A Re-Examined Life

Canberra girl’s mission to live a more natural, sustainable life.

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Any-kind-of-seasonal-fruit-you-like Cake with Vanilla Cream


I’ve made a cake that is far too delicious not be shared, and is perfect for anyone who has an abundance of homegrown fruit and is a bit over making jam 🙂  The first version I made was with nectarine, and the second was with peaches and raspberries.

The vanilla cream part of the recipe only came about when making the peach and raspberry version, this was because (a) I was looking to make an Australian themed something for Australia day and decided on a peach melba version, and (b) I actually cooked it for too long and was worried it would be a bit dry.  Turned out the cake wasn’t dry at all, but the vanilla cream (which is basically unfrozen, soft-as-you-like-it ice cream) is amazing, so this is one time when I am very glad I overcooked the cake.

Just as a side note, for those who don’t know, peach melba is an Aussie desert named after the famous Aussie opera singer, Dame Nellie Melba. A peach melba consists of peaches with raspberry sauce and vanilla ice cream.  I have no idea why the guy who invented this dessert went with this particular dessert, but I have to say, if this is what someone made in my honour, I might be a bit disappointed, it is not the prettiest dessert I have seen, a couple of examples below….  I’m sure it tastes really nice :).


But anyway, back to my delicious cake.  This recipe is for the peach and raspberry version, but you could use nectarines, plums, or apricots, and then in the winter I think it would be delicious with apples and/or pears, but with those fruits I would lose the vanilla and add cinnamon instead.

I am a huge fan of vanilla, I use it all the time, but vanilla essence from the shops has sugar, and often other unpleasant stuff in it.  In the past I’ve made my own vanilla essence, (it’s super easy – you just soak vanilla beans in vodka) but it takes forward planning as you need about a month’s worth of soaking time.  So I’m also a huge fan of the a vanilla bean grinder, which is 100% vanilla bean in a salt grinder, you can purchase them in the shops, or you could make one yourself 🙂  My recipe here uses the vanilla bean grinder, if you are using vanilla essence you will probably use about 1 tspn every time I use a few grinds.

Cake ingredients

4 large ripe peaches 

Vanilla bean grinder

2 tablespoons coconut sugar

80 grams softened butter

½ cup honey

1 large egg

½ cup sour cream (or you can use plain yoghurt)

3/4 cup wholemeal spelt flour

3/4 cup almond meal

1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder

¼ teaspoon bicarb

¼ teaspoon good quality salt

What to do 

You want to “marinate” your fruit (actually, I believe the ‘technical’ term is macerate, but to me the word sounds nasty, so I would rather marinate.  You are very welcome to macerate yours).  Chop the fruit and put it in a bowl with the sugar and a few good grinds of the vanilla bean, and set it aside for at least 2 hours, but you can leave it longer.

Turn that butter into cream using an electric beater and then add the honey, egg and a few more good grinds of the vanilla bean and mix it all up.   Add the sour cream and any liquid that is at the bottom of the marinated fruit bowl.

Combine all your dry ingredients and mix them, quite gently,  into the wet stuff.  Pop the batter into a prepared cake-tin (you will probably have to use some anti-sticking stuff, I have found that just “having a chat” does not seem to prepare the cake tin enough).

Now you want to add the marinated fruit all over the top of the batter, and then kind of press it in a bit with your fingers.  Chuck this loveliness into the oven, keep it low to avoid overcooking (ahem), around 150c fan forced is good, and cook it for about 40 minutes, but check it after 30, the old clean knife trick will work. Once cooked let it cool in the tin as you need the fruit to ‘set’ a bit before taking it out or it will fall apart.  Now get making your vanilla cream.

Vanilla cream ingredients

Thickened cream – be sure to read the labels and buy the one thickened with gelatine.

vanilla bean grinder

maple syrup – to taste

Whip up your cream and then slowly add your vanilla and maple syrup until it tastes delicious.  Start with a couple of grinds of the vanilla, and about a tablespoon of maple syrup and just keep going until you are happy.

The combination of this cream and cake is magic 🙂

p.s. you may note the absence of photos of said magical cake, well that is because every time I have made it, I have been too busy eating it to remember to take a photo, and by the time I remember, there is no cake to be photographed.  So, I would be very happy if you could please take photos of yours and post them in the comments for me 🙂




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Slow Food Part II – The Greatest Ever List of Wholefood Eating Establishments from Around the Globe

Last week I was lucky enough to go on a holiday to the south coast, and I had a fantastic time, but I did struggle when it came time to eat-out, as finding a place to eat that sold something that wasn’t covered in batter, or deep-fried in hydrogenated vegetable oil proved quite difficult.

Here in the Berra we are very lucky, as there are more and more food establishments with a whole-food focus opening up around the place.  I figure there are probably places at the South Coast, but I just didn’t know how to find them.  So that got me thinking ……  I would like to get together a list of whole-food eating establishments around the world…. yes – the world.  I decided it’s best to get a list that covers the entire globe so that when I am off travelling the world, as I am sure to do, I can easily locate wholesome eating establishments, that way I will be able to pack more clothes and less food 🙂

So I’ve started putting together a list, but I would like to keep adding to this list FOREVER….. So, can I ask you to please add your favourite places from around the globe in the section below?

First I thought I would list out a few of my faves for you to check out, and then after that, is the list.  The list is already quite long, seriously, this is going to be the longest whole-food-eating-establishments list EVER.   (Unless you are really bored and hard-up for things to do, I wouldn’t suggest reading this already-massive-and-soon-to-be-even-massiver list from start to finish, you can just do a page search and hopefully find the location you are looking for).

Maple + CloveRealm Park, 7 Burbury Close, Barton

Open Mon – Fri 7am – 3pm and Sat – Sun 7.30am – 3pm

I love this place, and that has a lot to do with the fact that I am happy to eat everything on the menu. And basically that means I am happy to eat their sweet options because, in addition to serving locally sourced whole-foods, they also have a refined-sugar free menu. Yay. They also have lots of vegetarian and gluten-free options.

Food Co-op cafe – 3 Kingsley Street, Canberra City

Open weekdays for breakfast 8am – 11am and lunch 12pm – 2pm

100% organic, always Vegan and usually gluten-free.   Always super, super cheap – lunches are a flat rate of $6 for non-members or $5 if you are a member. They keep their prices down (and reduce waste) by providing one lunch option each day, and you wash your own dishes. You can also pop in next door to the co-op shop where they stock a bunch of organic produce, the majority of which is naked (as in no packaging), once again to reduce waste.

My rainbow dreams cafe – Dickson Place, Dickson

Open Mon, Tues, Thurs and Fri 8.30am – 5.30pm and Tues, Sat and Sun 8.30am – 4pm

Vegetarian cafe with gluten-free options, owned and operated by students of Sri Chimnoy who was an Indian meditation teacher, their ethos is to “serve food that is nourishing to both the body and soul…”.

As Nature Intended – Belconnen Markets

Open Tues 11am – 4pm and Wed – Sun 8.30am – 6pm

Organic, vegetarian and gluten-free options. The cafe sits inside the organic grocery store which has a comprehensive stock of organic fruit, vegetables, groceries and beauty products. This is a great place to take the kids as there is plenty of room outside for them to run around and even little boxes of toys and books for them to play with.

Sweet bones Bakery – 8/18 Londsdale Street, entry via Eloura Street

Open Monday – Saturday 7.30am – 4pm and Sunday 8.30am – 3pm

These guys sell all organic, vegan deliciousess with lots of gluten-free options, their coffee is organic fair-trade is roasted locally. They have multiple menus you can choose from – all day breakfast, light meals, burgers and salads, south of the border, smoothies and juices, and of course their famous baked goods.

Red Brick EspressoShop 4/35 Curtin place, Curtin shops, Curtin

Open Mon – Fri 7.30am – 4.30pm, Sat 7.30am – 4pm, Sun 8am -2pm

These guys are coffee roasters who sell seasonal coffee. They are coffee experts, which you will experience when you taste their coffee. They also have a fabulous whole-food menu with vegetarian and gluten-free options.

Mrs Sackville – 21 Eastlake Parade, Kingston

Open Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday 9.30am – 3pm

From Mrs Sackville’s menu “Mrs Sackville believes strongly that contented animals, able to indulge in their natural behaviours, provide us with better quality products….” All animal products sold are free-range, organic, or biodynamic. Her bacon is also free of preservatives and she has gluten-free and vegetarian options available.

And here we go with the list….

The Greatest Ever List of Whole-food Eating Establishments From Around the World. 




  • A Bite to Eat – Shop 8 Eggleston Crescent, Chifley Free range and organic products are used where possible, plus they make all their cakes daily on site. Lots of Gluten-free and vegetarian options.
  • As Nature Intended – Belconnen Markets Organic whole-foods with vegetarian and gluten-free options
  • Autolyse and – 5/21 Lonsdale Street, Braddon.  They hand make sourdough and pastries without any preservatives.  They also have a menu of lovely whole-foods with vegetarian and and gluten-free options.  They also have a cold-pressed juice bar at 2/21 Lonsdale Street Braddon.
  • Deeks Bakery and Cafe – Dickson Place, Dickson and Hodgson Crescent, Pearce shops, Pearce. Whole-foods, 100% gluten-free with vegetarian and grain-free options
  • Double Shot Cafe – 7/18 Duff Place, Deakin. Whole-foods menu with plenty of gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian options
  • Eighty Twenty Food – 1/18 Lonsdale Street, Braddon. Whole-foods with gluten-free and vegetarian options
  • Elemental Cafe – 54/30 Lonsdale Street, Braddon. Paleo cafe using locally sourced ingredients. 100% gluten-free with vegetarian options
  • Food Coop Cafe – 3 Kingsley Street Canberra City. Organic, Vegan and usually gluten-free whole-foods with organic food coop
  • Local Press – 81 Giles Street Kingston. Whole-foods with gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined-sugar free options.  They also now sell locally made whole-food raw treats from fuel well.
  • Maple + Clove – Realm Park, 7 Burbury Close, Barton. Whole-foods, gluten-free and vegetarian options, refined-sugar free
  • Mocan and Green Grout – 1/19 Marcus Clarke Street, New action South, Canberra. Seasonal Whole-foods made from locally and sustainably produce, these guys even have a compostable kitchen waste system which feeds into the neighbourhood’s community garden.
  • Mountain Creek Whole-foods – 14 Barker Street, Griffith. Organic, vegetarian with lots of gluten-free and dairy-free options. They also have an organic supermarket.
  • Mrs Sackville – 21 Eastlake Parade Kingston. Organic, locally sourced whole-foods
  • My Rainbow Dreams cafe – Dickson Place, Dickson. Vegetarian whole-foods with gluten-free options
  • Paleo Perfection – 121/2 Trevillian Quay, Kingston. 100% Paleo friendly cafe which means lots of organic ingredients and 100% free from gluten, grains, peanuts, soy, refined sugar and artificial sweeteners. Selling snacks and beverages
  • Quizine – 17 Botany Street Phillip. Whole-foods – fast-food style with vegetarian and gluten-free options
  • Red Brick Espresso – Shop 4/35 Curtin place, Curtin shops, Curtin. Locally roasted coffee and locally sourced whole-foods
  • Sweet Bones Bakery – 8/18 Londsdale Street, entry via Eloura Street. Organic, vegan whole-foods with gluten-free and raw food options available
  • Thr1ve – Canberra Centre (opposite Supabarn), Bunda Street, Canberra City. Paleo friendly, with locally and ethically sourced ingredients which are always gluten-free with no added sugar
  • Vspot Cafe -Crnr City walk & Petrie Plaza, Canberra City. Vegetarian/vegan whole-foods – Gluten-free and raw food options available
  • A.Baker – New Acton Pavilion unit 2, 15 Edindburgh Avenue Canberra. Seasonal whole-foods made from local produce, as the name suggests they bake their own bread on site. Gluten-free and vegetarian options available.
  • Elk and Pea – 21 Lonsdale Street, Braddon. Whole-foods with some organic options, and lots of gluten-free and vegetarian options
  • Ginger Catering – Village Centre, National Arboretum Canberra. Whole-foods produced using seasonal, local and sustainably grown produce. Some organic produce with plenty of gluten-free and vegetarian options
  • Sage – Gorman house Arts Centre, Batman Street, Braddon. Whole-foods predominantly sourced from the Sage Farm which grows organic, sustainable produce. Gluten-free and vegetarian options.
  • The Ridge organic restaurant – Farrer Shops, Farrer Place, Farrer. Organic, whole-food restaurant where the entire menu is gluten-free with the exception of “regular” bread that is available. Lots of vegetarian options.


Byron Bay

  • Naked Treaties Cafe – 2/3 Marvell Street, Byron Bay.  100% raw, organic, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free.


  • Grazing – The Royal Hotel, Corner Cork and Harp Streets, Gundaroo. Fresh, local, sustainably sourced produce. Lots of vegetarian and gluten-free options
  • Capital Wines cellar door – The Royal Hotel, 42 Cork Street, Gundaroo. Fresh, local ingredients including produce picked from the kitchen garden out the back.


  • Pilgrims Wholefoods – Shops 4, 5 ,5, 57 Owen Street, Huskisson.  Vegetarian Whole-foods cafe with gluten-free options.


  • Pilgrims Wholefoods – Shops 8 & 9, The Settlement, Princes Hwy Milton, NSW.  Vegetarian Whole-foods cafe with gluten-free options.


  • Moruya Health Cafe -11 Church Street, Moruya. Whole-food cafe with vegetarian and gluten-free options.


  • Goodnessme Organics – 617-621 Glebe Road, Adamstown.  Organic whole-foods catering to vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free.
  • Momo Whole-food Cafe – 10 Williams Street, East Maitland. Organic Whole-food cafe with gluten-free and vegetarian options.
  • Raw Cafe – 33 Hunter Street, Newcastle.  Raw menu catering for vegetarian, gluten-free, and paelo.


  • About life – 605 Darling Street, Rozelle. 31-37 Oxford Street, Bondi Junction. 520 Miller Street, Cammeray. 1 Kiaora Lane, Double Bay. 285a Crown Street, Surry Hills. Each of these stores has a natural grocery store plus a whole-foods cafe with lots of organic, gluten-free and vegetarian options.
  • Henley’s Whole-foods – 9/310-330 Oxford Street, Bondi and 38 Mitchell Road, Alexandria. Paleo friendly, with their whole menu sourced locally and sustainably which means it is chemical free. Grain and gluten-free with lots of vegetarian options.
  • Paleo Cafe – shop 5, 310-330 Oxford Street, Bondi Junction. Paleo menu which means often organic, wholefoods, grain-free, refined sugar-free
  • Real Food Connection – 2 Sterling Circuit, Camperdown. Paleo friendly, 100% grain, gluten and processed foods-free.
  • Sadhana Kitchen – 147 Enmore Road, Enmore.  Organic whole-foods and raw foods.  They even have a raw, vegan, gluten-free high tea!
  • Thr1ve – MLC Centre, Shop 28, Level 6 19-29 Martin place Sydney and Shop 5005, Westfield Pitt Street, Corner Pitt St Mall & Market Street, Sydney. Paleo friendly, with locally and ethically sourced ingredients which are always gluten-free with no added sugar
  • Ungaro Raw – 656 Darling Street, Rozelle.  Raw, organic, food all refined sugar-free.  A big selection of nut-free, dairy-free, gluten-free and vegetarian/vegan options.
  • Pilgrims Wholefoods – 97 Gerrale St, Cronulla.  Vegetarian Whole-foods cafe with gluten-free options.


  • Wild Fig Whole-food Cafe – 2 Commerce Street, Taree. Whole-foods with organic and free-range animal products used where possible, lots of gluten-free, refined sugar-free, dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan options.



  • Thr1ve – Emporium Shopping Centre, Shop 3-026, 287 Londsdale Street, Melbourne. Paleo friendly, with locally and ethically sourced ingredients which are always gluten-free with no added sugar
  • Yong Green Food – 421-423 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. Predominantly organic vegetarian food using eco-friendly principles. They have an extensive Gluten Free and raw food menu.
  • Monk Bodhi Darma Specialty Coffee and Roastery – 202 Carlisle Street, Balaclava. Predominantly organic, vegan/vegetarian free with lots of gluten and sugar-free options.
  • Admiral Cheng-Ho – 325 Johston Street, Abbotsford. Seasonal whole-food menu using mostly organic and locally sourced produce, predominantly gluten-free and vegan.
  • Vegie Bar – 380 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.  Whole-foods specialising in vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and raw food.
  • Kinfolk Cafe -673 Bourke Street, Melbourne.  These guys are more than a cafe, they are a social enterprise who give away 100% of their profits to charity.  Their food is seasonal, sourced locally and, where possible, biodynamic, organic, and fair-trade.
  • Green Cup – 593 Chapel Street, South Yarra. Selling green smoothies, superfood smoothies, acai bowls, and superfood snacks.  Vegetarian and and gluten-free options available.



  • Thr1ve – Shop 9, 215-221 Adelaide Street, Brisbane. Paleo friendly, with locally and ethically sourced ingredients which are always gluten-free with no added sugar.
  • Kunara Organic Cafe – 31/77 Hudson Road, Albion. 95% organic and gluten-free whole-foods.

Gold Coast

Sunshine Coast

  • Kunara Organic Cafe – 330 Mons Road, Forest Glen.  95% organic and gluten-free whole-foods.
  • The Velo Project – 19 Careela Street, Mooloolaba.  Fresh whole-foods with plenty of gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and vegetarian options.
  • Ground Organics – 7/11 Mooloolaba Esplanade, Mooloolaba.  Locally sourced, seasonal whole-foods with plenty of organic, gluten-free and vegetarian options.



  • Red Lime Shack – 158 St Vincent Street, Port Adelaide.   Seasonal, locally sourced whole-foods, 100% vegan and dairy-free with plenty of gluten-free options.
  • Enliven Holistic Health Cafe – 467A Brighton Road, Brighton.  Organic cafe with gluten-free, vegetarian, raw food options.
  • Bliss Organic Garden Cafe – 7 Compton Street, Adelaide.  Organic, vegan, locally sourced and seasonal food with plenty of gluten-free, and raw food options.



  • The Raw Kitchen – 181A High Street, Fremantle.  Raw, seasonal, plant-based whole-foods.  The menu is 100% gluten-free, diary-free and refined sugar-free.
  • Mana Whole-foods – 274 South Terrace, South Fremantle.  Most of the food is made on the premises and is vegetarian/vegan, with organic, gluten-free and raw foods available.
  • The organic Circle – shop 1, Pioneer Village, 7 Albany Highway, Armadale.  Organic, vegan/vegetarian cafe with lots of gluten-free and raw options.  They are also have a microwave-free kitchen.
  • Swan Valley Cafe -990 Great Northern Hwy, Millendon.  Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, raw menu with meals made daily from locally sourced seasonal produce.
  • Health Freak Cafe – 3 locations – Corner Alvan Street & Railway Road, Subiaco.  148, The Esplanade, Scarborough.  Corner Reid Prom & The Boulevard, Joondalup.  Everything is gluten-free and refined sugar-free, with lots of vegetarian options. 
  • Soul Tree Cafe – Shop 6, 3-5 Railway Parade, Glen Forrest.  Wholefood cafe, lots of vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, paleo and raw food options.
  • Samudra – 226 Naturaliste Terrace, Dunsborough.  Raw vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free menu with dairy-free options.  Ingredients are seasonal and sourced locally including from the biodynamic kitchen garden on site.


  • Alchemy Cafe -640 Forth Road, Forth.  Mostly organic, 100% gluten-free with lots of vegetarian and raw food options.

New Zealand

  • Little Bird Organics Unbakery – 3 locations – 385 New North Rd, Kingsland.  Corner Summer Street & Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby. 14 Customs Street East, Auckland Central.  The menu is mostly raw, organic, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and without refined cane sugars or soy.
  • Raw Planet Juice & Raw Food Bar – Shop 2, 3 McLean St, across the road from the sea at Paraparaumu Beach, Kapiti Coast. Fresh organic juices, smoothies, superfoods, raw vegan pizza, organic real fruit ice-cream & raw sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free cakes & treats.
  • Revive Cafe – 2 locations – 24 Wyndeham Street, and 33 Lorne Street, Auckland.   Vegetarian, whole-food cafe with lots of vegan and gluten-free options.

United States of America


  • Mission : Heirloom garden cafe – 2085 Vine Street, berkeley. Whole menu contains is organic and non-GMO, plus free of processed refined oils, sugars, gluten, grain, legumes.  In addition, their kitchen is plastic and aluminum free to avoid adding any extra toxins into your meal.   
  • Brodo -1st Avenue at 12th Street NYC.  A cafe specialising in bone broth.  They sell whole-food bone broths and soup, all gluten-free, all sugar-free, all dairy-free.  They have a vegetarian soup which can be made vegan and/or gluten-free on request.
  • Hu Kitchen – 78 5th Avenue, New York.  Huge selection of organic, non-GMO foods, non-processed foods. Entire menu is gluten-free, and dairy and grain-free unless noted on the menu. They season with sea salt and pepper and cook with olive and coconut oils only.  Plenty of vegetarian options available.


  • 3 Measures Vegetarian Cafe – 15 Broadway, Bangor.  Bakery and cafe, where breads, cakes and pastries are baked on the premises using unrefined ingredients.  That means no refined grains or sugars.


Easter Sweeties

As I have mentioned before and will no doubt mention again, I am doing my best to avoid all processed sugars and to reduce the overall amount of sugar/carbohydrates I am eating.  So this year I made all my own Easter sweeties, sans processed sugar, but super delicious and so I’m sharing the recipes at the end of this post.

But first, seeing as for most people, Easter is a massive sugar-fest, I thought it was timely to talk a bit more about sugar.

If you haven’t yet seen the the fabulous Australian Documentary “That Sugar Film”, you totally should. It’s very good.

But if you haven’t had a chance to see it yet, and until you do, I thought I would pack you up with a few videos you can watch online.   I’ve put in a couple of short ones a couple of longer ones 🙂

This cute little 3 minute video from a 2012 American campaign to try to help people eat less sugar.

Nicole Avena’s 5 minute TED talk – How sugar affects the brain

A Catalyst episode from 2013 – Toxic Sugar?

And lastly another TEDx talk, this time by Dr Robert Lustig called Sugar – the elephant in the kitchen.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that our daily intake of food should include no more than 10% from sugar, and that a reduction to 5% would provide additional health benefits.  5% equates to around 6 teaspoons of sugar a day, current statistics show the average australian is having around 30 teaspoons per day.  Imagine how many teaspoons that increases to over the Easter long weekend!

One of the main reasons for the high sugar intake is the result of added sugars in the foods we buy from the supermarket.  It is currently estimated that 80% of all supermarket-bought foods contain added sugar, and in most cases this is refined-sugars.  Refined sugars, as I am sure you are already aware, contain no nutrition for the body and in many forms are actually quite toxic, one well-known example being our not-friend – high-fructose corn syrup.

As I have mentioned a number of times before, I have a mouth full of sweet teeth, and I am definitely not at the stage of giving up sweet foods completely.  I figure that, given there are a number of sweeteners provided to us by nature that do contain nutrition, I must be meant to eat them 🙂

So, as I mentioned, this Easter I made all my own Easter chocolates.  For the record, making my own was as much about making sure I had chocolate to eat this Easter, as it was for any other reason 🙂

Without question, my favorite natural sweetener is maple syrup. Maple syrup is made from the sap of maple trees, which is heated to remove some of the water content so that it creates that lovely syrup.  Maple syrup contains small amounts of vitamins and almost all minerals, which means our body knows what it needs to do with it.  Just don’t eat too much of it, because when you eat too much sugar/too many carbohydrates, your body knowing what to with it = adding it to your fat cells.

Ok, enough of that, let’s get to the good stuff, here are the Easter sweeties I made this year, each of them super easy and super delicious.

Chocolate Almond Crunch Recipe

Up till this recipe I had been making all my own chocolate from coconut oil, this was first go with cocoa butter and I don’t think I can go back.  It is very delicious.



  • 1 cup cocoa butter
  • 1 cup of cocoa
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (or more or less to taste)
  • 1 cup of almonds

What to do:

Melt the cocoa butter in a saucepan over low heat, then stir in the cocoa and maple syrup.  Scatter the almonds on the bottom of a non-stick tray and pour over chocolate mix.  Freeze.  Eat.

These are best kept in the freezer but you can keep them in the fridge but they will be more of a chocolate almond chew than a chocolate almond crunch 🙂

Chocolate Rough Type Things

My comment above about never going back was a bit hasty, I had no trouble going back to these.



  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (more or less to taste)
  • 2 cups shredded coconut.

What to do:

Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan over low heat then add the cocoa and maple syrup to taste.  Put the coconut into a bowl and stir through the chocolate concoction.  Place smallish balls of the mixture onto a non-stick surface and freeze.  Now eat.

Carrot Cake with cream cheese or “cream-cheese” icing

Adapted from Donna Hay

For our family celebrations I put my hand up to make an Easter themed dessert, I didn’t want to do anything chocolate as there is always plenty of that around so I decided on a carrot cake, themed so as the Easter bunny eats carrots.  This cake has the added benefit of being grain free to help keep you under your daily carbohydrate limit 🙂  The smell of this cake whilst it was cooking was amazing, and it is without question the tastiest carrot cake I have ever eaten.



  • 5 eggs
  • 1 -1½ cups maple syrup (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 3½ cups almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon aluminium-free baking powder
  • 400g carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup sultanas

What to do:

Pre-heat oven to around 160 degrees celsius.  Beat the eggs and maple syrup and vanilla with electric beaters until the mixture becomes thick and basically triples in size, this can take a while, took me around 10 minutes.  Combine all other ingredients into a separate bowl and then fold through the egg mixture.  Pour into a springform non-stick tin and bake in the oven for approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes.  Cake is ready when a knife/skewer comes out with a few crumbs attached. Let the cake cool completely in the tin and then refrigerate for 2 – 3 hours.

Top with either cream cheese icing, or if you are avoiding dairy (like me at the moment), this “cream cheese” icing which is what is on my cake, and is surprisingly good:

Coconut Cream Cheese Icing 


  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (more or less to taste)
  • 1 cup maple syrup (more or less to taste)
  • water

What to do:

Using a stick blender whip all the ingredients, excluding the water, until you have a lovely, fluffy mixture. Add water/coconut oil as required to adjust the thickness.  Add apple cider vinegar/maple syrup as required to adjust taste.

Slap the icing on the cake.  Eat the cake.

That’s enough sweet treats for today 🙂

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Make it From Scratch – Greek Yoghurt


Recently I walked into the kitchen to find my 16-year-old, straining the milk through a colander to pour onto his breakfast. Seems he isn’t as keen on the unhomogenized milk as I am. He told me the “bits” are disgusting.  Those bits that he is referring to are creamy butterfat goodness.  Having spent most of my life depriving myself of butterfat goodness, I just don’t get how anyone could not want to be a part of it.  But then again, there are plenty of things I don’t get about 16 year olds.

I have been spending a fair amount of time straining in the kitchen too, but mine is because I have been making stacks of yoghurt.  I got my hands on a copy of Sally Falon’s book, Nourishing Traditions, which is full of all kinds of interesting information, but she explains how fermenting milk (and in case you didn’t realise, that is what you do when you make yoghurt), restores many of the enzymes which are destroyed during pasteurisation.   And this is just the beginning of the good news about yoghurt.

I think there is something to be said about foods which have been around for a long time, and yoghurt certainly has.  Yoghurt is apparently one of the oldest produced foods in human history.  Historians are unsure of how of just exactly how old it is, but estimate it was first used somewhere between 9000 and 6000 BC.  (For those of you who, like me,  gain no understanding from the use of BC timing, 9000 BC is 11,015 years ago.  I googled it and found out that you just add the BC number to the current year, I am officially a little bit smarter 🙂 ).

Yoghurt is very good for you,  everyone agrees on that, and apparently even from the very beginnings people have known of its health benefits. One of the main reasons yoghurt is so good for you, is that during the fermentation process,  there are lots of little good, helpful and friendly bacteria created, and when you put those little good guys into your tummy (by eating them), not only do they help you to digest other food, but they get rid of the bad, unhelpful and not-so-friendly bacteria in your tummy.  As I mentioned in my very first post, more and more research is showing the relationship between our physical health and our gut bacteria, so get stuck into the yoghurt.  I eat it every day.

Unfortunately, as with most things, the yoghurt you buy from the shop may not necessarily be that good for you.  I have found that the majority of yoghurt at the supermarket contain artificial preservatives, thickeners, and sugar, and most of them are made from low-fat milk.  Given that I use 2 ingredients to make yoghurt, I find the ingredients on this (fairly standard) label to be a little over the top.

greek yoghurt

So you should totally make your own.  It’s super easy, but to make it the super simple way I do, you will need a yoghurt maker.   I picked up mine from a school fete for $2, and there must be lots of people changing their minds about making their own yoghurt as I can honestly say that there has never been a time that I have NOT seen one at a school fete.  (That is probably because they don’t realise they can make yoghurt with 2 ingredients and use the shop bought yoghurt mix stuff, which basically helps you to make shop-bought yoghurt and it isn’t very nice).  I also usually see at least one at the green shed,  and in other second-hand shops, so I feel pretty confident that you should be able to easily grab yourself a cheap second-hand one.

Mine looks like this.

greek yoghurt recipe

The difference between natural yoghurt and greek yoghurt is that greek yoghurt is strained to remove the whey (that clear watery looking liquid you see in yoghurt).  I was going to tell you all about what whey is, but I actually couldn’t really find much information on it.  My basic understanding is that it is one of the proteins contained in the milk that separates through the fermenting process.  There are some schools of thought that suggest greek yoghurt is better for you as most of the sugary part of the milk separates along with the whey, so the greek yoghurt has less sugar in it.

I just prefer it because it is thicker and creamier and seemingly more delicious. I  have found that the amount of whey produced varies depending on how fresh the milk and/or yoghurt I am using is, whether I take the milk off before it boils, or if it actually gets to the boil.  (One time there was so much whey, and the separated yoghurt was so thick I think I accidentally made ricotta cheese. I haven’t been able to recreate it. )  But there is no need to throw out the whey you produce as there are plenty of things you can do with it, the Prairie homestead gives us 16 ideas.   Unfortunately yoghurt manufacturing companies aren’t doing any of the 16 things, as they are just throwing it out.  This is actually something of concern since lots of people have started purchasing greek yoghurt.  The Diary reporter published an article earlier this year describing the issues with the volume of whey that is being produced, they describe that the main concern is around whey getting get into waterways which would result in “massive fish kills and creating a dead sea by depleting oxygen”.  Who knew?  So like I said, you should totally make your own and then you can use up your whey and save the fishies 🙂

So this is how I make my yoghurt.


800 mls full-fat, un-homogenized milk

200 mls of organic greek yoghurt (for your first time you will need to grab some from the shop, but after you have made your first batch you can set aside some from your own to use)

What to do:

Heat the milk in a saucepan, stirring regularly until it just starts to boil.  Pour milk into the yoghurt making container and set aside to cool until it is luke-warmish, maybe a bit warmer.  The milk will have grown one of those milky skins on top, avoid breaking the skin and gently pour the yoghurt into the container. Give it a bit of a swirl and put the lid on.

Fill the yoghurt making incubator (as I like to call it, it’s the outside bit of the yoghurt maker), with boiling water (as per the instructions of the particular yoghurt making system) and put the yoghurt making container inside.  Close the incubator lid and set aside for a minimum of 5 hours.  I find leaving it overnight works the best.  After the desired amount of time, open the incubator lid and there you will find your home-made yoghurt.  Arent you clever?

To turn your home-made yoghurt into home-made greek yoghurt, you will need to strain it. People are always talking about cheesecloth, but I don’t have one, (in fact I don’t think I have ever even seen one), I just use a tea towel that I keep solely for that purpose.  I wet the tea towel and pour the yoghurt in, then gather up the top and squeeze gently over a bowl.  The whey will start to pour out and will take a bit of time.  I don’t usually have patience to go past 5 minutes and the result is thick enough for me.  If you don’t want to stand there doing that you can put it into the fridge and leave it to drain itself for a few hours.  And there you have it.

You can then get to making other home-made delicious things from you homemade greek yoghurt.  I’m sure there’s at least a million things, you don’t just have to eat it you know  🙂

I am currently using my homemade greek yoghurt to make homemade delicious smoothies every day for breakfast and here is my favourite:

Chocolate banana coconut smoothie


1 cup of homemade greek yoghurt

1 banana

2 teaspoons cacao

1 teaspoon coconut oil.

What to do:

I just chuck it all together and mix with a hand blender.  This little concoction keeps me full till lunchtime 🙂

Please feel free to share your homemade yoghurt home-made recipes in the comments below 🙂


Make it From Scratch – Vanilla Ice-Cream


On my path to more natural-ness there have been a few things which have really taken some getting used to, such as taking cod liver oil each day and the taste of my salt/bicarb toothpaste. But one thing that definitely didn’t take any getting used to was my move to full-fat dairy.   Life is just a little bit better since I have re-introduced my taste buds to full-fat cheese, full-fat yoghurt and started putting a bit of full-fat milk into my coffee each day (un-homoginized of course!).   And today I made my first batch of full-fat homemade ice-cream and let me tell you, it was good.  In fact,  it was extremely good.  It was even an instant hit with both the almost-4-year old and the almost-16-year old.  This one is a winner.

First a bit of background to why I decided to switch from low-fat dairy, the first reason was due to the amount of processing undertaken to get the fat out, as you know, I am looking to avoid processed foods.  I then did some further reading and found that the butterfat in milk, which is the part we take out to make it low-fat, actually contains vitamins which your body needs to help you absorb the calcium, and other minerals that are in the milk.   The butterfat also makes it much easier for your body to digest the milk.  So butterfat is your friend.  Now, I would not normally recommend that you eat your friends, but in the case of butterfat I make an exception.  You should definitely eat butterfat.

There are plenty of other reasons to stay away from reduced fat dairy, a google search with “low-fat dairy vs full-fat dairy” will get plenty of options for reading, but here is a quick article I found interesting from Dr Mercola called “Why you need to avoid low-fat milk and cheese“.

I also want to mention (mainly for my fellow weight obsessors out there),  that when I decided to ditch the low-fat, I did so with some serious trepidation, this being due to my lifelong obsession with my weight, and the belief that full-fat dairy would make me fat.  But I decided to consider my whole-body-health for a bit and deal with the weight consequences later.  However, much to my surprise, I didn’t gain any weight.  I have since done a stack of reading about fat in our diets and have come to the conclusion that natural fats, including the ones found in dairy, are not what is making us fat. In fact, since changing my diet to include a lot more fat and removing refined sugar completely (as well as making a couple of other changes), I have lost weight. But that subject is for another day….  So, for now,  to all my fellow weight obsessees, don’t be scared to make the change 🙂

Now back to my delicious ice-cream.

My involvement in this ice-cream-making process took about 7 minutes in total, and the recipe only has 4 ingredients.  But you will need an ice-cream machine to make this recipe.  Well actually, you don’t need a machine to make the recipe, you just need a machine if you want your involvement to be around 7 minutes.  Without a machine, you will be the machine, which means you will need to stir the ice-cream regularly every half hour or so, over the take 2 – 3 hours it will take for the ice-cream to set.

I had been on the hunt for an ice-cream machine for a while, as I don’t buy these types of appliances new anymore, and I finally hit the jackpot at the Green Shed . This little beauty is totally old-school, but I figure that just means it will probably never die.  It cost me $5, and came in the original box with the original instructions/manual.



Vanilla Ice-Cream Recipe (refined sugar free of course!)

Adapted from the Nourishing Traditions Cookbook, written by Sally Fallon


3 egg yolks

1⁄2 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3 cups heavy cream or double cream

 What to do:

Beat the egg yolks in a bowl and then mix in all the other ingredients.  Then follow the instructions for your ice-cream machine.  For mine, I just pop the mixed ingredients into the machine, place it in the freezer and turn it on.  The machine mixes it until it is too thick to mix anymore, which took around 2 hours.  You then remove the ice-cream from the machine, cover and leave to set for a bit longer.

You can, of course, add all kinds of things to this basic recipe, like fruit, nuts or chocolate.  (But if you go with chocolate, don’t tell Sally Fallon, she doesn’t do chocolate).

Here it is straight out of the freezer 🙂


I served the kiddies with a splash more maple syrup, and I had mine with a delicious carob sauce, yes, that’s right, I said delicious…..carob……. sauce…..  I actually wonder if I am the only person in the world who likes carob?  Just in case there is anyone else who likes carob, the carob sauce recipe is also from the nourishing traditions cookbook and I would be happy to share it 🙂

Note:  The original recipe from Nourishing Traditions includes arrowroot which I didn’t add, because I didn’t have any.  I read that the arrowroot helps to make the ice-cream smoother, but mine is just fine and smooth without it so I wouldn’t bother putting it in next time.  If you decide you want to include the arrowroot, you need to add 1 tablespoon for this recipe.


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Make it from scratch – Bread recipe


I love bread.

If I was to write a list of my top 10 favourite things in the world, on it would be probably be my children (of which there are 3) and 7 types of bread.

And when it comes to making your own bread, there is something completely wholesomely wonderful about it.  It makes me feel like the real deal.

I started making my own bread about 6 months ago, but you can be sure that over those 6 months I have made some pretty bad bread.  Particularly in my endeavour to try to produce gluten-free options, my mum could tell you about the buckwheat loaf/rock I made, and then there was the coconut flour flat-bread which no-one can tell you about, as it was so bad, I had to prematurely put an end to it.  Unfortunately I haven’t yet had any success with the gluten-free options, but I do believe I have mastered the not-gluten-free bread recipe.

As previously mentioned I like to try to keep these processes as short as possible, and one of the most genius inventions of late is the bread-making machine.  However, in my opinion, they should stop making bread-making machines and just make dough-making machines, as bread cooked in the oven, is really much better than bread cooked in the bread-making machine.   For the record, I had read this on many occasions but chose to ignore it as I thought it would be too time consuming to bake it in the oven, however one day I was feeling adventurous and decided to put it to the test.  Turns out it’s true, in fact, oven baked bread even smells better.

As it happens, doing the cooking  part in the oven doesn’t take much extra work.  And I don’t actually do all that much during any of this bread making process, as my former-bread-making-machine  (but now only dough-making-machine) does all the hard work at the start, and then the oven takes over at the end.  I just get to take the glory.

I managed to  pick up my dough-making-machine from the Green Shed in Mitchell, which for those of you don’t know, is a fantastic recycling facility at the Canberra rubbish dump.  They salvage people’s “rubbish” and sell it to people like me, I have found the most amazing stuff out there and they sell it dirt cheap.  All their electrical stuff is tested and tagged for safety and you can test it out at the power point on the counter before you buy it to make sure it works (ok, well make sure it turns on anyway, as you probably don’t want to hang around for the full 5 hours or so that it would take to make a loaf of bread).  My bread-making machine cost me $10, and it seems plenty of people are throwing these machines away, as I see them every time I go to the Green shed.

But back to the bread making……. one other thing you need to make sure of is that you use decent flour.  The first few terrible loaves I made were especially terrible because I just grabbed your basic, supermarket-bought wholemeal flour, not a good idea.  I have since sourced some lovely organic, wholemeal bakers flour (for those in Canberra, they sell it at the Organic Food co-op, and it is dirt cheap at around $3.80 a kilo, you will get about 2.5 loaves out of that), and it makes lovely bread.

Here is how I manage to get delicious 100% whole-grain bread, this recipe is adapted from the Dove’s farm Traditional Wholemeal Bread Recipe.

Now you will actually need some time for this, it takes about 2.5 – 3 hours to make, but don’t let that put you off, the whole process is really simple, and as I mentioned, you aren’t actually even doing much, its more just a case of being around to keep your eye on things.  So you can be doing other things at the same time.

Basic 100% whole-grain bread recipe

Photo (1)


500g wholemeal bakers flour

1 teaspoon of instant yeast

1/2 teaspoon of unrefined salt

1 teaspoon of coconut sugar or honey

325 mls of warm water

2 tablespoons of olive oil

 What to do:

Put all the ingredients into the dough-making machine (apparently not all bread machines are created equal, and depending on the brand, it depends on what order you put the ingredients in, mine requires the liquids first), set it to the “dough” setting and let it do it’s thing.  Mine spends 30 minutes kneading the dough (do real DIY people actually knead dough for a full half hour?!), and then 1 hour rising it.

Once the machine is finished, turn your oven onto the lowest possible setting, and then you will need to flour your kitchen bench so that you can roll your dough out of the bread machine tin onto it.  You then need to give the dough a few good punches.  (When I first changed from baking the bread in the bread machine, to baking it in the oven, I skipped this step as I thought it was fairly counter-productive, and a big waste of time. Why would you have your bread rise beautifully in the bread machine for an hour and then punch it back down to a ball of dough?  However, after only partially enjoying a number of really dense loaves, I finally read to the end of a recipe and found that this step helps the bread to become softer and fluffier, and it definitely does).

After you have punched it all the air out of it, gather it up and put it into a loaf tin ( I have seen plenty of complicated explanations on the “right” way to do this, but I manage to get a decent looking loaf each time from just chucking it into the pan), and then put it into your oven, which you have turned on to the lowest heat.  You then leave the bread in there, with the door closed to rise all over again, this time it takes around 40 minutes, but you can just keep checking on it, you will know when it looks like it has risen enough.

Once it is at it’s full size, turn the oven up to around 200° celsius (for a fan forced or a bit hotter if not fan forced), and bake for around 15 – 20 minutes.  I find that the smell of the bread becomes really strong when it is ready, the top of the bread should be light brown, and the loaf should sound hollow when you tap it.   Let the loaf cool in the pan for 5 minutes or so and then transfer to a cooling rack, or just eat the whole loaf right there and then, as this is when it is at it’s best.   As there are no preservatives, this bread is at it’s best the first 2 days after baking, and after that it makes delicious toast.  You can, of course, also store it in the freezer.

I call this the “basic” recipe as the possibilities of what you can add to this are endless, you can add in all kinds of seeds and grains, or mix-up the flour with rye, or spelt or whatever.  One of my favourites (and the picture above)  is to add 2 cloves of garlic and a few sprigs of rosemary and then sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.  Delicious.

I am still on the hunt for a fool-proof, delicious gluten-free recipe – do you have one you can share?