Passionfruit Cupcakes

Passionfruit Cupcakes had not entered my life until this week when I was gazing at the back of the a pack of a Devondale skim milk powder. I’m not usually someone to make the recipes from the back of packets of food but this time the words Passionfruit and Cupcakes  jumped out at me. Two of my favourite things together can only be a winning combo.

After making these delicious morsels, I posted them up on Facebook and Instagram and it seems that many people have nostalgic memories of Passionfruit Cupcakes from their childhood. Who knew.

I’m just very happy that I can spread the passionfruit love!  We do have a vine growing at home but quite honestly its not pulling its weight at the moment.  There are a grand total of two green ones despite the actual vine looking gorgeous.  Due to this low performance, I used fresh passionfruit pulp (without added sugar) that can be purchased in the jar.  If you have a vine that is actually doing its job, use those guys.

Skim milk powder is definitely the secret ingredient in this recipe (not surprising as it is from Devondale) because it not only provides a calcium boost but it makes them SO fluffy.

Passionfruit Cupcakes

Ingredients

125g polyunsaturated spread or butter

1/2 cup caster sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup passionfruit pulp

grated rind of one orange

1/4 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1/2 cup skim milk powder

1.5 cups self-raising flour

1/2 icing sugar

extra passionfruit pulp

Method

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Gradually beat in eggs, passionfruit pulp, orange rind, water and vanilla.  Mix in skim milk powder and flour.

Spoon into a 12 hole lightly greased muffin tin.

Bake at 180 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until the passionfruit cupcakes are golden. Allow to cool.

For the icing – sift the icing sugar into a bowl and gradually add small amounts of the extra passionfruit pulp until the mixture is smooth but not too runny. 

If you live with other people big or small, hide at least one for yourself because I can assure you if backs are turned – they will be inhaled.

 

The Twelfth Day Of Christmas – With a Healthy Twist

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…..twelve devils fighting, eleven emus kicking, ten wombats sleeping, nine crocs a weeping, eight flies a feasting, seven possums playing, six sharks a swimming, five kan-ga-roos, four cuddling koalas, three little penguins, two pink galahs aaaaand a kookaburra up a gum tree.

You may have worked out that my twelfth day of Christmas does not actually finish on Christmas Day.  I wanted to get the last message in before you all clocked off for a break and stopped thinking about your healthy selves.

So, today is Christmas Eve, Eve and I would like to wish a very happy and safe festive season to you all!  We made it.  

Given that twelve Tasmanian Devils are fighting today, I am not suggesting that you are devils but there may be some pretty crazy eating behaviour on Christmas Day.  I may even be involved myself.  I found this greeting card recently by British company ‘Make Do’ that I thought summed up the day perfectly.

Enjoy this day with your loved ones.

If you are reading this there is every chance you like to take care after yourself and for that I am happy. However, we all need a break in routine and if Christmas Day festivities allow you to do that – let your hair down. Nothing bad will happen, you will just need to have a good lie down on the floor. It’s cool down there so stay as long as you can.

Thanks so much for being part of my 2019 and I am grateful for each and every one of you.

If you are still trudging the shops for Christmas presents on the twelfth day of Christmas (why?????), don’t forget about my Christmas Giftpack – my book ‘truth, lies and chocolate’ combined with a delicious WineBar Espresso Martini chocolate – all beautifully wrapped and ready to go!  Emergency Pickup only.

Click here for all details.

The Eleventh Day Of Christmas – With A Healthy Twist

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me…..Eleven emus kicking, ten wombats sleeping, nine crocs a weeping, eight flies a feasting, seven possums playing, six sharks a swimming, five kan-ga-roos, four cuddling koalas, three little penguins, two pink galahs aaaaand a kookaburra up a gum tree.

Emus worry me, they really do and I hope I don’t see any on this eleventh day of Christmas.

Beady little eyes and a lonnnnnnggg neck that looks like it might reach out at any moment and give you a little peck followed up by a quick kick.  An iconic Australian product that features this native animal is the good old Swan Brewery Emu Export beer.  It is still around but not considered to be in vogue now.  

Emu Export beer was and still is a full-strength beer unlike the low carb beers which are gaining popularity in Australia.  The question is, are they the real deal?

Low carb beers are low in carbohydrates but they still contain alcohol and therefore kilojoules.  Choosing a low carb beer over a full strength beer will save you about 100 kilojoules.  In a 375ml can or stubby of full strength beer there will be approximately 13 grams of carbohydrate compared to 0-3 grams in the low carb version, so this could be useful for diabetics but there is still the alcohol content to consider.  

Low carb beers are not the same as ‘light’ beers, which are lower in alcohol and based on this it is a good idea to watch out for the false promises of beer advertisers.

If you are concerned about your weight (and Christmas Day is definitely not the day to be concerned), consider choosing a beer that you enjoy and drinking less of it.

If you are still trudging the shops for Christmas presents on the eleventh day of Christmas, don’t forget about my Christmas Giftpack – my book ‘truth, lies and chocolate’ combined with a delicious WineBar Espresso Martini chocolate – all beautifully wrapped and ready to go!  Pick up only now with just a couple of sleeps to go.

Click here for all details.

The Tenth Day Of Christmas – With A Healthy Twist

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…..ten wombats sleeping,  nine crocs a weeping, eight flies a feasting, seven possums playing, six sharks a swimming, five kan-ga-roos, four cuddling koalas, three little penguins, two pink galahs aaaaand a kookaburra up a gum tree.

Aaaahhh, sleep.  Can somebody find me some?  Eight hours sleep is ideal for us all but this can be a challenge during busy times like the tenth day of Christmas.  Too many things to get through, do not make a good recipe for a restful sleep.  I know I am not alone but I also know that sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture, so bring on the Christmas break I say.  Not many sleeps to go now.

Which brings me to our fast paced world and our now flexible mealtimes.  When I was growing up, my mum had dinner on the table religiously at 6pm and we all sat down and ate together (I am still trying to perfect that myself, unsuccessfully I might add).  

Eating early seems to be a thing of the past as we are working longer hours and may have children and other family commitments that prevent us from eating our evening meal at a civilised hour.  Some people find that it is uncomfortable to eat close to going to bed and this is turn will disturb sleep.  Others may not find this to be the case. 

There is also the question of what you are eating prior to sleeping. Snacking on chocolate (unless its your four nightly squares of course), biscuits and cake (many of which are high in fat) are not great choices before you lie down for eight  hours of sleep.  The evening is when your body is least active and therefore not burning a lot of fuel.

Essentially, you are the best judge of your own body but if you are experiencing disturbed sleep, acid reflux or other problems, then have a look at your eating habits before bed.

If you are still trudging the shops for Christmas presents on the tenth day of Christmas, don’t forget about my Christmas Giftpack – my book ‘truth, lies and chocolate’ combined with a delicious WineBar Espresso Martini chocolate – all beautifully wrapped and ready to go! Pick-up only now.

Click here for all details

The Ninth Day Of Christmas – With A Healthy Twist

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…..nine crocs a weeping, eight flies a feasting, seven possums playing, six sharks a swimming, five kan-ga-roos, four cuddling koalas, three little penguins, two pink galahs aaaaand a kookaburra up a gum tree.

It doesn’t matter whether it is the ninth day of Christmas or not, crocodiles are scary.  Not that I socialise with them all the time.  Some time back when I was doing a nomadic around Australia trip, we stopped off at the Adelaide River in the Northern Territory and hopped onto a boat to spot some crocs. Within minutes there were monster truck versions of the prehistoric animal flinging themselves out of the air  to try and jag some meat off the end of a stick.  I regretted taking the tour immediately as it was wrong on so many levels but as there was only one way of getting off, I decided to stay.

Crocodiles are THE peak predator with endurance like no other.  Because they are the boss of everyone, they can eat whatever they like. But they don’t.  They hunt only what they need, roll them around a few times and then eat when they need to. Yes, I know they do occasionally get confused and take a human who happens to be in their feeding ground. 

I think there is a lesson there that we can use over the next few days.  Be selective, gather only what you need, roll it around a few times and savour it, chew slowly and enjoy. And as a special tip, try not to confuse your fellow diners with the sumptuous fare.

If you are still trudging the shops for Christmas presents on the ninth day of Christmas, don’t forget about my Christmas Giftpack – my book ‘truth, lies and chocolate’ combined with a delicious WineBar Espresso Martini chocolate – all beautifully wrapped and ready to go!  There is still time to get it onto Santa’s sleigh but it’s probably the last day for postage. If you can pick up, there is still time.

Click here for all details.

The Eighth Day Of Christmas – With a Healthy Twist

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…..eight flies a feasting, seven possums playing, six sharks a swimming, five kan-ga-roos, four cuddling koalas, three little penguins, two pink galahs aaaaand a kookaburra up a gum tree.

Aren’t flies just the most fantastic aspect of Australian life?  The perceptive amongst you may detect just a hint of sarcasm because in real life they truly do drive you mad. Not only are they are a source of annoyance but they are also a seething mass of germs.  With all of the mountains of food that we are preparing and eating in the lead-up to the BIG DAY it is easy to get busy and forget about storing our food correctly.

So to avoid an unhappy stomach and poisoning all of your guests in the process, don’t leave food uncovered on the bench or table, put it straight in the fridge.

On this eighth day of Christmas you can also start practicing keeping your meat and other foods separate by using different chopping boards and utensils to avoid cross contamination when preparing meals.

And don’t forget to do the same thing on Christmas Day before doing your whale impression on the carpet, so that Sitting Number 2 is fresh and healthy.

If you are still trudging the shops for Christmas presents on the eighth day of Christmas, don’t forget about my Christmas Giftpack – my book ‘truth, lies and chocolate’ combined with a delicious WineBar Espresso Martini chocolate – all beautifully wrapped and ready to go!  There is still time to get it onto Santa’s sleigh but it’s getting close to the wire.

Click here for all details.

The Seventh Day of Christmas – With a Healthy Twist

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me…..seven possums playing, six sharks a swimming, five kan-ga-roos, four cuddling koalas, three little penguins, two pink galahs aaaaand a kookaburra up a gum tree.

The instant image on this seventh day of Christmas that possums bring to mind for me,  is a pair of big bright eyes in the dark in the backyard of my parents house.  My Dad was a prolific market gardener and chook keeper and he often found that his little ‘friends’ had been busy in the night eating his prize rockmelon or pumpkin flowers.  He tried ‘Poss Off,’ a spray which supposedly deters them when in fact I think it encourages them to come party. He tried.

The whole seeing in the dark thing reminds me of night vision and carrots.  Carrots are a rich source of beta-carotene which is a form of Vitamin A.  Vitamin A is known as the ‘vision vitamin’ because it helps prevent night blindness and aids the conversion of light into messages for the brain.  This vitamin is found in some other foods such as butter, margarine, liver, eggs and full cream dairy products.  Green leafy and yellow vegetables and fruit also contain Vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene.

You never know when you need your night vision goggles on whilst out socialising over summer, so get crunching on a carrot.  I wonder if possums can actually pull the carrots out of the ground….

 

If you are still trudging the shops for Christmas presents on the seventh day of Christmas, don’t forget about my Christmas Giftpack – my book ‘truth, lies and chocolate’ combined with a delicious WineBar Espresso Martini chocolate – all beautifully wrapped and ready to go!  There is still time to get it onto Santa’s sleigh but not much.

Click here for all details.

The Sixth Day of Christmas – With A Healthy Twist

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…..Six sharks a swimming, five kangaroos, four cuddling koalas, three little penguins, two pink galahs aaaaand a kookaburra up a gum tree.

If you happen to be driving along the coast of Perth on this sixth day of Christmas, you will be able to see an island shimmering on the horizon.  This is Rottnest, a gorgeous island 20km off the coast of Western Australia inhabited by quokkas and people seeking rest and relaxation.  Each February, thousands of crazy people swim the channel between Cottesloe and Rottnest. A while back on two consecutive years, I joined the throng as part of a team of four.  Although I love the beach, swimming long distances is most definitely not my forte but luckily for me I had barely any space in my head to think about the actual swimming thing.   All I thought about for five to six hours solid was a shark nibbling at my toes.

What About Those Sharks?

Western Australia seems to be the favourite hang out joint of sharks. I know intellectually that the likelihood of me being attacked by a shark at any time is far less than the risk of crashing my car but my heart seems to win every time.

Sharks are multi-faceted because the finned hunters are not only feared by many but can also be the carrier of mercury. For many of us this is not a concern but for those of you out there who are pregnant or considering being pregnant, mercury in large amounts can harm an unborn baby or young child’s developing nervous system.  Fish ingest mercury from streams and oceans as they feed and it binds to their tissue proteins (such as muscle).   Food processing, preparation and cooking techniques don’t significantly reduce the amount of mercury in fish.

Mercury Rising

No need to panic but some tips for mums-to-be are:

  1. Avoid fish with a high mercury content such as shark, swordfish, barramundi, gem fish, orange roughy (deep sea perch), ling and southern blue fin tuna.
  1. Limit other fish, such as tuna steaks, to one serve per week or three 95g cans of tuna per week (smaller tuna contain less mercury).

There are no limits on the intake of fresh or tinned salmon and fortunately, most fish in Australia have low mercury levels. On the very large upside, fish and seafood are wonderful sources of omega-3 fats, which our bodies love.

 

If you are still trudging the shops for Christmas presents on the fifth day of Christmas, don’t forget about my Christmas Giftpack – my book ‘truth, lies and chocolate’ combined with a delicious WineBar Espresso Martini chocolate – all beautifully wrapped and ready to go!  

Click here for all details.

The Fifth Day of Christmas – With a Healthy Twist

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me….. Five kan-ga-roos, four cuddling koalas, three little penguins, two pink galahs aaaaand a kookaburra up a gum tree.

One of the first thoughts that comes to my mind on the fifth day of Christmas with kangaroo is lean red meat.  I know that might seem a bit mean to our international readers but in Australia we do multi-love kangaroo’s. By that I mean we admire their beauty and significance as part of our history but they are also a valuable food source.

Kangaroo (and some other game meat) is a very lean meat because they are very active animals. Their meat is a rich source of protein, iron and zinc.  Iron is important on any day but especially important during the Festive Marathon months of November, December and January.  You really do need plenty of energy whilst partying and socialising and iron assists by helping oxygen sail around your blood stream.  Everyone is after more oxygen aren’t they?

Is All Iron Equal?

Iron is known as haem (from an animal sources)  and non-haem (from a vegetable or plant source) iron. Haem iron is absorbed quite a bit more efficiently than the non-haem iron.  Liver is top dog in the iron stakes with red meat a much lower second, followed by chicken and fish with much lower amounts again.  

Breakfast cereal and legumes are decent sources of non-haem iron but need a friend in the form of  of Vitamin C to assist absorption. Fruit and vegetables are just the ticket for the Vitamin C assistance. For a more in-depth look at iron, take a look at the article I wrote for some of my athletes here. By the way, you don’t need to be an athlete to need iron.

Sad news about Popeye on the fifth day of Christmas. If you have ever seen a cartoon of Popeye chugging down a can of spinach with bulging muscles to get his fill, you may be thinking that spinach is the road to plenty of iron. Unfortunately the iron in spinach is very difficult to absorb due to other compounds in the leafy green (oxalates and phytates). These compounds bind the iron and make it unavailable to you. Sorry to burst that bubble.

And a bonus…..

For a delicious cupcake recipe that has a secret iron source inside check these out right now!

If you are still trudging the shops for Christmas presents on the fifth day of Christmas, don’t forget about my Christmas Giftpack – my book ‘truth, lies and chocolate’ combined with a delicious WineBar Espresso Martini chocolate – all beautifully wrapped and ready to go!  TODAY IS THE LAST DAY THAT YOU CAN BE SURE IT WILL ARRIVE IN TIME.

Click here for all details.

The Fourth Day of Christmas – With A Healthy Twist

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…..Four cuddling koalas, three little penguins, two pink galahs aaaaand a kookaburra up a gum tree

Ahhh, Caramello Koalas.  They are so cute and tasty. Especially on the fourth day of Christmas.

Just in case you are wondering how they fare in the world of treats, one regular sized Caramel koala contains 99 calories and this includes around 1 teaspoon of fat and just over 2 teaspoons of sugar.  If you get sucked into a fundraising vortex and decide to go the Giant version, this effectively doubles the dose.  Well, maybe a bit more if you get guilted into buying the whole box.

So should you eat them?  They are quite delectable and can help you experience a moment of bliss, so they are perfectly designed as an occasional treat. But when I know that one little koala takes up some of my total daily intake, I do what I did today.  Go look at a cute image of them…. zero calories, fat and sugar but still the moment of bliss.

Some darker varieties of chocolate contains a bunch of powerful antioxidants that can do good works in our bodies. Don’t go crazy though – two squares of good quality dark chocolate will do the trick, you don’t need the whole box that you were given! 

If you are looking for something sweet but a bit more satisfying than a little koala, try these on the fourth day of Christmas.

Christmas Muffins

(Makes 12 regular or 24 mini muffins)

Ingredients

300g plain flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

75g muscovado or brown sugar

250g fruit mince

300ml buttermilk (or 1/2 yoghurt, 1/2 milk)

80ml (1/3 cup) vegetable oil

1 egg

1 cup icing sugar, sifted

1-2 tbs lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon and pinch of salt in a bowl. 

Method

Stir in the brown sugar. Beat together buttermilk, oil and egg until combined, then add to dry ingredients with the fruit mince and stir until only just combined. Fill each muffin case with the mixture and bake for 20 minutes. Set aside to cool. Place icing sugar in a bowl, add enough lemon juice to form a soft icing and drizzle over the muffins.

 

If you are still trudging the shops for Christmas presents on the fourth day of Christmas, don’t forget about my Christmas Giftpack, my book ‘truth, lies and chocolate’ combined with a delicious WineBar Espresso Martini chocolate – all beautifully wrapped and ready to go!  

Click here for all details.