Monthly Archives

September 2014

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Ice-Cream

September 29, 2014

Well, this had to happen, right? I’m mad, positively obsessed, with both extra virgin olive oil and ice-cream. Blending the two just made sense.


This month in My Mindful Kitchen I wanted to mention my favourite olive oil producer. I’m just nuts about olive oil. And what’s super swell is that it is such a healthy food, specifically extra virgin olive oil. What I’ve taken from my research on olive oil is that extra virgin olive oil is liquid gold. It is processed quickly and carefully, in a way that retains its rich health benefits, which include stellar antioxdant and anti-inflammatory power. Light and other olive oils are more refined, they’re blended and less healthful. Extra virgin olive oil is pure olive juice – it’s where the goodness is at – and more information is coming out saying that, indeed, you can cook with olive oil at a higher heat than previously thought. The tip is to buy a top quality, freshly pressed extra virgin olive oil with a good fatty acid profile, then store it in a cool, dark place. I am such a fan and use it daily in my cooking, drizzling on salads and pasta dishes and now… ice-cream.

Australia produces great olives and I love to support local, so always buy Australian-made olive oil. It helps to ensure it’s fresh, too, which, as I mentioned, is important in ensuring you get the most health benefits. We have beautiful extra virgin olive oils in my region on the Mornington Peninsula, but honestly they’re too expensive for my consumption habits. As a treat I’ll serve Green Olive’s extra virgin olive oil with local bread and a sprinkle of sea salt and be in heaven, but daily? It’s my tin of Cobram Estate. And that is what I used to make this ice-cream for my birthday last week.

Cobram Estate extra virgin olive oil is fresh, affordable and readily available, so it’s my number one choice.  They have a garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil, which is great for individuals following a low FODMAP diet, and they have an organic variety, which I’m keen on. Though I would like to learn more about the growing methods of olives and sustainability, so if you know of a sustainably grown Australian olive oil that is quite affordable, please let me know. I wrote about extra virgin olive oil on my dietitian practice website a couple of months ago, so check that out if you’d like, but for now let’s get to the ice-cream, shall we?

This recipe for extra virgin olive oil ice-cream is by David Lebovitz and is found in his book The Perfect Scoop. There’s so much to like about this recipe, notably the subtle grassy flavour highlighted as keenly as you wish by a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to serve. Whilst eating this treat at the dinner table after a birthday meal of beef cheek and ricotta gnocchi, my brother articulated an ingenious idea of scooping this ice-cream into fresh brioche rolls, the classic Sicilian breakfast. I intend on doing this promptly. For now, there’s a bowl, a spoon and a glug of liquid gold.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Ice-Cream

Recipe link, by David Lebovitz.


Heidi xo



September 26, 2014

On Tuesday I turned 29. Even though I’m nearing the collar pull-inducing age of thirty, I appreciate each birthday as it rolls around. I mean, it’s an excuse to live fancy. Your birthday is an extra cream kind of day. Cream and butter melt away any ageing worries you might have. And I’d know, I did a science-based degree at University.

I celebrated my birthday by sincerely and studiously indulging in all of my favourites. I went on two beach strolls, churned ice-cream and had two (count them, two) lattes. See? Fancy. Mum took time off work to be my cooking partner in crime and we spent the day together in the kitchen. She and I both have the same definition of “a good day”. Ben was home, too, popping his head out of the study when the rum butter bananas and cake were ready. And in the evening my brother and dad came over for a meal. I was spoilt with books and food and cards so sweet they made me cry.

For lunch we at roasted vegetable salads with hummus and toasted sourdough bread, followed by a slice of rhubarb cake. I baked the cake, introduced to me by my friend Robin, in the morning. Friends, it is a dream. I used wholegrain spelt flour and boy, it was the most perfect birthday cake. Especially with a hefty dose of creme fraiche.

29 feels like a rhubarb age. I like it.



cake 4

mum & I
Knowing I had the whole day to spend with my skilled mother in the kitchen, I enlisted her help to try out a beef cheek recipe (link) and these darling ricotta gnocchi (recipe link). Both were outrageously good and shall promptly top our special dinner list, overtaking chicken tagine like it’s no dig deal.



My brother joined us for a pre-dinner walk to the beach. I love this time of year and the warm air that promises summer, soon. I think it’s going to be a good one.




And then home to eat dinner…

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29. It’s rhubarb and creme fraiche, it’s family and books. It’s feeling confident with beef cheek and proud of gnocchi. It’s nice.


Heidi xo

Lately, strawberries.

September 21, 2014

“We need to take more photographs of our life. More moments. ” – Ben, last week.

And so here we are. More moments. Those favourite days working from home together. Early morning mugs of coffee after earlier morning walks on the beach. Weekends with friends eating pots de creme and weekends just us as we nestle and get to know our new couch. Strawberries, too, because it’s Spring.

We had a few friends over last week. There was falafel and ice-cream, and one pretty in pink cocktail created out of a desire to infuse vodka with Turkish delight. Yasmeen came over early and helped us make lamb cigars and triangles. Later on we listened to 90s Mariah Carey songs and I spilt beetroot dip down my top. It was really, really nice to just talk and eat and drink in our new place with good friends.

So, that cocktail. We named it Sweet Pommy Delight because, indeed, it is sweet and delightful. But the key, friends, is the pomegranate molasses, adding tartness…vibrancy, in both colour and flavour. I’ve included the recipe below. But first, moments.

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Sweet Pommy Delight

3 parts strawberry pomegranate rose syrup (see recipe below)

1 part Turkish delight-infused vodka (see instructions below)

2 parts sparkling water



To make the Turkish delight vodka, cut portions of Turkish delight into smaller portions (i.e. squares into quarters) and place in a large jar. Top with vodka and leave to infuse for at least 1 week. We used 750ml vodka for about 7 large pieces of Turkish delight.

To make the strawberry pomegranate rose syrup, start with the rosewater syrup. Place 1 cup white sugar and 2 cups water in a heavy-based saucepan then bring to the boil. Stir then simmer for ~10 minutes until reduced and thickening. Add a squeeze of a lime (or lemon) and 3 tablespoons rosewater (you can always add more later when cooled and able to taste). Cook for another few minutes until thick, then turn off the heat and set aside to cool. When cool, taste and add more rosewater as desired. This will make more than enough for this cocktail recipe but it is nice to have leftovers for cordials & desserts.

To make the strawberry pomegranate rose syrup, puree 3 punnets of strawberries (tops removed) in a food processor. Add 2 tablespoons of the rosewater syrup then blitz again. Pour into a fine mesh strainer and use a large spoon to push the smooth strawberry rose syrup into a jug (this can take a while to get all the juice through). Keep the strawberry pulp in the fridge for pancake/porridge/cake toppings. Stir 1-2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses into the smooth strawberry rose syrup and taste. You want this to be a really strong– very sweet and very tart. For more sweetness, add more rosewater syrup and for more tart flavour, add more pomegranate molasses or some lemon (I prefer more pomegranate molasses).

To assemble your sweet pommy delight, place ice in a glass then add three parts strawberry syrup to one part Turkish delight-infused vodka. Stir then top with 2 parts sparkling water. Taste and adjust with more strawberry pomegranate rose syrup, vodka or sparkling as desired.


  Heidi xo






Another Green Smoothie Bowl

September 17, 2014

I just can’t get enough smoothie bowls in my life. Or green. And together…well, isn’t she a beauty?

This green smoothie bowl contained frozen banana, baby spinach, milk, maca powder and honey. It was topped with coconut oil, toasted sunflower seeds and almonds and then bam, more almond in the form of almond butter. It was a vibrant and filling breakfast.

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Happy Wednesday Breakfast Club, friends! I’m working from home the whooooole day and I couldn’t be more excited. I don’t see shoes or pants in my future, just socks and oversized woollen jumpers. Happy Wednesday indeed.

What did you eat for breakfast today?


Heidi xo

So many kisses

September 13, 2014


I’m sitting here, trying to figure out what I can say about these little baci bites that isn’t entirely sentimental. Baci means “kisses” in Italian. And their full name, as bequethed by Nigella Lawson, whom I adore, is “baci di ricotta” Ricotta kisses. Isn’t that sweet?

This is not the first time I’ve spoken about my most favourite dessert (well, these and homemade icecream. and pie. it’s a threeway tie). These ricotta doughnuts are crowd pleasing, that’s for sure and I’ve made them a few times for a few different crowds. Two years ago for my twenty seventh birthday and then again soon after for what would have been my brother’s thirtieth birthday. And so now whenever I make this recipe I think of him.


I’ve been putting more photographs of David around the house, which, depending on my mood, fills me with warmth and happiness or melancholy. But it’s manageable melancholy. There’s a beautiful music piece playing in the background and I’m missing my brother. I’m a sucker for movie soundtracks and Craig Armstrong does it to me every time. Especially at the 4:10 point…actually from 3:35 until the end. This piece slays me, possibly as it takes me back to listening to the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack in my bedroom as a teenager, balling my eyes out at the beauty and romance of it and my undying love for Leo. I do still love him. Yeah, I’ve always been a feeler, a little dramatic and expressive. Music fuels this aspect of my personality. Ben sits through quite a few “performances” if ever a particularly loved piece of music comes on. I’ll mime playing the violin, piano, drums, all of the above simultaneously, building up with reckless abandon the most ridiculous and wonderful crescendo. I’m not a great musician but I appreciate greatness. And David was great. He was a beautiful pianist and composer and I struggle to be ok with the fact that the world will never fully know his talent, as he died before fully realising it. The ballet dancer in me hears pieces like this and wants to break into some grand allegro. Our current living room indeed has a grand space, which Ben calls “our ballroom”, perfect for a sudden sauté. A piano would sit there nicely, too. One day.

But back to these ricotta doughnuts and my inability to separate them from feelings of love and sadness and joy and my desperate need to live this life, all of which is intensified when hearing music like thisNigella’s original recipe is fairly faultless. Though I have always chosen to roll them in cinnamon sugar rather than powdered sugar. And ever since my first ricotta kiss I have tasted and tweaked and pondered new variations. Most recently I was obnoxious enough to stuff them wantonly full of jam. And later, nutella. This weekend, it shall be rosewater and vanilla-bean cream. So many kisses. So much love.


Ricotta Doughnuts (baci di ricotta) with Jam and Nutella

Adapted only slightly from the divine Nigella Lawson‘s Baci di Ricotta

Makes 16 little balls. In terms of portions just try to stop at one…it’s tricky. So I always make two per person. Plus if you have two different fillings that’s just ideal.

150g Spelt Flour*
2 tablespoons Caster Sugar
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
3 teaspoons Baking Powder
2 pinches Sea Salt
4 Eggs
400g Ricotta**
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Oil for frying: use an oil that can withstand high heat. While I usually favour olive oil for everything (and indeed it can withstand higher heat than once thought), it is expensive to use in big quantities and really, with how infrequently I fry in this manner, I tend to go for canola oil in this recipe.

For dusting
White or caster Sugar

For stuffing

* I have, more recently, been using wholemeal spelt flour in baking, as I feel it just sits nicely and works really well as a substitute for regular wheat plain flour. I do makes these with plain flour, too, which is what the original recipe calls for, so go that route if you prefer.

** you need one here that is not too firm but certainly not sloppy or a super smooth paste. I favour Nonna Sofia brand.

*** use a thick jam here and one without big lumps, as they will get stuck in your piping vessel and end up all over your top (see photograph below). Bonne Maman raspberry and strawberry work really well.

1. Add the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt to a large mixing bowl, and whisk to aerate and combine.
2. In a separate large mixing bowl, beat the eggs briefly before adding the ricotta and vanilla and beating to combine.
3. Fold the wet ingredients through the dry ingredients until the mixture is combined, then set aside.
4. Meanwhile, set aside a large plate or two with cinnamon sugar. Throw a good few tablespoons of sugar on the plate then sprinkle a bit of cinnamon. Combine it with a spoon or fork until the sugar is as brown and cinnamony as you desire.
5. Put your game face on, it’s time to fry! But fry carefully, hot oil is no joke. I like to do this with two sets of hands, so get a friend to help. Heat a good amount of oil in a wok over medium heat. You need enough oil so that heaped soup spoonfuls of the mixture can float. Test that your oil is hot enough by dropping in a teaspoon of the batter – it should sizzle (but not aggressively so) and turn golden in ten seconds. When ready, use two soup spoons to drop rounded spoonfuls into the hot oil. I tend to fry ~ 4 at a time for about 2 minutes per batch. Use a slotted spoon to turn them to ensure even browning. When browned and cooked on the inside (you can always cut one open and see, I do this if I make them particularly large), place the doughnuts on paper towel (to remove any excess oil) then place on the cinnamon sugar plate, rotating to coat. Repeat until all the doughnuts are cooked and cinnamon sugared.
6. Place a few heaped tablespoonfuls of filling (jam, nutella, thick custard or cream) into a piping bag (or a snaplock bag with the end snipped off). Push the filling down to the corner with the opening, then stick it in the middle of the doughnut and squeeze! If you need help getting a good spot in the doughnut, use a turkey baster (mum’s idea!)or the end of a wooden spoon to make a hole before squeezing in the filling.
7. Serve hot with espresso.

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Heidi xo

Cacao Granola

September 10, 2014

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I thought this was destined to be one of those recipes that sounded better in my head than the breakfast reality.

Cacao granola should be delicious, right? Crisp, dark granola that leaches its darkness when greeted with milk. And before you can sing “cheer up Charlie” you have yourself a Willy Wonka chocolate stream situation. Indeed I thought that only good could come from the addition of cacao to oats. But each time I baked a batch it fell a little short…

And so I’d potter back to the kitchen, adding a little coconut here and cardamom there, trying to get it just right. Yet nothing I did got me closer to finding that granola golden ticket. Until I remembered the chocolate rule. The one that says “for generally excellent results in every endeavour, combine coffee with chocolate”.

Of course! Not only does coffee highlight the flavour of chocolate spectacularly, it elevates the whole granola game in a wondrously soothing yet spritely manner. I’m hooked. I love it. And I hope you do too.

This Wednesday Breakfast Club I’m having a little pot of leftover cacao granola with a lot of milk. Black coffee, two too. As well as a banana that I forgot to slice into the photograph. In fact, this granola pairs particularly splendidly with sliced, fresh banana. Stewed rhubarb is also a treat and I’m dreaming about almond milk with raspberries. Fresh ones! That’d be swell.

What did you have for breakfast today?

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Cacao Granola

Makes a few good cups of granola.


2 cups Rolled Oats
1 cup roughly chopped Almonds
2 tablespoons Sunflower Seeds
2 tablespoons Pumpkin Seeds
A good pinch of Sea Salt
3 tablespoons Raw Cacao Powder
2 teaspoons Ground Coffee (I used heaped teaspoons, FYI)
3 tablespoons runny Coconut Oil (I’m yet to try it with Olive Oil but am super keen)
3 tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup (I’m sure honey would be fab)
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius and line a large baking tray with baking paper.
2. Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan and set aside.
3. Add all the ingredients, including the melted coconut oil, to a large mixing bowl. Stir keenly, ensuring everything is well combined.
4. Pour the mixture onto the baking tray, spreading everything out so it is in one even layer. Bake the granola in the hot oven for 10 minutes, then remove and give everything a good stir to ensure even browning before baking for a final 10-15 minutes until golden and toasty (mine only took 20 minutes all up). This is a shorter cooking time than my other granola loves, as it is prone to burning. Don’t worry, the mixture will harden upon cooling.
5. Allow the mixture to cool completely before serving with milk, fruit and yoghurt. Store in an airtight jar on the bench for up to two weeks.

Heidi xo


Campari days. And nights. And stove-side swigs.

September 5, 2014

Do you have a signature drink?

I like wine. Red wine, specifically. The entire genre. I don’t mind if it’s a pinot noir or shiraz, though I’ll be particularly pleased with a cabernet sauvignon. Sparkling shiraz is a bonus and tastes like Sunday lunch. In the white game it has to be crisp and dry. Though if it is bubbly and French I’ll be thrilled and look for the strawberries and croissants and think of my friend Peta. Most likely she’ll be handing me the glass.

In terms of spirits give me gin, please. And liqueurs? I love the taste and tinge of Strega (which we served in a cocktail at our wedding) and our friends recently gifted us some stunning, sticky Amaro, which I adored. But I cannot go past the bitter beauty of Campari.

I’ve become quite the Campari drinker these past few years. In fact I’ve had to allocate one particular bottle at home as my personal bottle. It’s located, rather suggestively, next to the stove and I’ve fallen into the habit of swigging whilst stirring. You know, totally normal. Anyway, now we have two bottles. One for me, and one for people with manners.


Usually I’ll serve a small, slim glass of Campari on the rocks. If I had ingredients on hand to make Negronis (the most fabulous cocktail ever) I would probably jazz up Campari more regularly but alas, I’m yet to get into Vermouth territory. Though perhaps that’s something my 29 year old self will do. I look forward to next month.

Last week I did, however, jazz up our pre-dinner Campari, with fresh ginger, a squeeze of pink grapefruit and some slices for show. We took our drinks outside and had ourselves a few sweet moments with this hot little bitter beauty.

It was so pleasant I thought I’d share this flavour inspiration with you today, just in time for your first spring weekend. You also might want to try this Campari lovely. I do.

Cheers to lazy drinks outdoors, t-shirts, bare feet, and the sun setting later and later. I’m so ready.


Campari with Ginger and Pink Grapefruit

Serves 2

60ml Campari
A few thin matchsticks of fresh Ginger (more if you like a prominent ginger flavour)
2 tablespoons Pink Grapefruit Juice, plus a few rounds or wedges for the glasses
A handful ice-cubes (or these sweet whisky stones)

Optional: sparkling water

1. Bruise the ginger in a mortar and pestle, then add them to the glasses. Alternatively you can grate the ginger but this will create ginger floaties, which aren’t the loveliest texture.
2. Add the ice or stones to the glasses with the Campari, grapefruit juice and wedges. Taste and adjust for flavour as desired (add sparkling water if you wish). Keep in mind as the ice-cubes melt it will dilute the mixture.

Heidi xo




Wednesday Treats

September 3, 2014

Hi, friends.

Today I’m up in the city for the day, working from Ben’s office before some evening clients. I decided to treat myself to a kale smoothie and acai bowl from The Nutrition Bar in Richmond. It was super tasty. Though part of me still wants the french toast from Three Bags Full…next time.

Have a swell day! And do tell me, what did you have for breakfast today?

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♥ Kale smoothie
♥ Acai Bowl with peanut butter, banana, strawberries and cacao nibs

Heidi xo

Boiled eggs in my salad

September 1, 2014


You know, I thought I had mentioned where I buy eggs in my post on loving eggs but I realised, when deciding which producer I wanted to talk about for My Mindful Kitchen this month, I hadn’t noted any farms in particular. And as my brother recently spoke with me of his intention to buy good eggs but his frustration at not knowing where to start, I thought I’d drop some names.

We’re spoilt on the Mornington Peninsula with access to free-range eggs from chickens who are truly able to roam free, forage for slugs and peck their greens. This is how chickens should live, they should wander on pasture and play and dust bathe with their beaks and such intact. If you raise chickens they can eat your scraps and contribute to a sustainable land cycle. And in return you get an incredibly nutritious gift (how special fresh eggs are) and a few loyal friends. If you don’t have your own chickens, or space to perhaps ponder getting your own, you can find people who are producing happy “green” pastured eggs and share in the goodness. Seek out some farms, visit your farmers market and ask questions, talk to friends, hunt around…you can use this guide to do a little research and find a producer you want to support. Generally speaking, you need to get out of the supermarket and find eggs at a market, local butcher or specialty shop. Don’t trust any old “free-range” label, as they may not be truly free-range, having only periodic access to outdoors yet still suffering in overcrowded, inhumane conditions. It may take more effort, but finding a good egg producer is something we all should and can do. Factory farming is horrific and we should not be supporting it.

Where I get my eggs
Ideally I’ll be gifted a carton full of eggs from my parents’ chooks’ (with a few duck eggs from mum’s friend thrown in, which invariably get churned into super creamy ice-dream), but I also buy them from the shops. Nirvana Free-Range Eggs are from a farm out Langwarrin way, and you’ll find their gorgeous, popular eggs at various producers around the Mornington Peninsula (Somers General StoreMerricks General Store and Bulk Wholefoods to name a few). Dee’s Kitchen use Nirvana eggs in their brunch dishes, which only further encourages me to loiter at Dee’s on the weekends. If I’m at the Mt Eliza Farmers Market early enough I can buy Hens of Hallora eggs, but usually it’s Nirvana.


So perhaps you’ve stocked up on some super fresh, green, pastured eggs (yay) and are curious as to where to store them? I keep fresh eggs in the cupboard or on my counter, as I use them pretty quickly and we live in a cooler climate region. However if I have a surplus I’ll keep them in the fridge. Fresh eggs last a while, but to check whether they’re still good I’ll do the float test – submerge an egg in water and if it floats, well, don’t eat it.

Let’s boil and salad
I love adding boiled eggs to my salad as a filling protein source and a meat alternative. Another mindful kitchen intention of mine is to cut down my meat consumption, and while eggs are an animal source of protein, green eggs have less of an environmental impact than beef. On this day I combined my boiled eggs with cooked barley (a terribly nutritious grain) and some pesto (a terribly nutritious sauce). In my practice as a dietitian I see many people who are confused about grains, notably wheat. While every body is different, I believe the key to healthy grain consumption is variety. And while barley is not something I eat regularly purely for a taste preference, Ben loves it so I throw it into the mix every now and then. Plus, I appreciate its fibre content. Many people inquire as to how I boil my eggs, as they often look perfect. To that I say, “thanks!”… I do take my egg boiling quite seriously. And indeed they are often perfect *dusts my shoulders off*. Sometimes me eggs are stubborn and basically the entire white comes off with the shell, but usually, yeah, they are pretty great. It’s taken time to get there, some trial and error, and I describe my favoured method in the recipe below. So that’s it! Happy egg eating, friends. I’d love it if you share in the comments below where you buy your eggs, if you have a particular producer you love. You might help out fellow readers who live near you!

Boiled Egg and Barley Salad with Pesto
Serves 2

4 free-range, green, pastured eggs
1 & 1/2 cups cooked Barley (I used pearl barley, but get hulled if you can and follow this link for cooking instructions. I also cook my grains in stock, as it provides an extra kick of flavour)
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 small clove Garlic, crushed
2 handfuls Kale (I used Cavolo Nero)
2 tablespoons Pinenuts, toasted
1 juicy Lemon
1-2 tablespoons Pesto (I used my homemade classic basil pesto)
Sea Salt and freshly cracked Black Pepper

Optional: a few small chopped radishes or some diced red onion, for crunch

1. to get the perfect boiled eggs: place room-temperature eggs in a saucepan and cover them with cold water (allowing enough room for them to float). Bring them to the boil. As soon as they are boiling turn the heat off, cover with the saucepan lid and leave them for 8 minutes (2 minutes shorter for runnier yolk, 2 minutes longer for harder yolk). Drain the eggs and run them under cold water, then allow them to sit in cold water until completely chilled before peeling (I leave mine for ~15 minutes).
2. While the eggs are cooling, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, then the kale and a small pinch of salt. Cook for a few minutes until soft, turing the heat down if required so the garlic doesn’t burn.
3. Add the cooked barley to the bowls and top with the cooked, garlicy kale, then squeeze lemon juice over the top to taste. Toss to combine. Add the chopped radish or onion if using, followed by the boiled eggs cut in half. Drizzle the pesto over the top and scatter the toasted pinenuts. Season to taste with sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil if desired.

Heidi xo