Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand - Mother Teresa



When visiting our garden for the first time, its natural beauty is not immediately seen. Possums regularly raid our backyard, cute white ones with black tipped tails, so hubby resorted to installing see-through netting that keeps the night visitors out. If you enter the padlocked gates you’d see overgrown tomatoes with pops of red, yellow zucchini flowers hidden within huge plants, succulent fruit hanging from apple trees in the orchard and a vintage mossy birdbath surrounding a rambling herb parterre. Other parts of the garden require searching. Citrus trees and figs are hidden behind the vegetable garden, verdant grape vines are cloistered within the hothouse, protected from the salt carried inland from the nearby ocean. After planting the apple orchard, we deliberated where to position the lemon, lime and grapefruit trees. At first, we trialed near the herb parterre, yet the soil caused the tiny tree’s leaves to yellow, leaving hubby baffled. Several weeks passed causing the trees to look sicker as the leaves started to shrivel. Not wanting to make a mistake and shift the trees to a place that could be their death knell, we kept deliberating. I’m unsure who thought of the idea, but one of us remembered Italians grew their citrus in large pots for movement into a conservatory in the winter months. Bunnings supplied several huge terracotta pots, which we placed in a sheltered position behind the vegetable garden, near the back fence, and the sick citrus trees thrived. Some choices in gardening by the sea are not for beauty or symmetry, it’s for the plant’s survival.


This zesty lime tart is so easy if you own a food processor. After soaking the cashew nuts, the only pre task, you process two lots of ingredients to make the tart. Zesting the five limes is the only time consuming task, but so worth the effort as the lime’s zest flavour is incredible when paired with avocado.


Health benefits:

·       Lime consists of water and is an extremely good source of vitamin C. It is also rich in dietary fibre and minerals like calcium, iron, potassium, copper, magnesium and phosphorous. The best thing about lime is that it has the least amount of calories, carbohydrates, and fats. Moreover, lime peel and pulp are also rich in phytochemicals like polyphenols.

·       The health benefits of lime include weight loss, improved digestion, reduced respiratory and urinary disorders, relief from constipation, and treatment of scurvy, peptic ulcer and gums. It also aids in skin care and eye care.



Makes 23 cm (9 inch) tart

Serves 8



For the crust:

2 cups raw cashews

1 cup desiccated coconut

½ cup medjool dates (about 10 dates)

¼ cup rice malt syrup

pinch Himalayan salt


For the filling:

¾ cup raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours, drained

3 large ripe avocados, flesh

zest of 5 limes

½ cup lime juice (about 5 limes)

½ cup rice malt syrup

1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract

pinch Himalayan salt


For the topping:

2 limes, thinly sliced

zest of 1 lime

Soak ¾ cup of raw cashew nuts for 2 hours or overnight, drain. Line a 23 cm (9 inch) round springform cake tin with baking paper.

For the crust, put the cashews in a food processor and chop into small pieces. Add the rest of the crust ingredients and blend until crumbly and sticky. Press the mixture into the base of the cake tin and place into the freezer while you make the filling.

Wash and dry the food processor. Place all the filling ingredients into the processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour the filling over the crust and freeze at least 6 hours until set, or overnight. Remove from the freezer at least an hour before serving, decorate with lime slices and lime zest before cutting into wedges to serve. The tart will keep in an airtight container in the freezer up to 6 weeks.




Although I can’t claim my radicchio salad is unique, as recipes for this salad are almost as ubiquitous as Greek salads wherever this Italian leaf chicory is plentiful, maybe it’s my dressing that separates it from other contenders. Radicchio’s variegated wine red leaves of slightly bitter flavour is best mellowed with sweet naval oranges, which I’ve paired with the rich meaty texture of pecans and luscious figs, and is especially delicious drizzled with an orange seed dressing. If figs aren't available, as this is a winter salad, use sweet pears. 


Health benefits:

·       Radicchio is loaded with vitamin K and is a key food in the Mediterranean diet that supports heart health, decreasing heart attack risk and contributing to a healthy blood pressure. The presence of vitamin K helps the body builds and maintains strong bones that assists in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.




Makes a side salad


1 head radicchio

1 navel orange

3 figs

½ cup pecans

Carefully separate the radicchio leaves, tear large pieces into two while keeping the inner leaves as cups, and place on a serving plate. Peel the navel orange, cut into slices and cut into halves. Place orange segments into the radicchio cups around the plate. Slice the figs into circles and place into radicchio cups. Cut the pecans into bite sizes and sprinkle over the plate.



1 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

¼ green shallot onion

2 cm knob ginger

sprig rosemary

Place ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Store in a glass jar for up to a week in the fridge or pour into a serving jar for immediate use.



Victoria was predicted to have a cooler summer, yet the Australian Open Tennis centre court hit 69’C last Thursday as Melbourne sweltered in the 40s. I guess it’s safe to say that a cooler summer meant we wouldn’t have days on end of very hot weather, only the odd few days when the thermometer would soar with warm temps in the 20’Cs in between. Even with air conditioning, summer eating demands cold smoothies, cool salads and fruit desserts. To keep us hydrated, I keep a supply of freshly squeezed fruit juice in the fridge and fruit yogurt popsicles permanently in the freezer for unpredictable hot days, and for weekends make frozen cheesecakes or granitas similar to this ruby red raspberry and ginger kombucha granita. The granita can easily be adapted to use any seasonal fruit you prefer, like soft juicy peaches or succulent mangos. I used thawed raspberries from a frozen packet to reduce costs, even though raspberries are quite cheap at the moment. The fresh ginger adds a spicy note to the granita that’s refreshing. If ginger doesn’t appeal, mint could be used instead. The bought bottle of kombucha was ginger in flavour, yet I’m thinking any flavour would be delicious.


For those unused to kombucha, here’s an introduction. Kombucha is a fermented beverage consisting of black tea and sugar (from various sources, including cane sugar, fruit or honey) that’s used as a functional, probiotic food. It contains a colony of bacteria and yeast that are responsible for initiating the fermentation process once combined with sugar. After fermentation, kombucha becomes carbonated and contains vinegar, B vitamins, enzymes, probiotics and a high concentration of acid (acetic, gluconic and lactic). These bacteria are known as “cellulose-producing bacteria,” meaning they produce cellulose, which acts as a shield to cells. The sugar-tea solution is fermented by bacteria and yeast commonly known as a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). Although it’s usually made with black tea, kombucha can also be made with green teas. 


Health benefits:

·       Kombucha has been touted as a magic elixir, curing everything from digestion problems to arthritis and cancer. Most of the big curative claims about kombucha are unfounded: there have been just a few animal studies on it, and no solid research has been done on people. But some health benefits are likely since kombucha, when raw or unpasteurized, is rich in probiotics, good gut bacteria (like those in yogurt) that have been shown to boost immunity and overall health.

·       Kombucha is not a magic potion, but it is a potentially healthful, flavourful drink that is relatively low in calories and sugar. Kombucha tea is viewed as a healthy drink because it is packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and nutrients, and functional, probiotic food. As with any food or drink, it is wise not to overdo it but to enjoy it in moderation.



Makes 1 tray



2 cups frozen raspberries, thawed

400 ml kombucha

½ cup rice malt syrup

2 teaspoons coarsely grated ginger

Blend all ingredients in a blender until very smooth. Pour into a tray and place in the freezer. As the liquid freezes, scrape with a fork to form crystals. You will need to do this several times, scraping from the outside of the tray inwards as it freezes, (usually taking up to 6 hours). Scrap the granita with a fork before serving. Serve in glasses immediately. May be garnished with berries, if desired.




Celebration cakes take time: time to decide which flavours to use, time to source the ingredients, time to make and bake, and are totally worth the effort when the person you’ve made it for says thank you with a smile, it tasted delicious.

Last night, just before nine o’clock, I decided my daughter and son-in-law had to have a celebration cake for their tenth wedding anniversary. I drove to the nearest town, fifteen minutes away, where the supermarkets stay open until late every night of the week as it’s a popular tourist town. I’d made a list and enjoyed finding each item, and deleting it off my phone list in notes as I wandered the aisles. Initially I’d thought to use peaches scented with orange flower water to make the cake, but the peaches were too green, not at all enticing. Further along the stand lay a heap of apricots, yellow with a rosy blush and smelling ripe and delicious. I had to buy them, thinking a delicate dash of rosewater and almond meal would be quite special. Baking is working by chance with what’s available. You make temporary plans, yet in the end it’s the best produce found that determines the outcome.


This cake is vegan, sugar free, dairy free and with a gluten free option. It’s texture is light due to several ingredients. While the baking powder and apple cider vinegar raises the flour, and the ground chia seeds bind the mixture, it’s the stiffly whipped aquafaba (from chickpea water) that lightens and aerates the texture. The use of aquafaba creates a vegan cake unlike others. The typical dense vegan cake is no more when using aquafaba. I use chilled coconut cream that's been left in the fridge overnight, whipped with stevia and vanilla bean pulp for icing. Who would have thought that it's more delicious than icing frosting!


Health benefits:

·       The health benefits of apricots include its ability to treat indigestion, constipation, earaches, fever, skin diseases, cancers, and anemia. Apricots also help improve heart health, and treat strained muscles and wounds. It is also believed that apricots are good for skin care, which is why it makes an important addition to various cosmetics. Furthermore, apricots have the ability to reduce cholesterol levels, prevent the deterioration of vision, aid in weight loss, treat respiratory conditions, boost bone strength, and maintain electrolyte balance in the body.

·       Natural, unsalted almonds are a tasty and nutritious snack with plenty of health benefits. Loaded with minerals, they are also among the healthiest of tree nuts. Just a handful of nutrient-rich almonds a day helps promote heart health and prevent weight gain, and it may even help fight diseases like diabetes and Alzheimer's. Almonds are rich in vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Also, almonds are a significant source of protein and fibre, while being naturally low in sugar. Of all tree nuts, almonds rank highest in protein, fibre, calcium, vitamin E, riboflavin and niacin content by weight. There are 160 calories in 23 almonds. While many of these calories come from fat, it is primarily the healthy unsaturated fats and not the unhealthy saturated kind.



Makes 23 cm (11½ inch) cake



1½ cups spelt flour

OR gluten free option – 1½ cups brown rice flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup almond meal

½ cup coconut sugar

4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

¾ cup rice malt syrup

1 cup apricots, pureed

1½ teaspoons rose water

2 tablespoons chia seeds, milled in blender

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

¼ cup chickpea water

Preheat the oven to 180’C (350’F/Gas Mark 4). Line the bottom of the springform pan with baking paper, and lightly oil and flour the sides with coconut oil. Beat the chickpea water in a bowl at high speed for 5 minutes and set aside. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into another large mixing bowl, add the almond meal and coconut sugar, and stir to combine. In another bowl, combine the melted coconut oil, rice malt syrup, pureed apricots, rose water, milled chia seeds and whisk until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until combined without lumps. Whisk in the apple cider vinegar. Gently fold in the aquafaba (beaten chickpea water). Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 55-60 minutes, until the skewer comes out clean. Set aside on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes before removing from tin and allowing to completely cool. Spread coconut cream icing over the top of the cake with a spatula. Garnish with slices of apricots around the rim of the cake or with flowers for a special occasion.




What a wonder it is that coconut cream whips and tastes even better than icing!

2 x 400 ml (13 fl oz.) coconut cream, refrigerated overnight

1-2 tablespoons stevia

1 vanilla bean, pulp

Spoon the solid coconut cream into a bowl, add stevia and vanilla bean pulp and whip with an electric mixer on high. Whip until the mixture is completely thickened. The coconut icing is best used immediately; if placed onto a cake and left for a few hours, the brown of the cake will seep into the whipped coconut cream.



Christmas has been celebrated and the New Year’s been heralded with hope. My family’s visit ended so suddenly, as they all flew north the same afternoon, that I’m left somewhat bereft. Time spent together was so precious, quite rare, in fact, as I’m unsure if we’ll ever all be together again. I guess now there’s time to relax and renew fitness goals, sew cute overalls for my crawling grandson and weed our garden.


With the exception of tomatoes and spinach, zucchinis grow quite rampantly in our organic garden. Each summer, I visit the garden often, keenly watching for the blossoming of the zucchini flowers. They’re a delicacy for our dining table, to make zucchini flower tarts or to stuff the delicate flowers with fragrant stuffing. I feel quite pampered as Hubby grows several plants just so I can make these treasured treats.


Eating a vegan diet doesn’t mean you miss out eating vegetable tarts. Chickpea flour (besan flour) creates a delicious filling for tarts, especially flavourful when nutritional yeast and spices are added. If you don’t have a supply of zucchini flowers, cut spheres of zucchini to top the tart would taste equally delicious and also looks quite pretty. Like in previous posts, I use Bio Buttery to make the dough for this tart.


Health benefits:

·       If you are looking for a way to lose weight in a healthy way, it’s time for you to learn about the health benefits of zucchini. Zucchini is well known to reduce weight, yet boost the nutrient value of your diet. Moreover, it helps to enhance vision and prevent all the diseases that occur from vitamin C deficiency like scurvy, sclerosis, and easy bruising. It helps to cure asthma and has a high content of vitamin C, carbohydrates, protein, and fibre. It contains significant quantities of potassium, folate, and vitamin A, all of which are important for good health.

·       Chickpeas also called garbanzo beans are a great source of protein and a healthy addition to your diet. Naturally low in fat, they are also high in dietary fibre and rich in vitamins and minerals. Eating chickpeas on a regular basis can help you lose weight, boost intestinal health and reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.



Makes a 28 cm tart (11 inches)

V, DF, GF option


For the crust:

1½ cups spelt flour

OR GF option – 1 cup brown rice flour & ½ cup buckwheat flour

pinch salt

1/3 cup unsalted vegan butter, Bio buttery

2-3 tablespoons chilled water


For the filling:

2 cups chickpea flour (besan flour)

¼ cup nutritional yeast

1 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

2½ cups water

2 zucchini, medium sized


For the topping:

9 zucchini flowers

OR circles of zucchini if flowers aren’t available

½ cup grated vegan cheese

To make the crust, add flour and salt to a bowl and stir. Using a knife, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture becomes crumbly. Alternatively, rub the butter through the flour with your fingers until the mixture becomes crumbly. Add a little chilled water and bring the mixture together to form a ball of dough with your fingers. Add only enough chilled water until the mixture comes together without being crumbly. Wrap the dough with baking paper, and place in the fridge for ½ hour.

Preheat the oven to 200’C (400’F/ Gas Mark 6). Combine the chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, baking powder, smoked paprika, garlic salt, Himalayan salt and pepper in a bowl with water and whisk to combine. Grate the zucchini, add to the mixture and stir to combine. Set aside to roll the dough.

Cut a circle of baking paper to fit the base of the tart pan. Grease the sides of the tart pan with coconut oil. Remove the dough ball from the fridge and place between two pieces of baking paper. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a disk that’s 3 mm thick and about 30 cm (12 inches) in diameter. Take the top layer of baking paper off the disk, slip your hand under the disk and lay on the tart pan. Fit the dough into the tart pan and cut the excess off the edges. Pour the zucchini mixture into the tart pan until nearly to the top (I had a small amount left over). Gently prize open the zucchini flowers and arrange around the tart, and sprinkle grated vegan cheese over the tart. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until golden in colour. Remove from the oven and slightly cool on a rack. Serve warm with vegetables or salads.