Healthy Banana Bread
This is such an easy loaf to make and is perfect for a new year treat that won’t send your sugar levels soaring. I used my husband and children to do the ‘taste test-drive’ on this. They are huge fans of my usual butter & sugar laden version, so this recipe needed their approval. Their opinions are easily swayed so I decided not to tell them them I had changed the recipe. It got the thumbs up from all with an added quip from my other half about how light it was. Perfect, there is now no going back to my usual recipe unless of course my cholesterol levels drop dangerously low!! Fat chance of that happening…..
It is very straight forward to make, uses maple syrup to sweeten instead of sugar and wholemeal spelt instead of white flour. It will make a great addition to our healthy lunch box tomorrow for the start of the new school term.
3 medium ripe bananas (the riper the better!!)
2 organic eggs beaten
4 tablespoons of melted coconut oil or you could use a good quality cold pressed oil such as vegetable (neutral taste) or olive (more savoury flavour).
6 tablespoons of maple syrup (runny honey will also do)
250g Wholemeal Spelt Flour
1 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
60ml of water
A good pinch of salt.
Preheat your over to 165degrees celsius or 325 degrees fahrenheit.
Grease an line a 9 x 5 ” loaf tin.
In a large bowl, add the spelt flour and baking soda.
In a separate pot melt the coconut oil. Once melted turn off the heat and add the maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Now pour in the water and mix.
In a separate bowl add the beaten egg. Mash up the bananas until they are almost liquid. Add theses to the egg and mix well together.
The next step is to add the wet ingredients to the dry and fold the mixture carefully until everything is just combined and has formed a batter. There is no need to over mix this mixture.
Now pour into your tin, lightly dust with cinnamon and place in the middle of the oven for 55 mins. Leave it to cool for a while in the tin before turning out.
This banana bread is wonderfully moist and should keep for up to 3 days in a bread bin, 3 days or so longer if kept in the fridge. It freezes well and should keep for up to 3 months.
Enjoy with a hot cup of tea!
The above title may sound like a contradiction. Surely ‘gourmet’ can’t be achieved in 30 minutes?! Wrong.
Yes it can and my gourmet tasting, wild mushroom soup can be made by even the culinary inept among us.
Of all of the soups I make, this is the one that is the crowd pleaser. My ‘picky eater’ middle child despite a hatred of mushrooms will always ask for seconds and I can find no better way to fool my children into eating vegetables than this. But the really great thing about this soup is that it tastes so impressive it makes a delicious way to start a dinner party or Supper for guests.
My mantra as an embracer of a ‘greener’ life is “less is more” and that extends to spending less time cooking. Cooking from scratch can be time consuming so I am always on the hunt for delicious tasting, nutrition packed ways of speeding this up. This soup is a perfect example. Mushrooms are low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free, gluten-free, and very low in sodium, yet they provide important nutrients, including selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin D and are a good source of B vitamins.
Leeks are a good source of folic acid and vitamin A and are also a good source of fibre but having said all of that this soup definitely does not taste of leeks which is a god-send to my leek phobic children!
250g wild mushrooms (chestnuts are a good substitute too)
30g dried porcini (lidl sell great quality dried porcini for under €3!)
2 good sized leeks,
cleaned & finely sliced
1 onion, diced
1.2 litres of stock
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh thyme or parsley to garnish
First of all place the porcini in a shallow Pyrex dish and pour over 100ml of freshly boils water. Leave to soak.
Next, gently heat the oil and butter in a heavy bottomed pot.
Once the butter has melted and has started to foam add the sliced leeks and onions. Stir and cook over a gentle heat until the onions and leeks have become translucent. Stir frequently to avoid burning or sticking to the base of the pot.
Now combine the sliced mushrooms, again stirring to avoid sticking. Place a lid on top and allow to cook gently for 5 minutes. It is time to add the litre of hot stock and half of the porcini. Allow the mixture to simmer gently for another 10 mins before blending with a hand held blender. Finely chop the remainder of the porcini and stir through along with the liquid. Heat through for another 2 to 3 minutes before serving, garnished with flat leaf parsley.
Enjoy. Foolproof, healthy and utterly scrumptious.
Tip: add 150ml of fresh cream if you are looking for something a little more luxurious but trust me, it’s great without it!
I love Houmous and it is a weekly staple in our house. The children have it in their school lunch boxes in pitta, a bagel or on my ‘eco’ brown bread with grated carrot. As a dip it makes a great healthy snack with celery, carrot, cucumber, or bread sticks. Of course most Supermarkets stock fresh houmous but I can guarantee that with a small amount of pre-planning you can make a fresher, healthier, cheaper and tastier one in under 3 minutes with no cooking required. I can’t say fairer than that and yes, it is easy peasy.
1 400g can of chickpeas
I tablespoon of Tahini. Tahini is pulped sesame seeds and can be bought in lots of Supermarkets and any health store (light or dark, I prefer light). You should get between 4 and 6 batches from one 300g jar.
I small clove of garlic crushed
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon of paprika
season with a pinch of salt and black pepper
You can use a food processor or a hand held blender which works just as well.
Throw in all of the ingredients together, blend and season to taste. Water can be added in small amounts to get a consistency you are happy with. Voila. Enjoy.