, dense bread with lots of crunchy seeds – a perfect picnic loaf.

Makes 1 loaf

500 g nutty wheat, or other wholewheat bread flour
500 g plain fat free yoghurt
1 free-range egg
3 T canola oil
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Two handfuls of seeds (I used sunflower,  linseeds and pumkin seeds)
3 T seeds (for sprinkling over the bread)

Combine all the ingredients together and mix well. If the mixture seems a little too dry, add a bit more yoghurt. It shouldn’t be runny though – it should have the consistency of really thick porridge. Pour the mixture into a greased loaf tin and spinkle over a mixture of seeds. Bake in a 200 C oven for about one hour and a half until you are able to stick a knife into the middle of the bread and it comes out clean.

Healthyish banana bread

I’ve never actually baked banana bread before until the other night. There were a couple of overripe bananas in the fruit bowl that I was just about to throw away when I realised I had all the ingredients for banana bread. I found this super easy, healthy-ish recipe on this blog. It’s a one-bowl recipe – my favourite.

1 ½ cups mashed very ripe banana (about 3 medium bananas)
2 eggs
2 ½ cups flour
1 ¼ cups brown sugar
2/3 cup plain yoghurt
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix all the ingredients together in pour into a greased loaf tin. Bake in a 180C oven for about 50 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick or knife comes out clean.

You’re supposed to let it cool before eating but I was hungry and it smelled so good, so I cut it into thick slices while still hot and smothered them with salted butter. Delish!

Healthy carrot cake loaf

I got this recipe from 101cookbooks.com. I love carrot cake but find it’s often oily and too sweet. I love this healthy cake, because you don’t have to feel guilty about eating lots of it. I’ve adapted the 101cookbooks recipe a bit, leaving out the cream cheese icing and adding my own “icing” which is more of a yoghurt dressing. The cake is really nice with the “icing” and chopped strawberries, but it’s also good without.

Carrot Cake Loaf

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 100g finely chopped walnuts
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, heated until just melted
  • 1/2 cup dried dates, seeded and finely chopped into a paste
  • 3 ripe bananas (1 1/4 cups), mashed well
  • sultanas
  • 1 1/2 cups grated carrots (about 3 medium)
  • 1/2 cup plain low fat yoghurt
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 3 tablespoons seed mixture (I used an omega mix with sesame seeds, linseeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds)
  • fat free/ low fat smooth cottage cheese
  • fat free/ low fat yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoons agave or honey
  • fresh chopped strawberries (optional)

Preheat oven to 180C.

Butter a 9x5x3 / 8-cup non-stick loaf pan (or 8×8 cake pan). (If using non stick, line the pan with baking paper).

Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the walnuts and set aside.

Stir the dates into the melted butter, breaking up the dates a bit.

In a separate bowl combine the bananas and carrots. Stir in the date-butter mixture, breaking up any date clumps as you go. Add the sultanas.

Whisk in the yoghurt and the eggs. Add the flour mixture and stir until everything just comes together.

Spoon into the prepared pan. Bake for about 50 – 60 minutes or until a toothpick tests clean in the center of the cake – it’ll be less if you are using a standard cake pan. Remove from oven and let cool.

Mix together the yoghurt, cottage cheese, cinnamon and agave or honey. Add more sweetener to suit your taste. Stir in the chopped strawberries, if using them. When the cake has completely cooled take it out of the tin and cut into slices. Top with the “icing”.

Only put the “icing” on top of slices of cake that you plan to serve immediately. As it’s not real icing, it will make the cake soggy if left on too long.

Slice of Carrot Cake

Spinach and bread tart

Serves 6

I’ve adapted this recipe from one I found in Femina magazine. This tart is super easy and quick to make. I love the bread as a tart crust substitute – the outside crust goes really crispy and the bottom is moist. If you want to make this a bit healthier, use reduced fat crème fraîche.

Spinach Bread Tart

  • 1 loaf of wholewheat seedy bread (I used a dense country seed loaf)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 750g frozen spinach
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 3 free-range extra-large eggs
  • 250 g crème fraîche
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 50 g feta

Cut the crusts off your bread and thinly butter each slice. Use the bread to line a deep tart dish, with the buttered side against the dish. Slice pieces of bread to fit the shape of the dish. Push the bread together so there are no big gaps.

Fry the onion in some olive oil until it starts turning golden. Add the bag of frozen spinach (don’t defrost before cooking) and turn up the heat. Add the garlic and cook until the spinach is completely defrosted and the liquid has evapourated. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Whisk together the eggs, crème fraîche and the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.

Combine the egg mixture and the spinach and onion. Pour into the bread tart lining. Top with the crumbled feta.

Bake in the oven at 190C for 30 – 35 minutes, or until the feta starts turning light brown.

Serve with baby potato wedges and a salad.

Spinach Bread Tart