Guilt-free Banana Bread

Yoghurt Maple Banana Bread-0340

GUILT-FREE BANANA BREAD | Relish guiltlessly in this moist loaf made without butter

I totally have a soft spot for moist, delicious banana bread. However, I noticed my waistline thinks otherwise so I’ve been meticulous with this treat (read: trying to not make it a daily routine everytime I walk past the coffee shop on the way to work).

To this I have found a remedy. The satisfaction of baking your own banana bread from scratch – without butter – is a therapy in and of itself. From the mashing action of the overripe bananas, to the mixing of the wet and dry ingredients, and of course, the smell of the loaf oozing from your oven – words don’t do justice to describe the satisfaction derived from the overall process. And because I’ve come up with a recipe that does away with the butter, you can enjoy this moist loaf without the associated guilt factor.

Yoghurt Maple Banana Bread-0346

Guilt-free Banana Bread

PREP TIME: 20 mins | BAKING TIME: 40 mins | TOTAL TIME: 60 mins | YIELDS: 8-9 slices

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 overripe bananas, mashed
  • 115 g of yoghurt (Greek or natural)
  • 60 ml maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut / brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • icing sugar, to dustYoghurt Maple Banana Bread-0239

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Grease a loaf pan.Yoghurt Maple Banana Bread-0272
  2. Mash bananas.Yoghurt Maple Banana Bread-0245.jpgYoghurt Maple Banana Bread-0246
  3. Beat eggs. Fold in the mashed bananas, yoghurt, maple syrup and coconut sugar. Mix thoroughly. Yoghurt Maple Banana Bread-0250Yoghurt Maple Banana Bread-0258Yoghurt Maple Banana Bread-0262
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the flour with the salt and baking powder.
  5. Pour dry ingredients into the wet and fold till well combined.Yoghurt Maple Banana Bread-0265.jpg
  6. Pour batter into loaf and put into the oven for 40 minutes or so. Test with an inserted toothpick: if it comes out clean then the loaf is ready.Yoghurt Maple Banana Bread-0286Yoghurt Maple Banana Bread-0290
  7. Remove loaf from tin and let cool. Slice into 1.5 cm slices. Dust with icing sugar before serving. To store for later, banana bread can be kept frozen. Feel free to toast the banana bread in your toaster before serving. Enjoy!Yoghurt Maple Banana Bread-0324Yoghurt Maple Banana Bread-0332

 

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Maple Glazed Baby Carrots

Maple Glazed Baby Carrots (5 of 9)BABY CARROT LOVE | Sweeten those baby orange gems with a dash of maple syrup

For a simple and fast side dish designed to delight your guests, look no further than the baby carrot. Dress the carrots with maple syrup and a hint of brown sugar to accentuate the natural sweetness of these orange gems further. All in all, this side dish will take you no more than 15 minutes to dish up from prep to table.

A baby carrot is an immature carrot, grown in a small size. Alternatively, they can be cut from a larger carrot (what are called “baby cuts”). Baby cuts were invented by a guy called Mike Yorusek in the mid 1980s.

Back then, the carrot industry was stagnant and wasteful. Yurosek, itching for a way to make use of all the misshapen carrots, got tired of seeing all the carrots go to waste so tried something new. Instead of tossing them out, he carved them into something more palatable. At first, Yurosek used a potato peeler, which didn’t quite work because the process was too laborious. But then he bought an industrial green-bean cutter. The machine cut the carrots into uniform 2-inch pieces, the standard baby carrot size that persists today.

The beauty of these 2-inch perfectly rounded orange gems is that they need not be peeled, thus saving a lot of time. Simply give them a good wash and ‘bam’, they are ready to go.

Now, why is one little carrot so important? First and foremost, munching on carrots can prevent blindness caused by Vitamin A deficiency.

Just to give you some statistics, vitamin A deficiency partially or totally blinds nearly 350,000 children from more than 75 countries every year. Roughly 60 percent of these children die within months of going blind. However, vitamin A deficiency is preventable. One cooked carrot has approximately 150% of the Recommended Daily Amount of beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A. Vitamin A helps to prevent night blindness, dry skin, poor bone growth, weak tooth enamel, diarrhoea and slow growth.

Convinced to eat more baby carrots now? Even the late Steve Jobs was an avid carrot fan, often fasting on weeks on nothing but carrots (and apples).

Maple Glazed Baby Carrots (9 of 9)

Maple Glazed Baby Carrots

Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook time: 10 min | Total time: 15 mins | Serves: 3-4 as a side

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 ounces of baby carrots / baby cuts
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
  • 1/2 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly chopped dill
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly torn thyme leaves
  • Drizzle of balsamic glaze (optional)

Maple Glazed Baby Carrots (2 of 9)

METHOD:

1. Wash and drain baby carrots in a colander.

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2. Heat oil in a frying or skillet on medium heat. Throw in baby carrots, maple syrup, brown sugar, dill and thyme and gently toss to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally. until carrots are tender, about 10 minutes.  Maple Glazed Baby Carrots (4 of 9)

3. Garnish with additional dill before serving.Maple Glazed Baby Carrots (6 of 9)

For those who like the added dimension of balsamic, feel free to drizzle some balsamic vinegar over the cooked carrots before serving. For this dish, I lightly drizzled some of Pukara’s fig balsamic (pictured below).

Maple Glazed Baby Carrots (8 of 9)

 

 

Maple Brussels Sprouts With Pancetta

Maple Brussel Spouts with Pancetta (7 of 19)

MAPLE BRUSSELS | If pan-frying your brussels sprouts with pancetta is not enough, try adding a hint of maple syrup for that extra ‘kick’.

Brussels Sprouts – these miniature cabbages – provide a chock full of nutrients. Provided you don’t overdo it, they are delicious when roasted, stir-fried, or steamed.

It is very important not to overcook Brussels sprouts. Not only do they lose their nutritional value and taste but they will begin to emit the unpleasant sulfur smell associated with overcooked cruciferous vegetables.

Boiling your sprouts for as little as 30 seconds takes away their crunch and bitterness, leaving you with a vegetable that is softened, mellowed, and ready for action.

Not only do brussels sprouts tastes good, they deliver a host of health benefits too. Just to name a few, brussels sprouts helps to lower cholesterol, supports immune function, prevents constipation, fights inflammation, and is a great source of folic acid. They also help to detoxify the body and help prevent bladder, breast, colon, lung, prostate and ovarian cancer.

Moreover, the fiber content of Brussels sprouts — 4 grams in every cup — makes this cruciferous vegetable a natural choice for digestive system support. You’re going to get half of your Daily Value for fiber from only 200 calories’ worth of Brussels sprouts.

Maple Brussel Spouts with Pancetta (17 of 19)

The Brussels sprout has long been popular in Brussels, Belgium, and may have originated and gained its name there.

Maple Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

Time: 20 minutes | Serves: 2 as a side

INGREDIENTS:

  • Roughly 10 medium-sized brussel sprouts
  • 40g of pancetta, cubed
  • 1 garlic clove, diced
  • 1 teaspoon of maple syrup
  • Sprinkle of sea salt

METHOD:

  1. Wash brussel sprouts in a colander with running tap water.Maple Brussel Spouts with Pancetta (13 of 19)
  2. Parboil brussel sprouts for no more than 3 minutes. You can do this by boiling a pot of hot water. Once it simmers, add a sprinkle of salt then dunk the sprouts inside and set timer.Maple Brussel Spouts with Pancetta (15 of 19)
  3. Quickly drain in colander then dunk in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process immediately.Maple Brussel Spouts with Pancetta (12 of 19)
  4. Dry brussel sprouts thoroughly with tea towel or kitchen towel. You want to get these beauties as dry as possible to achieve a better caramelisation process and crunch factor.Maple Brussel Spouts with Pancetta (11 of 19)
  5. Get saute pan ready by turning on stove to medium-high. Add a knob of olive oil and pan fry the pancetta with the crushed garlic cloves for 30 seconds. Switch to medium heat and add the brussel sprouts. Sprinkle some sea salt to taste (optional: can also add a turnstile of crushed black pepper). Pan-fry for 4-5 minutes until the sprouts leave beautiful char marks.Maple Brussel Spouts with Pancetta (10 of 19)Maple Brussel Spouts with Pancetta (8 of 19)
  6. Once charred to your level of ‘perfection,’ turn off stove and add a teaspoon of maple syrup. Mix with spatula to ensure the sprouts are all coated evenly.Maple Brussel Spouts with Pancetta (9 of 19)
  7. Serve as a side. Brussel sprouts are so versatile; they pair with a variety of main dishes be it pasta, roasts, or can even constitute a meal by themselves.Maple Brussel Spouts with Pancetta (4 of 19)The Brussels sprouts should be brown with a bit of black on the outside when done. Maple Brussel Spouts with Pancetta (5 of 19)

 

Wholewheat Banana Pancakes

Wholewheat Banana Pancakes (1 of 1)

So I woke up this morning thinking I’ll be embarking on a challenging hike today with some friends. On the presumption that I’ll be conquering the deadly Twin Peaks (name of trail) and burning a bucketload of calories, I thought I could justify devouring something scrumptious for breakfast without the associated guilt trip. Seeing I woke up early and had some wholewheat flour in my cupboard and some bananas lying around, I decided I’d whip up some healthy pancakes.

Unfortunately though – and much to my disappointment – everyone flaked due to sheer idle laziness and “adverse weather conditions”. Okay, they can be ‘forgiven’ given it is rather overcast and gloomy today so excuse duly accepted this time. Point is, I already made and ate these pancakes and was psyched about the hike. Luckily, I did end up hiking to the peak with another girlfriend to visit one of my closest friends who just gave birth to a baby daughter yesterday at Matilda Hospital. Guilt factor obliterated.

Anyways, enough of my ramble. Below is my healthy and delicious ‘no-brainer’ breakfast pancakes.

INGREDIENTS (serves one, makes 3 pancakes):

  • 1/3 cup wholewheat flour
  • 2/3 cup of milk
  • Knob of butter for greasing pan
  • 1 banana
  • Maple syrup to drizzle

Wholewheat Banana Pancakes (1 of 15)

METHOD:

1) Whisk flour and milk thoroughly together in a bowl.

Wholewheat Banana Pancakes (2 of 15)

2) Heat up a skillet on medium heat. Add a knob of butter. Add a ladle of the pancake batter into the pan and cook for a few minutes until golden brown. Flip and repeat.

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Wholewheat Banana Pancakes (6 of 15)

3) Repeat step 2 with the remaining batter (should make approximately 3). Layer the cooked pancakes onto a plate and keep warm. Slice the banana.

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4) Serve pancakes with the banana slices and a drizzle of maple syrup.

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