Passion Mango Smoothie


since my last blog post here on ALA, i have experienced moments of resounding joy and crushing grief. between getting into the university course of my dreams and having to say goodbye to my loved pa, these past few weeks have  managed to stretch and stress my emotional capacity and range beyond belief. as the hot 'straya summer sets in, i have spent many an hour in front of the tv in the air conditioning watching final half of gilmore girls and contemplating how the rest of my 2018 might look and feel. it was between the bleeding-together-epidosdes of fast talking and coffee drinking that i settled into the idea of taking each day as it comes. but onto happier things. 

in the time between the end of school and the start of uni i have bought an inordinate amount of plants. house plants specifically. in the plant family there have been three additions this week alone! i think i may be becoming one of those ladies who fills the void with house plants and cats. cats!!!! i'm toying with the idea of adopting one and i think it might be the best idea since sliced bread. i just keep having visions of cat cuddles and playing with toys and patting and grooming and small little meows. there's even a name shortlist sitting in my phone. 

there has also been a surge in my d.i.y. adventures. it started with the park bench re-vamp that is now sitting in our backyard and yesterday expanded to the bedside table up-do using the cheapest ikea side tables i could find and some shiny white enamel paint. they look pretty spiffy alongside the house plants if i say so myself. 

so that's pretty much a re-cap of january. it was a tricky month so i don't really want to say much, but at least with uni starting, among other things, i'm sure february and it's 28 days will be a little more glorious. 


passion mango smoothie 

{serves two}


2 mango cheeks

5 tb lemon lime gelato

2 tb passion fruit pulp

1/2 c cubed ice 

2 tb cold water

1 tsp lime juice 

lime wheels (for garnish)



smoothie time!

use the glass trick to cut two cheeks off one mango! chuck all the ingredients into a small blender. the passion fruit pulp can be canned or from real fruit (if canned, make sure it's real fruit based).

blend until smooth and split into two glasses. add lime wheels for fancy garnish.

- jess! 

Cranberry & Orange Punch

hey! how's the christmas prep going??? have you started???? have you already finished??? at this time of year melbourne goes a little nuts, and i think it's down to the madness of the holiday season. shopping centres quickly become more like overpacked psychiatric wards, as shoppers walk around with glazed looks in their eyes, full trolleys and dazed and confused expressions. the roads are overly busy as people try and achieve this and hat before the christmas break that really lasts until late january, and last week i saw two women literally fighting over the last turkey frozen roll in the supermarket whilst selecting my mangoes. 

thank the lordy lord for online shopping. 

it's been package central around here lately, with christmas gifts arriving at our door left right and centre. but it's always the awkward game of can i look!??!?!?!?!, because there's nothing worse than ruining your own christmas surprise. so to account for the ambiguity of delivery times, we've sort of resorted to hiding boxes behind our backs as we shuffle down the hallways. at least that's my plan for hiding the parcels anyway.   

but, despite all the christmas madness, the packed car parks and the supermarket sass, it's always worth it. because when you unpack the shopping you get to wrap presents, put them under the tree, plan christmas dinner and decorate your house with lights, christmas trees and decorations. so whilst the most wonderful time of the year makes people slightly insane, i suppose they don't call it the most wonderful time of the year for nothing. 

notes: this morning i brunched with belle and we chitchatted our little hearts away over coffee, smashed avocado and sourdough toast. brunch is by far my favourite meal of the day. why? because it doesn't discriminate against breakfast foods no lunch foods and chances are if you argued your case well, you can pretty much eat anything you want. brunch is simple, brunch is easy, and it is always a good way to catch up with friends. because who says no to brunch???? belle doesn't drink coffee though so i thought something like this would be a great brunchy drink. this drink is so easy and quick i feel like a cop-out turning it into a full blown blog post. but, to be perfectly honest, it's a really festive substitution for alcoholic cocktails or mulled wine and ideal for party situations because of it's few ingredients. it's delicious and fizzy and i think it's simply yummy! 

Cranberry & Orange punch 

{serves two}


juice of one orange (approx 100 mls)

200 ml carbonated water, chilled 

160 ml cranberry juice

mint leaves, fresh

ice, to serve 


combine the orange juice and carbonated water in a jug. mix the cranberry juice in. split the drink mix between two glasses. top with ice and some fresh mint leaves* and serve. 


*to enhance the mint flavour in the drink, smoosh the leaves with your straw or a cocktail muddler at the bottom of your drink. 

- jess x

Lemon, Blueberry & Almond Cake

this month ALA turns 2!! if it was a smol we'd still be counting in months old, but no more! i'm so proud. it wouldn't be fair for me to celebrate the holiday season without singing happy birthday to this little space here, so thank you all for joining me & supporting me (and eating the food!). 

i celebrated by waddling back from the supermarket with my strawberry and pineapple re-usable bags and listening to the hamilton soundtrack on repeat, then baking a birthday cake and eating it with mum on the couch. all in all, a raging success of a party :) 

two years of blogging is a long time when you think about it, compared to my 17 years of life, and it's so funny to look back at the original posts i started with, compared to the ones seen so far in this year's blogmas. but it's nice though, to have a log of my life, thoughts and feelings. because behind every post i remember what i did that weekend, where the photos were shot, the inspiration and ideas behind the recipe.... and underneath each travel post are entire weeks and months of memories, funny times and inside jokes. 

despite the fact that the only person i feel reads this is my mum (hi mum! love you!) (and i know that may not be true, but sometimes it kinda feels like that), i remind myself that i started this blog as a hobby, a space to be creative outside of school and work. and it's turned into something that i enjoy doing for me, something that like my yoga practice, helps me find my zen. i've never like the word mindfulness or the associations that come with it (i do however, love meditation, but that's another post altogether :D)  but it's being in the kitchen that's when i come closest to understanding the cultural backing behind the mindfulness movement. and i'm excited to have come two years exploring this side of myself. so, here's to many more. 

lemon and blueberry is a killer combo, and the almond meal and lsa meal adds a great nutty texture and flavour. what the camera doesn't do justice to is the pretty pale pink colour of this cake - the blueberry syrup made the frosting a gorgeous pale purply/pinky colour! so pretty!  and the blue spots in the icing are the blueberries in the syrup. you may choose to sieve them out if you prefer, but i like the flavour and colour they add to the frosting. 

Lemon, blueberry & almond cake

{makes 3 mini-cakes, about  6'' diameter}


4 eggs 

230g castor sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

150g self-raising flour, sifted

60g almond meal

60g LSA meal

150g vegan butter, melted

zest of one lemon

1 tsp lemon juice


blueberry syrup

1/2 c fresh blueberries

250 ml water

6 tbsp castor sugar 


buttercream frosting

600g icing sugar 

250g vegan butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

the blueberry syrup


preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and grease the mini-cake tins (6'' diameter). 

beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer until pale and creamy or tripled in volume. sift the flour, and add almond meal and LSA to the mixture. fold in gently with a spatula. fold the lemon zest, butter and lemon juice through the mixture. 

divide the batter between the tins and bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. set the cakes aside to cool, before layering and then frosting them with the blueberry frosting. 

to make the blueberry syrup

boil the blueberries, water and castor sugar down, stirring frequently, until a thick syrup is formed. use a baking pastry brush to drip water down the side of the saucepan to prevent sugar burning on the sides of the pan. when finished, set the syrup aside in a jug to cool. 


to make the buttercream frosting

cream the vegan butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer for 3-5 minutes or until pale and creamy. using a spatula, fold through the blueberry syrup. chill the buttercream for 30 minutes before frosting the cake. 

 - jess :D