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For those of you who haven’t encountered it before, NAIDOC Week celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. There are many community celebrations during the week, and as part of celebrating NAIDOC Week at work we hold a cook-off using bush tucker ingredients. I’ve previously made my blood lime, coconut and almond cake for the occasion, and this year, while I won’t be there to bake for the cook off, I’d like to share my favourite banana bread recipe with the addition of lemon myrtle and macadamia.

You’re probably familiar with macadamias, but lemon myrtle might be less familiar. It’s a small native rainforest tree with the most amazing herbal lemon scent and flavour that can be tasted in the leaves or extracted in oil. I like to buy direct from the producers, getting lemon myrtle leaves (and oil) from Pipers Creek Grove at Dondingalong, where I also get aniseed myrtle products, and macadamias and oil from Macnuts at Macksville, both on the mid-north coast of NSW – but there are many other suppliers.

This is already a great banana bread, and I love the additional layered flavours you get from adding both macadamia nuts and their oil, as well as lemon myrtle leaves and their oil. I like it quite plain, but you could certainly drizzle a lemon myrtle icing (or perhaps even cream cheese frosting) over the top too, as the cake isn’t enormously sweet.

Banana bread can sometimes be a little dense, especially when it contains as much banana as this recipe, but I find the method, with the eggs and sugar first beaten until really fluffy and pale, helps to make the cake surprisingly light.

This recipe lasts well at room temperature, and also freezes and defrosts well, so I often make two and freeze one, sliced, to pull out a piece for morning tea. It’s also rather nice toasted 🙂

Lemon myrtle and macadamia banana bread 

  • 200g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1/2-1 tsp ground lemon myrtle leaves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g sugar
  • 125ml macadamia oil
  • 2 drops lemon myrtle oil (optional)
  • 3 large bananas (approx 300g and 1 1/2 cups mashed)
  • 1 1/2 Tbs creme fraiche or sour cream
  • 3/4 cup macadamia nuts

Preheat oven to 180C and line a 22x12cm (9×5”) loaf tin with baking paper.

Whisk together the flour, bicarb, lemon myrtle leaves, and salt. Beat together the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Slowly beat in the oils, followed by the mashed bananas and cream. Fold in the flour followed by the roughly chopped nuts.

Scrape the batter into the tin and smooth the top. Bake for 50-60 min until a skewer comes out clean. Cool on a rack in the tin for 10 minutes, before turning out of the tin and leaving on the rack until cold.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature – it will last for up to 5 days.