Hot Cross Buns- Two Ways!

I love Easter. It’s unpredictable, sneaks up on you (not unlike a bunny!) and it commemorates the most important part of my faith- the death and resurrection of my Christ. I know that many of our Easter traditions are rooted in pagan festivals and others are adapted from Jewish passover traditions, but I don’t think that devalues them at all. I love the symbolism of rising loaves and the empty egg- trite as they may be. If the heart and the message behind them is true and well intentioned, then what harm do they bring? I also acknowledge that many do not believe in Christ and while it saddens me that they will never know the true joy of Easter until they do, I see nothing wrong with those traditions being adopted by people from all walks of life, all creeds, all religions.

Easter is about Jesus dying to bring people to Him and save us from ourselves, our fate. Who are we to deny anyone entry into that?

On that note, these two recipes are ones which I’ve made this Easter to bless my friends and family with. They’re both significantly healthier than the ones you’ll buy at the shops, and I think, significantly yummier! I hope you enjoy them and they’ll remind you of the love Jesus had for you as he died and was risen to new life.

The first recipe I used as a base is this one from Tales From The Kitchen Shed

Author: Tales From The Kitchen Shed with some adaptations by Amy Carpenter (The Carpenter’s Daughter
Recipe type: Bread
Cuisine: Home Baking
Serves: 16
  • Loose leaf chai (I used Hari Hai Chai and Mumbai Maple from T2)
  • 3/4 cup mixed dried fruit
  • 80ml unsweetened almond milk
  • 245g natural yoghurt
  • 1 apple – grated
  • 225g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 275 wholegrain rye flour
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate soda
  • 1-2 tbsp of Apple Cake Spice Mix (contains cinnamon, cardamom, rosehip, ginger, cassia, nutmeg… lots of yummy things! And no sugar.)
  • 1/2 an apple, cut into match sticks
  1. Place the chai and water in a small saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for about 3 or 4 minutes to reduce by about half. Add the sultanas (and mixed peel if using) and set to one side.
  2. Warm the buttermilk for one minute on high power in the microwave. Stir in the grated apple and, if desired, sweetener of choice.
  3. Add the flours, yeast, bicarb and cinnamon into a large bowl along with the buttermilk mixture and mix together to form a rough dough.
  4. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. (Alternatively you can use a stand mixer to knead your dough.)
  5. Spread the dough out into a rectangle and sprinkle over the fruit mixture. Bring the dough back together and knead until the fruit is evenly distributed.
  6. Place the dough in a large greased mixing bowl, cover and leave in a warm place to rise for 1 ½ hours until doubled in size.
  7. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and divide into 16 pieces, approx 75 to 80 g each. Shape into balls and place on a baking tray fairly close together and flatten each ball a little. Cover with greased cling film and prove for one hour in a warm place.
  8. While your Hot Cross Buns are proving, julienne your apple and place the strips on top of your buns, like a cross..
  9. Preheat your oven to 400°F / 200°C / Gas Mark 6
  10. Place in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown.

The other one I made is a GF recipe which I sourced from Gluten Free, Grain Free


  • 1.5 cup almond meal
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 3/4 cups arrowroot/tapioca starch
  • 3/4 cups mixed dried fruit
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon bi-carb (baking soda)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp of aquafaba
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Chai (see above for the mix)
  • 1 apple


  1. Preheat oven to 175C2.
  2. Soak chia seeds and dried fruit in chai tea
  3. Combine dry ingredients together
  4. Add eggs, soaked chia seeds, apple cider vinegar, grated apple & soaked dried fruit.
  5. Combine everything well until there are no lumps (except the bits of fruit)! It will be thickish – don’t be tempted to add any more liquid
  6. I used a silicon muffin tray to cook these. Bake for 25 minutes until the hot cross buns are firm to the touch and bounce back when lightly pressed. The top will be lovely and golden in colour
  7. Remove from the oven and turn out onto a cooling rack. DEVOUR!

Hope these tickle your fancy!


Belated Make It Monday… Picnic Loaf!

Oops! Yesterday was a bit of a whirlwind (although I did get to spend some time just basking in God’s presence over a tasty and healthy brunch which was a true blessing) which meant that the blog post I had planned didn’t make it to the blog… oops!

I guess that’s what happens when you have a busy weekend with loads of fun things to do… the madness turns into Monday madness without much of a second thought! My weekend involved two (it would have been three but… woops…) birthday parties (one of which was mine!), selling at Camberwell Market, an impromptu visit to the Glenferrie Rd festival, an impromptu bike ride on my newly repaired bicycle- Freddie- plus brunch and workout dates! It’s exhausting just listing it.

The highlight was definitely the picnic which I had to celebrate my 26th birthday- the last of the 4 celebrations I planned (berry picking with the school girls, Moroccan Soup Bar with my bffs, The Independent in Gembrook with the parents and the afore mentioned picnic for everyone!) I just wanted something really relaxed where all my friends, their kids, their partners, their pets, who/whatever were welcome to come, have fun and relax. A picnic seemed like the perfect solution.

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We’re blessed to have plenty of beautiful parks near us and so I decided to hold it at a local park with plenty of open spaces, playgrounds and shady spots to enjoy. Instead of relying on BBQ facilities (which are often claimed VERY early on in the morning and I wasn’t prepared to miss boot camp/ask my parents to get to the park at such an obscene hour and wait around forever), I just asked everyone to bring something to share, whether it be savoury or sweet. I would make a few things, just in case everyone bought cake, cheese or chips (it could definitely happen).

I made:

Carrot and Nut Butter Pinwheels
Apple and Coconut Pinwheels
Healthy Almond Butter Brownies
Healthy Oaty PB Biscuits  (based on link with a lot of tinkering…)
Healthy Berry Slice
Golden Latte Slice
Panzanella Salad
Watermelon, Goats Fetta and Basil Salad
The SPECTACULAR WATERMELON BIRTHDAY CAKE! (which I STUPIDLY did not get a photo of)  (similar to this)

and… Picnic Loaf!

Which was such a success I’m making it for my Bible Study tonight.

I got the idea from the amazing Johanna at Green Gourmet Giraffe whose blog I absolutely devour. She, along with Cindy and Michael from Where’s The Beef are my blogging crushes (how sad am I?) and I find their recipes, reviews and reflections just so well written and interesting. They’re also known to my father as the enablers of my love of Vegetarianism and my recent forays into a plant based lifestyle (#veg4lent2017).

When I saw this loaf I knew I needed to make it for my picnic. So, I roasted up some carrots, sweet potato, capsicum, celery and zucchini all sprinkled with the MacGyver spice blend from Oasis Bakery, made some pesto with some sad looking coriander, almonds, lemon juice and garlic, opened up a jar of grilled eggplant, mangled a can of pickled beetroot (why don’t cans of beetroot have ring pulls- and why do they all contain sugar?!) and layered them in my wholemeal vienna loaf (no non-white cob loaves were to be found- SIGH). I also layered some homemade semi dried tomatoes, leafy mix and some basil leaves.

The loaf was super delicious and everyone who had some enjoyed it immensely! This time, I roasted my own beetroot, swapped the sweet potato for pumpkin, added some finely sliced ricotta stuffed chillies I found in the fridge and used a multigrain sourdough batard.

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I cannot imagine that it won’t be just as delicious!!

Hope you give it a go for your next picnic and that you have just as fun a time as I did!

Happy eating (and picnic-ing!!)

Make It Monday-Healthy Berry Ripe Slice!

I like to stretch out my birthday. It’s in February, the shortest month of the year, which means it’s very easy to justify taking a birthday month. I also have a lot of different groups of friends and sometimes, it’s just easier to see people in an environment where they all know each other. It means I get to enjoy myself and not worry if my different groups of friends are getting along or not. It’s not really an issue anymore- we’re all adults and well and truly capable of mingling, but it’s just a habit from my teenage days. Either way, a birthday is an excellent excuse to catch up with friends.

I’ve always enjoyed planning parties and such things but now, my focus is on ensuring that everyone is able to have a relaxed, chilled time- including myself. That means less obsessive organisation, less meticulous planning and more time surrounded by people on the day.

As such, I’ve organised a pot luck picnic for my birthday this year, where everyone will be bringing something to share. I’ve decided on a few things I’ll bring to cover the bases but it shouldn’t be as much cooking or stress if I was catering for the whole thing myself- which I like!

One of the things I’ll be taking is a healthy take on a Cherry Ripe- one of my childhood favourites.

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I love the flavours of dark chocolate, coconut and cherries (or berries) and so I decided to combine these in their purest form and what a combination it is! It’s so quick and easy to put together and I highly encourage you give it a try!

I sourced the basic recipe from Frankie’s Feast but adapted it slightly to be even easier and even healthier.


Base Layer

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1/3 cup cacao
  • 1/3 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 cup dates, soaked (if you have time)
  • Unsweetened almond and coconut milk as needed

Berry Layer

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen mixed berries- I used a mix of cherries, boysenberries and blackberries
  • 2/3 cup raw cashews, soaked for 6 hours or overnight (I didn’t do this and it turned out fine!)
  • 1/2 cup fresh  coconut
  • Sweetener, to taste (I didn’t need to use any)


  • 1 tbs chia seeds
  • 1 tbs desiccated coconut
  • 1 tbs cacao nibs
  • 1 tbs dried blueberries/goji berries


Process all the base ingredients until well combined. Add some unsweetened almond coconut milk as needed to moisten the base. Press this mixture into a square pan and put in the freezer to chill while you make the next layer.

Process all ingredients for the middle layer until combined. Add chia seeds and pulse once or twice to stir through. Taste and add sweetener of choice if desired.

Pour this over the top of the base layer and sprinkle the toppings over your slice.

Remove from the freezer when firm and slice into desired size. Store in the freezer and serve straight from the fridge!


Make It Monday- Birthday Cake!!



I love birthdays. I love celebrating the coming of a new age and all that brings.

I love the excuse to catch up with old and dear friends, eat yummy food and laugh a lot.

I enjoy reminiscing about past parties, looking back over old photos from birthdays long gone, telling the stories we always tell and adding new ones to the repertoire.

And of course, there’s the cake.

I love trying out new kinds of cakes; interesting flavours, new techniques, creative combinations… healthy at times, decadent at others, delicious- always.

For my birthday this year I slightly adapted a recipe from Eleanor Ozich’s book My Petite Kitchen- one of my absolute favourites.

I used her beautiful Tea Infused Raisin and Hazelnut Cake as a base and only changed a few components to make it entirely sweetened by fruit- no honey or other natural sweeteners added. I also added a light yoghurt glaze which just topped it off perfectly. You can use whatever tea you choose!

Give it a try and let me know what you like!

Tea Infused Fruit and Hazelnut Cake

1 cup mixed dried fruit (I used dates, figs, raisins and apricots)
2-4 tsp of rose tea (use tea of choice- I’ve also used chai and it was equally delicious!)
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup EVOO
1 cup hazelnut meal
3 eggs, whisked lightly
½ tsp each of ground nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon
1 tsp bicarb soda
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup rice flour

Place the fruit and tea into a small saucepan, cover with water and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer until most of the water has evaporated. Leave to cool. (If you would like, you can also add honey here, but I think it’s sweet enough)

Preheat the oven to 160C and spray a cake mould with EVOO.

Combine the hazelnut meal, eggs, spices, bicarb soda and vinegar in a large bowl and sift the flour over. Add the cooled fruit and tea mixture, along with the milk and oil. Mix until well combined.

Pour the batter into the cake could and bake for 40-50 minutes. Leave to cool completely before turning out onto a plate. Top with yoghurt drizzle and fresh figs- if desired.

 Yoghurt Drizzle
½ cup of natural yoghurt
1 tsp of honey (or to taste)
1 tsp of rosewater
sprinkle of cinnamon
Mix together until combined… leave in fridge. Hardest recipe ever.

Make It Monday- Red is my favourite.

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I hate Valentines Day. I think it’s a day which is designed to make people wallow in discontent. If you’re already single and unhappy then there’s just a load of reminders about how you’re not in a relationship, if you’re single and happy then it’s almost like you’re being manipulated into being SAD about not having a Valentine, if you’re in a relationship then there will always be a bigger gesture, a better gift, a more “special” moment than the one you received.

Why can’t we all just be happy with what we have? I appreciate the idea of a day to demonstrate the love you have for the special people in your life… but surely you can do that any day of the year?

Whatever. It’s not that important in the grand scheme of things and if the world has a little more love in it than it’s not a bad thing.

Speaking of love, I love the colour red as anyone who has seen my a) wardrobe, b) room and c) hair would know, and as Valentines Day seems to conjure up plenty of red, pink and rose coloured merchandise, I figure it’s as good a day as any to jump on the band wagon and create a beautiful RED dessert for the day of discontent- I mean, love.

It’s a red velvet inspired NO BAKE, VEGAN, SUGAR FREE, OIL FREE, GLUTEN FRIENDLY slice.

It’s easy to whip up and it’s super delicious. You can easily sub things in and out and it’s filled with fruit, veggies, seeds, nuts and spices. You can’t go wrong.

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Healthy Red Velvet Slice


1 cup of oats (GF is necessary)
1 cup of buckwheat groats
2 tbsp of cacao nibs
2 tbsp of homemade apple sauce
2 tbsp of aquafaba
1 tbsp of raw cacao powder
2 tsp of mixed spice
Splash of vanilla extract

Mix all together (legit that easy!), adjust spices and flavours for taste. Add sweetener of choice if necessary.
Press into a glad wrap lined slice container and place in freezer.


2 beetroots
1 cup (roughly) raw coconut flesh
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 tbsp of  HM apple sauce
1 tbsp of raw cacao powder
1/2 cup of buckwheat groats
2 tsp of cinnamon

Blend all ingredients together until smooth with some crunchy buckwheat pieces still intact (or all smooth if you want! Your circus, your monkeys!) Add sweetener to taste, if desired.

Spread over base


Handful of puffed rice
Handful of goji berries
Raw cashews
Dried cherries or cranberries
1/2 a lemon

Soak cashews in boiling water until ready to blend.
Blend cashews with lemon juice until a smooth paste forms.

Sprinkle puffed rice and goji berries over the filling.
Spread cashew layer over top before sprinkling over the cherries and cranberries.

Pop it in the freezer until ready to serve! Remove 30 mins or so before serving to slice into bite sized fudgy pieces!!

Enjoy!! xx





Make it Monday! The Cookbook Challenge

I have a lot of cookbooks. When my friends come over to my house, it’s often one of the first things they comment on.

But I can’t help it! My mum and I just… I don’t know. The food styling, the stories, the combinations of flavours… we just go weak and suddenly, the guy at Dymocks is standing there, handing us back our cards, along with a brand new tome of delicious recipes to try.

Of course, despite our best intentions and ooh and aahing, so often these recipes are neglected and we never end up trying to replicate the taste explosions.

There are some exceptions to this rule; cookbooks which I use A LOT but they’re a special case.

So, this year, I decided to remedy this. Every month, I’m choosing two cook books to base our meals on. In January, it was Donna Hay’s Life in Balance and delicious. Superfoods. I’ve had both of these books for a while now and have plenty of recipes bookmarked in them, but hadn’t done much cooking out of them. I chose them based on the variety they offer, the fact that most of the recipes are extremely healthy, and the beautiful food styling which they contain.

The recipes which I chose varied from vegetarian to meat loving, quick and easy to more time consuming. Some of my favourites were the Zucchini Lasagna, Lemongrass Tofu, Barramundi (or in my case, squid) Tacos, the Roast Eggplant Salad with Green Tahini and the Pumpkin, and Brown Rice Balls.

I also used the books as the basis for a dinner party I hosted which was a roaring success. We enjoyed Haloumi and Sage Roasted Broccoli, a Smokey Pumpkin and Spelt Salad and a Spiced Kangaroo Skewers with Beetroot and Tahini Salad. All three dishes were absolutely perfect and were well received by the whole party.

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Pumpkin and Brown Rice Balls with Roasted Carrots
(and a zucchini, watermelon and coriander salad)

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Roasted Zucchini Lasagna

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Chickpea Gnochhi

Roast Eggplant and Cauliflower Salad with Green Tahini Dressing

Smoked Trout (DISCLAIMER: NOT HOME SMOKED LOL), Zucchini and Quinoa Salad

Dinner Party Good Times
(they started eating before I could get a picture of the food… DEVO)

January has been a fabulous month of delicious and healthy food and I highly encourage you to check out these two amazing books!!

Happy cooking (and reading!)

Amy xx

Make it Monday- Two timing, time saving

Every Tuesday night I go to my Missional Community Group where we study the Bible and discuss last Sunday’s sermon. We also share dinner together, potluck style and talk about our lives and what happened on last weeks episode of Survivor. I love cooking for my group. I’m known as the salad girl and I try to make something vegetarian as there are a few vegos in our group and I know I would want as many options as possible to choose from if I was a vegetarian. I also love playing with vegetables and introducing my friends to vegetables they’ve never even heard of before, let alone tried! So, normally every Monday night after gym, I put together a dish to nourish and feed my friends.

I also love making my own granola and I had some left over aquafaba (the juice from the chickpea can) which was getting close to needing to be used YESTERDAY. But when would I find the time to use it?

Ah. Time to double time it.

I prepped the salad first, popped the vegetables into roast and while that was happening, mixed together my granola. Then, at the end of the veg roasting, I added the rye bread (as I was making a panzanella) and also slid my granola into the hot oven.

While the veg and bread finished off, my granola got nice and toasty and clumpy. When I removed the veg, I turned off the oven and left the granola in there to finish off.

Easy done!

Cooking is all about using your time economically. This also saved on power- instead of turning the oven on twice- it was just used once. Woo!

These recipes are both super yummy and super healthy so give them a go!

Fennel and Beetroot Panzanella16388247_10154611670798101_952221201630006392_n

2 beetroots, chopped roughly
2 fennel bulbs, chopped roughly, fronds reserved
TBSP of Italian Herb mix (I buy mine from Oasis Bakery)
Spray EVOO
Splash of lemon juice
1 apple
1/2 a bunch of parsley
Salt and pepper
Stale rye sourdough
Herb infused Apple Cider Vinegar
Mixed leaves

Place the beetroot and fennel on a baking paper lined tray, spray with EVOO and sprinkle on the herbs and lemon juice. Season.

Roast for 30mins at 200C

While this is happening, chop/tear your bread into bite sized pieces and sprinkle the ACV over it. Once the 30 is up, add your bread to the baking tray and cook for another 10 minutes until the bread is nice and toasty. Remove from the oven, add the apple (you can roast the apple too if you want, but I like the contrast of textures and the apples I have at the mo are super yum) and parsley. Once the veg cools, mix through the mixed leaves.

You could also add some ricotta or feta, olives, sundried tomatoes, toasted sunflower seeds, etc. Be creative and taste as you go!

Apricot and Cardamom Granola 


Handful each of:
Oats (x2)
Buckwheat groats
Steel cut oats
Dried Apricots soaked in a tea of your choice (I used T2 2 Stones Apricot and Plum Tea)
Puffed rice

TBSP of mixed spice
A few TSP of pure vanilla extract
A few TSP of ground cardamom
A few TSP of turmeric
Aquafaba as needed

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, adding the aquafaba as needed to moisten all ingredients and get it nice and clumpy.

Spread granola over a sprayed baking tray and cook for about 15mins in a 200C oven. I often turn the oven off and leave the granola in there to cool and crisp up completely. Add puffed rice and store in an air tight jar.

Granola is so versatile, add whatever flavourings and spices you want. Use whatever base you want, nuts, oats, other grains… Add dried fruits or not… Add sweeteners and oils if you want. I like mine pretty lean so I try not to use any sweetener apart from the fruit and spices. Aquafaba acts in place of oil to make it nice and clumpy but it’s not always crispy like an oil based covering. Do whatever you feel is best. 

I hope you can find your flow in the kitchen and that cooking becomes as much a joy for you as it is for those who you cook for.