Banana Bread My Way (serves 8)

recipe photo 21Banana Bread My Way (serves 8)

I always think I am taking the healthy option having banana bread. For one thing it is called banana bread, not banana cake
Then it has bananas in it not chocolate. However, I am only pulling wool over my own eyes! Still, it is a sweet treat that I can have. Banana Bread My Way is literally that, so it was a little trial and error. Almond Flour replaces flour, canola oil replaces butter. I reduced the amount of sugar as much as I could and I added chopped walnuts too. It is so easy to make. You just need one big bowl and everything gets mixed in. I mashed my bananas effectively with a potato masher. Mixture was cooked in an aluminum rectangular cake tin (8″ x 4″) greased with canola oil. Aim to cook for an hour or so (mine took longer) but check during that time. I checked half way through and because I didn’t want it to get too brown, I put a piece of aluminum foil on top. Put a toothpick or skewer into middle of cake to check for doneness (should come out clean).

3 ripe bananas
2 extra large eggs (3 regular sized) – whisk in a small bowl
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/3 cup of canola oil
1/2 cup of sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla essence
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Place the bananas in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher.
Add whisked eggs and mix well.
Then stir in almond flour followed by canola oil and sugar.
Then stir in salt, baking powder and vanilla essence.
Lastly, stir in the chopped walnuts.

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Chicken Thighs with Artichokes, Edamame Beans and Peas (serves 4)

recipe photo 18Chicken thighs are dark meat and more flavorsome than chicken breast, so good for this recipe. I used skinless, bone-in thighs. Everything goes in one pot and it takes only 30 minutes to cook. Artichokes were canned, peas and edamame beans (shelled) were frozen and I confess I used pre-sliced onions, so this recipe involves hardly any preparation. I am serving this dish with sweet potato rosti to soak up the juices.

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 x chicken thighs (skinless and bone-in)
1 large onion – chopped
2 cloves of garlic – minced
1 1/2 cups organic vegetable broth
1 x 14oz can of quartered artichokes (Reese brand)
4 oz frozen peas
4 oz frozen shelled edamame beans

Heat seasoned oil in a cast iron casserole dish.
When sizzling add chicken thighs and sear until a little browned on either side, then remove to a plate.
Add onions to casserole dish and when beginning to soften add garlic.
Next, pour in the vegetable broth and stir to loosen any lovely brown bits at the bottom of the pan.
Place chicken back in the pot, then add artichokes.
Bring to a boil and then simmer for 25 minutes.
Then add peas and edamame beans and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Tuna, Tomato and Onion Salad on a Bed of Arugula (serves 4)

recipe photo 19Tuna, Tomato and Onion Salad on a Bed of Arugula (serves 4)

If you do not have really ripe beefsteak tomatoes do not make this recipe. I bought mine in season at my local Farmer’s market which was serving little slices for people to taste. I used wild caught tuna in water in a glass container – tastier and denser than canned tuna, but canned tuna would work. Thin slices of onion and dried parsley are the only other ingredients, except for the drizzle of olive oil and salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve it on a bed of arugula. Could be an appetizer or a salad.

2 x beefsteak tomatoes – sliced
1 x 6.7 oz. jar of tuna
1/2 an onion – thinly sliced
Sprinkle of dried parsley
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Arrange sliced tomatoes on a plate in a circle on a bed of arugula.
Place a circular slice of onion on each piece of tomato.
Place some tuna on each tomato slice and also in the middle of the circle.
Sprinkle some dried parsley over.
Drizzle with olive oil and season.

Indian Muffins (makes 12)

When it comes to making hors d’oeuvres for a holiday cocktail party I am always looking for something new to supplement the usual cheese and crackers, sliced salami, nuts, etc. These frittata are quite substantial and are perfect finger food – with a hint of curry.

2 bsp. extra virgin olive oil – seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil for greasing muffin tray
1 large onion – finely chopped
1 large clove garlic – minced
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. cumin
4 oz baby spinach – chopped
6 eggs – beaten with a fork
4 oz frozen peas
2 tbsp. cilantro – finely chopped

Heat seasoned oil and when sizzling add onion and garlic.
When onion is softened, add curry powder and cumin and stir.
Add chopped spinach and cook for a minute or 2.
Let this mixture cook until tepid.
Beat eggs and add peas and cilantro.
Add spinach and onion mixture when tepid and mix well.
Ladle egg mixture into muffin tray and cook for 20 minutes or so until mixture is firm.

Roasted Cauliflower Florets, Black Beans and Avocado Salad (serves 4)

recipe photo 16Roasted Cauliflower Florets, Black Beans and Avocado Salad (serves 4)

Haven’t made this salad in over 20 years! I used to make this salad with raw cauliflower but thought I would try using little florets and roasting them until tender and a little browned. Although it takes some time to cut the cauliflower into little florets, it is worth it. I made black beans from scratch (less sodium) and then mixed together cauliflower florets, black beans and chopped avocado. I spooned over the juice of half a lemon – didn’t need any oil as there was oil with the cauliflower. Super healthy and filling. Again, would go well in lunchbox.

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil – seasoned with salt and freshly ground pepper
1 head of cauliflower – cut into little florets
2 cups – cooked black beans
1 avocado – diced
Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Toss florets in seasoned olive oil and roast in the oven for 20 minutes until tender and slightly brown.
Let cool, then place in a mixing bowl.
Add cooked black beans and avocado.
Mix well together and pour over lemon juice.

Hearty Quinoa Salad (serves 4)

recipe photo 15Hearty Quinoa Salad (serves 4)

Quinoa has replaced rice in my diet. It is less bland than rice but can still be a backdrop for many other flavors. This salad contains chicken tenders cooked in aluminum foil along with lemon juice and olive oil, cucumber, dried cranberries, avocado and hearts of palm. The lemon juice and olive oil are poured over the salad as a type of dressing. Hearts of Palm are great in a salad. I have only ever had them from a can but they are derived from certain types of palm tree and contain potassium and vitamin B-6. If you want to omit the chicken, the salad is fine for vegetarians and vegans. It would be good in a lunchbox at work/picnic.

2 cups boiling water
1 cup quinoa
6 chicken tenders
Juice of 1 lemon – freshly squeezed
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cucumber – diced
3 x hearts of palm – chopped up
Handful of dried cranberries
1 x avocado – diced

Cook quinoa in boiling water then place in a large bowl and let cool.
Place chicken tenders on a large piece of aluminum foil and pour over lemon juice and olive oil. Season, then cook for some 20 minutes in oven, then let cool and slice.
When quinoa is cool add the cucumber,cranberries, hearts of palm, avocado and chicken slices.
Pour over lemon juice and oil and mix well together.

Green and Yellow Waxed Beans Tossed with Olive ‘Pesto’ (serves 4)

recipe photo 14Green and Yellow Waxed Beans Tossed with Olives (serves 4)

For a long time yellow waxed beans were hard to find but now they are frequently available at my local supermarket (Publix). They taste the same as green beans – it is the color combination that I like. I made a quick olive ‘pesto’ – black olives, garlic and olive oil – and tossed the beans in the sauce. Good hot or cold. Goes well with lamb.

8 oz. thin green beans – topped and tailed
8 oz. yellow waxed beans – topped and tailed
1/2 cup of pitted black olives
2 cloves of garlic – roughly chopped
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Cook beans until just tender.
Put olives, garlic and olive oil in food processor and blend.
Toss beans and olive mixture.