Tag Archives: recipe

Wholefood Salt Caramel Slice ; Simply to die for, plus a Pureharvest giveaway

11 Sep

whole food salt caramel sliceWhen I was asked if I would be interested in receiving a hamper of goodies from Pureharvest I was pretty keen. Although not traditionally a super, mega organics shopper you know I am very aware of what I feed the family, and besides I’m not one to look an organic gift horse in the mouth when it comes to products I’m actually keen to sample.

In my pantry I already stock the Pureharvest Rice Malt Syrup as it’s a low GI, complex carbohydrate blend of glucose and maltose used as a sugar alternative. I like to mix up my sweeteners and Rice Malt Syrup is considered one of the gooduns.

The argument about fructose versus glucose is a valid debate, but I’m not going to be entering into it today. Partly because I’m not that sugar-free chick and partly because I have cracked a ‘healthy’ version of a caramel slice that’s to die for and I can’t wait to tell you that instead.

I’m just going to give you a disclaimer –


Now, where were we?


whole food salt caramel sliceI met founder, Don Lazarro, at ProBlogger and he told a story of how back in the late ’70s he had a health food store that sold mostly dried legumes and seeds.

In the early ’80s Don took a punt and bought 1000L of soy milk into Australia on a big, heavy pallet to try to sell in his shop. He had no idea if it would fly, but he thought a non-dairy milk alternative was a good idea.

It was better than a good idea. It was bloody brilliant.

I’m not a fan of soy milk for loads of reasons but I’ll tell you what- Pureharvest have cracked almond milk, rice milk and Coco Quench milk. I’ve been experimenting with them in my cooking – oatcakes, French toast, scrambled eggs have all had the Pureharvest treatment and I reckon it definitely adds something good. Nuttiness? Earthiness?

D Man has gone nuts for the CocoQuench on his cereal. It’s a cross between rice milk (made from brown rice) and coconut milk. Seriously bloody yummy with great nutritional benefits.

Late the other night I made a Coco Quench hot chocolate with organic cocoa, sweetened with rice malt syrup as an experiment. I went one step further and chucked in 2 marshmallows and a fat slug of whiskey. Not sure if that’s what Pureharvest had in mind however it rocked my socks.

Will I completely switch from cow’s to these alternatives?

No. But having options and mixing it up is something I love. Options.

Anyhoo, I’ve been ploughing my way through their products but I wanted to make a little something amazing as I do see a great trend towards gluten free, dairy free, sugar stuff…. don’t screw your face up, it can be even yummier than traditional baking. Give this a shot and tell me it’s not ALL THAT.

whole food salt caramel slice

What you will need : 

For base – 

  • 2 cups pitted dates
  • 1 cup unsalted roasted cashews
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 2 heaped tablespoons cacao (or cocoa powder if that’s what you have)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice bran syrup
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 270ml tin coconut cream (I like Ayam brand as it’s pure)

For salt caramel – 

  • 140 ml coconut milk
  • 2.5 tablespoons rice malt syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • a big pinch of salt

For top – 

  • 2 squares of Lindt dark salt chocolate

What you will need to do :

Line a tin, I used 25 x 15, with baking paper.

Stick all of your ingredients for the base into a food processor and wazz it until it starts to stick together and clump.

Tip into your tray and press down with your fingers so it’s nice and even and then pop it in the fridge.

whole food salt caramel slicePop your ingredients for salt caramel into a saucepan on medium heat and bring to boil. Leave at a medium boil keeping an eye on it until it reduces, thickens and darkens to a rich caramel colour. About 20 mins.

whole food salt caramel slicePour immediately onto your chilled base, spreading it evenly, and using a microplane or the finest grater you can grate the salt chocolate over the top whilst it’s still hot and it will melt on contact.

whole food salt caramel sliceEnsure an even coverage and pop back into the fridge for an hour or so until all cooled.

Cut into pieces as large as you wish. It’s fairly rich so you don’t need much.

whole food salt caramel slice


Would you like some of this Pureharvest goodness for your very own?

They have offered for me to give one of my peeps a generous hamper like my own if you can just name this slice.

Gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, no bake salt caramel slice is a bit of a mouthful in more ways than one.

Leave a comment on my Facebook page or right here to go in the running. Winner will be announced Wednesday 17th September.




Cook Once, Feed All COVER_lr

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. Hailed by Mouths of Mums as the ‘must have recipe book for all families’, this book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.

To order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All head to the Holsby Shop right now.

If you like what you’re reading why not like my Facebook page now or subscribe via email, to be sure to always keep up with the Holsbys.








Supermarket mayhem and spelt hot cross buns

22 Mar

spelt hot cross bun ingredientsPeople with no children really don’t understand the pain that is grocery shopping with children.

They cruise blissfully up and down the aisles, maybe gently comparing products, reading labels and chatting on their phone. Parking their damned trolley in the middle of everything as they dawdle.

Every time I enter the supermarket with my two kids I feel like I’m on an episode of It’s a Knockout, or maybe one of those wacky Japanese game shows where a massive flesh eating lizard will bite your arse if you’re too slow.

I wish I was more organised and a meal planning type person but I’m not. I never know what I want to eat three days in advance so I end up spending a lot of time at the supermarket. I’m there at least three times a week on average.

The staff at my local know us by name, and I often ponder the fact that I’m there more regularly than them.

They’ve helped me find my lost children, watched me lose my shit, seen me forget my wallet after scanning a trolley load, and watched D Man ride the Guide Dog Association dog wearing Raybans and a smile.

I’m finding the usual mayhem has doubled or tripled now that there are shiny wrapped Easter eggs lurking down every aisle just waiting for chubby hands to knock over the display.

Which is imminent, no doubt.

spelt hot cross bun dough provingAnd will be as embarrassing as the penis in the meat department, I’m sure.

As patient and lovely as my local supermarket may be, I do have one complaint about them.

They don’t make great hot cross buns….. in fact, they don’t actually bake any on site, and by the time I get to the measly table stocking them there are only fruitless or chocolate chips ones left.

spelt hot cross bun makeshift piping bagFruitless hot cross buns are not the real deal, and neither, my friends, are chocolate chip.

However, if you’re looking for real deal hot cross buns, these are the shizzle.

They’re a little heavier than the traditional, you could use plain flour if you wanted, but we just fell in love with them and I’ll make these babies all year long.

Easter Schmeaster.

spelt cranberry hot cross bunsWhat you will need : 

    • 2 1/2  cups wholemeal spelt flour
    • 2 1/2 cups plain spelt flour
    • 1/4 cup caster sugar
    • 2 teaspoons yeast
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1 teaspoon allspice
    • a few grinds of black pepper
    • 1 1/2  cups sultanas
    • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
    • finely grated zest of one orange
    • 1 egg

300ml milk

  • 100g butter

For the glaze :

  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

What you will need to do :

Set aside 3 tablespoons of plain spelt flour to make your crosses with and combine the rest in a large bowl with your wholemeal flour. Give it a quick whisk to get any lumps out.

Combine with fruit, sugar, yeast, spices, salt and orange zest. Stir through.

Pop your chopped up butter and milk on the stove and warm gently until the butter has melted. You only want your milk to be just above luke warm, not hot.

Make a well in your flour mix, crack in your egg and add your milk and give it a good stir to mix together.

Turn it out onto a well floured surface and knead, baby, knead, until it’s nice and smooth. Probably looking at no less than 7-10 minutes.

Lightly oil and clean bowl and put your dough in and cover with a clean tea towel and place somewhere warm for 40 minutes or until about double in size.

Knock it back and knead again, then cut into 12 equal pieces and shape into balls. Place them into an oiled square baking tray and cover again, leaving for a further 40 minutes. Once more they should about double in size.

Preheat oven to 220C.

Mix remaining flour with 1/4 water and make a smooth paste. Using a piping bag with tiny nozzle or a sandwich bag with the corner cut out pipe on your crosses. Mine were a bit manly but rustic is good.

Pop into oven for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 200C and bake for a further 10-15 minutes until golden brown. They should sound hollow when tapped.

To make your glaze combine the sugar, spices and 1/4 cup of water and stick onto a medium heat in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and leave to simmer for 1-2 minutes, not stirring. Brush glaze over buns straight from oven.

spelt cranberry hot cross bunsThese are best eaten the day they’re made with lashing of butter. The following day they’re great toasted, and the day after that……

Italian Bread and Butter Pudding. The recipe for the pudding is in my book, not on the blog.

If you have the book, check it out, if you don’t…. what are you doing???

Cook Once, Feed All COVER_lr

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. Hailed by Mouths of Mums as the ‘must have recipe book for all families’, this book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.

To order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All head to the Holsby Shop right now and receive both the hard copy, and the ebook, plus my new mini ebook A Bit On The Side.

If you like what you’re reading why not like my Facebook page now or subscribe via email, to be sure to always keep up with the Holsbys.

Styling me, Styling You.

29 Nov

I do believe I drank about 500 bottles of champagne last night.

…or maybe it was 5000. What’s a zero between friends?

I feel surprisingly awesome today, however, so I reckon I still have a little adrenalin rocking the veins.

I wanted to quickly bang up some photos so you could see how it went down.

The police came early, but didn’t buy a book, friends flew in from interstate and the show of support for me was really overwhelming.

I was equally exhilarated and humbled.

A massive thanks to everyone who gave me their support, and and even bigger thanks to everyone who gave me presents!

I wasn’t expecting flowers and gifts and cards. It was like the Oscars. Speaking of which how awesome is my onesie??

a little more used to them coming at the end of the night but I'm open to change.

a little more used to them coming at the end of the night but I’m open to change.

the first air kiss of many…we were wearing the same shade of lipstick, could totally have gotten away with it.

the first air kiss of many…we were wearing the same shade of lipstick, could totally have gotten away with it.

A little word of thanks to my fans…. I got accolades for my least rambling speech to date.

A little word of thanks to my fans…. I got accolades for my least rambling speech to date.

A pair of yummy mummies proudly displaying their new books.

A pair of yummy mummies proudly displaying their new books.

I was feeling the love. Everyone got hugged. There was no escape.

I was feeling the love. Everyone got hugged. There was no escape.

Just a few so you can see how it looked. I’ll do a launch post soon and I’ll fill you in on how goes about pulling off a feat of epic proportion with no team, and no time.

I know today is officially day 13 of Awesome, but when Nikki from Styling You said she had a slot for me I thought it was a cracking way to finish this whole shebangalang off.

If you live in a cave and don’t know Styling You, Nikki has created an amazeballs cyber space for all things stylish and unlocking your style.
The thing I love about Styling You it’s not about fashion, it’s about style, and no matter your personal style, age or shape, it embraces everyone, with many, many  pretty things.

I’ve done a little Festive Cake 3 Ways to get y’all in the Christmas spirit.

Although I’m perfectly comfortable tackling sexy subjects like mojo and bondage on my blog – Keeping Up With The Holsbys  – I did not come to visit Nikki to talk about ménage a trois as such.

I’m actually talking about a trio of cake.

Sincerest apologies if I snagged you under false pretences.

After juggling one simple husband for seven years, I feel a real life ménage a trois probably makes life more complicated than it already is, whereas the aim of this sticky fruit cake is to make life easier.

I’m all for making the most out of one recipe and this easy Christmas Cake is a perfect trick to have up your sleeve this festive season.

To read the rest of this post, pop over here

Cook Once, Feed All COVER_lr

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier while preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. This book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by Danielle’s often funny and charming story telling.

Find out more on the Holsbys Facebook page or subscribe to the Keeping Up With The Holsbys mailing list. To order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All,  head to the Holsby Shop.

If you like what you’re reading why not like my Facebook page now or subscribe via email, to be sure to always keep up with the Holsbys.


Facing Fears, and Five Spice Szechuan Roast Chicken

21 Nov

szechuan and five spice chicken ingredientsWhen your child is terrified of something forcing them to do it goes against every fibre of your being.

We started swimming lessons a few times with D Man but he hated it so much we stopped for a year and a half. We started again a few weeks ago.

Hated it. Hated it.

Hated. It.

There was a dude teacher there who was quite simply the ‘toddler whisperer’ so we switched to his class hoping it would be better… hmmmmm, not so much.

D Man liked this guy better, but the crying and clinging like a limpet continued. It was really heartbreaking to watch.

I know you’re thinking that we could have just not done it, but swimming is a pretty important life skill when you’re an Aussie. We spend a lot of time around water. I don’t care if he can’t do freestyle or butterfly, I just want him to be able to not drown.

I took him this morning and we sat by the side of the pool awaiting our turn and he started to get stressed and make a little high pitched keening sound.

Swimming is fun, babe. Once you get used to it, you’ll really love it.

But, Mama, I’m scared.

My heart clenched.

I know, honey, but I promise that you don’t need to be scared because everyone here wants to help you to do this. What’s the scariest bit?

I don’t want to get my head wet. (doesn’t want to mess his hair… get’s that from his Nana)

Cool, we’ll tell your teacher.


I then realised that life is scary, and it’s good to be scared because that means you’re doing something new and pushing yourself. It’s ok to be scared and if you do it anyway, you might get something great out of it.

I told him that. I also told him I’d buy him a chocolate Paddle Pop if he got through the class.

He was a different boy.

Seeing my child conquer fear is not something I’ve had much of yet, but the pride I felt watching him paddle and blow bubbles and smile and laugh without the sheer terror and tears of previous weeks was such a moment of elation for me.

No idea if next week will be as good but a glimmer of the water babe he may one day be was enough to make me persevere.

Brilliant swimming boy!

He earned that Paddle Pop… I earned a sexy roast chicken.

I first experienced the joys of Szechuan pepper at Neil Perry’s Spice Temple. He created chicken that positively made your mouth go numb… mixed with a saketini and my whole head was numb by the end of the night. I haven’t gone that far with this chook.

This level is fine for the kids, in fact, Kiki couldn’t get enough of this, practically crawling onto the table to gnaw the carcass.

That’s my girl.

szechuan and five spice chickenSzechuan Chicken with Crunchy Noodle Salad.

Yield : 4 adults, or three adults and 2 toddlers

What you will need :

For chicken –

  • 1 whole chicken (free range organic is yummiest)
  • 2 tablespoons szechuan pepper
  • 1 tablespoon 5 spice
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 2 wedges of lemon

spices in mortar with pestleFor crunchy noodle salad – 

  • 2 carrots, julienned or grated
  • 1/4 cabbage, julienned
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced diago
  • nally
  • 1/3 cup combined of sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and slivered almonds
  • 1 packet of crunchy fried noodles
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Sri Racha chili sauce for serving

Preheat oven to 190C

Stick your spices and salt into a mortar and pestle and give them a jolly good grind. Rub liberally all over your bird and pop the lemon up it’s butt.

szechuan and five spice chickenDrizzle with oil and pop onto a roasting rack. Pour a cup of water into the tray and stick her in the oven. After 45 minutes, turn it over for half an hour before turning it back again. I do this to ensure that the juices stay in, and it crisps evenly all around…. but if you can’t be bothered I totally respect that.

While your chook is roasting, throw your nuts and seeds into a dry fry pan and lightly toast them. Set aside to cool.

Toss all of your chopped vegetables and coriander into a large bowl and mix to combine.

Make your dressing by combining all together and giving a good stir. Add noodles and nuts and dress salad just as you’re about to serve so it retains its texture and crunch.

roast szechuan chicken

I am launching my new book on the 28th November. The countdown is on!

Cook Once, Feed All by Danielle Colley

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. This book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by Danielle’s often funny and charming story telling.
Hailed by Mouths of Mums as the ‘must have recipe book for all families’


To order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All head to the Holsby Shop right now.

You will also receive the Cook Once Feed All eBook (worth $15), plus the new eBook ‘A Bit on the Side’ (worth$5) as a bonus gift in your inbox today.

Three for the price of one, and you save $20.

HOLSBY TV Iron Chef:Suburbia

17 Nov

I recently met, and developed a little lady crush, on the wonderful Mandy Dos Santos, nutritionist from Little People Nutrition.

It was refreshing in this day and age of hyper-sensitive eating (for which there is an important place – I’m not poo pooing), to find someone who has a very similar food philosophy as myself.

We discussed this sympatico over a schooner of beer and a bowl of fries and we decided we really needed to do some cool shit together.

A pair of busy mums, living a good two hours drive from each other, cool shit was hard to co-ordinate…. and then there was this.

Going head to head in the kitchen two suburban Iron Chefs battled it out over the kitchen bench only to be judged by the harshest critics in the world.

Those Japanese actresses are a piece of cake compared to…

The Toddler.

I present to you


Our guest iron chef was victorious this time, but stay tuned for more opportunities for Mrs H to win the crown.

To see the complete recipe for the brown rice sushi check it out here

To see the complete calamari recipe check it out here

I am launching my new book on the 28th November. 11 days….The countdown is on!

Cook Once, Feed All COVER_lr

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. This book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.

If you subscribe now to the Keeping Up With The Holsbys mailing list you will automatically receive my new mini-eBook ‘A Bit On The Side’  – A collection of fabulous summer salads and side dishes.

To pre-order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All ($35) head to the Holsby Shop right now and you will be the first to receive the hard copy book after it launches on the 28th. You will also receive the Cook Once Feed All eBook (worth $15), plus the new eBook ‘A Bit on the Side’ (worth $5) as a bonus gift in your inbox today.

Three for the price of one, and you save $20.

Winning 🙂

If you like what you’re reading why not like my Facebook page now or subscribe via email, to be sure to always keep up with the Holsbys.

When life gives you lemons, make gluten- free Lemon Meringue Pie

6 Oct

lemon meringue pie ingredients

I can remember standing in our kitchen in Coffs Harbour when I was just a wee girl. At that time our kitchen was orange laminate and fake brown woodgrain linoleum on the floor. Interior design 1970’s Oz style.

I was standing in front of the wall mounted oven, on my tippy toes, (probably salivating onto the floor) trying to peer through the murky glass to see the mountain of cloud-white meringue that was inside. I knew that in just mere minutes, my mum would pull out a pie bursting with lemon curd and crumbly pastry topped with the soft, and crunchy meringue that I so adored.

I loved me some lemon meringue pie as a girl. It was my all time favorite.

lemonsAs I got into the full swing of my food nazism, that was the kind of stuff that was the first go. Too much sugar, too much butter, too much joy on a plate. It couldn’t have been good. I’ve learned as I got older that one piece of pie is not the undoing of the human body. It’s an accumulation of things over a day, day after day, after day.

Who ate all the pies?

Have you noticed heaps of wholefood treats out there lately? You no longer need to mindlessly reach for a packet of Tim Tams. You can make your own from raw and organic ingredients.

Except it’s never really quite the same. Let’s be honest.

Although reducing sugar and wheat is important, we also need to remember that substitution treats, are still not exactly salad. We’re reducing the intake of the shitty things, otherwise known as processed stuff and hidden numbers, and that’s awesome.

We are creatures geared towards hedonism enjoyment, and sweet food ticks all our boxes, and makes our brains go all pokie-machine-jackpot bells and whistles. We can substitute till the cows come home, but really sweet yummies are sweet yummies.

The body breaks down different sugars in different ways so some are ‘better’ than others, but if you eat a whole pie, it’s still a whole pie.

I read this great post yesterday, by the gorgeous Alexx Stuart, about mindful eating, which really resonated with me. I’m totally guilty of eating at my computer, and offering the kids food while they’re playing. Are you?

Food rant aside, I wanted to mess with my dear old friend, Lemon Meringue Pie, and mindfully scoff  savour as much of it as possible in one sitting.

More than anything this was a science experiment and this baby worked. It was everything a lemon meringue pie should be.

gluten free, sugar free pie crustThe issues I struggled with was getting the curd thick enough. The extra liquid from the maple syrup, and the lack of sugar messed with the chemistry, but I got there in the end. Also, it needs to be eaten immediately, because the meringue can’t hold the weight of the maple for too long and it weeps a little.

That said, it was still damned tasty the next day, just a little moist with maple goodness around the edges.

gluten free, sugar free lemon meringue pieWhat you will need :

For the base –

  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/3 cup sesame, sunflower, linseed and pine nut mix
  • 120g dates, pitted
  • 3 teaspoons coconut oil, or butter

For the lemon curd – 

  • 3 lemons, juice and finely grated rind only
  • 8 tablespoons cornflour
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 80 g unsalted butter

For the meringue – 

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • a pinch salt

What you will need to do :

Lightly grease a 30cm tart dish with removable base with butter or coconut oil.

Chuck all of your base ingredients into a food processor, and blitz until it forms a sticky paste. Press into your tart dish with wet hands, ensuring it goes up the sides a little.

Pop a saucepan with water onto the stove and place a heatproof bowl over the water creating a bain marie. Add your lemon zest and juice to bowl.

In a seperate bowl, add three tablespoons water to your corn flour and stir to combine. If it solidifies too much add another tablespoon of water until you can make it into a paste. Add to lemon juice and whisk well to combine.

Add one cup of water. This is where things got a little crazy for me. I stirred and stirred and stirred and it didn’t get thick enough, but after four years (prone to exaggeration) of stirring I added more corn flour. You guys should be fine with this quantity as I did the hard yards for you – You’re welcome.

So, stir until quite thick, it will need to be quite hot, and then add your egg yolks and you butter and keep stirring like  mo’fo to ensure your curd comes together smoothly. Keep on stirring until it’s quite thick, ie when you spoon a blob out it sits on top for a minute before joining the rest.

Put into the fridge to cool.

gluten free lemon meringue pie fillingWhen it’s cool, spoon into your pie base and spread evenly. In a clean, dry bowl, beat your egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form little peaks. Slowly, slowly add your maple syrup ensuring it’s well combined. Do not over beat or they will flop like, well, a floppy thing.

Spoon on top, using the back of your spoon to create peaks. You could pipe it on if you could be arsed, but I like it a little more rustic.

trusty blowtorchTo brown the top, I used my trusty blow torch, which I recommend everyone owns, but if not you could pop it under a grill for a few minutes to brown. The grill will melt your base, however, so you’ll need to pop it back in the fridge for a minute.

I recommend you eat immediately to stop any maple weepage. Eat it all. Eat the whole pie.

Just be sure to savour it.

gluten free lemon meringue pie






I’m hooking this recipe up as part of this month’s Our Growing Edge monthly blogging food extravaganza with Bunny Eats Design and Nom Nom Cat. Check out more about Our Growing Edge here.

If you liked this post be sure to like my Facebook page or follow my twit twaddle @theholsbys to ensure you can always keep up with the Holsbys.

Hello Sunshine, and Hello Coconut Banana Maple Froyo

28 Sep

Coconut banana maple froyo ingredientsHello, sunshine.

Hello, longer days.

Hello, kids waking too early due to DayLight Savings not in place yet.

Hello, nudie bums in the garden, with grass stuck in the bum cracks.

Hello spring, keeping up with the holsbys

Hello, water play with raucous laughter.

Hello, late afternoon swims in the bay.

hello, spring - Keeping Up With The Holsbys

Hello, sand in the bed.

Hello, smell of sunscreen and shiny skin.

Hello, sandals.

Hello, vege garden going nuts.

Hello, weekend BBQs outdoors with friends.

Hello, drinking too much in the afternoon.

Hello, sleeping naked.

Hello, new million dollar aircon in the car so the kids don’t spontaneously combust in the back.

Hello, training season and husband trying to keep fat down.

Hello, Spring. I love you.

Hello, banana, coconut, maple FroYo. I love you too.

coconut banana maple froyo

Yield : plenty

What you will need :

  • 2 large very ripe, frozen bananas
  • 2/3 cup natural yoghurt
  • 30 mls good quality maple syrup, or more to taste
  • 45 mls coconut cream
  • a little toasted coconut to serve if you’re feeling zany

What you will need to do :

Chuck your lot into a food processor and whizz the crap out of it until it’s smooth. Eat immediately as soft serve, or freeze.

If freezing, pull it out of the freezer after an hour or so, and blitz it again to break up any ice crystals, and pop it back in the freezer.

This little baby freezes pretty solid, and without additives there is only two ways you can deal with this –

1) pull it out of the freezer 15 minutes before you want to eat it.

2) whack a shot of vodka in it as it changes the freeze temperature.

I leave it up to you.

coconut banana maple froyo

What do you love about Spring?

If you liked this post be sure to like my Facebook page or follow my twit twaddle @theholsbys to ensure you can always keep up with the Holsbys.

school of the world and brown rice sushi

22 Sep

brown rice sushi ingredientsI think one of the best gifts you can give your 18 or 21 year old is a plane ticket. One way if they’re a turd.


I am super fortunate that I have traveled my whole life. Being born in the Channel Islands to intrepid parents ensured that my childhood had a bit of adventure and I got a few stamps on the old passport.

I think that taste of travel as a child was one of the biggest catalysts to me wanting to travel so much.

The Caribbean on my Dad’s yacht, the foul smelling tannery in Morocco, the oldest bullring in the world in Spain, a full moon in the desert in India, the biggest bird poo ever on my back in Madrid, the food, THE FOOD, everywhere.

The tastes and smells of adventure… so many memories of cultures so different to ours. So many people who live in ways so unimaginable unless you’re sitting on the dirt floor of their hut, playing charades with someone who doesn’t speak your language in order to communicate, getting ripped off, swindled, charmed or wooed, or drinking beer under a palm tree with a kid who has grown up in a parallel universe.

If nothing else, and is there a lot else, you learn to be grateful for this country we live in.

I was pretty clueless, as I’ve mentioned. Did all sorts of dumb shit, but it’s that dumb shit that taught me what I was capable of, and that I, too, am intrepid.

All I know is the more I travel, the more I want to travel. I’d love to trek with the kids on our backs (maybe we’d get sherpas for that), andI don’t know if I’m still up for camping at the end of the day.

Glamping maybe. With good pillows.

Oh, god, maybe I’m not as intrepid as I used to be.

brown rice sushi rice mixBabies and mortgages have temporarily shackled us at this present moment, but Mister H is a bit of a traveler too. It won’t be long before we can go exploring again and instil a love of travel, and exploration and different cultures in our children.

I’ve never been to Japan, and I’ve never really been attracted to it, but I know one thing I would love about it is the food.

I love brown rice sushi and when I recently saw Brenda from Brenda Janschek Health and Nutrition make her sushi rice loaded with goodies, she totally inspired me to push my growing edge and get my sushi on…. Our only regular fast food is sushi, and now that I’ve mastered it, I think it’s fast food at home all the way.

brown rice sushi rollingYield : 20 pieces of sushi

What you will need :

  • 1 salmon fillet, you can use a chicken fillet or tofu if you prefer
  • 2 tablespoons ketcup manis (sweet soy)
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 5 tablespoons sushi rice seasoning (I buy all in one but you can make your own with 5 tablespoons rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt)
  • 1/4 cup zucchini, finely grated
  • 1/4 cup carrot, finely grated
  • 1/4 cup of coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of pickled ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted in a dry frypan
  • 1/2 an avocado, sliced
  • 3 teaspoons good quality mayonnaise. I like Thomy.
  • 3 sheets nori
  • one bamboo sushi mat
  • wasabi and soy for serving

brown rice sushiWhat you will need to do :

Pop your rice with 3 cups boiling water in a saucepan on the stove, turn it down low, stick a lid on and leave it until the water is absorbed and your rice is cooked (30-40 mins).
When cooked, remove from pan and place it into a flat dish, pouring over your sushi vinegar seasoning. Stir well to combine and leave to cool.

Roll your salmon in the ketcup manis and cook in a little coconut or peanut oil in a frypan (or BBQ is even better) until just cooked. Remove from heat.

Toss your carrot, zucchini, coriander, chopped ginger and toasted sesames through the seasoned rice and stir well.

Place your nori on your sushi mat and spread a generous layer of your sticky rice over the nori, leaving a bit at the edge bare.

Flake off your salmon and lay a nice chunky line through the centre, along with some sliced avocado and a little smear of mayo.

Using your bamboo mat, roll your sushi quite firmly to ensure it sticks nicely together. Roll until it is a tight cigar and set aside.

Repeat until all ingredients are used. I sometimes have rice leftover which is fab in a salad.

Using a sharp, wet knife, slice your sushi in half, then in half again, and then in half again…. unless you prefer a large roll.

Serve with wasabi and soy… and Asahi beer. Not for the kids.

brown rice sushi

Hooking up with Our Growing Edge over at Sweets and Brains. Thanks for hosting, guys!


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A movie review and a low-fat moussaka

15 Sep

moussaka ingredientsImagine yourself in a world where good health care is for the rich, asylum seekers are treated like criminals and the poor are so oppressed that a chance of escape is almost impossible.

It actually sounds similar to a number of countries right now, and we in Australia are certainly not unaffected, so when I saw Elysium last night it kind of cut close to the bone.

Let’s get one thing straight, it is a big, fat Hollywood blockbuster. Not usually my thing, however, I did love District 9 by the same director, Neill Blomkamp  and I do have a very soft spot for Matt Damon (cue Team:America voice).

Being as it was Neill’s first big budget film, he’s allowed to go all silly with effects and shit, and I couldn’t help but notice a few glaring product sponsorships, but you know what? If Bulgari and Versace want to throw him a few hundred thousand to help get it up, who gives a flying? It wasn’t nearly as bad as a Bond film’s product placement and I felt Neill’s story was actually quite a powerful allegory on the current issues that our world is facing.
There is a people smuggling scene that I felt truly captured the desperation, and smugglers preying on the frightened and displaced.

It actually had moments for me as powerful as The Matrix.

When I saw The Matrix, there were so many messages within the fabric of the film that I carried it with me for a long time. I feel similarly about Elysium.

You don’t really know this about me, but I’m generally a massive movie snob. Mister H mostly dreads when it’s my turn to a pick a film, and I admit I’ve picked some real stinky dogs over the years, but I like movies that make me think and feel. Sometimes I leave a movie feeling like i’ve been hit by a train. That’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

I like art house, and foreign films and quirky directors.

I also bloody love Zoolander, so I guess there are exceptions.zoolander

I reckon Mark Fennell would probably be shitting his pants now that I’m branching in movie reviews. You think?

This movie review is in no way related to this recipe, but here’s my low fat, super fast moussaka.

moussakaYield : 4-6 serves

What you will need :

  • 1 big eggplant, finely sliced lengthways
  • 2-3 zucchinis, finely sliced lengthways
  • 500g lamb mince
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 cup wine
  • 1 teaspoon mixed herbs
  • a few sprigs of fresh oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 150g natural Greek yoghurt
  • 150g light ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • pinch nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
  • 40g parmesan cheese, grated with a microplane or very fine grater

What you will need to do:

Preheat oven to 180C

Place your sliced veges on baking paper on trays and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for about 15-20 mins until just cooked. Remove from oven and set aside.

Cook off your onion in some olive oil, until translucent, add your garlic and when that’s nice a fragrant toss in your lamb mince.

Ensuring your mince is on a high enough heat that it cooks fast, and does not broil, cook until browned before adding your carrot. Throw in your wine and your herbs and spices and give a good stir. Next, chuck in your tomatoes, bay leaves and season.

Turn heat down to a simmer and pop the lid on for about 30 mins. Remove lid for a further 10 minutes to reduce the liquid until it is like a bolognaise. Not too wet, not too dry.

Place a layer of eggplant in the bottom of your oven dish and then spoon over a couple of ladles of your sauce. Repeat with the zucchini, another layer of mince, and then another later of eggplant and the rest of your mince.

layering moussakaMix together in a separate bowl your ricotta, yoghurt and egg, and cover the top of your moussaka with this mix. Add your finely grated parmesan to the top and pop the lot in the oven for 30-40 minutes until it’s golden brown and delicious.


Have you seen Elysium? What did you think?

What else should I see?

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The black lung and cranberry pistachio shortbread for what ails you.

5 Sep

cranberry and pistachio shortbread ingredientsThe first day of your toddler’s illness is actually kind of nice. I realise that this will not be a popular statement but hear me out.

Our lives are so busy, always pushing to get the kids ready and get out the door. Lunches and snacks to prepare, parks to terrorise, kindy to get to before you’re the last person to do drop off for the day and various ‘busy’ activities to do. We barely have a day at home, just chilling.
I admit it’s a tad sad that I need my kid to be under the weather for me to take it easy, but sometimes it’s a nice excuse to just play quietly at home…. which is where my initial statement comes into play.

A toddler does not want to play quietly at home.

A toddler wants to tear around, leaving a path of destruction. Perhaps you have a quiet, content child, who is happy to play quietly, or read books or watch a movie.

I do not. I have the Tasmanian Devil wrapped up in a blond angelic looking boy.

eating shortbread

more soft focus than an episode of Moonlighting.

So the first day of sick is a breath of fresh air. Kids get sick, it’s an important part of their development, acquiring their immune system. I try to roll with it.

The second day? Not as great. There’s usually been an incredibly shitty night or two’s sleep in there by now, and you’re beginning to think that, really, they should be on the up now as 24 hours has passed and most innocuous illnesses are done with the truly hairy bit by now.

The thing is, boy had a terrible cough, but we’ve kind of had coughs on and off all winter. Kiki has had one for 5 months. Ironically, I had taken her to the doctor a few days prior to this thinking she may have had pneumonia…. ’twas not she, you see. ‘Twas the little stinker sitting next to her badgering the doctor for lollies.

By the time I took him to the doctor, on day 4, he was really sick, busting fevers higher than my thermometer has ever been before and when the doctor pronounced pneumonia I admit my bottom lip got all a’quiver.

I think, although he was definitely very sick, and 100 years ago he may have died from it, pneumonia actually sounds scarier than it really is. I’m no longer afraid of illnesses that have a silent P at the front.

It’s been a long week. Thank god for modern medicine as just a few days of antibiotics and my Tassie Devil is back whipping his sister into hysterics and driving his mother up the wall.

I’m tying to keep him quiet, but I’m failing miserably.

Hadn’t been shopping and needed a little treat so I whipped up some shortbread dinosaurs for him and a wheel of shortbread for me.

No dinosaurs were harmed in the making of these cranberry and pistachio treats.

No dinosaurs were harmed in the making of these cranberry and pistachio treats.

This is a simple and delicious shortbread recipe and you can add or subtract extras at whim. I like a hint of rosewater, elderflower essence or choc chips too. Whatever takes your fancy pants.

I often make this as a tightarse gift at Christmas… cos that’s how I roll.

cranberry and pistachio shortbreadYield : 2 wheels or 1 wheel and 12 cookies

What you will need :

250g butter, softened

1/2 castor sugar

2 1/3 plain flour (I used spelt)

2 tablespoons rice flour

1/4 cup cranberries

1/4 cup pistachio nuts, chopped roughly

What you will need to do :

Preheat oven to 180C

Line 2 trays, or round cake tins with baking paper, or grease with butter.

Beat butter in a small bowl with an electric beater (cos I’m old fashioned like that, no KitchenAid or Thermomix in sight….. cos I’m povo), then add sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy.

Work in flours gradually to form dough. Knead for 5 minutes until smooth and buttery.

Divide in 1/2 and pat one into a round, and roll the other and cut shapes with cookie cutters. Place shapes onto tray.

Make the round into an 18cm circle, and pinch the edges. Stab all over with a fork and then mark wedges with a knife without cutting all the way through.

Bake for 10 minutes then reduce to 150C for 40 minutes for the round, and pull the cookies out ofter about another 5-10 minutes, when they are golden.

When cool, dust with icing sugar.

Seriously makes you feel so much better, especially consume with a cup of tea (or a martini).

it's not easy to take food shots under these conditions

it’s not easy to take food shots under these conditions

cranberry pistachio shortbread

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