Swan Valley




Mandoon Estate (3)

Mandoon Estate Margaret River Chocolate Factory

The Cheese Barrel

Everytime we go to The Swan Valley, we always ask ourselves the same question – why do we not go back more often? I s’pose life gets in the way and we are just too bloody tired to make the trip usually.

This time I just went ‘We’re going to Swan Valley’ (whether you like it or not, whether you had plans to nap or not!) and off we went. We stopped by Mandoon and were pleased at its proximity – only 15 mins from home! Decided to have lunch at the bar after checking out what they had available at the deli (mostly cold meats and cheese for picnic) and restaurant (tad expensive for a casual out of the blue outing). I ordered their mussels after making sure it was going to be served with bread and he got the sous vide roast beef (which by the way is the process of vacuum-packing meat and cooking it in a precise temperature-controlled water bath which makes the risk of over cooking the beef a thing of the past). I did not think the mussels were too great, flavours were tad bland and I devoured the the bits of salty pancetta – I would not re-order this dish unfortunately. On the other hand. he loved his sous vide beef that came with a generous amout of mash potato and beans. We finished our meals with the beer tasting which we thought were great value for only $14. Alas the small beer drinkers that we are and it being only 2pm then, didn’t help! We struggled to finish the fifth glass though we would definitely recommend the taster! The place is beautiful though and we will be back for a picnic and some wine!

Off to the Cheese Barrell we went next for a coffee. Though they do not make their own cheese, they had a large array of cheese in their cabinet and we took some beautiful french cheese called La Buche d’Affinois home. Their coffees were great! We then went on to get some produce from the growers parked next to the Mash Brewery, before stopping by the iconic Margaret Choc factory for some chocolate sorbet and one of their nougat dipped in dark chocolate and cranberry!

There is so much more to do at the Swan Valley – house of honey, fish and lily pond, reptile park, ice cream, food, drinks, golf, laser tags, coffee tasting at Yahava… and of course wine tasting! 🙂 Get onto it 🙂 xx

Banana Bread (GF)

Gluten Free Banana Bread

Gluten Free Banana Bread

Hey there

Things have been a bit quiet on this blog however life has been busy – and yes cooking / baking has still been happening – it never ends 🙂  Two weeks ago, I had just finished our Lifestyle Challenge where I had been following a strictly paleo diet for 8 weeks! It has been interesting with lots and lots of cooking, awesome recipes that I cannot share and a result of 3.5% loss in body fat. More on that in a post sooner than later!

For today, a beautiful banana bread I made last night to have for breakfast/ snack during the week. Banana bread on its own is heavenly however I opted to also add some dark chocolate in there just because! Throw in some coconut milk dark chocolate and the bread is paleo! The result is some delicious chocolate gooey surprise as you indulge in the bread! The batter was soooo delicious and I just knew the bread was going to be awesome!  The original recipe is from Teresa Cutter – The Healthy Chef.

Banana Bread (GF)


  • 3 smashed ripe banana
  • 3 free range / organic eggs
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey (or organic maple syrup)
  •  1/4 cup grassfed butter / coconut oil (the original recipe asks for macadamia/olive oil)
  • Half teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda ( bicarb soda) + 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 200 g ( 2 cups/ 7 oz) ) almond meal
  • 25 g (1/4 cup / 3/4 oz) ground flaxseed (linseed) (or chia seed)
  • Handful of chopped dark chocolate


1. Preheat your oven to 160 C.

2. Combine smashed banana, honey, oil, cinnamon, vanilla, eggs, bicarb and lemon juice, by hand in a large bowl.

3. Add the almond meal, flaxseed and chocolate pieces and mix well.

4. Lightly oil one loaf tin and then coat liberally with extra almond meal or desiccated coconut – this will prevent the cake from sticking. I used a silicon mould so needed none of the above!

5. Spoon batter into the tin and bake 1 hour ( a skewer inserted into the centre should come out dry).

6. Cover the top with foil if over-browning.

7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before turning out the loaf.

* Made from almond meal, expect the bread to be dense and moist. It is best had  the next day (if you can wait!) and toasted with some butter! YUM.

Recipe from: https://www.thehealthychef.com/2013/01/gluten-free-banana-bread/

Monday musing

Do what you want

The other thing I still have to work on is :To stop taking things personally! 

“When you hear a comment that you think is directed at you, take a moment and think. Do not over analyze the situation at hand, just let the other person speak freely. Listen completely to what this person is saying – selective hearing is the cause of these misinterpretations. People tend to get caught up in petty drama, which typically occurs when one person takes something the wrong way. When it comes down to it, you’re in control of how you interpret things.

Let Yourself Love Her

Let Yourself Love Her

by Heidi Rose Robbins


I was waiting in line, biding my time, waiting for my friend who was late for our date

When I looked up to see… beauty

Like a splash of cold water walk by me, do you know what I mean?

Like some kind of Goddess walked in

And there she was not aware how everybody had stopped to stare

And I felt myself shrinking like grey seeping in

Counting the years, bringing tears, feeling late, out of date, wanting to hide, reside, elsewhere

But this is what I thought…

Just let yourself love her

Don’t get caught in your own self-loathing, don’t try to criticise her face, her form, her clothing

Just love that beauty exists like this

Beauty abounding, resounding, confounding

Celebrate how the light in the room changed

How people were rearranged by this grace, this face, this space of light created

It’s killing us this self-critique, body hatred, feeling bleak

Don’t cut her out, isolate, judge yourself, medicate

Just open to her

Open to you, you wild gorgeous flower, shine that right through

Say hello

Soften your heart

Say yes to the beauty

Soak it in

And take part

Sweet Potato Tuna Fishcakes (w coconut flour, Paleo & GF)

Sweet Potato Tuna Fishcakes Babaganoush

I have been flirting with  Paleo recipes as of late in view of the Lifestyle Challenge that I am partaking in, in three weeks’ time. The nutrition component of the challenge involves adopting the Paleo diet for 8 weeks. Certain food groups will be excluded mainly dairy, legumes and grains and of course refined sugars. The challenge is an opportunity to fuel our bodies with quality nutrients dense food and avoid those that are and can potentially have a negative impact on our long term health and performance. It will be very interesting to assess the effects of this new lifestyle on my physique, clarity of mind, sleep, moods, and more. On top of recording a food diary, a training plan is also to be followed and performance assessed. Lastly, a lifestyle challenge will not be complete without small steps towards promoting wellness. Cannot wait.

Back to the goodies, I am a big fan of fritters. They are super easy to make as you will see and oh so versatile. I would like to start cooking breakfast more often in the morning – one of the resolutions I have decided on. Sweet potatoes are your good carbohydrates, protein in tuna and eggs and good fats in ghee and eggs. Now that is a great breakfast to start your day with.

I decided to make some babaganoush because I thought it would make an awesome accompaniment to the fishcakes. Smoky and silky. Did you know that in addition to featuring a host of vitamins and minerals, eggplant also contains important phytonutrients, many which have antioxidant activity? (http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=22&tname=foodspice). Great dip for picnics.

If making both like I did, start on the babaganoush as it takes a while to bake in the oven. Then whilst it’s in the oven, you can start on your fishcakes.

Enjoy and happy hump day xx

Sweet Potato Tuna Fishcakes

 Preparation time: 10 minutes   Cooking time: 10 minutes   Number of servings: 7-8 fritters


  • 2 cups grated sweet potatoes
  • 2 tins of tuna in olive oil or brine
  • a handful of chopped kale
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • pepper & salt for seasong
  • ghee for frying (clarified butter, you can use coconut oil instead)


Preparation time: 10 minutes    Cooking time: 45 minutes plus cooling time   Number of servings: 4


  • 1 large eggplant, cut in half length ways
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp tahini paste
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2/3 tsp sea salt
  • pinch of cracked pepper

Instructions for Fish cakes

  1. Combine all ingredients. Mix well. If you feel like the mixture is not sticking enough, break another egg in.
  2. Heat a large frying pan to high and melt 1 tablespoon of ghee or coconut oil.  Using your hands, shape mixture into balls and flatten into fritters before adding to the pan. Bring the heat to medium and fry on each side for 4 minutes or until golden brown crust forms.

Instructions for Babaganoush

  1. Heat oven to 180C and bake eggplant drizzled with olive oil for 45 minutes or until crispy and dark golden brown. It should be soft on the side.
  2. Cool eggplant for about 1 hour and remove outer skin only. Cut roughly and place in a food processor or blender with garlic, tahini, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Purée until smooth.