Michelle Darmody: Brown, wholemeal and whole-wheat?

Stoneground flours, such as the excellent flour from Macroom, are ground between two mill stones, an ancient process that has not changed much over the centuries.

When ground in this manner the flour stays quite coarse and is excellent for soda bread. Today most commercial flours are not ground between two stones but rather crushed between steel rollers. The flour can be calledwhole-wheat, wholemeal or more often in Ireland brown flour.

I enjoy the nuttiness of wholemeal flour, it is formed from the whole of the grain, giving it more texture and importantly preserving the nutrients and giving it a higher fibre content than white flour. Research being done in University College Cork is affirming the importance of fibre in our diet. They have been calling fibre the “Ferrari for your Brain”, because of growing evidence that microbes in the gut, which are effected by fibre, can play a key role in regulating brain functions.

Tahini is delicious with bananas and the addition of black sesame in the recipe adds to the texture as well as flavour. A handful of golden raisins, chopped dates or chocolate chips are also a nice addition, when thrown into mixture just before it is poured into the tin.

Some tahinis can be a bit gloopy on the top and then solid at the bottom of the jar.

It is ideal to give it a goodstir and add tahini to therecipe that is smooth andsomewhat pourable.

Tahini banana bread

Michelle Darmody: Brown, wholemeal and whole-wheat?

125g wholemeal flour

100g of self raising flour

1 level tsp of baking powder

100g of cold butter, cubed

160g of golden castor sugar

1 tbsp of tahini

10g of black sesame seeds

25g of walnuts, chopped

2 eggs, lightly beaten

450g (with the skin) of ripe bananas, mashed

To decorate:

1 banana, peeled and sliced in two lengthwise

A small handful of black sesame seeds

Heat your oven to 180 degrees and line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment.

Sieve the baking powder into the flours and mix. Rub the butter in until the mixture looks like rough breadcrumbs.

Mix in the sugar, walnuts, sesame seeds and tahini. Mix together and make a hollow in the centre. Add the eggs and mashed banana. Beat all ingredients thoroughly.

Scoop the mixture into your tin and spread it evenly.

Lay the remaining banana on top and sprinkle with some black sesame seeds. Bake for 1-½ hours.

Allow to cool in the tin.

Wholemeal sage scones

320g of wholemeal flour

280g plain flour

1 tsp of bread soda

1 tsp of salt

A small bunch of sage, stalks removed and leaves chopped finely

400ml of buttermilk

1 egg

Preheat your oven to 160 degrees and line a flat baking tray with parchment.

Put all the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl and stir together. Add the buttermilk, sage and the egg. The dough should be soft but not too wet.

The dough should be handled as little as possible if you want light scones.

Place the dough on a floured surface and pat down to about an inch thick. Cut with your cutter.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden. The cooking time will vary depending on the size of your cutter.

Blueberry granola buns

Michelle Darmody: Brown, wholemeal and whole-wheat?

100g of wholemeal flour

85g of spelt flour

1 tsp of bread soda

190g of granola

1 tsp of ground cinnamon

The zest of 3 oranges

90g of muscovado brown sugar

120g of dates, de stoned and chopped

370 mls of butter milk

120 mls of olive oil

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 tbsp of frozen blueberries

1 tbsp of porridge oats

1 tbsp of pumpkin seeds

Heat your oven to 180 degrees and line a cupcake tin with 12 bun cases.

Stir all of the ingredients together in a large bowl holding back half of the pumpkin seeds and oats.

Divide the mixture between the bun cases, sprinkle with the remaining seeds and oats and bake for 20 minutes or until baked through.

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