Without a doubt, Spring is my favourite season. I absolutely adore the sense of renewal and rejuvenation that seems to quickly take over the garden, with jacarandas in full bloom, rose bushes heady with their new crop of lush flowers, and blossoms appearing in seemingly forgotten garden corners that now burst forth with colour and vivacity.
Spring fills the air so quickly, and as soon as you walk out the door it beckons with captivating fragrances and a coaxing on the skin that calls you to get out there and move and shake your body! It is time to fling open the doors, air out the rooms with all windows open, ramp up the music and turn on the oven!
This time of year calls for our bodies to be at their optimal best, as there is so much to celebrate and so much to do! In our house, it also marks the beginning of the rowing season, and with that eleven(!!!) sessions of training all up that we need to get our two boys to. Time trials and some pretty heavy gym sessions have already started for them, and it means my kitchen is constantly turning over large amounts of food to keep them nourished, recovering at speed and performing at their best. I have a lot of nutrition hacks in mind to make this a success in my kitchen, while keeping it all speedy and easy at the same time.
In addition, my decision to start training for the Motatapu Marathon in a few months (yes, it will be my first marathon run of 42.2kms and it involves running up a pretty serious mountain in New Zealand! Thank goodness they promise me the views are out of this world), and you can see that healthy, wholesome food is going to be a very big focus in our household!
I have three golden rules for my cooking: firstly, I need to stick to sugar-free and secondly choose gluten-free ingredients at all times. Non-negotiable. Thirdly, my absolute most important rule is it must be delicious – of the breath-takingly, lip-smackingly good kind!
So first cab off the rank in our kitchen is the best-ever banana bread, that is always reliably hoovered down by the boys and their mates, often twice a week. It is so nutrient-dense, wholesome, energy-providing and guaranteed to get our cells tingling and energized that I don’t mind the boys snacking on this at any time of the day.
Bananas are an amazing source of potassium, which is one of those super-hero micronutrients that plays a huge role in cellular function. The fluid within cells (intracellular fluid) is made up predominantly of the potassium cation (a positively charged ion in chemistry speak) and this fluid makes up an unbelievable 33 percent of our body weight! The more we can nourish our cells, the better we move, the more potassium we provide to our bodies, the more banana bread we happily eat ever after. Or something like that. Always remember, happy gut equals happy life.
Best banana bread
350g ripe bananas (approx. 3 large bananas)
8 raw Medjool dates, pitted
3 level tablespoons tahini, hulled
60g coconut flour
½ lemon, juice only
½ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated (optional)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla paste
¼ teaspoon sea salt, (Murray River is my personal fave)
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
- Preheat the oven to 180 C.
- Line a loaf tin with baking paper, allowing the paper to come generously over the sides to allow for folding over
- Place the bananas and dates in the Thermomix bowl, and blend for 10 sec/speed 7
- Add remaining ingredients to bowl and mix on speed 5-6 for 20 seconds, using the spatula to assist if needed
- Pour mixture into the loaf tin
- Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in centre comes out clean
Tip: For last ten minutes of baking, fold over the baking paper to make a “tent” over the top of the tin. This will avoid browning of the bread before the middle is cooked to your liking