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March 29, 2015

Easy, healthy, delicious wholewheat banana pancakes

IMG_20150329_100428On the occasion of it being Sunday, I wanted to share with you my recipe for the easy, healthy, delicious wholewheat banana pancakes I make for my family every Sunday morning (while reading the paper, of course), once I finally manage to get out of bed. This recipe has so thoroughly been adapted that it’s totally mine. And now it also can be yours!

It’s a very forgiving recipe with measurements so exactness is not required (and banana size may vary, so that’s a good thing). Basically, if the batter is too gloopy, add more flour, and if it’s too thick, add more milk until you reach your desired consistency.

Serves 2 adults and 2 children, with a couple of pancakes left over. The children will have eaten the leftover pancakes by lunchtime if you leave them out on the counter on a plate.


1 cup of buttermilk (a tablespoon of lemon juice turns milk into buttermilk)
2 eggs
2 or 3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup of wholewheat flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
Coconut oil (which we only use because it’s trendy, but vegetable oil will suffice)


1) Whisk buttermilk, eggs and mashed bananas together in a medium-sized bowl.


2) Add the dry ingredients and whisk until the batter is smooth.


3) Melt 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in whatever pan you happen to have.


4) Add 1/4 of a cup of batter to the pan once the oil is hot (i.e. sizzles when you flick some water at it). Add a few other 1/4 cups, leaving room between pancakes. Pick up the newspaper and read an article or two.


5) Flip the pancakes when bubbles have appeared on the top and/or edges are browned and/or when pancakes are formed enough for easy flipping.


6) Don’t worry if they’re a little overcooked—the maple syrup will eliminate any problems with that. Read more of the paper while cooking for 2 or 3 minutes until the bottom side is browned, and then remove from the pan.

7) Repeat with the rest of the batter.

8) If you finish reading the paper, enjoy in the company of a good book. Serve with maple syrup and fresh fruit. And tea. Always tea. (Below is a photo of my last Sunday. It was a good one.)


July 13, 2010

Yes we have some bananas

It’s been more than a month since I last discussed being obsessed with bananas, and so much has happened since then! My quest for banana biodiversity in The Annex turned up plantains in Korea Town, and plantain chips at Sobeys (which tasted just like potato chips, which is sad when plantains are so much better). Eventually, I found baby bananas in Chinatown (and they are sweeter than the Williams Cavendish we’re all accustomed to), and red bananas at WholeFoods (and they even more so, delish). I also learned that banana biodiversity is limited due to more complicated factors than I initially supposed– we don’t find the Gros Michel banana anymore, because they’ve been wiped out by Panana Disease, and other kinds of bananas are pretty much impossible to export.

I read Banana: The Fate of the Fruit that Changed the World by Dan Koeppel, and was relieved to find that the banana obsessed spot the globe. In some countries in Africa, people depend on them for sustenence. North Americans have made them more popular than the apple. In Leuven Belgium, a whole research centre is devoted to preserving the banana, which is under threat due to being a) sterile and b) susceptible to disease. I also learned what it means that the plant is sterile, and how it grows anyway (from clones of itself that come up in the roots). I learned that India is pretty much banana central in terms of biodiversity, but because export is where it’s at banana-wise, local varieties are being pushed out to make room for the Cavendish.

I learned that the Cavendish banana gets its name from a connection to Chatsworth House, now home of the last Mitford sister (and aren’t the Mitfords connected to everything?). What banana republic actually means, and how United Banana (now Chiquita) used its influence to have the US government overthrow the government of Guatamala in the ’50s. The terrible treatment of banana workers, which continues to this day, but companies take no responsibility for because they only sub-contract these workers. That a strain of Panana disease has hit Cavendish plantations in Asia, and if it arrives in North America, bananas are in trouble. That genetic modification is the only way to save the banana, which doesn’t even have the same points against it as most GMO arguments, due to the banana’s unique placement. I want to try the lakatan banana one day.

And now I will copy the recipe for plantain quesidillas which have been rocking my world lately (and it also makes a very good pizza topping). I got the recipe from a handout at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, and it’s absolutely delicious.

1) In medium frying pan over med-high heat, heat 1 tblespn veg oil. Add 1 plantain coarsely chopped (though I used 2) and saute until golden, about five minutes. Transfer to bowl and set aside.

2) Heat 1 tblespn in saute pan, add 1 med chopped onion and saute until golden, about 4 mins. Add one cap of rinsed black beans, 1/2 cup fresh cilantro (which I never used, subs parsley), 3/4 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (which I never used), and saute until mixture is heated, about 5 mins.

3) Mix bean mixture, plantains and 1 cup of grated cheese and, using potato masher, mash mixture until it forms a thick paste.

4) In pan, heat small amount of oil over medium heat. Place one tortilla in pan, spread on bean and plantain mixture, and top with a second tortilla. Heat until bottom tortilla is golden brown and cheese is melting, about 4 mins. Flip and heat reverse side. Remove from heat, cut into wedges and serve with sides of choosing (they recommend sour cream and/or salsa, I never used sides).

April 14, 2010

When life gives you lemon juice

(the content of this post is taken from the bottle of ReaLemon ® Lemon Juice From Concentrate in my refrigerator door. It goes very well with the first barbeque of the season, which happens to be chicken burgers from the amazing Good Food For All cookbook).

3 1/4 cups of water, 1/2 cup of ReaLemon ®, 1/2 cup of sugar. Combine ingredients. Stir until sugar dissolves. Serve over ice.

June 8, 2008

Barbeque Pizza

At our house, one of the very best developments of late has been the advent of barbeque pizza. We adore homemade pizza, but as the weather gets hot, turning on the oven becomes deeply undesirable, but then the desire for pizza still remains, so whatever to do? The following recipe (and grilling instructions) are based on those from our favourite cookbook Vegetarian Classics by Jeanne Lemlin.

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 4 tablespoons chilled margarine
  • 1/2 cup of milk or soy milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Olive oil

1) Mix first four ingredients in a large bowl. Add the margarine, and then rub it into the dry ingredients with your fingers until the mixture is coarse. Blend milk and water, and slowly add to the flour mix, stirring until the dough is evenly moistened.
2) Place the dough on a floured surface, and knead two or three times (“until pliable”). Divide into four balls.
3) Press the four balls flat, not so large that all four will not fit on your bbq grill. Brush both sides of each pizza with olive oil.
4) By this time the bbq should be lit and hot. Place oiled dough on the grill for three minutes, and then flip and cook on the other side for three more minutes. Remove from the grill.
5) Add pizza toppings.
6) Return pizzas to the grill and cook for about three more minutes, until the cheese is melted.
7) Cut into quarters, and serve

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