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Banana season peaks in February in this part of the world (northern NSW).  Most of our bananas go towards fattening up bush turkeys – my only consolation is how succulent the turkeys are going to be when the real food shortage hits! But although this time of the year, even with the help of possums, flying foxes, and king parrots, the turkeys can’t get through them all, in the wake of Cyclone Yasi banana prices are likely to skyrocket, so you might have to get in quick.

Bananas are a great breakfast food.  They’re contain both fast and slow carbohydrates, so they give an instant energy boost with a good, low GI afterburn to keep you feeling clear-headed and energetic through to lunch time.  They are very filling for the amount of calories they have, and they contain good levels of potassium, fibre, and a range of of vitamins.

The recipe also contains a couple of eggs  – a good source of  protein along with B12 and choline which is important for brain function. And the other star of the recipe is rolled oats – a low calorie,  low GI carbohydrate, with good amounts of B vitamins and several minerals, and a kind of fibre that is really effective at stopping cholesterol being deposited in your arteries.

The Recipe:

Makes about 9 oatcakes – breakfast for two or three people.  Double the recipe if you want more.

As soon as you get up, pour half a cup of milk and half a cup of plain, old fashioned rolled oats (not quick oats) into a bowl. Let it soak for a few minutes.  It doesn’t need long – 10 minutes is enough.

Mix in

  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 2 roughly mashed bananas
  • 2 dessertspoons of sultanas
  • a good teaspoon of cinnamon
  • a scant teaspoon of baking powder
  • a dessertspoon of wholemeal self raising flour

A squeeze of lemon juice is good in it, but not essential.  If you have super-sweet tooths you might add a teaspoon of honey, but I find it sweet enough without.

Heat a (very)  little butter or mild flavoured oil (eg macadamia or grapeseed or canola oil) in a heavy pan.  Over a medium heat, fry desssertspoons of mixture for a few minutes on each side till set and golden.

Eat hot straight out of the pan and avoid the washing up.

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Number 23 in the Muesli Bar Challenge – my weekly series of  recipes for school lunch box baking  that is healthy, easy, cheap and based on fresh produce – features oranges.  It is coming to the end of the navel orange season, and once they finish there will be a gap of a few months until the beginning of the Valencia  season.  Our navel tree is flowering again already, so I’m picking the last of them to allow the tree to put all its energy into the next season’s fruit.

Oranges are super healthy.  Besides being well known as a good source of Vitamin C, they are also a good source of folic acid, which is especially important for growing kids.  This recipe also features oats which are another superfood – low calorie, fairly low GI,  good amounts of B vitamins and several minerals, and protective against deposits of bad cholesterol – and dates, which supply a huge range of vitamins and minerals.

Let’s see what my school age reviewers think of them.

The Recipe

The Filling

In a small saucepan, mix

  • 2 cups of dates
  • 1 cup of fresh orange juice and pulp

Bring it up to the boil then turn it off and allow to soak while you make the crust.

The Crust

Into your food processor, put

  • 1½ cups of wholemeal plain flour
  • 1½ cups of rolled oats
  • ½ teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 good teaspoon of grated orange rind
  • 100 ml of honey
  • 100 ml of macadamia oil, or other mild flavoured oil

Pulse briefly to partly cut up the oats and mix thoroughly.

Assembling

  • Grease a 20 cm square baking pan and press half the crust into it.
  • Process the filling briefly to break up the dates and make a spreadable mix.  Spread over the base.
  • Cover with the rest of the crust and press it down.
  • Bake in a moderate oven for about half an hour until browned.
  • Cool in the tin, then cut into squares or fingers.
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It’s citrus season, our tangelo tree is loaded, and I have a new favourite breakfast.  There’s a fast morning version that I can make  in the time it takes the coffee pot to perk, and a slow morning version that is decadent enough to get me out of bed on a cold Sunday morning.

Tangelos are a cross between a grapefruit and a tangerine, but they’re much sweeter than a grapefruit  with a honey flavour and a very tiny edge of grapefruit bitterness. They’re easy to peel but almost too juicy to eat straight unless you are in the bath.

Citrus fruits in general are good sources of Vitamins C and A, and folic acid and potassium.  But it’s the “bioflavanoids” that make them interesting, and it’s the pulp, not the juice that contains most of the flavanoids. They have lots of good health effects including antioxidant, anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory effects, they help the body take up the Vitamin C in the juice, and they also  improve capillary health. So they help with with all the things that depend on good capillaries like eyesight and kidneys, and also bruising, varicose veins, and fragile capillaries – which I like because I’d rather eat tangelos than get laser surgery to deal with my spider veins any day!

The Recipe

In a heavy pan, melt half a teaspoon of butter and half a teaspoon of honey and add three desertspoons of muesli.  (In the slow morning version, instead of muesli I use freshly cracked pecans and macadamia nuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, oats and organic sultanas.)

Toast for just a minute or two, then peel and segment two tangelos over the pan so that the juice falls into it.  Cook for just a minute or two longer till the juice goes syrupy.

Serve with a dollop of plain low fat yoghurt.

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The great mango glut is almost over – only a few more weeks – and the grapes will run out about the same time. Next will be kiwi fruit and figs and pomegranates – I went around squeezing them all this morning but they are not quite ready. But we don’t get this kind of mango season every year so I am making the most of it while I can!

This recipe has three superfoods – oats, eggs, and mangoes. Mangoes are really high in Vitamin C and beta carotene, and a decent source of several minerals. Eggs are protein, and also a good source of lots of vitamins including the hard to get B12, and they are rich in choline, which is important for memory. Oats are a low calorie, fairly low GI carbohydrate, with good amounts of B vitamins and several minerals, and they stop cholesterol from being oxidised and deposited in your arteries.

So all in all, it’s a great before school or work breakfast recipe. It is also really fast and easy for busy mornings, and can be eaten one-handed whilst searching for socks.

To make 6 oatcakes, beat two eggs and add half a cup of low fat milk, half a cup of rolled oats (not quick oats, just ordinary rolled oats, preferably organic), and a good tablespoonful of wholemeal SR flour.

Let it soak for a few minutes while you dice one large or two small-to-medium mangoes. You should end up with a mixture like the picture.  It doesn’t need any sugar, and I like it better without any spices, letting the mango have the floor.

Fry spoonfuls in a little butter in a heavy non-stick pan on a medium heat until they are set and golden both sides.

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