Food Places you MUST try in Byron Bay, Australia

Last week I travelled with my best friend to Byron Bay – a beachside town in New South Wales, Australia, known for it’s laid back beach & hippie culture. (Yes we purposely booked this trip over Valentines Day, as a cheeky romantic getaway for two single girls).

I’ve traveled with friends and family to Byron many times, but this was the first time I noticed HOW DELICIOUS and diverse all the food options were.

They literally have everything – vegan cafes, vegetarian restaurants, chocolaterie’s, wholefood cafes, Egyptian restaurants, fancy bars, Contemporary Australian cuisine, Indian takeaway, Asian fusion, Japanese dinner places, pizza… the list goes on.

What I was particularly amazed by was how easy it was to eat healthy. With green juices, fresh coconuts, protein balls, fresh fruit, and superfood slices, on offer all over the place, I was spoiled for choice.

Breakfast

Safya Cafe

Safya Cafe serves Egyptian inspired dishes, in a beautiful spot where the ocean breeze flows right in. We went here three times for breakfast (because I could not get over the avo/dukkah toast & dandelion latte combo), but they also do a delicious Lunch and Dinner menu.

Bayleaf Cafe

If you are here for the contemporary Australian brunch scene, head to Bayleaf. Offering all-day brekkie options like house-made bircher, corn fritter stacks, and dill/salmon eggs, it’s a brunch spot you just can’t miss.

Lunch/Dinner

Balcony Bar & Oyster Co

$1.50 oyster specials, daily sunset happy hour, live music, and $12 Espresso Martini’s – you can’t say no. Obviously we went for the oyster deal and then finished the night with an abundance of cocktails, a King Crab Salad and Lamb/Beef Pappardelle.

The Mez Club

We booked this for the night of Valentine’s day and readied ourselves for a Mediterranean feast. O went all out and ordered the Share Mezze Platter (for herself..), which hosted kofte balls, hummus, pita bread, oven-roasted tomatoes, falafels and more. I went for two dishes; stuffed bell peppers (with basmati rice/whipped fetta/dukkah) and the lamb kofte balls. Safe to say both were delightful.

Dessert

Byron is known for organic/wholefood food spots that do mouth-watering raw treats like vegan/GF strawberry cream and caramel donuts. Check out Combi and Fundies Wholefood Cafe if that’s your thing.

However, if I’m having dessert I’m going to treat myself and go all out. Hands down the best ice cream shop I’ve ever been to is In The Pink.

They are constantly introducing eclectic flavours like strawberry chocolate fudge, Nutella caramel, Gingerbread, and Orange Sorbet. On the last night I treated myself to a double scoop of chocolate fudge and Nutella caramel, and I have absolutely no regrets.

xx

P.s. if chocolate is your thing – be sure to check out Love Byron Bay – Crêperie & Chocolate Boutique.

Can you believe it? Healthy Cinnabon Rolls

Okay, so I think we all know Cinnabon’s aren’t the definition of health. But, I wanted to devise a recipe which was just as yummy, but didn’t use up half my daily caloric intake (the average store-bought cinnabon has 880 calories).

When my cinnabon craving first hit, I was scrolling through recipes that took about 3 hours to prepare and bake. That was simply too long and I knew I had to find a (cheaters) quicker version.

So, here’s the cheat sheet to my 45 minute, Plant Based (and still delicious) Cinnabons:

Dough: 

  • 2.75 cups of all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package instant yeast = 2.25 teaspoons
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp ground chia seeds + 3 tbsp water

Filling:

  • 0.5 cup pureed dates (1/4 cup water)
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 1 medium apple finely chopped
  • coconut oil as a base

Time: 45 minutes, Serves: 8, Calories: 294 each.

Method: 

preheat oven to 100C

mix flour, sugar, salt and yeast together in a bowl

heat water, almond milk and coconut oil in the microwave for 30 seconds

add chia seeds, milk/oil mixture and flour mixture together and knead with hands until dough forms – set aside for 5 minutes

Roll out the dough on baking paper into a rectangle

Spread the coconut oil and pureed dates on the rolled out dough

Sprinkle the apple and almonds on top

Roll the dough into a log, and cut into 8 even segments

Put each segment into greased baking tins.

Put into the oven, and turn the oven off. Leave in rolls there for 20 minutes.

Turn the oven to 200C and bake for 20 mins

xx

Clare

Pancakes: Breakfast with me!

Hands down my favourite breakfast is pancakes (scrambled eggs & avo on toast comes pretty close).

There’s nothing better than soft, fluffy pancakes, complemented by a tower of delicious toppings to start the day.

This morning I woke up with a burning desire for pancakes, and I was lucky enough to have all the ingredients I needed in the fridge.

I like to mix up my pancake toppings: it’s usually a compilation of nut butter (I think I’m addicted to Mayver’s peanut butter), fresh & frozen fruits, maple syrup, chia seeds, coconut yogurt, dried fruit & nuts, or regular vanilla yogurt.

Snapseed 3

Today I went with frozen blueberries and a very thick drizzle of peanut butter to go with my pancakes. For the pancakes themselves I blended together 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup oats, 1 banana, 1 tbsp chia seeds, and a pinch of cinnamon and salt.

I thought I’d take this opportunity to address the controversy around almond milk. If you are interested in the alternatives to cow’s milk (note: I still drink cows milk, I just prefer almond milk), you have probably heard whispers about almond milk being part of a fad health craze, and that it isn’t actually good for you. Because this stuff interests me (a lot more than others haha) I investigated almond milk, and whilst it does have far less protein and calcium than soy milk and cows milk, it is a great option if you are looking for something lighter to go with a protein dense meal (such as peanut butter drenched pancakes hehe).

Snapseed 4

This was the final product: my incredibly tasty breakfast this morning, that I already want to make again. Please also enjoy the finger painted plate I crafted when I was four years old.

Hope you have a lovely Friday leading into an even better weekend. I’ve got lots planned – this one’s meant to be sunny in Sydney!! Stay tuned for more recipes and adventures 🙂

xx

Clare

New Brunch Spots and Health Shots

Thankfully its been warm, sunny weather in Sydney, and as we FINALLY turn into Summer and Uni has finished, I’ve been trying to catch up with all my friends whenever I can around work. For some reason (I’m not complaining) the most convenient thing has been brunch.

I’ve been dotting around Sydney trying some good (and not so good) places. There are a couple I would highly recommend.

Flowerchild is a sweet little cafe in both Brookvale and Chatswood and I’ve managed to go to both in the past fortnight. It’s has a dainty and graceful vibe serving up platters that look more like works of art than meals.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Flowerchild Brookvale – The vegan bowl: falafel, quinoa, sweet potato, avocado, tomato, almonds, spiced chickpeas, sesame seeds, tahini dressing. Across from me – 12 hour slow braised lamb shoulder.

I’ve also been having the weirdest scone cravings lately – so I hit up The Tea Cosy in the (iconic) Rocks, where we indulged in cheesy scones with smoked salmon, sour cream and chives, alongside some classic scones with strawberry jam, thick cream and Nanna’s Apple Pie Tea (a fruity, warming black tea that reminded me of  Xmas Markets).

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

I also tried out Momo Bar in Manly (pictured below) who started the Poké trend in Sydney. I have also had incredible brunches (i.e. A LOT of smashed avo on toast) at Laneway, The North Spoon, Wild Sage and The Bellagio Cafe.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Momo Bar Manly – Tiki Bowl: edamame, cabbage, seaweed, ginger, onion, carrot and fried shallots, with roasted sesame sauce.

Another thing I’ve caught onto lately is the health shot trend. What’s the purpose you ask? They are meant to prevent you from low immune, and at first I was a little skeptical.

However, after looking into them it actually makes a lot of sense – it’s a little shot packed with all the good-immune-boosting stuff.

I’ve been making my own health shots to accompany morning tea (note: they are incredibly bitter/sour/off-putting and you will need a palette cleansing chaser). I throw kale, mixed leafy greens, water, turmeric, and chia seeds into the blender and down that with a banana (the chaser).

If you’re struggling with low immune, or just want to get all your daily nutrients in one go, it’s something I would definitely try!

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Today is my day off and I’m going to do the last of my Christmas shopping. I’ve already dropped $500 on presents this December, and I still have some bits and pieces I want to pick up. Looks like another expensive day, but it’ll all be worth it when Dec 25th rocks round.

Australia voted YES! Rainbow pizza & pancakes for marriage equality.

Although I’m not a member of the LGBT community, I believe in equal rights, and so, hearing that 61.6% of Australians had voted “YES” in the recent postal vote (legalising gay marriage) was overwhelmingly exciting.

Naturally, I decided to draw inspiration from the rainbow flag which represents the LGBT movement, and make rainbow pizza and pancakes to celebrate.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

If you want to make eye-catching (and extremely delicious) rainbow meals, read on.

Rainbow Pancakes (makes 15)

We’ll start with the pancakes – since they are the simplest (and because everyone wishes dessert would come first).  These are the perfect breakfast or lunch (or dinner??) recipe, and I used a simple pancake shake mix to make it all happen even quicker.

You will need food dye, pancake mix, vanilla essence, fruit (to garnish) and butter for greasing.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Start by working off the pancakes you’re about to eat, and shake the pancake mix like crazy as per its instructions. Once it’s ready, add 1 tsp of vanilla essence to the mixture (gives it a delightfully sweet tang) and pour 65g of the mixture into 6 different bowls. Add the food dye as follows:

Red – 8 drops red dye

Orange – 2 drops red, 4 yellow

Yellow – 5 drops yellow

Green – 5 drops green

Blue – 5 drops blue

Purple – 3 drops red, 1 blue

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Then, cook up a storm, and cook the pancakes over a medium heat in a frying pan. Tip: make sure you add butter to pan between each pancake so they don’t stick and burn (and earn a lovely, buttery aftertaste).

Voila! Garnish with berries.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

I also tried making one large, multi-coloured pancake with the left over mixture. It looked a little funky, but was too yummy to turn away.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Rainbow Pizza (makes 8 pieces)

I like it simple (and I want my food ASAP) so I decided to go with store bought pizza bases. If you can get them I recommend Bazaar Gourmet Pizza bases.

You will need:

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

  • 1 Pizza Base
  • Tomato Paste
  • Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (you can use light mozzarella if you want something healthier)
  • Colourful Veggies, my suggestions:
    • Red – Red Pepper (Capsicum) & Red cherry tomatoes
    • Orange – Carrot
    • Yellow – Yellow cherry tomatoes, Sweet corn
    • Green – Broccolini, Snow peas
    • Purple – Red onion, Cabbage (I didn’t end up using the cabbage)

First, after heating the oven to 220˚C, smear the base with tomato paste and sprinkle the cheese on top – this is different to normal pizza recipes; the cheese needs to be put on first so the veggies stick but you can still see their beautiful colours.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Then, chop up all the veggies and place them on the pizza in a rainbow fashion.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Cook for 10 minutes and your pizza is ready!

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

These recipes were so tasty, and incredibly fun to make. Let me know if you try it out, or have any other rainbow recipes 🙂

xx

 

Screen Shot 2017-11-22 at 6.34.03 pm
I couldn’t choose just one colour for this post. 

 

A salad to suit the season?

Reading over and editing this post I realised how many times I used the word Spring. It starts to sound funny if you say it too many times, but unfortunately Oxford dictionary doesn’t have any good alternatives.

***

We’re getting to the end of Spring over here in Australia, and although I’m excited about the beachy, holidaying climate that summer is bringing, it’s sad to see those cool, breezy Spring days go.

Because Spring is the season before Summer, here in the Southern Hemisphere, its the time every gym membership goes on sale, Halloween stashes quickly get thrown out, and green smoothies and salads are glorified.

The idea of munching on a bowl of bitter green leaves drizzled with vinaigrette sounds highly unappetizing to me, but I am reminding myself not to be too cynical about salads – with the right ingredients they can taste great, and they do have numerous health benefits.

So this Spring I worked with some of my favourite ingredients to create the perfect Spring salad.

You will need:

  • 1 medium common tomato
  • 135g tinned salmon
  • Mixed green lettuce leaves
  • Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • Heaped tsp of dried chia seeds
  • 100g chopped canned beetroot
  • 50g avocado

Cost: approximately AUD $10   Calories: 380

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Perfect! xx

A café that only sells salads??? My verdict.

When mum said she wanted to take me out to a salad restaurant I immediately started devising ways I could politely decline.

The salads on restaurant menus are usually comprised of three basic ingredients (some dressing if you’re lucky), and its always the choice that makes everyone else at the table feel uncomfortable.

Greenhouse Asian Salads has just opened in Sydney and offers a range of exotic salads, which experiment with multiple ingredients such as green tea noodles, chicken wontons, green papaya, white sesame and more. For some reason, reading the menu, every single option seemed to have a mix of flavours that sounded absolutely mouth-watering.

I felt like being vegetarian for the day (since I’ve been on a bit of a meat-craze lately), and opted for the Green House #1, a vegan salad with tofu, green tea noodle, avocado, cucumber, carrot, red radish, cashews and sesame seeds. However, what really made it wonderful was the coconut soy dressing. This tied the whole dish together with a sweet tang that left me wanting more.

Mum went for the Naughty Tuna, which I tried (okay, maybe I wasn’t 100% vegetarian), and it was delicious – a mix of tuna, green tea noodles, edamame soybeans and cashews with wasabi dressing.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Unexpectedly (I will admit) this café trumped a lot of dining places I’ve been to this year, many of which have menus that offer a range of wonderfully diverse dishes.

So, I’ll take back all my salad prejudices and highly recommend this very green, very healthy and VERY yummy lunch destination.

Let me know if you try it out!

xx

My New Acai Bowl Recipe

Acai Bowls have been a craze in Sydney for the past year or so, with so many acai-focused places popping up that I now have a mental list of spots for the best bowls in the city (check out Bare Naked Bowls and The Fruitologist).

But, every now and again (usually when the bank balance is looking sheepish) I make a cheap, easy, TASTY, homemade acai bowl for breakfast or lunch.

Most of the ingredients are inexpensive and can be picked up at your local Supermarket, but the problem comes down to sourcing the actual acai powder. For some reason every brand wants to charge exorbitant prices for a tiny bag of acai (probably because the acai berry can only be found in Brazil).

My hack is the Creative Gourmet Organic Acai Puree (only $8!!).

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

It contains little individual packets of acai puree that you can add to your acai bowl.

For my recipe you will need:

  1. 1 x Creative Gourmet Organic Acai Puree pack
  2. 20g Smooth Peanut Butter (Mayver’s is my hands down favourite)
  3. 50g frozen strawberries
  4. 50g frozen blueberries
  5. 1/2 cup water
  6. 1 medium banana
  7. Dried Chia seeds & Shredded Coconut to garnish

Approximately 340 calories. Time: 10 minutes

Method:

  1. Blend the acai packet, water and frozen berries together until a thick smoothie consistency is formed.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

2. Pour blended mixture into a bowl.

3. Chop up the banana and place on top, then weigh out 20g of peanut butter.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

4. Sprinkle the chia seeds and shredded coconut on top (tasty added health benefits).

Mmmm!

My Delicious Detox Smoothie

Mmm some mornings all I feel like is a smoothie when I wake up.

Below is my recipe for a quick, healthy and FILLING smoothie for breakfast. This thing literally keeps me full until lunch, and I’ve made sure I packed it full of ingredients with wonderful health benefits.

You will need:

  • 1 cup spinach – high in protein, fiber, vitamins.
  • 1 tsp turmeric – contains curcumin which increases your immune.
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (or water) – rich in protein and calcium.
  • 1/2 cup blueberries – antioxidants combat ageing and boost cognition.
  • 1/2 cup strawberries – source of manganese and potassium.
  • Ice
  • 1/2 banana – great for your daily intake of vitamin B6 and B12, as well as magnesium and potassium.
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds – loaded with nutrients for hardly any calories.
  • 1 tbsp greek yogurt – makes you feel full and has great probiotics.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Blend them all together…

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Enjoy!

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

xx

If you have any good smoothie recipes please share them with me! I’d love to try them.

Banana and Almond Muffins? Yes pleaaassee | Recipe

You know when you have that sudden craving to bake? Well I experienced this at about 11pm last night and I just had to go with it.

I usually head straight for the cacao and medjool dates to make something super chocolatey-infused, gooey and sweet, but for some reason today my eye caught the two overripe bananas that were sitting on the kitchen ledge.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

So, I preheated the oven to 180˚C and gathered together what I could find in the pantry for my filling banana and almond muffins. These can be made vegan and are gluten free.

I found:

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Sprinkle of salt

Wet Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs (use an egg replacer for the vegan option)
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tbsp almond milk (or any milk of your choosing)

I just popped the dry ingredients into a blender, whisked them together (make sure the oats are ground into a fine powder) and poured them into a bowl. Then I blended the wet ingredients together to form a runny mixture, which I combined in the bowl with the dry ingredients.

Next I mixed all the ingredients together in the bowl, and placed about 2 heaped spoonfuls of mixture into 8 lined cupcake tins. All they needed was around 30 minutes in the oven (check with a skewer – no mixture residue should be on it when you poke it through the middle of a muffin), and they were done. Voila!

xx

Nutritional Breakdown (per serve):

  • 137 calories/572 kilojoules
  • 5.0g Protein
  • 8.5g Fat (0.8g Saturated)
  • 9.0g Carbs
  • 43mg Sodium