Christmas pudding

Christmas time already I hear you say??!!!  I am afraid to say that the decorations are in the stores and the countdown has begun. Time to start to getting organised for, as we know, the time will come around quickly enough and to avoid the Christmas rush here is something you can start on.

Christmas Pudding!!!

I know that Christmas pudding is full of sugar due to the dried fruit, alcohol and added sugar  BUT I think there are times when one needs to indulge in a moderate way to enjoy the traditions of the season. Christmas ,I believe, is one of those times. My approach is going to be to not use any added sugar and to (hopefully) only have one small piece with some sugar free custard!

The recipe I am basing my pudding on is Jamie Oliver’s Nans  I will put in brackets the changes I am going to make so you can do his full recipe or follow what I do.

Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Pudding


“This light, fruity Christmas pudding recipe makes buying one from the shops a thing of the past ”


500 g mixed dried fruit, such as cranberries, cherries, apricots, sultanas, prunes and raisins

100 g dates , chopped up

3 tablespoons chopped crystallised ginger (Im leaving this out)

125 g suet (I’ll use some cold butter grated)

1 orange , zest of (I also added the juice)

125 g plain flour

125 g caster sugar (I will use a little rice malt syrup)

150 g fresh white breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons brandy (I used port just because we had some in the cupboard)

1 handful chopped nuts, such as pecans, Brazils or hazelnuts

1 medium free-range egg

150 ml milk


  1. Grease a 1.5 litre pudding bowl.
  2. *I placed all my fruit in a bowl with the orange zest, orange juice and port. I covered it with cling wrap and then set it aside for 24 hours.
  3. Mix all the ingredients together. Put the mixture into the greased bowl and cover with a double layer of aluminium foil. Tie a piece of string round the side of the bowl. Place in a large saucepan with water halfway up the sides of the bowl. Bring the water to the boil, put on a tight-fitting lid, and simmer for 3 hours. Don’t forget to check the water regularly, making sure that it never boils dry, because if it does, it will burn and the bowl might crack. I used a timer for 30 minutes so that I wouldn’t forget.
  4. When it’s ready, remove the foil, turn out on to a plate and decorate it as you like. You can also light it with brandy if you want to be really fancy.  I covered mine with cling wrap and put it in the freezer.
  5. fullsizerender-2

It will be hard to let you know how my pudding turns out as we will only be slicing into it at Christmas.  I’ll sneak a little tasting when its cooked and see how it is but Im sure the longer it sits the better it will be!

I thought this was going to be a lot harder than what it was so I encourage you to have a go at making your own christmas pudding this year.


This is another recipe I came across when looking at added sugar free puddings.

Christmas Pudding – From Pure Harvest


  • 150 grams sultanas
  • 150 grams currants
  • 150 grams raisins
  • 150 grams apricots
  • 150 grams prunes
  • Juice and zest of 1 orange
  • ½ cup brandy
  • 250 grams butter
  • ¼ cup Rice Malt Syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 250 grams breadcrumbs
  • 150 ml Pureharvest Almond Milk
  1. Place the dried fruit in a large bowl and grate in orange zest. Pour the brandy and orange juice over the fruit and soak overnight in the fridge.
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and Rice Malt Syrup in a large bowl until it is light and creamy. Add the eggs and beat well.
  3. Add the soaked fruit to the egg mixture, along with the rest of the ingredients and mix until well combined.
  4. Spoon the mixture into either 2 x 1 litre or 1 x 2 litre pudding moulds. Line the top of the pudding with a round of baking paper. Secure a piece of aluminium foil over the puddings to ensure no water gets it.
  5. Place the puddings in a pot of boiling water (the water should come halfway up the side of the puddings) and boil covered for 4 hours for the 1 liter puddings or 8 hours for the 2 L pudding. Make sure you keep an eye on the water levels in the pots and top them up when necessary.
  6. To check whether the puddings are cooked, use oven mitts remove the puddings from the pots and test with a skewer.
  7. To store the puddings, allow to cool completely, wrap in foil and tie in calico. Store in a cool dark cupboard or in the fridge for up to 3 months.
  8. To reheat the pudding, boil covered for 30 minutes. Serve with warm vegan custard or an orange citrus glaze.
Prepare this recipe at least the day before so that the fruit can soak overnight.
Timing in this recipe is dependent on the size of the pudding bowl used. All cook time is 4 hours + additional time for reheating if not using on the day. It does not include the overnight soaking time.



A Victorian family gather to stir the Christmas pudding for luck. Christmas card of 1871


Feature image from –

Say Yes to new adventures in the kitchen!

Cooking should at times, I think, be an adventure into the unknown and untried. So in this post I am going to look at 2 recipes, one that I have made up and one that I saw on Sarah Wilsons post and thought it was too good to be true therefore had to try it.

My version of Granola


My husband loves to put granola on his breakfast in the morning and on his yoghurt at night. I have searched high and low both in Australia and here in Jakarta for a granola that lived up to its advertising claims of being healthy. I looked at the most expensive to the least and tried to avoid those with dried fruit and chocolate in order to find a low sugar or, better still, sugar free granola.

As I went shopping I took a few photos of the ingredients list of some of the granolas I can buy here in Jakarta.


One I couldn’t read as they had covered up the english writing, the second had 19g per serving (60g) – 4 3/4 teaspoons of sugar and the  last one was slightly better with 15g per serving (55g) – 3 3/4 teaspoons of sugar.

So in conclusion  – time to make my own!

The recipe that I came up with is very much “what do I have in the cupboard to use today.” There are a few stable ingredients but the amount of each and what I put into the mix changes each time.  Mix it up depending on what you like.

Here is what went in todays granola.

Ingredients –
  • rolled oats (1 – 1 1/2 cups)
  • Pepita or pumpkin seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • sunflower seeds
  • poppy seeds
  • coconut – shave/chips
  • almonds
  • linseeds – flax seed
  • 3 tablespoons of rice malt syrup
  • 2-3 tablespoons of butter or coconut oil.


Method –
  • Preheat oven to 180 C and lay a piece of baking paper out on a biscuit tray.
  • Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  • In a sauce pan heat up the rice malt syrup and butter or coconut oil.  I heat some and then add more if needed.  If Im making a smaller batch I’ll make less of this.)
  • Add the hot syrup to the dry ingredients and mix until all coated.
  • Spread the granola out on a lined baking tray as flat as possible.


  • Cook in a 180 degree oven for 10 minutes – if you like yours crunchier cook for longer


  • Allow to cool
  • Once cooled place in an airtight container.


My daughter just loves to eat it at anytime really.  She just fills a little bowl and nibbles away on it.  I am thinking that if you made it a little more sticky and put them into a log shape they could pass as a muslie bar!


The Best Chocolate Mousse


I saw this recipe on Sarah’s website ( and I saw that it only had 4 ingredients all of which were in my cupboard. I love chocolate mousse and I have not made one probably for 2 years now.

I was in the kitchen in no time whipping this one up.  It was made and in the fridge in less than 10 minutes – maybe even 5. Gotta love that.

Ingredients –

400 ml can coconut cream.

1/2 cup raw cacao powder.

1 tablespoon rice malt syrup.

1/4 cup chia seeds.

cacao nibs, to serve.


Method –

1. Place all ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Whisk ingredients together until well combined and smooth. Pour into 4-6 serving glasses.

2. Place glasses into the fridge and allow to chill for at least 3 hours to firm up (or overnight for best results).


3. Once firm, remove mousse from the fridge and sprinkle with cacao nibs.

I must admit first time round I did halve the recipe just in case it wasn’t a hit with the family – no need t do that next time!

2 of my family members have not been reducing their sugar intake as long as the rest of us so they did find the mousse not sweet enough. They added about 1/3 of a teaspoon of rice malt syrup to their serving snd then they were happy.  I thought it tasted wonderful and can’t wait to make it again this week.


Hope you enjoy your time in the kitchen!


Feature image –

Bone Broth – aka Stock

This week I am going to research and write about bone broth, also known as stock.  When these words get mentioned to me I think of my Grandma on the farm, using all that she can in as many ways possible to feed her family, making bone broth as a base for many recipes. I doubt she knew of the health benefits of what she was doing, in her eyes using the  bones and seasonal veggies to make a broth just made good economical sense. We now know how amazing bone broths are for gut health and other health benefits, and bone broth can go beyond just soup. Any slow cooking of meat with its bone is going to benefit your health.

Benefits of Bone Broth

Here are some of the benefits of bone broths from various sources. (Dr Axe, Louise Hay and Sarah Wilson)

  • Treat leaky gut syndrome
  • Overcome food intolerances and allergies
  • Improve joint health
  • Reduce cellulite
  • Boost immune system
  • Helps with inflammation
  • Improve mood balance
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Helps with hydration
  • Helps to strengthen our bones and nails
  • Helps normalise stomach acid, which is useful for colitis, celiac disease, ulcers, and other inflammatory gut conditions
  • Helps with thyroid issues


Minerals gained from bone broth are –

  • Calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and other trace minerals, are easily absorbable, and required for general health.
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin, which may relieve of arthritis and joint pain.
  • Glycine, which may combat stress and inflammation.
  • Collagen, which is great for hair, skin and nails.
  • Gelatin, which we know to be a boon for gut health.



Sarah sums bone broth up by saying –

“If there’s one thing anyone serious about their health should learn to do, it’s to make chicken or beef stock. Stock, or bone broth is beyond nutritious and great for anyone with digestion issues.

Dr Axe says –

One of the most remarkable things about bone broth is its gut-supportive benefits, which as described above actually have a holistic effect on the body and support healthy immune system function.


There is always a but – and in this case it very much depends on the way the broth is cooked and the bones that are used. Here begins my Jakarta struggle!


You want to buy animal products that you know are pasture-fed and free of antibiotics and hormones; organic produce is always best. For all the nutritional benefits, it is suggested that you use not just bones that we usually use, but also add in the neck and feet of the animal in order to truly unlock all the bone broth benefits.

Cooking time

Bone broth needs to be cooked slowly and for a long time so that you get the most out of the bones.

Add a splash (about 1 tablespoon) of vinegar. Set your crockpot on low, and cook for at least 6 hours, preferably longer. Poultry bones can go as long as 24 hours, and beef bones can simmer for up to 48 hours.…

How to cook bone broth

By  Sarah Wilson



Broth is made using the bones of animals, usually land animals but it can also be made using fish bones. The bones are cooked in water with a selection of vegetables, often including things like onion, celery, and carrots. It is brought to the boil and then simmered for anything from about 2-48 hours, depending on which recipe you follow. The bones (and often the vegetables) are then discarded and the liquid is consumed like a soup or warm drink.(

Sarah’s  chicken stock (bone broth) recipe


Makes 3 litres

  • 1 whole organic chicken (if you’re friendly with your butcher, ask for some extra bony chicken bits: necks, feet etc)
  • 3-4 litres of water (to cover chook once in the pot)
  • a splash of vinegar
  • 2 carrots, roughly hacked
  • 1 onion, roughly hacked (don’t bother peeling)
  • 2 sticks celery, hacked
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 3 bayleaves
  • a few sprigs thyme (if you have some)


Pull out the chicken and drain the stock with a sieve, tossing the veggies.

The stock: I drain the stock into another saucepan that I’ll make the soup in. This goes in the fridge for several hours until the fat congeals on top. Scoop this off and you’re ready to make soup and freeze the rest. I freeze some in portions big enough to make another batch of soup down the track (500ml), some to make into a stew or to just drink when I’m feeling crappy (1 cup) and the rest into an ice-cube tray ready for braising veggies (I pop out 2-3 into a pan and use instead of oil or butter).

The chicken: Pick off all the chicken. It will pull away super easily from the bones and the fat. I take every last bit. I keep about one-third for the soup (below) and then portion out the rest (4-5 serves) into ziplock bags and stick in the freezer for sandwiches, salads and snacks. I eat it with just pepper and salt. It tastes better than any chicken I’ve had.


Sarah tells us a few things we need to know:

* Add a little vinegar during cooking

To draw minerals, particularly calcium, magnesium and potassium, into the broth.

* Keep the cartilage and joints…and eat them.

Serious. Especially if you’re a woman. It’s the best bit for you.

* Stock will keep about five days in the fridge, longer if reboiled, and several months in the freezer.

* Always use the whole chook – especially the bones and joints.

They provide the healing substances, not so much the muscle meats.

* When removing the fat layer, don’t get too finicky.

The fat is actually really good. In fact the physicians at Gut and Psychology say the fat is some of the most nutritious stuff.

* Definitely use an organic, free range chooken.

It’s worth the investment. (How much do you spend on commercial stock? Tylenol? Gut medication?)  Remember, everything is going to leach from this thing. Do you really want chemicals and bleaches percolating in your soup?



Happy Cooking

Feature image – bone-broth-gelatin-FRAME.jpg

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Anyone for soup?

This week I am going to start with a confession – I love soup!

Soup is my go-to food when I don’t know what else to eat. It reminds me of my childhood when my mum in winter use to make big potfuls of soup especially pea and ham. Its a quick, easy, healthy meal. And when you start looking into the world of soups the possibilities are endless. From all of the world each cuisine has soup on its menu.


Soup is all great for your gut health. If you can make your own bone broth then you will have a very happy gut. Sarah Wilson gives bone broth tips here –

This week on the menu there is a roasted tomato, pumpkin, red lentil and thai white lipstick soup.

I will also look at what is in a can of soup and hopefully inspire you to make your own.

Roasted tomato

  • 5 large fresh tomatoes cut into quarters
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 onions cut into quarters
  • some extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • Handful of chopped fresh basil for garnish (optional)



  • Place tomatoes, onions, and garlic on an oven tray and cook on 180 degrees for around 30 minutes.
  • Remove roasted tomatoes, garlic, and onion from the oven and transfer along with any roasting juices into a large stock pot. Add the vegetable stock.  Bring it to the  boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until liquid has reduced by a third.
  • Puree the soup until smooth.
  • Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Garnish in bowl with chopped fresh basil or parsley.


Pumpkin soup

  • Fresh pumpkin cut into cubes – I used half a butternut pumpkin
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 onions cut into quarters
  • 2 small potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable stock
  • Handful of chopped fresh parsley



  • Place pumpkin, potatoes, onions and garlic and stock into a saucepan and cook until tender.
  • When tender blend until smooth
  • Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Garnish in bowl with chopped fresh parsley.


Red lentil 


  • 500g red lentils
  • 1.5 litres of chicken stock
  • 1 fresh tomato cut up
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • cumin for seasoning
  • salt and pepper for seasoning



  • Wash lentils until water runs clear
  • Place lentils, onion and tomato in a saucepan
  • Add stock and cook until lentils are soft
  • Puree
  • Add salt, pepper and cumin to season
  • Serve with a small amount of fresh parsley on top


Thai “White Lipstick” – Tom Kha Gai

(recipe from Pum’s Lazy Cuisine )

  • 100ml Coconut milk
  •  1 Handful of Chicken thinly sliced
  •  170ml Water
  • 4-5 slices of Galangal
  • 1/2 stalk lemongrass
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 Thai shallot
  • 2 small red chilies (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon rice malt syrup
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice


  • In a saucepan add the coconut milk and bring to half boil then add in the chicken and stir until the meat is half cooked
  • Add the fish sauce, sugar, and lime juice.
  • Mix well
  • Add in all the herbs and wait until it boils.

If you like a creamer soup then add more coconut milk and less water


Canned Soup Anyone?

Now that I have made you all hungry I want to look at why you should reach for your knife and chopping board instead of the can opener. In my research I came across this article entitled “The dangers of eating canned soup” I thought I would share a few highlights from this article that really shocked me. I do realise that it is not Australian based but it did make me wonder what is  hiding in our cans of soup.


  • Most soups come in cans, and most cans contain BPA.
  • MSG is often used to flavor canned soups – while a brand may not be directly putting MSG inside your soup, MSG can be found in other ingredients and can hide under names.
  • Many soups are high in sodium, with upwards of 400mg in a can.
  • Canned soup likely contains GMO’s

You can read the whole article in full at –

So What Is The Best Choice?

Make Your Own Soup!