Acai Bowls

Acai bowl

Acai bowls are all the rage at the moment. I for one didn’t really get it the hype around them. I mean I love smoothies, but why do you need to make a smoothie that can only be eaten out of a bowl? After making a few myself though, I realized that eating them this way is what makes them special. It makes you really focus on the flavours when you’re having it a spoonful at a time, rather than slurping it up through a straw. Plus, the toppings add so much texture and extra flavour that you just can’t get from a normal smoothie. And so, the skeptic was converted.

Not only do they taste delicious, they are ridiculously aesthetically pleasing thanks to meticulously arranged fruit and seeds on top. I think that is the main attraction of making these bowls to be honest. You can add whatever toppings you like; honey, bee pollen, goji berries – whatever you think is Instagram-worthy really. Plus, they are full of acai, which is a modern day superfood hailing from Brazil. In Brazil, you can buy them fresh in their berry form, but here in Oz we have to use the powder, which is just as delicious. They are a rich source of antioxidants and fibre and help keep you fuller for longer, which is exactly what you want from your breakfast. Deee-licious!

Acai Bowls

Serves 2


  • 2 tablespoons acai powder
  • 2 bananas, chopped roughly (use frozen banana slices if you have time)
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 ½ teaspoons nut butter (I used peanut)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
  • 1 cup almond milk

For topping:

  • Strawberries
  • Bananas
  • Chia seeds
  • Granola
  • Coconut flakes

Place the acai powder, bananas, raspberries, nut butter and honey in a high-powered blender. Blend until creamy, then gradually add the almond milk until you get a smooth but thick consistency. You want it to be a bit thicker than a smoothie. Pour into bowls and arrange with toppings. Serve immediately.

Prawn, Coconut, Finger Lime and Vermicelli Salad


I spotted finger limes in the grocer the other day and I knew I had to make something with them. I tried them recently for the first time and they are the most amazing little citrus delights. They’re a native Australian fruit with a hard shell and once you open it up it reveals these gorgeous little shiny balls, often referred to as lime caviar. Once you bite into the balls they burst into a tangy, limey explosion. You probably won’t find them at your local supermarket but they are getting more and more popular. I found them at my local Norton St Grocer but I’m sure if you asked your local grocer they might have them or would be able to source them for you.


I decided to pair them with a Thai inspired salad with lots of fresh zingy flavours. The flavour base for the dressing comes from grinding down the ginger, garlic and chilli into a paste, which gives the dressing a really good flavour hit. Don’t worry though, I’ve added some coconut milk as well, which tones it down it bit and makes sure the raw ginger and garlic aren’t too much. The addition of the lime juice, vermicelli and fresh herbs really brings the salad to life and while your eating, and bursting through one of the finger limes it really is a taste sensation. And how can you forget the sweet, succulent prawns! This is a perfect summer lunch or light dinner and you can whip it up in under 30 minutes. Enjoy!


Prawn, Coconut, Finger Lime and Vermicelli Salad

Serves 6


  • 1.5 kg cooked prawns, peeled and de-veined
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1cm piece ginger, roughly chopped
  • ½ long green chilli
  • 1 small red Birdseye chilli
  • 2tbs lime juice
  • 2tbs fish sauce
  • 1tbs soy sauce
  • ½ tsp sesame oil
  • 2 ½ tbs grated palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 2 cucumbers, halved lengthways and chopped
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips, you can use a vegetable spiraliser
  • Seeds of two finger limes
  • 200g vermicelli rice noodles
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 1 cup coriander leaves


  1. Place the garlic, ginger, and both chillies in a mortar and pestle and grind the ingredients down into a paste. Add the lime juice, fish sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar and mix until the sugar dissolves. Add the cucumber to the sauce mix and let it marinate for about 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, place the noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water and then cover the bowl for 5 minutes. Drain the noodles into a colander and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the cucumber sauce mix and coconut milk with the noodles, carrots, finger limes and herbs. Divide the noodle salad into bowls, top with the prawns and garnish with some more mint coriander and chilli and serve.

Coconut Panna Cotta with Passionfruit Jelly, Caramelised Mango and White Chocolate Mousse


Summer is almost upon us and that means it’s time for barbeques, salads and long days at the beach. I should know, because as I write this post I am looking rather red from spending rather too much time in the sun. Tut tut. Because the days are warm, we want food that is fresh and light, and while desserts are usually decadent affairs, that does not mean we have to miss out. I know that must be a sigh of relief for all you sugar fiends out there – myself included.

One of my favourite summer desserts is panna cotta, which essentially translates to ‘cooked cream’. I remember first eating his dessert while on holidays with my family in Italy in a tiny little town just outside Florence. It was at a small traditional restaurant and the panna cotta was heavenly – it was smooth and creamy but oh so light and melted on your tongue. We had spent the day sightseeing in the heat, so to end the day eating this chilled creamy vanilla goodness topped with fresh berries was perfect.


The variation I have made here is a coconut infused cream – make sure you toast the shredded coconut yourself first and try to give it the full hour for the flavours to envelop the cream mixture as it really makes a difference to the end result. I wanted to make this dessert scream summer so I’ve given it a tropical hit with the caramelized mango and passion fruit jelly – with just a hint of pure sugary sweetness from the white chocolate mousse. The flavours work sublimely together it really makes you feel like you’re on holidays in some far away exotic location. While each of the elements is a little time consuming as there is quite a bit of chilling required, they are not all that hard, so please don’t be put off.

Give this a go for your next barbie, or when you want to impress your friends at a dinner party and let me know how you go!


Coconut Panna Cotta with Passionfruit Jelly, Caramelised Mango and White Chocolate Mousse

Serves 6

Coconut Panna Cotta

  • 140 gm shredded coconut
  • 400 ml milk
  • 400ml pouring cream
  • Thinly peeled rind of 1 lime
  • 110 gm (1/2 cup) raw caster sugar
  • 4 titanium-strength gelatine leaves, softened in cold water for 3-5 minutes
  • 150 ml coconut cream
  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Spread coconut over an oven tray and toast until golden (4-5 minutes). Transfer to a large saucepan, add milk, cream and rind, and bring to the boil over medium-high heat, then remove from heat and stand to infuse (1 hour).
  2. Bring coconut mixture back to the simmer over medium-high heat, add sugar and stir to dissolve. Squeeze excess water from gelatine, add to coconut mixture, stir to dissolve, then strain into a bowl through a coarse sieve (press on solids to extract all liquid; discard solids). Stir in coconut cream, then pour into six 1 cup-capacity jelly moulds or one 1 litre cake tin and refrigerate until set (overnight).
  3. To serve, dip the moulds in hot water, then gently pull edges of jelly away from sides with your fingertip (this helps break the vacuum and release the jelly). Place a plate on top, invert mould and plate, then remove mould.


Passionfruit Jelly

  • 375 ml (1½ cups) passionfruit juice
  • 150 ml freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 200 gm white sugar
  • 6½ gelatine leaves, softened in cold water
  1. Combine juices, sugar and 1 cup water in a saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves, then pass through a muslin-lined sieve. Warm ½ cup juice mixture in a saucepan over medium heat, squeeze excess water from gelatine, add to pan and stir until gelatine dissolves, then add remaining juice mixture. Cool slightly and pour into six 1 cup-capacity glasses and refrigerate for 4 hours or until set. Once set, cut jelly into small cubes.

Note: To make passionfruit juice, blend passionfruit pulp in a food processor to crack seeds, then strain through a fine sieve. Twelve passionfruit yield about 1 cup of juice.


White Chocolate Mousse

  1. 3 egg whites
  2. 200g good quality white chocolate
  3. ½ cup caster sugar
  4. 1 egg yolk
  • Melt the white chocolate over a bain-marie until smooth. Remove from heat.
  • Whisk egg white in the bowl of an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar to egg whites. Keep beating until sugar has dissolved and the egg whites are stiff.
  • Gently fold through white chocolate mixture and egg yolk until the mixture has incorporated.
  • Place bowl in fridge and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.


Caramelised Mango

2 mangoes, flesh sliced into thin pieces

½ cup brown sugar

25 g butter

  • Heat a medium sized frypan over a medium heat. Place the sugar into the plan and leave to heat for about 30 seconds, then add the butter in small knobs around the pan. Mix the butter and sugar together until it forms a caramel paste. Add in the mango and coat it in the sugar mix. Take the mango off the heat and place on a plate after about 30 seconds.

To serve 

  • 3 passion fruit
  • Toasted coconut flakes
  • Handful mint leaves
  1. Arrange the de-molded panna cottas onto plates. Place a few pieces of the caramelized mango around the panna cottas. Scatter some jelly cubes over the mango. Using a piping bag, pipe little mounds of the mousse into the gaps between the mango and jelly. Place toasted coconut flakes into the white chocolate mounds – use the mousse as a glue to stick the coconut into. Garnish each of the six plates with mint leaves and the pulp of half a passion fruit. Serve immediately.

Coconut Celebration Cake with Pomegranate Mascarpone Icing


I was having a look at my blog the other day and realized it had been a year since I started, so I thought I’d make a little celebration cake to mark the occassion! While I would love a bit more time to devote to it, I love the outlet it provides me to share my recipes with other foodies. It keeps me inventing new recipes and forces me to take risks in the kitchen, which is a lot of fun. So, thanks to everyone who comes by and checks it out.


To celebrate, I decided to make one of my all time favourite cakes, a super moist coconut cake that I’ve loved ever since I was little. It’s a Woman’s Weekly classic that uses sour cream to ensure the cake’s moist texture and make sure it isn’t overly sweet. While I love this cake as is, I decided to take it up a notch and add a delicious pomegranate mascarpone icing to really add that oomph! The icing is tangy and complements the cake perfectly. To top it off, I thought the cake needed a bit of texture, so I added some toasted coconut that I just baked in the oven at 220°C for about 6 minutes. And to add some colour, I finished it with some freeze dried raspberries and pomegranate arils. And I have to say, it was incredible. I don’t like to boast to much but flavours and textures in the cake are so delicious, every plate in the house was licked clean. I hope you like it as much as I did!

coconut cake copy

Coconut Celebration Cake with Pomegranate Mascarpone Icing

Coconut Cake

  • 250g butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 2 cup caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ¼ cup desiccated coconut
  • 3 cups self-raising flour
  • 500g sour cream
  • 2/3 cup milk

Pomegranate Mascarpone Icing

  • 250g cream cheese
  • 125g mascarpone
  • 3/8 cup sugar
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • ½ tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbs pomegranate molasses


  • ½ cup toasted coconut flakes
  • Arils of ½ a pomegranate
  • ½ cup freeze dried raspberries


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Grease two deep 22cm-round cake pans; line base with baking paper.
  2. Beat butter, essence and sugar in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
  3. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Stir in half the coconut and half the sifted flour, half the sour cream and half the milk, then add remaining coconut, flour, sour cream and milk; stir until smooth.
  4. Divide the mixture into the two pans; bake for about 50 minutes or until cooked when tested. Stand cake in pan for 10 minutes before turning onto wire rack, top-side up, to cool.
  5. Meanwhile, while the cake is baking, start on the icing. In a large bowl beat cream cheese, mascarpone, and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy.
Add egg, beat well.
Add vanilla, lemon juice, and pomegranate molasses and mix until combined.
  6. To assemble the cake: place one of the cakes on a board or cake stand. Using a large spoon, place half the icing mixture into the middle of the cake. You don’t want to spread it all the way to the edge as once you place the second cake on top the weight will push the icing to the side. Place second cake on top and dollop the rest of the icing on top and spread evenly. Sprinkle with the toasted coconut, pomegranate arils and freeze dried raspberries and serve.

Bircher Porridge with Berry Compote


In the land of Westeros ‘winter is coming’, but here in Sydney it appears that winter has well and truly arrived. The rain has been tumbling down for over a week now and the temperature has dropped. It’s time to get the jeans and coats back out of the cupboard as it looks like they’re going to be on high rotation for the next few months. While, I’m a summer baby and love nothing more than spending the entire day soaking up the rays at the beach I have to admit there is something rather nice about being inside and cozy, and being able to watch the rain trickle (or cascade) down outside. The only trouble with cold weather is that it makes it that much harder to get out of bed. But with the promise of something warm and sweet, such as this bircher porridge, beckoning you from your snug bed, it might not be quite as hard. This breakfast is simple, quick, but most of all – comforting!


Bircher Porridge with Berry Compote 

Serves 1


  • ½ cup bircher muesli
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon honey or rice malt syrup
  • 4 strawberries, chopped
  • handful raspberries
  • handful blueberries
  • handful flaked coconut
  • small handful natural walnuts


  1. Place the bircher muesli, almond milk and half the honey in saucepan and place over a medium-high heat. Stir occasionally until it comes to the boil. Once it comes to the bowl, continue to stir continuously until the porridge reaches your desired consistency and take off heat.
  2. At the same time you are making the porridge place the berries and ½ cup water in a saucepan over a high eat. Stir occasionally, allowing the berries to disintegrate and form a sauce with the water. Keep stirring until the berry sauce starts to thicken.
  3. Pour porridge into a bowl, top with berry compote. Sprinkle with coconut and walnuts and drizzle with remaining honey and serve immediately.

Poached Chicken Sambal and Coconut Salad


I’m a bit obsessed with sambal oelek at the moment. The spicy yet still slightly sweet sauce seems to go with a multitude of dishes, with this simple fresh chicken salad being one of them. The combination of chilli, shrimp paste, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, sugar, lime juice amongst others gives this dish the punchy kick it needs to make it a recipe you’ll want to add to weekly repertoire.



Poached Chicken Sambal and Coconut Salad


  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • ½ yellow capsicum, diced
  • 2 sprigs shallot, chopped
  • ¾ cup coconut flakes
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • ½ cup mint, chopped
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped
  • 400g chicken breast
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 2-3 tbs sambal oelek (adjust to your preference)


  1. Pour chicken stock into a medium sized saucepan over a high heat. Bring to the boil. Place chicken into saucepan and reduce hit to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes. Remove chicken from poaching liquid and allow to cool.
  2. Use your hands to shred the chicken. Place shredded chicken into a bowl and stir through the sambal oelek. Add the remaining ingredients and mix together. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.


Sunny Sunday Brunch


outdoor closeup copy

The first day of spring is upon us today and the weather gods certainly worked their magic. Not only have we entered the season of balmy nights and days spent frolicking on the beach, but today was also Father’s Day here in Australia and I couldn’t have picked a more beautiful day for it if I tried. To celebrate I decided to make dad a brunch that we could enjoy at home in the sunshine. I wanted to make it rather nice, as as you know my sister has just left for America, and so he was one daughter down.

strawberry tart

strawberry tart extreme close up

To celebrate strawberries being in season I decided to make a tarte aux fraises (strawberry tart) to showcase the berries in all their shining glory.  This recipe is better made a day ahead as you need to give the pastry time to rest in the fridge. However, if you are using store bought pastry you can easily begin on the day. This tart is filled with a frangipane filling which is a French term meaning a thick almond custard. This type of custard is different to a crème anglaise because it has a little flour added to the recipe, which means it can be boiled on the stove and thus thickened. It is creamy and oozing, and works superbly well with the fresh, sweet strawberries. Each element is very easy to make, it just requires a little patience on the part of the chef, but it is well worth it because it turns out to be quite the showstopper.

muffin close up


I also made berry, rhubarb and coconut muffins, rustic chicken and herbed mayo finger sandwiches and a zucchini, mushroom and bacon frittata. I may have made slightly too much for three people (!?) but that didn’t seem to stop us from chowing down.  It was all delicious as I know from my fourth and fifth helpings, and it was a lovely change from going out to get breakfast at a café. It was a lot more tranquil, less noisy, less frantic and overall more enjoyable. That is not to say I don’t love a good café brunch but on a day that is supposed to be about celebrating your dad there is no better way to say thank you than with homemade goodies, and by focusing your attention on him instead of being distracted by good looking café patrons! I mean, he deserves it every now and again…don’t you think?


chicken fingers close up


Tarte aux fraises

Adapted from ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ by Julia Child.


  •  2 punnets strawberries, cut in half lengthways
  • 1 cup raspberry jam

For the tart shell (22-23cm tart tin):

  • 1 1/3 cups spelt flour
  • 4 tbs caster/white sugar
  • 105g chilled unsalted butter, chopped
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tsp water
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • * You can use store bought sweet shortcrust pastry if you don’t have time to prepare your own.

For the Frangipane (almond custard filling):

  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 cups boiling milk
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 ½ tbs vanilla extract
  • ½ cup almond meal

To make the tart shell:

  1. Place the flour, sugar, butter, and baking powder in the mixing bowl. Rub the butter and dry ingredients together with your fingertips until the butter has broken down into bits the size of oatmeal flakes.
  2. Blend in the egg and vanilla and quickly knead the dough with the heel of your hands.
  3. Form the dough into a ball and place onto a board sprinkled with some flour and using the heel of your hand again rapidly press the ball down with the heel of your hand and smear the dough along the board. Form back into a ball and repeat half a dozen times. Form back into a ball again and wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for several hours to chill. If you are in a hurry you can place the dough in the freezer for 20 minutes then move to fridge to quicken up the process but it may mean the dough will be slightly tougher.
  4. Once the dough is chilled, place it between two floured sheets of baking paper and roll it out until it is thin. Then, gently life the sheet of dough and mold into t he tin.
  5. Blind bake the tart at 200°C by placing a sheet of baking paper over the uncooked tart shell and filling it with baking weights or uncooked rice. This will help to prevent the sides from falling down. Bake for 5-6 minutes or until the dough is set. Then remove the rice and baking paper, prick the pastry shell with a fork and bake for another 8-10 minutes until it is lightly browned. Remove immediately from the mold and leave to cool.

To make the almond custard filling:

  1. Using electric beaters on a medium speed gradually beat the sugar into the egg yolks and continue beating for 2-3 minutes until the mixture is pale and forms ribbons.
  2. Beat in the flour. Continue to beat the mixture and gradually the pour the boiling milk in a thin stream into the egg mixture.
  3. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and set over a medium to high heat. Stir the pot with a whisk, ensuring that you reach all parts of the saucepan otherwise the mixture will stick and burn. When it starts to boil, lower the heat and continue to beat it for 2-3 minutes (this will get rid of any lumps that may have formed).
  4. Remove from the heat and beat in the butter and then the almond meal. If you are not using the custard straight away, clean off the sides of the pan and dot it with softened butter to prevent a skin from forming on the top. This custard keeps for a week in the fridge.

To assemble the cake:

  1. Boil the jelly in a small saucepan over a low-medium heat until it thickens and becomes sticky. Using a pastry brush, use half the jam and paint the interior of the tart shell with a thin glaze. This will waterproof the shell in a sense and make sure no custard escapes. Reserve the rest of the jam for glazing the strawberries.
  2.  Spread the frangipane filling into the tart shell and smooth it out with the back of a spoon.
  3. Arrange the strawberries on top creating a ring on the outer layer of the tart and moving your way inwards so you make a repeated strawberry circle pattern. Use the rest of the jam to glaze the top of the strawberries and serve.

Berry, rhubarb and coconut muffins


  • 1 bunch rhubarb, cut into 1 cm pieces
  • 5 strawberries diced
  • 75g raspberries
  • 2 ½ cupsself-rasing flour
  • 90g butter chopped
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup desiccated coconut + 2 tbs extra to garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C . Place muffin cases in 12-hole muffin pan.
  2. Place chopped rhubarb into a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 25-30 minutes. Take out of oven and leave to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, sift flour into large bowl, rub in butter with fingers. Add sugar, buttermilk, egg, desiccated coconut,  cooked rhubarb, strawberries and raspberries, and mix until just combined. Spoon mixture into muffin cases; sprinkle with extra coconut.
  4. Bake at 200°C for 20 minutes or until set. Stand muffins in pan 5 minutes then place on wire rack to cool.

Rustic chicken finger sandwiches:


  • 2 large cooked chicken breast fillets, shredded
  • ½ cup whole egg mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • ½ tbs chopped chives
  • ½ tbs chopped dill
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to season
  • ½ loaf sourdough, thinly slice and chopped in half


  1. Combine chicken, mayonnaise, herbs, and lemon juice in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spread filling onto slices of bread and top with remaining slices. Serve immediately.

Zucchini, mushroom and bacon frittata


  • 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 diced onion
  • 4 rashers chopped bacon
  • 115g sliced mushroom
  • 2 zucchinis, grated
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 srpigs thyme (leaves only)
  • ½ cup grated parmesan
  • ¾ cup flour
  • olive oil


  1.  Preheat oven to 200°C. Grease and line a 15cm square baking tin.
  2. Heat a pan over a medium heat with some olive oil.
  3. Add garlic, onion and bacon and stir until bacon is cooked through and onion is soft.
  4. Add mushrooms to pan and let them soften.
  5. Add zucchini to pan and let it warm through slightly.
  6. Remove from heat.
  7. Mix together eggs, thyme, parmesan, flour. Add in ingredients from pan to egg mixture and combine.
  8. Pour into tin and bake for 40-45 minutes.