raw plum tartlets + saying goodbye to summer

raw plum tartlets

It’s officially autumn now and, while the temperatures are still warm, little signs of change are becoming perceptible. It’s dark now when I wake up to head to yoga. The mornings are cooler, the breeze crisper. All little, wonderful whispers of the season to come. It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of summer – the cooler months are definitely my jam. I’m so looking forward to breaking out the knits and blankets, lighting candles in the afternoon and snuggling up with a cup of tea.

But it’s not quite winter yet, so I decided to farewell summer with the last stone fruits: plums. After the peaches and apricots and nectarines have faded, the plums linger well into the first month of autumn. They are the quintessential transition fruit. They bake up perfectly into cakes (the German cake, Pflaumenkuchen, a yeasted dough baked with plums on top until they’re jammy and soft, is one of my favourite cakes), but I thought I’d go for a light, summery raw vibe.

A creamy, soft filling, flavoured with plums and vanilla (and perfectly pink!), is topped with slices of ripe, sweet plums. It’s slight girlish, like a giggle. But, it’s not sickly sweet or over the top, with a balance between the fresh plums, sweet dates and creamy cashews. (Even Adam, who is rarely a fan of raw desserts, thoroughly enjoyed these little tartlets.) If you’re in the northern hemisphere, with no plums at hand, I’d suggest blueberries, raspberries, or even blackberries as a good substitute (frozen would be fine).

So long summer, you’ve been grand. X

almonds
plum preparation split
saying goodbye to summer
plum tartlets
raw plum tartlet
ready for a bite

raw plum tartlets

makes 4 12 cm tartlets

recipe notes

  • it is only worthwhile making these with soft, sweet plums. if decent plums aren’t available, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries would make a delicious substitution. as would figs, or mango.
  • don’t be tempted to over-sweeten the filling as you are making it – the bases are very sweet.
  • these can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container (still in their tins) in the freezer until required. remove from the freezer and top with fresh fruit when ready to eat.

ingredients

for the base:

  • 1 cup (140g) raw almonds
  • 6-8 medjool dates, pitted
  • a pinch of sea salt

for the filling:

  • 3/4 cup (100g) raw cashews, soaked overnight or at least 4 hours
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp cold water
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 plum, stoned and flesh diced (about 1/2 cup)

to serve:

  • 3 plums, stoned and sliced very thin (~0.5 cm thick)
  • 1 tbsp pistachios, finely chopped

In a food processor, blend almonds with a pinch of salt until they form a fine meal. Add dates and blend to combine – the ‘dough’ should hold together when pressed between your finger and thumb.

Divide the base mixture evenly between four 12 cm fluted tartlet tins (the kind with a removable base). Using moist fingers, press the base firmly and evenly around the tins. Place tartlets in the freezer until required, or at least 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a blender, combine all the ingredients for the filling. Blend on high until silky smooth. This could take a few minutes (depending on your blender), and will required the sides of the blender to be scraped down with a spatula a few times.

Equally divide the filling between the tartlets, gently tap pin the sides of the tine to settle the mixture. Return tartlets to the freezer for 2-3 hours, until solid.

To serve, remove tartlets from freezer 15 minutes prior to serving, and let them sit at room temperature. Arrange plum slices on top, and sprinkle with chopped pistachios.

raspberry + rosewater (valentine) smoothie

valentine-smoothie

Valentine’s Day – it’s pretty commercial, and I’m not into that side of it – but I’m definitely ok with taking a moment to express gratitude for the friends, family, and loved-ones that constantly bring joy and love into my life. And chocolate. I’m definitely ok with the chocolate.

This past year I’ve also really woken up to the truth of loving yourself so you can better love others. So in the spirit of that intention, I’ve created a delicious (and probably over-the-top) smoothie that loves your body as much as you’ll love it (I hope). It’s packed full of raspberries, banana and pear, and made extra kitschy by the addition of rosewater. Topped with rose petals, cacao nibs and pistachios, I think it fulfils nearly every corny Valentine’s requirement.

Happy Valentine’s Day friends, whoever you’re loving. For me, I’m going to try and carry that open expression of love throughout the rest of the year. XX

valentine smoothie ingredients
rose petals
love in a glass
valentine smoothie: raspberry and rosewater

raspberry + rosewater smoothie

serves 2 as a snack, 1 as a meal

recipe notes

  • if you’re not into raspberries, strawberries are also delicious

ingredients

  • (~70 g or 1 small)¬†frozen banana pieces
  • 1 cup (120g) frozen raspberries
  • 1 small (~90g) pear, cored and diced
  • scant 1 cup (220 ml) cashew milk (or almond/soy/oat/cow etc)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup/honey/agave
  • 1/2-1 tsp rosewater
  • to serve: cacao nibs, organic dried rose petals, chopped pistachios

In a blender, combine banana pieces, raspberries, pear, cashew milk and maple syrup (or other preferred sweetener). Blend on high speed until smooth and silky. Add 1/2 tsp rosewater, blend and then taste. Adjust sweetness if you would like it sweeter, and add more rosewater if you desire (it can be overpowering, so it’s better to start small and add a little bit at a time).

Pour into glasses and top with cacao nibs, rose petals and chopped pistachios. Soak up the love!

mango coconut creamsicles

mango and coconut creamsicles

If summer in Brisbane had a flavour, I’m reasonably sure that it would taste like these creamsicles. Fruity, mango-y, creamy. I really, really, like these creamsicles. You know what I like even more? How smile-inducingly simple they are. There’s no need for added sugar, or topping up with liquids. Throw everything in the blender and you’re there. The perfect summer dessert, no?

A few weeks ago, my mum and I split a tray of lovely mangoes. And, for a few days, Adam and I ate mangoes at nearly every meal. Sliced over breakfast, creamsicle after lunch – heck, we even had Laura’s marinated cucumber noodles over a thick wedge of mango. The good news is, mango season is far from over (it’s not even officially summer yet). And I’m pretty sure that I’m going to spend most of this summer subsisting on LARGE quantities of fruit. Because as I’ve mentioned before, I do not handle heat well (yesterday it was certifiable disgusting – over 30 C (86F) and 65% humidity – needless to say I spent most of the day napping), which means that any food that is cold and only requires a minimum of peeling and cutting is fair game.

I’m going to keep this short and sweet today – I’m presenting at a conference on Thursday, and my paper is well, you know…(not even started)…so I’d better be getting to work. Big love to you all – H.

mango
mango too
creamsicles ready for the freezer
untitled
creamsicles in a row
best summer dessert
 
mango coconut creamsicles
makes 10
 
recipe notes

  • My popsicle moulds take 1/3 cup of mixture (which I think is pretty standard).
  • I’m going to be pretty insistent on using the vanilla bean directly. Extract isn’t going to cut it here.
  • You’ll also need 10 popsicle sticks – I can pick these up pretty easily from a newsagent or craft store.

ingredients

  • 450 g mango flesh (2 large mangoes’ worth)
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 1/4 lime, juiced
  • 1 can (270 ml) whole coconut milk

In a high-speed blender, combine all ingredients and blend on high until smooth and creamy. Evenly pour into your popsicle moulds. Freeze for 30 minutes, then insert popsicle sticks. Freeze for a further 2-3 hours, until fully frozen. To enjoy, run the mould under a little hot water to loosen the creamsicle.

the orange-iest salad + an article

blood orange and sweet potato salad

Today I’ve got something I’m very excited to share with you: a recipe to go along with my article that appears in Chickpea’s new Winter 2013 edition! Haven’t heard of Chickpea? It’s the sweetest vegetarian and vegan quarterly floating around – gorgeous photos, writing and so many amazing ideas! I’m so grateful and excited to be involved. If you like, you can grab a copy in their online store (for now, only the digital copy is available, but the print version should be out soon!).

I won’t spoil the gist of my article for you, but it’s a very Harriet-style musing on winter. When I started thinking about this piece, I really asked myself what signifies winter to me – what evokes its shorter days and cooler nights? Blood oranges immediately came to mind – they’re one of my favourite fruits, and I love them all the more for their limited season. You appreciate them all the more, I find.

This salad – something I find myself making regularly when blood oranges are in season – is seriously delicious. Filling, flavourful and also a feast of colour for your eyes – just check out all that orange! Need I mention that it’s packed full of nutrients? Probably not (even though it is!).

Wherever in the world you might be, I hope you’re enjoying the change in seasons. Here, winter has gone and we’re heading full-throttle into summer. I’m almost wishing for those cooler days again.

blood oranges
the orange-iest salad
chickpea
blood orange + sweet potato salad w blood orange citronette

serves 4

recipe notes

  • If you’re not sure how to supreme a blood orange, check out the instructions below.

ingredients
for the salad

  • 4 sweet potatoes (900 g / 2 lb)
  • 1 sprig rosemary, leaves removed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/3 c (45 g) pepitas (pumpkin seeds), toasted
  • 1 c (160 g) cooked cannellini beans (tinned is fine)
  • 2 blood oranges, supremed
  • 4 stems of dill, fronds removed and roughly chopped

for the citronette

  • 1/3 c (80 ml) blood orange juice (from 1 orange)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar (to taste)

Preheat your oven to 190 C (375 F) and line an oven tray with parchment paper. Quarter the sweet potatoes lengthwise, then cut into 2 inch segments. In a large bowl, toss sweet potatoes with rosemary leaves, oil, salt and pepper. Spread onto baking tray in a single layer. Place into the oven and roast for 35 minutes, until soft. Allow to cool slightly before assembling the salad.

Meanwhile, make the citronette by combining all the ingredients in a glass jar, seal with a lid and shake to combine (or whisk together in a bowl). Adjust seasoning to taste if necessary.

In a large bowl, combine roasted sweet potato with pepitas, beans, blood orange segments, and dill. Pour over dressing and mix gently to coat. Serve and enjoy.

how to supreme a blood orange

  1. Using a sharp knife, slice off the ends of the blood oranges, to reveal the top of the flesh.
  2. Turn the orange so one of the flat ends is down on the cutting board, and slice between the flesh and the pith, moving around the orange in sections, until the skin and pith is removed.
  3. Pick up the orange, and slide your knife between the membrane and flesh of one segment. Repeat on the other side of that segment, loosing it from the orange.
  4. Repeat step 3, working you way around the orange until all the segments are free from the membrane.

almond + chickpea felafels

almond + chickpea felafel

Ok, so you’re getting into the healthier side of things. You’ve started making your own nut milk (Yay you! That’s awesome!), which is pretty rad. But the sight of all that nut pulp going to waste hurts your inner-recycling genie. Well have I got the recipe for you: almond and chickpea felafel.

I know the universe has been going a little crazy for nut-based felafels lately, and they’re delicious to be sure. But, I wanted to challenge myself to use that bag of frozen almond pulp that’s been sitting in my freezer for months (because I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away). I’ve tried making nut-hummus (but didn’t fall in love with it) and I’ve even made my own almond meal by drying the pulp slowly in the oven (extremely delicious, but a little time consuming and the meal doesn’t have the shelf life of store-bought versions). So with several felafel ideas doing the laps around my brain, out came these babies. And aren’t they tasty.

And versatile! I threw these on top of salads, Adam put them in sandwiches, and I even popped a couple in my mouth for an afternoon snack. Also – the sauces you could serve these with are endless. How about: garlicky tahini, hummus, pesto, coriander cashew cream, creamy dill dressing, or a chunky tomato relish? There’s a lot you can do with them, and I think that’s a big part of their charm for me!

Need I even mention their stellar protein content? And wonderful fats? Since first making this version, I’ve also done a super herby mix (with loads of parsley, coriander and mint), which also turned out great. These felafels are a blank (but not bland) canvas for you to make your own. If you do, I’d love to hear your take on them!

Big felafel-y love X

in the processor
rolled felafel
felafel time
baked felafels
a simple serving suggestion

Almond and Chickpea Felafels

makes about 12

Recipe notes

  • I’m pretty sure almost any nut pulp would work here in place of almond, but I can’t vouch for them.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond nut pulp
  • 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas (canned is fine)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • handful of fresh coriander leaves
  • 1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp tahini (I used unhulled, but hulled would work fine too)
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp nigella seeds
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 175 C (350 F) no fan, and line a baking tray with baking paper. Combine chia seeds with 3 tbsp hot water and whisk to combine. Set aside for 5-10 minutes to form a gel. In a food processor, combine garlic, onion, coriander leaves, cumin seeds and coriander seeds. Process until finely chopped. Add pulp, tahini, chickpeas and chia gel. Season to taste. Process to combine – you may have to scrape down the sides a few times.

In a bowl, combine sesame and nigella seeds. Roll the felafel mixture into balls with your hands, then roll them in the seed mix to coat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until required. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the felafels are crisp on the outside and golden brown.

banana chai popsicles

banana chai popsicles

Summer is upon us in every sense of the word (sorry to my lovely northern hemisphere readers). It’s hot. It’s humid. It’s almost hard to move around.

As you may have picked up on, I don’t deal well with the heat. Sure, I enjoy the opportunity to lounge around in shorts and breezy dresses, but shit still needs gettin’ done. Trying to pay for lunch out with a friend the other day, it took at least 3 tries before I could work the machine properly. It almost borders on the ridiculous, and there’s probably some room for toughening up on my part. But in lieu of toughening up, here’s how I deal with sky-rocketing temperatures: large volumes of water and iced tea, raw things (I know Adam’s rolling his eyes), and frozen treats. Once the day gets hot, all I want to do is eat watermelon, nap and if I get hungry at all (which I often don’t if it’s super hot) somehow fashion a salad if I can get my brain to work my arm to chop the vegetables.

I’m being horribly melodramatic I know, but it’s hard to feel motivated to do anything when you feel like you need to take your second or third shower for the day, amiright? Here’s where the frozen treats come in (you were wondering about those, I’m sure). I firmly believe that any task to be completed above 30 C (86 F) can be successfully accomplished with one hand, while you lick/bite/suck/enjoy a popsicle with the other. I’m sure it’s a measurable fact. Frozen treats, like these popsicles, always succeed in cooling my body temperature down just enough to make everything seem doable. I highly recommend them the next time you’re in the middle of a heat-induced brain-fuzz or full-blown meltdown.

These popsicles are just sweet enough, creamy enough and flavoursome enough to satisfy everything you could want from a popsicle, without crossing over into the ‘slightly-less-healthy’ category. When you consider that each popsicle is only about 1/3 cup in volume, you can totally justify eating two in a row. Or one after breakfast, and then another after dinner. Whatever floats your popsicle loving boat. I know there’s probably a few people thinking that banana and chai might make a funky combination, but trust me, it’s divine. These little lovelies are almost caramel-tasting. In fact, I think I’m off to grab one out of the freezer right now.

organic chai tea
bananas
chai in the pot
golden beauties
banana chai joy
banana chai popsicles

makes 10 popsicles

recipe notes

  • If you’re not into soy milk, I think you’d be able to get away with cashew milk (the fat content feels pretty similar to me), but I haven’t tried this. Also make sure it’s unsweetened.
  • Feel free to substitute a red/roiboos chai if you prefer, but personally I like the colour the black tea gives to the popsicles.

ingredients

  • 2 bananas
  • 2 c (500 ml) soy milk
  • 1/3 c (80 ml) agave nectar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tsp organic black chai tea
  • 1 cinnamon stick

In a small saucepan, over medium heat, whisk together the soy milk, agave and vanilla. Add the tea leaves (I put mine in bag, but you can leave them loose, just strain through a sieve once you’re done) and cinnamon stick. Heat for 10 minutes, stirring until it starts to steam, but do not boil. Cover and allow to cool completely with cinnamon and tea to infuse. Once cool, remove tea and cinnamon stick (with a sieve if necessary). Combine in a blender with the bananas and blend until completely smooth. Pour into popsicle moulds (each should take around 1/3 cup). Place in the freezer for 30 mins, then quickly remove and insert 1 popsicle stick into each mould. Return to freezer for 2-3 hours, until completely frozen. To remove popsicles from mould, run the mould under warm water to loosen the popsicle. Enjoy!

stracciatella ice cream

vegan stracciatella icecream

Oh boy, it’s true, I inherited an ice cream maker. Readers, gird your loins for an influx of recipes for ice creams, sorbets, and all manner of delicious frozen delights. I’ve got a raspberry-cashew idea floating around, along with a hankering for something rich and chocolatey. I knew as soon as I had my eager hands on that ice cream maker (kindly given by Adam’s parents, who weren’t using it), that stracciatella ice cream would be high on my list of priorities.

My trip to Venice just over two years ago is largely dominated by memories of all the gelati I ate. Which was a lot. Four scoops a day? I’m not even lying. It was truly excessive. But delicious. There was lemon, and 70% chocolate, and watermelon, and hazelnut, and strawberry. Served to you, at my favourite gelateria, by a man who my friends and I christened ‘Hot Nasty’ (he was incredibly gorgeous, but slightly surly). But my favourite gelato flavour, guaranteed to be nestled in beside whatever other flavour I was trying, was stracciatella.

You see, the thing is, I’m a vanilla girl. Not that I don’t love chocolate (I really do). But, if you held a gun to my head and said that I had to pick between vanilla and chocolate for the rest of my life, I’d pick vanilla. Hands down. (What would you pick? I’d love to know!) Stracciatella combines, for me, the best of both worlds. It’s vanilla-y and creamy soft, with flecks of dark chocolate smattered throughout. Bliss (if you eat dairy, which I was at the time). Now, I return to Australia, after a dreamy (but hectic trip) and what do I find? That all stracciatella versions I come across are missing something, something subtle, something delicious. I ponder (for a long time). Then, serendipitously, one night at our favourite pizza place, the waiter tells us their gelato flavours that night: vanilla, strawberry, and stracciatella. “Which is vanilla, with flecks of dark chocolate and roasted almonds,” she tells us, in no way understanding the breakthrough she’d just thrown me into. Needless to say, Adam ordered some and I snuck a mouthful (we’re still in the dairy-days here).

And there it was, the something that was missing: toasted almonds. But without any crunch or hint as to their existence. And that really is the secret – grinding them to form a ‘dust.’ So as soon as that ice cream maker was in my kitchen, I knew a vegan-friendly stracciatella was on its way. It’s made on a base of coconut milk, sweetened with maple syrup, and flavoured with what you might think is almost too-much vanilla. It’s silky and smooth without being rich. With the toasted almond and cacao nibs ground to a coarse dust, that ‘oh-my-what-is-in-this?’ feeling is retained. This stracciatella has a depth of flavour that makes me so very happy, recalling memories of a wonderful trip, and the city and people which made it so special. Buon Appetito!

the only coconut milk to use
vanilla bean
sprinkles of cacao nibs
roasted almonds + cacao nibs
almond and cacao dust
stracciatella waves
stracciatella w roasted almonds and cacao nibs
stracciatella ice cream

makes about 750 ml

recipe notes

  • You will make more of the almond-cacao dust than you need for this recipe, but fear not! You’ve just created something that is great as a topping on smoothies, granola, oats and probably even waffles. Store in an airtight container.
  • If you’re not keen on cacao nibs, you could use dark chocolate chips instead (but I haven’t tried this). Blitz them along with the cooled almonds, but be careful they don’t melt everywhere.
  • You could also use agave instead of maple syrup, but personally I enjoy the flavour which maple adds..

ingredients

  • 2 c (500 ml) full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 c (250 ml) water
  • 1/3 c (80 ml) maple syrup
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 tbsp cacao nibs
  • 2 tbsp flaked almonds, toasted

In a saucepan, over medium heat, combine coconut milk, water, maple syrup, vanilla seeds, extract and xanthan gum. Whisk to combine. Continue to heat, whisking regularly (so the bottom doesn’t burn) for 10 minutes, or until it comes to the boil. Once it reaches boiling, immediately remove from the heat and allow to cool completely before proceeding.

While the mixture is cooling, combine the toasted almonds and cacao nibs in a coffee grinder or food processor, and blitz them for ten seconds or so, so form a coarse ‘dust.’ Once the liquid has cooled, add to your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Once everything is moving about, add 2 tbsp of the almond-cacao dust. When finished, store in an airtight container in the freezer. Allow to thaw for 10-15 minutes before serving.

massaged kale salad w a maple-lemon truffle dressing

massaged kale salad w strawberries, tomatoes + maple-lemon-truffle dressing

The salad screams of the transition between winter and summer. The kale is still going strong at the markets, which are also flush with strawberries (though it’s almost the end of strawberry season…sniff) and tomatoes. What better than to combine them into a massive, delicious kale salad? Nothing, dear reader, could be better than that.

This is a picnic-friendly, make-ahead, forget-about-it-in-the-frigde-for-a-few-hours kind of salad. It actually gets better the longer you leave it sitting in its own dressing (a rare beauty in the salad game). After a little while, the strawberries and tomatoes start to release their juices, enhancing the already kick-ass dressing, which by itself is zingy and light, with a touch of I-don’t-know-what thanks to the truffle oil. The almonds are toasty and crunchy, throwing their nutty, roasted flavour profile in the mix.

I took this salad to a birthday-picnic this past weekend, and perhaps it’s just my ego (a little), but this sturdy salad seemed to go down a treat. It makes a lot, and is definitely a salad to share. Need I mention the sheer physical joy of massaging kale? You may feel a little weird at first, but kale needs love (like everything), and getting your hands in there is the best way to go about it. After its massage, and a few hours marinating? macerating? (what verb to use?!), the kale softens and becomes silky, with the dressing clinging to all its nooks and crannies.

I think I’m going to be eating riffs on this salad all summer long. It’s simple and easy to make, but incredibly to both look at and taste. My sort of food. I’m already craving the next one. Enjoy! x

curly kale
torn kale leaves
tomatoes
the pinkest strawberries
strawberries + tomatoes
fresh mint
the salad of spring
massaged kale salad

massaged kale salad with maple-lemon truffle dressing

serves 6-8

recipe notes

  • If you don’t have truffle oil, don’t worry! Use regular olive oil, and it will still taste great.
  • If you’ve got basil instead of mint, feel free to substitute! I hand mint on hand, so used it.
  • I can’t stress enough how the kale really needs a decent massage here. Don’t be meek. Scrunch, rub, and crinkle it into a massaged glory.

for the salad

  • 1 bunch (3 stems) curly kale, stems removed
  • 1/3 cup flaked almonds, toasted
  • 250 g (just over 1/2 lb) fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 320 g (about 5 smallish) tomatoes, sliced into bite-size wedges
  • 1/2 cup packed mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup spring onions, finely sliced

for the dressing

  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp truffle oil
  • pinch of sea salt
  • lots (about 1/2 tsp) freshly cracked black pepper

To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a jar and shake, or mix in a small bowl. Tear the kale leaves into bite-size pieces, similar in size to the halved strawberries. In a large bowl, combine the dressing and torn kale. With your hands, massage dressing into kale leaves for at least one minute, preferably a couple more.

Add the rest of the salad ingredients to the bowl and stir (with your hands or spoon, whatever) to combine. Here, I usually add even more black pepper, but – up to you.Refrigerate until required, but eat the same day.

blood orange, garlic and coriander marinated olives

marinated sicilian olives

Our favourite pizza place, Vespa Pizza, not only does the tastiest wood-fired gluten-free vegan pizza I’ve ever tasted (guys, it has hummus on it, need I say more?), but their starter menu is pretty damn rad as well. It features smashed kipfler potatoes, a delicious tomato salad, and marinated olives. This is my take on those olives, using rosemary, garlic, coriander seeds and blood orange peel.

Winter, in Brisbane, passes in the blink of an eye if you’re not careful. A few weeks of cool weather (by cool, I mean 20C/68F), and then it’s over, really. One of the ways I really notice winter is at the markets, and a few weeks ago the blood oranges had come in. I bought a massive bagful and came home plotting how to use them. A good deal of them went into making braised red cabbage but knowing that I didn’t want to waste the delicious and beautiful peel, I removed it from two of the oranges, and have them nicely tucked away in the freezer. For occasions when just a little something more is needed.

I’ve solely used these nutty, green Sicilian olives in this version, though it works great with a combination of olives (Vespa does Sicilian, large green olives, and tiny Kalamatas). It’s excellent dinner-party food, and can be made in advance (up to two days, maybe?), then reheated when you’re ready. They’re also perfect as part of a tapas-style spread, and that’s how I enjoy them most, with lots of other little dishes. Good practice for a long summer of lighter, easy eating ahead.

In other news, as the days get longer and warmer, I can feel the pace of the year picking up at a scary rate. Adam and I are both in marking mode at the moment, with exams and essays piled around our study. There’s still a lot to be squeezed out of this year (four papers to present, two chapters to write), and I’m almost counting the days until our commitments wind up and we can enjoy a month or two of a slower pace. Keeping this space helps me retain a piece of my sanity, and keeps the things that matter most to me in sight. Thanks for being here and sharing with me.

sicilian olives
marinating ingredients
rosemary, garlic, blood orange peel and coriander seeds
blood orange zest
marinated olives

Blood Orange, Garlic and Coriander Marinated Olives

makes about 1.5 cups

Recipe notes

  • If you don’t have blood oranges lying around, you could easily substitute regular orange peel, or lemon peel, quite happily.
  • As I mentioned above, these can be made well in advance and reheated whenever you need them.
  • Don’t throw out the flavoured oil once you’re done guzzling the olives! Keep it in a jar and use for delicious dressings, or use it to roast vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 150 g olives (I used Sicilian)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed slightly with the back of your knife
  • 3 small sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 3 strips blood orange zest
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

In a small saucepan, combine all the ingredients. Heat over medium-low for 15-20 minutes. You want everything to be warm and sizzling a little bit, but you don’t want the garlic or rosemary to burn.

If not using immediately, transfer to a storage container and store in the fridge. For the most flavourful results, storing them for 24 hours is ideal, but they’ll still be great straight away. Reheat over medium when required, and serve warm.

banana, mango and strawberry recovery smoothie

banana mango and strawberry recovery smoothie

After exercise, whether that be cycling, a run or a gym session, it’s essential to have a wholesome, nutritious and restorative meal to help your muscles and body recover.

Enter the banana, mango and strawberry recovery smoothie! Quick, simple, effective and tasty. It’s high in protein (thanks to some nifty protein powder), vitamin C, and other important nutrients like folate, potassium and manganese. Perfect recovery food.

If you know you’re going to be in a rush, here’s my advice: prepare all the fruit before your workout and store in a container in the fridge. That way, when you’re work out is done, all you have to do is throw the fruit into the blender with the protein powder and water. Hey presto! You’re done.

banana mango and strawberry prep
smoothie bowl
recovery smoothie

Now, do you normally just pour your smoothie into a glass and chug it down without so much as a breath? I bet you’re left with a tummy that feels overfull and definitely sloshy. Here’s my challenge: pour your smoothie into a large soup bowl, top with some more fruit (strawberries, bananas, whatever), and if you’re really feeling crazy, some chopped nuts. Eat it with a spoon. I know this might sound bizarre, but it really improves your digestion of what is a pretty nutrient-dense meal.

Banana, Strawberry and Mango Smoothie

serves 1 as a meal, 2 as a snack

Recipe notes

  • This smoothie makes enough for a whole meal, but if you’d like to share, go¬†ahead!
  • I use Vital Protein Pea Isolate Unflavoured, but if you have a favourite protein powder, use that.
  • I use water as the liquid, as I feel that with the protein powder, the smoothie really doesn’t need any extra creamy liquids. But, if you’re hung up on milk, you can substitute. Coconut water is another great option!

Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, sliced (frozen is fine)
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 2 heaped dessert spoons (~25 g) of protein powder
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup (if desired)

Place all ingredients in a blend, and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass (or bowl!) and enjoy.