Olive Oil Blondies w' Chocolate Frosting

in the two months since my last post here, i've started med school. it is insanely busy and crazy and i love it.  i can now give injections and have a rudimentary understanding of why these here olive oil blondies might be a tad bad for us. but oh well they're delicious let's eat them anyway. 

starting this new chapter of my life ( i say started, but i'm halfway through the semester) has made me consider what kind of stuff might be featured here on this little internet corner. i figure that i might like to look back on all aspects of my life, not just my baking and cooking adventures. so expect some med school life content! in other news, between lectures, tutorials and traffic jams (i am beginning to feel like i'm spending my life in the cars somewhat), i have been slowly rekindling my love with the gym. slowly.  it's a fragile and tentative relationship, not unlike the one between tom and jerry from old saturday morning cartoons. speaking of cats, the cat lady life is approaching me. when i once thought that uni life would be staying out late and partying on, it really is hanging out with my bestie's new kitten (so! cute!), and wondering if 8:30 is too early to go to bed on a saturday night. #grandmalife

the importance of routine is setting in too. even though all my days start at different times, and my timetable is slightly different every week, i'm starting to get used to a routine of uni, study, sleep, gym (ish), working and hanging out. hopefully i get better at incorporating more of these posts into that routine! the shock of feeling lost, confused and not understanding most of what is happening is wearing off, and slowly but surely uni is becoming more like a good friend rather than a weird kooky cousin. the more i hear about the importance of looking after yourself as a medical student, the more i realise the importance of keeping it simple when it comes to wellbeing. personally, i don't feel the need for special powders in my smoothies (but hey! if that's what floats your boat keep on rolling!) or complicated workouts and wellbeing apps. just simple things like drinking water, going for a run, lifting some weight, having naps, switching my phone off and taking time to check in with my brain about how i'm feeling works for me. essentially, the content i'm studying is complicated enough - so i figure keeping the rest of my life as simple as possible is the way to go! 

so, in the theme of keeping it simple, here's a delicous recipe that is no fuss. no thousand glossy photos or complicated instructions. just a treat that may not be excellent for your body, but is fabulous for the soul. it's all about balance hey?


even though the easter period is a time for chocolate, this recipe is perfect to share with those who perhaps aren't chocolate fanatics. these blondies are sweet, moist, dense, caramelly and delicious. i threw a chocolate buttercream frosting on top (with sprinkles ofc) to jazz them up a bit because i live by the rule that everything is better with buttercream and sprinkles. this recipe belongs to molly of mynameisyeh, and i made them for a bake stall at my old high school earlier in the year, they were a hit!! my frosting was slightly different to the original recipe, just because of my own personal preference and for dietary reasons. 10/10 would recommend, an excellent alternative to a brownie for the dairy-free amongst us! 

Olive Oil Blondies w' Chocolate Frosting

makes 16 large blondies


for the blondies

2 c flour
2 c lightly packed brown sugar
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 c olive oil
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

for the frosting

200g vegan butter (room temp)

350g icing sugar

50g caco powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp unsweetened almond milk



to make the blondies

preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and grease and line a square baking tin with baking paper, about 20x20 cm. 

in one large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, salt and baking powder. in another bowl, whisk together the olive oil, eggs and vanilla. making a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, add the wet mix and whisk to combine. 

pour the batter into the lined baking tin and use a spatula or palette knife to spread an even surface on the mixture. bake for 35 minutes, then check for done-ness by sticking a skewer into the centre, on a slight angle. if it comes out clean, the blondies are ready. if not, bake for another 2 minutes, then check again.

leave to cool in the pan while making the frosting. 

to make the  frosting

cream the butter, icing sugar and cacao powder in the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment. beat for 3 minutes until pale and smooth. add the vanilla and almond milk and beat again for another minute. 

remove the blondies from the pan and frost. decorate with sprinkles as desired. 


happy belated easter, enjoy the choccies!! 

jess x


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