Watermelon Granita



It was super hot the last few weeks here in Melbourne… so I was giving all the ice cream recipes a bit of a whirl…

This one was quite a hit – I am not actually a watermelon fan myself but the rest of the family loves it and this is a pretty yum way to get some hydration happening and feels like the perfect summer treat.  I reckon there are still a few scorchers ahead so give this a whirl with your littlies…


1kg watermelon

1/4 cup caster sugar

Juice of a lime

(this makes enough for a whole family who have invited a few kids over for a play 🙂 )


Cut watermelon into small chunks

Freeze in zip lock bags for about 2 hours

Blend the watermelon in a food processor until smooth

Add sugar and lime and blend again

Transfer to a container and freeze abour 3 hours

Scrape into bowls (this makes it granita like with ‘crystals) and serve.



Poached Nectarines


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The nectarines are so delish at the moment and very plentiful too – my kids LOVE stone fruit and cant really get enough, and I find these poached nectarines go down well for dessert and also with their breakfast…

They keep quite well in the fridge if you make a big batch for the week…

Yum with some vanilla ice cream or yoghurt or custard for dessert and equally good with some bircher muesli or other cereal and a dollop of yoghurt for breakky. Enjoy!

WHAT YOU NEED (this is for a few day supply for the whole fam)

12 nectarines

4 cups cranberry juice and 4 cups water

2 cinnamon sticks

wide ribbons of lemon rind (I use one big lemon)

I dont add sugar, but if you like extra sweetness a couple of tablepoons sugar would add a bit more sweetness and caramelisation


Peel the nectarines – I do this like tomatoes – score a cross on their base, cover with boiling water, leave for about 3 mins, rinse and then peel away skin

Cut nectarines into halves or quarters (i do halves if it is for dessert for adults and quarters for kids or cereal)

Put all other ingredients into a large saucepan

Boil and then simmer (if you add sugar make sure it is dissolved)

Add nectarines and simmer about 5 mins until tender

Remove and cool

Reduce liquid by about half and set aside to cool then pour over nectarines

Serve cool or room temp (stores a few days in fridge)

Chocolate ‘fudge’ balls…


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My husband is still doing the whole of life challenge and, as I thought, he is reasonably hard core about it. So I have been experimenting with some sweet treats that are ‘compliant’ to the no dairy, no wheat, no sugar, no gluten regime… and today I made these little fudgey treats that are rich and very chocolatey… you only need 1 small one to hit the 3pm choc craving hard… and the whole family gave them a big thumbs up… He is away this week so not sure how many will last…. but this one will stay on the repertoire anyway for us all…



About a cup and a half medjool dates

About 2 tsp vanilla

About 3 tablespoons cacao

About 2 tabelspoons maca powder

Shake or 2 of cinnamon

About a cup pecans

Splash water

Coconut for rolling


Put everything except the pecans in the food processor and blend to a paste

Add pecans and pulse until makes a dough and the pecans are crushed to the consistency you like – I like them fairly well crushed

Roll into small balls and roll in coconut

Put in fridge for 30 mins before eating – they store in fridge too




‘Vietnamese’ Fish Salad


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Since I began my half of life challenge one of my go to meals if I am buying lunch at work has been a delicious vietnamese salad with chicken.  It is a bowl of goodness and flavour and really hits the spot in terms of taste.  It reminded me that I have a great fish salad recipe based on a vietnamese salad that would work well over the next few weeks.



500g white fish – perch is good

1 1/2 cups of lime juice

1 large onion

1 tablespoon sugar

pinch salt

1 cup rice vinegar

2 cups mins finely shredded

1 red chilli seeded and chopped

3 tablespoons crushed peanuts

2 tablespoons dried shallots

Shredded lettuce and cabbage

Green apple finely sliced



Cut fish fillets inti thin strips, rinse and dry

Place fish in a dish and cover with the lime juice – for about 30 mins (the acid will ‘cook’ the fish like ceviche)

Peel the onion and cut into very thin strips – place into a deep dish and top with the sugar and salt dissolved in the vinegar (marinate for at least 30 mins, ideally 45)

Remove onion and dry well

When the fish in opaque and tender remove and dry on paper towels

Mix everything together and serve on a platter

(if you arent doing the whole of lide challeneg you may wish to coat with some roasted rice powder and serve with some rice vermicelli or wrapped in rice papers)


I’m back…. happy new year!


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Well – I took a bit of a break there with a crazy hectic time at work and then a gorgeous beach holiday with the family… we’ve been enjoying lots of fresh tomatoes, cherries, berries and BBQs in parks, houses, the beach… and, of course, the forever summer deliciousness of fish and chips and delicious ice creams!

About a week ago my husband embarked on an 8 week ‘whole of life challenge’ and I am doing what I call the ‘half of life challenge’ – meaning I am kinda sorta doing the same thing. This means we are focusing on meals that are sugar free, dairy free, gluten free and low processed. We are doing the intermediate level so we can have brown rice, quinoa and other yummies… so… over the next 8 weeks I’ll be posting loads of recipes and tips that will tick the boxes of the whole of life challengers… hopefully get the kids thumbs up most of the time and all round make you feel good… enjoy!

PS I have noted that loads of my recipes already fit these criteria so if you are keen you may want to look back through the archive (I just made the date balls and rainbow rice (minus the sugar and substituting for soy) today)

Today I’ll treat you to a great salad – brocollini sesame salad – which ticks all these boxes and is a plate full of green deliciousness…


What you need

3 bunches brocollini – trimmed

3 big handfuls snow peas – trimmed

3 big handfuls green beans – trimmed

1 bunch corriander (if you are one of those crazies who doesnt like corriander then skip this)

Sesame seeds – toast in pan (about 3 tablespoons)

3 spoons tahini – big spoons like tablespoons

1/2 tablespoon honey (whole of lifers may want to miss this depending on level!)

splash mirin

splash apple cider vinegar

splash soy/tamari if Gluten free

splash apple cider vinegar

teaspoon minced garlic (optional teaspoon minced ginger)



Blanch veggies in batches for about 2 mins, rinse under cold water and dry vegies

Lay out on a big platter

Scatter corriander and seeds

Mix all other ingredients into a dressing/sauce (you probably will add some warm water)

Serve at room temp – pour sauce over at the end


This is delicious at any BBQ and especially with salmon or chicken


(adapted from a recipe by Ottolenghi)



Yummy pumpkin pasta bake



After I posted the recipe a while back for pumpkin and ricotta lasagne I had a couple of requests for more pumpkin recipes that kids like… I wrote back to many of you with tips like adding cubed and pureed pumpkin to bolognaise sauce (which makes it really sweet) or adding to savoury muffins or frittata.  I also heard from one person who made my easiest ever savoury muffins with mashed pumpkin instead of creamed corn (which sounds like a winner).  Then I just remembered this yummy recipe which I havent made for AGES but which both of my kids loved a while back (so I will reignite this one soon!). Enjoy!


1 onion chopped finely

about 3 cups chopped pumpkin (this is usually 1 big chunk or 2 medium) – I cut into chunks and usually use butternut squash

3 cloves garlic finely chopped

pinch of dried chilli

3 cups vege stock

1 cup thin cream

1 1/2 cups grated cheddar

2 cups fresh breadcrumbs (just put some stale bread in your food processor)

grated lemon zest from 1 lemon

300g macaroni or similar small shapes


Heat some olie oil in a frypan and add onion and garlic and stir until onion softens slightly

Add pumpkin and dried chilli and stir then add half the stock and cook for about 5 mins until the pumpkin slightly softens

Stir in pasta, cream and the rest of the stock – I sometimes add some rosemary too

Season and then simmer on low heat for about 10 mins until the pasta and the pumpkin are tender

Process breadcrumbs, lemon zest and a handful parsley if you have it, plus half the cheese in the food processor to make fine crumbs

Add some olive oil – a big splash and combine

Stir the rest of the cheese into the pasta mix then put this into a baking dish

Scatter the crumbs over and bake for 15 mins until golden at 200C

Baked sausages with cherry tomatoes



It is pretty much BBQ time here and so my kiddies seem to be eating a lot of sausages cooked to perfection on many a barbie…. but I also know that many of the readers of this blog are in the northern hemisphere (hello!) so thought I’d share this recipe with you – all the yummy flavours that remind you of summer in a one pan baked dish perfect for winter. Wherever you are I hope you enjoy! x


8-12 beef sausages

a few cloves garlic sliced (I use about 1/2 per sausage)

1-2 spanish onions cut in wedges or 4 eschallots if you can get them cut in quarters

500g cherry tomatoes – cut in half (this is about 2 punnets) – even better if you can get mixed colours

few biog splashes balsamic (about 1/4 cup all up)


Toss everything except the balasmic and tomatoes together and bake in a big dish for about 15 minutes at 180C (the sausages will be kind of golden)

Add tomatoes and balsamic and toss everthing together – bake another 15 mins – tomatoes will soften and sausages will be cooked through


Yummy with a green salad and some crusty bread.


Meal Planning: I’ll give it a shot!


So this is another busy week ahead for us, although neither of us are travelling this week 🙂

I had a nice time at the market yesterday so have lots of yummy produce ready to cook…

I’m only planning a couple of dinners – we will each be out for at least one work meal and the others we will see how we go.

The kids chose their dinners and went for all the kiddie faves this week – spag bol, homemade pizzas, baked risotto and schnitzels (so why do I try to dream up creative recipes you may ask!!) so hubby and I will be having a delicious mushroom pasta (which big son can take for lunch the next day), baked pesto salmon and vegies and teriyaki chicken salad. YUM!

What’s on your plan for this week?



Banana bread

There are very few foods that I just can’t stand – but bananas are my all time pet hate. Can’t stand there smell of them, the texture of them or anything about them other than their health benefits. I defined the unconditional lover felt for my kids as babies by my desire to mash bananas and feed them to them – all that banana smell, mess and general banana handling would not be possible without a parent’s love!

that said, there are always bananas in our fruit bowl and my kids both love them.

The one thing more “offensive” to me than a regular banana is a banana skin left in my car or in a bin and a close second to that is the smell of a banana that’s close to the end of its useful life. Well, the warm weather played havoc with about 6 bananas in my fruit bowl so last night, whilst preparing for a business trip, I made a couple of loaves of banana bread. I always make a couple of loaves and keep one in the freezer as my family love it but I ain’t doing the mashing for one measly loaf. So the quantities below make 2 loaves. enjoy!


4 bananas – mashed with some cinnamon

80g butter – melted

80ml rice bran oil

1 cup brown sugar

4 eggs

2 cups self raising flour

2 cups plain flour

2 tsp vanilla


– beat oil, butter, sugar and vanilla together until light

– beat in each egg seperately

– mix in batches banana and flours

– pour into 2 loaf pans greased and lined with paper – I leave paper hanging over edges and fold over top of batter

– bake at 180 for 70 mins – make sure the paper covers for first 45 mins only



“Fish Fingers”


My kids love fish – one of our quickest meals is flat head in crumbs and pan fried – done in about 5 mins.

They LOVE these fish fingers…. A lot healthier than bought fish fingers (which they also LOVE!)


4 fish fillets  cut into fingers – sole goes well

1 cup breadcrumbs

A teaspoon each of oregano, garlic and sea salt

1 cup milk


Mix dry ingredients

Dip fish into milk then the crumb mix

Lay onto a prepared baking sheet (liked with paper)

Spray with olive oil spray on both sides

Cook at 200C for about 8 mins, then grill for about 2 mins to brown (if you cant make your oven grill them just bake for another 2-3 mins)

Serve with lemon and tartare

This is also yummy with parmesan in the crumbs