Tempeh sandwich with coriander pesto


Hand made, unpasterised tempeh is the bomb! If you can find it locally made, you are dam lucky. Tempeh is such a great healthy food, adding nutrients and substance to your diet. Soybeans have equal amounts of protein, gram for gram as animal protein and it’s full of vitamins, minerals and fibre.

This has been my default lunch for many, many years.  In this quick lunch or dinner, the tempeh provides much of the nutrients, and with healthy fresh salad ingredients and coriander pesto, it’s tasty and good for you!
Try my hummus recipes, peanut satay recipe or babaganoush (eggplant dip) for other delicious flavours.
Makes = 4 sandwiches
1 pkt tempeh, cut into 4 flat slabs
a little coconut oil, tamari & balsamic vinegar for pan-frying
1 medium beetroot, grated
1 medium carrot, grated
1 large cucumber, peeled, thinly sliced
Lettuce leaves of your choice
Slices of your favourite bread
season with salt, pepper & lemon or lime juice, *optional
Coriander pesto
1 bunch large coriander
1 cup olive oil
1 small garlic
½ tsp good salt
½ cup cashews (or macadamia’s)
Coriander pesto
Place the coriander, olive oil, garlic & salt into a blender or food processor and blitz for 30 seconds or until combined.
Add the cashews and roughly blend, keeping a little texture in the nuts.

Place in a clean jar and keep the leftovers in the fridge for toast with avocado & sprouts, roasted vegetable quinoa salad with baby spinach, or stir through steamed veggies & rice or steamed veggies with noodles (add lime juice & toasted sesame oil too).

Pan-fry the tempeh
Pan-fry the tempeh in a little coconut oil, tamari and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Sear until golden and a little crispy on both sides.

To assemble:
Toast your bread (unless you like it fresh), drizzle with olive oil and spread with the coriander pesto. I like to layer my salad ingredients first but do it however you like it. Sometimes, I season the salad part with salt & pepper and a twist of lemon or lime juice.
Then put the tempeh on the top of the salad and add the top layer of bread. EAT!

If you are trying to cut down on bread, have an open sandwich!

Rawsome chocolate crackles


Divine, delightful, these sweet treats evoked memories of childhood birthday party but are totally good for you! Chocolate crackles were my favourite treat at a birthday party, I remember I would scan the birthday table for chocolate crackles and my eyes would light up if I spotted them!

These have the flavor and the crunchy rice bubble-like texture that ‘normal’ chocolate crackles have, so try them out on your kids. That is your ‘big’ kids or little ones both will love them!
So simple to make, just put all the dry ingredients in a bowl, combine the wet ingredients and mix together! Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until set. Yep, it’s that simple!
Makes = 18 small
1 cup dehydrated buckwheat*
½ cup cacao powder
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 tsp vanilla powder
¼ tsp good salt
½ cup cacao butter, shaved & melted
½ coconut oil, melted
½ cup agave syrup
Mix together all the dried ingredients.
Add the shaved cacao butter to a stainless steal bowl and place over a saucepan of boiling water. Reduce the heat to low (or turn off) to slowly melt the cacao butter but not destroy all the raw nutrients and goodness.
Once melted, add the coconut oil and allow the heat to melt it too. Then mix together the wet ingredients and add to the dry ingredients. Combine thoroughly and spoon into little patty pans and chill for 30 minutes or until set. Store in an airtight container for up to a week or more….if they last that long!

* You can buy dehydrated buckwheat through two fabulous companies either Loving Earth or 2Die4Nuts. So you don’t need a dehydrator to make this recipe!

Barley, kale & carrot soup


With the fire lit and the curtains drawn, I’m ready for a bowl of hot soup and some oily sourdough toast. It’s that time of year. Warming soup are so satisfying and fulfilling and very nutritious.

Check out this barley soup, it’s so cleansing & nourishing. Barley just feels great on your body. If it’s not something you tend to cook, I highly recommend giving it a go and experience the heart-i-ness that barley gives.

I discovered barley when I lived in Brighton, England about 16 years ago. I lived on soups over there, warm, hearty soups. We had a soup on the menu every day
at Food for friends, a restaurant I cooked at in the late 90’s. The Brits love barley and I can see why. There’s something so comforting about the chewy texture of barley and it’s so versatile. I found you can add it to almost any soup (maybe not Asian flavoured soups?) and it adds body and substance.

Barley is a good source of manganese, dietary fiber, selenium and a good source of copper. It’s also high in vitamin B1, chromium, phosphorus, magnesium and niacin. It’s excellent for a healthy colon and digestive system, helps to lower cholesterol and is good for your heart!

I’m pulling out all my old soup recipes and playing around with some new ones. I forget how much I love soups but this winter it’s sure to be a staple in my house. Cheap and cheerful comes to mind…

Makes 4 bowls
½ cup barley, soaked overnight
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
1 long stick celery (with a few leaves), thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 tb dried Italian herbs
¼ ts cracked pepper
1 ½ tb good salt
1/8 cup olive oil
½ cup parsley, roughly chopped
1 cup kale, roughly chopped
1¼ lt filtered water
2 medium potatoes, diced

Cook barley in half litre of filtered water for 30-40 minutes or until it becomes soft and ’swollen’. Place aside.

Put the potato, dried herbs, onion, garlic & pepper in a saucepan with 1¼ litres of filtered water. Bring to the boil and reduce heat to a simmer for approximately 15 minutes.

Add carrots, barley, and half the parsley, and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Add kale, rest of the parsley, salt and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Turn off the heat and add the olive oil and stir.

Serve with warm sourdough toast or crusty fresh bread.

Gluten free banana & walnut muffins


The beginning of winter saw me craving cooked cakes. Maybe after having so many raw desserts for so long, I finally wanted the soft, spongy texture of fluffy cooked cake. I wanted a good vegan cake but they can be so hard to find.
Then I found myself in Lismore after a day at the Protestor/Protector’s camp at Bentley against Coal Seam gas-fields and went looking for vegan cake! In at Goanna Bakery (Lismore) I found some divine
cakes. I bought all 3 gluten free vegan cakes available and of course shared them with Caspar. Finally got that cake fix! The cakes were so lovely, I was inspired to go home and cook the perfect gluten free, vegan cake.
 I think these are fool proof. Just be sure to get a good quality gluten free flour and you can’t go wrong.
Makes 16 small muffins
1 ½ cups almond meal (approximately 1 cup of whole almonds, ground into fine almond meal)
1 ½ cups gluten-free flour (get a quality one from the health food shop)
½ cup desiccated coconut
2 tbs aluminium free baking powder
1 cup coconut sugar
2-3 medium banana’s, chopped
½ tsp nutmeg powder
100ml macadamia or almond oil
300ml – ½ water and ½ soya milk
* ¼ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
Mix dry ingredients together.
Then add the wet ingredients (except banana’s) and gently beat until combined.
Add the banana (& walnuts) and hand mix them through the batter.
Line a muffin tray with paper pattie pans. Spoon mixture into pattie pans and ¾ fill them.
Garnish with chopped nuts, shredded coconut or seeds if you wish.

Place in an oven at 180C for 10-15 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack and eat!

Adzuki Bean Burger

One of my all time favourite lunches is a burger.  It combines all my favourite things, salad, bread & whatever tasty fried or baked treat going with it. You must have a good hummus, or chutney or pesto to go with it to make it complete.
This is my latest burger with the adzuki bean patties and boy are they good. They keep for 4-5 days easy, so they are great to make at the beginning of the week to enjoy for your lunches.
Chinese herbal medicine considers adzuki’s to be the most “yang” or warming, of all beans, and consequently, good for imparting strength. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, adzuki’s are said to support kidney, bladder and reproductive function.
Like many other beans, adzuki’s are a good source of magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese and B vitamins. Also of note is  adzuki beans are known to be ‘the weight loss’ bean, since they are so low in calories and fat, yet high in nutrition. They are relatively easy to digest, so they are not as gassy as some beans!

For a nutritious lunch you can’t go wrong!

Makes = 8x 130gms
2 cups adzuki beans, cooked (approximately 1 cup soaked over night)
1 cup sweet potato, chopped, then roast or boil
½ cup fresh parsley or coriander, finely shredded
1 tbs coriander powder
½ medium purple onion, finely diced
4 tb sesame seeds
4 tbs tamari (wheat free soya sauce)
1 tbs good salt
2 tbs olive oil
Rinse adzuki beans and cook the beans in fresh filtered water until soft. This takes approximately 25 -30 minutes.
Strain and cool under running water and set aside.
While adzuki beans are cooking, roast or gently boil sweet potato. Place aside to cool.
Saute diced onion until soft, add coriander powder, sesame seeds and sauté for 1 minute. Then add half the chopped parsley and sauté for a further 30 seconds or so.

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly combined.

Form into patties and place in a warm to hot frying pan.
Cook until golden brown on both sides.
Assemble with your favourite salad ingredients and a bread roll. In this I used grated beetroot, sunflower sprouts, lettuce & coriander pesto.

Rawsome Caramel Salted Fudge

When I was a kid and was given some money to go and buy some lollies or had ‘earned’ 20c (wow!) for doing some chores, I would very often reach for anything caramel.
Caramel swirls, the golden yellowy buttons which cost 2c each were always my favorites as a little girl. I would often spend my whole 20c on those and would suck away on them, one at a time, making them last and smiling away contentedly to myself.
I also had a soft spot for Caramelo Bears in those days too. Those little koala’s filled with soft stringy caramel that dripped down onto your chin and were coated in chocolate!
As my taste matured I then fell in love with those chewy jaw aching Chocolate Ecclairs filled with soft caramel. The other favs of the day were those Caramel Chews, in the pink & blue shiny wrappers, again chewy work out on your jaw!
It’s hard to describe what it is about caramel that is so alluring. Whether it’s the buttery vanilla flavor, the soft textures or just the fact that it’s not as intense as chocolate in that rich, sweet but bitter chocolate way?
I’ve always had a soft spot for caramel.
Caramel fudge was the most special treat for me, with its soft buttery texture and vanilla caramel flavor that just melted in your mouth….little did I know what was in it!
Here I have tried to recreate it but as something healthy and vegan (so without the usual sugar and butter). This caramel salted fudge hits the spot when it comes to texture and flavor and knowing they’re made of organic raw nuts (with superfoods too) I feel good about eating it and so does my body, as there is no intense sugar rush.
I wonder, for all you caramel freaks out there, if you’ll agree with me, that it hits the spot and satisfies the taste buds and childhood memories?
So this one is for all you vegan caramel lovers; enjoy!
Makes = 24 pieces
1 cup macadamia nuts (or cashews)
1 cup dates
½ cup coconut nectar (agave syrup will do)
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla powder/paste (or 1x vanilla bean scrapped)
1 tbs lucuma (superfood)
2 tbs mesquite (super food)
50gm cacao butter
¼ cup coconut oil
3 cups desiccated coconut
½ tsp good salt
Pink Himalayan salt (or other good quality salt)
Process the desiccated coconut in a food processor for 5-8 minutes or until the coconut begins to turn into butter. 
Add the macadamia nuts and process for 20-30 seconds or until it have been fully ground into a fine meal (no lumps). 
Add all the dates and process until they have all been broken down and combined with the nut & coconut mixture.
Add remaining ingredients and blend until it forms a ball.
Place filling in a lined slice tin (approximately 15cm x 25cm) and smooth over the top of the fudge with a crank spatula or using a sheet of baking paper over the top then smooth over with your hands. Try to get the top, especially the corners as even as possible. Leave baking paper on the slice over night.
Peel back baking paper and garnish the slice with a scattering good quality salt.

Roast sweet potato & snow pea salad

 Getting stuck in a food rut is just an opportunity to discover something new! We all need inspiration and fresh ideas from time to time. Food doesn’t have to be complex or fancy for it to be good, especially our day to day dinners and lunches. Just something different than our usual dishes we have come to prepare out of habit and ease.
Changing combination and following the seasons can really help to expand our repertoire. We’ve been getting huge sweet potatoes lately and fresh snow peas & green beans so this salad is perfect for this autumn time of the year. Fresh dill can make such a wonderful addition to any salad or soup. It’s strong so use a small amount until you fall in love with the complex grassy flavours.
This can be served as a salad in it’s own right or with baked tempeh, other salads, or your favorite risotto.
 Makes =  approximately 4 serves
4x medium sweet potatoes, roughly chopped into chunks
250gm green beans, topped
250gm snow peas, topped
½ bunch fresh dill, roughly chopped
½ cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
¼ cup lemon juice
½ cup olive oil
1 tsp good salt or to taste
cracked pepper to taste
a splash balsamic vinegar
 Place the chopped sweet potato on a flat baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown at 190C.
Remove and allow to cool slightly before serving.
This salad can be served warm or cold.
Blanch the snow peas and green beans in boiling water for 30 seconds or until bright green and still crunchy.
Cool in cold water to retain the colour and stop the cooking process or tossed with sweet potato and fresh dill and dressing and serve immediately.

Shake all the ingredients in a jar and dress the salad when ready to serve and eat!

Rawsome Perfect dates

Begged borrowed and stolen! This is where most of our recipes come from. It’s hard to be truly original and not be inspired by something you’ve seen or tasted sometime before in the memory bank of our mind and taste buds.
The inspiration for this little treat came from Lani, someone I worked with for many years in a little juice bar in Mullumbimby, Australia. This was her answer during the single years of a girl’s life! Snuggling up on a comfy couch, with a romantic comedy on your laptop and a
hot cup of herbal tea or hot chocolate with a small plate of perfect dates! This was the answer to those lonely nights!
There are no drama’s with one of these perfect dates, nothing to worry about before your date. No hours of dressing up and getting ready – your perfect date is happy for you to be comfortable in whatever you feel like wearing. No build up of nerves and worry to freak you out in the days leading up to a date, the perfect date is happy for you to simply be yourself.  No listening to boring conversations about what he does for a living, your perfect date is fine with no talking at all and he just exists for you alone!  No need to worry if he likes you or not because this little date likes you for who you are. And definitely do not worry about if he’s ‘the one’ because the perfect date just is, and you can rest in that fact that this date is here for you and is perfect in his own right. Take your time, savour each moment with your perfect date for he lives just in the moment and will carry you away into dreamland and pure bliss, existing for you and you alone…
The original ones where made with 70% dark organic chocolate but I like these with this raw chocolate as it makes the whole thing good for you, I promise!

To make:
10x fresh Californian dates (1x per person, maybe two…)
½ cups raw macadamia nuts
Raw chocolate
½ cup cacao powder
¼ cup cacao butter, shaved
¼ cup raw agave syrup
1 tsp vanilla powder or scrap the seeds of a pod
½ tsp salt
Optional: 1 tsp of any or all of the following: lucuma powder, macca powder, or mesquite powder for a healthier nutritious super food treat.
To garnish
Cacao nibs & strawberries
To make raw chocolate
Melt the shaved cacao butter in a stainless steal over hot water. Do not place bowl directly on the hot water as it may destroy all the raw nutrients in the cacao butter, if heated directly.
Hand whisk or place in a food processor the rest of the ingredients (including the melted cacao butter) and whisk or blend until smooth and velvety.
To assemble
Split dates down the middle (but not totally in half) and remove the pitt. Then place 2-3 macadamia nuts in the body of the date.

Drizzle the chocolate over the top and garnish with cacao nibs.
Place in fridge to set. Allow an hour. Garnish with fresh strawberries if you wish! Sit down to a passionate romantic comedy and enjoy eat date, one mouthful at a time!

***Photo’s by Caspar Brace, my beloved…

Tomato and parsley soup shots

The world of raw soups has been a relatively recent discovery for me in my journey of creating wonderful food. Although this tomato and basil soup could vaguely be compared to the famous gaspacho soup; it was this cold classic Spanish soup that I first tried about 12 years ago. Caspar’s mum Maggie, served it to me, and because I trusted her cooking abilities, I gave it a try. She didn’t put bread in it, as it often says to in the traditional Spanish recipes so it really was a raw soup! I think it was this early introduction that allowed raw soups to slip under my suspiciousradar rather
smoothly. In those early days I’ve given every ‘cold’ (often raw) soup I’ve come across a try. About 8 years ago I began to experiment with raw soups and discovered I really liked them!

The vitality and freshness that you feel after a raw soup is a revelation. They are quick to make – throw everything into a blender and whizz until smooth, taste, and season to your liking!
Try a couple of ice cubes in the warmer months. For the cooler months, use boiling water to warm the soup, this keeps it raw and vital but warming for the tummy and your insides. 

Makes = approximately 4 small bowls or 30 shots 
4-5x medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/4 bunch flat leaf parsley leaves,  (try any of the fresh herbs)
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 spring onion finely sliced or 1/2 small salad onion
¼ cup lemon juice
½ cup olive oil
1 tsp good salt or to taste
cracked pepper to taste
1 tsp mixed italian herbs
2 cups water (warm or cold)
1x small clove garlic, finely minced
a splash balsamic vinegar
Garnish : flat leaf parsley leaves.
Optional * 1 tsp savory yeast flakes.
Option: For a special party, add a shot or two of vodka and a dash of tabasco sauce to spice it up!
Throw everything into the blender and wiz until smooth. Taste and season as you see fit. Depending on the flavor of the tomatoes as well as volume, you may like to adjust seasoning.
Serve with fresh bread, raw crackers or follow with a salad of your choice for a complete lunch meal.

Chocolate, rosewater & berry trifle

“The word “trifle” comes from the old French term “trufle,” and literally means something whimsical or of little consequence”. Isn’t that so French! How could a trifle be of little consequence? Try telling that to your dessert hungry friends as you serve the last spoonful of trifle!
If you’re a sweet tooth like me, dessert is everything. It’s the perfect end to a meal, the icing on the cake if you will indulge me in a little pun! Not every night but
occasionally a little something sweet is needed and definitely when I have guests for dinner or lunch!
 I’m always exploring and creating new desserts to add to my repetoire and I have a thing about re-creating old classics into vegan friendly dishes. I guess I’m still trying to prove to the non-trusting folk that vegan food isn’t boring if you know how to cook and have a bit of imagination!
Classic trifles consist of a fruity component, some sort of custard, cream and jelly and a drizzle of alcohol (where I came from anyway!) and some sort of sponge cake. So I love twisting it and turning these ol’ classics into something a little different, something unusual. Trifle has endless variations to play with. You can alter the flavor of the sponge, the custard, the fruits of course and the different alcohols if you so desire.
I went out on a limb with the recipe – quite different from the old classic. But I think it all works, it all comes together with a rich chocolaty, berry rosewatery kind of a way and with the softness of the coconut custard to tone it all down.
This recipe is in the local Byron Bay – A food journey through the region by Nelly le Comte & Remy Tancred. We are on page 108!
It’s a great Summer dessert but of course can be eaten all year round. You can interchange the Summer fruits for whatever combination is in season, and whatever you think will work with the chocolate sponge.
Don’t be overwhelmed by the length of this recipes, you just make a small sponge cake, make a custard in 5 minutes and add some fruits & shaved chocolate. Keep it simple in the mind and you won’t be sorry!
I hope you enjoy…

Makes 6 tumbler glasses
Gluten free, vegan chocolate sponge cake
1 cups almond meal
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1 cups G/F self raising flour
1.5 cups coconut sugar
150ml macadamia oil
400ml ½ water and ½ soya milk – or milk of your choice
6 tsp gluten free baking powder
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla paste
1 tsp salt
Mixed together all the dry ingredients.
Make a well in the centre and place in it the vanilla paste, macadamia oil & balsamic
vinegar. Hand mix these ingredients into the flour.
Then add the milk/water combination slowly as you gently beat the liquids
into a batter.
Pour into a lined flat tray about an inch or so deep. Be careful not to over fill, leave some room for the sponge cake to rise!
Bake at 180C for 10-15 minutes or until the chocolate sponge has risen and you can stick a skewer into the centre and it comes out clean. Only do this if you know the cake is pretty much cooked. I often test the side first because if they are not cooked, neither will the centre be either.
Remove and cool on a cake wire rack

Chocolate Rosewater sauce
½ cup agave
½ cup raw cacao powder
½ cup H2O
2 tsp vanilla
2-4 tbs rosewater (as much as you like the taste)
Whisk the above ingredients into a thin-ish paste. As it sits, it will thicken.
For best results make the night before whenever possible and chill.
Coconut lime custard
1 litre Coconut cream
2x Lime zest & juice of one
¼ cup light agave syrup
2 tsp vanilla
½ tsp Good salt
2 tbs Arrow root powder (thickener)
1tsp Agar agar (setting agent)
Bring the coconut cream to a gentle boil (just under boiling) then add lime zest & juice, agave, vanilla, salt and stir.
Then mix agar agar & arrow root powder together in a mug, add a little water and mix into a running paste.
Stir in the agar agar mix slowly so it dissipates evenly.  Continue to stir and dissolve the agar agar (it’s a white seaweed) for about 3 minutes.
Place in the fridge to cool and set.
Fruit layers
1 punnet (100gm) blueberries
1 punnet (150gm) strawberries, sliced into quarters
Add a few berries per layer and lots on the top!
½ cup macadamia nut, roughly chopped
70% organic dark chocolate, shaved
I like to put a little sprinkle of each of these between each layer as well as lots on the top!
Assembling the trifle
Place a little drizzle of chocolate rosewater sauce on the bottom of the glass, then a little coconut custard.
Break off some cake and place that in the glass then more custard and chocolate and some of the berries.
Repeat until you reach the final layer. I like to finish with lots of berries, chocolate shavings and macadamia nuts on the top.

Can be made the day before but I like to eat them on the day I ha