Cape Town is absolutely freezing and the rains are at times biblical – welcome, winter, we’ve missed you! After 2 long years of drought, you can bet there is not one single Capetonian complaining. As a people known for our sensitivity to cold and aversion to all things damp and grey, we are practically British in our embracing of this lesser-spotted weather.
I’ve been making soups and veggie stews with chill for days, because there’s really nothing better than a steaming bowl of spicy wholefoods as the rain comes lashing down. The other thing I love in winter is freshly baked bread. I love that all of the time, but there’s something especially wonderful about the fragrant smell wafting through your house as you put on your third Netflix episode on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Netflix, chill and bake bread – it’s my thing.
Banana bread is a firm favourite of mine, despite the fact that I won’t eat fresh bananas, there’s something about apple and cinnamon that feels more wintry. Mark loves baked apples in all forms, so when I found a recipe for apple bread I was sold. I did some adding and subtracting of ingredients as per usual and came out with an apple, cinnamon and walnut bread that is definitely going to become a staple in my house. The key is to make your own apple sauce. It seems that you can buy sugar-free apple sauce in Australia and the US, but we’re not so lucky here in SA. The only apple sauce I’ve ever seen is by Koo and, of course, it’s full of sugar. Sigh. If I was president my very first action would be to remove sugar from 90% of the products on the market (which is the most first world presidential policy ever and probably explains why my political career is DOA).
Apple sauce is super easy to make – just boil chopped apples, skin and all, until they’re soft and then blend. It’s so versatile – it’s baby food, a spread for breads and cookies, yoghurt topping and a sweetener for baking, all in one. Once you have your apple sauce, there’s really nothing to this bread. It makes one loaf in a standard sized loaf tin. Since it’s quite dense, it keeps easily for a week without refrigeration. Don’t forget to make extra apple sauce to spread over your warm, fresh-out-the-over slice.
Apple, Cinnamon & Walnut Bread
- 1 finely chopped apple (peeled)
- 1 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 1 cup tapioca flour (or other starch – cornstarch will work as well)
- 1 cup dried dates, soaked in water for 2-3 hours til soft
- 100g walnuts, roughly chopped (I actually broke these up with my hands as they’re quite soft)
- 1/2 cup milk of choice (I used almond milk)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp cinnamon (can add more if you like it spicier)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- 1-2 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Add applesauce, soaked dates, milk and lemon juice to a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Mix the brown rice flour, starch, baking powder and cinnamon together in a large bowl before stirring in the apple mixture.
- Fold in the chopped walnuts and fresh apple.
- Pour the batter in a greased loaf tin lined and bake for 40-50 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean and the top is slightly golden (I took mine out at 45 mins). Place on cooling rack and allow to cool before slicing.
- Serve slathered in warm applesauce!