Milkshake… really. Need I say anymore. In a blog devoted to finding joy, in a large part through food, I think that milkshakes are pretty much the essence of the whole thing.
When I think back over the events of my life, the milkshake appears over and over again in some of my best memories. At a birthday party in ‘the caboose’ at McDonalds (yes I just said the M word) when I was about six, sitting in the sun with my Monpa (my Grandfather)who was visiting from England when I was a kid in Canada, in the back of the car giggling with my two sisters, with my Mum in a restaurant after I’d been at sea and out of touch for a year, with Buddy when we first started dating and were regulars at Large Marge’s, the 50’s diner in Lunenburg, and again with Buddy in the back of a car in the middle of the night heading back from a party on a beautiful tallship in Halifax when he first proposed. It is safe to say that the creamy chocolaty-ness of a frosty milkshake elicits some seriously happy feelings in me.
So given this happy milkshake past, imagine my utter elation when I discovered a milkshake which was not just OK to have on a regular basis, but actually good for you! Yes, good for you. It’s loaded with fiber, vitamin E, protein, antioxidants and calcium, is super charged with potassium, and is naturally filled with tryptophan and polyphenols to boost your mood (even more than the sheer joy of just the fact that it’s a milkshake). The best part is that out of its 5 ingredients two are fruit, and the best of the best part is that because of this it contains no added sugar or sweeteners.
The secret to this most wondrous of frosted beverages is bananas.
A while back when Buddy and I were first trying to make some healthier choices I came across someone on-line talking about frozen bananas. They claimed that if you freeze bananas and then blitz them up that they’re like ice cream. I was skeptical…very, very skeptical. There was no way that something as simple as freezing and blitzing bananas could possibly produce something that could even come close to the sheer perfection of ice cream.
And then we tried it.
I consider this to be one of the great pivotal moment of my life (well, as far as mind-blowing food moments go anyway). It was all true. How could something which sounded so far fetched as to be near mythic, urban food legend, be true? And yet it was. Buoyed by this discovery I took the next natural step, to add cocoa to the mix, and then a bit of vanilla. It was magic. I had created creamy chocolate ice cream with not a lot more than the fruit bowl, freezer and (what at the time was a cheap £5) stick blender.
Eating it straight like that, just frozen banana, cocoa and vanilla, is perfection as it is, and is Buddy’s preferred version, but for me there was a bit farther I could go, blend in a bit of milk and half an avocado, and you have a creamy, rich milkshake. Obviously if you’re anything like me you’ll be shaking your head at this point, distrust oozing from you, especially when I told you to add an avocado, but honestly, you must try it. Avocado disappears into things like this but adds an unbelievable creaminess, not to mention a plethora of health benefits.
When I first decided to add chocolate to the frozen banana wonder I was completely convinced that I had invented this new miracle of food stuffs, but I quickly discovered that loads of people have been making what cyberspace calls “banana soft serve” for yonks, and that most of my now favourite food blogs have their own version of it. Why is this not common knowledge, you could actually have this for breakfast and feel good about it! I think that the media should make some kind of announcement so that everyone knows and can get in on the banana action.
Well, at least for now I have done my part. So here it is, Creamy chocolate milkshake, with a cherry on top!
- 2 bananas, peeled, chopped and frozen
- 200mL milk
- 1/2 of a ripe avocado, peeled and stoned
- 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder or raw cacao powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Put all the ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth and creamy.
- Serve immediately topped with a cherry!
- Substitute coconut milk or your favourite plant based milk for dairy to make it vegan.
- Try adding a handful of greens to make a creamy chocolate-y green smoothie.