Coco Bliss Superfood Bar is an oasis for acai bowl and smoothie bowl lovers, with an impressive menu offering a variety of dreamy flavour combinations. Having recently moved across the road to a bigger, brighter and more open space, Coco Bliss is an acai haven with an infectious coastal vibe….
Perhaps the best way to describe Botanica Real Food is that it’s a treasure. Situated in the charming suburb of Red Hill, Botanica is a gem of a place offering fresh & delicious savoury and sweet treats made with love and passion.
Owned and run by chef duo Alison & Brett Hutley, Botanica places emphasis on real food, as their name suggests – like Brett explains, Botanica is about food that comes from the earth, not a packet.
And this philosophy rings true in every single item they create. It’s takeaway food, but not as you know it – famous for serving up fresh, seasonal and nutritious salads, Botanica is closer to gourmet catering, just made accessible and affordable.
In just two years, Botanica has garnered an astounding reputation for its impeccable, high-quality food items, including their daily made salads, winter soups, mouthwatering gluten free treats and, more recently, breakfast.
From 9am onwards you will find the enamel trays abounding with vibrant salads. However, between 6 and 9am something extra special happens: the cabinet boasts an array of mouthwatering breakfast dishes. The breakfast menu changes slightly daily depending on seasonal produce, but you will usually find Blueberry + Apple Crumble, Honey Nut Overnight Oats, Greek Yogurt and Coconut Yogurt with Poached Fruit, Chia Pudding, and Seasonal Fruit Salad.
Simply choose up to 5 dishes (I lie, it’s incredibly difficult to choose!) and take your breakfast home, to work or to a picnic brunch in Botanica’s signature breakfast box.
Alongside the delicious usuals, this morning’s variations were Rice + Quinoa Porridge with Cinnamon Stewed Apples, and Hazelnut + Cacao Chia Pudding. I was lucky enough to be able to try all 7 dishes on offer this morning, and I can say with absolute conviction that everything was beautiful.
With dairy free, vegan and gluten free options, breakfast at Botanica caters to all individuals without sacrificing taste or substance. Each breakfast item is vibrant, unique in flavour and texture, and truly satisfying.
I can’t pick just one favourite breakfast item from the menu, but I did particularly enjoy the Blueberry + Apple Crumble and Rice + Quinoa Porridge with Cinnamon Stewed Apples.
And we can’t forget the sweet treats, which are nothing short of divine. From bundt cakes to cupcakes to brownies, Botanica offers daily made gluten free treats that will have you salivating by the sight.
Botanica exudes a distinct warmth and realness – I think this sincere nature, as well as their consistently impeccable food, is why Botanica is so well loved by Brisbane locals. This, on top of the refreshing interior and friendly staff, make every trip to Botanica an absolute dream.
From when I began primary school to when I finished high school, I was obsessed with these Chocolate Coconut Slices that the canteen used to sell. The slice was sweet, moist yet crumbly, and scrumptiously chocolatey and coconutty. My friends and I used to eat them at recess while we were playing handball or ‘1, 2, 3 home’ — such fond memories!
Now 23 years old, I still think about that Chocolate Slice. But gone are the days where I want to eat treats full of refined sugar + flour, milk and butter every day of the week. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be able to enjoy one of my favourite childhood desserts, does it?
So here they are: my healthified Chocolate Coconut Slice.
Moist yet perfectly crumbly, and full of chocolatey, coconutty goodness — made with wholesome + nutritious ingredients, no refined sugar, no gluten, no dairy products, and no baking.
This Raw Chocolate Coconut Slice is so easy to make, perfect as a snack to curb those 3pm sugar cravings, and gives you long-lasting energy. Simply keep them in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze them so you always have a healthy treat to snack on.
Raw Chocolate Coconut Slice
Makes 8 slices
8 dried dates, soaked in water for 30 minutes
2 tbsp water from soaking the dates (or 2 tbsp liquid sweetener, depending on sweetness desired)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup raw buckwheat groats
1/4 cup nut butter of choice
2 tbsp cacao powder
2 tbsp desiccated coconut for topping
Start by lining a 20cm X 10cm tupperware container with baking paper and put aside.
Place the shredded coconut and buckwheat groats in a food processor, and blend until they form a course flour.
Add the soaked dates, nut butter, cacao powder and sweetener/date water, and process until you’ve got a crumbly mixture that sticks together if you squeeze it in your hand.
Transfer the mixture to the lined container. Firmly and evenly press the mixture with the back of a spoon.
Sprinkle the desiccated coconut on top and press it down slightly with the back of the spoon.
Green Bees Organics is a café you know you’ll come back to after just the first visit. It’s a café where you feel comfortable staying to read your book or chat to the friendly staff while you sip on your delicious smoothie or enjoy a nutritious meal.
I had driven past Green Bees Organics a few times and wondered why I hadn’t noticed the charming green café before. That’s because this wholesome West End café is only three months old, though you honestly can’t tell — the organic, gluten free and dairy free menu is fresh & refined, the staff are easygoing, and the meals are seriously spot on.
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Green Bees Organics offers health-conscious and food-intolerant folk a place where they can delight in fresh, nourishing food & drinks that are gloriously tasty.
For brunch lovers like myself, their all day breakfast menu items include Zucchini Omelettes served with Beetroot Hummus + Greens; Poached Eggs, Avocado + Baby Spinach on grain free toast; and Vegan Pancakes served with hazelnut ice cream, chocolate sauce and fresh strawberries — heaven!
Green Bees Organics also offers lunch & dinner meals such as a Lamb, Pumpkin + Cashew Open Pie; Sweet Potato Chips; and a Vegetarian Open Pie with kidney beans + pumpkin — as well as a fridge full of fresh salads, raw cakes and vegan cupcakes. For my first brunch at Green Bees Organics I ordered the Açaí Bowl as well as the Protein Punch smoothie, which was packed with banana, cacao, raw protein powder, chia seeds and vanilla. The flavour brought back fond childhood memories of drinking Milo, and I was overjoyed that I’d come across a nutritious alternative.
And because I clearly can’t help myself, I ordered a raw vegan Chocolate Slice. No regrets here, it was damn tasty.
As for the açaí bowl, it was divine — Green Bees do not mess around when it comes to açaí bowls. Not only was the açaí thick and delicious, but it was beautifully decorated with slices of banana, apple, shredded coconut, chia seeds, heart-shaped strawberries and not one but TWO layers of chocolate granola. Just as I thought I’d eaten my way through the granola on top, I found another generous layer buried beneath.
With nutritious, delicious food and a beautiful green + recycled wood decor (complete with cute succulents and plants), Green Bees Organics has quickly become one of my go-to healthy Brisbane joints.
For me this means thick woolly socks, enjoying steaming cups of tea in bed, oversized sweaters, warming veggie soups, long baths, and of course, big bowls of porridge.
My go-to porridge recipe is my Basic Oats Recipe, but sometimes I feel like something a little extra.
Enter Maple Cinnamon Roasted Pears. These pears are a perfect way to spice up a bowl of oats. The cinnamon spice and the maple bring out the rich, sweet flavour of the pears – taking a wholesome bowl of porridge to another level of deliciousness.
But these Roasted Pears aren’t reserved for Porridge alone. They are a beautiful accompaniment atop pancakes or simply as a dessert with a scoop of yogurt or icecream and a drizzle of date syrup.
Maple Cinnamon Roasted Pears
2 ripe pears
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pure maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil
Preheat your oven to 180c and line a baking tray with baking paper.
In a shallow bowl, combine the cinnamon, maple syrup and coconut oil. Cut the pears in half and evenly coat the pears in the thick maple mixture.
Now place the pear halves with the cut side facing up on to the baking tray and put them in the oven. After 10 minutes, flip the halves over and roast for another 10-15 minutes, or until lovely, golden and soft.
Meanwhile, make your porridge using my Basic Oats Recipe.
Once the pears and porridge are ready, serve the porridge in a bowl and place two halves of the Maple Cinnamon Roasted Pears on top – don’t forget to drizzle the lovely sweet syrup from the baking tray.
On a Saturday or Sunday, my mum and I would make a stack of pancakes and top them with the delicious chocolate spread, or we would ride to our local bakery, come home and slather Nutella on the still-warm croissants. It was an indulgence, but as I got older and became more aware of what I was putting in my body, Nutella disappeared more and more out of my life.
Fast forward to today and the delicious chocolate spread of my childhood has made a welcome return. Unlike the original, the primary ingredient in this recipe is hazelnuts, not sugar, and it doesn’t contain modified palm oil or artificial flavours (check out this article for more info).
But back to business.
This healthy nutella is perfect spread on toast and topped with fresh strawberries or banana slices. I also love dolloping it atop a bowl of oats, blending into smoothies, or simply eating it by the spoonful.
Makes one jar.
Adapted from Jessica Cox’s
Adult Nutella Recipe
2 cups blanched hazelnuts
1/4 cup cacao powder
1-3 tbsp almond milk (depending on desired consistency)
2 tbsp rice malt syrup (or maple syrup, honey, etc.)
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
Preheat oven to 180 Celsius (350 F) and dry roast the hazelnuts for around 8 minutes until they become fragrant and begin to turn golden. Now place the roasted hazelnuts in a high-powered blender or food processor and blend until it begins to form a butter. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until it’s smooth and silky. Pour into an air-tight jar and keep in the fridge.
Note: Because of the almond milk, a jar of this healthy nutella will only last in the fridge for up to one week. If you want to extend the shelf life, you could easily substitute the milk for oil.
Extra Little Recipe
A Delicious Chocolate Hazelnut Thickshake Recipe
After you have scraped out the healthy nutella into your jar, there will still be some delicious chocolate spread left in your blender jug. Simply add 1 cup of almond milk and blend away! Pour your frothy nutella milkshake into a glass and enjoy.
But I have to be honest, I haven’t made homemade granola in quite a while as I fell a little bit (a lot) in love with Carman’s Toasted Mueslis. So I’ve decided to take things into my own hands again, and what is a better way to ease back on the homemade granola train than with chocolate buckwheat granola.
This chocolate granola is delicious. I wouldn’t be blogging it if it wasn’t, but it really is. My favourite thing about this granola is that when you have it with milk, the milk turns chocolate-y and sweet. Coco Pops anyone?
Aside from the nostalgia factor, this granola is packed with flavour and nutritious ingredients. The tart flavour of the goji berries cuts through the chocolate-ness wonderfully, but if you have more of a sweet tooth, feel free to add more sweetener and/or sub for a sweeter dried fruit, like sultanas or mulberries.
- 1 cup buckwheat groats
- 1 cup rolled oats
- ½ cup coconut flakes
- ¼ cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup almonds, roughly chopped
- scant ¼ cup cacao powder
- pinch salt
- 1-2 tbsp date syrup (or more depending on desired level of sweetness)
- 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup goji berries (or dried cherries, cranberries, etc.)
- Preheat the oven to 170C and line a baking tray with baking paper. In a large bowl, mix together the buckwheat, oats, coconut, chopped nuts, cacao powder and salt. In a small bowl, combine the three wet ingredients. Then pour this mixture into the dry bowl and mix until the granola is evenly coated.
- Pour the granola onto the baking tray and spread the mixture evenly. Place the granola in the oven for 10 minutes, then take it out and give it a shuffle. Pop it back in the oven for another 10 more minutes. Shuffle the granola again, and bake for a further 5-10 minutes, or until the granola is fragrant and the nuts are crunchy (but not burnt!).
- Remove the granola from the oven and let it cool completely. Once it's cool, mix in the goji berries, then transfer to a medium sized jar.
- I find that this granola stores at room temp for at least 2 weeks, but if you want to prolong shelf life be sure to store it in the fridge. Enjoy!