Banana Cinnamon Rolls – Makes 6 rolls!




These are lovely soft yeast cinnamon buns with banana right in the dough. They are sticky and not too sweet with a slight banana flavour.  The best part is that they are a half batch which is perfect for a small group. So even if there are just two this is a nice recipe to make. Makes 6 rolls.


You will need:

  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp sour cream
  • 1/4 cup = 1/2 a stick unsalted butter – room temperature/soft
  • 2 small bananas – squished with a fork (makes about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • 1/4 cup (the other half of the stick of butter softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon


  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup and a few drops of water if necessary


  • save 2 tbsp of filling and brush tops with a bit of melted butter  and dip or sprinkle extra cinnamon sugar on tops.


I always gather all my ingredients so that I don’t forget something.



Step 1: in a small measuring cup heat milk and honey 25 seconds in microwave. Place into a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add yeast and mix a few times. Let stand for 5 minutes to make sure yeast is activated.



Step 2: add egg, sour cream, bananas and vanilla. Mix for a few seconds. Add softened butter and mix again.



Step 3: add  1 cup of  flour and salt. Mix well.



Step 4: add 2nd cup of flour (reserving last 1/4 cup for the counter) Mix well.



Step 5: add the last 1/4 cup to the counter and turn out dough on to counter. Mix well. If you don’t need all the flour don’t use it all. You want to add enough flour so the dough is no longer sticky to the touch. The dough is a lovely soft dough when done.



Step 6: add to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 2 – 2 1/2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.



Step 7: to prepare cinnamon filling place sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and mix. Leave the remaining 1/2 stick of butter in wrapper on counter until dough rises.



If you want to make a glaze then add icing sugar and maple syrup to a small bowl and mix. If you need to add a couple of drops of water to make it a thick but pourable consistency. (Cover with plastic and set aside.)



Step 8: once dough has doubled in size. Place a bit of flour on counter and turn out dough.



Step 9: gently roll out dough to a rectangle mine was 14 inches x 12 inches. Smear the butter over the entire surface of the dough. Sprinkle all the sugar except 2 tbsp evenly.



Step 10: roll up and slice in half. Then slice each half into 3.



Carefully place each section into a buttered large muffin tin or silicone tray.



Let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes to 1 hour until doubled.



Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 20-22 minutes. Remove and let cool in pan.



brush with a bit of melted butter and sprinkle remaining cinnamon sugar.



finish with glaze! EAT  while still warm. They are soft and fluffy and not too sweet.





















Spicy Chicken Noodle Bowl

This is a great hearty soup on a cold night and you just keep adding things to the same pot until you have made a rich mushroom and spicy chicken broth with loads of crunchy vegetables. Try it next time instead of a package of those instant Rahmen noodles with that extra salty package of seasoning.

You will need:

  • 1 onion – chopped fine
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 chicken breast – chopped into small cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic – minced fine
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp dry mushrooms -soaked in hot water and chopped fine
  • 1 fresh chili – chopped fine
  • 6 mushrooms – sliced
  • 1tsp Chinese five spice powder
  • 10 Szechuan peppercorns
  • 1 litre of chicken broth
  • instant noodles 2-3 sections
  • 2 spring onions – sliced fine
  • handful of sprouts
  • 6 finely sliced cabbage leaves
  • large handful of sliced fresh spinach
  • soy sauce to season
  • cilantro to top

This recipe is perfect for two.

Step 1: start by slicing and chopping all your ingredients. I just make little piles of all my different vegetables and seasonings. Chop chicken breast into strips and then into small cubes.

Step 2: in a medium sauce pan add chopped onions and olive oil. Cook on medium heat for 5-7 minutes until just starting to brown.

Step 3: add chicken, garlic, ginger and salt and pepper. Cook another 5-7 minutes to let meat start to brown.

Step 4: add chili and cook another 2-3 minutes. Add chopped dry and fresh mushroom. Cook another 5 minutes until most of the water cooks out and the mushrooms start to brown around the edges. (Save the water from the mushrooms to add in a minute)

Step 5: add Chinese five spice, szechuan peppercorns. Stir well and cook in oil for 1 minute. Then add water from the dry mushrooms and chicken broth.

Step 6: add noodles to cook for the last 5 minutes. I used 2 sections because my soup was for two people.

Step 7: add thinly sliced cabbage. some spinach and spring onions to the bottom of each bowl. The hot soup will soften the spinach and the cabbage stays nice and crunchy.

Step 8: top with more spinach some sprouts, a few more spring onions and some cilantro. Add a slice of lime for a nice contrast and serve.

when you mix it all up you have a ton of contrasting flavours and textures.

Banana Rum Brownies



I wanted to make some brownies that were a bit different from the same old and so I decided to add some bananas and rum because they always go well with chocolate and these brownies were the result. A rich chocolate cake with chewy bites of banana and a slight undertone of rum.


You will need:

  • 3 tbsp rum
  • 1 small banana – chopped in small dice
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks or chips
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup ) chopped unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil – I used Lucero chocolate Olive oil – but you can use any fruity oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips to top (optional)


Heat oven to 350 degrees F


Step 1: in a 9 inch square pan butter sides and add a sheet of parchment paper for easy removal. Butter and flour all sides of the parchment well, tapping out excess flour. Set aside.



Step 2: chop a ripe banana and add to rum – I have made vanilla rum by splitting vanilla beans into my rum but, any rum will work fine.



Step 3: in a small bowl add semi-sweet chocolate and butter pieces. Melt in microwave for 40 seconds, stir and melt another 20. Remove from microwave and stir until most of the chocolate has melted.



Step 4: add chocolate, brown sugar and olive oil to a large bowl, Mix well. Add eggs and mix well again.



Step 5: add flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, bananas and rum. Mix well.



Step 6: pour into prepared pan and top with chocolate chips (or you could add some nuts if you prefer)  Bake exactly 30 minutes to get a nice brownie with a bit of a gooey center.



Let cool then you can lift out brownies with parchment paper and slice.


Beef Keftedes – Greek Grilled Meat


These are like Chevapcici or other grilled street meats served all over the Mediterranean. These are typical of the kind found in Greece. Of course everyone makes their own slightly different. They are moist and packed full of flavour and everyone will eat way too many!!




You will need:


  • 2 slices of bread – crusts removed and chopped into cubes
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion – grated
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley – chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint – chopped fine
  • 2 spring onions – chopped fine
  • 2 cloves garlic – chopped fine
  • 2 tsp dry oregano
  • 3 tbsp good olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon zest – finely grated
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper


Step 1: Remove the crust from 2 slices of your favourite bread. Chop into cubes and place in a bowl with milk. Wait 5 minutes then squish and crumble the bread in your fingers to create a wet breadcrumb.



Step 2: place ground beef in a large bowl. Grate onion and place on top. Add egg to bowl.



Step 3: chop parsley, mint, spring onions and garlic. Add to bowl.



Step 4: add all remaining ingredients; dry oregano, extra virgin olive oil, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Mix well with your hands.



Step 5: form into small thumb sized keftedes.



Grill as many as you want to eat (make lots!) and freeze the remainder.

Served with Greek roasted potatoes, pita bread, tzatziki and a simple chunky salad.








Halushki – Slovak Potato Dumplings

Halushki was something my Mother made when I was a kid. They are similar to a Italian gnocchi (but easier to make) or a German spaetzle depending on whether you add potatoes to the dough or not. My Mother made these most often without potatoes and she would add them to soup (they were smaller than these for soup and more like spaetzle) or she made them with potato and they were served like this with onions and bacon. I don’t eat this often however, from time to time it feels like my childhood.


You will need:


  • 2 cups riced/mashed potatoes (2-3 potatoes)
  • 3/4 – 1 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh pepper
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion sliced thin
  • bacon or pork 2-3 slices chopped 


Step 1: boil potatoes until soft and then use a ricer to make then nice and fluffy. You can also just use leftover mashed potatoes.



Step 2: add mashed potatoes to a bowl. Add flour (start with 3/4 cup and add remainder if necessary), egg, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well. If you need the additional flour add it. It should be like stiff mashed potatoes. Still soft however it needs enough body to hold together while cooking. I like to do a few test ones by adding a few samples to boiling water, if they hold together, great cook them all, if they fall apart then add a bit more flour and try again. It is hard to say an exact amount due to the moisture in your potatoes you might need a bit more or less. Place dough in fridge while you prepare bacon and onions.



Step 3: This step is similar to making pierogies. You want to fry some onions and some bacon or some kind of pork. I have sliced some pork tenderloin I had cooked with mustard and apples the day before. You are looking to get a nice bit of browning on the onions and meat and then you toss in the dumplings to get a bit of colour. Set aside.



Step 4: place halushki dough on a cutting board. It should not run, it should be stiff enough to hold together fine. You are going to slice off small pieces directly into the boiling salted water. Let float to the top and cook 2 minutes. Drain by using an Asian spyder or slotted spoon to remove from water and place on a oiled cookie sheet. I think they taste better when they are cooled and even chilled and then cooked briefly with the olive oil, onions and bacon.



Step 5: Place the cooled halushki in the pan with the onions and pork or bacon and use enough olive oil to get a nice bit of browning on them.


















Panzanella Salad


Panzanella is a classic Tuscan salad made with stale bread and vine ripe, gloriously fresh tomatoes. Since there are still so many tomatoes in the garden make this tonight. Use your best extra virgin olive oil and your best red wine vinegar – just look how green and rich that Mandranova olive oil is! This salad is crazy addictive and is perfect for an end of summer meal.


You will need:


For 2 people


  • a few slices of stale bread – I used a day old multi-grain bun chopped up into cubes
  • 3-4 tbsp exceptional extra virgin olive oil – I used Mandranova Cerasuola for the croutons
  • 1 clove garlic – minced finely
  • salt and pepper
  • 2-3 very ripe garden tomatoes – chopped into large chunks
  • 4 small English cucumbers – peeled partially and sliced on the diagonal – or 1/2 regular English cucumber.
  • 1/4 cup sliced red onion – about a quarter of an onion or as much as you like
  • 10-15 fresh basil leaves


  • 1 clove garlic – crushed
  • 1/2 tsp honey dijon mustard or plain dijon
  • 2 tbsp good red wine vinegar
  • 5 tbsp exceptional extra virgin olive oil – I used Mandranova Nocellara from Sicily
  • salt and pepper to taste




Step 1: heat a small pan and add chopped bread and a generous amount of good extra virgin olive oil. Toss and let bread start to toast. Toast for a couple of minutes, then add chopped garlic and salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Toss periodically to avoid burning and once they are toasted to your liking remove from heat. Set aside.



Step 2: chop tomatoes, cucumbers and onions. Add to a large bowl along with fresh basil leaves.



Step 3: in a small jar mix ingredients for vinaigrette: garlic, mustard, red wine vinegar and very good olive oil (look at the color of this oil!) I then salt and crack fresh pepper over the salad.



Step 4: add dressing and toasted bread to the tomatoes and toss.









Veggie Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms

These make a great main or a filling side dish. You can take your favourite vegetables to create a wonderful stuffed mushroom with loads of flavour. If you want to make it more cheesy mix some grated cheese right in the stuffing or for a lower calorie alternative just add a bit to the top with some breadcrumbs and a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil .


You will need:

  • 2 large portobello/portabella mushrooms -scales and stalks removed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil (more for drizzling)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped cooked cauliflower or brocoflower
  • 1 cup chopped button mushrooms (approx. 8)
  • 2 cloves garlic – chopped fine
  • 1 small tomato – chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped herbs – basil, parsley and thyme
  • 2 tbsp grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper


Step 1: gather all your ingredients. Chop cooked cauliflower or broccoflower. I have cooked mine with some water, olive oil salt and pepper until tender or you can use any cooked leftover veggies you might have from a previous meal. Chop onion,mushrooms, garlic , tomato and herbs.


Step 2: remove the scales under the portabello mushrooms with a spoon and remove the stalk.



Step 3: cook the broccoflower, onions and  mushrooms in some olive oil for 10 minutes on medium heat until the water has evaporated and they start to brown slightly.



Step 4: add garlic, tomatoes and herbs and cook another 5 minutes more. Remove to a small plate. If you want to add some extra grated cheese you can add it to the mixture in the bowl or simply top off the mushroom once filled.



Step 5: add the mushrooms to the same pan and cook on each side  for a few minutes to start to cook them but once you fill them they will finish in the oven.




Step 6: fill mushrooms with filling, top with grated cheese, panko breadcrumbs, salt and pepper and a drizzle of oil.




Step 7: Bake for  15-20 minutes at 400 degrees F. The tops should be browned and the cheese melted.



You can finish with a final drizzle of olive oil or a bit of aged balsamic vinegar. Serve hot.


Six Honey Carrot Muffins – perfect for two!



If you have 2 people in the house this is the perfect little recipe. I think 6 is perfect for today and just enough for tomorrow. These are moist from the olive oil and have lovely flavour from the honey, cinnamon and ginger.


What could be nicer on a Sunday morning than the smell of fresh muffins. Get the coffee and enjoy them while they are warm!



You will need:


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup fruity olive oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup grated carrots

optional add 1 tsp orange zest, or a handful of chopped walnuts or dried cranberries





Step 1: grate carrots.


Step 2: in a bowl add all dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, ground ginger and ground cinnamon. Mix.


Step 3: in another bowl add wet ingredients: olive oil, honey, vanilla, egg, milk and grated carrots. Mix.



Step 4: add the wet to the dry or the dry to the wet and stir until combined. If you wish to add some nuts or some dried cranberries this is the time to add them.



Step 5: scoop out the batter evenly into 6 paper lined muffin cups.



Step 6: Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in a muffin comes out clean. Eat warm with a drizzle of extra honey or of course you can make a simple cream cheese icing to jazz them up but, I think they are delish just as they are!


Tomato Sauce Burgers – there is sauce in them burgers!


These burgers take just a few minutes to prepare homemade so why would you ever buy a store bought burger? I have added some tomato sauce right in the burger along with some other flavours and aromatics it creates a nice juicy burger. Any leftovers freeze perfectly for a night when you don’t feel like preparing a big meal.


You will need:



  • 1 pound lean ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef 
  • 1/4 cup your favourite tomato sauce or pasta sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp your favourite barbecue spice mix
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs – I used basil, parsley and chives
  • 2 cloves garlic – minced fine
  • 1 tbsp olive oil



Step 1: chop garlic and herbs. In a large bowl add meat, herbs and all remaining ingredients. My tomato sauce was crushed tomatoes with garlic, chopped basil, parsley, salt, pepper and olive oil. Mix gently with your hands to distribute flavourings throughout but, don’t work the meat too hard or the burgers will be tough. I like the way the tomato sauce stains the burgers. Form into patties and place on wax paper. Freeze the ones you don’t use in Ziploc bags.



Step 2: shred some cheese – mine was old cheddar. Slice some big fat tomatoes. Heat the grill!



Step 3: grill them to the way you view perfection. I like to place the cheese on the burger as soon as I flip them. Serve on a soft bun with your favourite toppings. 


Mushroom, Carmelized Leek and Camembert Pizza



I love pizza! Big Pete loves pizza even more. I didn’t expect him to like this pizza since he is more of a carnivore but, I was wrong. He thought this pie was  full of mushroom flavour which complimented the creamy Camembert cheese nicely and he was quite happy to eat it. I will say it does have lots of little steps and is more work  than your average pepperoni and mushroom but, it is well worth it.


You will need:



  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 tsp dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 3 cups flour (00 if possible or all-purpose flour)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • olive oil to coat bowl (2 tbsp)
  • 1 onion sliced into thin half moon slices
  • 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme (removed from stalks)
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 leeks – washed and sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp butter plus 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp herbes de provence
  • 2 ounces of Camembert cheese – rind removed and cut into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced porcini mushrooms (brown)
  • 1 tbsp butter plus 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic – crushed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup your favourite pesto (can be store bought or make your own)
  • 1/2 cup your favourite pizza sauce (can be store bought or make your own)
  • grated mozzarella cheese
  • few torn leaves of fresh basil


Step 1: in a small saute pan fry onions in olive oil, thyme and rosemary. Cook 10 minutes on medium heat until just starting to brown. Set aside in a small bowl.





Step 2: clean and slice leeks. In the same pan saute leeks with butter, olive oil and herbes de province. Set aside in a small bowl.



Step 3: in the same pan saute sliced mushrooms, butter, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat until most of the water has evaporated and the mushrooms start to brown.



Step 4: take out dough and let come to room temperature.  Divide dough into 2 balls (makes 2 pizzas – you can also freeze one in a plastic bag if you don’t want to cook both ) On a sheet of parchment paper with a bit of flour roll out or press out pizza. I like mine thin so I use a rolling pin. Place a layer of peso on the dough, then a thin layer of pizza sauce. I take crushed tomatoes and add some crushed garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil , Italian seasonings and fresh basil to make mine.



Step 5: add a layer of mozzarella cheese, then your leeks, mushroom, onions and slices of Camembert. Slide the parchment sheet directly on a pizza stone that has been heated for at least 30 minutes in a 475 degree F oven. I cook my pizza for approx 8 minutes or until the crust has a good bit of browned edge on it and the top of the entire pizza is browned. I like a crunchy, thin crust with a chewy interior.



Let pizza cool for a few minutes then slice and serve.