Cauliflower and Chickpea Tikka Masala


It’s no secret that I was Indian in a past life, India cuisine is by far my favourite. We have for some time now been celebrating Mexican Monday, which lately has been involving some cauliflower rice. The other half of the cauliflower inspired me to find a curry recipe to use it. I originally used a recipe from Vegetarian Gastronomy then modified to my personal preferences.


  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 inche piece ginger, outer skin removed, finely grated
  • 1 or 2 of your favourite chilli’s, diced
  • 3 vine-ripe medium tomatoes, halved
  • 1 medium red capsicum, cored (optional but helps achieve that redish orange tikka masala colour)
  • 1/2 cup fresh corriandor, or more to tase
  • 1 cup coconut milk or (BonSoy milk also works well)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground corriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup of organic  chickpeas, soaked for at least a few hours and cooked for an hour or until cooked (not crunchy)
  • 1 medium organic cauliflower or half a large cauliflower, washed and cut into bite sized florets
  • 1/2 cup cashews, soaked for a few hours is preferable and 1/4 cup water, if making cashew cream
  • Freshly chopped coriander, for garnish


  1. In a large pan, heat oil on medium heat, fry ginger, minced garlic, chilli and onions. Cook for a few minutes until onions are browned.
  2. While the mixture is cooking, add all the sauce ingredients (that is, tomatoes, capsicum, coriander and coconut milk) into a blender, add the onion, garlic, ginger into the blender also and blend into a sauce.
  3. Pour the sauce from the blender back into the pan, then add all the spices listed above and mix to combine. Heat the sauce on medium-low until you achieve a gentle simmer. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes on a medium heat.
  4. Whilst sauce is cooking, make the cashew cream (if using) by blending cashews and water and boil rice (if using).
  5. Add  the cauliflower florets and chickpeas into the sauce and cook covered for about 10-15 minutes on medium heat or until the cauliflower florets are cooked to your preference. Cook uncovered over low heat for a further 5 minutes or so.
  6. Season, turn off the heat, serve with rice or Naan and garnish with cashew cream and fresh coriander.


Meg x

Food as Make Up and Zero Waste Products

As a teenager I had problematic skin; categorically classified as combination, with big pores and acne. For this reason I have a long standing belief that I must wear make up to look nice, even normal. Like many people around the world, my problematic skin cleared significantly once I gave up eating dairy products. The relationship between dairy consumption and problematic skin is well documented. Dairy (even organic and varieties without added hormones) all contain natural hormones that can lead to acne because milk is comes from pregnant cows. Some studies suggest there are around 60 different hormones in one glass of milk and cheese (coagulated milk) is even more problematic. All animal proteins contain inflammatory proteins that have been linked to disease, but dairy’s proteins have been most linked to skin problems, especially whey and addictive casein proteins. I have long stopped putting these products in my body but what about the products I was putting on my body?

I was left inspired after watching a Facebook video in which a girl made up her face using only items in her pantry, including a Mars bar… But also when I read an DIY make up article by Pure Jojoba which explained how you can make almost any make up using just nine of the following natural ingredients:




The benefits of making your own make up are endless: it’s cheap as you’re not paying for a brand, its satisfyingly easy using a few products likely to be in your pantry, you can be sure it’s safe as you know what’s they’re natural ingredients and you can package it in whatever you like, hence avoiding pesky plastics.

Below are a few I have tried, tested and loved as well as a few I am going to try shortly:

Power Foundation

I simply combine tapioca (otherwise called arrowroot) powder and carob or cocao powder. Tapioca acts as the base, whilst carob is a sweeter tasting powder, providing a slightly lighter in colour than cocao, so I prefer to use carob in the winter and cocao in the summer. I am going to start incorporating turmeric for its oil secretion properties. You can start by combining a quarter of a cup of tapioca and carob each then add more or other powders until to achieve desired colour. I stored in my previous powder foundation container but you could also use a jar.

Blush or Bronzer

I recently attempted to make my own blush, with a beautiful big organic beetroot. I borrowed my friend’s dehydrator, sliced up the beetroot into small slices and dried for the directed amount of time. Moisture is the enemy when it comes to making your own powder so I ended up chopping into even smaller pieces and dehydrating again. I put the pieces into a high power blender and blitzed, then used my powder brush to transfer into a jar. If you find, like I have that the blush is too moist you could try putting the powder on a sheet of baking paper and baking it in the oven, then pressing it with a pestle. If this sound like too much effort, you can also buy beetroot powder online at I realised whilst writing this that I had forgotten to combine my homemade beetroot powder with other powders to make a blush. As a rule, combine tapioca powder with beetroot powder, then with other powers until to reach desired colour.

To make bronzer combine brown powders like allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, cocao with smaller parts of tapioca, beetroot and turmeric.


Eyebrow powder

Eyebrows are the window frames of our face… Or something. I have a love-hate relationship with my eyebrows, having to trim scarily long hairs, fill patches and darken to the colour to that of my hair colour. I was recently acquainted with activated charcoal, purchased on eBay, but you can purchase in a glass jar from or have a go at making your own. I use a thin eyebrow brush to through to the natural line of my brown. The powder you use will depend on your hair colour, use the pictures above to decide.


I recently found a recipe for mascara by The Rogue Ginger, using (no surprises here) activated charcoal. This is Erin’s (AKA The Rouge Ginger’s recipe) which I am going to try this afternoon:


  • 1/2 teaspoon of finely grated soap
  • 1/2 teaspoon of activated charcoal
  • 3 drops of almond, coconut oil or other oil of your preference
  • 1/8 teaspoon of filtered water


Place your finely grated soap into a heatproof dish and warm on the stove (or microwave). I put my heatproof dish into a pot on the stove. As the soap warms up add the water then add the activated charcoal and oil. Mix together with a wooden skewer and pour into your designated container. Let set. Wash your heatproof dish and skewer for next time. To use wet your mascara wand with a drop of water from the tap or use purified water. Rub across your mascara and apply to your lashes as you would normal mascara. The mascara dries quickly and there is no flaking, add as many layers as desired. I’m going to try to pour mascara into my previous mascara container.

Eye Shadow

Is it just me or has eye shadow been in overwhelming excess since 2008? I feel I won’t be able to use up my supply in this lifetime, but if I can lucuma, carob, cocao would make lovey shades, activated charcoal using a fine brush could also be used as an eyeliner.

Lip Balm

I remember as a child, I would use Vaseline as lip balm. When my best friend Ella told me there was petrolium jelly in it I was in disbelief. Then when I was a teen, everyone was using Lucus Pawpaw ointment as lipbalm becuase as my friend told me “all the models are using it”, however this too has petrolium jelly in it. The Rouge Ginger’s lip balm recipe is free of heavy chemicals:


  • 2 tablespoons cocao butter
  • 1 tablespoon of beeswax grated (I would use soywax)
  • 1.5 tablespoons of almond oil
  • 1 teaspoon of hibiscus tea


Simply mix all together and store in small container.

There are other zero waste beauty products you can easily make at home beyond make up.


Homemade toothpaste is perhaps the epitome of the zero waste movement, the founder of which I would argue is New Yorker Lauren Singer, who blogs as Trash is for Tossers and has just opened the Packaging Free Shop in NYC. Lauren writes of toothpaste:

Sure, you have to get over the saltiness of the baking soda, get into using a spoon instead of a tube, and you might miss the frothing and bubbling of commercial toothpaste, but I think of it this way: There was a time when we were trained to tolerate the stinging minty paste that we all grew up with, the one that burned because it was “working.” That burning became normal – I was taught to believe that it was what clean felt like. Not because it was super clean, but because that is what my family and my authority figures said. I later realized that my aversion to brushing with baking soda wasn’t because it doesn’t work, it was because it didn’t align with how I was raised to view cleanliness.

Lauren’s recipe, which I use, is as follows:


  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 25-30 drops organic food grade peppermint essential oil


Simply mix all three ingredients in a glass dish (I use a mason jar). To use, scoop out a little bit with a spoon and put it onto your toothbrush. Add more or less peppermint or coconut oil depending on your textural preference. Give yourself some time to adjust (I had to), it’s pretty different, but that’s OK.

You may also like to try a whitening toothpaste treatment with activated charcoal:

You need 4 tablespoons coconut oil, 10 drops peppermint essential oil, 2 tablespoons baking soda and 1 teaspoon of activated charcoal. Take coconut oil in a bowl and add peppermint essential oil to it, mix it thoroughly and add charcoal. There are also many recipes with bentonite clay you could try. 


I have tried soy-wax based deodorants and found my pits to be smelly and my clothes to be stained. I recently tried a recipe I found on SEED blog which I find works much better at taming body odour:


  • 3 tablespoons baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons arrowroot powder
  • 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil (I used virgin, because it smells nice with lemongrass
  • 10 drops lemongrass or other essential oil


Simply mix all ingredients together and transfer into an empty deodorant container or a glass jar.

Dry Shampoo

I confess I used to purchase dry shampoo in an aerosol can (bad) for $9 on special (worse). Similar to powder foundation, I combine tapioca powder and activated charcoal, as I have black hair but you could tapioca on its own for blond hair or combine with the power most similar in colour to your hair. I use an old blush brush to apply onto the roots of my hair, then brush through with a hairbrush. It can seriously drag out the time between washes which is great for those of us with dry hair.

 Facial cleanser

I was recently on the website (not sponsored by them, but slightly obsessed) and saw the following recipe for a facial cleanser for acne prone skin which I am going to try when I have used up my current cleanser:


  • 2 tbsp cocoa butter
  • 1 tbsp shea butter
  • 2 cups liquid castile soap
  • 2 tbsp certified organic palm free glycerine
  • 10 drops vitamin E oil (optional)
  • 3 tsp activated charcoal
  • 3 tsp bentonite clay
  • 20 drops lavender essential oil
  • 20 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 12 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 6 drops peppermint essential oil


  1. Remove the dispenser lid from the mason jar. Place the jar into a saucepan that has been filled with about 2cm of water. Turn the heat to medium.
  2. Add the cocoa and shea butters to the glass jar and heat gently until they melt.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the vitamin E oil and glycerine if using.
  4. Add the activated charcoal and bentonite clay and stir until combined with a wooden spoon (don’t use metal as it will react with the clay).
  5. Add the castile soap, followed by the essential oils and stir.
  6. Place your dispensing lid back on tightly. It is now ready to use.

I have been using Arbonne skin care for some years now however I would like to transition to making my own skin care too and will be trialing

 Facial Toner

Skin toner, or simply toner, refers usually to a liquid designed to cleanse the skin and shrink the appearance of pores. I haven’t used a toner in years as most commercial brands contain alcohol, but I have found a natural recipe that I am going to try soon (I’ve started a batch of my own ACV recently!)


  • 3/4 cup strong green tea
  • 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar


  1. Simply pour the green tea and apple cider vinegar into a glass jar or a glass spray bottle.
  2. Use a cotton ball to apply your homemade toner after cleansing or as often as desired.
  3. Store this toner in the refrigerator–it should keep for about two weeks this way.
  4. While these two ingredients alone are enough to make a homemade toner, you can also experiment with adding things like: Orange essential oil (astringent, oil-reducing, stimulates collagen production), Lavender essential oil (antimicrobial, soothing, anti-inflammatory), Lemon juice (brightening, toning, helps reduce red marks).


I was taught to always use a high-quality moisturiser from adolescent however I feel my skin has become overly dependent on moisturisers to regulate the oils on my face. Very recently I have been looking into using essential oil serums as a moisturiser, especially on My Nourished Life.  From her bog I learnt of the importance of selecting a cold pressed carrier oil such as jojoba, castor or sweet almond oil, which acts as a base and dilutes the essential oil moisturiser serum (20:5 ratio normally).

For Oily Skin

These oils have properties that tend to regulate and normalize oil production:

  • Orange
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Bergamot
  • Geranium
  • Cypress

For Breakouts and Blemishes

These oils can be added to your moisturizer to calm and prevent breakouts, and can also be applied neat (undiluted) as a spot treatment:

  • Melaleuca Alternifolia (tea tree)
  • Geranium
  • Lavender
  • Patchouli

For Dry, Chapped Skin

If your skin tends to be dry and chapped, a deeply moisturizing oil like shea butter or cocoa butter is a good base. Argan oil and rose hip oil are also good facial oils for deep moisture. Here are the essential oils that are best for dry skin types:

  • Cedarwood
  • Geranium
  • Myrrh
  • Sandalwood
  • Chamomile

For Aging Skin

Argan oil and rose hip oil are some of the best oils for aging skin that tends to be prone to wrinkles and sagging. Use them as a carrier oil and then add these essential oils to nourish aging skin:

  • Tangerine
  • Ylang-ylang
  • Sandalwood
  • Lavender
  • Frankincense
  • Rose

For Combination Skin

These are some of the best essential oils for skin that tends to be both dry and oily:

  • Patchouli
  • Lavender
  • Bergamot
  • Orange

For Red Marks and Dark Spots

Some of the best essential oils for skin with red marks or dark spots are:

  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Frankincense

These can be used in a serum for toning and brightening skin, especially if you tend to need help with uneven skin tone. Simply use 3-5 drops each per tablespoon of carrier oil.

Body Butter

My dear friend Katie, who founded swears by this recipe for body butter, but I also found another recipe which is exactly the same but uses coconut oil instead of shea butter (also whip from solid with essential oils for several minutes).


  • Half a cup of shea butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoon base oil, for example extra virgin olive oil
  • 10-20 drops essential oil(s); optional, for example you can use lavender oil


  1. Before you start to prepare whipped shea butter, make sure your unrefined shea butter is on a room temperature. Do not melt or heat it! Put your shea butter in a bowl and mash it with a fork. The same way you make a mashed potato.
  2. Add base oil(s) and mash it little bit more.
  3. Put the mixture into the mixing bowl. Mix it on a high speed with electric mixer for approximately 5 minutes.


Essential oils are actually a relatively new product for me. Last year I purchased essential oils off an online candle making company, not realising the difference in quality. My dear mother buys me perfumes for my birthdays and Christmas gifts but I have kindly asked her for books instead. Between the alcohol in perfume and the corporate greed of companies and celebrities that profit from designing them, I’d prefer to opt out and use simple essential oils from trusted brands such as DoTerra. Aromas such as lavender has long been used in aromatherapy for relaxation and skincare, dilute with a carrier oil such as almond oil or rose hip oil, I’m thinking I could use a facial moisturising serum as a perfume on my wrists. Isn’t simplicity lovely?

Have fun and enjoy,

Meg x

 References and Resources

The correlation with dairy and skin problems:

How to make your own activated charcoal:

Toothpaste recipe:

Mascara recipe:

Facial cleanser recipe:

DIY deodorant and body butter recipes:

Body butter recipe:


Moisturising oils for differing skin types:

I purchased DoTerra oils from:

Gigi Pizzeria

 “The tradition of the Neapolitan wood fired pizza is an art form which will always be relevant no matter how times change” – Marco Matino

We went to Sydney recently to celebrate our anniversary. For our anniversary dinner a trusted friend recommended Gigi’s (379 King Street, Newtown). Owners and managers, Marco and Daniela Matino, opened the Pizzeria eight years ago, bringing traditional Neapolitan woodfired pizza to Newtown. Gigi is one of a very few pizzerias in Sydney that is a member of the ‘Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana’ that is, the ‘True Neapolitan Pizza Association’ meaning they adhere to its incredibly specific regulations, including hand-stretched dough, traditionally topped, and wood-fired pizza, Napoli style. In 2015 Gigi rocked King Street when Marco created an entirely plant-based menu. We’re so glad he did!

We enjoyed a flask of Shiraz and Patrick’s choice of pizze; Cavolo, the base was just incredible, topped with cauliflower puree, artichokes, pinenuts, capers, currants, garlic & parsley, extra virgin olive oil.

2017-03-10 18.28.40-1

I confess I struggle reading Italian so was very pleasantly surprised by the pizze I had chosen! The Ripieno zucca e spinaci; this little pocket of goodness was filled with pumpkin cream, sautéed pumpkin, spinach, swiss brown mushrooms and onion, then topped with roasted cherry tomatoes, thyme, rosemary and extra virgin olive oil you see.

2017-03-10 18.38.45-1-1

My friend April told me I had to try the Tiramisu di Gigi, coffee soaked home made Savoiardi biscuits layered with plant based Marsala cream dusted with cacao. Does it get anymore romantic than this? Prior to dating Pat he had recommended visiting Naples. This food took me right back to Naples the summer before we fell in love!

2017-03-10 19.05.24

You get in, you eat, you get out, there is a consistently long line of people queuing up to get into Gigi’s at any given time. I’m so happy this place exists and can’t wait to visit again next time I’m in Newtown.


Meg x

Soul Burger

“Our food system is broken. We didn’t come to fix it. We came to revolutionise itNewtown,” – Soul Burger

Soul Burger is Australia’s first gourmet plant-based burger joint, with a vision to spark a shift in Aussie Food Culture towards plant-based foods. We were recently in Sydney and I was on a quest to enlighten my burger soul. We stayed in a charming little terrace in the heart of Newtown and caught the bus down King Street to the Glebe store (111 Glebe Point Road).

2017-03-11 19.17.59

It may as well have been Christmas – in my meat-eating life and in my vegan life I have been a burger lover twice. How is this for a menu?

2017-03-11 19.22.29

I decided on the southern fried chicken, which was absolutely amazing.

2017-03-11 19.41.41-1

And of course Pat got the biggest burger imaginable, the Soul B Special – the double plant-based beef burger.

2017-03-11 19.41.33-2

This is the snap he was taking (meat-eater in awe of the vegan burger goodness):

2017-03-11 21.24.51

We rolled out of there as very satisfied customers and ate gelato all the way home, there are so many ice creameries with vegans options (I really recommend Gelato Blue which is all vegan!) The next day we bussed down to Coogee Bay, which was probably our favourite of all the Sydney beaches we visited.

2017-03-12 10.53.34

We could have had lunch in Coogee after baking on the beach in the closest proximity to other bakers we’ve ever experienced, but we ventured up the hill for some more soul at the Randwick store (The Spot, 49 Perouse Road).

2017-03-12 12.46.20

We sat outside in the heat sharing a classic cheese burger, pulled pork (jackfruit) burger and cheesy soul fries. Praise to the Randwick store for providing reusable cups!

That jackfruit goodness, going all over the place…

2017-03-12 12.46.36

Our souls had died and gone to burger heaven by this point. We walked from Coogee to Bondi to walk off so many burgers, less than 24 hours apart (but who’s counting!)

Soul Burger is so special to me, I pray they open franchises in Victoria!


Meg x

Smith and Deli

Most vegans will have heard of Smith and Daughters – they have a great restaurant that I am booked in to go to for the first time tomorrow night – but they also have a vegan delicatessen. This business extension is the passion of head chef, Shannon Martinez and business gal, Mo Wyse. I think its safe to say the dynamic duo have set the standard plant-based cuisine.

2016-11-24 13.35.39-1

This is the first vegan deli I have been too and I have to say the first time I visited I found the choices are almost overwhelming. So much so I decided on sticking to the sandwich bar.

2016-11-24 13.29.42 HDR

After about half an hour of stimulation overload (excitement) I ate my Little Havana (ham, turkey, mozzarella, pickles, cheddar and mojo dressing) on the tram back to Southern Cross Station. I also bought a Tofurkey roast to have on Christmas day. Absolutely unreal!

2016-11-24 13.38.50

I visited again last week and really went nuts getting the vegan beef and mushroom pie, which was just the thing to warm me up on a cold winters day.


I also got the Maury Ballstein (meatball, Neapolitan sauce, mozzarella and roquette), photo doesn’t serve justice!


On the way home on the train I blissed out on a chocolate hazelnut scroll:


I also got some jackfruit and liquid smoke, which are tricky to get in regional areas. The shelves are always brimming with amazing products like these as well as sweets Vego chocolate and vegan marshmallows! The fridges with packed with mock meats and  Ben and Jerrys vegan icecream selections. This place is a vegan wonderland.

You can purchase Smith and Daughters new recipe book or merch at:

“Thank you for being a friend”


Meg x

Veggo Sizzle

During our stay in Adelaide we went to one of the cities vegan cafes after a hot day at the Australia Day One Day International match. Veggo Sizzle is located on King William Street in the CBD. The space was small but the menu was huge, 20 or so pages long in fact! The wall beside us was covered in napkins and papers scribbled with messages of admiration for the cafes food and cause. They had some great cold drinks to cool us down, I had the Namaste refresher with ginger and mint. As always I wanted to most novel things on the menu, which included vegan buffalo wings. I was so impressed that their mock meat is made in house! The sauce on these was hot, hot, hot!

2017-01-27 18.49.03

Next I wanted to try the tofu sizzler, which came out very hot and sizzley! I absolutely loved this dish.

2017-01-27 19.03.03

Just for the sake of it we got the raw choco silk dessert served with vegan icecream to share, it was the perfect finish to a really satisfying vegan feast.

2017-01-27 19.33.29

Veggo sizzle has a lovely atmosphere and incredible selection of great vegan food, when you’re next in Adelaide be sure to pay them a visit!


Meg x

Matcha Mylkbar

“Our food offering here is simple, plant based menu that emphasises
the incredible, diverse combinations exhibited daily in Blue Zone regions.
Our aim is to supplement your active life with tasty catalysts towards
happiness and health. We are not reinventing the wheel, we are providing you with
exposure to ways we can make the wheels turn for longer” – Matcha Mylkbar menu

Matcha Mykbar are in Acland Street, St Kilda offering a plant-based dining experience everyday of the week (8AM-4PM). Before they owned Matcha Mylkbar the amazing matcha minds behind this mylkbar created Matcha Maiden. In case you’ve been living under a rock the last few years and don’t know what matcha is; it is 100% pure organic green tea leaves ground into powder, making it a nutrient dense superfood. As Australia’s first matcha café, there is a whole lotta matcha going on on the Matcha Mylkbar menu, including every Matcha Maiden hot drink combination you could dream of, matcha pancakes and some ace-looking matcha buns on their garden grown protein burger. Of course, when I first went to Matcha Mylkbar earlier this year I didn’t realise this and so didn’t get one of the Matcha Maiden products but the blue algae “smurf” latte instead.

2017-01-04 14.18.45

I’d also never tried vegan eggs, so couldn’t look past the saffron hollandaise, corn fritters, poached vegan eggs, fried cauliflower and crispy kale.

2017-01-04 14.31.01

My non-vegan colleagues were as impressed but played it safe getting the EXCUSE ME, BUT I FIND YOU VERY APPEALING smoothie (banana, dates, natural vanilla bean,
salted date caramel, almond mylk)

2017-01-04 14.30.09 - Copy

And the ever popular garden grown protein patty with a matcha bun, rice
paper bacon, avocado, beetroot kraut, beetroot hummus and sweet potato fries.

2017-01-04 14.31.31 - Copy

I couldn’t help myself, getting a pastry on my way out…

2017-01-04 14.59.55 - Copy

A few months later my vegan bestie from Tassie was over which gave us a great excuse to go again. I love their menu, philosophy and attention to detail, even the water is better!

2017-01-23 08.14.32

I tried the Charcoal Latte with activated charcoal, mesquite, maca, soy mylk. The menu described health benefit including mood balancing Peruvian blend high in potassium,
calcium & iron.

2017-01-23 08.17.17 HDR

Ella wasn’t feeling very well so only got the WHEN KHALESI WEARS LYCRA smoothie (dragon fruit, mango, passionfruit, almond mylk, astronuts almond butter and macadamia nuts). Even when she’s the sickest she’s ever felt, she’s still the prettiest little thing.

2017-01-23 08.29.38

And I finally got to try the matcha pancakes, dark chocolate sauce, lychee, pear, berries, passionfruit, nut crunch, lemongrass & macadamia ice cream. Absolutely heavenly.

2017-01-23 08.29.34

Next time you’re in St Kilda do yourself a favour and visit Matcha Mylkbar, your health will thank you for it.