Grilled Banana Muffins
- 1 1/4 cups unbleached white flour gluten-free: use 1 cup rice flour + 1/4 cup tapioca flour
- 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar + extra for sprinkling
- 2 bananas
- 1 Tbsp nut butter/ peanut butter
- 2 free-range eggs
- 1/2 cup yogurt OR: 1/2 cup milk of choice plus 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 50 g butter melted
- Preheat oven 180C. Line muffin trays with muffin cases.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Make a well.
- Cut the bananas, skin on, in half lengthways. Sprinkle with a little sugar and grill in a lightly oiled skillet or frying pan until golden. Remove the banana skins and mash together with the nut butter until smooth. Beat in the eggs, yogurt/ milk, and melted butter.
- Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and use a spatula to fold together until JUST combined. A little flour in the mix is what you want here for light and fluffy muffins. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases and sprinkle with a little extra sugar. Bake for 15 minutes. Leave in the tin for 5 minutes to complete cooking and then cool on a cake rack. Serve warm.
August marks the beginning of my summer garden. Although we are still immersed in winter, August is the month to start planning and sowing seeds for a summer bounty. If you are new to gardening it may seem strange to be thinking about sowing tomatoes while the sun is still so low on the horizon. It took me several few years to get my head around this, often missing the sowing window altogether and ending up buying seedlings (and there’s nothing wrong with that).
So now when the first week of August arrives, I check my seed supplies and order what I need or swap seed with friends. Peas are always the first thing I sow, they are easy to grow needing little attention and the children love them. When they are ready in November our favourite afternoon activity is sitting in the garden eating peas straight from the pods. I never have any trouble getting my children to eat vegetables sitting in the garden (at the table can be a different story…).
Reading this blog and its namesake you may think I am a super-expert-gardener growing everything from seed and spending hours tending and singing to the plants. The reality is, I love to grow food for my family, however with two young children and working, I take the easy road when it comes to gardening. And one of my favourite easy roads is direct sowing seeds straight into prepared garden beds.
Seeds to direct sow include:
beans/ broad beans
onions/ spring onions
*Plus potatoes & garlic
For other produce such as tomatoes, capsicum, chilis, eggplant, basil, zucchini/ squash, and brassica (broccoli, cabbage etc) I sow into punnets for transplanting when the weather is more stable. In theory, these seeds could also be direct sown – as you may notice the rogue tomato plants growing from your compost – however as most of them are heat loving plants (besides the brassica) giving them a helping hand inside gives them a better start to life. Find more about seed sowing in punnets here.
Direct Sowing: Peas
The most important thing when direct sowing is healthy soil – healthy nutritious soil grows healthy plants. We constantly have several compost heaps on the go. One that is resting and maturing, and the other we feed daily with kitchen waste, green weeds, grass clippings (not too much), seaweed, comfrey, wood ash, and most importantly autumn leaves (carbon) to balance the mix of nitrogen and carbon (read more about healthy compost here). When we rest some of the garden beds over winter we add a layer of compost onto the soil. And the beds that are used all year round we scatter with compost between plantings as well as rotating crops making sure a nitrogen-fixing legume crop (peas, beans, broad beans) follows a heavy feeder crop such as tomatoes.
To sow peas: Prepare the garden bed/ container. The peas will need something to climb up, a trellis, or a bean frame. I made the trellis pictured above with 6 manuka sticks and stocking string. You can get creative here.
Sow the peas 10cm apart and 2cm deep. Gently pat the soil to evenly cover and water generously. Peas (and beans) like a heavy watering when first planted (to germinate) then don’t water again until the shoots show their heads. They will take anytime from 7 days to 2 weeks to appear depending on the climate. This method can also be used to sow beans starting in September through to January, and broad beans from March – August.
I like to successive sow peas every 3-4 weeks up until November so we get a regular supply of peas for several months. I also use an organic fertiliser every 3-4 weeks. My favourite is seaweed fertiliser as it is packed with nutrients.