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Month: June 2016


Once I purchased my beloved Thermomix, alcohol free vanilla bean paste was one of the first recipes I tried. I used Tick of Yum’s recipe but since then have created my own and now you can make it too.

Some time ago when I was cake decorating, I remember searching far and wide for alcohol free vanilla extract. The struggle was real. I had great difficulty finding any and came across only one brand but it really wasn’t as cheap as I’d like considering how much I used in my recipes. And unfortunately, cheap does not equal quality when it comes to vanilla products.

I use my alcohol free vanilla bean paste in so many of my recipes that it was a no-brainer to create my own. Not only will you save money, it is quick and easy to make too.

I purchased quality whole vanilla beans online and only use a fraction of them at a time which means a little goes a long way. This recipe makes over 300 grams of alcohol free vanilla bean paste for just over $7!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Serves: 300 g
  • 10 organic vanilla beans - approx. 20 g
  • 250 g organic coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 100 mls cold water
  1. Place half of the vanilla beans in a food processor and pulverise on the highest speed until a fine sand is achieved.
  2. Add half of the coconut sugar to the food processor and pulverise together with the vanilla until a fine powder is combined.
  3. Using a fine sieve, sift the contents of the processor into a clean bowl, discarding any large pieces that are left behind.
  4. Repeat STEP 1, 2 and 3 with the remaining vanilla beans and coconut sugar,
  5. Add all the ingredients into a clean pot and heat over medium-low heat, stirring to combine.
  6. Wash down the sides of the pot using clean water and a pastry brush to prevent crystalisation upon cooling.
  7. Allow to simmer for 8 minutes and not longer otherwise the mixture will burn.
  8. Pour into a sterilised jar and allow to fully cool before sealing.
  9. Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
  10. Use 1 teaspoon alcohol free vanilla bean paste in substitute to 1 tsp vanilla extract/essence.
***Cream of Tartar SUBSTITUTE: use baking powder in the equal quantity.
This prevents the alcohol free vanilla bean paste from crystalising upon cooling so it should not be omitted.




Chocolate Fudge Cookies

These Chocolate Fudge Cookies are made with wholesome ingredients, great for lunchboxes and also a delicious lactation cookie for breastfeeding mothers.

With the mid-year school holidays upon us, Zayd and I have plenty of time to bake together and he tries new treats to include sometimes in his lunchbox. When Zayd has a treat like these chocolate fudge cookies included, he knows it’s very special and not an always food which I believe is important for our children to learn to differentiate. Zayd’s lunchbox always consists of fruit, vegetables, dips and occasionally a sandwich if he asks, and I always allow him to make requests for his lunchbox. I do believe it is important to allow our children to make their own choices, allowing them to build their confidence and independence. What is important for us as their parents however, is to offer healthy choices for them.

We first made these chocolate fudge cookies together when Yunus was born and I wanted a quick, one handed snack that would also help with my milk supply. And I must say these are a delicious lactation cookie! It would be a cute idea to bake and include them in a hamper for a new mum.

Serves: 12-14
  • ⅔ cup wholemeal flour
  • ⅔ cup rolled oats
  • ⅓ cup LSA meal
  • 4 Tablespoons cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • *Optional: 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • *Optional: 1 tsp ground ginger
  • Pinch of Himalayan salt
  • 3 Tablespoons Aquafaba OR Equivalent to 1 egg egg-replacer
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ¼ cup rice malt syrup
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and line a tray with baking paper.
  2. Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  3. Combine wet ingredients and whisk lightly with a fork.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix to combine.
  5. Using a tablespoon, drop equal amounts of the batter onto the baking tray.
  6. Cook for 11-14 minutes.
  7. Remove tray from oven and allow to cool.
  8. Store in an airtight container.
*** For a NUT-FREE alternative:
Substitute the LSA meal for ⅓ cup wholemeal flour.
*** For a GLUTEN-FREE alternative:
Substitue the flour to GF flour, use certified GF oats, increase the coconut oil to ½ cup and bake for 13 minutes.



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Turkish red lentil soup

Let it be known that Turkish Red Lentil Soup has always, always been my favourite soup. Since my childhood I can remember requesting this soup from my mother. She would often make it without the tomato and pepper paste which would yield a yellow soup but the taste, incredibly similar. Both hearty, both warming Turkish lentil soup. I can eat bowl after bowl and not be sick of it.

And I believe I am not alone because this Turkish red lentil soup is my number one requested recipe since I started my blog over 3 years ago now.

It’s quick and easy to make and quite fuss free. I like that I can place everything in a pot and allow it to simmer away until it’s ready to be blended.

I would love for you to try this and let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Happy souping!

Turkish Red Lentil Soup | Mercimek Çorbası
Serves: 6
  • 1 cup red lentils, washed and drained
  • 1 brown onion, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, chopped
  • 1 small yellow potato, peeled, cut in medium pieces
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp red pepper paste
  • 1 cube vegetable stock or beef style stock (I use Massel brand)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Lemon wedges to serve
  1. Place all the ingredients into a medium sized pot on medium heat and allow to come to the boil.
  2. Turn heat down to low to simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Blend using a stick mixer and season to taste.
  4. Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze.


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Broccoli sweet potato saladThis Broccoli Sweet Potato Salad is totally inspired by a delicious salad I had on holidays recently on the Gold Coast. We discovered a very affordable vegan restaurant, Govinda’s, quite close to our accommodation and found ourselves going back for wholesome Indian style food night after night. But the best thing about Govinda’s, aside from their cheap and tasty buffet, was their fresh salad bar. There was one salad which I would fill my plate up with time and time again and this broccoli sweet potato salad is completely inspired by that.

With my Turkish heritage, I think we’re under the impression that most salads must be comprised of leafy greens, tomato, cucumber and lashings of olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice. It was only after I started eating wholefoods was I introduced to salads with a twist. I was even teased by an aunt for including strawberries in a leafy green salad! Well, she’s the one missing out, right? Right!

And here is my incredibly easy broccoli sweet potato salad which can be made well in advance and kept in an airtight container and garnished when ready to serve. I do hope you add it to your menu!

Broccoli Sweet Potato Salad
Serves: 4
  • 1400 g sweet potato, cubed
  • 4 cups OR 2 head broccoli, florets cut to size
  • 4 large handfuls baby spinach
  • 2-3 Tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
  • 2-3 teaspoons sesame seeds
  1. Place a pot of water on high heat and bring to the simmer.
  2. Add the sweet potato into a steaming basket and steam over the simmering water for 12-15 minutes or until firm but cooked through.
  3. Remove from heat and wash under cold water to cool down, then set aside.
  4. Add the broccoli to the steaming basket and steam for 5-7 minutes or slightly cooked but retaining some firmness.
  5. Remove from heat and wash under cold water to cool down, then set aside.
  6. Combine the baby spinach, broccoli and sweet potato in a large bowl and mix.
  7. Drizzle with the sweet chilli sauce and sprinkle the sesame seeds on top.


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vacation snack ideasWe recently went on holidays to the Gold Coast and I shared my easy snack ideas which you could have in your hotel or apartment to keep the munchies at bay. It’s absolutely crucial when travelling with two kids under five that you are prepared. And if your kids are anything like my boys, it almost seems sometimes that they are constantly eating so we have no choice but to be stocked with the good, wholesome food.

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