Thursday, 31 January 2013

clean eating 101

So it occurred to me that some people are a little lost when it comes to nutrition.  I am always caught a bit off guard that things that I think are common sense are quite foreign to others.  
Of course, I don't think this is a negative, rather, it presents an opportunity to share ideas and knowledge.
And I don't mean that I am an expert, far from it to be honest, but there's nothing I love more, than sharing what I am passionate about, and that is healthy, delicious, nourishing, unaltered, clean food.
Ok, ok, so I'm not always such a clean eater, I do have a penchant for sorbets and such delicious treats but on a whole, I've found that my journey through food, has lead me to having less and less of the more 'naughty' foods.  
Maybe it's like with anything, once you develop a habit, it's hard to give it up.  Healthy eating is definitely one of these things for me. 
My advice to people is this: read everything.  Research what you are interested in and you will find answers.  Make sure you keep an open mind, and also, beware that there is a lot of crap and conflicting info out there.
If you want to get started on eating clean and eating well, here are five simple suggestions.

1.  Keep it simple.  This is my mantra.  The less you do with it, the better it will be for you.  Eating foods as close to their original form is without a doubt, the best way to get the maximum benefits.  For this reason, I eat mostly raw.

2.  Drink water.  Simple, yes, but easy to forget.  

3.  Eat when you're hungry.  I had to learn to do this.  Like I said, changing habits is hard and I've always been one for routine.  I had to unlearn and relearn new habits.  A challenge but so worth the time to get there.  At the end of the day, it came down to lifestyle change.

4.  Always eat a hell of a lot of greens.  They are so good for you, they provide so many vitamins and minerals and much needed fibre.  Amazing.

5.  Eat seasonal.  I know it's hard sometimes, but, eating what's in season is best for obvious reasons.  There's also the added bonus that seasonal fruits and veggies are also cheaper and at their best.  Of course if it's within your means, eat organic where possible.  I can't always do that so i make sure I wash my fruit and veggies really well.  
TIP:  Rinse your fruit and veggies, then fill your sink with water, add some apple cider vinegar, and let your produce soak in that for about 15-20 minutes.  Helps to remove all the pesticides and other nasties.

There you are, a few simple steps to get you started, now for the recipes!

A word of warning, the following recipes contain the use of zucchini, A LOT!  I just love them as they are really flavour neutral but are pretty, filling and have a wonderful texture.
zucchini pasta for days!!!

White asparagus, zucchini and mint salad
Serves 1


2 medium zuchhini
1/2 bunch white asparagus
1/4 cup fresh peas
1 cup baby rocket
1 cup of fresh mint leaves
1 orange peeled and segmented
1/2 lemon juiced
1 tsp himalayan pink salt
fresh cracked pepper
1/2 avocado to serve (optional)


Wash all your veggies thoroughly, use a salad spinner for your rocket if you have one.
Slice zucchini using a potato peeler into thin ribbons and place in a large bowl, along with peas and rocket.
Cut half of the asparagus into bite sized pieces and with the other half, use the potato peeler to slice into ribbons.  Add to bowl.
Chop your mint leaves and mix in with your zucchini ribbons, rocket, peas and asparagus.
Add lemon juice, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly with your hands.
Place on your plate and arrange orange segments on top.
Serve with a side of avocado slices.

Japanese Seaweed & Enoki bowl
Serves 1


2 cups of baby spinach
1 zucchini peeled into ribbons/spiralized
1/2 bunch of enoki mushrooms
5 cherry tomatoes halved
80g japanese seaweed salad
1 TBS tamari
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 nori sheet, cut into thin strips
pickled ginger (optional)


Place all ingredients except ginger and nori, in a serving bowl and toss gently.
Arrange the pickled ginger around the sides and top with nori bits.

The following two recipes require the use of a spiralizer (handy little tool), see previous post.
However you can get away without one by using a potato peeler to cut into ribbons and then cut into thin strips with knife.
I first tried this pasta at a raw food workshop I did at Sadhana Kitchen.
I fell in love with it because of it's creamy texture and awesome flavour.....without the bloating that comes with eating pasta.  Better yet, it's so fast to prepare, I'm usually done making it in less than 20 minutes.  Perfecto :)

Zucchini Fettucine Alfredo
Serves 2


For Fettucine
2 medium zucchini
2 cups baby spinach

For Alfredo Sauce
1 cup raw activated cashews* 
1/2 clove of garlic
1/4 cup brown onion
3/4 cup water
1 tsp raw unpasteurized brown rice miso
1 tsp dried dill
2 TBSP cold pressed EVOO
2 TBS nutritional yeast
1 tsp Himalayan pink salt
Fresh cracked pepper to taste



User spiralizer to turn zucchini into fettucine.  Place in a large bowl with the washed and rinsed baby spinach.


Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Pour sauce over zucchini and spinach and use your hands to coat, serve.  
The most delicious thing EVER!!

Activated cashews are just cashews that you soak.  i soak mine as required as I don't have a dehydrator and using the oven to dry them for 10 hours is just not that practical (or bearable) for me.

Carrot and Zucchini Spaghetti with a Coriander Pesto
Serves 1


For Pasta

1 medium carrot
1 medium zucchini

For Pesto

1 cup raw activated cashews
1 cup firmly packed coriander
1 clove of garlic
1/4 cup brown onion
3/4 cup water
1 tsp raw unpasteurized brown rice miso
2 TBSP cold pressed EVOO
2 TBS nutritional yeast
1 tsp Himalayan pink salt
Fresh cracked pepper to taste


Spiralize zucchini and carrot and place in a large bowl.
Place sauce ingredients into blender and blend until smooth.
Pour sauce over pasta, coat well and serve with a little bit extra sauce on top.
Decorate with cherry tomatoes and sprigs of coriander if desired and serve with a side salad of greens.

Note:  Both of the above recipes will leave you with left over sauce.  I also use the sauce like mayo and pour it over veggies when I make raw wraps or as a dip for veggie sticks.

Citrus Berry salad with a Raspberry vinagrette
Serves 1


1 medium zucchini in ribbons
1/2 grapefruit, segmented
3/4 cup strawberry halves
1 cup of baby spinach leaves

1/2 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
3 TBS apple cider vinegar
3 TBS cold pressed EVOO
1 tsp Himalayan pink salt
Fresh cracked pepper to taste


Place all salad ingredients in a large bowl
Add all your dressing ingredients into your blender and blend until creamy and smooth.
Pour dressing over your salad and serve.

Note: Makes about 3/4 cup of dressing and last for up to 5 days in the fridge in a glass container with a tight fitting lid.
so fresh and so clean
Ok, zucchini obsession over, here's a salad without.

Purple carrot, Mushrooms and Avocado Salad
Serves 1


1/2 bunch enoki mushrooms
1 cup button mushrooms sliced
2 cups baby spinach leaves
1/2 avocado cubes
1 medium purple carrot sliced on the diagonal
1/4 red capsicum, diced
1 TBS tamari


Place all ingredients in a bowl, toss with tamari and serve.

It's clear to see from all of the above recipes why I love eating raw so much.  Apart from the food being bright and delicious, it really takes next to no time to prepare.  Seriously, the hardest thing is washing the veggies and cutting a few bits.  
So you can't blame a girl for having a little internal snicker when I hear people use the excuse of 'no time' in response to why they don't eat well.  I hope I can convert a few with my recipes, that's always the goal :)

Okay, so we've had lots of savoury recipes, what about some sweet little treats?
Being summer, we're lucky to have an abundance of fruit, and delicious tropical and exotic fruits at that. 
I've been making the most of that and making delicious fruit salads, or just gorging myself in the freshest I can find.

I always start the day with a green smoothie and here are some of my essentials. The only thing that I will change is the fruit (except banana and pear) to fit the season.
And when a chocolate craving hits, nothing beats a deliciously creamy and cold......

Chocolate Thickshake
Serves 1


200 mls unsweetened almond milk
2 medjool dates pitted
1/2 avocado
1 large ripe frozen banana
2 TBS raw cacao powder
Raw chocolate or cacao nibs (optional)


Place all ingredients (except optionals) in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
Serve with optionals on top.
Slurp away :)

And whilst we're on the topic of chocolate, here's a pudding that you can make anytime, in fact, I had it for dinner the other day.  Hey, there's nothing wrong about having dessert for dinner when it's this delicious and clean.

Chocolate Pudding with Figs and Coconut
Serves 1


2 large frozen bananas
1/2 avocado
150 mls almond milk/coconut water mix
1/4 cup flesh from a young coconut
2 TBS raw cacao powder
2 medjool dates pitted
1 fresh fig
1 TBS cacao nibs
2 TBS desiccated coconut


Blend bananas, almond milk/coconut water, coconut flesh, cacao powder and medjool dates until super smooth.  It will be thick, that's how you want it.
Pour into a bowl and decorate with fig slices.  Spread desiccated coconut around rim of bowl and sprinkle on cacao nibs.
Umm, I'm warning you, it's really yum.

And last but not least, I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!!!  Raw, that is.
P.S there's is nothing simpler than making raw vegan ice cream.  Just take frozen fruit, add whatever flavours you want to mix with and process away.  Fool proof deliciousness for seriously lazy ice cream lovers.

Durian and Banana Gelato
Serves 1


1 medium frozen durian seed* (seeds removed)
1 medium ripe frozen banana


Process separately until mixture starts to clump together in a delicious ice cream scoop.
Serve with fresh berries.

My clean eating, mainly raw food obsession continues, will keep you posted with more recipes and all things yum in coming weeks.
And I have a little surprise to share with you next week too.

Peas, love and mung beans


Thursday, 10 January 2013

cleaning up my act

As promised, I am going to post only clean eating recipes for the month of January.  I'm on a clean eating mission and all will soon be revealed!  
Doesn't that sound so mysterious? The other reason why I'm on a mission is for purely selfish reasons, and that's because I want to be the healthiest that I can be.  I figure by looking after myself, inside and out, I will hopefully set a good example to my two girls.  This world has gone crazy, and I can't imagine what the future holds, so at the end of the day, without health, we can't navigate through all the amazing, crazy and scary stuff that may lay ahead.

I've been doing quite a bit of reading lately, and like with everything, I've taken the information and have adjusted it to suit me and my lifestyle.  I haven't changed the way I eat that much, just avoiding some things.  I have however, changed the order in which I eat them.  If you are interested in health, you should really check out some of the principles to eating outlined in "the beauty detox solution" by Kimberley Snider.  Can't recommended it enough.  
So without further delay, here are some recipes that I've been flogging of late that are clean, lean and deliciously good for you.

Green Smoothie
Makes about 1 L


1 ripe banana (frozen if you have it)
1 ripe pear
1 stalk of celery
1/2 mango
1 cup of spinach
1 cup of cos lettuce
1/2 lemon juiced
1/2 tsp spirulina
1 tsp flax seed oil
1 TBS raw lucuma powder (optional)


Process all ingredients in a high powered blender with ice and 400 ml of water until super smooth.

I make this smoothie everyday and it's my breakfast.  It's fair to say that I'm addicted and I don't think I'll ever give it up.  
After a mug of warm water and lemon, I have 1/2 L of water with a probiotic and then have this.  Delicious and filling. 
Best of all, you can tweek the recipe to add the fruit and vegies that you like.  I find this combination works for me.

Lunch is usually composed of large salads so here are some of my favourites, along with some other more dense dishes.  
But don't be fooled, salads are just as filling!

Kale and Bok Choy Salad with Avocado Dressing
Serves 1


4 stalks of kale of choice
2 bulbs of bok choy
5 cherry tomatoes
1 cup of mixed leaves
2 stalks of celery
1/2 cup red capsicum
1 TBS nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 avocado
1/2 lemon juiced
himalayan pink salt and fresh crushed pepper to taste


Tear the kale leaves into bite sized pieces, this will give you the opportunity to massage your kale*.
Chop the rest of the ingredients, except avocado and lemon juice, into bite sized pieces and place in to a large bowl.
Mash your avocado and mix with the lemon juice and season.
Add nutritional yeast and cayenne pepper to the salad. 
Pour avocado mix to the salad, and using your hands, combine gently to coat all veggies.
Serve and munch.

*massaging kale makes it go from fibrous and bitter to silky and sweet.  Take bunches of kale in both hands -- with the fibrous ribs removed -- rub them together and repeat. You'll notice a visible change as you do this; the leaves will darken, shrink in size and become silky in texture.

Bok choy is delicious raw, and along with other asian greens, are my new favourite addition to salads.

Everyone has their own version of pumpkin soup, and it's one of those dishes that I find really comforting and filling. Here's my version.

Pumpkin Soup
Serves 2


4 cups of pumpkin (I cut my pieces small so that they take less time to cook)
1 cup of carrot (as above)
1 stalk of celery sliced
1 ear of corn
1/2 cup brown onion diced
2 cloves of garlic
1 vegan stock cube


In a medium pan, add 1/2 cup of water, onions, garlic, celery, carrot and pumpkin.
Place lid on top and cook over medium heat until onion becomes translucent.
Add stock cube and enough water to just cover the pumpkin, replace lid and cook on low-medium heat until vegetables are tender.
Remove from heat and blend with a stick blender (If you like it thinner, add more water, if you like it thick, cook with lid off if there's too much liquid for your liking).
Slice kernels from the corn and add to soup.  Cook on low for another 7 minutes.  Just enough to cook the corn kernels.
Season if desired and serve.

I'm lucky to live in such a diverse area of Sydney, so a quick stroll to my local shops had me musing over some giant looking green mangos.  What to do, what to do?  
Here it is:

Vietnamese Green Mango Salad Rice Paper Rolls
Makes 8-10


1 cup peeled and grated green mango
1 1/2 cups of baby spinach chopped
1 cup of bean sprouts
1 small carrot shredded
1 cup of mint leaves
1/4 cup of chopped raw almonds
2 TBS coconut sugar*
2 TBS lime juice
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp himalayan pink salt
8-10 pieces of round rice paper


In a large bowl, add the vegetables, mango and mint.  Combine the sugar, juice, oil and salt separately and stir until sugar dissolves.  Add this to the vegetables, along with the almonds, and toss gently to combine.
Put some water in a plate and lay out a thick kitchen towel next to it.
Soak rice paper round in the water for about 10 seconds or until it starts to go a little bit soft.  Place it flat on the towel.
Place a small handful of filling in the centre (about 1/2 cup).
Fold in the sides and roll up the wrapper to make a spring roll.
Place the roll on a plate, seam side down, and repeat with the rest.
Position them so they don't touch or they will stick to each other.  Cover the rolls with a damp paper towel.
Serve immediately or you can wrap them individually in glad wrap and eat at a later time.

*you can find coconut sugar at your local Asian grocery store.  Alternatively, use brown sugar or maple syrup.

Dipping sauce
Makes 1 cup


1/2 cup tamari
1/2 cup lime juice
2 TBS coconut sugar
1 TBS lime zest
1 fresh red chilli sliced or chilli flakes


In a small bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients.  Serve along side rolls.
Ok, so my rolling technique leaves much to be desired but it's nothing practice won't fix.  I guess I'll just have to keep making more of these little buddies :)

And whilst we're on Asian flavours, here's a raw vegan recipe for one of my favourite dishes, pad thai.

Raw Vegan Pad Thai
Serves 4


1 zucchini spiralised or thinly sliced into sticks
1 large carrot shredded using potato peeler
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
Small handful of enoki mushrooms, roots discarded
1 cup red cabbage thinly shredded
1/2 cucumber thinly sliced, a few slices for garnish
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup bean sprouts
10 cherry tomatoes halved
1/2 cup fresh mint chopped
1/2 cup fresh coriander chopped, extra leaves for garnish
2 TBS activated sunflower seeds
1 red chilli (optional)
2 TBS tamari
2 TBS lemon juice
1 1/2 TBS almond butter


Combine vegetables, herbs, and seeds in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together the tamari, lemon juice and almond butter.
Pour over salad and use your hands to gently combine so all veggies are coated in the dressing and you don't squash them.
Place large handfuls on a plate, decorate with cucumber slices, fresh coriander springs and chilli.

This next salad is good for when you are entertaining.  It's super easy to make and really is a crowd pleaser.  Again, you can add whatever you have available, as long as you have the brown rice.  I take this whenever I'm going over to someone's for a meal/bbq.  This way I'm guaranteed to be able to eat something :)

Brown rice and roast vegetable salad
Serves 8


1 cup of brown rice
2 cups of sweet potato diced
2 cups of pumpkin diced
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup red capsicum diced
1/3 cup red onion sliced thinly
1 cup of fresh mint chopped
1/4 cup activated sunflower seeds
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
2 TBS raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
Himalayan pink salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Cook brown rice to cooking instructions.  Make sure you wash and soak first.  At least 10 minutes.
In a preheated moderate oven, place a lined tray with your pumpkin and sweet potato.  Bake until done (about 25 minutes).
Once the rice and vegetables are done cooking, place in a large bowl, and toss with the herbs, capsicum, onion, cranberries and seeds.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together the mustard, oil, vinegar and seasoning.
Add to salad and toss to combine.
Serve as a side or more as a meal.
This recipe keeps well so you can make this and keep it refrigerated to take for lunch to work.
Sticking to grains, the following is a my version of a macrobiotic meal.  

Mami's Macro Bowl
Serves 1


1/2 zucchini cut into match sticks
1/4 large red capsicum sliced into sticks
1 bulb of bok choy chopped
1/4 cup of leek sliced (white part only)
5 oyster mushrooms sliced
1/2 cup wombok thinly sliced
2 cm piece of ginger
1 TBS organic raw unpasteurized brown rice miso
1 TBS tamari
1/2 cup of water


In a large frying pan, add water and place on medium heat.  When water starts to heat up, add miso and tamari.
Mix until miso is dissolved.
Add vegetables and cook on low heat until vegetables are just soft.  DO NOT OVERCOOK!  The macro gods will be upset.
Grate the ginger and squeeze out the juice and add it to the vegetables once the heat is turned off.

To serve

1 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 cup organic sauerkraut (I used Eden organics brand)
daikon raddish cut into match sticks (small handful)
purple carrots cut into match sticks (small handful)
1/2 cup alfalfa sprouts

Arrange in a bowl and enjoy.  Make sure you always eat the sauerkraut first.  It will get the digestive juices flowing and CHEW YOUR FOOD for as long as you can.
Chewing your food well, ensures easier uptake of nutrients by the body, and it also gives your brain time to register when you are actually full.
Moving on to a different grain, the king of grains if you ask me.

Curried Quinoa Stuffed Baby Pumpkin
Serves 2


1 cup quinoa rinsed and drained
1/4 cup brown onion diced
1 garlic clove crushed
1/2 vegan stock cube
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 cup cauliflower florets chopped
1 TBS raisins
1 ear of corn - kernels removed
2 TBS fresh parsley for garnish
2 baby pumpkins, scrubbed, tops removed to be used as lids, seeds scooped out.


Pre-heat an oven to 180 degrees celcius.  Line a tray with baking paper, place your pumpkins and lids on tray and place in oven to bake, approximately 25 minutes.
In a medium saucepan, add your quinoa, curry powder, onion, stock cube, cauliflower, raisins and corn kernels.
Add one cup of water and cook with lid on until quinoa has soaked up all the water,it should look more or less translucent when it's cooked.
Take out your pumpkins from the oven, stuff with quinoa mixture, sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Like a warm hug!

More clean recipes to come so keep your eyes open and your tummies rumbling!

Peas, love and mung beans


Thursday, 3 January 2013

bake-a-thon, thon thon thon thon!!!

I wanted to post something before the end of the year, but the craziness of the silly season really did not let up!!
So, here's last year's post!

I thought I'd dedicate the last post of 2012 to cakes.  Yes, you know it, those delicious treats made of flour, sugar and what ever ingredients you want to throw at em'.
No secret, I love to bake.  But what I love the most is watching people eat and love the cakes I bake.  Nothing beats it.
Of course, there have been times when my creations have not warranted eating them at all.  
I clearly remember making a chocolate polenta cake a few years ago when I first gave veganism a try (albeit a dismal attempt).  Both my partner and sister politely told me it was nice, but, the dry retching sound could not be mistaken.  However, that did not quell my enthusiasm nor did it kill the little hungry beast in me that requires cake.  And the yummiest of all, vegan cakes :)

So here are two recipes that you can NOT live without.  I repeat, can NOT live without.
If you like making cakes, specially vegan cakes,then the following recipes are for you.
Fail proof, fool proof and best of all, don't contain all the artery clogging ingredients that conventional cakes do.
Of course, this doesn't mean that you would it cake everyday.  Ok, well, every second day then......

First out of the oven is chocolate cake.  Everyone loves chocolate cake.  But it's gotta be chocolatey, it's gotta be moist and it's gotta be finger licking delicious!
I have never had anything but oohs, ahhs, and nom nom noms from this cake.
It also got the seal of approval from my children's school friends and my fussy other half, who LOVES chocolate cake.  
I have also made this for my co-workers and none of them realised it was vegan.  Seriously.  It's that good.
I have posted this recipe before but I'll post it again for all y'all.
You won't need another recipe ever again. Promise.

Chocolate Cake
Serves 16


1 1/4 cup plain flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup raw cacao powder (or cocoa)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 TBSP coffee granules
1 cup warm water
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup sunflower oil
1 tsp vanilla extract


Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius.  Line a cake tin of your choice with baking paper and set aside.  I use square for easier cutting into portions but round is good also.
Mix together flour, sugar, cacao, baking soda and sea salt.  Make sure all the ingredients are incorporated before you add the wet ingredients.
Place coffee granules in cup of water and stir to dissolve, add this, along with the rest of the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well until you get a smooth batter.
I use my kitchenaid for this and it does a great job.
Place batter into prepared cake tin and bake for approximately 30-35 minutes, or until skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Now this next step is important.  
Let the cake cool in the tin for about 20 minutes, then let it cool completely before cutting or icing.
Yes, it will be hard, you can put it in the fridge if you want to speed things up.
You can cut it straight away but it may crumb and not cut cleanly.  
uh huh, yep, delicious.
I love to eat this cake just as it is, but if you want to dress it up with a chocolate glaze, you can't go past this one.

Chocolate Glaze
Enough for one cake


1/2 cup sugar
4 tbsp margarine (i used nuttelex)
2 tbsp soy milk
2 tbsp raw cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract


in a small saucepan, bring sugar, margarine, milk, and cacao to a boil. Stir frequently; then reduce heat to a simmer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir for another minute or so.
Add vanilla, stir, and immediately pour onto cake. Glaze dries really quickly, so spread it immediately and add any sprinkles now. 
If you're going to add fruit, wait until it cools or else they will just slide off.

Again, I recommend you let the icing cool before you cut it otherwise it will be a sticky mess!
You could also make some chocolate avocado mousse and top it with that, or use that in the middle and then glaze on top for a super indulgent double chocolate hit!

All this chocolate is making me loopy, let's balance it out with some vanilla goodness.

Vanilla Cake
Serves 16


1 1/2 cup plain flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup of water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 TBS apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup sunflower oil


Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius.  Line a cake tin of your choice with baking paper and set aside.  
Mix together flour, sugar, baking soda and sea salt.  Make sure all the ingredients are incorporated before you add the wet ingredients.
Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well until you get a smooth batter.
Place batter into prepared cake tin and bake for approximately 30-35 minutes, or until skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Same rule of cooling applies

Now here is the best part.  Now that you have these cake recipes, you can make WHATEVER flavour your belly desires.  

I added some frozen berries to the top of my vanilla cake and got this:

I also mixed the chocolate and vanilla cake batters and made a marble cake.
And when I wanted to do something a little bit silly, I poured the vanilla batter on top of the chocolate batter and got a chocolate and vanilla pound cake.

And because not all of the vanilla batter fit into the cake pan and was at risk of overflowing, i made some mixed berry muffins with the left over batter.  No wasting here!

 Here are a few more variations to the vanilla cake.

Spiced Pear Cake:  Omit vanilla essence.  Add 1 tsp of cinnamon powder, 1 tsp of allspice, 1/2 tsp of cloves, 1/4 tsp of nutmeg.
Instead of water, use apple juice (optional).

Pour batter into prepared cake tin and place some thin pear slices on top.  Sprinkle with some cinnamon sugar.  Bake and cool as normal.

Banana cake:  Omit water, add 1 cup of mashed banana (about 2), use 2/3 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk.  You could also add some 1/3 cup of nuts of your choice and further reduce sugar to 1/2 cup and add some raisins.  I also used a combination of wholemeal and white flour and it still came out moist and delicious.
Bake and cool as normal.  

And here's one of my favourite variations.  So tropicool :)

Upside down pineapple cake
Serves 16


1 1/4 cup plain flour
1/4 cup fine polenta (corn meal)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup of coconut milk
1/2 cup pineapple juice (from canned pineapple)
1 TBS apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1 can of pineapple pieces/thins/round (reserve juice)
2 TBS brown sugar
1 TBS non-dairy margarine (I use nuttelex)


Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius.  Line a cake tin of your choice with baking paper and set aside.  I use square for easier cutting into portions but round is good also.
Drain the pineapple pieces or whatever you are using and reserve the juice, you will need it for the wet ingredients and to caramelise pineapple.
Place margarine, brown sugar and 1/8 of a cup of reserved pineapple juice into a pan.  Heat on medium heat until sugar is dissolved and syrup starts to get a little colour.  Add your pineapple and continue to cook for about 4 minutes.  Syrup will be a little thicker.  Pour this on your prepared cake tin and arrange pineapple as you like.
In your mixer, or by hand, mix together flour, sugar,polenta, baking soda and sea salt.  Make sure all the ingredients are incorporated before you add the wet ingredients.
Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well until you get a smooth batter.
Pour batter on top of pineapple and bake for approximately 35-40 minutes, or until skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Now this next step is important.  
Let the cake cool completely in the tin before you inverted, it will crack otherwise.

Serve on it's own, or with a dollop of coconut ice cream (vegan of course).

Are you all caked out! So am I, so here's a recipe for something a little bit different but still on the sweet tip.

Chocolate and Raspberry Custard Tart
Serves 8


1 cup of mixed raw nuts of your choice (I used almonds and brazil nuts)
6 pitted medjool dates
2 TBS raw cacao powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 TBS shredded coconut

2 cups of unsweetened almond milk
1 cup of water
6 TBS sugar
4 TBS vanilla custard powder
2 TBS raw cacao powder (or more if you want it extra chocolatey)
1 punnet of fresh raspberries (you can use frozen if you can't get fresh ones, just let them defrost first)


In a food processor, add all your crust ingredients except coconut. Process until it resembles crumbs, not too fine, and the mixture holds together when pressed into a ball.
Place mixture into a shallow pie tin and press down, making sure to cover the bottom and up the sides.  It might be a bit wet and stick to your fingers, that's ok, just spread as best you can and then sprinkle coconut on top, this will make it easier to spread and stop it sticking.  Place in fridge.
In a medium saucepan, add all your custard ingredients and use an electric whisk to mix it together well and there's no custard powder lumps left.  Once mixed, place on medium heat and stir continuously until mixture comes to the boil.  Turn heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes.  Mixture will become thick and delicious!
Pour custard mixture into prepared base and cover with plastic film.  Place in refrigerator until set.  About 2-3 hours.  Or you can cheat by putting it in the freezer for the first hour or so to speed things along.  Make sure you don't forget or else it will crystallise and be more of a parfait than a custard.
Once set, arrange your raspberries on top and serve.  Yummy yum yum.

There we have it, cakes and sweets for days!

I hope this satisfies your sweet tooh as my next few posts will be completely different.  I'm keeping away from all things naughty and taking on a clean eating challenge for the month of January.  Well and truly into it right now, so have some delicious and nutritious recipes for y'all.
2013 is all about healthy and clean eating.  I'm so excited, hope you are too.  BRING IT!

Peas, love and mung beans