Spice It Up 2017 Advent Calendar

A very special Announcement.


As promised, I have a BIG announcement for the end of the month & finally the day has arrived!!!!

You all know what an advent calendar is, right, for Christmas?!?!? Where you get to open a wee door every day for a special treat between December 1 to 24 ?!?!

Well, calling all food lovers!!!! This is the ultimate advent calendar for you!

24 Food Bloggers from all around the world have banded together to create a very special advent calendar indeed! From tomorrow, you will be able to use the link below to ‘open’ a new door to a brand new recipe featuring a classic Festive Spice each day! How cool is that?!?!?

2017 Spice It Up Advent Calendar

So, what can you expect from your exceptional culinary line-up this year? Check out each ‘door’ below –

December 1, Jenny, from Jenny is Baking  will feature tonka bean in a sweet bread
December 2, Rachel from   Dishing Up Dinner will feature nutmeg in a cookie
December 3, Jyoti from  The Hungry Belly will feature saffron in a dessert
December 4, Natalie from  Natalie Journeys will feature nutmeg in a drink
December 5, Renea from   Inspire a Creation will feature peppermint in a dessert
December 6, Samira from   Samira’s Recipe Diary will feature cardamom in a dessert
December 7, Markus from  Earth, Food & Fire will feature cloves in a side dish
December 8, Candi from  Make Ahead Meal Mom will feature nutmeg in a dessert
December 9, Rachael from  Coloured Plates will feature star anise in a condiment
December 10, Kori from Irok the Kitchen  will feature ginger in a cookie
December 11, Megan from Life on Paradise Drive will feature pumpkin pie spice in a dessert
December 12, Leslie from  Deliciously Plated will feature cardamom in a beverage
December 13, Tanya from  Food Forage will feature ginger in a dessert
December 14, Ali from  Fix Me a Little Lunch will feature bay leaves in a cocktail
December 15, Daniela from  Dani’s Cookings will feature cinnamon in a cake
December 16, Neha from  Witty Mushroom will feature cardamom in a dessert
December 17, Lizet from  Chipa by the Dozen will feature aniseed in a cookie
December 18, Jillian from  Simple Sassy Scrumptious will feature cinnamon and cloves in a cookie
December 19, Jennifer from  Jennifer Bakes will feature cayenne pepper in a snack
December 20, Angela from  Bake It With Love will feature nutmeg in a dessert
December 21, Kaveri from  Pretty Little Things will feature ginger in a dessert
December 22, Nataliya from  The Friendly Gourmand will feature clove in a side dish
December 23, Myriam from  Milly’s Melting Pot will feature vanilla in a cookie
December 24, Jenny, from Jenny Is Baking will make a roundup

Make sure you mark your favourites in your diaries & remember to check the advent calendar every day to see what incredibly amazing Yuletide Recipe awaits you!

I am so extremely excited to be apart of this GLOBAL project & can’t wait to check out all the fabuliciouz Christmas recipes from around the world!


Our Incredible Shrinking Act!

Tanya released an impressive 16cm from her waistline, whilst Andy dropped a whopping 17cm from his hips!

All in just 30 short days with no exercise!


Simply by using these magnificent Nutritional Supplements to nourish their bodies.


We’ve known for a very long time that modern Western farming practices have severely affected the nutrition within the food we eat, that’s why we need to supplement our contemporary diet to put back all the good wholesomeness that is simply no longer there. We want to be ACTIVE ELDERLY – that means we need to INVEST in ourselves NOW whilst we’re reasonably still young!

Enter Isagenix!

The first thing you need to understand about Isagenix is that it is NOT just another weight loss shake. It is a highly concentrated super food of Nutrition! There is a bounty of independent diverse Scientific testing to back it up!

By flooding our bodies with the Nutrition that they need, we are able to reboot our systems! When our bodies receive the correct Nutrition, they naturally release the toxic fat stores they’ve built up – hence weight loss is simply a pleasant side affect of good, healthy Nutrition.

We are now full of life & vitality!

We love these products so much our goal is to share this fabulous Nutrition Program with as many people as possible because it’s all about putting the nourishment back into our bodies that modern farming practices have taken out!

Have a good snoop around our website by following the below link, where you can check out all the products & the Science for yourself in your own time before using the contact page on there to drop us a line & have a chat about how to Live Your Best Life!

You owe yourself the love that you so freely give to others.


Melbourne’s Country Playground

After so many years spent wandering the nation as somewhat reluctant nomads,

have we finally found our nook of Australia to settle down in?


We have lived from top to bottom & side to side of this great southern land we call home. We have roamed & loved, tasted & explored every possible climate available in a bid to find where we belong. At every new location, one of the very first things we do is to visit the local information centre.

Although these centre’s are catering to the tourists who arrive, they should never be overlooked by new residents to a region. We have found they are the best place ever to resource everything you need to get started in your new environment. Grab all the flyers & tourist trail maps of everything you’re interested in & then make contact with one of the friendly staff. Tell them you’ve just moved to town & they will fill your head with all the local’s only hot spots! Plus you’ll get bonus information of where the locals meet up to connect & chat about what’s happening. This is absolutely vital when landing yourself into rural or remote Australia.

So, our brand spanking new home is on the absolutely stunning Dandenong Ranges. Quite often overlooked for our iconic Yarra Valley neighbour, we’ve noticed a very clever marketing tactic by the local tourism bureau here, a blending of the names to produce the Yarra Ranges!

The trail map, pictured above, is first on our hit list to explore (we’ve already done some places) so, naturally, will be sharing our family outings with you.

We’re about an hour away from the Melbourne CBD and there are loads of day trips you can take up this way from the tour people, but personally, I would hire a car & really get out to explore all the little farm gate stalls to gather together a fabuliciouz hamper of fresh goodies!

However, let’s get back to the question at hand………..Can we finally settle down to grow some roots of our own?

We are adoring the novelty of 4 defined seasons in the south & the mountain feels like a world away from the city. There is ample work within a reasonable commute whilst we are able to maintain our country lifestyle. We have one of the world’s premier wine regions on our doorstep to compliment the outstanding food bowl produce from the rich soil. The spoils of one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities are within easy reach for our picking. We are surrounded by an eclectic mix of people who reflect every region we’ve passed through to get here.

Our journey is no longer a destination. 

Living the Dream

So very many people dream about an Escape to the Country,

yet only a very lucky few of us get to actually do it.

A few days ago, we joined the Back to Land crowd!


We are so ecstatically thrilled to have rented ourselves a wee patch of paradise in the closest rural country escape to Melbourne for a do-able work commute. I just want to put it out there, How’s the Serenity?!

At the back of our 3/4 acre home, we discovered this once loved area in the photograph above. We will definitely be sharing our experiences with you as we attempt to breathe life back into this former home farm.

The ideal of living a sustainable lifestyle, or as close to it as possible these days, is one that captures the imagination of such a diverse range of people. There is a definite & deliberate movement of people quitting the cities to instead, opt for a simpler life on the land. Now simple should never be confused with easy. Nobody promised us a rose garden on this adventure!

We anticipate that our blundering antics will provide you with much comic relief in the months to come as we settle into our new home farm lifestyle. In all honesty, we have absolutely no idea what we’re doing! But isn’t that all part of the journey?!

Our web-show will (hopefully) start filming shortly to capture all the action for you to enjoy. It will include cooking, home farming & seeing us transform our vintage caravan into a commercial kitchen. Maybe, we might even show you around this gorgeous region of the Dandenong Ranges too……maybe.

It’s all about to kick off for us, we are overwhelmed with excitement & trepidation of What on Earth have we done?!?!?!?!

Eye of the Tiger!

Greatness Come To Those Who Take It!

– Genghis Khan


So after my first successful Piping Cake Class I wrote about in Face the Fear, yesterday I went back for another go!

This time round, I was able to walk into the classroom with a wee bit more confidence & not be so timid. Maybe that was due to the fact that I had Mini Me in tow & I always try to lead by example to her. She was so uber excited to go to Cake School with Mummy & wasted no time in making herself feel right at home at the bench, spreading out her audience of stuffed toys to watch her make cake.

Chef Tiff’s beautiful smiling face greeted us which put me instantly at ease. I was worried on the inside because I had to admit, I couldn’t remember how to do most of what she’d taught me last time! EEP! But in her calm, friendly manner, she just told me not to worry about it, this is something that takes a lot of time & practice to master. Whew! No, Principal’s Office for me then!

As the other students rolled in, there was an air of excitement about these perfect little Vintage Cupcakes on display in the middle of the room. Crikey! Could I really actually manage to pull this off too, or was last time just a fluke of beginner’s luck?! Thankfully, my attention was diverted from the rising panic by Mini Me being ever so cute melting hearts.

Chef Louise was teaching this class, so as Mummy eagerly devoured all the knowledge I could suck out of her extraordinarily experienced brain, Mini Me scored her very own personal tuition with Chef Tiff! Honestly, this kid is just so blessed with creating her own opportunities. With the amount of her natural artistic talent, it was little wonder that she took to cake decorating like a duck to water, astounding everyone. Proud Mumma Bear moment here, folks!

Honestly, I am so in love with learning old fashioned Piping Skills that I’m kinda kicking myself that I didn’t do this years ago! Moral of the story –

Don’t ever let fear stop you from trying something new, you may discover what you were meant to be doing all along.

Now, to create my Cake Empire to take over the world!!!!! Insert maniacal evil laugh here – Muhahahahahahahahaha

Friends on the Hill, Monbulk

Once in a while, you’ll stumble across a little gem that surprises you so much you just know you’re gonna become a regular!


We’re currently scouring the Dandenong Ranges, a much overlooked foodie region, in search of our next home. I mean, just take a look at this photo to see our attraction to the region! Yes, those are big kangaroos next to the vineyard!

So, anyhow, we’re driving around in absolutely atrocious weather so we can see what it’s like on the mountain in the abysmal conditions as well as the perfect tourist sunshine. This kind of opportunity is rare for us ahead of a move as we’ve traditionally criss crossed the nation so rely on the internet for information. I must admit, I was becoming a wee bit cranky. I was tired & irritable because I was just simply hungry. We’d tried to have take out dinner the night before, only to get home to discover they’d given us the wrong order! There was nothing I could eat in there. Normally, we’d just brush it off as one of those things I simply have to put up with now as a Celiac, but we were miffed because we’d actually nagged the staff numerous times checking they were getting our order right & I even saw my Gluten Free option sitting on the bench as the girl was packing ours up & asked her isn’t that mine to which she said no! I had then made the mistake of leaving the house the next morning without breakfast! Oops, my bad! So it was little wonder then that by lunch time I was flailing, after all, it had been 24 hours since I’d really had anything to eat.

We found a park in the village of Monbulk, a gorgeous local’s village that is obviously the hub of the region. As we stalked the street in the rain, I made the somewhat ignorant statement that I surely wouldn’t find anything to eat here either. It’s just so difficult to eat out when you have a dietary issue. It has made me change from being such a big part of the vibrant food scene to becoming a virtual recluse eating at home.

The most inviting of cafe’s had a lovely fire going in the corner & I said to hubby, if nothing else I could at least have a cup of tea to warm up while he & Mini Me had some lunch.

Imagine my surprise when the waitress brought over the menu which was absolutely littered with fabuliciouz Gluten Free options!

Normally, if we manage to find anything at all for me to eat on a menu, it’s only 1 or possibly 2 choices, if I’m lucky, & it’s usually not what I want to eat as it’s always the same option everywhere. I can happily report that at Friends on the Hill, every single Gluten Free item was a total breath of fresh air! I want to munch my way through that entire menu! Everything, just bring me everything, was what I fought back saying when placing my order but I tempered my gluttony & chose the Tomato & Basil Soup. Oh good lord, I was not disappointed!

Upon chatting with the chef to express my extreme gratitude for the variety on the menu (I could even have a burger if I want!) I discovered that the Head Chef’s mother is Celiac so that is why he is so sympathetic to the cause!

Friends on the Hill at Monbulk truly are now my mates! I can’t wait to find a home up there & become a regular.

Face the Fear!

We all have something in the kitchen that we’re secretly terrified of.

For me, it’s piping!

Last night, I attended my very first ever Cake Decorating class to try, once & for all, to conquer this mysterious skill!


I must admit that I was filled with trepidation as hubby & mini me roared off in our car after depositing me at the door of Crafty Cakes in Somerville on the fabuliciouz Mornington Peninsula. I mean, what on earth was I doing here?!?!? A sense of impending doom descended upon me as visions danced through my mind of out of control piping bags squirting everyone & filling the room with buttercream while I desperately hung on for dear life as it took over to destroy & devour all in it’s path of destruction!

Mercifully, Chef Tiff, came to the door to greet me & burst me out of my terror. After all, I was here to whip this beast & teach it who’s boss!

I could not have felt more inadequate or out of place in that cake decorating room. I have been an avid fan of Cake Boss & Choccywoccydoodah for many years. I’ve always had the desire to make beautiful creations but have always felt I lacked any real talent. As the rest of the students arrived, I shrunk into the corner & tried to remain unseen. They were a lovely group of kind hearted ladies, but I felt extremely intimated by the level of cake awesomeness surrounding me. Once again, What was I doing here?!?!?!

The class started with us cutting the tops off our cakes. I was amazed by a nifty wee piece of equipment (which will soon be mine!) that had a couple of wires strung between metal poles that simply swiped the top of my cake off with supreme ease. Thank goodness I wasn’t asked to use a knife or there would of been cake carnage!

Next, we were to ‘dirty ice’ the cake. Suddenly, my imagination took over as I fantasised about slathering on oodles of buttercream alongside Buddy Valastro, but this feeling was short lived as we moved onto the actual piping bags – DA DA DUM!

With trembling hands I scooped up the dreaded beast, turned down it’s mighty mouth, inserted the coupling & then, couldn’t get the scissors to snip the tip off! There….it had happened….I was officially a gumby!

It had to be the station I had chosen to have the blunt scissors. DOH! My neighbour lent me hers & all was good again.

The rest of the evening went by in an absolute blur of gel paste, colours, hysterically crude descriptions of how to create the flowers & before I knew it, we were assembling our masterpieces!

Placing on the final top coat of buttercream, my novice status shone through again as I discovered I was using the smoothing tool the wrong way round! Poof! There goes the Cake Boss fantasy again!

In the end, I stood back, looked at my cake & thought WOW! Did I really make that?!?!?! This morning, I still can not believe that I created that cake every time I look at.

But Chef Tiff, has to have the last word on this topic as she absolutely stunned me when I was leaving last night in declaring that she hopes I come back for more classes as I have some “Serious Talent”!

Who woulda thunk it!

Food Festival Fever!

From ponce to party, Melbourne certainly didn’t disappoint this Labour Day long weekend with Australia’s food capital hosting a Fabuliciouz feast of events!


 Oh my goodness! What a weekend we’ve just been spoilt with! What an incredible time to be in Melbourne! In case you didn’t know, the annual Melbourne Food & Wine Festival is in full swing & they have an event to suit every taste & every budget. Naturally, we went along to a couple of the family friendly events over the long weekend.

Saturday kicked off our fabuliciouz foodie adventure at the 10th anniversary of Ventana Fiesta in the beachside suburb of Frankston. It’s a full on South American street party & in this, the Brazilian Olympic year, it was just perfect to get our groovy out!


We were treated to Mexican wrestling along the main street as the crowd cheered & a true carnival atmosphere of music, singing, dancing & an explosion of colour!

But, of course, we were there for the food! What an incredible array of stalls filling the air with such sumptuous aromas our mouths were left salivating as we were totally confused by which of these amazing cuisines to try first!


We eventually settled upon a selection of Patagonian BBQ (pictured), Argentinian Chicken & Colombian Arepa’s. What a feast we had as the parade sauntered past us, truly an experience to satisfy both cultural & tummy cravings.

On the Sunday we were at it again! You know, another day, another food festival……it’s a dirty job but somebody has to do it, right?!


The Dandenong World Fare was in one word – EPIC! This is the cultural melting pot suburb of Melbourne. Any kind of cuisine you want to try from anywhere on the planet, I reckon can be found in Dandenong!

The crowd was immense, the food trucks numerous, the entertainment unforgettable & the atmosphere electric!

This is what a festival should be! Free entry for all so the community can come together to celebrate & bond over a fantastically good time. Free entertainment of the highest quality to ensure harmony & understanding between the various cultures. Cheap rides for the kids to be thrilled on balanced out by Free faceprinting, balloons & crafts. I know I’ve said a lot of Free there, but I’m seriously impressed by what the organisers of this festival were able to pull together for everyone to come out & enjoy. In this greedy world, it is a very rare jewel of community happiness gaining the upper hand.


There was an incredible array of diversity on offer in the culinary department, as you’d expect of such a culturally rich area. But when I saw that big black & beautiful food truck with a roaring fire inside which boasted boldly on it’s menu board “GLUTEN FREE WOOD FIRED PIZZA” I knew I could walk no further. Despite the many fabuliciouz offerings of cuisines from around the globe, it is quite often, the simple foods we grew up on ourselves which we can no longer indulge in that we fantasise over. After a lifetime of pasta & pizza, to go ‘cold turkey’ has been really hard, but what do you do when gluten makes you really sick?! So to be able to gorge myself on pizza was an opportunity too good to refuse!

And that is why it’s called Comfort Food.

Cuckoo Restaurant

Nestled amoung lush forest perched upon Mt Dandenong,

you will find Australia’s very first smorgasbord restaurant.

Let the lederhosen loose & the good times soar!


I always like to look for the quirky, slightly off the beaten path, kinda places for my Foodie Adventures. When I heard about an ‘absolute madhouse’ up in the hills of Melbourne, I knew I just had to check it out!

Now I know, a lot of people out there find theme restaurants a wee bit tacky, however, I am not one of those people! I think they’re brilliant for a rip roaring good time that you can completely & utterly forget about your own pretentiousness for a while.

As soon as we arrived at The Cuckoo Restaurant, it was apparent that our informants had been correct in their labelling of the joint. A man in full Bavarian traditional dress was enthusiastically directing traffic to park in a hilarious slap stick comedy. Right away, we liked the place.


Naturally, one simply must stick one’s head through the stereotyped timber cutout for a picture as a buxom wench or drunken yodeller before entering the very pretty building to be transported to the other side of the world!

The decor of this place is so uber spot on! It isn’t very difficult at all to fully embrace your imagination & get carried away with the ambience of Bavarian Germany. The timber carvings are exquisite & they even boast the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock! Oh, and the walls are adorned with every imaginable kind of smaller Cuckoo Clocks, all for sale, which I believe add an enormous amount of feel good factor with the wee birdies distinctive calling.

But, what we really came for was the promise of authentic European food! The instant you are seated, steaming hot pumpkin soup is plopped down on the table as the waitress awaits your drink orders. Let me just say they have a fabuliciouz mocktail menu! After greedily devouring the soup, our eyes were drawn by the rich array of dishes on offer & we discreetly slunk our way over so as not to draw too much attention that we were the first to attack the smorgasbord!


With most diners now happily chomping through a gastronomic delight of culinary offerings, The Cuckoo ramped it up a notch in the party department by striking up the live band & entertaining with interactive audience comedy & some beautiful singing from The Sound of Music movie score. Throw in a few good PROST toasts into the mix & you have the makings of a seriously jovial experience!

I must admit to a guilty little secret here though, I did sneak back for seconds on the dessert! That Chocolate Mousse was just too irresistible not too!