Small Batch

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! 

Poached Eggs & Cucumber Salad

a.k.a. my new favourite breakfast


welcome to blogmas day 8!!! things that have happened since we last spoke - the 2016 youtube rewind came out (i'd give it an 8/10, only because sadly i didn't recognise as many faces in it this year), a birthday was celebrated (happy 17th iz!) and i went to the gym. life is good. 

our garden renovation is coming along swimmingly (pun intended - our house is currently in a damp concrete, mud swimming pool) and it's been exciting to watch all the plants go in and the landscape change. it makes me wonder how often things around me change right under my nose. because i'm on the lookout for the new additions in my backyard, my eyes are open and ready to spot changes. but in the rest of the world around me, i wonder how often things change unbeknownst to me?  hmmmmm....

tomorrow, i'm hoping to put up the christmas tree - all things going to plan - and i've preemptively created a playlist of christmas songs to decorate, dance and deck the halls to. it's got a pleasant mix of  late 90's mariah, festive bublΓ©, and traditional classical christmas tunes (you know, the kind carolers sing). i've prepared all year mentally, physically and emotionally for this moment and  i'm so ready.  because once the tree is up, you know it's christmas time. you're ready for christmas sales, carols in the supermarket and wearing daggy christmas jumpers in an australian summer. jamie oliver starts his christmas specials on late night television and suddenly there's too much turkey available in the delicatessen for me to gobble up.  it's fabulous and i love it. but in order to tackle the festive season head on, you need a snack/breakfast/lunch full of good protein and yummy nutrients. so here's a salad situation that i hope will do just that. 

it feels kind of silly claiming this quick and easy breakfast/lunch situation as a recipe, because really i was just using veggies in my fridge and leftover beetroot dip from an earlier blogmas post. but the combination was simply too yummy to pass up sharing with you for blogmas day 8, so here is what i'll be enjoying for breaky for the next few days. 

Poached Egg & Cucumber Salad 

{serves one}


1 egg

1 tsp white vinegar

 1/4  avocado

1/4 c cucumber, chopped 

 1/4 cherry tomatoes, halved

mint (to taste, i used about 6 large leaves)

20g cashews

sea salt & cracked pepper

1 tsp za'atar

 2 tbsp beetroot dip


boil enough water to poach an egg (just over 1/3 full in your pot should do it) and add the vinegar. once the water comes to a boil, poach the egg (or cook the eggs your preferred way - fried or boiled would both work equally well in this situation) and cook until the yolk is as desired. for runny yolk, about 1-2 minutes should be ideal, depending on the mass of your egg. 

meanwhile, line a plate with some of the dip (or alternatively, hummus), and top with the cucumber, tomatoes, mint, cashews, avocado and season to taste.

place the egg on top and enjoy for breakfast or lunch! 

- jess :D

Roasted Vegetable & Mint Salad

blogmas day 7! how exciting! it's been a week of this everyday blogging thing and i'm low-key impressed with myself *snaps* *jazz hands*. mum and i enjoyed this salad for dinner tonight with some smoked salmon on top, for some added protein. with all this warmer weather* lately, i've been looking for meals that are lighter, fresher. this salad hits the spot perfectly. 

roast vegetables have always had a special place in my heart. around the corner from the house we lived in when i was little, a cute cafe opened up a couple of years after we moved there. it was cool, hip and trendy*. on the weekends, if we were meeting family friends after saturday sport or if it was a special occasion, we'd  go there for lunch. if we were drinking, i'd have the butterscotch milkshake. if we were eating, i would always order the roast vegetable toasted focaccia. it was warm, crunchy and deliciously oily. the eggplant was warm, the capsicum was thick and creamy, and the pumpkin was seasoned to perfection. ever since that sandwich and those lunches with my family in that small and trendy cafe around the corner, anything with a roasted vegetable has been on my hit list. 

*it should be noted, it was also 2008. 2008 jess did funny things, like wear black denim vests over her t-shirts and headbands. she watched cartoons from 4 til 6 on weekdays and woke up extra early on saturday morning before netball to watch saturday disney on channel 7 (wizards of waverly place was a favourite, though all disney was held in high regard).

so, here's a salad that brings back memories of saturday afternoons in a small cafe, and now holds new ones of a thursday night dinner on the couch with mum. 

notes: you'll notice that the only dressing i've used in this recipe is the squeezed lemon on the salad. this is because of the oil and seasonings used in the roasted vegetables. the extra oil adds some flavour and liquid to the salad, while the saltiness of the olives and the tastiness of the za'atar packs some extra punch!

Roasted Vegetable & Mint Salad

{serves 2}


1 carrot

1 red capsicum

1 c pumpkin

1 tb za'atar

3 tb extra virgin olive oil

sea salt

cracked pepper

half an avocado

2/3 c cherry tomatoes

1/2 c green olives

1/2 c snow peas

1/4 c mint leaves

 1 c spinach

1/4 c pine nuts

1/2 lemon


preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and prepare two baking trays. 

chop the capsicum, halve the carrots and cube the pumpkin. season the vegetables with the oil, salt, pepper and za'atar and roast them for one hour in the oven. set aside to cool slightly.

combine the snow peas, mint leaves, pine nuts, avocado, cherry tomatoes, spinach and olives in a bowl. squeeze half a lemon over the top of the vegetables. add the roasted vegetables to the bowl and toss the salad slightly. 

serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until ready for serving. 

- jess x