December 01, 2010

Spiced Sweet Potato and Hazelnut Bread

It's the first of December! This day has always marked a special day for me as it is time to open the first window on an Advent calendar. As a child my brother and I used to have calendars with pictures on them and when we were a little older we had Advent calendars with small chocolates hidden behind the windows. My brother would tease me by opening all the windows in his calendar at once and eat all the chocolates and then threaten to open mine too (I know, what a horrible horrible brother ;-)). I, on the other hand, was so dedicated to my Advent calendar that I would not even consider opening more than one window at a time until all 24 windows were opened and it was finally Christmas Eve.

I have had an Advent calendar every single year as long as I can remember, and although those chocolate calendars are long gone, I am still so excited to continue with this tradition. Last year I bought a super cool Foodie calendar which I'm thinking of re-using from now on. This is the calendar for all you foodies out there, just check it out!

So to mark this special day (and the first day of Summer here in Australia), I baked this spiced sweet potato and hazelnut bread. Yes, it is delicious and will definitely be up there with my the other favourite of mine, the avocado and walnut bread! I've roasted the sweet potato to get more flavour, and the hazelnuts together with the spices are just screaming of CHRISTMAS!

Spiced Sweet Potato and Hazelnut Bread

450g sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
1 tbsp olive oil

2 large free-range eggs
1/2 cup natural muscovado sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp walnut oil
1 1/2 cups organic, whole spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup hazelnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 200C. Place the sweet potato on a baking tray lined with baking paper and drizzle over 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Toss to coat and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through. Let cool and mash to a puree.

Combine the flour, baking powder and spices in a bowl. Set aside.

In another bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar and the oils until pale (for a few minutes). Add the sweet potato puree and beat until mixed. Add the flour mixture and fold to combine. Lastly fold in the hazelnuts. Pour the mixture into a prepared loaf tin and bake in 180C for about 50 minutes. Cool on a wired rack and enjoy with a cup of steaming coffee or tea.

Happy 1st of December!