RECIPE // Simple Jaffa Chocolate


Vegan. Gluten Free. Dairy Free. SIMPLE. What’s not to love about this easy-as chocolate recipe? Exactly the kind of thing you need to have handy when cocoa cravings hit – all the goodness without the fillers. Winner!



1 cup cocoa butter, melted

1 cup cocoa powder

1/4 to 1/2 cup honey (err on less over more)



10 drops Doterra Wild Orange essential oil

Grated lemon, lime or orange zest of one fruit

handful nuts – sunflower seeds, brazil nuts, almonds or cashews

dried fruit for extra sweetness


On a very low heat, allow cocoa butter to melt, then stir in cocoa and honey. Add any additional extras you’d like to throw into your chocolate mix, then pour into a baking-paper lined tray and place in fridge for at least half an hour.

Cut with a knife to allow to break into bite-size pieces. Store in a mason jar or sealed container and enjoy with freshly brewed coffee, or as a little treat after dinner.





I recently found something at the local health food store that has literally changed my mornings. I love a good protein-rich smoothie, but fell off the bandwagon of late as my favourite protein powder supplier had shut up shop, and the majority of stale, additive-riddled products on the market were lacklustre in goodness and unappealing to taste, to say the least.

That was until I came across Prana On. Ok, full disclosure – I am a raving fan! Not only are their products vegan, gluten free, and soy free, but they are also made entirely from plant based and raw ingredients, and mostly derived from organic and sustainably sourced ingredients. I got chatting with the very helpful guy in the health food store, and on his recommendation walked away with a pack of the Prana On Chai Latte Phyto Fire protein powder. I blended a scoop just with water once I was home (the ultimate taste test). I was immediately won over – the flavour is bang on delicious, and Prana On’s Phyto Fire range delivers a wonderful morning kick for those needing a little extra boost.

I’ve since tried the Coconut Milk, Vanilla Creme and Rich Chocolate flavours from their Power Plant protein range, and each one gets top points for full flavour and impressive ingredients. Made mostly from organic/raw/GMO free golden pea protein and brown rice protein, the blend also includes essential amino acids, digestive enzymes, pre and probiotics and natural sweeteners (stevia). At our local store, a 400g bag retails for somewhere around the $35 mark – only marginally more expensive than some other vegan proteins on the market, but so worth it for the flavour and quality. Who wants to drink bad protein…?

Anyway. Before I get carried away on a big ol’ couch-leaping show of love for these guys, here’s my three favourite super-simple smoothies that I’ve been whipping up every morning. So easy with only 5 ingredients each – just pop it all in the blender, pulse it up, and go!


1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 tsp matcha green tea powder
1 scoop Prana On Coconut Milk Power Plant Protein powder
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
300ml water



1/2 cup frozen cherries
1 tbsp flaked coconut
1 scoop Prana On Rich Chocolate Power Plant Protein powder
2 tbsp raw cashews
300ml water


1/2 cup frozen banana
1 scoop Prana On Chai Latte Phyto Fire protein powder
1 decent tbsp almond or 100% peanut butter
1 tbsp chia seeds
300ml water



Love, Vic xx


RECIPE // Make Your Own Pickled Carrots


We made these purple pickled beauties on our Summer HQ Getaway back in January, and are just about ready to be unbottled and enjoyed in our favourite salads, or as a gut-friendly snack on the go. Our resident nutritionist Abby led our Getaway group through each step on how to make these pretty jars of goodness, but you can recreate these at home using the recipe below.

1 teaspoon black peppercorns
6 large carrots, cut into 1cm thick batons
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 sachet of vegetable starter culture
Filtered water for vegetable culture starter
1 orange zest peeled in long strips
2 cinnamon sticks
1 small cabbage leaf washed
1 tea towel

rubber bands

You will need a 1.5 litre preserving jar (or a similar volume of smaller jars) with an airlock lid for this recipe. Wash the jar and all the utensils you will be using in very hot water. Place the carrots in a stainless steel bowl and sprinkle with salt.  Mix well and set aside.

Dissolve the starter culture in water according to the packet instructions (the amount of water will depend on the brand you are using). Add to the carrot along with the peppercorns, cinnamon and orange strips.  Mix well.

Fill the prepared jar with the carrot mixture, pressing down well with a large spoon to remove any air pockets and leave 2cm of room free at the top. Pour the water culture liquid to the jar and completely submerge the carrots in the liquid. If not enough water just add it bit more. Take a clean cabbage leaf and fold it up and place on top of the carrot mixture (this ensures the mixture stays submerged).

Put lid on and wrap the teatowel around the container to block light. Store in a dark place with a temperature of 16-23 degrees for 14 – 21 days. You can also place the jar in an esky for a more consistent temperature control. The longer you leave it, the higher the good bacteria count and also the tanginess increases the longer it is left.


Once open place in fridge. They will last up to 2 months in the fridge when kept submerged in the liquid.

Side dishes – Corn on the cob

Image 2-03-2016 at 3.50 PM (1)


  • 4 cobs of corn with husks on
  • 30 g of butter
  • half a handful of feta (we used Dodoni feta)
  • half a bunch of coriander
  • 4 pinches of paprika
  • salt and pepper

Microwave or steam the cobs for 10 minutes

If you have a BBQ then fire it up and once the corn is soft, grill the corn for a few minutes to give the corn a nice BBQ flavour.

Smear a little butter on each cob and sprinkle with paprika, crumbled feta and top with coriander, salt and pepper.

These are a great side dish to add to chicken or steak. Ill be posting a Jerk chicken recipe this week which would go well with this corn dish – keep an eye out for it!

Abby x


HQ MUSE // Laura Sides, Holistic HQ Chef


Our HQ Getaway Chef, the super-talented Miss Laura Sides, trained as an apprentice at the Andalusian-inspired Añada in Fitzroy, and has worked in some of Melbourne’s top restaurants as part of the front of house management team: Lucy Liu and Taxi Dining Room in the CBD, and La Luna in Carlton. Laura’s passion for cooking was something that developed almost by accident.

“My mum wouldn’t let me cook because I’d make a terrible mess. I didn’t really grow up with an interest in food at all. When I moved out of home I started playing around with food, and I found that I really enjoyed cooking and people seemed to really enjoy eating it! Moving to Melbourne [from England] and working with food is where my passion was really cemented.

I arrived in Melbourne with just a backpack and not knowing a single soul. All I knew was that I wanted to work with food and wine and this seemed like the best place in the world to do that.

I unwittingly managed to secure a job in a very prestigious restaurant within 12 hrs of arriving off the plane. When I googled the restaurant later that evening, I saw it had just won Gourmet Traveller Restaurant of the Year. I was absolutely petrified, but I turned up for day one and things rolled from there.

I later moved to Taxi Dining Room, where I started as a food runner and finished four and a half years later as part of the management team. During that time I also studied and qualified as a chef. I had the privilege of working my apprenticeship at Anada Restaurant in Fitzroy, where I would do all the food prep from 7am until mid afternoon, then race down to Taxi and work on the restaurant floor. It was an absolutely crazy time.

I then went back into management and have recently finished eighteen wonderful months as part of the opening team at Lucy Liu. I have never been hugely drawn to the confines of a restaurant kitchen, I crave creativity and being able to do my own thing. I have always known I would come back to food in the right way, and here I am!



1. What is your most memorable meal? Why does it hold such a firm place in your memory?

My favourite meal as a child was kedgeree, which is smoked haddock and spiced rice. Coming from Norwich in Northern England, you’re not really exposed to exotic foods, and I remember thinking, ‘… this is exciting’. Mum made it for us every Christmas Eve. I had it every year from four years old until I was twenty-five.

2. What was the hardest thing about your apprenticeship?

The combination of studying, going into class, doing the contact hours in a kitchen and working as a section waiter was pretty difficult to juggle. I would often leave Taxi Dining Room at 1am, needing to be back in the kitchen at 7am then back to Taxi for 4pm, it took its’ toll!

I also struggled with the Patisseries semester. I’m not one to follow a recipe and with patisserie cooking you really have to be diligent. I’ve never had much of a sweet tooth and struggle to cook anything I don’t really want to eat.

3. You’ve worked as the face of some of Melbourne’s top restaurants. How does working on the floor compare to working behind the kitchen?

I love the theatre of working on a restaurant floor, I love the intensity and high pressured environment of service. I love that you really never know who may walk through the door and having the joy of meeting such a broad range of people who all turn up for the same reason – the love of food.


4. What’s your favourite dish to prepare when you have friends over?

I so enjoy cooking at other people’s houses – it’s like the ‘mystery box’ on Masterchef, you open the fridge and cupboards and just make something. My favourite dish to cook is my version of steamed ginger and spring onion chicken. It’s one of my favourite dishes in Melbourne, originating from Ling Nam in Chinatown.

5. What do you do to eat healthy?

I never, ever eat anything out of the packet. It doesn’t excite me and it doesn’t involve any sort of interaction with the food. So I think that’s a good start. I have also become very aware of the power of water over the past couple of years and try to drink sh*$t loads of the stuff.

6. Who do you look up to in the industry? Why do you love what they’re doing?

The reason I started on this journey, across the world from Norwich to Melbourne was Rick Stein. I’d been through a big upheaval back home, and was ready for a change. I didn’t know where to go first until I saw Rick Stein cook a suckling pig in Ubud, and then realized that’s exactly where I wanted to go. So that’s where I went, and that’s what I ate, and that’s why I’m here now. I love how rustic and simple his food is.

7. If you could cook anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

If I could cook anywhere and for anyone, it would probably be for my Mum and Dad. I never got the chance to cook for them together, so perhaps that’s a step back in time rather than a specific location.


8. What are you looking forward to on our HQ Getaway in January?

I’m looking forward to the challenge of cooking for so many en masse, and I’m looking forward to using all the gadgets in the retreat kitchen which i don’t have at home but wish i did (ie. Thermomix!!!!!!).

I’m also looking forward to being in a beautiful space with like-minded ladies, away from the rat-race of day to day life.

9. You currently do Crossfit – why does it appeal to you?

I love Crossfit, because I know if I go 3 times a week I can pretty much get away with anything for the rest of the week! I like feeling strong and pushing myself to my absolute maximum capacity (which I simply couldn’t do on my own).

I love turning up with anxious anticipation of the workout ahead, then working out like a crazy person in a hot and sweaty industrial box, high fiving someone and going home being barely able to walk.

10. What do you dream of in 2016?

Channelling all things things I love and have learnt into the career I have always wanted x

RECIPE // Green Zucchini + Mint Soup with Sumac


>> Oh. My. God. I just made this, and it was so delicious – I just had to share!

[serves 4]

– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 1 onion, chopped
– 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
– 1/2 med green jalepeno, chopped
– 600ml chicken or vegie stock
– 6 large zucchini, chopped
– 1/4 cup chopped mint
– greek yogurt, sumac + fresh lemon to serve


Heat oil in frypan over medium heat, and cook onion, garlic and chilli until lightly browned. Add zucchini and stir for another 5 minutes, add hot stock and bring to boil.

Reduce heat to low, simmer until zucchini is tender, then process in the blender until smooth.

Divide soup between four bowls, top with a teaspoon each of mint and sumac, a dollop of yogurt and chopped chilli, drizzle with olive oil and serve hot with lemon wedges on the side.

Yum! So fresh + super nourishing. Enjoy! xx

RECIPE // The Noosa Cooler

>> MUM AND I SHARED the most beautiful afternoon at Little Cove today, as the clouds drifted away and the late autumn heat sizzled gently.

I have a treasured memory of one glorious autumn day at this very cove, many years ago when “yellow” was number one on the radio and my love was all yellow, too. My yellow love and I ventured down through the Noosa National Park, and as we drank in the vivid blues and greens of the surrounding landscape, the pop of pretty blue butterflies suddenly engulfed the skies above. We were entranced, and we followed them to Little Cove, where they continued their flitting journey out to sea.

Today was the first day in fifteen years that I’ve experienced anything like that day, and I feel so unbelieveably blessed to have seen this mass migration once more. Mum and I floated on the gentle turquoise green tide, staring up as the butterflies softly trailed through the air above. The water was brisk but warmed to the skin quickly, and the waves were gentle enough to merit a lazy afternoon of bobbing about, watching the surfers, the lovers and the wanderers. We waded into shore, and mum turned to me and gave me a big hug. “This has healed me like nothing else could,” she said.

After such a beautiful, warm day, we felt that only a cool beverage would do. So we dropped by the Doonan fruit shop, picked up a few supplies, and went home to whip these up. Guaranteed to take the edge off a thirst made of saltwater + sweet memories!


– 1/4 medium pineapple, diced
– 1/4 cucumber, quartered
– 2 kiwis, peeled and cubed
– 1/4 lime, with rind
– 250ml coconut water
– handful of mint
– 3-4 ice cubes

Directions: In truly laidback Noosa style — chop, blend + enjoy! Simple. Xx

DIY Harissa Paste


>> THIS FIERY RED PASTE is the ultimate baste for chicken, or on the side as a condiment. The chilli/garlic combo is an awesome boost for your metabolism and immune system, too.

– 4 long fresh red chillies
– 2 garlic cloves, crushed
– 1 tsp salt
– 1 tsp ground cumin seeds
– 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
– 1 tbsp olive oil
– 1/2 handful fresh coriander, chopped
– 1 tsp lemon rind

Halve chillies, remove the seeds and discard. Finely chop remaining chilli. Combine the chillies with all other ingredients in a food processor until a smooth paste forms. Add lemon juice to make a smoother paste.

Voila — ready to eat, packed full of nutrients and so simple to make! Enjoy x