Review: Living Candida-Free By Ricki Heller

Living Candida Free grain free appleberry crumble

Ricki Heller is one of my favourite cookbook authors and food bloggers. Her previous book, Naturally Sweet and Gluten-Free, is one I use often (the Marbled Halva is magic!). Thanks to Ricki, sweet potatoes took on a whole new purpose in my house and I frequently use her recipes for baked goods using sweet potatoes.

I was lucky to receive a copy of Ricki’s latest book Living Candida-Free via Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe. Johanna was a recipe tester for this book and you can read her review here and get the recipe for Ricki’s Asian Napa Cabbage Salad. I was so excited to receive this book and did my usual thing where I read the book from start to finish, bookmarking the recipes I want to try first, then give up because I bookmark every page.

Living Candida-Free book cover

Living Candida-Free contains 100 recipes as well as loads of information on Candida-Related Complex, with contribution from Andrea Nakayama. Although I am not dealing with any candida issues myself, I found this all really interesting and learned quite a bit about CRC. I admit there are some cookbooks where I breeze through the opening sections and go straight for recipes, but not here. I’ve since re-read these chapters and the information has been helpful to a few friends. Ricki gives you strategies and tips for successfully following an anticandida diet and her recipes are so good that you certainly do not need to be following an anticandida diet to enjoy them! This is a book I’d encourage everyone to try, regardless of any special diet you may follow.

Here are some of the recipes I’ve made. First up was the gingerbread pecan butter. I had to give this away. Why? Because it was SO GOOD. Seriously, I was eating this so fast (like, with a spoon) that I begged my sister to take it:

Living Candida Free gingerbread pecan butter

Kale chips! I love my kale chips and these are some of the nicest I’ve ever tried. This recipe is for sour cream and onion style chips. You can see I need more practice with watching them in the oven. I tend to use the dehydrator for chips but I was too impatient this time and used the oven:

Living Candida Free kale chips

I love fennel and always have edamame buried all forgotten-like in the freezer. I loved this dish, made with roasted fennel, brussels sprouts and the edamame:

Living Candida Free fennel brussels edamame

I love this eggplant parmessan and have made it a few times since (but not managed to take a better photo…)

Living Candida Free eggplant parmessan

For sweet treats, I enjoyed the crimson mousse made with boiled beets. Ricki is correct in this recipe when she says it doesn’t taste beet-y. I was psyching myself up for beetyness but there was none:

Living Candida Free crimson mousse

I made the raw apple porridge bowl for Arthur and myself. Honestly, I didn’t think he’d enjoy it because he (at the time) preferred regular oat porridge. He ate it all up and asked for more. Happy!

Living Candida Free raw apple porridge bowl

In the topmost photo is the grain-free apple berry crumble. This time I thought DeeW would say she didn’t like it but instead she asked for seconds. This is the kind of dessert I’d happily serve the kids for breakfast as the apples and berries provided all the sweetness needed. We loved it.


There are so many more recipes I want to try, like the Sunday night roast (follow the link above to Johanna’s page for a photo of her roast, doesn’t it look fab!). I found the recipes easy to follow and incredibly tasty– like I said I don’t need to follow an anticandida diet but these recipes are ones I happily make again.

You can find Ricki blogging at rickiheller.com (her blog was previously called Diet, Dessert and Dogs). As well as loads of recipes, Ricki’s site contains a wealth of information on candida and more info on her books.

Okay, time to go bookmark some more recipes. I’m eyeing off the super stuffed sweet potatoes with creamy greens and chickpeas, followed by S’More parfaits!


What I Ate

vegan buckwheat aquafaba waffles

I haven’t done my weekly What I Ate for weeks. Again… Okay, so up the top there are some buckwheat waffles I made with aquafaba (I used the liquid from canned chickpeas). We bought a new cheapie waffle maker and I want to make healthier waffles for the kids using different kinds of flour. These tasted very buckwheaty, which I love and I was surprised the kids ate them without complaint. They turned out nice and crisp too and crisped up well again in the toaster. I’ll experiment with the recipe some more then post it here if I’m happy with it. This was our Canada Day breakfast because of the maple syrup and blueberries. Canada is the world’s largest producer of wild blueberries, also known as lowbush blueberries. They are native to Eastern North America.

Arthur and DeeW really like the cornbread waffles from Vegan Brunch, so I made those another day:

vegan cornbread waffles

Some red quinoa, rice, loads of coriander-saturated veggies and tofu flavoured with garlic, tamari and lime:

tofu veg bowl

I took some Vegami (a vegan salami produced here in Melbourne) to my mum’s house and made her this pasta with sundried tomatoes:

Vegami pasta

I made this green split pea soup using the recipe over at Cadry’s Kitchen for her home style split pea soup. Delicious! See, my dad loves pea and ham soup. Except his favourite version comes from a can. I don’t think he’s had it for ages so when my mum tried this soup she said it was great and my dad would like it, so I’ll make a batch for him:

split pea soup

I hope your week has been full of tasty food!


Review: Prana ON Protein Plus A Protein Bites Recipe

vegan protein aquafaba bites

Protein powders: one of those things I’ve personally had a love-hate relationship with over the years! Love, because I find them so useful when I need to meet my protein requirements when, for instance, I have a personal health or fitness goal. The hate part… well, so many protein powders I’ve bought in the past just tasted plain awful or overpowering. Then I’d be stuck with the packet until it finished, suffering through one chalky tasting smoothie after another. Thankfully, I now have Prana ON to save me from all that!

Prana Organic Nutrition (Prana ON) are an Australian based company that have created a plant based wholefood product range to complement health and fitness goals. The range includes:

Power Plant Protein – a natural protein supplement with added amino acids and digestive enzymes

Intra Strength – a natural BCAA formula to support endurance, recovery and repair

Phyto Fire Protein – a thermogenic and metabolic boosting plant protein, containing ingredients that assist with weight management, appetite control and body fat loss

Natural Mass – supports the growth of lean mass (and it’s gluten free!). Over 60g of organic alkaline plant protein per serve

Super Greens – a blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals with added digestive enzymes

I visited the Prana ON stall at the Arnold Classic in Melbourne, back in March. Yes, I tried every single sample and next on my list is the Intra Strength in Blood Orange:

Prana ON products Prana ON products

For more information on the products and ordering info, head over to Prana ON’s website. You can also follow Prana ON on Facebook or Instagram. I’ve ordered via the website and my parcels were delivered quickly.

I must admit I’m not very creative when it comes to making up recipes with protein powders. I’ve seen some beautiful recipes that Prana ON fans have made. Most of the time I use a protein powder in a smoothie– not very imaginative! But really, I see it as a testament to how much I like the products and how I prefer to use them. Prana ON is also the first protein powder I’ve been able to take to the gym, add water to my shaker bottle, and chug it down no problems after a workout. Yes, I was once that person in the gym, holding my nose trying to force down some tasteless chalky powder water mix…

I use the Power Plant Protein and my favourite flavours are the Coconut Milk, Vanilla Creme and the Rich Chocolate. I’ll always have a banana in my smoothies (no matter what!) and with Prana ON I don’t have to add some kind of sweetener like dates (I had to do this with other protein powders) as they’re sweet enough on their own.

blueberry protein smoothie

The most creative I got was making a smoothie bowl based on the flavours often used in my family’s Greek sweets. Here’s a smoothie made with banana, oats, orange juice, lemon juice, coconut water, cinnamon and Prana ON vanilla creme protein, topped with chopped walnuts (rose petals courtesy of a seven year old stylist):


Another favourite product of mine is the Super Greens mint flavour. I love mint and the Super Greens was great for when I was sick recently. I couldn’t stomach much in the way of food, so I was adding Super Greens to my juices. The Super Greens are made with spirulina, chlorella, alfalfa, wheat grass and barley grass. Next time I make nicecream, I’ll add some Super Greens.

Now that I’ve been experimenting a fair bit using aquafaba (the name given to the leftover liquid used when cooking beans, chickpeas or lentils) I decided to make some protein balls. I follow a high carb low fat diet as my main goal is to lose body fat. This has been going really well but I didn’t want to make protein balls containing things like nut butters or coconut oil or maple syrup or other sugary or fat ingredients found in a lot of protein ball recipes for the liquid element. Certainly, the protein balls/bites/bars recipes I used to make in the past contained a lot of those things. Also, I do have a bit of a problem with stopping at one or two, so when I’d make say peanut butter almond protein balls in the past, I’d go through them waaaay too quickly, which would have put my well over my fat intake had I been watching my macros!

This time I wanted to keep the fats low as possible, so adding oils or nut butters wasn’t an option. I know I could use banana or apple sauce but mehhhh… I have bananas and apples a fair bit and don’t like the taste of those in protein bites. Instead I added the liquid from a can of organic chickpeas to bind everything together. No chickpea-y taste! As Prana ON is already on the sweeter side, I didn’t need too much in the way of dates. Success! Here’s the recipe, though of course you can add things, swap things around, whatever you like.

* I made this recipe specifically for Prana ON Power Plant Protein, taking the sweetness of the powder in to consideration.

Prana ON Aquafaba Protein Bites by Veganopoulous

– 2 scoops of Prana ON protein powder (I used Rich Chocolate)

– 1 cup of buckwheat groats

– 1/3 cup oats

– 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

– 9 Tablespoons aquafaba (I used liquid from canned chickpeas)

– 4 pitted Medjool dates, soaked a little beforehand

In a blender, grind up the buckwheat, oats and pumpkin seeds to make a flour.

Add in the aquafaba and dates. Blend it all up, roll in to balls and you’re done!


Smith & Deli, Fitzroy

Smith & Deli Fitzroy

Whenever I blog about a new vegan place, I get quite a few comments from readers overseas saying how Melbourne seems to be so ace for vegans and plant based eaters. Well, Melbourne now has yet another fantastically super all-vegan food outlet I’m excited to share with you: Smith & Deli in Fitzroy.

Co-owners Mo and Shannon are the masterminds behind the all-vegan and much loved Smith & Daughters restaurant. Smith & Deli is, as the name suggests, more a deli style set up. There’s no seating but there are shelves, display cabinets and fridges full of goodies, many of which are made on the premises. There are housemade pizzas (I saw margherita and pepperoni), dips (garlic aioli, tzaziki, fava bean dip, red capsicum dip), pesto, quince paste. You can grab some canned hominy, uncooked beans, chickpeas and such as well as syrups like agave, maple and coconut syrup. There were beverages, Tofurky products and Miyoko cheeses in the fridges, with chips, confectionery and more on the shelves. The food display cabinets contain more housemade foods like pastrami, turkey, marinated artichokes and other foods suitable for an antipasto platter, pretzels, croissants(!) and the sweeter baked goods like almond croissants(!!!), pain au chocolat, sticky challah rolls, biscuits (cookies), slices, doughnuts and more.

And the sandwiches– oh my word the sandwiches. YOU GUYS, THE SANDWICHES. Just… sandwiches. There’s the Rocky (sliced Philly steak, grilled onions and peppers, melted mozarella all toasty, $14), the Maury Ballstein (meatballs in Napoli sauce with fresh basil pesto, rocket and buffalo mozarella on a toasted roll, $14), Club Sandwiches Not Seals (turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayo and cheddar on sourdough, $14), Buffalo the Vampire Slayer (buffalo tofu, ranch, shredded iceberg, carrot, red onion and celery in a roll, $12)… and so so much more. There’s even a Truffle Shuffle, which is a grilled cheese with ham and truffle oil for $12.

I’m going to stop talking now, because I’m likely to start talking all ludicrous-speed in a shrill voice. Because love can do that to you.

Lotsa-photos time, with my purchases at the bottom.

Smith & Deli FitzroySmith & Deli FitzroySmith & Deli FitzroySmith & Deli FitzroySmith & Deli Fitzroy

Smith & Deli FitzroySmith & Deli FitzroySmith & Deli FitzroySmith & Deli FitzroySmith & Deli FitzroySmith & Deli Fitzroy       Smith & Deli Fitzroy Smith & Deli Fitzroy Smith & Deli FitzroySmith & Deli Fitzroy Smith & Deli FitzroySmith & Deli FitzroySmith & Deli Fitzroy

I’d studied the menu for a few days, since Smith & Deli opened on Tuesday. I ended up getting the Home Alone. Best sandwich I’ve ever eaten everrr. Put it this way, I don’t really like Brussel sprouts but I had absolute faith in this sandwich because it contains turkey, roast brussel sprouts, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potato and gravy in really nice bread. The deli had run out of the turkey so I opted for the chicken instead. I LOVE THIS SANDWICH. It cost $15– pricey for a sandwich but I’m happy to pay that for something where the ingredients are fresh, housemade and did I mention an entire roast meal in a sandwich?! I had a ten minute walk to the car after buying this and stopped when I saw a little community garden setup. I had to hurry up and photograph the sandwich (half is shown below) because I wanted to stuff it in my face and there was no way I was going to wait another eight minutes or so before getting to the car. Half the sandwich was really filling and the other half will be toasted in my panini press. This was magic:

Smith & Deli Fitzroy

Update: another sandwich, this time the Rocky. Oh my word…

Smith & Deli Fitzroy

The kids asked for a plain croissant each. I had a little and while I was not expecting this to be anything like a non-vegan all butter croissant I’m sure this is as close to a ‘real’ croissant as you can get. I’m happy with that! Shannon has done some wicked awesome sorcery with these and if I ever crave croissants I know where I’ll be going. Oh and hey, check out what I did with bringing a gingham tablecloth as a prop. I got all matchy-matchy with the shirts the Smith & Deli staff wear (but I didn’t get pics of their shirts, doh):

Smith & Deli Fitzroy

On another visit, I got the ham, cheese, tomato and mustard Croissantwiches of Eastwick ($12). Think toasted croissant with all those fillings. Toasting made this seem more ‘real’ croissant like than the plain untoasted croissants. Brilliant. Action shot:

Smith & Deli Fitzroy

For a sweet treat, the kids asked for a jam drop biscuit each and a chocolate biscuit to share. I got a quince custard Danish for Husband. I had a taste and like the croissant, I know exactly where to go now if I am in desperate need of a Danish. Really well done:

Smith & Deli Fitzroy

Another sweet treat to share with family was the vanilla custard slice. It was pretty cold in Melbourne today and the icing stuck to the lid of the container and was really hard to take off, though I did manage it well after this photo was taken! Wobbly custardy goodness with pastry and sweet icing done well:

Smith & Deli Fitzroy

Finally we got a Challah sticky bun ($7) to share. Think cinnamon bun, but more butterscotchy-caramely than cinnamony. Sticky gooey loveliness:

Smith & Deli Fitzroy

I wish I had more time just to hang out and check every single thing on the shelves and in the fridges. Smith & Deli is already so popular, with many of the fresh food items selling out during the day. I love the New York Deli styling, the gingham shirts, the friendly service but most of all I love the thought and effort that has gone in to everything they make. There was a lot of excitement in the lead up to Smith & Deli opening and when you’re in there checking out what’s available and how beautiful the space is, it’s easy to see why.

Where’s the Beef? have blogged about their visit. You can also read reviews at Quinces and Kale and over at The Good Hearted.

Smith & Deli Fitzroy

Smith & Deli

11 Moor Street, Fitzroy

Smith & Deli on Facebook

Smith & Daughters on Facebook



Late Lunch At Sister Of Soul, St Kilda

Sister of Soul, St. Kilda

I visited Sister of Soul some months ago but never blogged about it because I hadn’t taken photos (I was without my camera because I ate there before a concert at the Palais Theatre). This week I was able to go back for another meal and naturally, here I am to tell you about it :)

Sister of Soul provide vegetarian and vegan food, as well as some raw and gluten free meals. There are also options for people who don’t eat garlic or onion. The breakfast menu looks pretty fab!

I enjoyed my meal last time (the Rasavangy eggplant curry, $17.50) but my personal rule is that I never order the same meal twice when there’s the rest of the menu to explore. I was with Arthur so we ordered the rice balls with satay sauce ($9.50) which were really good. Arthur unfortunately dropped half a rice ball down his sleeve and despite taking his jacket off, we couldn’t find it. It wasn’t on the floor or seat either. That happened to me once with a dumpling and I later found it inside my boot:

Sister of Soul, St. Kilda

Arthur ordered the potato fries ($8.00). I would say I’m pretty fussy about chips, I mean when you get rank chips it hurts. These were really good chips, seasoned with rosemary and sea salt.

For my main, I ordered the vegan option of the Big Burrito ($17.00), though it seemed that the vegan option was just removing the cheese. The filling was red quinoa, spinach, beans and finely chopped veggies served with a salad, salsa and guacamole. I find it hard to resist a burrito with healthy ingredients and I quite enjoyed this:

Sister of Soul, St. Kilda

If I’m in St. Kilda again I’m very happy to go back and work my way through the vegan menu items. Service was fast and friendly and our food came out all at once (which suits me fine!). We were there around 3:15pm or so, and it wasn’t that busy though it was very busy when I went for dinner.

Sister of Soul, St. Kilda

Sister Of Soul

73 Ackland Street, St. Kilda