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Spiced Mandarin Cake and a huge chocolate giveaway

mandarin cake 1 copy

Also known as clementines, mandarins are a little understated in the citrus world I think. They’re not as big and impressive as an orange, not as glam as a grapefruit, and are without the universal appeal and appreciation that lemon and limes attract. But, the humble mandarin has a load of great qualities. Delicious. Portable. Easy to eat – I mean it’s like mother nature has pre-sliced this little delight for us and wrapped it in a gorgeous orange coat. Did I mention delicious? They also bring a little more excitement as a flavour than traditional orange.

The fact that they are in season right now (in Australia) is no accident. Mandarins are loaded with vitamin C and vitamin A. These two vitamins are major contributors to our immune system, improving our general immunity and also helping to reduce the severity and duration of colds. They also have a lovely amount of fibre, helping to keep our digestive system happy.

Mandarins are a delicious and slightly unexpected flavour in cooking and baking. I was super excited to come across a recipe for mandarin cake by the goddess herself Nigella Lawson, which I have adapted to make this lovely rendition. It’s gluten free, dairy free and gorgeously moist. It would work just as nicely with oranges if you prefer. I have also used some of Loving Earth’s chocolate to top this off. And because it is so wonderful and I love you all so much, after the recipe below I will let you know how you can win an entire box of 11 bars of their gorgeous raw, organic, fair-trade chocolate – wooo! Thank you Loving Earth for your generosity. And delicious chocolate!

Mandarin cake 2

Spiced Mandarin Cake with Super Simple Icing

3 large or 5 small mandarins (around 350g)

6 free range …

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Easy Blueberry Coconut Mini-Muffins

blueberry mini muffins

Everyone loves a baked good, right? I love baking, but even if that’s not your bag, you have to admit it’s lovely to have some sort of deliciousness on the go to ready to offer up when someone fabulous comes to visit. I have to tell you, the worst part for me is the clean up. Anything that requires me to get out the mix master or food processor needs that little extra motivation for the tidy at the end because in my head, they are more painful to clean than a bowl. I’m a sook, I know.

That’s just one of the reasons I love these muffins. No fancy mixers required. Just two bowls, a spoon, and a few ingredients that you’ll hopefully have in stock. Winning! The other reason I love them is that they are full of goodness in the form of whole grains, fibre and healthy fats. These delicious mini-muffins are perfect for a snack, for school lunch boxes, and they are completely rad with a cup of tea. You can easily make them as full sized muffins, you will just need to cook them longer. Also, feel free to swap out the blueberries for any other berry or fruit that you love.

bueberry mini muffins 1

Easy Blueberry Coconut Mini-Muffins

Wheat free, dairy free, vegan

2 cups spelt flour

½ cup desiccated coconut

½ cup rolled oats

½ tsp baking soda

1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1/3 – ½ cup coconut milk

1/3 cup coconut oil, macadamia oil, or butter

1/3 cup maple syrup

2 tbsp tahini or nut butter

½ tsp pure vanilla essence

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries


Preheat oven to 180 degrees (350F).

Combine the spelt flour, coconut, oats and baking soda in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, add the orange juice, …

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Roasted Pumpkin & Walnut Soup with Salsa Verde and Halloumi Croutons

pumpkin walnut soup 1

Halloumi croutons! That’s all I really need to say, isn’t it? No, but the best part is that the actual soup is completely delicious! Sweet and creamy with the nuttiness of the walnuts shining through – yum! And for those not yet acquainted with the goddess halloumi, she is a salty, super delicious cheese made traditionally from mostly sheep and some goat’s milk, and hailing from Cyprus. Because of it’s high melting point, halloumi is often cooked or grilled, only adding to it’s wonderful-ness.

But back to soup. I love soup. I love that you can make it out of whatever you have on hand, that you can inject so much nutrition into it, and that it is so comforting to enjoy. And you don’t even need teeth, ha ha! Actually with my soups, teeth are required, because I’m all about exciting toppings and side bits that make the soup a bit special.

I’ve added walnuts into this soup, not just for their flavour profile, but for their protein and omega 3 goodness! I like to add them at the very end as specified in the recipe, to protect the delicate oils within the nuts from oxidation with too much heat.

pumpkin walnut soup

Roasted Pumpkin and Walnut Soup with Salsa Verde and Halloumi Croutons

Serves 2, or one hungry person

1/2 cup raw, unsalted walnuts

3 cups peeled and chopped pumpkin, I like butternut

1/2 brown onion, peeled and diced

2 cups vegetable stock or broth

100g halloumi

For the salsa:

1 cup, tightly packed of herbs, roughly chopped – I used a mixture of coriander, mint and parsley

1 small garlic clove, peeled

1 tbs lemon juice

1/4 cup olive oil

A good pinch of sea salt

Preheat oven to 180C / 350F

Pop the walnuts in a bowl and cover …

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A Super Salad and a Special Treat

Super Salad with chilli lime dressing

Happy March everyone! Actually, it’s almost April isn’t it, and I have no idea how that happened. I’m even more bewildered that it’s almost Easter, but at the same time I’m very happy to see some sourdough hot cross buns popping up in my favourite bakeries – delicious!

I haven’t posted in a little while, mainly because I have been busying away working on some really fun projects. One of them has been designing a wholefood menu for Ocean Soul Retreat, a surf, yoga and wellness retreat for women set in Bali. It’s been a huge job, but now that it’s done it is so very wonderful to think that the lucky guests will be enjoying delicious, balanced, real food meals and snacks while they surf and yoga their stresses away. Fresh and fragrant curries, zesty salads, nourishing snacks and luscious wholefood desserts. Yum!

Plus they get to stay in a place that looks like this:ocean soul accom

Mmmm, looks terrible doesn’t it?

So, in addition to sharing one of my favourite recipes from the retreat menu with you today, I also have the pleasure of passing on a little something something. If, by chance, any of you are feeling the need for a little R & R and this is ticking your boxes, head over to the Ocean Soul Retreat website for some more information. If you choose to book a retreat, make sure you enter ‘My Wholefood Romance’ as the promo code when booking and you will receive $250 off your package – awesome!

But on to this sensational salad. I tried something along the lines of this salad at one of my favourite cafes in Melbourne, and knew I wanted to recreate a version for this retreat. It’s fresh, spicy, full of interesting textures, and it tastes delicious. …

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Meg Thompson

Naturopath & Holistic Nutritionist
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