banana

GLUTEN FREE VEGAN PANCAKES X2

GLUTEN FREE VEGAN PANCAKES X2

Most days I am too busy to make a special breakfast for kids but I do make up for it in the weekend. They both love pancakes and don’t even notice that I am using gluten free flour to make them. There is always the obligatory maple syrup but also various fruit. The favourites are bananas, strawberries and blueberries.

Recently I created two recipes for pancakes. One was made out of the necessity to use up two large overripe bananas. The two recipes differ in texture. The banana pancake is softer and fluffier. The other has a bit more firm texture and will work wonderfully with blueberries added to the batter. Unlike the banana ones the batter can be made en evening in advance ready for the morning. The banana batter would go unappetising grey colour…

They make a lovely quick dessert too. You can serve them with caramelised bananas deglazed with rum for a grown up flavour. Or with a chocolate syrup and some vegan vanilla ice cream.

My kids liked both versions. I don’t think they had a firm favourite and since my daughter hates bananas with a passion I may be making the banana ones bit more often. PS: Mother in law tested too :)

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GLUTEN FREE VEGAN PANCAKES

ingredients
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup gluten free flour (I used Dove’s organics)
2 tsp gluten free baking powder (I used Dove’s)
1 flax egg
1 and 3/4 cup non dairy milk ( I used almond)
1 tbs maple syrup
1 tbs of coconut oil for frying

method
  • First prepare the flax egg by combining 1 tbs of ground flax and 3 tbs of water. Let sit for 5 min to form a gel like texture.
  • Combine the two flours and baking powder, mix together.
  • Add the milk, flax egg and maple syrup.
  • In a large non-stick (I use Green Pan) heat up tsp of the coconut oil.
  • Drop large tablespoons of batter in the oil. Turn when bubbles start to form on surface.
  • Repeat with rest of the batter, adding a little of bit of the coconut oil when needed.

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GLUTEN FREE VEGAN BANANA PANCAKES

ingredients
2 large overripe bananas
1 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 tsp gluten free baking powder
1 cup almond milk
1 tbs coconut oil for frying

  • Mash the bananas well.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.
  • In a large non-stick (I use Green Pan) heat up tsp of the coconut oil.
  • Drop large tablespoons of batter in the oil. Turn when bubbles start to form on surface.
  • Repeat with rest of the batter, adding a little of bit of the coconut oil when needed.

the banana ones
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BANANA DATE PECAN PUDDING SQUARES

BANANA DATE PECAN PUDDING SQUARES

Overripe bananas in the fruit bowl mean only one thing: cake time!!! As my kids both don’t like bananas (other than in a smoothie) this happens often. I love baking with bananas, they are a great substitute for butter or oil in a recipe and add sweetness without the need for added sugar.

Athletes often snack on bananas, they are a great source of low glycemic carbohydrate. They do however offer more than being an efficient pick me up. As a rich source of potassium they can help lower blood pressure. They also contain plant sterols, theses can block the absorption of dietary cholesterol thus could be helpful in keeping our cholesterol levels healthy. Bananas are a good source of fibre which, of course, helps to regulate our digestion i.e. keeping things moving. FOS (fruictooligosacharides) is another component of bananas, FOS is metabolised by bacteria, helping us keep our friendly microbiome healthy. Interestingly per weight, banana has more vitamin C than a peach! Who knew??!!

My banana date pecan pudding squares have the texture of Jamaican sweet potato pudding (hence the name). If you are looking for a texture of a cake than walk away now. If you like stodgy, you should enjoy these. I will admit that my kids are not keen but I have eating half of it already…No gluten, no refined sugar, no eggs, no oil or dairy. And they will keep moist, can’t tell you how long as they do not seem to last beyond the second day….

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BANANA DATE PECAN PUDDING SQUARES
makes 15 squares

ingredients
1 flax egg (see below)
1 cup dates
1 cup almond milk
3 overripe medium bananas
1 cup gluten free oat flour (I blitzed oats in a blender)
1/2 cup gluten free flour (I used Dove)
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

method
  • First, prepare the flax egg by combining 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed with 3 tablespoons of water and let sit till needed.
  • In a blender process the dates and almond milk till fairly smooth (few chunks are ok). If you don’t have a high speed blender you can soften the dates by soaking them in the milk first (at least 30min).
  • In a large bowl mash the bananas, than add the flours, date milk and flax add. Whisk till well combined.
  • Finally stir in the pecans.
  • Pour the batter into a 15cm x 25cm (6 x 12 inch) baking dish that has been lined with a nonstick paper.
  • Bake at 180C for 30 - 35 min to till set.


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BANANA COCONUT FLAPJACKS

BANANA COCONUT FLAPJACKS

Sugar has been getting a lot of bad press lately. And I will say rightly so. We do eat far too much and many of us don’t realize all the hidden sugars in processed foods. However I hate when a banana is being compared with coca cola or fruit smoothie with a glazed doughnut for sugar content.

Unlike cola banana has fibre, potassium, protein, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium,manganeses, folate and it even has a small amount omega fats in the right proportion. And yes a medium banana has 27.5g sugar. One can of cola has 33g of sugar and that’s pretty much it.... I know which one I would choose to eat.

Breast milk tastes sweet and maybe that’s why, from a very young age, we have an affinity for sweet taste. I notice my craving for sweet treats goes up when I am doing intense studying. Around 3pm every college weekend, there are serious calls for chocolate and if you happen to have a bar in your bag you score a lot of points with fellow students.

Last week I spend revising for an exam and even it involved a lot of sitting my need for food went way up. Brain needed fuel. Three overripe bananas in the fruit bowl and half an hour later I had these rather yummy banana coconut flapjacks. Yummy squidgy energy giving bars.

My daughter hates raisins or indeed any dried fruit apart from mango, so I opted for chocolate chips (not that I had to convince myself too much). If you are feeling more virtuous swap them for whatever dried fruit you fancy or just double the amount of nuts.

bananacoconutflapjack2

BANANA COCONUT FLAPJACKS
Makes 12 bars

ingredients
3 very ripe medium bananas
3 Tbs coconut oil, melted
135g (1 1/2cups) porridge oats (gluten free for a gluten free version)
90g (1cup ) coconut flour
45g (1/2 cups) plain chocolate chips
45g (1/2 cups ) walnut pieces

method
  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. First line a 10x6 inch (15x25cm) baking form with baking paper.
  3. In a large bowl mash the bananas. Add in the melted coconut oil, porridge oats and coconut flour. Mix well
  4. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.
  5. Tip the mixture into your prepared baking form, press down with a spoon and bake for 30min or until golden brown.


bananacoconut-flapjack
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AVOCADO, BANANA AND SPIRULINA SMOOTHIE

AVOCADO, BANANA AND SPIRULINA SMOOTHIE

Admittedly I am not a morning person. I don’t have a trouble waking up, even on weekends I tend to be the first one up leisurely checking up the latest news on my iphone. However I am not an early breakfast person. To be honest on a school day, when I am making kids breakfast, packed lunches and making sure my daughter (who would rather be dancing) gets dressed and brushes her hair and teeth, my breakfast is the last thing on my mind.

That’s why I think breakfast smoothies are so fabulous especially when you are on the run, they get you going and can provide lots of nutrition to start the day. No need to grab a sugary cereal bar, smoothie takes just a minute or two. I usually just chuck in whatever I find in the fridge and freezer. I keep my freezer stocked up. There are lots of frozen berries, mangos and bananas. There is also frozen kale and spinach in case I don’t have any fresh. Of course my fridge is full of fresh veggies and fruit bowl is always stocked up too. Not all my smoothies look and taste great or would look great on a photograph (like those that turned mud brown or unappetising dark grey). There were a few that I drank just because I new there are good for me but took no great pleasure in doing so...

Friday evening our friends came over for a veggie curry feast, we had 4 curries, rice, naan breads, chilli nuts... and my friend (as she always does) bought a few cocktails. Morning after a blow out like that a smoothie is the best way to start the say. I have to say this avocado, banana and spirulina smoothie made with coconut water really hit the spot. Not only it kept me full till lunch but also gave me the energy for some needed revision.

avocado-banana-smoothie

AVOCADO, BANANA AND SPIRULINA SMOOTHIE
Makes 1 large glass

1 very small avocado (or half a medium one)
1 banana
1 date (optional)
1 heaped tsp organic spirulina (chlorela, or any mixed green powder)
1 cup (or more if needed) of coconut water
handful of ice

1. Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend till smooth, add more coconut water if too thick. Serve immediately.
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BALANCING LIFE WITH P&B QUESADILLA

BALANCING LIFE WITH P&B QUESADILLA

Yesterday I managed to drop my Kitchen Aid food processor on my fingers. As I was putting it away in its rather tight space I dropped it on one finger on my right hand, that made me pull my hand away which shifted the weight of the appliance and it landed on another finger of my left hand. Only 5 minutes later I tried to stop a falling porcelain dish from breaking by offering my foot to soften the blow. The dish is fine but it was indeed heavier than I anticipated. To top it all off, this morning I managed to drop a serving spoon on a glass. The glass cracked. I put it into a plastic bag to take it to the bin outside. But alas, the bag had a hole in the bottom, the glass fell out, first it hit my foot and than shattered into many pieces! Bits of glass in a puddle, bits of glass in the gravel, bits of glass embedded in the wooden step that was made soft by the heavy rainfall. To prevent kids feet and dogs’ paws from an injury I had to remove the shards one by one....

Good things, I believe, do balance the bad things. Here are few of the good, balance shifting things. Having a breakfast with my lovely friend this morning was good for the soul. We enjoyed our food whilst watching the gorgeous song birds outside the farm shop cafe windows. Later my kids were praised by their dentist for their excellent dental hygiene, which made me puff up with pride. And finally, we exchanged contracts on our new house, making our big move very final. My husband and I have opened a nice bottle of Verdicchio to celebrate.

Sometimes, when things go bad, something gooey may just shift the balance. No, I am not promoting comfort eating but I can’t seem to find enough excuses to make my gooey sticky filling P&B quesadilla. So if things are falling on your feet, you are getting fingers stuck in the door and you managed to process a piece of plastic wrapping with your courgette dip (yes that is another story...) just grab a tortilla, peanut butter, banana and just smile :) Remember to let it cool down a little bit before eating or you may just burn your lips :)

P&B-quesadillas

(BREAKFAST) PB AND B QUESADILLA
These are fabulous for breakfast, they really fill you up. They will also hit the spot anytime you fancy something sweet and gooey.

Serves 1

ingredients
1 large tortilla
1-2Tbs organic peanut butter
1 small banana
pinch of cinnamon (optional)

method
  1. Spread the peanut butter over the tortilla.
  2. Mash the banana over half of the tortilla.
  3. Sprinkle with cinnamon if using. Fold the tortilla over.
  4. Preheat a large frying pan.
  5. Place the tortilla into the frying pan and dry fry for about 1 min on each side or till the tortilla crisps up and is golden brown.

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MINI SPELT BANANA LOAVES

MINI SPELT BANANA LOAVES

My son spent 5 days on his school camp last week. In preparations, while packing, I was trying to give him lots of well meaning advice. The usual: listen to your teachers and instructors, don’t do anything silly, make sure you shower (at least twice please!), change your underwear daily, brush your teeth.... and of course :”Please try to eat at least a little bit healthy.”

I was hoping for the best, but I knew there would be temptations on every corner. He did come home with a huge bag of sweets, but also a present for his sister (aaahhhh). He had a pudding every day and quite a bit of cheese. On the other hand, he said, he made sure he ate salad and a bowl vegetable soups every day. Pizza was on offer as a part the salad buffet, but apparently he only had it once because he didn’t want to eat too much unhealthy food. “And mum, I always asked for extra vegetables!” This left me wanting to dance a jig! I restrained myself. First and foremost I don’t know how to dance a jig and I really needed to keep my cool. Pretend this is not a big deal... But I did tell him how proud I was.

Few weeks ago I had a conversation with one of my friends about my kids and foods. I did tell her how I do bore them out of their skin telling them about the nutrients in the food they eat. She did say to be careful so they don’t rebel few years down the road. And yes, this is a possibility, but what teenager doesn’t rebel? I do believe that some of this information will stick in their head and they will come to see healthy food as the norm. At the moment my 10 year old seems to be doing quite well.

As a parent you can hope for the best. There are far too many kids who see junk food as the norm and these habits are hart to break. Even if my kids deviate from “our norm” from time to time, going back to whole natural foods won’t ever be alien to them.

Whilst helping me cook pasta for dinner, my son said “I hate brown pasta, we had normal pasta at camp”. Still he managed to eat 2 plates of the horrible hated brown pasta, saying it was rather nice.... Nice try! Next thing is weaning him of the sweet stuff... spelt mini banana loaves without added sugar are a good start.

mini spelt banana loaf with a glass of almond milk
bananaloaf-with-milk

MINI SPELT BANANA LOAVES

These loaves are more dense than a regular cake, they remind me of bread pudding. One easily serves 2 people.

Makes 4 mini loaves or one standard loaf

ingredients:
2 Tbs ground chia seeds
125ml (1/2 cup) water
250ml (1 cup) of almond (or other non dairy) milk
3 Medjol dates
2 medium overripe (or very ripe) bananas
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 tsp bicarb soda
260g (2 cups) wholegrain spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 medium apple
Walnuts about 2 Tbs per loaf

ready for the oven
bananaloaf-unbaked

method
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. First mix the ground chia seeds and 125ml (1/2cup) water. Let sit for 10min, the mixture will sort of jellify....
  3. In the meant time put almond milk, dates and bananas into your blender and blend till smooth.
  4. Add the vinegar and bicarb soda to the almond milk mixture.
  5. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and pinch of salt.
  6. Grate the apple and add to the flour together with the almond milk mix and soaked chia seeds.
  7. Mix together well.
  8. You can mix in the walnuts now or leave them for the topping (you can double the amount of walnuts and use them both in the cake mix and on the top if you wish)
  9. Divide the mix between 4 non stick mini loaf pans.
  10. Top with the walnuts and bake 25-30min or until the cake springs back when you press it with your finger. You can also use a skewer - the loaf is cooked when it comes out clean.
  11. Let cool in the tins and invert carefully (any runaway nuts are an extra treat for the cook)

mini spelt banana loaves straight from the oven (one without nuts for my daughter)
bananaloaf-baked
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STRAWBERRY MILKSHAKE

STRAWBERRY MILKSHAKE

Kids have been asking for a strawberry milkshake for couple of days. Today I picked up a crate of strawberries so there wish was fulfilled. The result was a gorgeous pink milk, just like the one Lola of Charlie and Lola loves to drink. Carrying the glasses to my kids I said: “Delivery for Lola”, to my daughter’s delight.

This made me think of the Charlie and Lola’s pink milk that I spotted in the supermarket a while back. I am not sure if that particular brand is still available but I did some searching on the internet and found information about the ingredients. The ingredients list is not much different from other strawberry flavoured milks that can be found on supermarket shelves. Milk first of course, than sugar, strawberry juice concentrate (about 1%) and some preservatives. There is also beetroot red colouring.

My pink milk has a cup of strawberries and half a banana, the strawberries is all you need to achieve the perfect pink hue. There is no added sugar and no preservatives or colours. And, of course, no cow's milk either! My son exclaimed this was the best strawberry milkshake he has ever had as he proceeded to spear the garnish with his straw (boys!). Hang on is that why they call them strawberries??? :)) My daughter’s glass was empty so quickly that I have no doubt she loved it too.

pink-milk


STRAWBERRY MILKSHAKE
RAW if using homemade almond milk.

Makes 2 tall glasses.



375ml (1 and 1/2 cup) unsweetened almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
2 cups strawberries
1 banana
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
handful of ice

  1. Place all ingredients into your blender.
  2. Process till smooth.
  3. Serve garnished with a strawberry.

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RAW BANANA AND BRAZIL NUT COOKIES

RAW BANANA AND BRAZIL NUT COOKIES

Weight Watchers are coming to our high street. With shops in the USA, Australia and China, we shouldn’t be surprised that UK, the fattest nation in Europe, would be next. Honestly I really want to like this idea, having accessible shops for anyone to pop in for a one to one consultation, get weighed, be advised, buy their low calorie lunch. I am not sure how much WW will charge but they are a multi-billion business so I am sure sound financial forecasts are in place to make this a monetary success.

We all know if you eat less and move more weight loss should follow. It is not a rocket science. Last September a study came out claiming that weigh-loss courses such as Weight Watchers were more effective than the national standard care weight loss. Sounds good right? The participants who took part in a year long study were either assigned WW program or the standard care weight loss program. Those on WW lost on average 5.06kg as opposed to the 2.25kg on standard care.

Any weight loss is a good thing, however to me 5.06kg in a year is a rather small number, especially if you have a lot of weight to loose. At the raw food seminar I met a man in his 60’s who lost about 20lb in 4 months of his raw food journey and he is feeling fantastic. Plant based diets (raw or not) have a great record in helping people loose weight without feeling hungry whilst ensuring superior nutrition.

There are many people who loose loads of weight on programs like WW and that is a good thing. The one element that really worries me is the low fat meals that Weight Watchers are selling. They may be low calorie low fat but far from healthy. They may remove the fat but add lots of other stuff (I so want to say c..p) that in no way should be part of a healthy diet. Here I present to you Heinz Weight Watchers Banoffee Dessert:

Water, Toffee Sauce (12%, Glucose Syrup, Sweetened Condensed Milk, Dextrose, Condensed Skimmed Milk, Invert Sugar, Water, Butter, Stabiliser - Pectin, Emulsifier - Polysorbate 60, Flavouring), Sugar, Skimmed Milk Powder, Banana Puree (6%), Wheat Flour, Glucose Powder, Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Vegetable Oil, Inulin, Whey Powder, Brown Sugar, Curls (1%, Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Whole Milk Powder, Whey Powder, Cocoa Mass, Emulsifier - Soya Lecithin, Flavouring, Colour - Paprika Extract), White Chocolate (1%, Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Whole Milk Powder, Whey Powder, Milk Sugar, Emulsifier - Soya Lecithin, Flavouring), Pork Gelatine, Stabilisers - Locust Bean Gum, Guar Gum, Sodium Alginate, Carrageenan, Xanthan Gum, Dextrose, Sorbitol Syrup, Egg Powder, Fructose Syrup, Barley Starch, Modified Potato Starch, Egg Albumen, Caramelised Sugar Syrup, Flavourings, Dried Glucose Syrup, Colours - Curcumin, Paprika Extract.

Do you really want to eat that??? Or how about some of my raw banana cookies minus the added rubbish.

RAW BANANA AND BRAZIL NUT COOKIES
I have used my dehydrator to make the cookies, if you don’t have one you can use your fan oven, turn it to the lowest setting, keep the door open and bake for about 2 hrs, just keep checking on them. These cookies will not be classed RAW but still delicious.

To make the orange powder: Peel an orange using a swivel peeler, taking only the zest off, none of the white piths. Dehydrate at about 125F for about 2-3 hrs until dried enough to make a powder easily. Store in an airtight container. You can also use fresh orange peel in the cookies or replace with dried ginger.

Makes 14

brazilcookies2

ingredients
130g (1 cup) Brazil nuts
60g (1/2 cup) raisins
1 tsp orange powder (or 1 tsp dried ginger)
2 medium bananas
1 Tbs sweet freedom syrup (or agave)

method
  1. Place the Brazil nuts in a small bowl of a food processor. Process till quite fine with some bigger pieces for nutty texture.
  2. Add raisins, orange powder, bananas and agave to the food processor.
  3. Process till the mixture starts coming together.
  4. Using a American tablespoon measure, place mounds of mixture on top of a dehydrator Teflex sheet.
  5. Dehydrate for 1 hr at 145F.
  6. Turn the dehydrator to 125F and dehydrate for further 3-4 hrs. Turn the cookies over and place on a dehydrator sheet without the Teflex sheet after 1 hr.
  7. The cookies are done when they feel quite dry on both sides. They will still be moist inside, if you want crunchier cookies dehydrate for another hour.

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ENERGY BARS

ENERGY BARS

“Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food” Hippocrates

Medical doctors are amazing, the knowledge they have to learn and retain (!), the responsibility they carry on their shoulders is immense. There is however a room for improvement. Dr Dean Ornish emphasised in one of his TED talks that you can’t only mop the floor, you also have to fix the tap. Don’t only treat symptoms, treat the cause.

Recently I watched my friend L struggling with her baby’s eczema, her son (born last September) was waking at night trying to scratch the itchy red skin, clearly suffering. She was at a breaking point, no mother wants to see their child in discomfort. Naturally she visited her GP and a dermatologist. Unfortunately their approach was using topical creams (not even emollient) and if those would not bring much relief, he was to be put on glucocorticoids. Rather scary prospect for a baby.

My friend decided to contact a naturopathic eczema specialist. Since she is breastfeeding her son, she was prescribed an exclusion diet. It is a big change, she isn’t even allowed her beloved green tea at the moment, but her baby boy’s skin is clearing up. Next step will be reintroducing foods to find the triggers. What a fantastic news! I wish her doctor was able to recommend a similar approach, it has no side effects! Actually it does, my friend feels great! she told me this way of eating is making her feel “light”. And of course there is not better feeling than seeing her beautiful son’s eczema on the retreat.

ENERGY BARS

This is perfect for “grab and go” breakfast or just a quick energy boosting snack. If you want to make this completely refined sugar free, skip the chocolate chips.
Makes 10 bars


energybars2


Ingredients
1 Tbs ground flax seeds
150g (1 and 3/4 cups) oats
50g (1/2 cup) pecans, chopped
80g (1/2 cup) dried apricots, chopped roughly into quarters
30g (1/4 cup) sunflower seeds
35g (1/4 cup) raisins
2 small bananas mashed, makes about 125ml (1/2cup)
1 Tbs date syrup
1/2 dairy-free chocolate chips (optional)

method
  1. Preheat your oven to 180C.
  2. First in a small bowl add 60ml (1/4 cup) of water to the flax seeds, let stand while preparing the rest of ingredients. The mixture will become viscous somewhat reminiscent of an egg.
  3. Mix together the oats, pecans, apricots, sunflower seeds and raisins.
  4. Add the mashed bananas, date syrup and flax seed mixture. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Line a 10x6 inch (15x25cm) baking dish with a greaseproof paper. I used a drop of water under each corner to keep it in place.
  6. Put all the mixture into your baking dish, press down firmly.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 min or until the top starts to turn golden brown.
  8. Let cool and cut into bars.



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CARIBBEAN STYLE GREEN BANANA CURRY

CARIBBEAN STYLE GREEN BANANA CURRY

greenbanana
This week’s Riverford organic vegetable boxes contained free green bananas from the Dominican Republic. I am not talking the under ripe bananas you can get in shops, these were ultra green, alien kind of fruit. In the Dominican Republic, as I found out from Riverford video, these are cooked down, mashed and served topped with sliced red onions. Riverford also suggested deep frying them for spicy chips.

Time for another experiment in my kitchen, I wasn’t too enthused to start deep frying, that is not the plant strong way. The idea that came to me was a banana curry. I planned going down the more familiar Indian route, but when I stopped at the shop to pick up some green chili peppers I spotted the Caribbean staple, the almighty Scotch Bonnet pepper. That made me rethink my curry’s country of origin. Reggae started to sound in my head.

The green bananas are rather hard to peel, cut of the ends, slit the skin lengthways and proceed to peel. Don’t expect one neat intact peel as from a ripe banana. When cooked the banana pieces hold their shapes extremely well and taste more like a starchy vegetable. I added some pineapple to freshen and lighten up the taste, the fruity zing goes well with the starchiness of the green banana. Few cashews add texture and protein to the dish.

The Scotch Bonnet boasts with 9 rating on the Scoville Chile Heat Chart, it packs a spicy punch, however it also brings wonderful fruity flavour to dishes. If you just slit the pepper and add it whole to your curry, you will get heat and flavour, but it will not be too spicy. If you do like it very hot, by all means chop the pepper up (just don’t touch your eyes afterwards).

Roti would be the perfect flat bread to go with this curry, but a chapati or indeed a tortilla wrap will do well here too. Rice or quinoa would work well too.

If you can’t get green bananas try making this curry with plantains.

CARIBBEAN STYLE GREEN BANANA CURRY
serves 2
caribcurryspice

ingredients

1 star anise
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
3 all spice berries
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp thyme
50 (1/2cup) cashews
1/2 -1 Tbs rapeseed oil
1 tsp ginger, chopped finely
1 Scotch Bonnet pepper, make a slit in the side with a knife
4 green bananas, peeled and sliced (1/4inch slices)
1 tsp palm or brown sugar
375ml (1 and 1/2 cup water)
150g (heaped cup) fresh pineapple pieces (about 1 inch thick slices from a large pineapple)
salt to taste
lemon juice to taste
2 Tbs coriander leaves, chopped

method
  1. First make the spice mix. Heat a frying pan add the whole spices (star anise, coriander, cumin, mustard and all spice berries). Heat until fragrant, take care not to burn.
  2. Next toast the cashews, set aside.
  3. In a mortar and pestle, pound the spices (I removed the star anise, I was worried about not being able to pound it small enough and didn’t want sharp pieces in my curry). Add the cardamom and thyme and mix together.
  4. In a wok heat the oil, add ginger and cook 30 seconds, add the green bananas, the chili pepper and the spices (don’t forget the star anise), cook about 30 seconds.
  5. Add the water and palm sugar, cover and cook for 15min.
  6. After 15min add the pineapple pieces, cook further 10 min, until the bananas soften and sauce is very thick (there won’t be a lot of sauce left).
  7. Stir in the cashews, season with salt and lime juice.
  8. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with you chosen side.

bananacurry
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ALMOND AND BANANA PORRIDGE

ALMOND AND BANANA PORRIDGE

Yesterday I ran into a friend of mine and somehow we ended up talking about porridge. She mentioned topping hers with brown sugar and was keen to know about alternatives. And yes there is a healthier way of sweetening her breakfast. So this recipe is for my beautiful friend N.

Sugar. It may be delicious but good for you it is not. According to scientists sugar is as damaging and addictive as tobacco and alcohol, there have even been calls for its taxation. I believe rather than taxing it we should be more aware how much sugar we consume and make a conscious decision to cut down. Our health is indeed in our own hands.

The less sugar you eat the more sensitive you become to its taste. You will find the sweet things you used to enjoy just taste sickly and you will prefer the natural gentle sweetness of food. And if you do want something more intense, there is always my favourite nature’s candy; the mighty dates. Unlike sugar and its empty calories, dates will give you whole host of vitamins, minerals and fiber. That is sweetness worth seeking.

ALMOND BANANA PORRIDGE
There are many different porridge oats so check the ratio to milk/oats and cooking instructions of the packet for best results. I used only one Medjool date for my portion of porridge, I did find it sweet enough but you can use 2 to get you started.

Serves 1

dateporridge

300ml (1 1/4cup) almond milk (unsweetened)
1-2 Medjool dates, stones removed
55g (1/2 cup) organic porridge oats
1 banana
1Tbs flaked almond, dry roasted

  1. In a small sauce pan start heating up the milk.
  2. In the meantime, chop your date(s), it will become a sticky mess, but don’t worry the dates will dissolve into your milk.
  3. Add the dates and porridge to your milk. Bring to a boil and turn the heat down.
  4. Simmer for about 7 min.
  5. Pour into a bowl, top with sliced banana and almonds.

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