Gazpacho with a (watermelon) twist

Watermelon gazpacho served on a hot Spanish summer's day

This is the story of how a Polish girl taught an Australian girl how to make a traditional Spanish soup, while an Argentine girl played guitar. Probably the most international lunch I’ve ever hosted!

On the menu was gazpacho, a chilled tomato soup that has long been popular here in Spain, especially during the searing summer months when the mid-afternoon sun bakes city pavements bare of people. It’s remarkable just how refreshing and cooling a big arvo bowl of gazpacho can be.

I freaking luuuuuuurve the stuff. Yet, despite having lived in Spain for more than a year, I’d never actually tried making my own. Until last week when, as the temperature climbed above 30 degrees, I was spurred into action by my Polish friend, Asia, who sung the praises of her cooling gazpacho with a fruity twist: watermelon. Continue Reading →

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Natural homemade laundry detergent powder

Homemade laundry powder2

For a long time now I’ve been wanting to swap out store-bought laundry detergents and make my own all-natural washing powder, as part of a gradual shift toward making my home totally chemical-free. I just kept putting it off because I thought it would be difficult, both to find a good recipe and then to make it.

Turns out I was wrong on both counts.

A few weeks back I fiiiiiinally bit the bullet and I couldn’t be happier with the results. I’ve tested this particular powder with all types of fabrics and colours and everything has emerged in perfect condition and squeaky clean.

What’s more, the powder is unbelievably easy to make and the ingredients are so cheap. Continue Reading →

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Ginger, cumin, carrot and split pea soup

Ginger, cumin, carrot soup

I’ve never been one to handle the cold well. I joke and tell people I’m just like a frog - I must get my warmth from the environment around me. If there is no external heat to be found, I’m like a walking ice cube. So it kinda makes sense why, when winter rolls around, I fall in love with soup. That and it’s super quick and super cheap to make.

This particular soup is no exception.

We all know that chili can warm you up but did you know that ginger and cumin also have warming properties? If the cold is getting you down, try adding some ginger to a hot cup of lemon water or into your morning smoothie. Instant warmth from the inside out, guaranteed.

Or you can just make this soup which is just as delicious as it is warming. Continue Reading →

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How to make fabric jam jar covers

How to make fabric jam jar covers

When we were kids our parents, king and queen of thriftiness before being thrifty was in fashion, would squirrel away summer fruits by preserving, saucing, jamming and drying so in winter we could still experience the sweet taste of summer. I have fond memories of eating crunchy toast on cold winter mornings and warm bread and butter pudding in the evenings, both spread thick with my Mum’s apricot jam.

This time last year, the lovely Robyn from Bespoke magazine contacted us and asked if we’d like to feature an article in their winter edition. I decided this would be the perfect time to learn how to make my Mum’s jam and create a crafty DIY to decorate the jars using my newly acquired sewing skills. I’m so excited to now be able to share the recipe and DIY with you here. Continue Reading →

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Calming camomile flower cookies

Camomile cookies with a cup of tea

A few weeks back I stumbled across a huge bag of dried camomile flowers while fossicking in my local markets here in Alicante. I was enchanted by their beautiful muted yellows and cream hues and the price was right (about $3.50) so I snapped up the packet and began experimenting with natural ways to chill the heck out and reduce my stress levels when life gets chaotic.

Because camomile is well-known for its calming, soothing and relaxing effect. It can help you nod off to sleep and apparently can even help relieve sore muscles or tummy aches. Continue Reading →

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Sweet potato cinnamon soup

Sweet potato cinnamon soup

Winter time for me is all about soup. I love buying a heap of fresh, organic veges, throwing them into a huge pot with loads of spices and letting it simmer away, filling my house with warmth and fragrance. Yummy!

I’ve been playing a lot with ingredient combinations recently and one of my favourites at the moment is sweet potato and cinnamon, both of which are the lead acts in this particular soup. I haven’t used any vegetable stock and only a little salt for flavouring. This lets the sweet potato and cinnamon combo truly sing. Your whole kitchen will be filled with earthy, cinnamon goodness as the soup bubbles away. Mmmmmm. Continue Reading →

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Mini smashed-berry vegan cheesecakes

Mini vegan cheesecakes

I stumbled across a delicious sounding recipe on the back of a pineapple can just recently. The problem was that recipe was neither healthy nor vegan… that sounded like a challenge to me.

So to the kitchen I went and, with Fleetwood Mac turned up as high as it would go, I found mini vegan cheesecake heaven (and a few new dance moves too).

I’ve used almonds, oats, dates and coconut oil to create the buttery biscuit base – no sugary nasties here. The cheesecake topping gets it’s creaminess from blended cashews, coconut milk and lemon. Did you know that lemon juice and coconut milk love each other? The lemon enhances the creaminess of the coconut giving a surprisingly rich, full flavour. Try it in a smoothie some time – you won’t regret it.

I’ve added only a little pure maple syrup for sweetness. It’s safe to say these are pretty much a guilt-free dessert. Unless you eat six of them in a row, which I may or may not have done.

I reckon these would taste just as great without the berries or you could try some other combinations like passionfruit and mint or strawberry and peanut butter. I have visions of a chocolate version making an appearance here really soon. Continue Reading →

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Sweet potato falafels with tahini sauce from Jenné’s 21-Day Vegan Blueprint

Sweet potato falafel balls with tahini sauce

Confession time. Adventurous cooking is not really our forte. We tend to continually use the same ingredients in different ways and have some staple recipes we go back to again and again because they are quick, cheap, nutritious and fool proof.

So when New York chef and health coach extraordinaire Jenné Claiborne approached us with an offer to trial her 21-Day Vegan Blueprint program, we couldn’t say yes quick enough. We jumped at the chance to taste-test new recipes invented by one of the best vegan food bloggers around.

We weren’t disappointed.

Just for you, Jenné has let us share one of our favourite recipes from her Vegan Blueprint: scrummy sweet potato falafels balls with a tangy tahini sauce. The recipe is below but before we get to that, let’s take a closer look at her program. Continue Reading →

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Quinoa-stuffed roasted capsicums

Quinoa-stuffed roasted capsicums

Spanish cuisine can sometimes be a little hostile towards those who choose to eat sans meat. Countless dishes come stuffed with jamón, tuna is apparently considered a vegetable, and declaring oneself a vegetarian is likely to evoke looks of pity from locals.

I’d lived here three months before meeting a single Spanish vegetarian – and as luck would have it, I met two more in the same week. Naturally I’ve been busily raiding their recipe books ever since, hunting for excellent meals that I can pinch and present to you here.

This amazing roasted capsicum offering comes care of Francisco, known to us as Fran, from the Mediterranean coastal city of Alicante. Continue Reading →

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