{ R E C I P E } Summer Jams – Apricot & Plum

Apricots - 18

[ RECIPE: SUMMER JAMS – APRICOT & PLUM ]


When I was young we had a massive apricot tree in our backyard. It was my favourite tree in the whole world in Summer.

It’s huge shady limbs provided a secret hideaway and food source for me on hot Summer days. I used to sit in the swaying branches of the tree, amongst the birds, caterpillars, moths and cicadas and eat my way through the warm fruit that surrounded me. I’d eat till I had a belly ache…then I’d run inside…wait a while and do it all again!

There is something sublime about picking golden soft fruit straight from the tree, biting into its warm, juicy deliciousness and devouring it…juices running down your chin and hands…

I’d eat the fruit in silence in my apricot tree house – appreciating its simplicity, sweetness and the wonder of nature. I love nature. Even all those years ago I’d marvel at her brilliance, how the buds formed and the Sun warmed the skin and the flesh turned from green to flushed pink and orange…however did she do it – I thought…Mother nature is so damn clever!

My grandfathers generation were orchardists. We had a large farm in Northern Victoria – Ballendella to be exact, where we grew apricots, pears, peaches and plums. I’ve grown up with my Great Aunt Olive preserving fruit and picking it when it was ‘just right’. I think all that information, all that passion gets into your psyche and as I prepare my fruit each year I always get flashbacks to little memories and smells that made me childhood seem so wonderful.

I’ve had a French recipe on hand for many years that makes two simple jams. They’re possibly not like jams most people are used to  – that is, filled with sugar, no taste and quite thick. These jams are jammed packed with fruit, flavour and far less sugar. The consistency is slightly runny but interrupted with thick chunks of divine fruit. The whole point of this jam is that you taste the fruit NOT the sugar. I make these each year and we spread them on fresh bread and drizzle them on homemade yoghurt, topped with toasted nuts and coconut.

Last year we planted an Apricot and Peach tree in our front yard – I wanted a productive garden not just a useless ornamental one – so this is the first year it’s produced fruit for us…its fruit is wonderful and I picked this plate of deliciousness just yesterday – before the birdies got them!

Apricots - 1

This recipe is dead simple but the flavours are extraordinary…

I have used this recipe and replaced the apricots or the plums with other fruit and it is just as wonderful. Try a mixed berry or a peach – but always add the fresh vanilla bean.

So here are two recipes:

  1. Fresh Apricot & Vanilla Bean Jam
  2. Fresh Plum & Vanilla Bean Jam

[ the recipe ]

  • 1.5kg x fruit – apricots or plums (stones removed)
  • 600g x castor sugar
  • 1 x fresh, soft vanilla bean

[ the method ]

Wash the fruit thoroughly in the sink or colander.

Apricots - 2

Next in a non reactive bowl – take out the stones and cut the fruit into quarters.

Apricots - 4

Next add the sugar, mix well and cover. Let the fruit and sugar sit for a minimum of 12 hours. This process draws all of the liquid from the fruit and retains the natural flavours and sugars.

Apricots - 7

Apricots - 8

After 12 hours the fruit will have expelled a lot of liquid and it is ready to cook.

Empty the fruit into a large pot. Then take the vanilla bean – slice it open down the centre and scrape the seeds out into the bowl. Cut it in half so you have two pieces and add this to the fruit. Mix well. Bring the fruit slowly to the boil – stirring occasionally.

Apricots - 10

Froth will gather on the top of the fruit – leave it as it will dissipate. Ensure the fruit is at boiling point and boils for 20 -25 minutes. You will see the consistency of the fruit – become more like jam.

Apricots - 11

Apricot - 12

Cook the jam bubbling for 20 – 25 minutes until it becomes a darker colour and is slightly thicker. Just remember the jam will thicken slightly but it is designed to be a lighter, thinner consistency. Using a ladle, pour the jam into sterilised jars and seal the lids.

Apricots - 18

At the same time I was making the apricot, I also made the Plum Jam…I used the same proportions and method. I was divine!

Apricots - 3      Apricots - 5

Apricots - 6      Apricots - 9

Apricots - 15      Apricots - 17

Once all of the jam has been bottled – place it in the fridge until you use it. Once opened ensure it remains in the fridge. It has no preservatives in it – just the natural kind so its designed to be eaten quickly!!! Well its eaten quickly in our house so I never have to worry!

These jams really do epitomise the flavours of Summer…if you’re anything like me you’ll be sneaking into the fridge to take a teaspoon or three when the mood takes you!

Apricots - 13

Apricots - 16

Enjoy your Summer and these jams…

Stay you & stay quirky

Love J x

{ R E C I P E } Rainbow Kebabs

Kebab 3

[ RECIPE: RAINBOW KEBABS ]


I love vegetarian kebabs – My Dad always cooks them for me when we have a BBQ…he’s a thoughtful soul. Whilst all the rest of the family and eating meat, I sit down to a mountain of these babies and they always make me sigh with delight… and search around for more!

I love my Rainbow Kebabs to be as bright as possible – hence the name…and I always use my trusty wedding rosemary bush as the skewers. At our wedding, we gave out tiny organic rosemary bushes in recycled planter boxes as our gifts to friends and family – we did this because rosemary is for remembrance! Using rosemary as the skewers gives the vegies a wonderful flavour not to mention the aroma is divine. I’m a sucker for a good looking kebab – and these look pretty fantastic stacked up high – oozing juices and begging you to eat them!

Kebab 1

The recipe is simple, it just comes down to the vegies you use and the bastings you prefer…I’ve used in the past mushrooms, capsicum, zucchini, eggplant, onion and firm tofu.

This recipe is the simple version and its fun to make with any small humans who need to be encouraged to eat their vegies or their fingers to be occupied for a while!

[ the recipe ]

  • 1/2 x red onion, cut into quarters and pulled apart
  • 1/2 x red capsicum, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 x yellow capsicum, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 x green capsicum, cut into chunks
  • 1 x medium zucchini, cut into thick slices
  • Rosemary – 4 x decent small branches that are rigid enough for threading and cooking
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Garlic salt
  • Dukkah
  • Salt and pepper

[ the method ]

Ensure all veggies and rosemary branches are washed thoroughly.

Take each rosemary branch and remove 3/4’s of the rosemary leaves – leaving the tops of the branches exposed – these will be your skewers. Set the ‘skewers aside for later.

Next, cut all of the vegetables up and from then on, its simply a matter of threading them on the rosemary skewers. I always add double the amount of onion as I believe it really does add to the flavour and caramelises well when cooked.

Kebab 4

Once all the kebabs have been made – lay them in a dish and drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, garlic salt and dukkah.

On a hot grill or pan – cook the kebabs slowly – its important that the veggies cook on all sides. Turn the skewers gently to cook and caramelise as many of them as you can.

Kebab 5

I serve these with yoghurt dip (sometimes) and salad and they are amazing!

Kebab 7

If you’d like something light when others are having a meat kebab – try these little rainbows of yumminess – they even delicious in Turkish bread with yoghurt dip, fresh tomatoes and crispy lettuce!!!

Experience more rainbows in your life…

Remember food is YOUR fuel!

Stay you & stay quirky

Love J x

{ R E C I P E } Fish Tacos with Mango, Avocado and Citrus Salsa

 Salsa 5

[FISH TACOS WITH MANGO, AVACADO & CITRUS SALSA]


So Marky and I ( and some friends) have been away on holidays to Hamilton Island!!! OMG…fabulous…here is a little collage of our adventures…

There was oodles of delicious food, beach dwelling, peace signs in the sand, relaxation, sun bathing, swimming in lagoon coloured water, day spa treatments, a tropical storm, cocktails by the ocean, posh lunches and so much more. We packed a lot into our relaxing holiday that seemed to go on forever but it was only 10 days…it was truly magnificent.

1907326_1564033620480506_8818287426993283662_n   10846348_10152955101366667_8050922037647213541_n   10678726_10152946614686667_6601972548406975956_n

1381725_10152958043686667_8637365790172113583_n

1798720_10152955101241667_6534797061862588421_n                1743503_1565053587045176_5236032877520277801_n

10846213_1564744827076052_7532532043381412914_n

10422009_10152953832506667_1682822518912105632_n   10424334_10152951334721667_3859587082663712112_n   10849850_10152948472536667_5959585562564586803_n

10857954_1564106953806506_8388563667533828190_n                10568784_10152959341256667_6205987676271487291_n

So we’re back…I’m glad to be hanging with my fur babies…but I do miss that dreamy island lifestyle! So for dinner I decided to keep the love alive with fish and a citrus salsa…my husband requested some fish so I decided to create this dish in honour of our return from Hamilton Island.

As I am predominantly a vegetarian (I occasionally eat fish and as such I’m labelled a Pescatarian), I thought a few recipes with fish might be great for others out there like me who have partners who like something more substantial at times!

If you love fish, tacos and the freshness of summer fruits – this little ditty is right up your alley! Crispy tacos, soft flavoursome fish and the fresh zing of salsa…what a combo!

[ the recipe ]

  • 1 x ripe mango, diced
  • 1 x ripe avocado, diced
  • 1 x ruby red grapefruit, cut into segments
  • 1/2 x red onion, cut into thin slices
  • 2 x tablespoons of coriander
  • 1/4 x red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 x lime – juiced
  • 2 x salmon fillets
  • 1 x tablespoon olive oil
  • Taco shells
  • Salt & pepper

[ the method ]

To prepare the salsa,  use a medium bowl and place the segmented grapefruit inside it and then squeeze the juice from the membrane.

Salsa 2

Add the diced avocado, mango, red onion, lime juice and coriander and mix well to combine. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Slice the red cabbage and set it aside in a separate bowl for later.

Salsa 3

Salsa 4

In a hot pan, add the oil and cook the fish to your liking. I cook my salmon skin side down for 4 minutes until crispy, then I turn it over gently and cook for another 4 minutes on the other side. Once cooked I break it up a little and set it aside.

Heat the taco shells…and once hot – they are ready to be assembled! Yuuuuum…this is the fun and delicious part.

On a plate I place a taco upright, add pieces of the warm fish, then a tablespoon or more of the delicious salsa and top with the red cabbage!

Salsa 6

This dish creates a delicious mess, so get ready to lick your fingers and walk away smiling! The combination of the sweet mango, the savoury soft avocado and the zesty lime helps break through the acidity of the grapefruit…the coriander, sweet fish and crunchy red cabbage make it all hum in unison!!!!

This really is a wonderful Summer feast and did take me back to the beaches of Hamo…

I hope you love it as much as we did…

Remember food is YOUR fuel!

Stay you & stay quirky

Love J x

{ S P I R I T } Being Wonder Woman

10477881_1564741480409720_504040324573532143_n

Away on holidays its easy just to forget about life all together…

Yesterday I met an wonderful woman under the palm trees who told me about ‘her story’…she was a strong soul with a beautiful outlook – having suffered breast cancer 3 years ago.

She decided to live every day to the full, regardless of what the future held even with ongoing fear in the back of her mind.

I was struck by her strength, by her beauty and her inner calmness. I felt so privileged that she shared her story with me, on an island, under a palm tree – just two strangers trusting each other with some of our deepest secrets and fears…we are the lucky ones.

To my new friend.. this post is for you. You are the definition of ‘Wonder Woman’.

Stay you and stay quirky!

Love J x

{ S P I R I T } Unbind Your Wild – love yourself

Love Yourself - 5

1. Have a technology free day.
We have a rule in our house on weekends – no electronic devices before midday – why not extend it through for the whole day or try it during the week? Connect more to people not machines and see how your life changes for the better…send a dear friend a letter in the mail – your efforts will be rewarded.

2. Be brave enough to say ‘NO’.
Stop the glorification of being busy and start saying ‘NO’ to all the never ending commitments, arrangements and expectations others have of you. The word ‘NO’ IS a complete sentence – you don’t have to justify it! Make ‘NO’ your new best friend and feel empowered about having more time for you and the things that make your soul soar. You have one life – make it count, make it matter and make it YOURS.

3. Be connected to nature.
Hug a tree, do some gardening, volunteer in a community garden or tree planting project, do a walking meditation or simply sit outside. Being in nature connects us to all living things as we energetically ‘plug into’ the calming and wise energy of the Earth. In turn we calm our bio-rhythms, lower stress levels, learn to appreciate the simple things and have a greater compassion for all living things…

Love Yourself - 6

Stay you & stay quirky

Love Jess x

{ R E C I P E } Raw Apple Carrot Cakes

Carrots - 8

[ RECIPE: RAW APPLE CARROT CAKES ]

Gluten free, Dairy free, Sugar free, Wheat free = totally amazing!


So I scurried to my lovely fruit store this morning in the dim light of the dawn, hoping not to see anyone with my dishevelled wavy hair and ‘morning appearance’ – that type of appearance that’s a dead give-away that you don’t have adequate food for breakfast – so you’ve had to race down, run in and run out of the store!!!! It’s a very ‘organic look’. I was hoping to make my favourite juice – Orange Liquid Gold because I felt like I really needed its goodness. After buying the carrots that I had run out of at home, I had a yearning for something more!!!

Oh dear…come here…get in my mouth – STAT. Raw Apple Carrot Cakes I really do LOVE you…

You’ll NEVER believe how delicious they are until you try them…and they’re easy-peasy to make!

I love these little morsels – they drive me insane when I make them. I can’t stop eating them and they are soooo good for you and often way to good to share!!!!!! Piglet alert…

A few people make these in the raw food movement – but I’ve added extra ingredients to take them to the next level. I often have three of these for breakfast…instead of a juice. I love the sweetness, the spices and the fresh vanilla bean and lemon – these two ingredients alone, really make this sing like your taste buds are at the opera…I promise!

Made with only a few simple ingredients – this really is an amazing raw recipe that has stood the test of time with any friends I have made this for…and I too have never tired of it!

Carrot - 1

[ the recipe ]

  • 3  x apples, washed and thinly sliced
  • 2 x medium carrots, washed with the skin on
  • 1/2 x cup pecans
  • 10 x medjool dates
  • 1/2 a medium lemon zested
  • 1/2 x teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 x teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 x fresh vanilla bean (it’s very important that its fresh – it tastes divine in this recipe)

Toppings:

  • 1 x tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1 x table spoon shredded coconut
  • 1/2 x teaspoon cinnamon

[ the method ]

After washing the carrots, place them in a high speed blender. Chop them to a fine consistency.

Carrot - 2

Next add the remaining ingredients – the dates, the pecans, the lemon zest, the fresh vanilla bean and the cinnamon and the ginger.

Carrot - 3

Blend the mixture to a firm consistency and then place in a bowl and set aside.

Carrot - 4

Next, slice the apples. The easiest way to get rid of the pips is to slice the apples thinly and then tap the tap the apples to flick the pips off. This also makes a beautiful design that looks sweet when plated up.

Carrot - 5

We are now ready to plate up. Grab a plate and place the first slice of apple on the bottom.

Carrot - 6

Next add a generous amount of carrot filling – smoothing the surface so that it is flat for the next layer…you can also add a sprinkling of coconut if you like…

Carrots - 6

Carrots - 10

Then repeat with another slice of apple, more carrot filling and finish with a slice of apple on top. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon, coconut sugar and coconut… AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS!!!

Carrots - 7

The beauty of this simple dish, is when it is cut in half or segments to reveal the layers…

Carrots - 8

Carrots - 11

Enjoy this treat anytime of the day…I bet you can’t eat just one!!!

Remember food is YOUR fuel!

Stay you & stay quirky

Love J x

{ R E C I P E } Juice of the Day: Orange Liquid Gold

Juice - 3

[ RECIPE – JUICE OF THE DAY: ORANGE LIQUID GOLD ]


This is my go to juice when creativity escapes me…brilliant in colour, delicious in taste and packed with amazing vitamins – and only three ingredients! What more could a juice loving girl ask for?

Just look at this baby…the deepest of orange and totally good for you and your body.

[ THE RECIPE ]

It’s simple – 50% oranges & 50% carrots, with lime added for a slick freshness.

For one standard glass I used the following quantities:

3 x small carrots

2 x oranges, peeled and cut into quarters

1/2 x lime, skin on

[ THE METHOD ]

Juice the carrots first, followed by the orange and lime.

Makes about 200ml of deliciousness!

Enjoy!

Juice - 1

Enjoy your Orange Liquid Gold…its amazing!

Remember food is YOUR fuel.

Stay you & stay quirky

Love J x