Vanilla Cake with Princess Pink Frosting


Today, our youngest daughter turned five.  She is very specific when it comes to her requests, and it almost always involves the colour pink.  When I asked her what type of cake she wanted for her birthday, the reply was “I want a vanilla cake with princess pink frosting and those flowers you can eat”.  She was referring to the edible flowers which I used to decorate her sister’s birthday cake only two weeks ago.  Hers was also a vanilla cake, but it had blueberry frosting.

So, off I went to deliver this request.  Vanilla cake, easy peasy.  Princess pink frosting?  That was easy too.

This cake is vegan, but not gluten free.  And whilst the icing is refined sugar free, the cake is not.  You can use coconut sugar but sugar is sugar so if you’re avoiding sugar, then maybe skip to the previous recipe.  But if however, you like to indulge in a bit of cake every now and then, read on.

The vanilla cake is easy and you can find the recipe for mine here.

This recipe makes a beautifully moist vanilla cake and it’s really nice with any type of frosting, or just on it’s own.  You can make it gluten free by replacing the flour with gluten free flour.  I haven’t yet tried it with the vanilla cake but I have done so with the chocolate version and it turned out ok, only not as moist.



Princess Pink Frosting


makes approximately 1 cup of frosting.

1 cup of raw cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour and rinsed well

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 TBS vanilla extract

1/4 cup of maple syrup (This is a guesstimate as I actually didn’t measure this out so you might want to taste test and adjust accordingly)

2 TBS freshly squeezed beetroot juice


Place all ingredients in a powerful blender and blend until super smooth.

Wait until the cake is completely cooled before attempting to frost.


Mission accomplished :)

Peas, love and mungbeans


Spelt & Beet Gnocchi with Rosemary Pesto & Crumbed Macadamia Feta


There are some things that you try over and over again, gnocchi is one of those things for me.

Those little fluffy pillows of yum are either got or not.  So I search all over for amazing recipes trying them all, some are good, some are great, some not so much.  But they’re fun all the same.

But here’s one of those recipes that I found whilst searching and you can find it here.

It uses spelt flour which is a little different, and no potatoes.   I have seen spelt flour at the grocery store but I like to get mine from bulk stores because I just buy the quantities that I need.  The Source Bulkfoods is the one I go to and there’s a few around if you’re in Australia so check them out.  _MG_1691

For this dish you will also need a delicious pesto.  I make traditional basil pesto all the time, but somehow, no shops had it in stock so I went out to my big rosemary bush and collected enough to make this one.  I got my little one to help, she loves getting involved :)


Rosemary Pesto

Makes about 1/2 cup


2 cups of fresh rosemary, leaves only

1/2 cup of pine nuts

2 cloves of garlic

3x 4cm pieces of lemon rind

1/4 cup savoury yeast

1/4 cup of EVOO

1 tsp of Himalayan pink salt

Freshly cracked pepper to taste


Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.

Taste and adjust seasoning if required.


Here’s a really simple recipe for some macadamia cheese.  It has a really crumbly consistency and reminds me of feta so let’s call it that.


Macadamia Feta

Makes about 1 1/4 cups


1 cup of raw macadamia nuts, soaked and rinsed well

2 cups of filtered water

2 TBS of lemon juice

1 tsp of prebiotic powder, I like this one.

1/2 tsp of Himalayan pink salt

1 tsp raw apple cider vinegar (optional)


Place rinsed nuts in a blender with the water and blend until smooth.  Use a muslin cloth or nut milk bag to strain until you get all the liquid out and all you have left is the pulp.  Reserve the liquid (Macadamia milk!)

Place the pulp in a glass container and mix through all the other ingredients.  Done!

I keep mine in the fridge and it keeps for about 4-5 days.

The combo of the pesto and the cheese is also delicious on grainy toast with some fresh tomato.

And there you have it!

Peas, love and mungbeans



Getting my fix

Having tried lots of different eating philosophies, I can say with certainty that there’s not one perfect diet.  That may sound obvious but start doing a search of (insert diet philosophy here) and you will find a number of people telling you that their way of eating is the one and only true way.  I believed this for a while too, but even then, I still observed other people and saw how they were thriving.  Whether their chosen way of eating was paleo, plant based, raw, vegetarian, pescatarian, or omnivore, the one thing they had in common was that they were glowing with health.  But how can this be if there’s only one perfect diet?


So, here’s one lady who I have been watching for a while.  Her name is Stefanie, but for those of you who follow her on social media, you might know of her as Food Fix Up.  She also has an amazing app by the same name.

Here’s my interview with the lovely Stefanie and her tips for staying on top of your health game.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m originally from London but have lived in Sydney for the past 13 years (other than a couple of years in Hong Kong). I love it here and it’s definitely influenced me in terms of how I eat and look after myself – being around so many healthy and vibrant people rubs off for sure! I now have a healthy recipe app called ‘Food Fix Up’ that is a huge passion of mine. To be able to do something I love doing everyday is the ultimate gift.

What is your eating/lifestyle philosophy?

My eating and lifestyle philosophy is 80/20, I don’t believe in depriving myself and although I make healthy food and decisions for the most part; I’m happy to loosen the strings if I feel like it. They say anything that’s an obsession is unhealthy and I truly believe that so I don’t get caught up in ‘’can’t have” – I just make healthy choices for the most part.


When and why did you decide to start eating this way?

Ever since I moved here at 20 years old I’ve cooked -I just love it. My style has changed though from moderately healthy, (with a lot of bad stuff thrown in) to a whole foods diet that’s predominately gluten, sugar and dairy free. Eating this way makes me feel energised and happy. The turning point came when my Dad was diagnosed with cancer, I was desperate to help him after the doctors said they couldn’t.. but sadly he did pass away. The only blessing was that during that time I educated myself about food and the effects it has on us – it was a real eye opener and once I started instilling what I had learnt I couldn’t believe how great I felt. There were hiccups along the way but now I feel mine and my family’s diet is perfect for us. Knowing that my daughter is getting what she needs to thrive both physically and mentally is the best part about it.


Have you noticed any difference since changing your eating/lifestyle philosophy (if any)?

I’ve noticed huge differences in the way I feel, I used to get so tired – honestly to the point of not being able to keep my eyes open! Now I never get those slumps. I also suffered with adrenal fatigue, it got really bad at one point so to have it under control now is life-changing. The other thing is my skin is so much better, it used to be very dull and lifeless – not the best look haha – now it’s pretty good!

Have you met any barriers to eating this way, if so, how did you overcome them?

I did at one point become a bit too vigilant about what I ate.. I thought I was doing the right thing but I became extremely depleted – I had the lowest iron and iodine results my naturopath had ever seen in fact. It taught me to listen to MY body and not do something just because it works for someone else.


What is your favourite dish to make?

My favourite dish to make is usually something asian. I love the freshness you get from lots of chilli, herbs and lime juice. I also love anything with chocolate. #standard!


What ingredients are a must-have for your fridge/pantry?

Coconut oil to cook with, herbs to liven up any dish, sea salt, chillies, lemons and limes, apple cider vinegar and lots of fresh veg.

Juices or smoothies? What do you prefer and what combination?

I have both daily. My juice is all veg except for a little lemon and my smoothie is fresh coconut water, avo, berries and some superfoods like bee pollen, maca and chlorella. I also make the app’s banana salted caramel smoothie regularly because just try it. 😉

Sweet or savoury?

Again both.. I enjoy mostly savoury but won’t say no to cake!

Can you share a fave recipe with us?

Here’s one of my favourite recipes – Vegetarian Laksa


Full on flavour, full of goodness and one to warm your insides during the cooler months. I absolutely love this dish – it’s great to have something ‘soupy’ that still has slightly crunchy veggies and fresh herbs. Add some cooked chicken to this meal for extra protein if you wish but be assured it’s awesome without.

serves 2

25 minutes


For the paste
1 small red chilli, stalk removed
1 long red chilli, stalk removed
1 small green chilli, stalk removed
1/2 stick lemongrass, chopped, white part only
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp paprika
2 spring onions, trimmed
1 lime leaf, sliced
1/2 tbs chilli paste
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 small handful cashew nuts
1 handful coriander, incl stalks, chopped
1 tbs macadamia or coconut oil
2 tbs tamari
For the curry
100g rice noodles
1 can coconut cream
1/2 tbs coconut sugar
2 cup snow peas, ends trimmed
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup beansprouts
1 handful mint leaves
1 handful coriander leaves
1 lime
sea salt
1 tbs coconut or macadamia oil
1 tbs toasted sesame seeds
1/2 lime, cut into wedges


Process all paste ingredients until relatively smooth – you might need to scrape the food processor down a few times to reach this.

Heat the oil for the curry in a frying pan, add the paste and cook on a low heat for 5-6 minutes stirring every 30 seconds or so.

Pour in the stock, sugar and coconut milk and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the tomatoes then cook the rice noodles according to the packet’s instructions.

Throw the snow peas in, cook for another 3 minutes then add both the cooked noodles and beansprouts. Taste, add salt if necessary.

Serve topped with the mint and coriander leaves, sesame seeds and lime wedges.

Can you describe your day on a plate (from rise to bedtime)?

I get up and have a cup of herbal tea or some bone broth, after exercising I have the aforementioned juice and smoothie then breakfast which might be a poached egg with tomatoes, avo and the app’s focaccia or some of the app’s granola with homemade almond milk and berries. For lunch I eat whatever I’m shooting that day – today it was a beautiful snapper and brussel sprout salad. Dinner varies but will always have some protein and lots of veg. We seem to eat a lot of sweet potato wedges, mainly because I know I can whack them in the oven and then forget about them while I bathe my daughter and tidy up!

How do you stay fit?


I run around like a manic for one. It’s true, I can’t actually sit still which I know isn’t great but I’m working on it! Aside from that I go to Yoga classes and train at Agoga – they do these circuit classes that are full on but so much fun. The thought of going to a regular gym bores me to tears – I’m not good at motivating myself I need someone to encourage me.

I’m always amazed by yogis, and you are an inspiration, thank you! How did you start and what tips do you have for anyone wanting to start out on their own yoga journey?


Thank you! I started about 5 years ago when I moved to Hong Kong – I hadn’t exercised in ages at that point and thought it would be a gentle re-introduction to moving my body. Wrong – it was crazy and I thought everyone in the class including the teacher was crazy. I stuck at it though for some reason and now it’s such a huge part of my life. I’d really love to say because it grounds me and all that but the truth is I just love to stretch. Maybe one day I’ll be a proper yogi. There’s actually an article on my website called unsophisticated yoga that delves into this a little more.


What are your tips for staying mentally healthy in our fast paced world and with so many different life pressures?

Relax, sit down, have a cup of tea and just chill. Haha ok that bit of advice is for me. Well I think we could all do ourselves a favour by stepping away from technology for at least a portion of the day. Our phones have become part of us and not only are we comparing ourselves to others which isn’t at all healthy but we also aren’t living in reality. By just putting the phone down or stepping away from the computer we give ourselves breathing space and time to wind down. Going for a walk and getting out in nature is so worth the time.

If you could give someone a piece of advice regarding adopting a healthier lifestyle, what would that be?

Baby steps. Take one day, one meal at a time. Make small changes and don’t worry if you slip up from time to time. Take note of how your body feels when you eat badly or drink too much and remember how good you feel after you exercise or nourish yourself. I think it’s a process and the best thing you can do is listen to what your body is telling you.

What are your favourite skin products and do you have any skin rituals that you stick to no matter what?

I don’t really have much of a routine. I use rosehip oil religiously – I used to use all kinds of lotions and potions that didn’t do anything but steal my money – I got the best skin of my life after I started eating well.

Loving the Food Fix Up App. When and why did you decide to come out with it?

Thank you. It was a natural progression from posting my pictures on instagram to getting my content out there in a way that would be an easy user experience. To be honest I never in a million years would’ve thought I’d have an app but I do and to think that people actually use it and love it blows me away!

What’s next for the Food Fix Up?

I actually have no idea, I’m just going with the flow and relishing spending time practising my cooking, styling and photography skills. I wake up excited to work everyday and that’s priceless.

Hope you enjoyed the interview and here’s a few more shots of her beautiful food!





Are you drooling yet?  I know I am!  Can’t wait to try some of Stefanie’s recipes, specially that Laksa :)

Until next time

Peas, love and mungbeans


Celebration Cake


They say necessity is the mother of invention and this is how I feel about this cake.  Basically, I had to meet my husband’s expectations about what a chocolate cake is, with my desire to make it as healthy as possible.   So, I basically just copied my vegan chocolate cake recipe and substituted the flour with gluten free flour.   Yep,  no rocket science there, but hey, it worked!

It’s everything you can expect from a cake:



moist (my apologies for those folk who hate that word)

There are three parts to making this cake delicious, first is the cake, second is the vanilla cream filling and thirdly is the chocolate ganache.  so, let’s get cracking!

Decadent Chocolate Cake 

makes one 20 cm round cake


Chocolate Cake

1 1/2 cups of gluten free flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)

1 cup of coconut sugar

1/2 cup of raw cacao powder

1 tsp of baking soda

1/2 tsp of Himalayan pink salt

1/3 cup of sunflower oil

1 tsp of vanilla extract

1 tsp of apple cider vinegar

1 cup of warm water

1 TBS of instant coffee granules

Vanilla Cashew Cream

1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight and rinsed well

1/2 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1/4 cup of rice bran syrup

2 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Ganache

Flesh of 2 medium ripe avocados

100g of Lindt 70% dark chocolate

1/4 cup raw cacao powder

1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

2/3 cup rice bran syrup

1 TBS almond butter

1 TBS arrowroot powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt

To Decorate

Berries or other fruit/nuts/seeds of choice


Chocolate Cake

Pre heat oven to 180 degrees Celcius.

In a large mixing bowl, add all the dry ingredients, mix well to combine.  Add coffee granules to the cup of warm water and mix until it dissolves, add this to the dry ingredients, along with the rest o f the other wet ingredients, and mix until mixture is combined and there are no lumps.  I use my stand mixer for this, one because it takes less time and two, because I’m lazy when it comes to cake mixing!

Line a round cake tin with baking paper, then pour in mixture and place cake in middle layer of oven for approximately 40 minutes, or until skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Leave the cake to completely cool before cutting it in two separate pieces.

Vanilla Cashew Cream

Place all ingredients in a powerful blender and blend until silky smooth.  Taste and adjust sweetness if needed.  Put in glass container and store in fridge until you are ready to assemble the cake.

Chocolate Ganache

Place broken up chocolate pieces into a glass or aluminium bowl, then place bowl over a pan of boiling water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t make contact with the water or that any water gets inside the bowl containing the chocolate.  The chocolate will start melting.  Stir until chocolate is completely melted.

Add all ingredients to a food processor, including the melted chocolate and process until smooth.  You will need to scrape the sides a couple of times.  Taste and adjust sweetness if required.  Place in fridge until you are ready to assemble the cake.


To assemble cake

Place both your cake pieces, cut side up, on a clean bench or cutting board, and spread with vanilla cashew cream.  Now you have an option, you can add some thinly sliced pieces of strawberries on top of the cream which is what I did, or you can leave it as is.  Be mindful that if you decide to go with adding the strawberries, you will need to be careful when frosting the cake as the strawberries can cause the layers to slide and become a little bit unstable.

Once you’ve added your cream and optional fruit, sandwich the layers together, making sure the edges are even, and start the frosting process using the chocolate ganache.  The frosting will be thick because it’s been in the fridge so if you prefer to work with a softer consistency, just take it out of the fridge 15 minutes before you are ready to start frosting.  Now I’m no professional cake decorator, I just use a spatula to cover any exposed cake and hope for the best 😉

There will be enough frosting for the whole cake and you will probably have some left over.  YUM.

Once you have frosted the cake, add your berries or other decorations and you’re ready to serve.

Happy Celebrations!


Peas, love and mungbeans



Smoothie Bowl Basics


Smoothie bowls.  Everyone is doing them, and now that the weather is getting warmer, if you haven’t yet given them a go, then I urge you too get blending.

Tips for the perfect  smoothie bowl:

Start with flavours you like

It’s all well and good if everyone is loving kale, but you won’t drink it if you’re not a fan of the curly green.  So stick to flavours you know you enjoy and when you’re feeling adventurous, try adding something new, a little bit at a time.  Never add rocket.  It’s not nice.  TRUST ME!

Freeze your fruit

This will give it a creamy consistency, similar to a thickshake.  Obviously some fruits you can’t freeze but fruits like berries, mango, pineapple, banana, avocado, custard apple, are all good.

Get your herb on 

Adding fresh herbs to a smoothie can add a new layer of flavour that’s fresh and tasty so don’t be shy.  Mint, parsley, and basil are herbs that I use all the time.

Pump up the value

By adding superfoods like raw cacao, maca, spirulina, protein powder, e.t.c., you will not only add flavour, but will also increase the nutritional value.

Be a dare devil

Sticking to what you know is definitely A-OK if you’re starting out, but once you’ve got the hang of it, try making different combinations, or playing around with the type of liquid you use to bring it all together.

Here’s one for you to try that you wouldn’t normally think of but tastes divine.

_MG_1363 _MG_1375 _MG_1376

Berry Beet Smoothie


1 cup of frozen raspberries

1/2 cup of frozen strawberries

1/4 small beetroot

1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)

1/2 frozen banana

1/4 avocado


Place all ingredients in a powerful blender and whiz away.  If you need to, add more milk until you reach your desired consistency.

Pour into a bowl and decorate with your fave toppings.




Peas, love and mungbeans