Wednesday, 27 July 2016

The Colour Purple - Blueberry Banana Bread

My favourite range of colours is on the purple and pink spectrum. So its fortunate that the current thinking in healthy food comes in the same shades.

Red cabbage, eggplants, beetroot, blueberries and purple potatoes are, we are told, what we need for long lasting health and vitality. Why? because they contain an enormous amount of antioxidants.

Hard to believe just 1/2 a cup of blueberries has the same amount of antioxidants as 2 1/4 cups broccoli, 2 1/2 cups corn 2 1/4 cups spinach. That's why my favourite fruit at the moment is blueberries. 

It is so easy to include a handful in breakfast cereal, pancakes (check out my blueberry recipe here) and now I've added them into my banana bread, to give it a little more goodness and lift it from ordinary to power packed. As well as being antioxidant rich, this recipe is vegan as it contains no butter or eggs.

Blueberry and Banana Bread


1.5 cups blueberries
3 ripe bananas peeled and mashed
2 cups plain flour - could be gluten free
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup agave syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk - could be cow, soy or almond
2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • Pre heat oven to 180/350ยบ. grease and or line a loaf tin 9 x 4 or 22 x 10 cm.
  • Combine all dry ingredients in one bowl.
  • Add lemon juice to milk and allow it to curdle. Then add the agave syrup and mix.
  • Add the ripe bananas to the flour, alternating with the wet ingredients and mix together  until you have combine all ingredients. Don't over mix.  Gently mix in the blueberries.
  • Turn the mixture into your prepared tin and bake in a moderate oven for 45 - 55 minutes.
  • Keep checking to make sure the bread is not browning too quickly. If it is adjust your oven temperature down a fraction.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Vegan Veggie Burgers

Now my family have all deserted me and moved interstate, I don't have to worry about finding gluten-free, vegan or diary-free foods (except when they come for a visit).  In saying that, I must admit I would rather have them around the corner than so far away - but that's another story.

Our city is experiencing some erratic weather patterns, hail and high winds causing widespread damage to trees and houses and a ridiculous amount of rain over a short period of time. And it's been so cold, not by northern hemisphere standards, but cold enough to make my bones hurt!

Even our local magpies are sneaking back under cover sheltering from the freezing arctic winds and rain. 

And this weather makes me want to eat comfort food. You know the kind that puts a smile on your face and warms you right down to your toes. I think I've got the perfect remedy with this veggie burger mix. 

It's also another little gem that I will be able to share with Miss K and Miss V when they decide to come for a visit, because these burgers are very vegan and gluten free!

Fortunately these require very little time to throw together, just a little resting time in the fridge and surprisingly they don't fall apart when you cook them - making this a scrumptious little lunch or dinner recipe. And you will probably find that you have all of the ingredients on hand, so no last minute rushing to the shops to buy anything.

I've served these in burger buns with thick slices of tomato, rocket, home made tomato and chilli chutney and a pile of sweet potato chips hot from the oven. Give it a go and let me know what you think.

                                        VEGAN VEGETABLE BURGERS


1 can chick peas drained and mashed
1 small zucchini grated
1/2 red onion finely chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic minced
1 cup of quick oats
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 bunch chopped coriander
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons hot chilli sauce (more or less depending on taste)
2 tablespoons peanut butter
salt and pepper
small raw beetroot /grated/optional
2 tablespoons olive oil

Place all the ingredients, except the oil, into a large bowl and thoroughly mix together. 
Form the mixture into 6 - 8 burgers.
Cover and place in the fridge for about 1 hour.
You can either fry these in a pan with olive oil or place on a hot BBQ plate. Cook until they are golden brown on both sides.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Spiced Lentil and Carrot Soup

What does winter mean to you?

I sit and watch the wind whipping the last leaves off the trees. Two wet Magpies perch on chairs under the verandah, finding shelter from the rain and howling winds. My camera battery is flat and I miss this great photo opportunity.

Narcissus flowers poke their heads out of the soil, weaving and bobbing in the wind. And the beautiful Hellebores are a burst of colour in the otherwise grey garden. And in this rain their blossom will not last.

But I can sit in the warmth, watching nature carry on its tasks regardless of the weather and I can appreciate every little wondrous thing in my garden. 

This is my winter and I'm craving a bowl of thick soup, chunks of bread and cheese. Its days like today that tell me it's time to make a batch of Lentil and Carrot Soup - full of spices and flavour and the best thing for making the world seem a better place today.



600g carrots, washed and chopped

140g orange lentils washed

1litre of good vegetable stock

500ml of milk

1 1/2  tsps cumin seeds

big pinch of chilli flakes

2 tbls olive oil

salt and pepper

Dry fry the cumin seeds and chilli flakes. As soon as you start to smell the spices, take them off the heat and place them in a container to save for later. 

Don't worry about peeling the carrots, just give them a good scrub, top and tail them and cut into large chunks.

Add half the dry fried spices, carrots, lentils, oil, stock and milk into a large pan. Bring to the boil, partly cover and cook until the carrots are tender. This will take around 15 minutes.

Allow the soup to cool a little before using a food processor or a stick blender to puree the soup. Add the remainder of spices, salt and pepper.

The soup can be stored in the freezer for later use or be reheated for immediate use. If you find the soup is a little too thick, you can add a little more milk before reheating.

Serve with a dollop of plain yoghurt and a couple of pieces of crunchy bread.