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50 Women Game-Changers (in Food): #31 Donna Hay - Banana-Buttermilk Cinnamon Breads

the "Gourmet" prompt...
31. Donna Hay- Australia became the hottest food nation somewhere around 1995, and then came Hay. She’s ubiquitous Down Under with her books, eponymous magazine, and sunny TV face, but her simple, throw–it–together Pacific Rim style spread all the way Up and Over.


Okay.  So.  Have you tired of hearing me say so-and-so is someone I wasn't familiar with before this week?  Well...if so...I apologize because I'm about to say it again.  Sort of.  I actually have heard the name Donna Hay before.  But that was about the extent of it.  I'd heard her name.  So, I didn't really know what to expect when I went to pick up the couple of books our library carried of hers.  I placed a hold on them online and once they had been shipped over from another branch, I stopped in to pick them up.  I'm pretty friendly with the library staff (since I'm in there so often), and as I went to check them out, one girl mentioned that she couldn't put them down when she was checking them in and was bummed that they were on hold.  Mmmm...good sign.  I chuckled and joked that they'd be back in a few weeks at the most.  I mean, by then we'd be well on to another of the "50 women", right?  Right.  Sort of.  You see.  I fell in love with these two books.  And now, I don't want to take them back.  I want to keep renewing them until all of my options are exhausted.  Gorgeous photography + mouthwatering recipes = a sh!t ton of bookmarks.  Where the heck has Donna Hay been all my life?
Australia.  That's where she's been.  With a career as a food writer and stylist that began at 19 and being appointed food editor of marie claire at 25, she's definitely been around.  She is currently Australia's leading food editor and best-selling cookbook author.  Focusing on basic ingredients that are simply prepared and photographed BEAUTIFULLY, her food, recipes, and styling have "set the benchmark for food publishing worldwide and inspired a whole new generation of cooks".*  She has 18 award-winning cookbooks (2 down, 16 to lust over) that have sold over 4 million copies worldwide.  She also has a line of homewares and baking kits using all natural ingredients.  She's kind of like Martha Stewart.  Only better.  Ssshhhh...don't tell Martha I said that.

I'm not exaggerating in the least when I say that I changed my mind dozens of times about what to make to represent Donna this week.  Since I couldn't wait to get in the kitchen, I went with one of my bookmarked recipes that I already had all of the ingredients hangin' out in the kitchen for.  Well, almost.  I didn't have any hazelnut meal (or hazelnuts), so I subbed in almond meal.  Great little tea breads served warm or chilled and sliced.  They are firm and substantial with the tangy flavor of buttermilk complimented by the warmth of cinnamon and comfort of banana.  One recipe down...hundred to go.
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Banana-Buttermilk Cinnamon Breads

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: ~45 minutes
Keywords: bake bread vegetarian buttermilk bananas

Ingredients (2 mini loaves)
  • 5 oz. butter
  • ½ c. superfine sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1½ c. all-purpose flour, sifted
  • ¾ tsp. baking powder, sifted
  • ½ c. almond meal
  • ⅓ c. buttermilk
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 large banana, sliced
  • melted butter, for brushing
  • raw sugar, for sprinkling
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350° F.

Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Add flour, baking powder, almond meal, buttermilk, and cinnamon. Fold through until smooth.

Grease two mini-loaf tins (16 oz. capacity). Divide the batter evenly among the pans and smooth the top. Shingle the banana slices down the center of each loaf. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with raw sugar.

Bake for ~45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in a loaf comes out clean. Serve warm or cold.

recipe adapted from Modern Classics Book 2 by Donna Hay
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In May '11, Gourmet posted a list of 50 Women Game-Changers (in Food) that runs the gamut from food writers to cookbook authors to television personalities to restauranteurs to chefs to food bloggers.  Some are a given.  Some are controversial.  Speaking the names of some brings fond childhood memories.  Speaking the names of others will make some readers cringe.  And of course, some of our favorites were not even included.  We food-lovers are a passionate bunch of people and whether we agree or disagree, every woman on this list has earned her place for a reason.  Being a woman who is passionate about food (cooking, eating, talking about, writing about, photographing), when I caught wind of Mary from One Perfect Bite's idea of cooking/blogging her way through each of these 50 women...one per week...I knew I wanted to join her.  Many of these women paved the way for us in culinary school, in the kitchen, in cookbooks, in food writing, and on television and I think it is a fabulous way to pay tribute to their efforts.  Some of the women on the list have been tops with me for years.  Some I have heard of (perhaps even seen, read, or cooked from) before.  And there are even a handful that I am not familiar with at all.  I excited to educate myself on each of these women game-changers and hope you look forward to reading along.  We are going in order from 1 to 50.
Who is cooking along with these 50 Women Game-Changers?
*source: Donna Hay online biography
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