janet @ the taste space

Posts Tagged ‘banana’

Almost Raw Chocolate Banana Crepes with Almond-Coconut Cream and Cherries

In Breakfasts, Desserts, Favourites on July 4, 2012 at 5:34 AM

Strawberries are out and cherries are in. Seasonal eating at its best, right?

While I originally planned for a strawberry-filled birthday brunch, I worked towards the next seasonal fruit: cherries.

What do you think of first after I say cherry?

Please don’t say cherry red macronucleoli.
(Gosh, the July 1st studying mode has made its way into my blogging, ack!)

Try again.

Chocolate. Almonds.

Now you’re talking.

The Naked Sprout‘s brunch menu inspired me again to try my hand at raw crepes. While I had the raspberry banana coconut pancakes, Rob had the chocolate coconut crepes with banana and a blueberry cashew whipped cream drizzled with an ancho chocolate sauce and a strawberry compote. What a tasty mouthful!

Not so fancy for my home-grown brunch, though. We are aiming for stress-free gatherings, not stress-inducing gatherings!

In the end, I decided to pair the local, fresh cherries with an almost raw chocolate banana crepe and an almond-coconut cream. All of which I could make in advance and allow guests to assemble themselves.

I was scared of thin raw wraps since my raw zucchini wraps were a bit finicky. I have made these a few times, so let me assure you that these are easy to make. The Vitamix makes for a smooth batter and adding the flax seeds last gives you some time to work the batter into a thin sheet. I wanted round crepes, but here, you make a big sheet of a wrap and then cut out your desired shape. It is much easier to make a consistency thin wrap if it is one big sheet. Rest assured that the extra pieces of crepe were not wasted and went straight into my belly. This wrap has a nice chocolate flavour with a hint of banana and very pliable.

I paired the wrap with a coconut-based cream. Now that Rob is gaining experience with opening coconuts, I ventured with a coconut recipe. I contemplated making a macadamia-based whipped cream but cheap coconuts from Chinatown won that battle. I paired it with almond extract for a strong almond flavour, almost begging to be paired with cherries.

Top with sliced almonds, this was a glorious brunch… or dessert.. and quite a great way to introduce my friends to raw cuisine, if I may say so myself.

Sometimes simple is all you need, because the simple flavours melded so well together.

This is being submitted to this month’s Breakfast Club featuring holiday treats, to this week’s Raw Food Thursdays, to this week’s potluck party for fruit dishes, to this week’s Weekend Wellness and to this month‘s Simple and in Season.

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Raw Maca Banana Pancakes with Strawberries and Ice Cream

In Breakfasts, Favourites on July 2, 2012 at 7:08 AM

If there is one thing that is predictable with my meals, it is my breakfast. Steel cut oatmeal with fruit and protein powder. Lately, I’ve been eating it with Vega, since I scored it at half price. Making a big batch each week is a time saver and doesn’t make me think too much each morning as I rush out the door.

With a bit of extra time this long weekend, I decided to host a birthday/housewarming brunch today. A time to whip out all the vegan brunch options. I know, one meal that can be challenging for vegans has got to be brunch, typically filled with cheese, eggs and baked goods. Not here.

A recent visit to The Naked Sprout‘s Sunday brunch had me in a tizzy over their raw raspberry banana coconut pancakes with coconut ice cream.  I thought it would be great to try my hand at it and I figured going raw for brunch would be an easy way to serve a crowd. The pancakes could be made in advance and then assembled once we were ready to eat. No need to slave over a stovetop, especially during this hot summer weather.

Of course, I had to do some research to make sure the recipe worked out before my guests arrived. Last week, while we still had strawberries, I did the first test run. This was the glorious result. Soft and chewy (not light and fluffy like SAD pancakes) pancakes with a hint of maca. Stacked, on top of berries and topped with banana soft-serve ice cream. I was definitely inspired by my meal at The Naked Sprout. This version was lighter and glorious in the melting ice cream. Make no mistake, their vanilla coconut ice cream was possibly the best I have ever had.

One problem: A few days later, my pancakes didn’t look the same. I stored a bunch in the refrigerator in anticipation of not dehydrating this weekend and they turned brown. The banana had probably oxidized or something. Still delicious, they just weren’t as um, photogenic. Well, at least to me, since I know they are supposed to be a light brown colour.

In any case, strawberries are out and cherries are in, so I’ve come up with an alternate breakfast plan. Stayed tuned!

This is being submitted to this month’s Breakfast Club featuring holiday treats, to this week’s potluck party for raw foods, to this week’s Weekend Wellness and to this month‘s Simple and in Season.

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Raw Strawberry Pudding Pie

In Breakfasts, Desserts on June 30, 2012 at 6:01 AM

I am a strawberry baby.

Being born at the end of June, my birthday usually coincides with the local strawberry season. My Mom went into labour while picking strawberries. I tell no lies.

This year, local strawberries are already finished as they had an early start. (Local cherries, though, are already here!). Rob and I still managed to sneak in some strawberry action, though, before he took off for the week.

No stranger to raw desserts, I know they can be pretty heavy. Nuts, coconut, avocado, you name it. They make for delicious desserts, but they can be truly decadent.

I had been pining a recipe for a nearly nut-free Strawberry Pie, so when we had a huge clamshell of strawberries, I couldn’t resist not making this. It was now or never. Next week, the strawberries may not be as good!

I couldn’t go nut-free with a crust, so I picked an interesting almond-vanilla-maple crust. However, since it was date-free, I didn’t find it kept its integrity as well as my go-to crust from the Raw Cashew Dreamcake. The recipe below has my standard crust which I think would work better.

In any case, the filling is really simple. A puree of strawberries and bananas with lemon juice is the base for holding more strawberries. Then it is topped with even more strawberries! Strawberry heaven, for sure. 🙂

This pie needs to be chilled so that the base firms up. In any case, I think it will be a messy cake no matter what you do.. unless you add a thickener like agar agar. My pie firmed up nicely after a few hours in the fridge but our initial foray after an hour left us with a goopy (yet still delicious) mess. Another less messy option would be to make and serve it in ramekins, like we did with our Tropical Mango Pie (oh so good!).

Since the highlight of the pie are the fresh strawberries, the pie cannot be stored in the freezer (hello, Raw Key Lime Pie!). Instead, the leftovers were my breakfast for the rest of the week.

This is my submission to Breakfast Club, featuring leftovers, to this week’s Weekend Wellness and to this month‘s Simple and in Season.

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Chocolate Banana Protein Ice Cream (2-ingredients!)

In Desserts, Favourites on June 17, 2012 at 8:47 PM

The real title of this post should be “How I Spent Father’s Day”.

All my cycling escapades have been inspired by my Dad. Spurred on my a few family deaths, my Dad decided to get in shape in the early 1990s. During this time, he started cycling. He began cycling to work, which was 17km each way.  He eventually hooked up with the local bicycle club and has done the Ottawa-Kingston Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour (178km each way) every year for over a decade. Ever since I started biking 3 years ago, my goal was to cycle with my Dad to Kingston. It seemed like the most inhumane goal but I was on a mission.  However, a week before we were supposed to ride to Kingston last year, my Dad broke his wrist falling off his bicycle. It has taken him a year to fully recover and we were hoping he would join us with a new route, to Niagara Falls.

It was supposed to be 160km each way, but due to all the spring commotion with moving, vacationing in Colombia, wedding #1 of 5 this summer, coupled with a bout of sickness last week, Rob and I did next to zero training. I took my road bike out twice and the longest ride was 30km. Pitiful, I know. Granted, my long cycling commutes had my bicycle odometer over 1200km total this year, though, but that was on my commuter bike. Suffice it to say, we did not feel prepared to cycle 320km this weekend. We opted for the 180km option, instead.

I’ve done the trek to Niagara Falls twice. Both times were 2 years ago and it was incredible to cycle the same route and be infused with so many memories. I remembered where it started to rain, where we stopped for much needed breaks, and the glorious ecstatic rush of seeing the Falls replete with rainbow in the background. While I remember the climb up the escarpment being hard (harder than the Westport Hill from the Kingston cycle), I didn’t remember how hard the first part of the hill was and thought I was a goner. There was a police man driving down the hill at the same time I was starting the sharp incline who yelled out: “Don’t kill yourself!”. I think because I breathing awfully heavily…. who knows. As we danced up and down the rolling hills on Roland Road (near Shorthills Provincial Park), I remembered how difficult the uphills were before. As we raced past the 406 and the QEW, I recalled how energized I was to be so close to Niagara Falls, blasting away with the wind at my back. I also remembered how painful it was the second round, when I almost thought I couldn’t ride the last 30km.

Even though I felt unprepared for the ride, it all turned out ok. With my Dad and Rob at my side, we made the best of the ride. In fact, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. Day 1 was great. Great weather, good biking and good times.  87km, all in. Day 2 started off so nicely with nearly an hour of smooth pavement down the escarpment with mostly downhill coasting to Niagara-on-the-Lake. While we still enjoyed freshly picked strawberries and cherries (ice cream and fudge for the gents), there were some rough patches cycling home.  Meandering our way to St Catharines, the wind started. It didn’t let up and sadly, it was rarely in our favour. A few gusts of wind nearly knocked my bike onto the gravel shoulder. Due to an accident, we needed to do a detour down the escarpment to Stoney Creek, so we ended up cycling 105km on Day 2.

All 3 of us went for a celebratory late brunch at The Naked Sprout (must.recreate.raw.pancakes.and.chocolate.coconut.crepes.oh.my.gosh.and.coconut.bacon.too!), and then we bid adieu to my Dad.

Still looking for a protein-packed recovery snack a few hours later, I whipped up one of my favourite snacks to date: Chocolate Banana Protein Ice Cream. I’ve tried other healthy ice creams before, including Katie’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream and Heather’s Protein Ice Cream (sans guar gum), but neither were that satisfying. Little did I know that my tried-and-true never fail 1-ingredient banana soft-serve ice cream was already at my disposal. All I had to do was add some chocolate protein powder for a very satisfying chocolatey ice cream snack. Guilt-free. The banana whips up into a sweet creamy frozen treat and the chocolate protein powder changes it to a chocolate version. The protein in the powder makes this a hugely satisfying dessert. Enjoy!

The question remains what kind of cycling commitments we will do next year, amidst the commotion of exams and moving to the US. Only time will tell…

This is my submission to this week’s Weekend Wellness.

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Banana Naan (Homemade Vegan Naan)

In Appetizers, Sides on April 6, 2012 at 6:53 AM

Happy Good Friday!

This year, Rob and I are hosting my family for Good Friday. We typically don’t celebrate Good Friday, but since my brother is hosting us on Saturday, I thought it would be nice to have everyone over for a meatless dinner today.

Instead of opting for typical Easter fare (to be honest, I don’t really know what that would be), Rob and I are going Indian-style!

I suppose there are a myriad of reasons: we all like Indian food (including my parents, wowzas!), it fits nicely for healthy, meatless meals without feeling deprived, and one thing about curries is that they taste better as leftovers, so preparing them in advance is preferable and easier for me!

While we could revisit some of our favourite dishes, we’ve decided to try new meals (of course!). We’ll have enough variety in case something doesn’t turn out. For the more iffy recipes, we test-drove them first, though. Case-in-point: vegan banana naan.

While I don’t like bread, Rob adores it. Picking up a fresh loaf of bread from the nearby bakery is always a treat for Rob and he typically finds an excuse to do it whenever we have guests. I figured it would be nice to try our own fresh bread, instead. When going Indian, naan is the obvious choice.

Little do my guests know that I am using this opportunity to help empty my cupboards. I don’t really want to throw out my bread flour, so if everyone loves the homemade naan, that’s perfect! I still had some yeast, that I needed to proof to make sure it was still alive. If you like bread, there is nothing more satisfying than hot-off-the-stove chewy flatbread. Way cheaper than store-bought naan, even if we pick it up from Little India.

Traditional naan recipes call for yogurt, though. Flipping through vegan recipes, I noticed some used vegan yogurt (ugh!), some simply omitted it and others included ingredients like banana and avocado. We always have bananas on hand, so we picked this recipe to begin our experimentation.

I thought Rob was going to kill me when he had sticky dough all over his hands, but we added more flour and he kept on kneading. Our dough didn’t rise much (older yeast?) but we pressed on. We forgot to add the nigella seeds to the first batch, and they wouldn’t stick, but we added them to the next batch.

The verdict? Rob LOVED them! Warm, chewy yet fluffy – this was a great naan. No tandoor needed.  The banana provides sweetness and moisture. While they were easy to make, they were a bit labour-intensive for us to serve to a large crowd. Until we experiment with a baked naan recipe, we’ve decided they won’t grace our Good Friday meal. They will, however, likely make an appearance when we serve some of the leftovers to my parents tomorrow.

This is my submission to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Haalo.

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Peaches and Blueberries with Banana Soft-Serve Ice Cream

In Breakfasts, Desserts on August 25, 2011 at 6:40 AM


When Rob’s parents came over for the barbecue, they helped out by bringing some marinaded meat for the grill. They also gifted us with some fresh, sweet corn on the cob for lunch and peaches for the smoothies. And as a bonus, mini cucumbers from their garden, new potatoes, apples and kohlrabi!  And broccolini! These days, there is nothing better than fresh Ontario corn and peaches. The peaches were delectable as I have been snacking on them for breakfast all week.

I also made this stovetop simmered peach and blueberry dish with cardamom, courtesy of My New Roots. It reminded me of the baked rhubarb and apple dish I made with earl Grey tea, cardamom and orange last year, which was one of my favourite desserts. Instead of turning on your oven, though, you simmer peaches and blueberries with cardamom, vanilla and cloves for a warm, almost sultry combination. The level of sweetness will depend on your peaches, so add the maple syrup to taste.

To contrast with the warmness of the fruit, it is nice to pair with something cool. Pick your favourite – yogurt, ice cream, or in my case: banana soft-serve ice cream.

I still marvel at the simplicity of banana soft-serve ice cream and figure I should share the recipe/method for those who have yet to be introduced. Basically, you take a few just-ripe bananas, slice them and freeze them in a single layer. When you want your ice cream, take them out of the freezer, plop them into your food processor and whiz away. Your bananas will go from hard to a thick cream and if you keep going for a few minutes, eventually you get silky smooth ice cream with a hint of banana flavour. This trick also works with other frozen fruit – I’ve done mango and papaya, but banana remains my favourite. I only caution you not to let your fruit thaw first because then it won’t work!

I love desserts that can double as breakfasts. The fruits also worked well overtop my morning oatmeal. I have been going through Bob’s Red Mill steel-cut oats, and found they made much more firmer oatmeal than I was used to. Ricki’s idea to pan-fry the oatmeal sounded ideal. I took leftover oatmeal, cut in large slabs, and fried them with a touch of oil in a non-stick frypan. The outsides were nicely seared with a warm, oozy interior.

Thankfully, my pantry-substitute, Better Bulk, has steel cut oats that give me silky smooth morning oats.


This is my submission to this month’s Veggie/Fruit a Month, featuring peaches, and to Ricki’s Summer Wellness Weekends.

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Peachy Keen Vanilla Smoothie

In Breakfasts, Drinks, Favourites on August 11, 2011 at 6:14 AM


Rob laughs at me because one of my guilty pleasures is ordering fresh juices and smoothies from restaurants. Nothing beats a fresh blend of ripe vegetables, or a creamy smoothie packed with fruits. Feeling guilty about eating something so healthy seems so odd, but when they cost over $5 a pop, that’s when I feel bad. I mean, I could make something similar at home… on the smoothie aspect, that is. Unfortunately my old food processor can’t make fresh juice.

But now that I have a high-speed Vitamix blender (wahoo!), even my smoothies taste better! An immersion blender keeps things a bit on the chunky side, a food processor is better and now I know how the professionals get that secret creamy consistency without the cream (although they could also be adding cream, too, without me knowing). It’s the blender.

I know the Vitamix is not just for smoothie and drinks, but that’s all I’ve made so far (in the 2 days I’ve had it unpacked!). Even the lowly smoothie has been brought to the next level with the Vitamix. I mean, it better. I can buy a lot of drinks at restos for $500. 😛

My latest smoothie craze has been devouring local Ontario peaches. Throw in a fresh, ripe, pitted peach, half a frozen banana, vanilla, chia seeds and some soy milk. Blend to reach creamy peachy bliss. Sip and enjoy!


This is my submission to this month’s Veggie/Fruit a Month, featuring peaches, to this week’s Potluck Party for summer drinks, and to Ricki’s Summer Wellness Weekends.

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Banana Peanut Butter Chia Super Pancake

In Breakfasts, Favourites on June 27, 2011 at 6:46 AM


Peanut butter and banana are a classic combination. Warm caramelized banana with peanut butter is even better. Add in some rolled oats, chia seeds, vanilla and a dash of cinnamon, and you have a crazy concoction. A crazy, wonderful breakfast concoction. Or dinner, because you love it so much.

Ashley calls this a banana scramble, but I see it as a huge, fluffy pancake. Her description as a melty gooey chewy bananer oat goodness fits much better, actually. The banana becomes soft and caramelized as it is permeated with the peanut butter. The rolled oats and chia seeds add bulkiness and texture. It reminds me of a stovetop version of the Dark Chocolate Banana Coconut Almond Cookies, which are soft from the bananas, but here, you eat it right from the stove, ooey-gooey in its warmness.


I have made this a few times, and the recipe is very flexible.  You can use chia seeds, ground flax or even wheat germ to help keep it together.  Instead of banana, you could use apple sauce, mashed pumpkin or sweet potato. The amount of nondairy milk is up to you and your preference. It should be a bit thick, but not dry. I like to err on the side of wet. Chia seeds definitely make this an easier thing to flip, though, and 2 smaller pancakes would help to flip as well. Wheat germ was nice because it was more fluffy and I added more milk. Especially with wheat germ, it can be a bit finicky to keep it all together, so the name scramble is quite fitting. 😉

This is the wheat germ version. After frying, It may look like this:


So just stick it together and top with bananas (see top photo) and no one would be the wiser.. Personally, in this case, as unphotogenic as it is, I prefer the super fluffy pancake that doesn’t easily keep together then a flippable pancake that is a bit sturdier. I like to eat fluffy goodness. 🙂


This is my submission to Healing Foods featuring bananas and to this month’s Breakfast Club featuring dairy-free breakfasts.

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Multigrain Oatmeal with Quinoa and Kasha

In Breakfasts on June 13, 2011 at 6:34 AM


After my success with combining grains into my morning porridge (technically combining seeds since it was a quinoa-amaranth-chia concoction), I decided to try again with another multigrain breakfast.  I spotted this combination of oatmeal, quinoa and kasha in The 30-Minute Vegan (recipe also posted here).  You have to tend to it a bit more than traditional oatmeal since each grain gets added in separately, but it created a wonderful texture. You get the nutty quinoa with the creamy oatmeal and truth be told, this was my first time eating kasha, but the combination was wonderful.  I added in some sweetened soymilk at the end so I did not feel like it needed anything additional with the bananas. However, use this as a template to add your favourite oatmeal toppings, with the bonus of a new texture for your breakfast porridge.


This is my submission to Healing Foods featuring bananas.

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Chocolate Maca Raspberry Smoothie

In Breakfasts, Desserts, Drinks on May 13, 2011 at 8:52 AM


I have been a recent convert to breakfast smoothies.

I never quite understood why I would want to drink my breakfast. However, chilled smoothies filled with fruit and seasonings have been perfect before and after my bicycle rides.

I am currently testing recipes for Tess Challis‘ upcoming superfoods cookbook and have been loving her smoothies! Her “Maca My Day” smoothie is what got me hooked, and it is wonderful with frozen bananas and the malty goodness from maca. She has a few delicious smoothies planned for the cookbook, and I took some liberty to create my own variation.

Perfect for breakfast, a delicious treat for dessert, enjoy this smoothie guilt-free as it is packed with frozen banana, raspberries, chia seeds, toasted carob and vanilla.

Chocolate and raspberry pair well together. Except I didn’t use chocolate. I used toasted carob powder, which has a flavour similar to chocolate without the caffeine.  Carob is a bit sweeter than cocoa, and definitely sweeter than raw cacao, so I didn’t feel like this smoothie needed any additional sweetener, but add to taste.  Maca is also wonderful in it, but completely optional.



This is my submission to both Ricki and Kim’s vegan SOS challenge featuring carob and to this month’s Breakfast Club featuring fairtrade ingredients.

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How Not to Eat Out in New York City (An Eatalian Meal)

In Breakfasts, Favourites, Mains (Meat) on February 25, 2011 at 5:44 AM


Last weekend, Rob and I took a trip New York City. I thought Family Day was only a made-up holiday in Ontario, but it turned out February 21 was also President’s Day. Everyone had a long weekend! 🙂

I find eating through a cuisine a great way to learn about a new culture, which is what I typically do when I travel overseas. New York City is a foodie-paradise with abundant choices for high-end splurges, plentiful cheap eats, as well as a handful of grocery stores. Our main purpose for heading to New York City was a 9-course menu at Per Se, so I knew I had to save my stomach for the ultimate gastronomical experience.

So what’s the trick to eating healthy, plentiful meals while still wanting to experience everything NYC has to offer? I am sure not if we’ve mastered it just yet, but here are my tips to how NOT to eat out while in NYC.


The first step is to find yourself a kitchen, because that makes a world of difference. In a city where apartments are tiny, hotel rooms are equally as small and ridiculously expensive. We stayed at the Affinia Manhattan, across from Penn Station, with huge rooms and reasonable rates (we paid $139/night + tax). However, the main advantage is that each room has a kitchen, complete with a fridge/freezer, oven/stove, microwave, toaster and utensils/plates/cutlery. If you don’t have access to a kitchen, you may need to become more creative, storing food in the minibar, bringing cutlery/plastic containers, etc.


I will admit that we visited more grocery and food stores while we were in NYC than anything else, but that’s what we like! Trader Joe’s is great for picking up breakfast items. I bought some quick-cook steel cut oats (what an oxymoron, but true to the advertising they cooked up in 7 minutes over the stovetop) and we added some dried blueberries and bananas for a delicious breakfast. We picked up some apples, edamame hummus and baby carrots for snacks. Arugula and artichoke antipasto spread were bought for sandwiches. Other travelling-friendly breakfast options sans-stovetop would be granola overtop yogurt and fruit or overnight oats.


After Trader Joe’s, the next stop was Eataly, the upscale Mario Batali Italian superstore.  My main purpose was to buy mosto cotto, a condensed balsamic vinegar made with reduced Concord grapes (any clue where to buy this in Toronto?). While the prices are not cheap, Eataly is a good place to pick up high-quality items for sandwiches.

Armed with a loaf of “rustic” fig bread (slightly sweet from the figs), 18-month-aged prosciutto (nicely flavoured), and taleggio (a mild cow’s milk creamy, soft cheese), we had the fixins for a super sandwich. With a limited number of ingredients, quality is the defining factor of your sandwich. I found the flavours worked really well, with the slightly sweet bread topped with the silky artichoke dip.  Next, we topped it with overflowing arugula, laid a slice or two of prosciutto and lastly added a few pieces of silky, melt-in-your-mouth taleggio cheese.  All the ingredients lasted us a few meals with some food left over to bring back to Canada (the artichoke surprisingly did not set off the alarms at the airport, hehe). For a vegetarian option, roasted red peppers could be substituted for the prosciutto and for vegans, the cheese could easily be omitted.


I will also give due credit to the most wondrous milk we bought at Eataly – Soloriso basmati rice milk. With a delicate smooth flavour, I never knew rice milk could taste so good. With a side of edamame hummus and carrots, this is how a foodie does not eat out in NYC.

Where we ate elsewhere in NYC:

Ess-A-Bagel – There are Montreal-style bagels and New York-style bagels. When in NYC, you should  try New York-style bagels. Ess-A-Bagel is well-known for its huge, fluffy bagels (12 different varieties including whole wheat everything), and also serves up vegan-friendly tofu-spread in lieu of cream cheese (the traditional cream cheeses are there too, including the delectable lox cream cheese). The bagels are packed with filling, and 1 bagel could easily serve 2.

Alan’s Falafel – Battle of the street cart food falafel in NYC creates the most lusciously moist falafel with minimal grease. Get it in a wrap, a salad or combo spread with lettuce, tomato, hummus and a sesame dipping sauce. Can’t say I’ve compared it to Sam’s, but Alan’s was mighty tasty.

Candle Cafe – A long-time favourite vegan resto with a focus on local, organic foods. The collard rolls are a must-try! 🙂

Other worthwhile food-related places to visit in NYC:

Kalustyan’s – For all your kitchen desires, spices, vinegars, beans.. let’s just say I was stopped by the bean section, and didn’t really make it to any other floor (I think there are 3 levels). (Thanks for the tip, Joanne!)

Essex Street Market – For down-to-earth fresh produce and condiments

Chelsea Market – A bit too upscale for me (can you say not affordable?) but a cute, artsy renovated warehouse housing upscale gourmet food vendors, with the Food Network located upstairs

This is my submission for this month’s My Kitchen, My World, featuring Italian cuisine, and to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays.

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Avocado Overnight Oats

In Breakfasts, Desserts on February 15, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Avocado Overnight Oats

Hi! It’s Rob again for one last item in my short series of posts here on the taste space.

After crafting the delicious avocado chutney last week, I was left with a couple of leftover avocados. I was perplexed. What should I do with them? I didn’t want to make guacamole. I wasn’t prepared to produce a salad with them. In Australia I learned how amazing avocado is in sandwiches or hamburgers, but that wasn’t the direction I wanted to go either.

I KNOW! I would devise a new variation of everyone’s beloved overnight oats! I was very excited. Overnight oats are great, but wouldn’t they be better if they were filled with tropical fruits?

I’ll be honest with you. I hold tropical fruits in very high regard. As such, I pine to travel to the tropical regions where these fruits are cheap, fresh, and plentiful. I’ve been to a few of these places, but my yearning to go to more is unceasing…

I still think fondly of the Cook Islands where I enjoyed the best papaya I ever had, topped with grated coconut and lime juice.

I still remember the glee I felt when I arrived in Fiji at the height of mango season. They were so ripe that they fell from the trees and landed at my feet, begging to be devoured.

I still recall the wonder I felt while roaming the streets of Bangkok and marvelling at the carts of the street vendors showcasing pineapples, artfully cut and ready to take away with little packets of salt and chili.

At this time, however, I had no papaya, mango, or pineapple. Instead, I used an avocado, coconut flakes, and a banana. It all came together very well. What a fantastic breakfast!

This is being submitted to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Graziana from Erbe in Cucina (Cooking with Herbs). Read the rest of this entry »

Baked Apple Banana Oatmeal

In Breakfasts on November 22, 2010 at 5:42 AM


I love bananas, but sometimes they go brown a bit faster than I’d like. That’s ok, though, because bananas are great for baking. My first instinct, is to make the gorgeous apple banana cake (the bananas entirely replace the butter and oil) or the delicious banana oatmeal chocolate cookies (no butter, no eggs, no flour and no added sugar). I have also used ripe bananas to make a super fluffy and creamy stovetop oatmeal, and I thought it would be great to turn my baking escapades towards breakfast: let’s make baked oatmeal even healthier.

Baked oatmeal is a way to get that creamy goodness of oatmeal for multiple servings. Whether you want to serve a small army or in my case, feed me all week.

You can be equally creative with baked oatmeal, adding in your own favourite fixins and flavours.

For this version (adapted from a few places), I used the bananas more as a base for the oatmeal, so that it did not need any additional fat. It made it nice and creamy with a hint of sweetness. I added in chunks of apple, and because I used Pink Lady apples, they kept their shape well. Very well. They kind of separated the creamy oatmeal. This meant my oatmeal was a bit disjointed, but I liked it! Apple butter was used for a touch of sweetness and cinnamon and nutmeg provided a savoury background. Beautiful comforting fall flavours, great as a virtual hug in the morning. Bake this once and you have breakfast for the week. 🙂

Because I am trying the vegan route this month, I wanted to highlight chia seeds as an egg replacer. Here, I mixed 1 tbsp of chia seeds with 3 tbsp of warm water, and set it aside to soak for 10 minutes. You get a goopy mess, but it works well. I didn’t need to crush my seeds, either.


This is my submission to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by Anh from Food Lover’s Journey and to this month’s Breakfast Club for baking.

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Whipped Banana Oatmeal with Cranberries

In Breakfasts on September 16, 2010 at 6:25 AM


Rolled oats are no stranger to the breakfast table and oatmeal is a regular standby in my morning routine. After the Nutrition Action Health Letter (aka the Consumer Reports of healthy foods), deemed Bob’s Red Mill Country Style Muesli their favourite, it became my new breakfast.

Oatmeal is cheap, healthy and relatively quick.  It is great since it is a whole grain, fiber-rich, and lowers cholesterol. When you cook traditional oats, you also have no added sugar or salt (can’t say the same for the instant, flavoured varieties). But let’s be honest: when you cook rolled oats with water and a dash of salt, they aren’t that tasty. You can make oatmeal more flavourful by adding in your own sweeteners, fruit (dried or fresh), nuts, seeds, peanut butter, etc. The possibilities are endless.


This recipe for whipped banana oatmeal is a great way to make a creamy bowl of oats without any cream at all. The magic comes from a ripe banana that melts seamlessly into the oats, imparting both sweetness and creaminess. It is a bit more involved than your standard bowl of oats, as you need to whip everything together, but it is worth it.  I liked the addition of dried cranberries, but feel free to add in your favourite fixins.  I spotted and then adapted the recipe from Macheesmo, who adapted it from Kath Eats’ Tribute to Oatmeal.


This is my submission to this month’s Breakfast Club, featuring British breakfasts (the Brits call this porridge).  This recipe, coupled with Peach Blueberry Raspberry Crumbles, is my entry to Blog Bites 7, Iron Chef-style, where we use one ingredient two ways! My ingredient: oats!

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Indian Banana Halva

In Desserts on August 10, 2010 at 5:44 AM


Someone recently commented that I must be a good cook because my dishes always taste great. I replied that I have had great recipes to follow; I don’t really possess any particular culinary genious.  While I have a good cookbook selection at home (and from the library), I love scouring food blogs for inspiration because they usually come with personal anecdotes, tips, stories and comments from others who have tried the dish. It is quite an intereactive forum, where everyone learns from each other. I also know which foods I like, and which I don’t, which explains my fascination with certain ingredients (almonds, cranberries, red pepper, among others) and a complete lack of others in my cooking (celery, sometimes parsley, etc).

However, sometimes I try things beyond my comfort zone without knowing what it should taste like, nevermind whether I will like it.  A lot of Indian cuisine falls into this category as I am always wondering how spicy the dish will be. I figured I would try my hand at banana halva, an Indian dessert, as I knew I loved Turkish/Middle Eastern halva. They couldn’t have been more different! But I knew that as I glanced over recipes for both dishes. I just didn’t know what the Indian banana halva was supposed to taste like, either.

Usha at Veg Inspirations described hers as banana fudge. I was intrigued. Rose at Avocado & Bravado described them as a rich, sweet, sticky dessert.  It sounded lovely.

So I tackled banana halva, with a combination of their recipes.  I waited until I thought the bananas and sugar were golden-brown and then some.

My result were chewy, slightly sweet banana balls. But they still kind of tasted like the sum of their parts: overripe sweet banana. I don’t think it tasted like fudge. At least the kind I am familar with.

I think I’ll use my overripe bananas for other causes next time. But it was an interesting detour through Indian sweets.. if I even made it there. I am not sure! Did I mess it up?


This is my submission to Tried & Tasted this month hosted by me, featuring dishes at Veg Inspirations, and to Blog Bites #6, potluck-style, hosted by One Hot Stove.

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