Lavender Lemonade

Lavender Lemonade

I have been wanting to share this recipe for Lavender Lemonade with you guys for such a long time! I made it earlier this year but I didn’t manage to take any photos – disaster! It’s the perfect drink for spring, so the timing worked out perfectly. It is a super lovely mocktail – floral, sweet and tart… but it is also very delicious with a shot of gin or vodka, if you’re so inclined! 

Although edible flowers have been all the rage for the last few years, lavender is the OG. I won’t lie, I do love edible flowers – big fan of violet and chamomile. Lavender has been used for cooking, bathing, herbal medicine and aromatherapy for over 2500 years! It is said to help with insomnia, and pain relief. I’m personally interested in lavender’s effect on anxiety and promoting a sense of relaxation and calm!

Lavender Lemonade

I used to really dislike the smell of lavender. It just reminded me of old lady perfume and was often really overpowering. It took me a few years of baking with it to really appreciate it, and learn that a little goes a looooong way. Now I love the floral taste, and diffusing lavender essential oil at night puts me straight to sleep.

Culinary lavender can be used in so many ways – to infuse sugar, milk or cream for cakes, ice creams and panna cotta. If you want to mix it into a batter or dough, it can also be ground. I have a great roundup of ideas here on this post.

Lavender Lemonade

You should be able to find culinary grade lavender at gourmet food shops or tea and spice shops, or online. It also goes great with flavours like lemon, honey or herbs like rosemary, thyme and oregano in a blend called Herbes de Provence.

But let’s get back to my Lavender Lemonade. I made a lavender infused simple syrup, which turned a beautiful natural purple-blush colour. It’s so pretty. What is a simple syrup, you ask? A 1:1 ratio of sugar and water, heated until the sugar dissolves and the syrup has slightly thickened. You can infuse the syrup with anything you like – in this case lavender – and then strain out the blossoms.

Lavender Lemonade

The simple syrup is combined with freshly squeezed lemon juice and topped up with soda water (also homemade in our new Soda Stream!). This is such a lovely refreshing and calming drink. It is just perfect for the warmer weather. My housemate K has become a huge fan! We always have lemons in the fruit bowl and the syrup lasts for weeks in the fridge, so this drink is easy to throw together. I have already had requests to make a second batch of lavender syrup. This will definitely be our fave spring drink!

The recipe below makes 2 servings but you can easily double it to serve in a pitcher for a crowd. It would be perfect for any kind of spring or summer gathering (with or without booze!).

Related Post: Boozy Lemonade

Lavender Lemonade

Lavender Lemonade

Lavender Lemonade is the perfect drink for any spring party! A homemade lavender simple syrup is delicious and refreshing with fresh lemon juice and soda.

Course Drinks
Keyword Cocktails, Drinks, Spring
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

Lavender Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2-3 tablespoons culinary grade lavender

Lavender Lemonade

  • 4 lemons, juiced
  • 1 shot gin or vodka, optional
  • Sparkling water
  • Ice Cubes
  • Lemon slices, to serve

Instructions

  1. To make the simple syrup, place sugar, water and lavender into a saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Lower the heat and boil until slightly thickened and syrupy. Cool to room temperature, which allows the lavender to infuse into the syrup. Strain out the lavender and store in an airtight bottle. You can make this in advance and keep it in the fridge.
  2. To make the lavender lemonade, add the squeezed lemon juice to a tall glass. Add the gin or vodka (if using) plus lavender simple syrup to taste then top up with ice cubes and sparkling water. Garnish with lemon slice.

Dutch Baby Pancake with Chamomile Infused Honey

Dutch Baby Pancake with Chamomile Infused Honey

I’m a big fan of easy, portable breakfast ideas that you can prep ahead of time and take on the go. I run my own business, and most days are busy. I’m either running out to a photo shoot, eating at my desk or skipping breakfast entirely. That’s why I love a weekend brunch – the chance to take things more slowly in the morning. It feels like a special occasion, rather than just a normal day.

Dutch Baby Pancake with Chamomile Infused Honey

Whether I am meeting friends at a cute café or drinking my first cup of coffee while whisking pancake batter, it’s always something I appreciate. Add a chill Spotify playlist or an inspiring podcast in the background and you have lazy morning perfection.

I love a Dutch Baby Pancake, because it couldn’t be simpler to make!

Dutch Baby Pancake with Chamomile Infused Honey

You’ve probably got all the ingredients in your fridge and pantry already! You can either whisk all the ingredients together or throw them into the blender. Instead of frying up pancakes one by one, the mixture is baked until it’s golden brown and puffs up dramatically in the oven. Remember, my coffee hasn’t kicked in yet so pancakes with half the effort are all good in my book! The only really important thing is to have a cast iron skillet or a good pan that can go from stove to oven.

Dutch Baby Pancake with Chamomile Infused Honey

In the past I’ve made a version with Chai Poached Pears and Caramel, which has more autumn or winter vibes. But I wanted to mention it here since I know many of my readers are in the northern hemisphere. This might be exactly what you’re craving right now!

I like to think of one this as my spring edition of the Dutch Baby Pancake. It’s topped with new season berries, delicious fresh passionfruit and edible flowers, just because they’re super pretty. There’s also a big dollop of whipped mascarpone cream and a chamomile infused honey syrup generously drizzled over top. The sweetness and subtle floral taste complements the flavours perfectly.

Dutch Baby Pancake with Chamomile Infused Honey

I made two smaller Dutch Babies in individual skillets but you could of course use a regular 10 inch (25cm) large one. Just keep an eye of it and add a few extra minutes to the baking time if needed. You will know when it’s ready because it turns golden brown and the sides puff up beautifully in the oven! It’s truly a sight to behold. You’ll want to serve it quickly for the full impact.

I loved the original recipe from A Beautiful Mess and kept the recipe virtually the same as I made before. This time I used 3 eggs instead of 4 and almond milk instead of regular. You can also substitute a gluten free or whole-wheat flour.

Dutch Baby Pancake with Chamomile Infused Honey

Of course, once you’ve got the Dutch Baby Pancake recipe down (it’s super easy) you can use any fruit on top. If you like, you could even cook the berries into the pancake itself for double whammy jammy berry goodness! Thinly sliced apples, pears or peaches would work too. Ooh I’m giving myself ideas for next time!

Related Post: Raspberry & Ricotta Baked French Toast

Dutch Baby Pancake with Chamomile Infused Honey

Dutch Baby Pancake with Chamomile Infused Honey

A Dutch Baby Pancake is the perfect recipe for weekend brunch at home – it comes together easily and quickly, cooking in the oven instead of standing at the stove flipping pancakes!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

Chamomile Infused Honey

  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup fresh or dried chamomile flowers, or 1 chamomile tea bag

Dutch Baby Pancake

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup plain flour
  • 2/3 cup almond milk

Whipped Mascarpone

  • 150 g mascarpone cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tablespoon chamomile-infused honey

Toppings

  • Strawberries, sliced
  • Blueberries
  • Passionfruit, halved
  • Edible flowers, optional

Instructions

  1. To make the chamomile infused honey syrup, heat the honey in a small saucepan until small bubbles form and add the flowers or tea. Allow to steep for 5-10 minutes.
  2. To make the dutch baby pancakes, preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Place a tablespoon of butter into two small cast iron skillets (or other oven safe panand place them in the oven while it heats up, melting the butter.
  3. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the eggs and milk, whisk to combine. Add in the other ingredients and stir until no lumps remain in the batter. Once your oven is preheated remove the hot pans and give them a shake to evenly distribute the butter (if needed). Divide the batter in half and pour into each pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
  4. To make the whipped mascarpone, whisk together the mascarpone, vanilla and honey (to tastin a small bowl until soft peaks form.
  5. Serve with the dutch baby pancakes with strawberries, blueberries, passionfruit, a dollop of whipped mascarpone, edible flowers (optionaand a drizzle of chamomile honey syrup.

Strawberry and Thyme Galette Tart

Strawberry and Thyme Galette Tart

They say September is the new January and I’d have to agree. Here in the southern hemisphere, we’re going into spring not fall, and our “back to school” happens in February… but I definitely feel a rush of inspiration and motivation at this time of year. The longer days seem filled with potential for a fresh start after a long winter. The first warm days after winter put me in such a great mood.

I’m on the lookout for jacaranda flowers and the first whiff of jasmine in the air. I love seeing the first berries and peaches of the season, and the tiny little buds on our hydrangeas. I want to go out and buy myself a bunch of flowers, just because. We made it through another winter, that’s reason enough for me!

Strawberry and Thyme Galette Tart

I know it’s still early in the season but I’ve been buying strawberries for a few weeks now and they’re absolutely beautiful. Plump, sweet and bursting with flavour. I’ve put them on top of my oatmeal, into smoothies, and snacked on them just as they are. I wanted to make a dessert with them as soon as possible – something that really allowed them to shine.

This Strawberry and Thyme Galette is the best way to use all those spring strawberries!

Strawberry and Thyme Galette Tart

I’ve been pairing fruit and herbs for years and there’s something special about the combination of strawberries and thyme. It may sound unusual but the flavours really work. I feel like it might just be my next homemade jam flavour too – stay tuned!

And for something a little different, a little freshly ground pink peppercorn in the mix too. The flavour is warm, tangy and has a slight touch of sweetness and fruitiness. If you can’t find it, don’t worry, I’ve written it as optional in the recipe below. You can use another flavouring – maybe lavender or rose, or just let the strawberries and thyme have their moment in the spotlight.

Strawberry and Thyme Galette Tart

Don’t worry about pie tins or lattice patterns – this simple galette is very rustic, but I think it’s beautiful. It’s the easiest kind of pie or tart you can make. Especially with a few extra thyme leaves on top and a big scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. That’s a non-negotiable here. I love ANY warm fruit dessert with ice cream.

It all comes together super easily! The pastry is easy to make in a food processor and can be made a day or two in advance. Then there’s just a little stirring, rolling, folding, brushing and baking. Go and read the recipe below for the full details, but what I’m saying is that it’s pretty darn simple.

Strawberry and Thyme Galette Tart

You’ll know it’s ready when your kitchen smells amazing, the pastry is golden brown and the strawberries are juicy and bubbling.

If you make this Strawberry and Thyme Galette, be sure give this recipe a rating and tag me on Instagram. I love seeing when you guys try my recipes, it seriously makes my day!

Related Post: Fig Crumble Tart with Honey Whipped Ricotta

Strawberry and Thyme Galette Tart

Strawberry and Thyme Galette Tart

A super easy and delicious dessert to showcase beautiful spring strawberries – Strawberry and Thyme Galette Tart! Don't forget the ice cream.

Course Dessert
Keyword Pies & Tarts, Spring, Summer
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Resting time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6 people

Ingredients

Pastry

  • 2 cups plain (all purpose) flour
  • 3 teaspoons caster sugar
  • 150 g unsalted butter, cold
  • 4 tablespoons iced water

Filling

  • 400 g strawberries, sliced (I did a mixture of quartered and sliced horizontally)
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon pink peppercorns, crushed (optional)
  • 1-2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, picked
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Raw sugar, for scattering
  • Icing sugar and vanilla ice cream, to serve
  • Extra fresh thyme, to serve

Instructions

  1. To make the pastry, place flour, caster sugar and butter in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. With the motor running, add the iced water and process until the mixture starts to form a dough. Knead lightly on a floured work surface until dough just holds together. Flatten into a disc and wrap plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

  2. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).
  3. In a large bowl, place the sliced strawberries, cornflour, vanilla, thyme, pepper (if usinand honey and stir to combine.
  4. Roll out the pastry to 3mm thick round shape. Spoon the strawberries into an even layer, leaving around 8cm border around the outside of all sides. Fold in the sides of the pastry, brush with egg and scatter raw sugar. Bake for 20-30 minutes until pastry is golden and strawberries are bubbling.

  5. Serve in thick slices dusted with icing sugar, extra thyme leaves and big scoops of vanilla ice cream.

Beetroot Hummus with Homemade Seeded Crackers

Beetroot Hummus with Homemade Seeded Crackers

If there’s two things I know I will always have the ingredients on hand to make, it’s spaghetti cacio e pepe, which is my #1 comfort food dish… and hummus. It’s incredible to me the way that a handful of basic ingredients can come together to create magic – butter, sugar, eggs and flour and hey, you have cake. Or in this case a few things thrown into the food processor can create a dreamy dip.

A can of chickpeas. Lemon. Garlic. Olive oil. Tahini. Salt. That’s literally it. We always have these ingredients on hand. If you’ve never tried making hummus at home, it’s sooo different to it’s store-bought counterpart – and in my opionion, way better. I don’t think I can ever go back to buying it from the supermarket!

Beetroot Hummus with Homemade Seeded Crackers

Tahini is a sesame seed paste that you can buy at any supermarket now. It has become a staple in recent years and we always have it in the pantry. I will often use it in salad dressings and this spicy pork noodle dish is one of our favourites. I made it a few days ago! Tahini is even a popular ingredient to add to desserts like brownies or cookies as a nut-free substitute for peanut butter. 

Today I am adding one more ingredient to my hummus recipe. I think you can tell just by looking at the photos.

Beetroot!

I found in-season beetroot at the markets for 99c a kilo so you bet I had to pick some up. I just roasted it with some olive oil and then cooled it before adding it to my hummus. You can also pick up pre-cooked peeled beetroot at the supermarket these days which is a massive time saver. 

And what to eat with our beautiful homemade hummus? The options are endless. You can use it as a bed for slow cooked lamb as I’ve done before. Perhaps in a nourish bowl like the photo above. Hummus is a great base for your favourite roasted vegetables, source of protein (chicken or haloumi are delicious) and sauteed kale. You could even throw a poached egg on top and have a fancy cafe-style breakfast!

Or, since you’re already making things from scratch, you could try homemade seeded crackers too! I’ve experimented with a few cracker recipes over the years with varying levels of success. I like a crunchy, rustic cracker that you can crack apart into irregular shapes. This recipe came from Real Food Projects and was incredibly easy to make. The basic recipe is four ingredients and a rolling pin.

Beetroot Hummus with Homemade Seeded Crackers

It’s impossible to overwork the dough and they were surprisingly quick and easy to make. The recipe produced a crisp, paper thin cracker, which is great but I think next time I will actually roll them a little thicker so they are better for dipping.

When you make things yourself, you can experiment and customise, which is definitely my favourite part. Try different brands of tahini in your hummus until you find one that is perfect. Change the texture by adding more or less of the reserved chickpea water or lemon juice.

Maybe try using different flours in the homemade crackers (a whole wheat or rye flour would be fantastic) and you can add any toppings you like! I used white and black sesame seeds and fennel seeds, but you could also use any kind of salt, poppy seeds, dried herbs, spices (give them a quick roast in a frying pan for extra flavour!) or even a sprinkling of grated cheese. Delicious!

Beetroot Hummus with Homemade Seeded Crackers

Beetroot Hummus with Homemade Seeded Crackers

This delicious snack is so easy to make from scratch with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry – Beetroot Hummus with Homemade Seeded Crackers.

Course Snack
Keyword Healthy Recipes, Snack
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 10

Ingredients

Beetroot Hummus

  • 300 g beetroot, roasted and cooled
  • 2 cans chickpeas
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Salt, to taste

Homemade Seeded Crackers

  • 150 g plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 60 ml 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (I used a combination of white and black)
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds

Instructions

  1. To make the hummus, drain the chickpeas and reserve the liquid. This is called Aquafaba and can be used for many other recipes or as a vegan egg white substitute!
  2. Add the beetroots to a food processor and blitz until it starts to break down into smaller pieces. Add the chickpeas, garlic, tahini, olive oil and lemon juice to the food processor and blitz again. Scrape down the sides, add a little salt and 2 tablespoons of reserved aquafaba.
  3. Blitz again until the hummus starts to turn smooth. Taste for seasoning and add a little more salt or lemon juice if you like. I added about 5 tablespoons of aquafaba to reach the thick consistency that I wanted, but keep adding a little at a time and blitz until you are happy with the consistency and texture. Serve with homemade crackers.
  4. To make the crackers, preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
  5. Combine the flour, olive oil, water and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. The mixture should be a little sticky. Add extra water 1 tablespoon at a time if your mixture is looking too dry.
  6. Tip the dough out onto a floured work bench and knead for about 1 minute. It should have a soft texture. Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces and roll out with a rolling pin into a long oblong shape. It’s ok if they aren’t perfectly shaped – rustic is the name of the game! You can roll them paper thin for a super crisp cracker, or a little more thickly for a cracker with some crunch.
  7. Sprinkle each piece of dough evenly with your chosen toppings and gently roll your rolling pin over the top to make sure they stick to the dough. Transfer to baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper and prick all over with a fork. Optionally, brush with a little extra olive oil or butter.
  8. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until they are golden. Cool on a wire rack and then crack into irregular size pieces. These crackers will keep for up to 2 weeks stored in an air-tight container.

Pear and Pistachio Crumble with White Chocolate

Pear and Pistachio Crumble with White Chocolate

I’ve made a lot of desserts over the years – from simple to more technical and complex. Many of them you can see over in my recipe index. But there are a couple of dishes that I seem to make over and over because I love them so much. In winter, I can’t get enough sticky date pudding, self-saucing pudding and fruit crumble.

But of course, I’m always on a mission to make them different (and better) every time. This Pear and Pistachio Crumble is totally one of the best crumbles I’ve ever made. I love crumbles because they are super versatile. You can use just about any fruit from berries, rhubarb, stone fruit, apples, pears etc. You can adapt the topping to use different nuts or flours, and easily create gluten free and vegan versions of it to satisfy everyone’s dietary needs.

Pear and Pistachio Crumble with White Chocolate

Call it a weird food quirk, but I really don’t like raw pear. I would never go and pick one up from the fruit bowl and take a bite. They always seem to be underripe and rock hard or overripe and mushy. However, they are one of my absolute favourite ingredients for winter baking.

I love cooking pears because it doesn’t seem to matter if they aren’t perfectly ripe. When they are baked or poached they soften up beautifully and take on whatever flavour they are cooked with.

Pear and Pistachio Crumble with White Chocolate

Pears pair (haha) with so many different ingredients in a million different ways. Think classic combos like warm spices, nuts, caramel, tea, honey and other fruits like apple, berries and rhubarb… to more unexpected flavour pairings like chocolate, red wine, even cheese! 

This Pear and Pistachio Crumble is absolutely something special. I love the in-season fruit cooked with dessert wine and a hint of cardamom and rosewater. The crumble topping is perfectly buttery and crisp with the addition of pistachios and coconut. Plus, it’s easy, which is a big tick in my book!

Pear and Pistachio Crumble with White Chocolate

But my favourite part is the white chocolate! I was had originally planned to use dark chocolate but I didn’t have any in the cupboard and decided to try it with white chocolate instead. I didn’t want it to burn while baking, so I pressed squares of the chocolate into the crumble as soon as it came out of the oven. The residual heat melted the chocolate, creating pockets of delicious creamy sweetness.

Served with a big scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and a scattering of dried rose petals, this has to be one of my favourite desserts I’ve created recently. I just loved everything about it and couldn’t wait to share the recipe with you!

Related Post: Berry, Coconut & Quinoa Crumble

Pear and Pistachio Crumble with White Chocolate

Pear and Pistachio Crumble with White Chocolate

This Pear and Pistachio Crumble is a delicious winter dessert, with a hint of rosewater and creamy pockets of melted white chocolate.

Course Dessert
Keyword Autumn, Dessert, Winter
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 pears
  • 1/3 cup dessert wine
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean extract)
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 2 tablespoons raw sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons rosewater
  • Dried rose petals, optional
  • Vanilla ice cream, to serve

Crumble

  • 60 g butter, slightly softened, cut into cubes
  • 3 tablespoons plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • Pinch Salt
  • 6 squares white chocolate

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Peel and core the pears and cut into roughly 3cm cubes. Place into a saucepan with the dessert wine, water, vanilla, cardamom pods and raw sugar. Cook, stirring often for about 20 minutes or until pears are cooked. Remove from the heat and add the rosewater. Remove the cardamom pods and set aside.
  3. To make the crumble, place the butter, flour, brown sugar, chopped pistachios, coconut and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Rub the mixture with your fingers until the butter has been incorporated and it forms a crumbly texture.
  4. Place the pears into a baking dish and scatter the crumble mixture over the top. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the topping is golden. Remove from the oven and lightly press the squares of white chocolate into the warm crumble topping. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

7 Days of Cozy Simple Dinners

Roasted Vegetable Salad

I am a girl with a massive sweet tooth, but one cannot live on desserts alone. That’s why I started my Simple Dinners column – sharing some of my favourite savoury dishes too!

Yes I love cooking, but I often struggle with what to make for dinner and being organised with meal planning and groceries. I often feel like I’m on a Masterchef mystery box challenge, trying to make something tasty with whatever I have on hand with the ingredients in my fridge and pantry!

I’ve put together a week’s worth of delicious (and yes, simple) dinners that are perfect for cold evenings and easy enough to tackle on a weeknight. I think winter is a great time to get cozy and try something new. If you try any of these, tag me on Instagram and let me know!

Pumpkin Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Day 1 – Pumpkin Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

I am a total mac and cheese lover. If I see it on any restaurant sides menu, there is a 100% chance of me ordering it. I’m even partial to a packet version every once in a while, but this is my healthier take on this comforting classic. I swapped out some of the macaroni for cauliflower florets and made a really yummy pumpkin béchamel sauce.

This is a dish that grownups and kids can both enjoy. I love the rosemary breadcrumbs for some crunch on top, but it has 2 sneaky servings of veggies hidden inside. You can serve it as a meat free main meal or as a side dish to any kind of protein.

One Pot Moroccan Chicken

Day 2 – One Pot Moroccan Chicken

I love a one pot meal with minimal washing up! This dish looks fancy and dinner party worthy, but it’s actually super easy for weeknights. If you have the time, you can marinate the chicken in the spice paste for a few hours or overnight, but I usually forget to do this and it still tastes amazing.

This Moroccan chicken packs a huge flavour punch with fresh and preserved lemons, olives, spices and herbs. I like to serve it family style in the same pot it was cooked in with a scattering of fresh herbs, a green salad on the side and everyone can help themselves.

Ottolenghi Spinach, Ricotta and Fetta Pie

Day 3 – Ottolenghi’s Spinach and Herb Pie

Don’t let all the beautiful greens you bought at the farmers market on the weekend go to waste! I like that this recipe can be easily adapted – use whatever greens (silverbeet, baby spinach, kale, chard, etc) and cheeses (ricotta, fetta, goats cheese, cheddar, parmesan, etc) that you have on hand.

The flaky filo pastry really makes this dish for me. This pie is a great way to use up the various half bunches of herbs sitting in the fridge. Food waste is such a big issue for the environment so click through to the original post for some great ideas on how to use up leftover herbs.

Spicy Pork and Tahini Noodles

Day 4 – Spicy Pork and Tahini Noodles

I just had to include this recipe because my housemate and I make this dish more than anything else. It’s one of our weeknight staples for any time of year and we always keep the main ingredients on hand in case the craving strikes.

This dish comes together so quickly and easily. The flavours of pork, tahini, Szechuan peppercorns and chilli are balanced out by the acidity of the fish sauce and lime juice. And of course there are loads of herbs, spring onions and grated cucumber to give it freshness.

Roasted Vegetable Salad

Day 5 – Roasted Vegetable Salad with Quinoa

I often make this kind of dinner on nights I’m home alone and just cooking for myself. In winter, like making big batches of roasted vegetables every few days and using them in different dishes to make a bunch of quick and easy meals – including this salad!

The turmeric and tahini dressing makes anything it goes on delicious. This hearty salad can be served as a satisfying main meal or a great side dish to grilled chicken, fish or lamb.

Pumpkin Turmeric Soup

Day 6 – Pumpkin & Turmeric Soup

Why yes, I did post a pumpkin soup earlier this month but this one is from the archives and still a good-for-you favourite. I make this all the time when I get a cold or feel one coming on. I love the addition of turmeric, ginger and honey to this soup for an immunity boosting kick.

Creamy Chicken Pesto with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Day 7 – Creamy Chicken Pesto with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Sometimes, a girl just needs a big bowl of pasta, am I right? I’ve been making this dish for more than a decade, so I know it’s good. The pesto sauce comes together in the time it takes to cook your pasta, so this is one of my absolute favourite quick and easy meals.

PS – If you don’t have time to roast tomatoes or they aren’t in season, you can use sun-dried tomatoes or just omit them.

Chocolate Whisky Pudding with Passionfruit Ice Cream

Bonus Dessert! Chocolate Whisky Pudding with Passionfruit Ice Cream

Puddings are my favourite comfort food and this one is no exception. If you’ve got the oven on, it just makes sense to make dessert as well! Self-saucing puddings are a little bit magical – the boiling liquid that goes on top somehow becomes the rich sauce under a layer of cake-like pudding.

This recipe has a good hit of whisky and a homemade passionfruit ice cream but you can use your favourite – anything that goes well with chocolate would be perfect here!

French Earl Grey Lemon Delicious Pudding

French Earl Grey Lemon Delicious Pudding

I love desserts – that much is common knowledge around here. But I especially love desserts that have evocative and descriptive names, that really make you feel something. Red Velvet. Persian Love Cake. Black Forest. Bombe Alaska. Lemon Delicious. Even Cherry Pie – the most literal name ever, but just hearing the words paint pictures of old school Americana and brings back memories of summer.

Lemon Delicious has long been one of my favourite winter desserts. I say it’s a winter dessert because it’s a warming and comforting pudding, but the flavour is bright and happy, zingy with citrus. It’s a little old fashioned, a lot nostalgic, and the perfect comfort food for cold nights.

French Earl Grey Lemon Delicious Pudding

Even though the process is a little different, Lemon Delicious reminds me of a self-saucing pudding, because it goes into the oven as one batter, but as it bakes, two distinct layers form. On the bottom there is a lemony sauce and on the top there is a sponge-like cake. Traditional self-saucing puddings are usually chocolate or sometimes even butterscotch flavour. A Lemon Delicious is all about citrus – using the zest and juice for maximum lemoniness. 

This time I decided to give it a little twist – a tablespoon of ground French Earl Grey tea in the mix. I already know it goes perfectly with lemon, so I had high hopes for this dessert and it didn’t disappoint. While the main flavour was definitely citrus, the Earl Grey gave a nice subtle, floral undertone that worked perfectly. If you want a stronger flavour, just add more ground tea.

French Earl Grey Lemon Delicious Pudding

French Earl Grey is one of my favourite ingredients to add to desserts. You can infuse it into ice cream or use it ground in chocolate chip cookies. I’ve also used the brewed tea in a rich chocolate cake or to soak dried fruit for a Christmas pudding. It might not spring to mind as an ingredient, but it’s very versatile in desserts.

I love T2 loose leaf French Earl Grey – both for baking and drinking – but feel free to use your favourite. I’ve got so many kinds of different teas, but French Earl Grey is one of my very favourites. I re-buy it over and over and panic a little if I’m running low. The floral hint of sunflower, rose and hibiscus is lovely with the black tea and classic bergamot.

French Earl Grey Lemon Delicious Pudding

Lemon Delicious is really easy to make – most of the ingredients are just whisked together all in the one bowl, with the egg whites being folded in last. The trick to getting a lovely lemon sauce is not to overcook it. The top of your pudding should be golden but a little wobbly due to the sauce underneath.

This pudding is cooked in a water bath, so make sure your baking dish will sit nicely inside a larger dish or tray before you start. You can make this recipe in one large enamel or ceramic dish to share or in individual 1 cup ramekins. Adjust the baking time a little depending on how large your pudding is. Start with 20 minutes and keep checking the oven every 10 minutes. I love to serve any kind of warm dessert with ice cream, but you could also use whipped or clotted cream, your choice of fresh fruit and definitely a good dusting of icing sugar. Happy baking!

Related Post: Earl Grey Chocolate Chip Cookies

French Earl Grey Lemon Delicious Pudding

French Earl Grey Lemon Delicious Pudding

French Earl Grey Lemon Delicious Pudding is a delicious and comforting winter dessert, bright with citrus flavour and floral tea.

Course Dessert
Keyword Autumn, Dessert, Pudding
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 150 g butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons lemon rind, finely grated
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ cup self raising flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon French Earl Grey Tea, ground
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • Icing sugarice cream and raspberries, to serve

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease an oven proof dish (I used two enamel dishes but I’ve also made this in 6 x 1 cup ramekins).
  2. Place butter, lemon rind, lemon juice, sugar, flour, milk, ground tea and egg yolks in a large bowl. Whisk to combine.
  3. In a separate small bowl, beat egg whites using an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Fold a quarter of the egg white in to the lemon mixture until combined. Gently fold in remaining egg white.
  4. Spoon mixture into prepared dishes. Place dishes in a large baking tray and pour boiling water carefully into the baking dish until halfway up the sides of the smaller dish. (I open the oven, put the baking tray onto the oven rack and then pour the boiling water in to avoid having to carry a heavy tray filled with hot water).
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and just set. Serve warm with cream or ice cream, raspberries and a dusting of icing sugar.

Simple Dinners 26 / Pumpkin and Carrot Soup with Roasted Chickpeas

I am calling it now – June is the month of soup! Comfort food is all I want to eat now that the temperatures have dropped and winter is truly here. Steaming bowls of Pho from my favourite Vietnamese place. Chicken Noodle Soup to soothe my never-ending cold (three weeks and counting). And thick and comforting Roasted Pumpkin and Carrot Soup that feels like a warm hug.

If you can’t tell by now, I’m not generally a winter person – Sydney doesn’t even get that cold. Your girl has never even seen snow! My hands and feet are always freezing and it gives me a little pang of sadness to see the sun set before 5pm. But cold nights are always improved with a big bowl of soup.

I’ve made a variation on this soup probably a dozen times in the last few years. Sometimes I will use sweet potato and carrot instead of pumpkin. Or a combination of all three! Roasting the vegetables gives the soup a lovely complex flavour. You don’t even have to peel the veggies! When the pumpkin is cooked, you can just scoop it out of the skin. It’s definitely worth roasting if you have the time, but if you need dinner in 15 minutes flat, then just let your Instant Pot or pressure cooker do all the work. Soup comes together soooo easily, and is even quicker than Uber Eats!

Pumpkin and Carrot Soup with Roasted Chickpeas

Pumpkin and carrot are high in beta-carotene, which gives them their orange colour. Your body turns this into Vitamin A, which helps your immune system. I’ve already had 2 pretty bad colds this year and the winter season has barely begun. Sounds like I need another bowl of soup!

This time my secret ingredient was a whole clove of garlic, roasted with my veggies. I wrap it up in foil with a little drizzle of olive oil and magic things happen as it cooks. The flavour gets super sweet and more-ish. In the past, to get the level of sweetness I wanted, I have added some honey or maple syrup but this gave me flavour and sweetness all in one ingredient!

Garlic was one of the first vegetables to be used as medicine and it is amazing for your cardiovascular system and immune system. I think trying to keep your immune system strong in winter is one of the best things you can do.

My Pumpkin and Carrot Soup is gluten free, dairy free and vegan if you use vegetable stock. It’s so hearty, satisfying and healthy, but can still meet everyone’s dietary needs. You could even replace 1 cup of stock with coconut milk if you want it even more creamy. The flavours would be so delicious together.

I used a homemade chicken stock in my soup. It’s such a handy staple to have in the freezer and it uses up leftover bones and veggies that would otherwise be thrown out. Leave me a comment below if you’d like to see a post about how to make stock from scratch!

Since I already had the oven on to roast my vegetables, I decided to make a batch of crispy spiced chickpeas to scatter over the top of my soup. I often make them to eat as a snack or to go into a warm salad. This was the first time I had tried them with a soup but it won’t be the last. I love that they add a crunchy texture and lovely flavour. The spices I used on the chickpeas mirrored the spices in the soup so they were perfect together. You could also add a swirl of pesto or coconut milk to the the soup when you serve it.

If you make this Pumpkin and Carrot Soup or any of my other recipes please be sure to leave a comment, give them a rating and tag me on Instagram! I absolutely love seeing photos when you guys make my recipes!! I look forward to making many more soups as winter goes on (and on and on…)

Related Post: Pumpkin Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Pumpkin and Carrot Soup with Roasted Chickpeas
Pumpkin and Carrot Soup with Roasted Chickpeas
5 from 1 vote
Print

Pumpkin and Carrot Soup with Roasted Chickpeas

Cold nights are always made better with soup! My Pumpkin and Carrot Soup with Roasted Chickpeas is comforting and healthy (gluten free, dairy free and can be made vegan).

Course Dinner, Soup
Keyword Simple Dinners, Soup, Winter
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sumac
  • 2 kg butternut pumpkin (squash), seeds removed and chopped into large pieces
  • 6 carrots, halved lengthways
  • Salt and pepper
  • Thyme
  • 1 head garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, extra

Soup

  • 5 cups vegetable or chicken stock (homemade if possible)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sumac

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F) and line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper. On the first tray, spread out the chickpeas. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus some salt and pepper, the garam masala, cumin and sumac. Massage with your hands to ensure all the chickpeas are coated in the oil and spices.
  2. On the other tray, place the pumpkin and carrots. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and thyme. 

  3. Take a piece of aluminium foil and place a head of garlic in the center. Drizzle with the extra 2 tablespoons of olive oil and wrap up to enclose. Place onto the tray with the pumpkin and carrots and put both trays in the oven.

  4. Roast for 30 minutes and then remove the tray with the pumpkin and carrots. Leave the chickpeas in the oven for an additional 15-20 minutes.

  5. Scoop the flesh out of the pumpkin if you like – it will be really easy to do this once it’s cooked. Unwrap the roasted garlic and squeeze the cloves out of the skins. Place the roasted carrots, pumpkin and garlic into an Instant Pot or pressure cooker. Add the stock, garam masala, cumin and sumac. Cook on the Soup setting for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove the chickpeas from the oven and set aside.
  7. Release the pressure on the Instant Pot. Transfer to another heatproof bowl. Use a stick blender to blend the soup until completely smooth and season to taste. Serve hot in bowls, topped with roasted chickpeas and fresh thyme.

Sticky Date Smoothie Bowl

Sticky Date Smoothie Bowl

One of the weirder pieces of health advice I’ve ever been given is Chew your smoothies. At first I was like “Huh? Smoothies are for sipping!” but when I read up on the reason why, it started to make sense. A smoothie is like a nutrient rich meal with carbs, protein and fat. Because they are blended into a liquid, your body treats it like a drink rather than a combination of foods. When your digestive system is confused, it can lead to bad digestion and poor absorption of nutrients.

And isn’t that the whole point of drinking a smoothie – to get in lots of nutrients in one convenient mouthful?! Chewing initiates digestion and in turn releases saliva and pre-digestive enzymes. This tells the rest of your digestive tract that food is on the way and to get ready to break it down. On busy days, I add some chia seeds or a small handful of homemade granola on top of my smoothie as a reminder to chew them.

Sticky Date Smoothie Bowl

When I do have the time to sit down and enjoy breakfast, I love to make a smoothie bowl with lots of delicious toppings. It makes me happy to spend a few minutes decorating it beautifully, even if I’m not Instagramming it! Eating slowly and mindfully is another way to help our digestion. I’ve made hundreds of smoothies over the years, but you guys, this one might just be my favourite. This smoothie bowl is inspired by my all-time favourite winter dessert – Sticky Date Pudding.

I’ve been obsessed about trying to create the perfect healthy version of a Sticky Date pudding and a smoothie bowl seemed like a great idea. I wanted the flavour of dates to be prominent, but also the flavour of caramel to shine through.

Dates are a super food in their own right. Medjool dates are the softest and sweetest, with a whole heap of health benefits. They are high in dietary fibre which can help with digestion, can help to regulate hormones and can also be beneficial in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. Plus they are naturally sweet, like nature’s candy!

Sticky Date Smoothie Bowl

Maca powder is another powerful adaptogen that I’ve used before and try to incorporate into my smoothies often. It has a sort of honeycomb-ish toffee taste and can help with anxiety and stress. I like to add some protein and fat to every one of my smoothies because I find it really turns it into a meal that keeps me satisfied for several hours. The avocado helps to make it super thick and luscious, as well as adding some healthy fat.

I used Tropeaka Salted Caramel vegan protein powder because I thought the flavour would be perfect. I was right. This is my new favourite flavour! You can definitely just use your favourite one or skip it entirely. I like this brand because their protein powders are gluten free, dairy free and organic. I have no trouble digesting them like I have had with whey powders in the past. This is not a sponsored post, I just really love this Aussie company and their products!

Sticky Date Smoothie Bowl

Smoothie Bowl toppings are almost as important as the smoothie itself. You want taste AND texture. I used some homemade granola, which I always have on hand. You could use a high quality store bought one too. Fresh figs, slivered almonds and a drizzle of rice malt syrup top it off beautifully. I loved every spoonful of this smoothie and it really did give me Sticky Date pudding vibes, but healthy. Dessert for breakfast is my favourite.

This Sticky Date Smoothie Bowl tastes freakin’ incredible, but is higher in sugar than the normal smoothies I make. The frozen banana really helps to make it nice and thick – all the better to eat with a spoon. I have also heard of using frozen cauliflower for the same effect with no sugar. If you try this, please let me know!

Related Post: Papaya Boats with Grain Free Granola

Sticky Date Smoothie Bowl
Sticky Date Smoothie Bowl
5 from 1 vote
Print

Sticky Date Smoothie Bowl

A delicious smoothie bowl inspired by my favourite dessert ever – Sticky Date Pudding! It’s delicious AND healthy – the perfect way to eat dessert for breakfast. 

Course Breakfast
Keyword Breakfast, Healthy Recipes, Smoothies
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 1

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 bananas, frozen
  • 3 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon maca
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
  • 2 tablespoons protein powder (I used Tropeaka Salted Caramel protein)
  • Pinch Himalayan pink salt

To serve

  • Fresh figs
  • Homemade granola
  • Flaked almonds or coconut
  • Rice malt syrup, optional

Instructions

  1. Place the banana, dates, avocado and almond milk into a NutriBullet or high speed blender and blend for 20-30 seconds. Add the remaining ingredients and blend again until fully combined and thick.
  2. Pour smoothie into a bowl and top with sliced fresh figs, granola, flaked almonds and a drizzle of rice malt syrup. Serve immediately.

Vanilla Slice with Pomegranate Glaze

Vanilla Slice with Pomegranate Glaze

My Mum is one of the most thoughtful and kind humans I know, and one of my favourite people to bake for. She has a sweet tooth (it must be genetic) so I love making desserts for her. She is always sending me links to recipes I might like to try. One of her favourite desserts ever is the Vanilla Slice and I realised it has been quite a few years since I indulged her. She still remembered the passionfruit version I made her… in 2012!

If you aren’t familiar, a Vanilla Slice is a famous Australian bakery dessert. It’s our Australian version of the mille feuille. I love when one food concept has so many different versions from all around the world, from France, the Philippines, Greece and South America (umm the dulce de leche sounds like an amazing addition).

You can get a Vanilla Slice at almost every bakery here, but most of the time they aren’t my bag of tea. They are often solid as a brick with stodgy custard and a too-sweet glaze. I don’t even want to tell you the affectionate but gross nicknames that some Aussies have for this dessert! A fresh, homemade one is a true thing of beauty.

Vanilla Slice with Pomegranate Glaze

Originally, I had wanted to make it as a recipe coming up to Mother’s Day, but I wasn’t going to be seeing my Mum until the day itself. I wanted to actually make it for her, and she was sooo happy when she saw it. Her reaction really warmed my heart and re-affirmed why I love baking so much. I absolutely love making people happy with homemade treats.

I made a bright and vibrant pomegranate glaze to go on top. It looks super pretty and has only two ingredients – just the juice (squeezed out of the pomegranate seeds in a sieve) and icing sugar. If you can’t tell, I’ve been really into pomegranates lately. In my last post I used them in a savoury recipe that turned out beautifully.

Pomegranates are in season right now and just gorgeous. I’ve been using them in salads and on top of smoothie bowls. They remind me of my Nanna, who still has a healthy pomegranate tree in her backyard. As kids, we spent countless afternoons picking out the arils one by one. It kept us entertained for hours. Nanna is also one of my earliest influences for cooking and baking. I remember spending a lot of time in the kitchen with her as a kid, when I wasn’t having a piano lesson, but that’s a story for another day!

I decided to stick very closely to Donna Hay’s recipe. The flavour of the custard was out-of-this-world good. Imagine vanilla bean flecked custard encased in a lovely flaky puff pastry. In the recipe notes, they didn’t recommend using thickened cream, which is all I had on hand this time. They recommended a single pouring cream that didn’t contain gelatine, so I will try this next time. The texture of mine was just set which I much preferred to most of the thick and solid set bakery versions I’ve had in the past.

So this dessert is my belated Mother’s Day tribute to my gorgeous Mum and Nanna. Two amazing women that I have been so blessed to be raised by and learn from all my life. It was such a pleasure to make it and for Mum to be so happy when she saw it. Making this felt like a walk down baking memory lane. It had been so long since I had made a vanilla slice, or a custard at all. It reminded me of how my love of baking started and developed in those early years of blogging and how much I still love to bake for the people I love.

Related Post: Mulled Wine Glazed Doughnuts

Vanilla Slice with Pomegranate Glaze

Vanilla Slice with Pomegranate Glaze

A delicious and vibrant take on an Aussie bakery classic – the Vanilla Slice. I served mine with a bright pomegranate glaze.

Course Dessert
Keyword Australian, Dessert, Pies & Tarts
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 48 minutes
Refrigerate at least 6 hours
Total Time 1 hour 18 minutes
Servings 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
  • cups full cream milk
  • cups cream *see note
  • 60 g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • cup caster sugar
  • cup cornflour
  • ½ cup water
  • 6 egg yolks

Pomegranate Glaze

  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • Extra pomegranate, to serve

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Place the pastry sheets on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper. Top each pastry sheet with non-stick baking paper and place an additional baking tray on each pastry sheet as a weight. Bake for 20–25 minutes or until golden and puffed. Cool completely and then trim to size using a serrated knife. I used a 22cm-square cake tin.

  2. To make the custard, place the milk, cream, butter, vanilla bean paste and sugar into a medium saucepan and cook until just coming to the boil. Remove from the heat. 

  3. Combine the cornflour and water and whisk into the hot milk mixture with the egg yolks. Return to the heat, whisking, and bring to the boil. Cook, whisking, until thickened (1-2 minutes).

  4. Place 1 pastry sheet in the base of a lightly greased 22cm-square cake tin lined with non-stick baking paper. Ensure you have enough baking paper hanging over the sides of the tin so you can lift the slice from the tin after it has chilled.
  5. Top with the custard and the remaining pastry sheet and press down gently. Refrigerate for 3–4 hours or overnight, until set.
  6. To make the glaze, put the pomegranate into a sieve over a small bowl. Press down on the seeds to release the juice. Sift in the icing sugar and stir until fully combined. Add more icing sugar if you want a thicker glaze.
  7. Pour the glaze over the vanilla slice, top with extra pomegranate and return to the fridge for 20-30 minutes or until set. Cut the vanilla slice with a serrated knife. You could also cut the slice first and then glaze if you prefer.

Recipe Notes

This recipe is adapted from Donna Hay. Her version said to use a single (pouring) cream which doesn’t have any additives such as gelatine. I used thickened cream and this slice was set but not a ‘hard’ set custard.