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Roasted pumpkin, spinach & chickpea salad with halloumi


Left over roast vegetables can make a great base to create a yummy salad for lunch the next day.  One of my favourite roast vegetable is currently pumpkin so whenever I have the oven going I make a some extra to use for the next few days.  I don’t know if it’s pregnancy or just the fact that it’s delicious, but I can seriously chow down on it – lucky it’s so cheap right now!  Believe it or not, pumpkin isn’t as starchy as kumara or potato even though it has the same texture.

This combination of ingredients is a winner, so next time you’ve got the oven going, bake some pumpkin and make this for a yummy weekday lunch idea.    The chickpeas provide a source of protein, fibre and low GI carbohydrate, and the pumpkin and spinach give you two serves of vegetables towards your 5 plus a day.  The halloumi, nuts and currants add some delicious flavour and texture.

Roasted pumpkin, spinach & chickpea salad with halloumi

Serves 2 (can easily be doubled to serve four)

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tin of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups roast pumpkin, cut into bite sized pieces
3 cups baby spinach or spinach, chopped
2 tablespoons slithered almonds
3 tablespoons currants
5 slices of halloumi

Place the drained chickpeas in a small bowl and sprinkle over the oregano, smoked paprika and garlic powder.  Mix well to evenly coat the chickpeas.

Heat olive oil in a fry pan over a medium heat.  Add the chickpeas and pan fry for around 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the chopped pumpkin and stir until the pumpkin is warmed.  Next add the spinach and cook until wilted.  Sprinkle over the almonds and currants.  Place in bowls.

Clean the fry pan then over a medium heat, cook the halloumi slices until golden brown.  Spread evenly between the mixture.

Season with salt and pepper.  Eat and enjoy!



Healthier banana bread with coconut flour


Banana bread is a bit of an all time favourite for me and this healthier banana bread with coconut flour is a winner.  Freshly sliced from the oven, it’s delicious as is, or even better topped with some almond butter and extra sliced banana with a drizzle of honey.  The past few weeks of my pregnancy I’ve been feeling more like sweet foods and so I’ve been doing a bit of experimenting with some more nourishing baking recipes.  This healthy banana bread with coconut flour fits that bill.  It uses higher fibre ingredients and avoids refined carbohydrates.  It’s naturally sweetened with banana and just a little honey. For a while now I’ve been wanting to experiment with coconut flour so I used it in this recipe, along with some wholemeal flour.

Coconut flour is high in fibre and helps make this healthy banana bread nice and moist.    I worked out that per slice, it has less than a teaspoon of added sugars (from the honey), yet it still has a subtle hint of sweetness that makes it delicious.  A good test of if something is really good or not is to run it past the husband.  He enthusiastically said it was ‘nice’ which is a complement coming from him, especially as he has quite the sweet tooth and he’s not afraid to say if he doesn’t like my baking!

This is really easy to make too. I just put all the ingredients into my Vitamix, blended for about 30 seconds and it was mixed and ready to pour into the loaf tin.  You’ve got to love recipes like that!

Healthy Banana Bread with Coconut Flour


1/2 cup coconut flour
3/4 cup wholegrain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2-3 tablespoons honey (3 if you like it sweeter)
3 ripe bananas + 1 extra for the top
1/2 cup unsweetened yoghurt
3 eggs
1/3 cup melted coconut oil or macadamia nut oil
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon


Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius.

Place all ingredients minus one banana and the cinnamon into either a high powered blender (I used my vitamix) or a bowl and mix until fully combined.

Cut the remaining banana into three thin strips and lay on top of the loaf.  Sprinkle with the cinnamon

Pour into a lined loaf tin and bake for 40 -50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle.


















Turmeric spiced vegetable soup

Each weekend the past month, I’ve been making big batches of vegetable soups to enjoy during the week for lunch.  This recipe for turmeric spiced vegetable soup is the perfect way to boost your vegetable intake during winter.  It makes the most of the winter vegetables leek and pumpkin, plus carrots and is flavoured with turmeric, smoked paprika and Morrocan spices. The result?  A nourishing, delicious warming soup that’s great for boosting your nutrient intake.

It’s so easy to grab from the fridge or freezer on the way to work and add a side of toast with toppings for a filling and nourishing lunch.

Turmeric Spiced Vegetable Soup


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed.
1 leek, sliced
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon Moroccan spice mix (ras-el-hanout) I got mine at the supermarket, but you can make it yourself from common spices. Here’s a recipe  If you don’t have it, just leave it out
1/2 crown pumpkin
3 carrots
1L vegetable stock
2 tablespoons pesto
1/4 cup cream (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a fry pan over a medium heat.  Add the the onion and garlic, and fry for 2 minutes.  Add the leek and spices and cook for another 3 minutes.  Set the pan aside while you prepare the rest of the vegetables.

Peel and chop the pumpkin and carrots into similar sized pieces.  Place in a large pot along with the vegetable stock.  Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer.  Add the onion and spice mix from the fry pan.    Cook for around 15-20 minutes (will depend on the size of your vegetable pieces) or until soft.  Add the pesto and cream.  Blend together until smooth.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, top with natural yoghurt, fresh coriander and a sprinkle of turmeric.





Chocolate Chia Banana Bread


When we were kids, one of the cakes mum used to make was a chocolate marble cake, and I loved the way it looked.   I don’t know why, but the idea for a similar concept with banana bread popped into my head randomly the other day when I noticed the over ripe banana stash in my freezer was getting a little out of control (does this happen to anyone else when the weather gets warmer?!).  So I gave another banana bread recipe a make over and created this chocolate chia banana bread. It’s very tasty for a bit of a healthier sweet treat.

It’s quite dense and chocolatey, and super delicious when you bite into a lovely chunk of dark chocolate amongst the bananary goodness. Store in the fridge.  This freezes well too.

Here’s the recipe:

Chocolate Chia Banana Bread

1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups wholegrain oats
1 cup flour (Gluten free, plain, wholemeal, spelt – your choice)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/2 cup coconut
100g dark chocolate, chopped into chunks.
1/2 cup coconut oil (or butter)
1/4 cup stevia or sugar
1 tablespoon honey
3 large ripe bananas, blended
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 to 1/3 cup milk

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line a loaf tin with non stick baking paper
  2. Mix the cocoa,oats, flour, baking powder, chia seeds, stevia/sugar, coconut and half of the chocolate in a bowl and set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil and honey together, stirring well.
  4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the coconut oil/honey mixture, the banana, eggs, milk.
  5. Gently fold together until just combined. Add a little extra milk if required.
  6. Place half of the mixture in a smaller bowl and stir in the cocoa.
  7. Tip the cocoa mixture back into the rest of the banana bread mixture and loosely fold through to create a marbled effect.
  8. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and bake for around 45 minutes or until cooked.  An easy way to check is to insert a skewer in the middle.  It will come out clean once cooked.
  9. Tip the loaf out onto a rack to cool. While still warm, sprinkle the rest of the chocolate over the top, and as it starts to melt, spread over the loaf.
  10. Garnish with a little coconut.


Banana Coconut Chia bars

When I discovered dried bananas made by All Good bananas, I knew I wanted to turn them into a healthier sweet treat.  These are a delicious sweet treat in themselves, but I was sure they’d be great mixed with nuts and other nourishing goodies. Rather than bliss balls, I made these banana coconut chia bars.  They’re really similar to bliss balls but they’re pressed into a bar shape which I quite like for a change.

I used cashews and coconut as the main ingredients for the base, as well as some chia seeds which add extra fibre and some plant based omega 3 fats.   The taste combination of banana, cashews and coconut gives these bars a delicious tropical flavour and there are some small chewy pieces of bananas in the bar which add to their deliciousness.  For an extra treat, you can dip these in chocolate.   Then these bars are kind of like a perky nana, only they’re not based on sugar, they’re based on more nourishing ingredients.

Here’s how to make banana, cashew and coconut bars.


100g dried banana pieces
1 1/4 cup cashew nut pieces
1  cup coconut
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon honey
2.5 tablespoons chia seeds

Dark chocolate, for dipping
Coconut chips

Chop the dried banana into smaller chunks.  Place in a food processor with the cashew nut pieces, coconut, coconut oil and honey.  Blend until the ingredients are well combined into a dough like consistency.  Add the chia seeds and pulse the food processor a few times until they are well mixed.

Press into a small baking dish (mine was approx 18cm by 13cm). Place in the refrigerator and leave for an hour or two to set.  When cool, cut into small bars.  Top with coconut chips, or dip in melted dark chocolate.

Makes 16 small bars.




Super simple no knead seed bread

I love the idea of making my own bread.  It’s the opportunity to use lots of wholesome ingredients without any any of the extras that are found in some store bought breads.  However, the time and effort required has put me off in the past.  Traditional bread making requires the bread to rise in a warm place before cooking, a process that takes time.  It also requires kneading which is a bit of an arm workout.  This version of bread is a cheats version that’s cooked and ready to eat in one hour.

I made this bread in the weekend, which is a modified version from Nadia Lim’s cookbook and it turned out well.  The husband gave it a seal of approval and that’s always a good sign 🙂  I used pumpkin and chia seeds in this, but you could switch it out other seeds.  I also added some psyllium husks to give the bread a bit of extra fibre as I had some at home, but you can leave this out if you don’t have any.

The bread uses mostly wholemeal flour, with a little white. I used less white than in the original. You could use all wholemeal, and I’ll try this in the next recipe 🙂 This bread contains plenty of fibre from the wholemeal flour and the addition of seeds, and is less refined than many on the market.

Here’s the recipe:

No knead seed bread

Makes 1 loaf.  (Double the ingredients for two loaves)

1/2 tablespoon golden syrup
1 cup boiling water
1 cup milk
1/2 tablespoon dried yeast
350g wholemeal spelt flour
100g 00 bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons psyllium husks (optional, adds extra fibre)
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds + extra to sprinkle on top
3 tablespoons chia seeds
2 tablespoons linseeds (or you can add extra chia)


In a bowl, mix the golden syrup, water and milk together.  Sprinkle over the yeast and leave for 5 minutes until the yeast has bubbled and gone frothy.

Combine the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl.  Make a well in the middle and pour in the liquid yeast mixture and mix well.  The mixture  will be sticky and slightly wet looking – don’t worry, it’s supposed to be like this

Oil a loaf tin and pop in the dough mixture.  Sprinkle extra seeds on top if you wish.

Put loaf into a cold oven, then turn the temperature to 50 degrees Celcius.  Leave for half an hour.  This is the quick way to rise the bread.  After half an hour increase the temperature to 200 degrees Celsius and cook for around 30 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Fresh bread does go stale faster than store bought bread, but it’s still fabulous toasted. Alternatively, you can freeze this and slice what you need as you need it.

Plum, Berry and Banana Smoothie

Last week I received a So Good smoothie kit in the mail which included a Magic Bullet and So Good Almond and Coconut milk.  I’ve wanted a Magic Bullet for a while, so naturally I was super keen to try it out.  It lived up to it’s expectations, making a delicious smoothie that crushed through frozen banana, ice and mushed up the spinach to perfection.

I also tried out the So Good Almond and Coconut milk for the first time and that was really nice too.  I’m usually a cow’s milk kind of girl, but I do use Almond milk too, especially on my oats or in smoothies. The coconut was a nice touch and the flavour wasn’t overpowering.

Because our plum tree is overflowing I decided to put some to use in this smoothie.  It turned out delicious. Even the husband enjoyed it and didn’t notice it had spinach in it. That’s always a good sign!


1/2 cup So Good Almond Coconut milk
3 heaped tablespoons Greek yoghurt
3 plums, stone removed1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 frozen banana
1-2 handfuls of baby spinach
1 tablespoon chia seeds
3 ice cubes

Place in blender and blend until smooth.  Enjoy!

Coffee Maple Ice Blocks

A cup of good quality coffee is one of life’s great pleasures in my opinion.  In summer though, this iced version is a delicious alternative.  It’s been so warm that drinking a hot drink has been making me break a sweat!  These ice blocks are a lovely combination of flavours – coffee, cinnamon, and a little dark chocolate and gently sweetened with the delicious flavour of maple syrup. If you don’t have cacao nibs, you can leave them out but they do add a nice crunch.

These grown up coffee maple ice blocks are sure to please – this recipe serves 6.  You could switch out the water for almond milk too for a creamer version.


3 teaspoons instant coffee dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
1 cup cold water
8 tablespoons Greek yoghurt
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 row of Whittakers dark chocolate
2 tablespoons cacao nibs (optional)

Whisk together the coffee, water, yoghurt and cinnamon in a medium bowl until well combined and there are no lumps.  Using a fine grater, grate the chocolate into the bowl.  Add the cacao nibs and mix.

Spoon into ice block moulds and freeze for 8 hours, or overnight.

Zucchini and Corn Fritters

Zucchini and corn fritters are a delicious way to make a plant based meal, and if you grow them, I’m sure you’ll have lots to use at this time of the year.

These fritters are light, fluffy and fresh.  They are perfect for any meal, but for me they are a go to easy dinner idea when I feel like a vegetable packed meal.

Zucchini are a source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and even contain a little magnesium, iron and calcium.

Here’s how to make the zucchini and corn fritters:


3 zucchini, grated (around 1 cup)
1 can of corn (you can use fresh too, just cut the cooked corn off – it would be around 1 1/2 large cobs)
1/2 cup spelt flour (or flour of your choice)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon chilli sauce
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander (optional but nice)
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 eggs, separated
Good quality olive oil

Place the grated zucchini, corn, flour, baking powder, chilli sauce, coriander, salt and pepper and egg yolks in a  medium sized bowl.  Mix until combined.  If the mixture looks too runny, add a bit of extra flour.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.  Fold the egg whites into the zucchini and corn mixture, being careful not to over mix.

Heat olive oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add heaped tablespoons of the mixture into the hot oil, flipping after about 3 minutes.

Place on a paper towel once cooked while waiting for the others to cook.

Serve with sliced avocado and salad; and if you like either a few slices of bacon or a poached egg.