November 23, 2014

Gluten-free Vanilla Cupcakes (with Coconut Flour)

A basic sweet cupcake recipe is essential to any bakers repertoire. For those bakers who like a healthy twist on their sweets, this is the type of vanilla cupcake that you will want to make, satisfying vegan and gluten/dairy free requirements. You could also swap the honey for stevia if you wanted to create a lower sugar cake.

Vanilla Cupcakes


  • 1/2 cup sitfted coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil or butter (melted)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine all the dry in ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well (a hand mixer works great).
  4. Divide batter among 8 cupcakes.
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  6. Cool and then frost.

*Store in a airtight container at room temperature for a few days or in the fridge for about a week.

Vanilla Frosting:

1/2 cup low-fat cream cheese or tofu cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup stevia
1 tsp. vanilla

Chocolate Frosting:

1/2 cup butter or vegan butter, softened
1/4 cup stevia icing sugar mixture
2 Tbsp. cocoa

For both icings, whip together all ingredients with an electric mixer until smooth.

November 20, 2014

That Sugar Film - A Doco on One Man's 60-day Sugar Experiment

There is no question of the over consumption of sugar to be bad for your health. To think that type-2 diabetes (which is directly linked to poor diet) kills someone every six seconds around the world, it is no wonder that doctors are closely examining what we eat.

Move over saturated fat as sugar is now demonized as the old dreaded 'fats' once were. Books on eliminating sugar from your diet have repeatedly hit the best sellers' list in the past 18 months.

It's not just confectionary items that give you a sugar overload. With 80% of processed foods containing sugar including many perceived 'healthy' foods, some people are unwittingly consuming much more of the sweet stuff than they may realize. Cereals, yoghurt, muesli bars and sauces are all culprits for loading up your sugar dose, quite often those labelled 'low-fat' or '97% fat-free'.

With a onslaught of 'healthy eating' practices bombarding the public it is no wonder we are confused. Paleo eaters boast the benefits of eating meat, giving up sugar entails bumping up your fat intake and new research tells us meat shouldn't be eaten regularly for good health. Each piece often seems to contradict one another and after sugar got beaten around in the media, health experts started to tell us not to quit sugar as your body needs it for clean fuel. You can't blame the public for throwing in the towel.

Personally quitting sugar has worked for me. I lost weight easily and realized how much sugar I had unknowingly been eating with my breakfast cereals, love for honey toast, sugary yoghurt snacks and afterwork cocktails. I never thought to think about what it was doing to my body until I stopped eating it and gained much more energy, mood stability and maintain a weight 6 - 7 kilos lighter than when I ate more sugar.

Australian TV actor and filmmaker Damon Gameau set about to do the reverse of my lifestyle change and revert back to eating sugar in a seemingly 'healthy way' for 60 days. His journey is documented in 'That Sugar Film' where Damon completely changes his health in a mere few months. The shocking results on his mental and physical wellbeing were staggering. Within a few weeks he had the beginning of fatty liver disease, he felt on edge and was terribly tired. Damon had gained 10cm of visceral fat around his waist and was informed he was on the fast-track to obesity.

“I had no soft drink, chocolate, ice cream or confectionery,” Damon told Australian program 'Sunrise'. “All the sugars that I was eating were found in perceived healthy foods, so low-fat yoghurts and muesli bars and cereals and fruit juices, sports drinks ... these kind of things that often parents would give their kids thinking they’re doing the right thing.”

A typical breakfast for Damon would have low-fat yoghurt, cereal and apple juice containing 20 teaspoons of sugar (where 4 grams of sugar relates to one teaspoon of sugar). He believes many people don't realize they are consuming so much sugar and that labeling in ambiguous and misleading.


  • Raisin toast (4 teaspoons per slice)
  • 250ml popular liquid breakfast drink (4 teaspoons)
  • 250ml bottle of multi-vitamin juice (6 teaspoons)
  • Iced tea (8 teaspoons)
  • Powerade (8 teaspoons of sugar)
  • 400ml apple juice (10 teaspoons)
  • A serve of low fat yoghurt (11 teaspoons)
  • A low-fat strawberry standard size smoothie (18 teaspoons)

I am looking forward to seeing this documentary when it is released in March 2015.

November 04, 2014

ricotta pikelets with figs and honey

ricotta pikelets with figs and honey 

This recipe is super simple, fresh and healthy. Ricotta is a yummy low-fat soft cheese that is mild in flavour and creates light and fluffy pikelets. To me, combining cinnamon and honey at breakfast time is one of life's little pleasures and this always makes my morning a little more special. Treat your guests to a home-cooked pikelet feast or make this treat just for yourself.


  • 3/4 cup wholemeal spelt flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, plus extra, to serve
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g extra light ricotta, plus extra to serve
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk or almond milk
  • 2 tbls honey
  • spray oil, for cooking
  • 6 figs, quartered, to serve
  • honey, for drizzling, to serve


  1. Sift flour, baking powder and cinnamon together into a large bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and ricotta together until smooth. Whisk in milk and honey, then combine with dry ingredients. 
  3. Heat a heavy based non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Lightly grease the pan using the spray oil. Add ¼ cup of batter and cook until golden brown on the underside, 1-2 minutes. Turn over and cook until just cooked through. Repeat with remaining batter.
  4. Stack up piklets on serving plates. Top with a spoonful of ricotta, a sprinkle of cinnamon, a generous pile of figs and finish with a drizzle of honey.