Delia Smith's Banana & Walnut Loaf - Gluten Free

Now, if you're British, chances are that you've probably heard of Delia Smith and like me, you probably still remember as a child being mesmerised by her baking skills on TV. If you're from the US or simply haven't heard of her, then let me present a national treasure, Delia Smith - truly our queen of baking!!!

Back in the old days, Delia came out with her recipe book called Delia Smith's Book of Cakes in 1977, of which my mum still has a copy. I definitely inherited my baking gene from her, as her O-level in Domestic Science would attest. I don't really like cooking, since I'm always scared of giving myself food poisoning, however baking is way less intimidating and way more crafty in my opinion (all hail cake-decorating fun!).

Well, in 2013 Delia came out with the new and improved version of her bestseller and named it Delia's Cakes, nice and sleek; I know! 

The improvements: Every recipe has a picture! Might seem mundane to some of you, but when you have a recipe and you have no idea what it's supposed to look like, it becomes rather unnerving to even begin. Plus, if you like to eat with your eyes, then this book is the perfect sugary treat! 

The other major improvement I'd like to mention: allergies!!! Sadly a lot of people these days are born more allergic to things than previous generations, and that includes me and gluten (I'm also on a FODMAP diet at the moment but that's not relevant for now). Most people have ease of access to pre-baked goods, and are therefore less tempted to actually bake for themselves (let's be honest, it's quite time consuming). The allergic people out there, are the ones that have to bake for themselves and there is a real market for cookery books here.

Now, while sadly Delia had apparently not heard about Xanthan Gum (p.24 list of GF ingredients), which I'm sure my GF peeps out there see as a baking Godsend (it's basically food superglue, because GF is very crumbly since it doesn't have the wheat's binding agent), she still made a valiant effort to think of us (plus there's a section on egg-free recipes)! So just ignore the recipes she says aren't possible (there are only 8 out of 90), and add a teaspoon of magical Xanthan Gum (only for the ones she says aren't possible, the others don't require the extra binding). 

Even if you're a beginner, she's got you covered; there's a whole introduction to baking tins and utensils, which I found to be a very interesting read. Although, I don't personally think it's absolutely essential to own every single one, nor that they have to be to those exact specifications (she collaborated with Silverwood, which is a high quality British Bakeware Company - also very expensive). Just remember, that if you bake in a different size tin to hers or a different oven (fan and non-fan ovens vary baking times), you have to alter your baking time; the Golden Rule "If the knife comes out clean from piercing the centre, it's cooked".

Furthermore, if you don't know how to prepare egg whites for a recipe (for example), Delia has also got an online school (i.e. free online video tutorials) to help you as much as possible. So now everyone can be mesmerised by her baking videos at! Even if you know how to do a lot of these things, I strongly suggest checking out the website anyway to hone your skills or just for pure nostalgia, it's up to you.


Delia Smith's Banana & Walnut Loaf

Now, I'm not sure whether I'm allowed to show off this recipe (for copyright reasons), but I have photographed it, so hopefully you can see the ingredients and instructions for yourselves.

The slight changes I made were:

- replaced the wheat flour with 225g of Doves Farm Gluten Free Plain White flour blend. This is definitely my favourite GF flour to use, even if it does contain Buckwheat which, despite being GF, bloats me up like a balloon; oats also do that to me. But with this flour blend, I don't seem to suffer from the strange ballooning side-effect (I'll take what I can get!) 

- also prepared my tin to be non-stick by buttering the sides and then sprinkling the same Doves Farm GF Plain White flour blend over the top.

- replaced the 40g of lard with butter, so in total I had 80g of butter

- I put 2 medium eggs in, because I can't seem to find any "large" eggs, or the ones I do find, seem awfully small to me. But my batter has never been too runny, so I think you can get away with 2 if you want.

- I added a teaspoon of vanilla extract, because I like my vanilla! And I think it goes well with the banana.

- I put 5 medium bananas in, because I like extra banana! Plus, the whole "6 bananas a day will kill you thing" is a myth, people! You would need at least 400 a day to reach critical potassium levels, and although I like my banana, I don't think even I could manage that.

- I didn't add the zest of orange (I simply didn't have any), but having added the lemon zest only once (I've done this recipe twice), I didn't notice much difference if I'm honest.

- As my oven is not a fan oven I put it to 200 °C for the same amount of time and that did the trick. Remember the Golden Rule for checking if it's cooked through though!

This was my yummy result:

Bon Appétit!


What's your all time favourite baking recipe?

Who would you consider a national treasure in baking where you come from?

If you're in the UK, do you still remember watching Delia as a child, or if you're all grown up, like my mum, what's your favourite Delia Smith recipe/book?