Sunday, 27 October 2013

Make Peace with your plate - book review

There is a great blog out there called The Wellness Warrior by Jess Ainscough and it's all about healthy eating and lifestyle. I've been following for a few months now and just recently Jess released her first book. "Make Peace with Your Plate - Change your life one meal at a time".

I ordered it almost straight away from Bookworld and devoured every page when it arrived. I thought I'd share with you today my thoughts about it. 

Jess Ainscough use to be quite the party girl until at the age of 22 when she was diagnosed with a rare incurable cancer and was told the only way to prolong her life was to amputate her arm. That was not an option for Jess so she set about learning all she could about natural treatments. In this book she share her knowledge and contagious enthusiasm for healthy living - not just with food but with mindset too. 

I love how she describes this book in the introduction: "Achieving your ideal weight is a major part of it, but only because it's a superficial side effect of getting your insides in tiptop shape. My message is about wellness: whole body, complete, total, feel-so-good-you-feel-like-you're-leaving-a-trail-of-rainbow-sparkles-wherever-you-go wellness."

I love that, it's not about weight, yes that's part of getting healthy but it's about getting your insides right and the rest of you will shine. I know how much you need to do that, being wheat/dairy/sugar intolerant (yes I can still eat a little bit now and then and I don't let it stop me from baking) but since I've change most of my diet earlier this year I can tell you it works, you feel so great, your skin clears up, you sleep better, you don't spend most nights in the bathroom almost passing out from pain. 

Being a Wellness Warrior takes dedication and work but the benefits outweigh the negatives. The only negative really is that other want to be that healthy too so they pick on you to build themselves up, but that's nothing compared to the benefits of feeling so great and healthy.  

Jess suggests to read this book with an open mind and that not everything is for everyone (I'm not going to try the coffee enigmas) but we need to get back to a simpler concept of eating - go back to Mother Nature and stop eating so many chemical and fake foods. 

There are some delicious recipes inside - including a great chocolate milkshake and choc-goji brownies. I love the section entitled "All in your head" it's about going beyond our plates and getting into the heart of our eating habits, where so often it's our mindset and attitude that affects our health. It's filled with wonderful ideas and affirmations, getting it right in the head so you can get it right in the body.  

If you only read one book this year make it this one, it's a real life changer. 

(Note: This is not a sponsored/affiliate post I just love Jess' blog and really enjoyed the book and wanted to share it with you)

(A month of food: No. 5 Book)  

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Recipe - Hummingbird Cake

On Thursday it was one of my brother's 33rd birthday, I asked him what type of cake would he like - Hummingbird Cake was the answer.

I've never eaten Hummingbird Cake before let alone made it, so it was a nice challenge to be had.

It turned out pretty good for a first attempt and my brother was very happy and quite impressed (it takes a lot to impress him - so that's a good sign). The only thing was on Thursday it was quite a hot day so the cake didn't cool very well and end up a bit sticky when trying to frost up later. The frosting was so awesome you could just eat it all by itself.


For Cake:

  • 125g chopped pecan nuts
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 110g can crushed pineapple (I used fresh pineapple as I had some on hand)
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 225ml sunflower oil 
For Frosting:
  • 375g cream cheese
  • 250g butter, softened
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest, finely grated (I used lemon juice as I didn't have lemon zest)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
To Decorate
  • 3 tbsp chopped pecans (I toasted these ones too)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line the bases of two cake tins
  2. Put the pecans onto a baking tray and toast them in the oven for 5 - 8 mins
  3. Mix them in a small bowl with the bananas, pineapple and 55g flour, which helps prevent the fruit and nuts sinking to the bottom. 
  4. Sift the remaining flour, spices, bicarb and salt into a mixing bowl. 
  5. In another bowl, whisk eggs and sugar until they are thick, pale and creamy. Then whisk in oil, little by little. 
  6. Tip in the flour mixture and fold it in until the mixture is blended. Fold in the pecan mixture and then divide the thick batter between the tins. 
  7.  Bake for 50 - 55 mins until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool for 25 mins and then turn out onto wire racks to finish cooling.
  8. For the frosting, beat the cream cheese until it's fluffy, then beat in the butter until nicely combined. Sift in the icing sugar and beat until smooth, stir in lemon zest and vanilla extract and whisk until light and fluffy.
  9. Place one layer on a serving plate and spread over some of the icing. Place second cake onto and smooth icing all over the top and sides. Decorate with the chopped pecans.

(A Month of Food: No 16. Family and No. 19 Serve) 

Friday, 18 October 2013

Andre Rieu Concert

Wednesday night I got to spend a magical evening with my parents listening to some beautiful music.

I've never been to an Andre Rieu concert before and I know I'll be going again and again, every time he comes back I'll be there.

There is so much talent in this world and it was amazing to bare witness to that on Wednesday night.

If you ever get the chance to go to an Andre Rieu concert, take it the chance and witness an amazing night.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Bubblegum Ice-cream

Yes I know it sounds strange but stay with me on this one. I found this recipe for bubblegum ice-cream from Simple Savvy Recipes (link here).

A girl at work mentioned to me the other day she loves bubblegum ice-cream and I thought why not, give something different a go, life meant to be about taking chances right? Well this one paid off, well not overly with the addition of gumballs but you can pick them out.

Colouring the ice-cream blue did it give a bit more a child-like feeling and it does taste better than store bought, but I find most homemade things taste nicer than store bought.

This ice-cream maker has been an excellent addition to the family (it was a great birthday present one year from MJ – I think it was a hint for me to make ice-cream for him). It’s not an expensive one but it’s hardworking and has created some yummy treats – strawberry, blueberry, English toffee ice-cream. Now that summer has hit early it will be coming out more often. So stay tuned for more creative recipes. Plus too if you have any suggestions or recipe you would like me to test drive out let me know in the comments below and I’ll gladly take up the challenge. 

Bubble Gum Ice Cream

  • 3 egg yolks
  •  ¾ cup sugar
  • 1½ cups whipping (35%) cream
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 135 grams pink Bubble gum (such as Hubba Bubba), chopped into ½” pieces
  •  ½ cup mini gumballs, chopped or left whole 
  1. In a bowl, whisk egg yolks with sugar until thickened and pale yellow and set aside
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, bring cream and milk to a simmer.
  3. Remove from heat and add chopped bubble gum. Let stand for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Pour cream mixture through a cheese cloth lined strainer/sieve to collect any bubble gum bits (draining cream mixture into a bowl). Gradually whisk in egg mixture.
  5. Return entire mixture to the saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Be careful not to let it boil. Let the mixture cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until completely cold.
  6. Stir cream mixture and transfer to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Add mini gumballs in the last 5 minutes of freezing, letting machine stir them in.

 (A month of food – No 10 Treat – Awesome treat food) 

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Recipe - Bubblegum Cupcakes

Yesterday I tried a new little experiment – Bubblegum Cupcakes with Bubblegum Frosting.

I used my trusty vanilla cupcake recipe but instead of putting vanilla extract in the batter I used Bubblegum Essence. For the frosting I did my normal buttercream mix and added bubblegum essence again, plus some bright pink colour to make it look more bubblegummy. They turned out surprisingly well and very tasty.

Cupcake Recipe


·         125g margarine
·         125g caster sugar
·         ½ tsp bubblegum essence
·         2 large eggs
·         125g self-raising flour

Preheat the oven to 170oC. Cream the margarine, sugar and bubblegum essence until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs together in a small bowl with a fork. Gradually add the egg to the mixture, beating it well in between each addition. Sift the flour and fold into the mixture. Fill cupcake cases 2/3 full. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes. Remove cupcakes from oven and leave to cool before frosting.

Buttercream Frosting Recipe

·         125g butter (softened to room temp)
·         1 ½ cups of icing sugar
·         A few drops of bubblegum essence
·         Pink food colouring
Beat butter with electric mixer until light and fluffy and as white as possible. Add icing sugar and a bubblegum essence and mix until all combined.

(A month of food – No. 7 – Party – These would make great party cakes)

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Recipe - Dairy Free/Wheat Free Cheesecake - yes it is possible

It was my 1st bloggy birthday the other day (see here) and I wanted to make something special for the occasion. You see I have a dairy and wheat intolerance, I can eat some dairy/wheat but just not a lot only small amounts. I still cook lots of yummy things with both dairy and wheat but I do try and balance it out. Anyway I found this recipe for Lactose Free Cheesecake on and I just altered it a little by using wheat free/dairy free arrowroot biscuits.

I was so impressed with how it turned out, you wouldn't know it was dairy free, it tasted so creamy and divine. Plus pairing it with coconut milk ice-cream - wow!!!! that's all I can say.

Recipe (found here) I've re-worded a little to what I did.


  • 2 tubs soy cream cheese
  • 1 tub non-dairy sour cream
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 pkt arrowroot biscuits 
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons dairy free butter, melted 

For the crust: 
Preheat the oven to 180C. In a food processor combine the arrowroot biscuits and sugar. Add melted dairy free butter and mix until mixture is completely moist. Pour this mixture into a round cake pan (the one with the release on the side) and press crumbs onto the bottom. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes and set aside.  
For the filling:
Combine all ingredients into a saucepan and stir over a low heat for 5 minutes until mixture comes together and thickens (I used a whisk to help bring it together). Carefully pour onto the crust and bake at 180C for 30 minutes. 
Chill the cheesecake in the fridge and serve cold. 

What I used

Mixing up the crust

Crust after the 8 -10 mintues

Getting the filling ready 

It does thicken and come together - I used a whisk to help

Ready for the oven 

Baked and cooling before going into the fridge

End result