Banana and Coconut Muffins

I had one of those days. You know the kind of days that you loose everything goes wrong. It all started with me skipping my dinner the night before, I then woke up in the middle of the night starving so at 2 am I went to and had a mini feast. I then was too full to sleep so I lay in bed for ages.  After much tossing and turning I decided to open the window. This made set off the house alarm waking the whole family and causing a lot of shouting generally in my direction. I then woke up with a slight sinus infection which meant I couldn’t put my contacts in so I spent the whole day going around blind, as I hate my glasses. None of  my formulas  would work out in physics class and I had to sit alone in English at the top of the class.  My head heart the whole day and  piano after school I just couldn’t concentrate. The loud banging of the notes only made my head hurt even more. At home I couldn’t wrap my head around Pascals Triangle  for maths homework. After 12 attempts I finally finished my physics question. I popped two Panadol and continued on. I began quoting Dido “wondering why got out of bed at all”. I noticed the black banana in the fruit bowl and my spirit began to perk up, coconut and banana muffins I thought. What I love about these is the mixture tastes just as good raw plus bananas contain tryptophan that the body converts into serotonin. Bananas can make you relax, feel happier and improve your mood and the potassium improves brain power and makes you more alert which I am going to need to be in class if I want to master Pascals Triangle.

Banana and Coconut Muffins adapted from Rachel Allens fruity muffins

  • 2 eggs
  • 100ml of milk
  • 100ml of natural yogurt
  • 75ml of sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 225g of plain flour
  • 3 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 100g of wholemeal flour
  • 70g of brown sugar
  • 1 banana mashed
  • 50g of dessicated coconut

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line muffin tray with 12 cases.  Mix all the wet ingredients together including the banana. In another bowl sift the plain flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add the wholemeal flour, coconut and sugar. Fold into the wet ingredients. Be careful not to over mix. Divide the  mixture between the muffin cases. Cook for 20-25 minutes. The tops should spring back gently when cooked. Allow to stand in the tin for 102 minutes than transfer to a wire tray to cool. 

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“I’ll go tomorrow” Porridge

How do you start your mornings? In Spain I started my morning with this, a big bowl of cherries from the fruit shop next door to the apartment, and a crusty roll from the bakery two doors down. Then I went for a dip in the Sea in 20C water. I think it wold be a lot easier to get up everyday if I lived in Spain.

Back home in Ireland I usually start my day with a bowl of cereal or toast and whatever fruit is left in the bowl never very exciting.

Sometimes I go for a run ( only sometimes)

Other days I role over in bed and come up with some excuse and not even these will work. On the ” I’ll go for a long run tomorrow” mornings, I make myself this porridge so I feel good about myself. I find porridge is so wholesome it almost compensates for the run, or lack of it.

Porridge My Way 

I make porridge with pinhead oatmeal a.k.a  steel-cut oats a.k.a Irish oats. They take longer to cut but I prefer the texture. You could over course use rolled oats just follow the instructions on the packet. I cook it with all water but again thats just a preference use all milk or half and half for a creamier porridge. I make a big batch of pinhead oatmeal refrigerate it and then heat it up through out the week with a little water. 

Ingredients

One cup of steel cut oats

Four cups of water

Put the oats and water in a saucepan over the heat. Bring to the boil then simmer on a lower heat for 20-25 minutes. When the oats are creamy and tender, remove from heat . Serve immediately or allow to cool before transferring into air tight containers in the fridge. In the morning, add a splash of milk or water and reheat in the microwave or on the stove-top.

Toppings

For a little variety I like to serve my porrige with toppings here are some suggestions.

Nuts for Bananas porridge

1/2 a banana sliced.

4-5 almonds and hazelnuts (toasted)

3 tablespoons of toasted dessicated coconut

drizzle of maple syrup.

Arrange the slices of bananas on the porridge. Scatter over the nuts and coconut. Then drizzle with the syrup.

Blueberry Bliss porridge

1/2 cup of blueberries (frozen is okay)

1/2 cup of flaked almonds (toatsted)

drizzle of honey

Gently heat the blueberries over a low heat or microwave them for about 45-60 seconds. They should be soft but still hold their shape. Place on top of the porridge and scater over the flaked almonds. Drizzle with honey for sweetness.

Peach Melba Porridge

One peach sliced into wedges.

3-4 tablespoons of natural yogurt

4-5 raspberries

drizzle of honey

Place the yogurt in the center of the porridge. Then top with peaches and raspberries. Drizzle with honey

Apple Crumble Porridge

One apple chopped up

2-3 tablespoons of coconut

2 tablespoons of flaked almonds

1 table spoon of sunflower seeds

Fry the apple slices over a low heat with a little butter or oil to soften them. Toast the coconut, almonds and seeds until just golden. Arrange the softened apple on top of the porridge and scatter with nut topping.

The Best FroYo Sundae

Summer approaches and the weather is getting nicer… Who am I kidding I live in Ireland we already had our week of summer last March but the evenings are getting longer and their is a nicer summer breeze in the air.The sound of ice-cream vans ring around the town in the afternoons.  I was never a huge ’99 fan but their is something about them in the heat. The whipped ice-cream is filled with calories and saturated fat and their is always questions about the cleanliness of the machine it comes from. The above makes a lot of parents reluctant to give it to their kids. One cunning mother told her little boy that when the van plays music it means their is no ice-cream left. The poor innocent boy fell for his mothers  plan and evertime he heard the van he would say “Oh no, it has no ice-cream left”. Something relativly new to this side of the Atlantic is Frozen Yogurt. The ever so popular treat in America has just reached Irish shores within the last year with outlets such as Froberry opening up. Frozen Yogurt is simular to whipped ice-cream with less fat and caloires and hopefully more hygienic. I could eat it all day only problem is I can’t afford it. The healthy alternitive to ice-cream turns out also to be the expencive alternitive. After binge eating on not so healthy foods last week and with plans to do it again next week I deceided to begin my detox weekend with this Frozen Yogurt.

Mixed Berry Frozen Yogurt Sundae

This recipe is easy to make and a lot cheaper than the bought. The Yogurt can be frozen after making it but best eaten straight away. Don’t be afraid to experiment with whatever berries or frozen fruit you have. If you add more juice to the Fro Yo you it can be served as a berry smoothie mmmm….

makes two sundaes

for the yogurt

100ml of orange juice

one banana

3/4 cup of frozen raspberries

1/2 cup of frozen strawberries (slightly softened depending on the strength of your blender)

1/2 cup of frozen bluebererries

150ml of natural yogurt ( I always use Glenisk I don’t think any other natural yogurt compares to it but use the best you can afford)

for the sundae

200ml of  natural yogurt yogurt100

100ml of melted frozen berries

berries to top it

To make the yogurt put the juice, then yogurt, then banana then berries in the blender and blend to form a smooth creamy consistency.

Get your serving glass and put 100ml of natural yogurt in the bottem. Next layer the melted berries and finish with tree scoops of the Fro Yo. Top with the berries and whatevery garnishes take your fancy.

Enjoy

Summer Sun and Moldy Bananas

As I have stated before I love many things about Ireland but the weather is not one. So when we do get a few days of sunshine the populations goes a little mad, sundresses are taken out from the back of wardrobes (for their annual wear), shops sell out of ice-cream and burnt faces and farmers tans surround the town. With the heat comes moldy bananas which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it gives you an excuse to make this Caribbean inspired banana bread.

Image

Serve with a fresh fruit salad and eat for breakfast in the sun for an ultimate Caribbean experience

Coconut Banana Bread  

Adapted from book Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant

makes 1 loaf

100g of softened butter

75g of brown sugar

2 eggs

1 cup of mashed banana (about 3 bananas)

3 tablespoons of natural yogurt

1 tablespoon of lime (optional)

1/2 tsp of salt

3/4 cup of toasted dessicated coconut

125g of plain flour

60g of wholemeal flour

{30g of oat bran, 15g of wheat germ, 15g of wheat bran} OR 60g of wholemeal flour

1tsp of baking powder

20g of dessicated coconut to top

Preheat the oven to 200C. Grease of line a 9x5x3-inch loaf tin (standard loaf). Cream the butter and sugar. Stir in the eggs, yogurt, lime juice and bananas. Add the salt and coconut. Then sift in the dry ingredients. Mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and sprinkle the leftover coconut on top. Cook for 30 minutes reduce  heat to 160 and cook for another 30 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from tin and leave to cool before eating.

Variations: Add 1/2 tsp of ground ginger with the coconut, Add a handful of nuts or dried fruit before pouring into tin.

You could also add a handful of chocolate chips but I would leave out the lime then.