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.
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.
Cosy banana bread
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Line a loaf tin with baking paper (approximately 25cm x 12 cm).
- Peel the bananas & mash with a fork.
- Mix the chia seeds & water together in a jug & set aside to form a gel-like consistency.
- 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.
- Add the melted coconut oil, coconut milk & apple cider vinegar to the chia gel. Whisk to combine. Add in the mashed bananas & mix again.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry & gently fold together, being careful to not over mix.
- Spoon into the prepared loaf tin. Sprinkle over the chopped chocolate, press the banana into the top & sprinkle over the coconut sugar.
- Place in the preheated oven & bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean & the top is a golden brown colour.
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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Add the capsicum, tomatoes & carrot & cook for another 5 minutes. Pour over the vegetable stock & place the lid on. Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add the chocolate & cacao powder & cook for a further 10 minutes.
- Serve hot.
- 6 small/medium sweet potatoes
- 4 medium royal blue potatoes (or a similar white flesh potato)
- Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celcius. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Wash & scrub the potatoes before placing on the tray & pricking each with a fork.
- Place in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, turning once.
- Serve hot, cut in half & filled with the chocolate chilli.
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
- 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.
- Dice the cherry tomatoes, in halves or quarters depending on their size.
- Wash & spin dry the herbs before finely chopping & adding to the bowl .
- Peel, de-seed & dice the avocado. Add to the bowl & generously squeeze over the juice of the limes.
- Gently toss everything to combine.
- Serve spooned on the chilli filled sweet potatoes.
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
- Soak the cashews & coconut overnight or for at least 6 hours.
- Drain & place in a high speed blender.
- Add the lime juice & zest, nutritional yeast & garlic.
- 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.
- Add salt & pepper to taste before giving a quick final blend.
- Set aside in the fridge until needed. Dollop on top of the chilli & salsa stuff potatoes.
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.
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!
Spelt and chia hot cross buns with figs, raisins & dark choc
- 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
- 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.
- Mix the orange juice & zest with the dried fruit.
- 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.
- Need on a floured bench for 5 minutes. Cover in a large bowl and place in a warm area for 2 hours.
- 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.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.
- 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.
- Place into the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 180 degrees celsius and cook for a further 5 minutes.
- While still warm brush with the lime marmalade.
- Serve warm with jam, coconut cream or coconut butter.
As I sit down to write this, it is not cookies on my mind but the rice paper rolls, the soy eggs & squash fritters from some well recognised food bloggers who are sharing their stories. These are not any story but the deepest of stories about their families & their childhood. Each one has made my heart swell & my eyes fill with tears as I think about the hardships they & (their families) faced & the tough decisions. One thing is the same in each story – it’s about finding a safer home. Somewhere they could bring their children up without the threat or fear of violence & persecution. I urge all of you to go & have a read & remember now, while all this craziness is going on in the world that in the end we are all human & we all deserve to live without fear. #immigrantfoodstories
Here are some cookies that will bring a little hope & warmth into your life. They will fill you up & make you feel good.
Makes approx. 24 large cookies
- 1 C whole spelt flour
- 1 C rolled oats, plus 1/2 C extra
- 1/4 C brown rice flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- a pinch of sea salt
- 1/4 C desiccated coconut
- 1/2 C raw almond, roughly chopped
- 1/2 C dried cranberries
- 1/2 C roughly chopped dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
- 1/2 C macadamia oil
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1/4 C rice malt syrup
- 2 over-ripe bananas
- Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees celcius & line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
- Place the 1 C of rolled oats into your blender and pulse for a few seconds to turn into oat flour. Pour into a large bowl and sift over the flours, baking powder, cinnamon & sea salt. Add the whole oats, coconut, almonds, cranberries & dark chocolate. Mix to combine.
- In a large jug mash the bananas then add in the oil, vanilla & rice syrup. Whisk together before pouring over the dry ingredients. Mix into a thick dough then with damp hands roll tablespoon size balls. Place onto the trays and flatten with the palm of your hand.
- Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until golden. Cool for 5 minutes on the trays before transferring to a wire rack.
- Delicious eaten on the day otherwise will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
Enjoy & spread love xx
Over the last few months purple cauliflower has been popping up at all the farmers markets over here in Perth. The first time a bought one I was so excited & wanted to do something extra special. It ended up sitting in the fridge for two weeks while I dreamed up all these crazy things I could do with this purple cauliflower cauliflower. In the end I used it in a rush one busy weeknight when I was craving some comfort food. The cauliflower was roasted with garlic before being baked with a fish and creamy sauce made from almond milk. Surprisingly, it was an amazing dish that was gobbled up by all, especially my sister. She would have eaten the whole tray right then. Luckily some was left for our lunches the next day!
Since then we’ve had this cauliflower cheeze on regular rotation & every time it is thoroughly enjoyed. I’m thinking of serving this on Christmas eve and even though it’s quick & easy to make, it tastes indulgent.
By using purple cauliflower there’s a healthy does of anthocyanins which have anti-innflammatory & antioxidant benefits. Regular cauliflower is also high in vitamin C so no matter what colour you choose its bound to be healthy & nutrient rich.
Vegan cauliflower cheeze
Serves 4 as a main, or 6 as a side
- 2 small or 1 large head of purple cauliflower (if you can’t find it white is just as delicious)
- 4 T extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp smokey paprika
- 1/3 C chickpea (besan) flour
- 800ml unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tbsp white miso paste
- 1/4 C nutritional yeast flakes, plus 2 tbsp
- 1/2 C walnuts, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp sunflower seeds, roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celcius.
- Trim the cauliflower & cut into medium sized florets.
- Line a baking tray with baking paper & place the cauliflower on in a single layer. Drizzle with 2 tbsp of the olive oil, sprinkle over the crushed garlic, paprika & season with salt & pepper. Place into the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.
- Meanwhile prepare your béchamel sauce by heating the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil in a small saucepan. Add the chickpea flour and stir until a thick paste forms. Now, with a whisk in hand, gradually add the almond milk, whisking continually to ensure no lumps. Over a medium heat gently bring to the boil, while whisking every so often. It will take about 10 minutes for the sauce to thicken.
- Once thick add in the miso & nutritional yeast. Give the sauce a final whisk before taking off the heat.
- Remove the cauliflower from the oven & place in a baking dish. Pour over the béchamel sauce & top with the walnuts, sunflower seeds & remaining nutritional yeast. Season with a little extra salt & pepper & baking at 200 degrees celcius for 30 minutes.
- Serve with a crisp green salad.
It’s that time of year again when my parents avocado trees are dripping with fruit and the local markets are full of gorgeous avo’s ready for the picking. I’ve been filling my bag with them at the markets, for a very decent price, and I can’t wait for my parents visits when (hopefully) they come with arms full of them. Of course, nothing beats the simple avo on toast combination , and I can’t go past that. But when I have so many I look to other ways of including them in my diet. Smoothies are one of my favourite things and I don’t think a day goes by when I don’t have one. So it’s no wonder that the avo’s have ended up in my smoothies. They are perfect in a vibrant green smoothie, with lots of kale, mint, lemon and cucumber, adding a very welcome creamy texture.
Today I mixed it up with a very decadent shake, using the avocado to make the drink extra thick and creamy. This is the perfect breakfast treat or dessert. It’s packed with the goodness of raw cacao for that rich chocolate flavour, mesquite adds a lovely hint of caramel and is a good source of calcium & potassium as well as stabilising blood sugar levels and of course the hero avocado is high in vitamin K and healthy monounsaturated fats.
Cacao & avocado shakes
- 1 large frozen banana
- 1/2 large avocado
- 2 ice cubes
- 2 sprigs of mint
- 2 tbsp cacao powder
- 2 tsp mesquite powder
- 2 tsp almond butter
- 2 medjool dates, pitted
- 2.5 C unsweetend almond milk
Place the banana, avocado flesh, ice, mint cacao powder, mesquite powder, medjool dates & almond milk into a high speed blender. Blend for 1 minute or until thick & creamy. Pour into 2 glasses and top with an extra sprinkle of cacao & a few cacao nibs. Drink immediately.
Imagine crispy puffs of quinoa and buckwheat, crunchy peanut butter, creamy tahini, a hint of sea salt and dark chocolate all rolled into one bar. It’s the chocolate bar of my dreams. And now I can have it everyday because, really, it’s not as unhealthy as you might think. Puffed quinoa and buckwheat are both nourishing seeds, which makes them gluten frees, and they are packed with protein and calcium. So we’ve got a chocolate bar that’s both delicious and nutritious!
A little peanut butter and tahini are also great sources of protein and healthy fats, which will help keep you full for longer. These really are the chocolate bar you should be reaching for when the 3pm slump hits. That’s exactly what I’m doing now, along with a big cup of tea. It’s the perfect post tennis treat.
I also made these for my parents last weekend and they thoroughly enjoyed them. Especially my Dad. Now that the recipe is up, my mum might even make them for him!
Don’t be shy with your pinch of sea salt as it really lifts these bars to the next level. Also, feel free to add whatever nuts or seeds you have on hand instead of the pistachios and almonds. Of course, these bars can also be made vegan by using an alternative sweeter such as rice malt syrup or maple syrup, however I truly love the taste of a beautiful floral honey.
Chewy chocolate bars
- 1 1/2 C puffed quinoa
- 1 1/2 C puffed buckwheat
- 1/4 C flaked almonds
- 1/2 C pistachios, roughly chopped
- 1/4 C chia seeds
- 1/2 C honey
- 1/4 C natural peanut butter
- 1/4 hulled tahini
- 40g drak chocolate (70% cocoa solids minimum)
- Combine the puffed quinoa, puffed buckwheat and chia seeds in a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a heavy based pan, gently toast the almonds and pistachios over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
- Combine the honey, peanut butter and tahini in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until combined.
- Add the toasted nuts and tahini mixture to the puffs, quickly mix to combine.
- Press into a lined lamington tin (30 x 15 cm), you may need to wet your palms slightly to prevent the mixture sticking to you.
- Refrigerate for about 4 hours, or until set firmly.
- Remove from the fridge and slice into even sized bars. Gently melt the dark chocolate then use a small spoon to drizzle it over each bar. Pop them back into he fridge for the chocolate to set. Serve, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.