Pumpkin, Feta and Spinach Pasta


Today I cleaned out the fridge.  It’s one of those jobs I don’t like,  I don’t know why, it’s not a hard job by anyone’s standards.  But I tend to leave it until I’ve run out of storage containers for leftovers.  We always have a ton of leftovers, I cook for a family of 6 when we are only a family 3 (one of us at 3 is really only 1/3 of a person in food intake).  I don’t like ‘my fridge’, we have a testy relationship.  It has depth (and not the good kind), but not width and inevitably things can get lost in the dark recesses until I do my clean out.   It will freeze my vegetables intermittently so they turn into a mushy unusable goo.  I yearn for a refrigerator with french doors and a slide out freezer drawer.  Aahh, that is the stuff dreams are made of.  But I digress, the clean out reminds me of what produce I have left and I need to make way for all the fresh finds I hope to pick up at the weekends market.

My mother in law recently visited bringing with her two of the largest pumpkins you have ever seen that she had picked up on her way down to see us.  She lives 4 hours North of us.  I love pumpkin but I have a tendency to combine it with a roast or to make soup (a spectacular Thai one by the way).  I also found some tasty feta and a bag of baby spinach.  My daughter requested pasta tonight as she does every other night so I thought why not?  Maybe I should throw together a pasta.  The result was delicious.  My husband commented that this was his new favourite and that it should become a regular on the menu.  Not bad for an experiment.  Try it for yourself, would love to hear what you think.



(4 generous serves)


1 kg pumpkin, peeled and chopped into cubes

6 cloves of garlic, peeled

Handful of fresh Rosemary

Olive oil

150g feta

2 generous handfuls of baby Spinach

1 red onion, sliced

1 tablespoon raw honey

1/2 cup of vegetable stock

300g organic pasta (I used Spirals because my daughter thought they looked pretty!)


Preheat oven to 180° C.  Place the pumpkin and garlic cloves in a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and top with the rosemary, this will smell divine while it is cooking.  Roast it until cooked, I cooked it for about 40 minutes, I then turned the oven off and left it in there to keep warm.  For the next step I used a deep stovetop casserole dish, you could use a deep frypan as well.  Cook the onion in a little olive oil until just transparent, add the tablespoon of raw honey and cook until caramelised (this shouldn’t take any longer than a couple of minutes), add the stock and let it cook for about 5 minutes stirring until the stock has reduced.  Add the pumpkin and stir.  Add the pasta and stir.  Stir through the spinach until slightly wilted and add the feta.  Cook until the feta is slightly warmed through, won’t take any more than a couple of minutes.

That’s it!  You’re ready to serve!  You won’t be disappointed!





Hubby came home starving from a surf this morning so the smell of my freshly baked Sourdough Rye Bread and Zucchini and Feta muffins was too much for his grumbling belly. He greedily sliced into the fresh bread and spread the slices generously with a simple butter and jam, he also made short work of the muffins before I could so much as pull out a picnic blanket!  So we ate in the sun on our deck overlooking the water (not too shabby anyway) and then set off for the beach.  Catching up in the sun on the sand with our city neighbours and their children who have made the journey to the island for the school holidays was a nice way to spend the afternoon.  We’re not used to so much colour and movement on the island as we pretty much have it to ourselves outside of school holidays.  All in all it’s been a pretty perfect Sunday AND I can highly recommend my Zucchini and Feta Muffins!  I hope you give them a go and enjoy them as much as we do!



(Makes 12)


1 1/2 cups organic wholemeal spelt flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon sea salt

Fresh ground black pepper to taste

2 zucchini’s, medium size, grated

1 cup chopped feta

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup olive oil

2 eggs

Handful of chopped basil


Preheat the oven to 180° celcius.  Grease a 12 hole muffin tray.  Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and pepper.  Add grated zucchini and chopped feta.  Add all other ingredients and mix until just combined.  Spoon mixture evenly into muffin tray holes.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.  Let them rest for 5 minutes after removing from oven before placing on a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

These taste great eaten cold or heated through and smeared with a little butter.

Enjoy!  J x



For years, well before my daughter was born, my husband has loved Chocolate Crackles.  You know the kind Mum used to make as a treat or for birthday parties, the recipe came free on the back of a pack of Rice Bubbles.  Just add some copha, icing sugar and cocoa and you have a quick but not very healthy treat.  Copha is hydrogenated coconut oil. It alters the chemical structure of the oil and creates harmful trans-fatty acids.  Hydrogenated oils can impact negatively on your cholesterol levels.  Substitute copha with Organic Coconut Oil for the same taste without all the negatives.

In my version I added some chia seeds and flaxseeds which are high in fibre (this is beneficial for heart health), rich in antioxidants and can reduce cholesterol.

My little family loved them.  I hope yours will as well.

This is my version of Chocolate Crackles based on Janella Purcells.



3 cups organic puffed rice

1 cup of dates

1 cup coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup organic dessicated coconut

1 cup raw cacao

1/2 cup chia seeds

1/2 cup flaxseeds

1 cup walnuts

1/2 cup currants

4-6 tablespoons of Agave Syrup (depending on your desired sweetness, you can also use raw honey or rice malt syrup)

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips


Chop the dates (I do it in my food processor), remove and set aside.  Chop the walnuts to desired consistency (I use the food processor and chop them really fine).  Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix until completely combined.  Place patty pan/cupcake cases onto a flat baking tray, fill with mixture and pop them into the fridge for around an hour to set.  If you are desperate to eat one fairly quickly you can pop them into the freezer.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

This recipe will make about 24.


Sometimes it’s nice to have a healthy side dish that can be whipped up quickly to serve with the family meal or to take to that last minute BBQ where the host says, ‘If you could just bring a salad that would be great!’.  You don’t need to have a lot of ingredients and most of the ones found in this salad are pretty much staple foods in my                  household.  It’s delicious, fresh and as the texture is kinda pasta-ish, it pleases my 3 year old who has decided all she wants to eat is pasta (this has made for some inventive dishes lately!)



This recipe can be made gluten and wheat free by substituting the cous cous for quinoa.


1 cup Organic wholewheat Couscous (can subsitute for quinoa)

1 cup boiling water

3 tomatoes, chopped

1 avocado, chopped

1/2 red onion, chopped

Handful coriander leaves, chopped

Juice of 1/2 lemon


Put cup of couscous into a bowl and cover with boiling water, stir to combine.  Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.  Uncover and fluff up with a fork.  Add all other ingredients, pour lemon juice over the top and presto!  You’re ready to serve!

*  For the Quinoa, follow the directions on the back of the pack as it will differ and take longer.

**  This is the perfect accompaniment to my ‘Crumb Your Own!’ Chicken Schnitzels.





I remember one of the rare treats when I was a kid was my Mums Chocolate Truffles.  A ball of chocolatey, biscuity naughtiness rolled in sweet coconut.  They were a special occasion food that Mum                faithfully trotted out at formal dinner parties, Christmases or as a cooking contribution at a family/friend gathering.  You could never just eat one and I remember hovering around the food table                       watching, waiting for the opportunity to snatch another one and pop it quickly into my mouth before anyone noticed.  I was caught out more often than not as my suspiciously bulging cheeks would often give me away.  It’s amazing how some foods just transport you back to the magical, carefree days of childhood.  This is my healthy version of my Mum’s Chocolate Truffles, one that my daughter Willow calls ‘Yummy Mummy Date Balls’, a name that has stuck.  And yes, she takes every opportunity to try and sneak an extra one just like her Mum!


This recipe is super easy and doesn’t take long.  I use all organic                ingredients where possible.



1 1/2 cups pitted dates

1 cup raw cashews or almonds

2 tablespoons raw cacao

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 teaspoon raw maca powder* (optional)

40-50ml agave syrup

Dessicated coconut for rolling


Place the nuts into a food processor and process until you have a nice crumb consistency.  Add the dates and process until chopped well.  Add all other ingredients, blend until well combined and mixture stick together.  Roll into tablespoon size balls, then roll in coconut.  Place in an airtight container and refrigerate.

*Maca powder is a superfood which is native to the Andes mountains.  It has many health benefits including boosting energy, increasing fertility, combats migraines and stress, enhances memory, speeds healing, is vitamin packed with B1, B2, B12, C, zinc and calcium to name a few, boosts your immunity and apparently, your libido.









Winter has arrived here in Queensland.  The beautiful sunny, clear blue sky days.  The calm, flat water surrounding part of my island has cooled but the pumping surf on the other still tempts my husband who has ducked off for a quick wave before starting work.  The sand is cold beneath our feet and the air chilled but it is a lovely day.  It will heat slightly as the day progresses and then late in the afternoon it will chill again and we will light our new fire to warm our home.  It’s days like these that I really enjoy preparing a hearty, healthy meal for my family to sit down to in the evening and if you ask my daughter what she would like for dinner the most likely answer will be pasta, so a vegetarian lasagne is the perfect choice.




Organic lasagne sheets

Cheese for grating on top (I used a mozzarella in this one)


1 onion

2 cloves of garlic

1 carrot

1 small head of broccoli

2 small zucchini

1 bunch of silverbeet

2 x 400g tins of diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons coconut oil

White Sauce

50g butter

1 cup of almond milk

2 tablespoons wholemeal spelt flour

Pinch of nutmeg



Preheat oven to 180°C.  Place all vegetables except garlic in food processor and process (you can chop it all if you like).  I process as I have a little girl that’s going through a ‘no chunky vegetables’ stage.

Heat oil in pan and add crushed garlic, cook for a minute.  Add all other vegetables and stir for a couple of minutes.  Stir in the tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes.



‘White’ Sauce

Melt 50g of butter in a saucepan.  Add 2 tablespoons of wholemeal spelt flour and whisk into a paste.  Gradually add 1 cup of almond milk, whisking until thickened.  Take off heat and stir through pinch nutmeg.

Now it’s time to put it all together!  I do 3 layers, a layer of the filling, topped with lasagne sheets, then another layer of filling, topped with ‘white’ sauce and lasagne sheets, the last layer of filling then the white sauce and topped with grated cheese.  Cover the dish with foil and place in the oven for 35 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes or until top is browned.

Let it rest for a few minutes and you’re ready to serve!  It’s a winner with my family, I hope yours enjoys it too!




What is it about a wedding that inspires?  I think it’s witnessing a      beginning.  Two like-minded souls coming together and promising, in front of those that are most important to them, to love each other for the rest of their lives.  Sure… it doesn’t always work out but in THAT moment, on THAT day, there is love, there is happiness, there is         perfection.

I was privileged to witness this moment at my little sisters wedding on the weekend in a chilly but warm with happiness setting in a small coastal town a couple of hours south of Melbourne.  My sister has had a lot of ups and downs in her life, she has had many obstacles thrown in her path but she has overcome them.  She has raised 2 teenage boys as a single Mum.  The man who has come into her life has made her happier than I have ever seen her in her 36 years.  He is sweet, kind, caring, a little gullible but a happy addition to our family.  My little sis, prone to sarcasm, made a heartwarming and seriously funny speech.  She spoke of their meeting (she had known him at school, he didn’t remember her!  Not a good start!), their texting (he was missing a front tooth, she was unsure), their first date (he had his tooth fixed and seemed nice!) and their subsequent falling in love.  There was laughter, tears and elation as they concluded by                         announcing they are expecting a new addition to their family by Christmas.  They gave us a sneak peek into their happiness, they let us bask in the glow of their contentment and as the happy tears rolled I let it envelop me like a warm hug.

It made me reminisce about the beginning of my marriage.  I held my husband and daughter a little tighter.  My heart burst with the        happiness of my life, how lucky I am and I felt myself appreciate the now.  How far we’ve come, how much we’ve experienced, a future that seemed instantly brighter!

‘One day, in your search for happiness, you discover a partner by your side, and you realise that your happiness has come to help you search’ – Robert Brault

How very lucky we are.  Congratulations Briony and Ben, I wish you many fun-filled and happy years together.  Live well.  Laugh often.  Love much.  J xx