Category Archives: Food

‘Hot cross bun’ Easter balls

Two years ago I made Raw Chocolate and Nut Easter Cups. This year’s healthy treat recipe is much simpler and faster!

It takes inspiration from the flavours of the hot cross bun, but is free of gluten and refined sugar (bar the dark chocolate).

To make about 20 you’ll need:
1 cup of sultanas
Rind of one orange
3 tablespoons orange juice
Just enough whiskey to soak the sultanas
250 grams almond meal
4 tablespoons cacao
6 tablespoons natural maple syrup
30 grams dark chocolate, chopped finely and another 20 grams for garnishing
Sprinkles of cinnamon and nutmeg
A dash of vanilla essence

    

Steps:
1) Chop the sultanas and soak in whiskey for about 2 hours – use just enough whiskey to cover them.
2) Mix all the ingredients together and stir in the maple syrup gradually – I used rough estimates of some of the ingredients so you may need more or less. Use a fork to combine well.
3) Roll into balls a little smaller than a golf ball.
4) Make crosses with a blunt knife. If you have some desiccated coconut, put some in the grooves of a few of them.
5) Lay the balls on a plate and garnish with chopped dark chocolate, cinnamon, sultanas and a little Easter bunny!

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No-bake Christmas rum balls

It’s the first of December! The first day of summer is here and now the countdown is on to Christmas so I thought I’d share a tasty recipe for those planning their menus in advance.

These rum balls are divine and can be adapted to suit different dietary requirements. Note that the quantities are indicative – I made these last year and didn’t measure the quantities out, but in short, use lots of rum!

To make about 20 you’ll need:
1 cup of sultanas
5 dates – pitted and broken into pieces
1/2 cup rum
100 grams almond meal
1/3 cup desiccated coconut and a little extra for rolling
4 tablespoons cacao
1 tablespoon honey
4 sponge finger biscuits, broken into rough chunks (or you could use arrowroot biscuits or similar)
1 block of chocolate for melting – I use Nestlé Plaistowe 70%

Steps:
1) Soak the sultanas and dates in rum for at least 2 hours. The longer, the better!
2) Mix the coconut, cacao and biscuit chunks together.
3) Drain the sultanas and dates, but leave a few tablespoons of rum, and process until a rough pulp forms. It won’t need long – you want it rough.
4) Mix the sultana and date mix with the dry ingredients, and stir in a tablespoon of honey.
5) Mix really well, and taste to see if it needs anything extra.
6) Roll into balls slightly smaller than golf ball size.
7) Roll in the leftover coconut.
8) Melt the chocolate in bain marie.
9) Dip/coat some of the balls in the chocolate, lay the balls out on a plate, and drizzle the rest of the chocolate on all of them to decorate. Add strawberries or other garnishes if you like.

To make this gluten-free: skip the biscuit or use a gluten-free option
To make this sugar-free: leave out the chocolate and use a cacao and coconut oil mix to glaze
To add more texture: add chopped nuts
To make this nut-free: Leave out the almond meal, use more coconut

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List: Favourite food blogs

Finally got around to putting all my favourite ‘go-to’ food blogs in one place. The list below is predominantly health-focused, but there are a few naughty treats in there, too. Enjoy!

Whole Food, Real Food
The Stonesoup
Notable recipe: Paleo Brownies

Sprouted Kitchen
Notable recipe: Pear and Buckwheat Pancakes

My Wholefood Life
Notable recipe: Chocolate & Chia Seed Pudding 

Eating Beauty
Notable recipe: Zucchini Pasta with Pepita Pesto and Garlicky Tomatoes

Kris Carr – Crazy Sexy Wellness
Notable recipe: Epic Raw Citrus Cake

My New Roots
Notable recipe: Enoki, Broccoli and Kimchi, two ways

Lola Berry
Notable recipe: Green Tea Soba Noodles + Tempeh

Chocolate & Zucchini
Notable recipe: Red Quinoa Salad with Red Peppers and Pine Nuts

The Healthy Chef
Notable recipe: Quinoa with Roasted Pumpkin, Zucchini and Basil Pesto

Petit Kitchen
Notable recipe: Banana Breakfast Cookies

Deliciously Ella
Notable recipe: Nutritious Nutella

Homegrown Kitchen
Notable recipe: Cauliflower Crust Pizza

The Mindful Foodie
Notable recipe: Adzuki Bean and Brown Rice Bowl with Carrot Tahini Dressing

Julia and Libby
Notable recipe: Chocolate Espresso Truffles

Path to Wellness – Melissa Ambrosini
Notable recipe: Rhubarb and Berry Crumble

Foodbabe
Notable recipe: Anti-inflammatory Smoothie

Supercharged Food
Notable recipe: Maharajah Indian Stuffed Peppers

Wholehearted Eats
Notable recipe: Caramel Chocolate Bars

Wild Health Food
Notable recipe: Almond Banana Cake

Paleo
Civilized Caveman Cooking
Notable recipe: Apple Cinnamon Scones

The Merrymaker Sisters
Notable recipes: Paleo Chocolate Brownies

The Paleo Network
Notable recipe: Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Balanced Bites
Notable recipe: Spaghetti Squash Bolognese

Paleo Jess
Notable recipe: Chicken Bone Broth

Paleo OMG
Notable recipe: Shredded Pork over Caramalised Mashed Plantains

What Would John Mack Eat?
Notable recipe: Breakfast of Champs

Gluten-Free
The Gluten Free Scallywag
Notable recipe: Afternoon Apricot & Almond Tea Slice

Elena’s Pantry
Notable recipe: Chipotle Orange Chicken

My Darling Lemon Thyme (also vegetarian)
Notable recipe: Red Cabbage Slaw with Sesame and Feta

GF and Me
Notable recipe: Rustic Apple Tarts

Raw Food
Better Raw
Notable recipes: Pesto Courgette Noodles and Red Velvet and Caramel Cream Icing

This Rawsome Vegan Life
Notable recipe: Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Cups

Golubka (mostly raw)

Ascension Kitchen
Notable recipe: Raw Chocolate Caramel Slice

Rawified
Notable recipe: Raw Oreos

Raw on $10 a Day (Or Less)

We Like It Raw

The Raw Project

Inphyusion
Notable recipe: Kettled Kale Chips

The Best of Raw Food
Notable recipe: Cucumber Sandwich

The Wellness Warrior
Notable recipes: A few raw desserts

Vegetarian
Veggie Wedgie
Notable recipe: Sour Kick Quinoa

Quiche-A-Week 
Notable recipe: Carrot Ginger Dressing

Vegie Head
Notable recipe: Potato and Sauerkraut Pierogi

Salad Pride
Notable recipe: Roasted Aubergine, Roasted Butternut Squash and Peas

Meat Free Mondays
Notable recipe: Beetroot Gnocchi with Smoked Almond Pesto

Vegan
The Vegan Food Diary
Notable recipes: Chocoloco Soft Serve (raw) and Creamy Straciatella Coconut Chia Pudding with Grated Raw Chocolate

Christine Salus
Notable recipe: Vegan Caramel Apples

Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes
Notable recipe: Crispy Matsutake Spring Rolls

Food for Food Allergies
Eating 4 Balance
Notable recipes: Grain-Free Apple Crumbly Bread

Sugar-Free
Sarah Wilson & I Quit Sugar
– Notable recipes: Mushroom, Walnut Quinoa with Fried Egg and Watercress Salad and Grainless, Sugar-free Breakfast Ideas

Food / Drink Delivery Blogs
Eat Fit Food
Notable recipe: Gluten Free Chia and Goji Bircher Muesli with Coconut Yoghurt and Passionfruit

Skinny Limits
Notable recipe: Raw Chocolate Cake Recipe

Protein
The Fit Baldman
Notable recipe: Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Pancakes

Protein Pow
Notable recipe: A Fig, Goats Cheese and Prosciutto Sweet Potato Pizza

Fitocracy
Notable recipe: Vegan Banana Protein Cookie

Other Blogs
My Food Challenge
Notable recipe: Avocado and Chocolate Mousse (the healthy way)

101 Recipes
Notable recipe: Ginger Coconut Milk Soup

Oh Bite It!
Notable recipe: Cherry Cheesecake Bites

Simply Recipes
Notable recipe: Slow Cooked Mexican Pulled Pork

Rachel Schultz
Notable recipe: Fried Honey Bananas

Little Bird Organics
Notable recipe: Cacao Super Smoothie with a Clustery Twist

Dinner with Julie
Notable recipe: Roasted Sweet Potato Gingerbread

Conscious Choice
Notable recipe: Almond Mylk

Craving Chronicles
Notable recipes: Chocolate Espresso Tart (Gluten-free, Dairy-free)

Food52
Notable recipe: Avocado Chocolate Mousse

The Cultureist
Notable recipe: 10 Cleansing Smoothies

Reclaiming Provincial
Notable recipe: Homemade Nutella

Gourmet Traveller
Notable recipes: Slow cooking recipes

Taste and Tell Blog
Notable recipe: Double Stuffed Butternut Squash

The Greatist
Notable recipes: Healthy Egg Recipes

From Buenos Aires to Paris
Notable recipes: Osso Buco, Orange Gremolata, Carrot / Citrus Puree

Mindfood
Notable recipe: Five Spice Crispy Roast Chicken with Roasted Sweet Potato

David Bitton
Notable recipe: Mushroom and Vanilla Capuccino Soup

Integrative Nutrition

Authority Nutrition
Notable recipes: 101 Low-Carb Recipes

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Top 10: GIF resources, obstacle racing, home-cooked food and more

I’ve been doing a bunch of ‘Top 5’ posts recently to practice more gratitude and appreciation of cool/exciting/nice things. I’ve not posted in July so I’ve now acquired TEN awesome things that I want to share.

1) GIF Search and Reaction GIFs
Are you looking for that perfect GIF to express yourself? Check out the Giphy search site and the Reaction GIFs site for ideas!
Happy Dance
GIF taken from Reaction GIFs

2) The Futility of Comparing Yourself to Others
Just an all-round, excellent post by Leo Babauta. He gives the example of running in a park, and comparing yourself to another, obviously better, runner. BUT, when we compare ourselves to others, we don’t have all the information, so making comparisons is useless.

3) Sunrise clouds
If you aren’t a fan of clouds and you don’t follow me on Instagram, consider yourself lucky. Coz I adore ’em.
Sunrise clouds

4) Warrior Dash & Urbanathlon
If a year ago you’d told me that in a year I’d be doing things like the Warrior Dash or running for 12kms without stopping, I would have said, “YES, DAMMIT I WILL BE!”

It’s an incredible feeling to achieve goals that once seemed unattainable or scary. I was nervous putting myself up for a 5km trawl through mud and obstacles, but it was fine. I was nervous about 12kms and 10 obstacles through the city, but with some focus, training and team support, I can tick it off the list.

Shoes after Warrior Dash
There are many others to add to the ‘to-do’ list, including:

Or check out the Obstacle Racers calendar for a list of upcoming events.

5) Quinoa porridge
Quinoa Porridge
This is a bit of a treat breakfast, but healthy enough to not be too naughty! Perfect for Winter and tastes like it should be sinful. I make mine in coconut milk and a bit of water, by bringing the quinoa to the boil then simmering gently. I add raw cacao and some honey and serve with banana and cinnamon. Variations: cooking in almond milk, serving with berries. Delicious.

6) Rarotonga
In early June I visited Rarotonga for the third time. The first time was in November 2008, the second time was November last year, and this time was for a dear friend’s 30th with a great bunch of friends.
Rarotonga is in my Top 5 favourite places in the world. Check out my November post to get a better idea of why this is.
Rarotonga

7) There are so many paradises, you just have to pick one
I really enjoyed this lovely little post by Paola Parsons. Beautiful in its simplicity, it address the fact that life is never perfect, and often things can be in a state of disarray. But amongst the chaos, there is calm.

Paradise and happiness are what we make it. I choose my current paradise, it’s quite nice.

8) Sydney home-cooked food companies
I’ve already harped on about Hungry Mondays, but they’re not the only ones providing delicious, home-cooked goodness to Sydneysiders. Check out Arthur Street Kitchen and The Soup Stone for more!

Honourable mention: Auckland’s Jess’ Underground Kitchen
The Soup Stone
Harriet from The Soup Stone

9) The Ricky Gervais Guide to a Successful Career
Ricky Gervais – funny, opinionated and now, career advisor (not that he knows it!). In this post by Louise Fletcher we’re alerted to Ricky’s career/life tips, including:

  • Be true to yourself in order to achieve great work
  • You can’t please everyone, so please the right people
  • Worrying about how you’re perceived doesn’t get you anywhere, but worrying about how much value you add does

Check out the post for the full article.

10) Mark Grist on Girls Who Read
A man who speaks admirably about girls who read. In prose. #saynomore

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Top 5: Kraftwerk, Blood Service marketing, Archibald Prize, ice cream & kale chips and no time for a nap

Last week’s ‘stuff to be grateful for and admire’ includes music, marketing, art, food and an appreciation for not having enough time for a nap. Here are last week’s Top 5:

1) Music: Kraftwerk at Vivid Sydney
Kraftwerk are a German electronic music band that formed in 1970. This show had amazing sound and 3D visuals. It was so much fun, I had a sore face from smiling!

Kraftwerk

2) Marketing follow-up material from the Australia Red Cross Blood Service
I received this material a few weeks after donating blood for the first time in Australia. From a marketing point of view, I love it! It’s brought me right into the story, it’s given me accountability and made me feel a little bit spesh. However, there’s a slight flaw in this because I’m not allowed to give blood in Australia – I’m only allowed to give plasma so with this first ‘trial’ donation, unfortunately I didn’t save three lives. Still, I like this material so I’ll let it slide!

Australian Red Cross Blood Service

3) Art: Archibald Prize
On the 26th of May I went to the Archibald Prize at the Art Gallery of NSW. The portraits were talented and wonderful, but the portraits that spoke to me the most were those by the kids. Most of them chose to draw or paint one of their parents, siblings or grandparents and their commentaries of why those people are special to them brought tears to my eyes.

Love Face by Vincent Fantauzzo

Love Face by Vincent Fantauzzo (Source: Art Gallery of NSW site)

4) Culinary creations: banana cacao ice cream and kale chips
Word on the street is that kale is totally in. It’s actually been the word on the street for some time now, but I’ve only just attempted kale chips and they are delicious! I mixed torn pieces of kale with coconut oil, garlic and smoked paprika and baked them for about 10 minutes.
Another treat that I made last week was banana cacao ice cream with my flatmate. This stuff is too easy and sooooo tasty. We blended 3 frozen bananas, cacao and a dash of water to make what you see here. Next time I’ll make date caramel sauce to drizzle on top 🙂

5) No time for a nap
Last Saturday I was struck with a strange thought. I’d been out late the night before, got four hours of sleep, went to a boxing class in the park, had brunch with the good people from the class, and then took a walk to buy produce from the markets. I had a few key tasks to tick off the ‘to do’ list before meeting a friend in the city for a gig that evening. Feeling pretty tired, I was hoping to take a nap before the show, but I didn’t have enough time. And that’s when the thought struck me: I had an amazing day with friends, fitness, sunshine and fresh food, and my biggest ‘problem’ of the day was not having enough spare time for a quick snooze. Not having enough time to nap because the day held so many great experiences and people to enjoy them with? Now that’s a thought to be very grateful for indeed.

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Top 5: Tim Tam Slam, start a business checklist, Melbourne sunrise, food blog, Australian Writers’ Centre

Came across some delicious, pretty, funny and useful stuff this last week. The world is pretty awesome!

1) Tim Tam Slam
How did I not know about this? Maybe because I don’t habitually enjoy biscuits, but had to make an exception for this. You basically bite off little bits from diagonal corners, use the Tim Tam as a straw until you can taste your hot drink, then EAT! I’m going to have to try this again because I was laughing too hard from excitement the first time. Thanks Kimmy for introducing me to this wonder in Melbourne last week!

Image from Baking for the Office blog

2) Starting a Business  – The Great Big Checklist of Everything
Came across this fantastic post on docstoc.com. It lists off everything you need to know about starting a business, including:

  • Ideation and Protecting Ideas
  • Forming your Entity
  • Identity and Branding
  • Financing and Business Planning
  • Operations
  • Financial Planning and Accounting
  • Business Mentors
  • Building a Team
  • Human Resources
  • Sales
  • Marketing and PR
  • Insurance
  • Legal
  • Service / Retail / Online

The ins and outs will change for each country, but the pointers are a great place to start. Read the post here.

3) Sunrise in St Kilda, Melbourne
I was in Melbourne last week for work and enjoyed a jog in St Kilda during sunrise. Say no more!

4) We Call Him Yes! Chef! – food blog
I love this blog – it’s written well and has wicked photos! Although I haven’t yet made any of the recipes, I’ve taken many ideas from this blog and I have certainly got some of the meals on my ‘to try’ list. YUM.

Photo from the They Call Him Yes! Chef!

Photo from the They Call Him Yes! Chef! blog

5) Australian Writers’ Centre 
I’m 3 weeks into a 5-week Screenwriting Stage 1 course, and loving it! I’ve been a fan of good script for a while, but I didn’t realise that this course would give so much insight into effective storytelling. In turn, it’s a course that I’d recommend to anyone who needs to tell stories (or is in marketing/advertising/PR).

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Top 5: Gifs, slow food, startup ideas, recorder intro and Daft Punk

In an attempt to express more gratitude and awareness of all the good things in life, I’m embarking on a little project. Once a week I’ll post my ‘Top 5’ of the week – things that made me think, smile, marvel, laugh, appreciate or reflect. I hope you’ll enjoy them, too.

This week’s Top 5 are:

1) The Great Gif

Great Gatsby gif
After Titanic came out I had Leo posters covering my walls for several years. He is divine, and I’m looking forward to seeing him in action again in The Great Gatsby. Put Leo in a gif, and a Great Gatsby gif at that, and I’m yours. Thank you to @kingnivin for spotting and sharing this – check out Nivin’s post here. He writes about how gifs could be the next big thing in movie promotion. I agree.
Gif from The Great Gatsby promo Tumblr.

2) Hungry Mondays deliciousness
Hungry Mondays is delicious, slow cooked food that I buy pretty much every week. A group of chefs slow cook two different dishes every week and sell them for $9 a portion (if you pick up from a few handy locations). One of last week’s dishes was my favourite so far: 16 hour pork and beef chili con carne with a house baked corn bread. It doesn’t hurt that whoever runs the Facebook page has an impeccable way with words, e.g.: “House baked corn bread comes fresh out of the oven, gets cooled and sliced. It comes as a side with El Capo’s chilli con carne, the sweetness of the bread compliments the chilli of the chilli, which is mild to medium, depending on how soulful you are.” They’ve captured my heart with both food and words.

A Hungry Mondays dish

A Hungry Mondays dish – image from the HMs Facebook page

3) What are the best ways to think of ideas for a startup? 

I enjoyed this answer by @startuprob on Quora. He lists some absolute gold ways in which you can generate ideas, such as:

  • Look through your bank statement to see where your money is going. (Could you be doing any of those tasks better? Cheaper?)
  • Ask yourself, “What type of business would you want to run if there was absolutely no chance of failure?”
  • Look through the customer service sections of websites and find out what people are complaining about.

Thank you, Rob! Read his full answer on on Quora.

4) 20th Century Fox intro on the recorder

It’s a couple of years old and completely ridiculous but brings back memories of failing miserably on the recorder (didn’t we all have a crack at primary school?) and it certainly scored LOLs. Thanks Jayde and Nick for the heads up!

5) Daft Punk’s new track, Get Lucky

The French boys are back and I’m loving this funky 70s vibe track. Get on it!

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Recipe: Raw Chocolate & Nut Easter Cups

Raw Chocolate & Nut Cup
I came across this raw food blog last week. ‘This Rawsome Vegan Life’ is a blog by Em, a 19-year old student in Vancouver. She shares leads of amazing recipes along with awesome photos and lovely words. One recipe that caught my attention was her Giant Peanut Butter Cups. Sounds and looks amazing, right? Well, today I decided to give them a try, but I put an Easter spin on them with allspice, and made them a bit smaller. Here’s the recipe I went with, based on Em’s:

Raw Chocolate & Nut Easter Cups (makes about 10)
Crust
1 cup nuts (I used a combo of hazelnuts, walnuts and almonds)
6 soaked dates
2 tablespoons raw cacao
splash of agave
Chocolate Layer
1 avocado 
8 soaked dates
2 tablespoons raw cacao
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons almond butter
4 tablespoons agave
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon and allspice
Nut Butter Layer
3 tablespoons natural peanut butter
3 2 tablespoons almond butter
pinch of salt
Crosses
desiccated coconut

Chocolate layer mixture

For the crust, process all the ingredients together until it’s crumbly but firm to press together. Press into the sides and bottom of small or medium sized cupcake molds and place in the fridge.

For the chocolate layer, blend all the ingredients together until smooth and thick. Spoon a tablespoon or so into the cupcake molds, making sure you have about a third of the mixture remaining.

For the nut butter layer, mix the nut butters and the salt until smooth. Add a spoonful on top of the first chocolate layer in each cupcake mold, then top with the remaining chocolate mixture.Smooth over, then top each one with a cross made from desiccated coconut. This would work best with a template – I just practically poured it on top!

Set them in the fridge and then NOM NOM NOM!
Setting in the fridge
Ready to eat!
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Snapguide: How to Make Paprika, Truffle Oil and Parmesan Popcorn

Have you heard of Snapguide? It’s a very cool site and app that allows users to create guides about anything they love. Topics include Arts & Crafts, Automotive, Beauty, Food, Music, Photography and Technology. I made my first guide over the weekend: How to Make Paprika, Truffle Oil and Parmesan Popcorn.

The app is free and allows you to upload photos and/or videos as your instructions. Check it out, there are some great guides on there from people all over the world, and if you are looking for a particular guide, the search functionality is very good.

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Recipe: Alfajores de maicena from Argentina

Alfajores de maicena are Argentinian cookies that literally crumble in your mouth. They’re delicious and easy to make! Here’s my favourite recipe for them.

Ingredients
150g butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1/2 egg white
smidgen vanilla extract
swig of rum or other alcohol like brandy
3/4 cup regular flour
1 level teaspoon baking soda
1 and 3/4 cups cornflour
1 jar dulce de leche (from a specialty shop, or you can make your own)
shredded coconut for rolling

Tools you’ll need
Large bowl
Fork
Sieve
Rolling pin
Rolling surface
Small, round cookie cutter
Fridge
Baking paper
Oven tray
Glad wrap
Cooling rack
Spreading knife
Plate


Steps
1) In the bowl, mix the butter, egg yolks, egg white and sugar with the fork until fluffy
2) Add the rum and vanilla essence and stir in
3) Use the sieve to add gradual amounts of the baking soda, flour and cornflour, mixing in well with the fork
4) The mixture may be quite crumbly at this stage, so get your hands dirty and press it all together, kneading well
5) Once it’s all in a big lump, wrap tightly in glad wrap and place in the fridge for at least two hours. I left mine overnight
6) After two hours (or the next day), take the lump out of the fridge and let it warm to room temperature for a few minutes before cutting into three sections
7) Preheat oven on 160 degrees
8) For each dough section: Sprinkle flour on rolling surface and roll out the dough to about 1cm thick
9) Cut out circles with the cookie cutter and place each on the baking paper on the baking tray
10) Bake for about 10 minutes, keeping a close eyes on the biscuits – they must not turn golden!
11) Take biscuits out of the oven and cool on a rack
12) Once cooled, spread a layer of dulce de leche onto the base of one biscuit, then sandwich to another one so thedulce oozes out the sides
13) Even the dulce out with a knife, then roll in the shredded coconut

Enjoy!

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