Garden Cold Rolls


  • 1 large zucchini, spiralised or cut into noodles with a julienne peeler
  • 2-3 carrots, spiralised or cut into noodles with a julienne peeler, or cut into thin strips
  • 2 to 3 spring onions, cut into thin strips
  • 2 cucumbers (julienned)
  • 1/2 an avocado, cut into thin strips
  • small bunch of basil, or coriander, or mint, or combination of all three, (whole leaves)
  • 3 radishes, finely sliced
  • 3 raw mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 2 cups of shredded lettuce
  • 1/2 red capsicum, finely sliced
  • 300gm marinated tofu, Quorn, Tempeh, or other protein of choice, cut in thin strips and fried lightly.


  • 20-25 cold roll wrappers (found at supermarkets / bulk at Asian grocers)
  • 8 sheets of seaweed (Nori), cut into thirds (optional)


  • Satay sauce, plum sauce, sriracha (hot) sauce, sweet chilli sauce, bbq sauce (ie whatever floats your boat!)


  1. Grow a ton of zucchini (or optionally buy some).
  2. Don’t see your zucchini-loving friends for a few weeks. (You know who you are).
  3. Be in need of a quiet meal, and have a desire for small people to eat a lot of salad.
  4. In a large bowl soak individual cold roll wrappers in hot water until they are rehydrated.
  5. Place rehydrated wrapper on a plastic chopping board.
  6. If using Nori place in the centre of the wrapper.
  7. Arrange filling as desired, taking care not to over stuff.
  8. Roll in the same fashion you would roll a burrito or similar.
  9. Place on a tray or plate under a damp tea towel or plastic wrap if you wish to use this.
  10. Continue until filling is used up.
  11. Serve immediately (not as good next day but OK), with desired dipping sauce and enjoy a whine free family dinner. (You’re welcome).






Raw Pad Thai Salad




  • 1 large zucchini
  • 3 large carrots
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1 cucumber diced

Optional add ins:

  • 2 cups of mung bean sprouts
  • 1 bunch of coriander leaves coarsely chopped
  • Cubed marinated preprepared or cooked tofu
  • Half a red pepper finely sliced


  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, lime juice, all rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of tamarind paste
  • 1 teaspoon of maple syrup or other sweetener of choice
  • 1 Birdseye Chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed


  • 1/4 cup toasted (or not) whole or crushed peanuts, or slivered almonds


  1. Grow a heap of zucchini.
  2. Don’t see your zucchini-loving friends for a few weeks. (You know who you are.)
  3. Using a spiralizer Julienne peeler, Julienne the carrot and zucchini.
  4. Finely chop the spring onions.
  5. Cut the cucumber in cubes.
  6. Throwing everything (including other optional extras if desired), in a large bowl, and toss to combine (Hands work well at this point).
  7. Mix all dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.
  8. Mix dressing through salad.
  9. Add nuts before serving.

PS. I was intending to take a picture of this salad, but most of it had gone by the time I remembered. Yes it’s very nice.


Cauliflower and Tempeh Curry

I made this randomly in Perth because there was a change of dinner plans between when I heard about the initial plans and when I rocked up with the shopping. Happy accident. I had been meaning to recreate and record it since I got home and this afternoon I had a spare second and the right ingredients.

INGREDIENTS – serves 6-8

  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1-2 cm ginger, grated or crushed
  • 1-3 T curry powder (depending on how hot you like it)
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 bunch of coriander stems and roots, finely chopped.
  • 1 pack of tempeh – 300g (cubed)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cut in sixths or eighths
  • 2 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 8 or so silverbeat leaves roughly chopped (or 2 cups baby spinach)
  • 1 tin coconut milk / cream



  • In non stick fry pan dry fry garlic ginger and garlic briefly until fragrant and then add soy sauce and coriander roots, mixing until combined.
  • Add in tempeh and brown slightly.
  • Add in potato and cauliflower and fry for a few minutes stirring to stop it sticking.
  • Add coconut milk, tomatoes and spinach and bring to a simmer.
  • Simmer covered, stirring occasionally until vegetables are soft.
  • Remove cover to reduce sauce if desired.
  • Serve over rice or cauliflower rice or both.
  • Can be reheated (or frozen and reheated)

Clockwise from top: Brown rice and Cauliflower rice, mango pickle, dahl, cauliflower and tempeh curry, Jackfruit and chickpea curry. Centre accompaniments = cucumber, mango chutney with tomato, coriander and spring onion.

When Life Begins


The sun sets on my 30’s (No party, but I spent a rare quiet few days away here with my husband when I actually turned 40)

As a young girl, and in my early adult years, I used to hear the oft used catch phrase: “Life begins at 40.” bandied around a lot. Of course, I dismissed it. How could “life” begin when one was so old? Why wait that long to get to the starting blocks? How, at a time when most people are bogged down with the reality of kids, mortgage, dead-end jobs, and bills to pay, and when there was no time for a “life” could life be beginning? Surely this was just something that “old” people said to make themselves feel better about getting old.


If only I knew then what I know now.


In my 20s I was naive. I liked to go out, or at least hang with the cool crowd, and fit in. I beat myself up when I struggled to keep up. I was never into drinking, and though outwardly extroverted at the time, I don’t think in hindsight, I was actually as outgoing as I made out to be.


By my 30s “I” was “we”. I was (still am) married to the man I met in my mid 20s, we had a house (mortgage), relatively steady employment, and were hoping for (trying for) kids. We were happy. We were self-sufficient, and to a degree, self-centred.


We “finally” became parents in our mid 30s. Being responsible for one (and not too much later two) tiny humans changed a lot of things. Suddenly the whole focus of our existence, and the whole reason for our existence, was to nurture these little helpless “bundles of joy” (they were not always joyful, but that’s part of the parenting package I guess).


Once I had emerged, from the sleep deprivation, endless nappies, and generally being a slave to routine, that accompanies new motherhood, I had the luxury to explore who I really was, what things were important to me, what I could give to others, what I could learn from others, and what and who I wanted to become. This opportunity came around about the time my son started school, and the year before my daughter started kindergarten. I was working part-time, being a mom full-time, helping out at the school, making music, and fitting in a decent amount of exercise. I needed something more. I wanted to be my own person.


The year things changed, and the year I started to get to know myself better, was, ironically, the year I turned 40. I can’t put my finger on what it was exactly, but there were two things that facilitated the change more quickly.


One of them was starting Karate training. Whether it was just doing something completely different and new for me, or whether it was something that filled a gap I never knew was there, I don’t really know, but it seemed to give me a clarity of mind to figure things out for myself.


Around about the same time, and mostly for health reasons, I decided to try a Vegan lifestyle. That also for some reason improved my clarity of mind. Sure, it made me feel better physically; healthier, and stronger, but it also shifted some of the brain fog, and gave me so much energy to do things, which facilitated me getting fitter and stronger. I seemed to need less sleep (why didn’t I think of going vegan when I had babies?), less sugar, less stimulants, and feel more calm in myself. In time it also got me thinking about why people even eat animals. I could never go back now.


It was more than that though. Both Karate, and being vegan, started to open my mind in a general way, and made me a more flexible thinker, more willing to accept and listen to others, and decide what worked for me. It made me determined, and more importantly determined not to let others define me. It helped me learn and get past learning blocks, some of which had been there more than half my life. It made me more confident in myself. It even gave me the confidence to start this blog. It made me confident to be myself, and it put me on a quest to become the best me I could be. It led me to take an attitude of living life without regret.  It gave me, in short, the impetus to stop being content to exist and to start living.


So now that my 40th year has well and truly passed and a few since then, I can say to all the non believing 20 and 30 – somethings out there, that it’s true what they say: Life actually DOES begin at 40. Life is what you make of it, so own it and make it count.


PS: Just for the record (and the benefit of Gen Y’s and younger ones): NO, I don’t feel old. I feel younger than I did at 30. It may be in part the kilos or the teenage angst I left behind in the last decade, but in reality, it’s probably mostly just an attitude shift. So be assured, although it may not be plain sailing, it certainly isn’t down hill from here!!)


PPS: Eventually I will get around to having a 40th birthday party…..but hey…..what’s the rush, right?

Lime Pie (GF vegan)



  • almond pulp from 2 batches of almond milk (I use 1 cup of soaked almonds per batch)*
  • 1/2 cup dates soaked in boiling water and 1/2 cup soaking water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 gluten free (or normal) weetbix

*alternatively use 2 cups of oats or 1 cup of oats and 1 cup of almond meal or 2 cups almond meal or 1 cup of walnuts and 1 cup of cashews (NB oats are not GF)


  • 1 cup dates soaked in boiling water and 1/2 cup soaking water
  • 1 cup cashews (presoaked 1/2 hour in boiling water, or overnight in cold water, drained)
  • 1 400 ml tin coconut cream
  • 2 – 3 sachets “gel it in”
  • 4 Tablespoons ground chia seeds
  • Juice of 5-6 limes
  • Zest of 1-3 limes
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of spirulina, green food dye (optional)



  • Process crust ingredients to crumbs and press into a lined (with baking paper) 22 cm tin and put in freezer or fridge to harden.
  • Process dates and cashews with coconut cream.
  • Cook “gel it in” with lime juice / zest according to packet instructions.
  • Quickly mix lime mix through date / cashew / coconut mix, chia, vanilla, (spirulina and / or colour if using), and spread over base.
  • Leave to set in fridge for several hours.
  • Optionally you can freeze and eat like an ice cream cake (take out 20 minutes before eating) or can freeze and leave to completely defrost for a creamy / mousse consistency.

Protein Neatballs


I have been tweaking my diet to try and get more protein or at least make sure I am eating enough protein….since everyone has a burning desire to know how you get enough protein without eating meat. Keep calm because PLANTS HAVE PROTEIN.

I have been measuring macros lately to see just how much protein there is in plants and I can happily report back that there is plenty.

Here is my brand new neatball recipe. We just ate it and it was a big hit with the small people. #winning


(makes 40 balls about 2cm diameter – 10 serves – extra serves can be frozen for another meal or will last about 7 days in the fridge)


  • 150 grams walnuts
  • 50 grams dried cranberries (unsweetened)
  • 1 tin 4 bean mix (with the liquid)
  • 200 grams oats (I used porridge oats but rolled is fine)
  • 30 grams kale (including small stems)
  • 60 grams parsley (including small stems)
  • 30 grams tomato sauce (no added sugar / salt)
  • 30 grams torula yeast
  • 1 Massel “beef” stock cube crumbled (or about 2 tsp powder)
  • 60 grams pea protein powder (I used Coles – if you use a SPI or PPI it will be even higher in protein)

Tomato sauce: (enough for 4 people)

  • 900 grams fresh tomatoes
  • fresh herbs (I used basil and oregano)


  • Preheat oven to 180-200 degrees Celsius.
  • To make balls, put all ingredients in food processor and blend until it forms a sticky dough.
  • Form into balls about 2cm diameter.
  • Place on tray lined with baking paper.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes / turn over and bake for another 10.
  • While the balls are baking, process tomatoes and place in a fry pan with the herbs (chopped or whole) and fry off to reduce liquid. You can add garlic if you like. I didn’t have any left so I didn’t.


I served mine over zoodles (julienned raw zucchini) and everyone else had over gluten free spaghetti. You could also serve with mash potato or polenta.


(per 4 balls served with 1/4 of the tomato sauce recipe and 200 grams Zucchini noodles)

  • Calories: 329
  • Fat: 13 grams
  • Fibre: 9.9 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 38.9 grams
  • Sodium: 266.8 grams
  • Protein: 21 grams (see: magic….no meat, and yet, protein….OMG!!!)

Footnote: I just did a quick search for normal meatballs and macros and found macro organic meatballs – 5 balls (no sauce or noodles) If you check it out the protein is 20 grams (per 5 balls). True the sauce and zoodles have some protein (7.5g total….mostly from zucchini) but if you add 5 balls to normal pasta and sauce the macros will be similar or less and the carbs / calories will probably be more. Feel free to report back on the maths. 🙂



Our garden, and next door’s garden (which we are looking after), both have an abundance of basil at present. Basil is my favourite herb and basil pesto is my favourite sauce / spread / condiment. Traditionally (or at least commercially and the way I first learned to make it) pesto contains basil, pine nuts, olive oil, garlic and Parmesan cheese (and pepper). This is a vegan and garlic free take on the recipe but you could easily substitute the salt and nutritional yeast for grated Parmesan and you could add garlic to your hearts desire. This recipe will last a while in the fridge (though it doesn’t last long enough here to test out how long), and also freezes well (for several months). It is excellent as a pizza base sauce, on pasta or zucchini noodles as well as a spread.

I made some pesto last week garlic free due to a friend’s intolerance and found that I actually preferred it this way. I brought the left overs to a family dinner and it was well received….so well that the recipe was requested…..uh oh….I had not written it down as I hastily made it last time….so writing this has involved making another batch so I could get the “exact” quantities down as I went……It’s going to be so hard getting through the results of that adventure (not 🙂 ).

RECIPE (yields about 2 cups)

  • 4 cups tightly packed basil (just the leaves and flowers – discard tough stems)
  • 1 cup toasted pine nuts (I just toast mine by microwaving for a minute or 2)
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • juice of 1 lemon (or about 4 tablespoons of lemon juice – to taste)
  • salt to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • course ground black pepper (optional / to taste – about 1 teaspoon)
  • 60 millilitres extra virgin olive oil


  • Put basil in food processor and blitz until finely chopped.
  • Add nutritional yeast,  and blitz until incorporated.
  • Add pine nuts and blitz to a paste.
  • Add pepper / salt, and lemon juice, and blitz until paste is smooth.
  • With motor running on food processor, pour in the olive oil until homogenised into mix.
  • Scrape into jar (if storing in fridge or using soon), or into small plastic containers / ice cube trays (if freezing).

Looking back and looking forward. (A year in review.)


Just a little bit excited about our trip to Tokyo (and Japan)!

It’s nearly time to wrap up 2016 and start a brand new year. Joelle over at A beginner’s Journey has reminded me I ought to be doing a year in review post…..because that’s what you do.

Although, as social media feeds keep reminding me, 2016 has been a year of losses (even in the last week), 2016 has been a pretty good year for me personally. A lot of the people who died were from the world of music and arts. One of that number hit much harder than the others, and was way more confronting, because they were a friend and musical colleague of mine, and they were of my generation and it was way too soon for them to leave. In perspective, I see it as a reminder that (1) we don’t live forever and that is part of the beauty of life, and (2) we should make damn sure we do and say everything we need to today and not wait for tomorrow, just in case….

To be honest I don’t know where the year went. Life has been crazy busy. I have had lots of music commitments, I have continued to work in an ever changing and challenging (often to the point of being frustrating) environment, I have been helping my kids learn various life skills, I have been experimenting in the kitchen, and I have been holiday planning and travelling. In addition to being a musician, a professional, a mum and a wife, I have been training (Karate) fairly intensively this year. So I guess the old adage “Time flies when you are having fun.” is probably a reasonable explanation to why this year has felt so short (when actually it had a whole 24 extra hours!!).


Musically speaking, I have been involved in several performances (both choral / vocal and instrumental) with Lumina and Lyrebyrd and also done some singing and playing just for fun. I have not had time to write anything new but I had one of my works performed again in the fringe and to top it off it was voted by the audience poll as the most popular piece in the concert, (which was an absolute honour, especially considering the programme included some absolute gems).


I am not at liberty to say much about work but despite its frustrations (mostly related to IT issues), I am grateful for my job and my colleagues and continue to be challenged by my clients (in a more positive way than I am challenged by the IT issues!!). And besides working pays for extras like presents and karate lessons!


I have said it before and it bears repeating: Being a mum (or a dad) never really gets easier; it just gets different. I am a fairly practical mum. I feed my kids, I try to teach them right from wrong, I cuddle them, I read them stories, I give them band-aids (if there is blood), I cough up money for teeth, I make their birthday cakes. I help them learn about the world through experiences, by spending time with them, and leading by example. I try not to shelter them and I am honest when they ask questions (even where others may perpetuate a myth).

I am probably not ever going to be one of those mums who sacrifices everything for my kids. If I was, I don’t think they would ever learn that I am important too, that I should (and do) respect myself, and that I deserve respect. If they don’t learn that, I don’t think they will learn to be independent, or confident, or respect themselves. I love my kids to the moon and back, even though I have moments where I would like to send  them to the moon and ask them not to come back for a while.

The more my kids grow up the more their personalities and preferences, strengths and talents shine through, and the more I realise that despite the fact that they have, by and large, been parented in the same way, they are so different from each other.

My big boy is a very academic and almost pedantic individual, who likes to think, at least when it comes to things like information and concepts. He doesn’t think a lot about feelings (other than his own at times). He struggles to control his moods, and he struggles with the world not being all about him, which has found him in all sorts of strife, particularly at school. He is all about pushing boundaries, and saying no, and he is very stubborn, (like his mum), but hasn’t yet learned to channel that stubbornness into drive.

My baby girl is the more empathetic and caring of my kids. She is artistic, musical and often socially adept beyond her years. She can also be stubborn but generally she uses this rather better than her big brother. She is competitive. If her brother has it, she wants it, especially if it is a skill. She just decides what she’s going to do and practises determinedly until she gets it. This was particularly noticeable when she wanted to swim, and when she wanted to ride a bike. I think at least some of this tenacity and confidence has come about through training Karate, which she really enjoys. She struggles with so many things at school, and because her big brother is (and was at the same age) so far ahead of his peers in things like writing, maths, and spelling, it’s hard to accept (for her and sometimes for us), that she’s normal and not really too far behind behind. I think she has now decided it’s really time she could read properly (and I am all for it) so she’s been struggling her way one letter at a time through books with me.


My adventures in the kitchen have been more about making good food in large batches quickly (at least in terms of preparation time) than about making lots of fancy things that take forever to make and 5 seconds to eat (or having the small fry take a look and refuse). I would love more time in the kitchen (and the last 2 days I have had the luxury). Usually though, with work and training and all the other stuff, having meals planned and ready to go in 5 minutes is essential. That said, I have been enjoying some more relaxed meal preparation and catering over the Christmas and New year break while we are all home and unhurried. I have made some old favourites and tried some new ideas. I even made vegan Bailey’s tonight for me and my husband, after he suggested it as a way to use the vast and static collection of whiskey that has now moved house with us about 5 times without much disturbance! (It was delicious and way too easy!)

Another thing I have been playing with is the lowest common denominator approach to cooking. I have several friends with food allergies / sensitivities and other dietary preferences. I have enjoyed the opportunity to prepare fodmap friendly, gluten free, nut free, (insert any other requirement) vegan food, insomuch as it presents as a problem solving activity and an art of deception. I made a lovely pesto yesterday which had to be gluten free (ok), vegan (ok), and garlic / onion free…..difficult but succeeded….and it was made primarily from homegrown ingredients picked fresh from the garden!

Apart from these aspects….the other thing I have been trying to  do is make  use of food / by-products and minimise waste. Of course technically we don’t waste any kitchen scraps since we compost them (or at the moment feed them to the chickens next door), but if there is more I can squeeze out of something before it goes that direction, I will. I have even tried to make my own cleaning and “beauty” products, using things like orange peel, coffee grounds and other things one normally just throws away. I have learned how to take advantage of aquafaba (the liquid left after boiling pulses – eg in the tin or the pot), made my own apple cider vinegar and orange vinegar, invented lots of ways of using up almond pulp from almond milk making and am currently in the midst of inventing new ways to hide use zucchini in recipes, as the garden is going nuts.


Planning a holiday overseas with 2 kids was fun but difficult. When you are a couple, you hop on a plane and play things by ear when you get there. You can’t really do that with kids. Although I didn’t plan our Japan trip down to the last second, all accommodation and internal transport arrangements were confirmed and booked (mostly independently) before we left. This involved lots of late nights because the kids like to interrupt or suggest the same thing a zillion times while you are trying to arrange things. On the plus side, travelling with a mobile router made life easier and allowed us to be somewhat flexible with the itinerary within an area. Overall the holiday was a success and my only complaint is that we didn’t have enough time. There will be a next time though. I am determined.


I have written over 1000 words and only mentioned Karate in passing…..OMG….how did that even happen? This year has been a pretty big year for me. I have learned so much, and gained so much. Sure there have been the observable gains in skill acquisition, but the internal changes and the things I have learned about myself and what I can achieve, were the bigger gains as far as I am concerned.

At the end of last year, my instructor helped me to “step up” my training. To be honest I was pretty perplexed about what “stepping up” would look like since I was already training more days in the week than I wasn’t, but, I went along for the ride, because I love Karate, and to be honest, when it comes to Karate I trust his judgement of what I am capable of (even if that occasionally initially surpasses what I think I am capable of)!

The year has been punctuated by various events of significance and interest, some of which I have written about in other posts throughout 2016. (You can catch up here on Karate posts.) The year was punctuated by several network and wider MA community events, which I had the privilege of participating in, including open and invite only workshops, a tournament, the annual gasshuku in Queensland, and my first 2 network panel gradings. Whilst all of these were enjoyable, informative, and fantastic learning experiences, I would have to say that my happiest times were at regular classes in my home dojo, just learning, learning to teach, and helping others learn.

Training has been full on, and I figured out by the middle of the year (if not before) what “stepping up” involved. By half way through the year it became evident that the plan was for me to do a double grading in November. This initially freaked me out somewhat if I am honest. I knew I would “get” all the kata and the physical requirements in time, but I wasn’t sure I could “be” a second kyu, especially not without having dipped my feet into the muddy (ie brown) waters at 3rd kyu for a good six months. It also meant going things alone for sections of the grading (since the rest of my “team” of purples were grading to 3rd kyu). November came and I was prepared. It’s been 6 weeks or so since I passed 2nd kyu and was awarded a Senpai title. With all my other belts, it took little or no time to get used to the new rank. My brown belt with it’s 2 black stripes, not to mention being referred to in social media and email and text and especially in person as “Senpai” has taken until about the last week or two to feel real and intermittently “comfortable”. At least I actually respond to Senpai now.

In terms of the more personal achievements, the stuff that is perhaps harder to see on the outside, I have been able to move on from some of the mental barriers and stereotypes that had been holding back my mind, and grow in confidence. I have had some support in this process, and there were times where it wasn’t easy, but time and reflection have helped a great deal. In a nutshell it has mostly been about extending and melding my personal attitudes into Karate and vice versa. Given that Karate is really a part of me, this has been a natural progression to some extent, but the “growing up” has been made easier by my “big brothers and sisters” having been there before.

After the excitement of our November grading, which saw us undergo a big colour change and my Senpai and 2 other Senpai at the sister dojo I train with, achieve their shodan, I had a great time helping plan and arrange our dojo end of year Celebration. I felt it was particularly important to arrange something to Celebrate our achievements as a club this year, because, as you can see, it has been big and exciting year, and not just for me personally. That said, at the dinner, I received the inaugural MIK (Most Improved Karateka) Award. I know I have improved but it’s hard to see yourself the way others see you. It was a proud moment for me (if not a surprising one), but not as proud as the moments I have had seeing others in the dojo achieve things they never thought possible.


So this is the end of looking back, or is it? Whilst we probably shouldn’t dwell on the past, I am sure that I will look back on this in future, as a reference point at the very least. Looking backwards doesn’t necessarily mean going backwards. Looking backwards can be a stepping stone to looking forwards.

2016 has been a blast. I don’t want to forget it, but I am really looking forward to 2017. I don’t really do resolutions anymore, they are too rigid. My aim in karate and in life remains open ended: To be better today than I was yesterday, and better tomorrow than I am today. With hard work and dedication, this is achievable. I’m up for that.

Left to right:

Top: Dragon fly in Kyoto, Temple Gates (Tori) Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto

Middle: Me and Kyoshi after 2nd Kyu / Senpai Award, medals from the 2016 TJKN National Championships, Me and Mini Me at the Championships.

Bottom: Mini Me and her flag sparring medal from the kids tournament at Gasshuku, Selfie at the summit of Mt Misen, Miyajima, Hiroshima, Tofu selection at the supermarket, Kyoto (I think).



As you like it (aka GF vegan Okonomiyaki)

20160822_160629So….big news is that we are in the thick of planning a family holiday to Japan! The highlights of many of our holidays (at least for my husband and myself) have invariably included food.

We hope Japan will be no exception (despite the warnings of the inherent difficulties of finding vegan / low gluten versions of traditional Japanese dishes in Japan)…..I am optimistic about being able to find something suitable to eat. I don’t however want our 2 pint sized travelling companions to rain on my culinary parade. So in a quest for tolerance of the new and exciting, I am trying out some easily accessible Japanese dishes on them.

So far this week we have had Onigiri, Vegetable Donburi, and Okonomiyaki. I do have a vegan Japanese cookbook which I used for inspiration……however I didn’t have most of the ingredients on the list so I have pretty much winged it for all three dishes. Onigiri and Donburi are pretty easily adaptable to GF vegan versions but Okonomiyaki (literally meaning what you like fried) is typically made with flour and eggs (and often meat or seafood too).

Here is my take on what like, fried!

Makes 8 large pancakes (serves 8)


  • 10 cups of finely chopped / julienned or grated veg (I included a combination of carrot, broccoli and broccoli stalk, brussel sprouts, bok choi, green beans, celery leaves / stems, spring onion, and super finely chopped mushrooms…..don’t tell Mr 7 about them)
  • 3 tablespoons linseed meal mixed with 1/2 cup water and left to stand while preparing flour etc
  • 1 cup each of the following flours: besan (chick pea), buckwheat, rice, potato, GF plain flour mix
  • 1 tsp (or less) salt
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 4 cups – 5 cups water (enough to make a thickish batter)
  • spray oil for frying



  • Mix flour / salt and baking powder in large bowl.
  • Add linseed / water mix and 4 cups water and mix to a batter, adding more water as needed to form a thick batter (somewhere between pancake and waffle mix).
  • Mix in vegetables.
  • Heat one or several fry pans and spray with oil.
  • Put sufficient batter into pan to form a thick large pancake.
  • Cook on low to moderate heat for about 5-7 minutes and then turn and cook 5-7 minutes on the other side (until browned on both sides and cooked through).



Serve fresh / hot (although leftovers can be warmed in the microwave or pan or eaten cold and still excellent!)


We served ours with Japanese pickles (cucumber sliced finely and left in a combination of soy, rice vinegar, sugar and sesame oil), diced nori sheets, sauce (mixture of vegan Worcestershire, bbq, tomato, soy), sriracha, and a tahini dressing (rather than mayo). I also put sauteed mushrooms with soy and sesame oil on the top.

Luscious lemon cheeze cake smoothie

I have been doing lots of thinking lately…..and yet very little blogging. There are various reasons for this, but I have no excuse not to share this recipe with you all, because it is simple and delicious and lets face it, sharing is caring!

I swapped some of our mandarins for some of my friend’s mums lemons the other day. These lemons are absolutely the best lemons on the planet. They are enormous, vibrant yellow things of beauty, and so full of semi sweet tangy juice that I have only had to use one for this recipe (and I love lemons!!). If you like things less lemony then I would suggest using the juice of 1/2 a standard lemon and / or just using the zest.



  • 1 large meyer lemon (zest and juice – optionally flesh also which is my preference)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon of cashew or almond butter (optional)
  • 2 frozen bananas, sliced
  • 1/2 – 1 cup almond or soy or coconut mylk (depending on how thick you want it)



Place all ingredients in blender (or stick mix jug) and blend until thick and smooth.

And that, my friends, is it.