This common English flower is often known as an uninvited guest on pristine lawns, but I love it. You could say it tastes similar to a perfumed sweet carrot but really it just tastes like... violets. It is medicinally used in India to cure sore throats or tonsillitis and the French use it to make syrup to put in scones, marshmallows and macaroons but why mash this gorgeous thing up to flavour something when it is beautiful and tasty as a decoration freshly picked? It will look like your cakes and pastries have been adorned with many tiny purple orchids and everyone will want a slice.
Some people may nay-say this loaf because its gluten free AND vegan but really those are just added bonuses. The buckwheat flour adds so much flavour and there is no need to use eggs or butter for binding and moisturising as the bananas do all the work for you!
- 2 handfuls of sweet violet flower heads
- 4 or 5 ripe fair trade bananas
- 2 apples
- 1 cup of walnuts
- ½ a cup of muscovado sugar
- ½ a cup of caster sugar
- 2 cups of buckwheat flour
- 1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
- ½ tsp grated nutmeg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ cup of water
- The juice of half a lemon
- 1 heaped tbsp icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 175ºC and line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper and a thin layer of olive or rapeseed oil.
In a large bowl, mash your bananas with the sugars until it becomes creamy and well mixed. Add half the flour and mix, then add the second half and spices. Stir in the water then gradually add the soda, mixing as you go. Fold in the apples and walnuts and spoon into the baking tin. Score the top with a knife to allow it to rise and bake straight away for 1 hour.
Once cooled, pour over your glaze and scatter the violets.