1. Wash and dry your herbs before storing
2. Soft vs Hard Herbs
- Basil (special treatment)
I am completely guilty for always leaving the last few bananas sitting there one day too long and letting them turn into the wrong shade of brown. A perfectly ripened banana has a good firmness and it’s not too sweet. It is the perfect snack between meals or before you hit the gym as bananas are loaded with vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. They also keep your blood sugar level stable (which will make you feel less hungry between meals) and give you the energy for your workout.
Before we get into different ways to use over-ripe bananas, let’s talk about some health benefits and reasons as to why you should include bananas in your diet. Bananas are rich in potassium, which is important as this mineral helps maintain fluid levels in the body and regulates the movement of nutrients and waste products in and out of our cells. This fruit is also very high in fibre, magnesium, vitamin C and B6 which aids in digestion and promotes heart health. Eating banana will improve your mood and reduce PMS symptoms because it regulates blood sugar and helps produce the “happy hormone” serotonin.
So let’s get into a few ways of using those over ripened bananas!
Bananas act as a healthy sweetener in a number of recipes, which means you can cut back on the sugar and feel good about your snack.
Morning Banana & Mixed Berries Smoothie
If you have one banana and a handful of berries, you are minutes away from a delicious and healthy breakfast. I usually put almond milk or soy milk into my smoothie but you can use milk as well as yoghurt. There are also many superfoods that you can add to your banana smoothie to turn it into a super shake to start your mornings such as chia seeds, flaxseeds and wheat germ. If you are like me who cannot start your day without coffee, but don’t want to drink so many things in the morning, try adding a shot of coffee into your banana smoothie. You’ll barely taste the coffee but still get your caffeine and energy boost all in one glass!
Other flavour combinations with bananas: mango, peach, papaya, pineapple, raw nuts such as almonds or hazelnut. And feel free to add some honey to sweeten your smoothie.
Easy & Quick Banana Ice Cream
Chop up your ripe bananas and freeze them on a tray. Once they are frozen, put the bananas in a blender with 3 – 4 tablespoons of cold milk. Blitz away and you’ll get a frozen treat right away. No fancy ice-cream machine required! My favourite toppings to add to this delicious frozen dessert are drizzling of honey, chopped almonds, sliced strawberries, and if I feel indulgent, some chocolate chips or chocolate sauce. You may also add more milk and turn this into a cold frothy banana milkshake.
Making pancakes for breakfast is a great way to start a lazy and relaxing weekend. And of course, one of my favourite pancakes to make is banana pancakes. Instead of just slicing up the bananas and placing them on top of pancakes, try to intensify the sweet banana flavour by mashing them into the pancake batter. Bananas are already naturally sweet, therefore you can cut back on the sugar that you normally would add to your pancake batter. You will also probably end up using less syrup when eating the pancakes, making this breakfast dish much healthier.
Here’s a recipe from DayDayCook for an easy and delicious banana pancake: http://www.daydaycook.com/daydaycook/hk/website/recipe/details.do?id=34151
And lastly, who could resist a moist and delicious slice of banana bread? I love making this whenever I have the chance as I love the aroma of freshly baked banana bread. To clarify, what I bake is not really a ‘bread’ but more of a cake. (They are just in the shape of a loaf of bread). There are so many different versions out there, so find a recipe that gives you the result you want. I prefer to use olive oil or coconut oil for my banana breads, but you can of course use butter if you wish.
Try out my healthier version of banana bread where I use olive oil (or coconut oil), honey as a natural sweetener and whole wheat flour. This is a moist banana bread so if you want to keep it longer, store it in air tight container in the fridge for a week or freeze it up to 3 months.
80ml olive oil or coconut oil
115ml honey or maple syrup
2 large ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
200g white whole wheat flour or all purpose flour
Drizzle of chocolate sauce (optional)
If you want another version of the banana bread, stay tuned for my July video on Chocolate and Banana Bread on my Facebook page!
For more cooking tips, recipes and kitchen ideas, visit my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/charmainecooks
I think baking is one of many people’s favourite things to do in the kitchen. I know a lot of my girl friends love to bake, whether it is homemade breads, 3-layer cakes or the simple breakfast muffins. I certainly started my cooking journey in the early days with baking. It was one of the first things they taught us in our home economics class – to bake.
Baking requires precision and for you to follow the recipes exactly. It is an art of science. Aside from being precise, here are a few tips that I’ve learned throughout the years that made me a better baker.
These are simple tips that should help you to become a better baker. I hope this was helpful!
If you want to see more baking videos, leave me a comment down below.
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Cooking should be a creative and fun experience. Once you have the basics down, don’t be afraid to experiment and come up with your own flavours. Just like other things, many dishes have been tried and done before. What makes them unique and original is how you interpret the dishes when you cook them. Of course there is nothing wrong with following recipes, but I think you’d find more joy in cooking if you add an extra pinch of something and the dish turns out BETTER than the recipe.
My tip for you is that each dish is a component of these 5 flavours: sweet, sour, salty, bitter and spicy and it is how you mix them and how you balance these flavours that is the key. Start with what you know and try to mix one Asian ingredient with a western one. For example, I love using Japanese white miso in western sauces and marinades because white miso brings a unique salty taste to the dish as well as a subtle sweetness. I recently had a cooking class and taught a Grilled Fish Taco with White Miso Lime Dressing. Just because it is a “Mexican taco”, it doesn’t mean you have to stick to tomato salsa and guacamole. The dressing is easy to make and goes very well with seafood dishes, such as crab cakes, fish burger and anything deep-fried.
This is just one of many examples of how you can slowly start experimenting with ingredients and flavours in your kitchen. Start out small and you will soon learn that the combinations are endless!
White Miso & Lime Dressing 白麵豉青檸醬
30g white miso paste
juice and zest of 2 limes
1 clove garlic, finely minced
10ml rice wine vinegar
salt and black pepper to taste
Japanese 7 Spice Powder (optional)
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