My favourite vegan banana bread

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Yes I have made a fair few banana breads in my time & this one has been the absolute favourite over the last few months. It’s incredible simple to make, requiring no special equipment, which means its perfect to whip up when your away on holiday, at a friends or just want a quiet evening of baking.

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Maca is an ancient superfood of the Andes district where it has been consumed for thousands of years. It is packed full of vitamins, minerals, enzymes & all essential amino acids. Maca has unique alkoloids which are known to improve the function of the endocrine system. It helps to regulate hormones as well as increasing overall energy levels. Loving earth Maca is sourced directly from the organic grower in Peru therefore making it a great fair-trade choice when ensuring producers are being paid for their hard work.

Coconut sugar is the sap from coconut palm blossoms which is tapped directly from the palm tree. It’s processing is minimal which means it is left with a wide range of minerals. It is also low G.I, which helps to avoid those sugar highs & lows. In comparison to cane sugar, coconut palms can produce over 50% more sugar per acre while also requiring less water & nutrients. This make it an extremely sustainable choice.

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Cosy banana bread

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Line a loaf tin with baking paper (approximately 25cm x 12 cm).
  2. Peel the bananas & mash with a fork.
  3. Mix the chia seeds & water together in a jug & set aside to form a gel-like consistency.
  4. Sift the spelt flour, vanilla, bi-carb, baking powder & cinnamon into a medium mixing bowl. Add the almond meal, coconut sugar & maca powder & gently whisk to combine.
  5. Add the melted coconut oil, coconut milk & apple cider vinegar to the chia gel. Whisk to combine. Add in the mashed bananas & mix again.
  6. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry & gently fold together, being careful to not over mix.
  7. Spoon into the prepared loaf tin. Sprinkle over the chopped chocolate, press the banana into the top & sprinkle over the coconut sugar.
  8. Place in the preheated oven & bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean & the top is a golden brown colour.

Enjoy!

Chocolate chilli, baked potatoes, salsa & lime cashew cheeze

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This is a recipe that I have been making for a few years now & every time I do it is thoroughly enjoyed by all. My sister loves it so much that she will almost make it every week, especially in winter when you crave comforting food like this.

Last week, Loving Earth, an Australian company which produces a huge range of sustainable & healthy chocolate as well as granolas, kale chips, superfood powders & basics like coconut sugar & coconut chips sent me a beautiful box of goodies to play around with. I have always loved cooking & experimenting with their beautiful products & receiving a gift like this from then was just what I needed to feel inspired again. So thanks to Loving Earth, I felt like blogging again & this recipe is a savoury way of using some of their products that I love.

The black bean chilli is of course great like this stuffed in the baked potatoes & with fresh salsa but it is equally as good in tacos or over steamed brown rice. The cashew cheeze isn’t an essential element, you could always dollop coconut yoghurt or natural greek yoghurt instead but it doesn’t take long at all & is so delicious. If you have some leftover it’s great on toast with sliced tomato!

Although there is a few different parts to this recipe it really doesn’t take long at all & as you’ve got the chilli bubbling away & the potatoes in the oven, you can quickly put the salsa together.

Chocolate black bean chilli

Serves 4

  • 1 C black beans (soaked overnight)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • Mexican spice mix (1 tsp ground cummin, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tbsp smokey paprika, 1 tsp chilli flakes, 1 tsp sea salt & 1 tsp coconut sugar.
  • 1 large red capsicum, diced
  • 4 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 C vegetable stock
  • 20g Loving Earth dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp Loving Earth cacao powder
  1. Drain the soaked black beans, place in a medium pot & cover generously with fresh water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat before turning down to low & cooking for 40 minutes, or until just tender. Drain & set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium pot then add the red onion. Saute for 5 minutes before adding in the Mexican spice mix. Cook for a further 2 minutes.
  3. Add the capsicum, tomatoes & carrot & cook for another 5 minutes. Pour over the vegetable stock & place the lid on. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the chocolate & cacao powder & cook for a further 10 minutes.
  5. Serve hot.

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Baked potatoes

  • 6 small/medium sweet potatoes
  • 4 medium royal blue potatoes (or a similar white flesh potato)
  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celcius. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Wash & scrub the potatoes before placing on the tray & pricking each with a fork.
  3. Place in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, turning once.
  4. Serve hot, cut in half & filled with the chocolate chilli.

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Corn & tomato salsa

  • 1 large cob of corn
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 400g cherry tomatoes
  • 1 large bunch of coriander
  • 1 large bunch of mint
  • 2 limes
  • 1 medium avocado
  1. Peel the husk of the corn and slice downwards to remove the corn from the cob. Place in a medium salad bowl. Add the sliced spring onions.
  2. Dice the cherry tomatoes, in halves or quarters depending on their size.
  3. Wash & spin dry the herbs before finely chopping & adding to the bowl .
  4. Peel, de-seed & dice the avocado. Add to the bowl & generously squeeze over the juice of the limes.
  5. Gently toss everything to combine.
  6. Serve spooned on the chilli filled sweet potatoes.

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Lime & coconut cashew cheeze

  • 1/2 C raw cashews
  • 1/4 C Loving earth coconut chips
  • Zest of 1 lime, juice of 2 limes
  • 2 T nutritional yeast
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Sea salt & pepper to taste
  1. Soak the cashews & coconut overnight or for at least 6 hours.
  2. Drain & place in a high speed blender.
  3. Add the lime juice & zest, nutritional yeast & garlic.
  4. Begin to slowly blend adding approximately 1/4 C water. Keep blending until a smooth & creamy texture is achieved. Add up to 1/2 C of water for a thinner consistency.
  5. Add salt & pepper to taste before giving a quick final blend.
  6. Set aside in the fridge until needed. Dollop on top of the chilli & salsa stuff potatoes.

Enjoy!

Spelt & chia hot cross buns with figs, raisins & dark choc

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These buns are filled with all the warm & comforting flavours you can imagine. A fragrant whole spelt dough scented with cinnamon, nutmeg & allspice is then combined with juicy fruit, orange zest & chunks of rich dark choc. It’s the perfect treat to wake up to on easter morning.

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I know I have left it a little late & you might already have given up on making any buns this year but this recipe was just too good not to share. So if you haven’t got plan today pop into the kitchen and you’ll be thanking me later when the smell of spicy fruit is wafting around your home. Otherwise, there is always next Easter!

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Spelt and chia hot cross buns with figs, raisins & dark choc

Ingredients

  • 1 C soy milk
  • 4 tbs raw honey (or maple/ rice malt syrup)
  • 1 tbs instant yeast
  • 2 tbs sourdough starter (if you don’t have just add 2 tbs soy milk, extra)
  • 2 tbs chia seeds, 3 tbs water (mix and let sit for 5 minutes)
  • 1 Orange, zest & juice
  • 1/2 C raisins
  • 1/2 C currents
  • 1/2 c dried figs, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 C mixed peel
  • 1 1/2 C whole spelt flour
  • 2 C white spelt flour
  • 2 tbs ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/4 C macadamia or extra virgin olive oil
  • Soy milk, extra, for brushing

For the crosses

  • 1/4 C white spelt flour
  • 2 tbs water

For the glaze

  • 1/4 lime marmalade

Method

  1. Gently heat the soy milk until just lukewarm. Add the instant yeast and honey. Stir, and let sit for 5 minutes. Add in the sourdough starter and set aside.
  2. Mix the orange juice & zest with the dried fruit.
  3. In a large bowl of a stand mixer combine the flours, spices and salt. Add in the soy milk mixture, chia seed mixture, macadamia oil and fruit mixture. Mix until combine in a firm dough.
  4. Need on a floured bench for 5 minutes. Cover in a large bowl and place in a warm area for 2 hours.
  5. After the 2 hours and when doubled in size knock the dough back. Roll into 16 even sized balls and place on a baking tray. Let rise, covered with a damp detail for 30 minutes, in a warm place.
  6. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.
  7. Mix the flour and water together, pop into a snap lock bag and cut off the corner. When the buns have risen pipe crosses onto them.
  8. Place into the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 180 degrees celsius and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  9. While still warm brush with the lime marmalade.
  10. Serve warm with jam, coconut cream or coconut butter.
  11. Enjoy!

Indian Curry Night

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As I sit here writing this my nose is tingling after I carelessly scratched it with my HOT chilli fingers. It’s not at all pleasant so I shall get to the point.. I have proclaimed Sunday nights to now be Curry Night in my home. This has come about due to my cravings for sensual curries after months in India feasting on the greatest food ever. Tonight we are having Eggplant Masala and Thoran, and I shall share my version of both these recipes on here.

I learnt both recipes at a cooking school in Fort Kochin, Kerala, a beautiful old Portuguese inspired village on the south west coast of India. I have adapted them to suite my taste and, of course, make them healthy but I think they still capture the vibrant flavours of South India.

Making a Garam Masala spice mix is essential if you intend on doing any sort of frequent Indian cooking. It will have such a greater depth of flavour than any store bought version. Once you have Garam Masala in your pantry, these recipes can be whipped up in a matter of minutes. Perfect for lazy sundays or mid week meals.

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Masala Spice mix 

1 C cinnamon sticks

1/2 C whole cloves

1/2 C fennel seeds

8 whole cardamon pods

1 T whole pepper corns

Place all the spices into a high power blender, food processor or coffee girder and blend to a fine powder. Place in an airtight jar. Now you have a spice mix for impromptu curries.

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Eggplant Masala 

3 T extra virgin coconut oil

1 onion

5 cloves garlic, crushed

400g Eggpplant (I used two varieties of small and medium but any will work)

2 medium tomatoes

1 C coconut milk

Masala spices

1/2 t tumeric powder

1 t cummin powder

2 1/2 t coriander powder 1

/2 t chilli powder

2 t Garam masala

Finely chop the onion and place in a large sauce pan with the coconut oil and crushed garlic. Fry over medium heat for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, chop your eggplant into 2x2cm cubes. Add to the onion mix and cover. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until just softening. Finely slice the tomatoes and set aside.

Now to make the masala spice mix simply combine spices in a small frypan and dry fry until fragrant. Only 2-3 minutes. Place in a mug with 1 C water. Set aside. Now the eggplants have softened, add the tomatoes and cook for another 10 minutes. Finally stir through the diluted masala spices and the coconut milk. Heat through, add salt to taste and serve. Serves 4.

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Thoran (A dry curry of beans, carrot and coconut)

This is such a versatile dish, cabbage, peas, cauliflower and beetroot can all be used, as long as you’ve got the fresh coconut it will be delicious.

3 T extra virgin coconut oil

2 t mustard seeds a handful of fresh curry leaves

1/2 green chilli, thinly sliced

1 t cummin seeds

1 t coriander seeds

250g fresh beans (I used green, yellow and purple heirloom varieties)

2 medium carrots

1/3 C fresh grated coconut meat

1 t turmeric powder

Firstly, slice your beans into 2 cm pecices and set aside. Slice the carrot into very small cubes, set aside. Heat the coconut oil in a large frypan and add the mustard seeds, curry leaves, chilli, cumin and coriander. Fry for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant. Add the beans, carrot and coconut, frying for another couple of minutes. Mix the turmeric powder with 1/4 C water and add the the pan. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until just tender. Serves 4.

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These recipes are perfect on their own or with homemade chapatis, brown rice or quinoa.