Posts filed under ‘guest post’

Guest Post 7: A mindful business, a retreat & a recipe

When Nicole van Kan from Équilibre told me about their upcoming retreat, I thought it sounded fabulous enough to warrant its very own post. Thankfully, Nicole thought so too!

One of the great joys in my life is the fact that I can pop out my back door and gather together a variety of edible greenery from my herb garden, so I am also excited that Nicole’s post features Sophie Zalokar’s simple and delicious recipe for greens with an apple cider vinegar dressing.


H :)


Équilibre + Our Autumn Retreat
by Nicole van Kan

20130410 equilibre-big

Équilibre is a health and fitness business with a difference. We don’t believe in quick fixes, miracle cures or gimmicks. We do believe in the sheer enjoyment of food, cooking with love and exercising for how it makes you feel. We also believe in BALANCE!

It would be very easy to hand clients a calorie controlled diet sheet full of low fat foods and tell them to weigh, measure, eat this and not that, all while doing numerous high energy exercise sessions per week. And you know what? If they followed it to the letter, they probably would end up losing weight and feeling better. But ultimately, we don’t think this approach is sustainable or really very healthy.

Very much like Hannah does at A Foodly Affair, we advocate a mindful approach to food and believe that everyone needs to discover what works best for their own body. A healthy body image and harmonious, connected relationship with food (and exercise) is the real key.

As a way of demonstrating our ethos in action, we had always envisaged running retreat style getaways. So, on discovering Foragers – a farm-based cooking school and dining room with gorgeous self-contained accommodation in the Southern Forests of WA – we knew that it would be the perfect setting. A weekend of beautiful food, wine, cooking, fresh produce and shared meals; all balanced with gentle, invigorating exercise and the opportunity to form a foundation for glowing good health and fitness.

Our first retreat at Foragers last spring turned out to be an amazing weekend and surpassed our expectations (and those of our guests!). That’s why we’re heading back for more this autumn with our Mother’s Day weekend retreat.

Sophie Zalokar owns and runs Foragers, along with her Swiss-born husband Chris, who is the craftsman behind many of the beautiful buildings and chalets. She grew up in the Barossa Valley and qualified as a chef under Maggie Beer. Sophie’s view is that cooking and food production is not only a fundamental life skill but also one of life’s greatest pleasures. We couldn’t agree more.

20130410 blackboard-big
Image courtesy of Sophie Zalokar

You can see from the menu for our Saturday evening ‘seasonal dinner’ that Sophie is adept at creating mouth-watering dishes based on the freshest seasonal produce, all with an inherent balance. Ingredients are sourced from the local area wherever possible – including, in this instance, watercress from the brook at the edge of the property, about an hour before dinner!

Our lunchtime cooking class with Sophie was also a special experience. We came away armed and inspired with an array of classic recipes that have become a welcome part of my own cooking repertoire, including labna (yoghurt cheese), a herb and spice spiked aromatic sea salt and a golden chicken stock.

I’ll leave you with Sophie’s recipe for this quick and easy apple cider vinaigrette, which makes leafy greens and herbs taste spectacular, especially if picked freshly from your own garden (still a work in progress for this non-green thumb!).

Recipes like these are a great reminder that simple really is better and that getting back to basics can be good for our taste buds, as well as our health.

20130410 foragedgreens-big

Recipe #140: Foraged Greens with Herb Infused Vinaigrette.
by Sophie Zalokar (reprinted with permission)

You will need- for the dressing:
► 2 tsp Dijon Mustard
► 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
► 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
► 3 tbsp mild oil (I use cold-pressed macadamia oil)
► sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper
► 1 tsp each chervil, tarragon, chives, parsley & mint

- for the salad greens:
► 4 large handfuls of a mixture of the following: watercress, landcress, oakleaf or cos, turnip tops, Italian parsley leaves, radicchio, salad burnett, mustard leaves, corn salad, endive, broad bean tops…
► optional extras: avocado, radish, seed mixture

Mix together the mustard & vinegar with a little salt & pepper. Whisk in the oils and then add the herbs. Check the seasoning. Dress the salad by lightly tossing the salad greens with the fresh dressing.

We still have a few places available at our autumn retreat which runs from the 10th-12th May, so if you feel inspired to join us, be sure to get in touch very soon!

Équilibre also runs an outdoor group exercise program called Fitness for Foodies and will be commencing an exciting new workshop series mid-2013 for those who want to learn the secrets to joyful eating, fabulous fitness and healthy balance!

Thanks again to Nicole for sharing!

My guest posts typically get lots of clicks well after they are published – because I only choose talented & interesting people to contribute to A Very Foodly Diary! Check out previous guest posts via their links:

10 April 2013 at 9:47am Leave a comment

Guest Post 6: How to create award-winning olives

first place

When my lovely friend Claire Trolio of We Love Perth and Ruck Rover fame asked me to write a guest post, I said that I would love to – on the proviso that she also share her award-winning recipe for curing olives. I am very happy to report that she agreed to my cheeky request.

Some of you will be familiar with my earlier misadventures in curing. Claire, however, has managed to not only produce an edible product, but one that also won her first place at last year’s Perth Royal Show!

Thank you, Claire, for sharing your secrets – and for giving my 2013 olive harvest the chance to be more delicious.

H :)


Recipe #139: How to create award-winning olives (without using caustic soda).
by guest blogger Claire Trolio

A few years ago I was lucky enough to move into a house with a thriving olive tree. Our Mediterranean climate makes Perth an excellent place to grow these beautiful plants, and they don’t need a lot of ongoing care either.

olives on branch

When it comes to turning their fruit into an edible form, however, they require a lot of attention. There are times in the preparation where I thought to myself, ‘this better be worth it’; crossing my fingers that nothing would go awry. But the work well and truly paid off. Last year we ended up with litres upon litres of delicious olives that won first place in the Olives category in the Perth Royal Show Cookery Competition!

It’s getting to the time when your olives will be ripe for the harvest. There’s a large window when this can happen, and when you choose to pick them will depend on what sort of olives you like. As a guide, I’d say when some of the green olives start turning black they’re ripe, but if you prefer more meaty, bitter olives you can pick them when they’re more immature, alternatively if you’re a black olive lover, then wait until you have a tree of plump, black fruit. For me, I got stuck in when the top quarter of the tree, the bit that’s in full sun, was full of black, juicy olives.

Picking the olives is relatively straightforward. Take them off one by one and place them into a bucket or a bag, being careful not to drop them from a great height. Although it might be tempting to shake the tree or gather them on the floor, doing that will bruise the olives and give them a bad taste.

Once they’ve been collected, it’s time for the laborious task of washing, slitting and separating the olives. Before you start, have some large, clean jars at the ready. Empty the olives into a large basin filled with water, but pour them in gently so as not to bruise them, of course. Take each olive one by one, cleaning it and removing any remaining stalks. Then take a sharp knife and make a slit in each olive all the way down to the pip. Many people recommend doing both sides, as it will assist in removing more bitterness, though I think one side is fine – at least it’s to my taste. Then place them into jars keeping black and green olives separate – this is because they have different soaking times. Fill each jar with water and place a small, sealed plastic bag filled with water on top of the olives to keep them submerged, and seal the jars. You don’t want the olives exposed to air while in there otherwise they’ll go mouldy. Store the olives away from direct sunlight and extreme heat.

Every day now you need to empty the water, rinse the olives and the jars, and return them to the jars with fresh water. It is normal for some scum to form at the top of the water each day. Repeat this process for 5 days for the black olives and 8-10 days for the green ones.

The next step needs to be done in two parts, once for the black olives then later for the green, but the process is the same. You need to make the brine, and to do so bring water and salt (about 1/3 cup to every litre of water) to the boil, stirring until the salt dissolves. Take it off the heat and let it cool.

Then rinse the olives with tap water for the final time. Sterilise the jar again before returning the olives to it and covering them with the cooled brine. This time we slowly poured in a layer of olive oil on the top, to keep the air from getting to the olives, and filled the jar to the brim. The olives need to soak like this for at least a couple of months and can remain in the brine for up to a year. There’s no need to refrigerate them, but keep them in a cool, dark place.

olives in jar

When they’re ready, grab out some olives and marinate them in whatever takes your fancy. Do it jar by jar, because once marinated the olives won’t keep that long – depending on what they are marinated in they will last about a month. The combination I keep returning to is: very thin slices of raw garlic, and lots of it; equal parts freshly squeezed lemon juice and olive oil; and a little sea salt.

I’d love to hear your olive stories! Claire.

Thanks again to Claire for her words of wisdom!

My guest posts typically get lots of clicks well after they are published – because I only choose talented & interesting people to write on A Very Foodly Diary! Check out previous guest posts via their links:

5 March 2013 at 4:43pm 5 comments

Guest Post 5: The Hangover

Today’s guest post comes courtesy of Pauline, a friend who has selflessly put her sobriety on the line to test out hangover remedies just for you, and all in the name of research [thanks, Pauline!].

I am sure you will enjoy her post, and maybe even take away a few useful tips.

H :)


The Hangover: hangover tips
or “Have you ever experienced a fabulous night out but paid the price the next day?”
by guest blogger Pauline Tarrant
bubbles, anyone?

Planning the big night out. As well as choosing what to do, where to go and what to wear an important choice is how to avoid the big hangover.

Preparing for a big night out is sometimes like preparing for a triathlon: the body is about to go through a multitude of challenges and the first step is to get hydrated. If you are not the person who remembers to drink a glass of water with every alcoholic drink getting hydrated before you go out is a good option.

If drinking lots of water isn’t your thing, then milk can help ‘line the stomach’ (as my dad says). My friends and I tried this many times with a good level of success.

Attacking the hangover. So here are the Top 4 Rescues counted down, and how they help your body:

4th place: Marmite. Marmite contains salt, which is important to help retain the fluids you have left in your body and it is a great source of vitamin B12. B vitamins are important in the fight against the Big H. Of course you may be more familiar with Vegemite but, following many trials, Marmite seems to give the best hangover relief. The B vitamins can also be replaced by Berocca – which is also great, as this ensures you are getting fluids in too!

3rd place: Bach Rescue Remedy.. In my youth I spent many a morning working in a kitchen. Luckily my boss was into natural remedies and used to give me this. The alcohol solution gives you a small ‘hair of the dog’ fix while the flower essence gives you reassurance [it reassured me that I could survive the full shift!].

2nd place: Peppermint or Ginger Tea.. Both tick some critical boxes including rehydration, soothing nausea and indigestion. Ginger also has pain reliveing properties that should help the headache. Ginseng tea is also reported to have similar positive effects but I have not tested this.

1st place: Strawberries. Strawberries offer a tasty way of replacing the vitamins destroyed by alcohol and are so juicy helping to replace vital fluid levels! More good news for this yummy berry is that it can also act as a preventative hangover measure. If you don’t have strawberries on hand, bananas are also another great cure.

science says that strawberries are a brilliant hangover cure

Smoothie magic. Even more effective than the Top 4 Rescues, the best cure I have found was recommended to me during a stay at Samudra in Dunsborough: chlorella. Just in case you can’t get chlorella in tablet form you can make an awesome smoothie, this is especially good if you are off for the second night in a row and need an energy boost as well as hangover cure and a boost to fluid levels!

>Note from Hannah: for a basic overview of chlorella’s properties and benefits, you can do a quick google or follow this link.

Recipe #128: Chlorella Smoothie.

Pop into your blender or Thermomix the following ingredients:
► 1 frozen banana
► a small handful of berries
► ½ tsp chlorella
► ½ tsp spirulina
► 1 tsp cacao powder
► 1 tsp maca powder
► 1 tsp acai powder
► 1 glass fortified soy, rice or oat milk
► 1 tbsp honey

Put the blender on high (or speed 8 on the Thermomix) for 1 minute, pressing the Turbo button from time to time.

The drink is enough for two so you can share with a friend or save some for the morning after. When you have tried the smoothie a few times, try slowly increasing the chlorella to maximize the effectiveness of this superfood!

[DISCLAIMER: This article is designed for people going out on a reasonably big session – not an all day, all night party. Sleep might be the only way to help recover from that!]

My guest posts typically get lots of clicks well after they are published – because I only choose talented & interesting people to write on a very foodly diary! Check out previous guest posts via their links:

19 January 2012 at 1:10pm 3 comments

Guest Post 4: Mango & Avocado Salad by Joshua Jones

I am so excited to introduce my latest guest post – a delicious recipe by my very talented friend Josh. I am so proud of him for managing to stave off hunger for just long enough to take the accompanying photos!

I know that you will enjoy this post as much for the reading as you will for the eating.

H :)


Mango & Avocado Salad
by guest blogger Joshua Jones –

Hopefully after reading the previous blog post about iron filings in cereal you’re feeling more committed than ever to avoiding processed foods – I certainly am! So I’m going to share a simple but delicious salad recipe that has become a favourite raw recipe of mine at home, bearing in mind that my skills with raw cooking are very basic, as may be yours (although Hannah’s certainly are not!).

A little preamble though so you know who I am.

My name’s Josh and I’m an old friend of Hannah’s from Perth who moved to LA this year after 2.5 years in London. I’m a professional musician and aspiring writer/poet, and I like to cook – although I would not go as far as far as saying I’m great at it. I can hold my own next to most men though ;). I just like things to be quick, easy, tasty and healthy.

Although I’ve come from a very healthy eating household I’ve strived to be more food aware. Hannah has had a particular hand in this and I like to venture to raw and vegan restaurants whenever possible, and in LA there is quite a selection of these.

Here are photos from some of my favourites:

Planet Raw

Joshua Jones at Planet Raw

Rawvolution – this is their Nachos

Rawvolution's Raw Nachos

Real Food Daily (Sam and I’s fav – a Vegan Restaurant)

Real Food Daily Vegan Restaurant Santa Monica

I encourage everyone to try a raw or vegan restaurant whenever you get the chance. I’m not vegan, or even vegetarian, have no life-threatening allergies and do not eat strictly raw or even strictly unprocessed (“How does it feel sitting on that fence, Josh?” I hear you say) but what I really love about raw food is how you feel afterwards – satisfied and healthy, not bloated and slightly nauseous.

So here’s my first port of call at home for a healthy meal that I always feel great after. It’s not entirely raw but can be if you substitute out the prawns. Get creative with it!

Recipe #120: Mango & Avocado Salad.


- Salad
1 butter lettuce
2 mangos (cut into large cubes)
2 avocados (firm – also cubed to a similar size as the mango)
3 spring onions (scallions in the US – chopped)
Large bunch of fresh coriander (cilantro in the US – chopped coarsely)
1 chili (red or green – depending on preferred zing – I remove all seeds so it’s not too hot)

- Dressing
The juice of one fresh 1 lime
Roughly 4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp palm sugar, grated into crystals (you can use other sugar if this is easier)
A dozen large prawns (optional – substitute at will)

Preparation (10-15 minutes):

Juice the lime and add roughly an equal amount of the oil as you have juice. Add the sugar to that and stir briskly to combine. Put aside so the sugar can dissolve further.

Prepare the rest of the ingredients and throw them into a large bowl.

Fry – sorry, Hannah ;) – prawns on high heat, possibly in a little butter, but that’s optional. I sometimes use tofu, but you could use a meat product or even leave this out entirely. Some sort of protein addition is a good idea though.

Throw your choice of protein in with the salad. Give your dressing a stir and pour your desired amount of dressing over the salad.


Enjoy with clear conscience and cheering taste buds.

28 August 2011 at 12:01am 9 comments

Guest Post 3: A craving for flourless orange, coconut and almond cake

orange coconut almond cake

I meet many awesome people in my foodly travels, and am so fortunate to have met the talented Adrianne, of bird.STUDIOS, on Twitter and in real life.

Adrianne is an inspirational foodie/designer who has a mainly raw diet and she can certainly teach me a thing or three about food and photography – check out the positively edible photos in this post for starters!

I hope you enjoy her post and her recipe (#111), the delightful result of which I have enjoyed first hand. Thank you for sharing this delicious dessert with us, Adrianne!

H :)

A craving for flourless orange, coconut and almond cake.
By guest blogger, Adrianne Barba

Up the road at my local cafe, I often peer through the glass cabinet at my favourite flourless orange cake – it looks dense and moist, but light and fresh at the same time. I was convinced I could replicate this as a raw, vegan version that could be just as delicious and irresistible (minus the processed flour, sugar, dairy, eggs and cooking)! Being a designer, I love my food to look beautiful as well as taste amazing, so it had to look the part too.

The recipe calls for almond meal. I like to make this myself by soaking and peeling almonds, letting them dry out a bit overnight and then blitzing them the the food processor, but you can use ready-ground almonds to save time. I love this cake for it’s fresh, citrus flavour. It seems like a lot of zest to put in, but trust me and go with it! It’s necessary to get the flavours balanced – too little zest and the cake becomes too sweet… Almonds and coconut have a natural sweetness to them already.

I like to serve this cake for morning tea, topped with tart raspberries and a drizzle of agave and orange blossom water. You can also pair it with a dollop of cashew creme (blend together a cup of soaked-overnight cashews, a tablespoon of lemon juice and a dash of agave syrup until smooth and fluffy) and orange segments to create a more substantial dessert. Divine.

2 cups almond meal
7 tbsp orange zest – grated from orange skin
1½ cups dried, shredded coconut
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tbsp orange blossom water
1/3 cup light agave nectar
1/3 cup coconut butter/oil

To serve
2 tbsp extra coconut
¼ cup of raspberries
2 tbsp orange blossom water stirred through 1 tbsp of agave nectar

Grease a small, square cake tin or mold with coconut oil – you may want to also line your tin with glad wrap or baking paper for ease in unmolding. Add the almond meal, orange zest, coconut & cinnamon to a food processor and process until well combined. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the lime juice, orange juice, orange blossom water, agave nectar and coconut oil until mixture is well combined and sticks together. Press the mixture into the cake tin down firmly so it compresses well. Refrigerate for at least two hours.

To serve, unmold cake and slice into servings; top with coconut. Place a few raspberries on each, and drizzle agave and orange blossom water just before eating.

the lovely adrianne

A big thanks to Hannah, for letting me guest post on her lovely blog! See more of my food styling and photos on my website here:

15 October 2010 at 8:07pm 17 comments

Guest Post 2: Pure Decadence

pure decadence on a plate

It’s been a while between guest blog posts – in fact, I have shared only one so far! If
you missed Guest Post 1, check out Marion’s fabulous post on the green smoothie.

My second guest post comes from my Mum, who has just published her first cookbook :)

I hope you enjoy her recipe for Pure Decadence, a carob pie which is an excellent alternative to my raw chocolate cheesecake for those who do not to eat raw cacao.

H :)

Pure Decadence, by guest blogger Aileen Sforcina

Hi! I’m Aileen, Hannah’s Mum. I work as a part-time Thermomix Consultant and voluntary lifestyle educator with Don, my husband and Hannah’s Dad.

Don and I are big advocates of the use of fresh unprocessed plant foods for optimum health and recommend that food choices include a wide range of colours. Raw is always best and green is the most important of all the colours. For optimum health and vitality we all need to eat more greens and drink more water.

Sixteen years ago, when we first changed to a total vegetarian diet, I thought a diet that included no animal products would be restrictive and somewhat boring but we have discovered quite the opposite. Our food horizons have actually expanded and exploded. The bonuses are great health and vitality.

Over the years I have developed a number of recipes to add variety and interest to our meals and I have shared these recipes at our seminars and cooking classes. I have often been asked: “when are you going to write a recipe book?” That book, entitled Rainbow Recipes, has finally been completed.

The ingredients used in Rainbow Recipes are unprocessed fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts , seeds and legumes.

Rainbow Recipes includes two methods for each recipe: the Conventional Method and also the Thermomix Method.

Pure Decadence is a recipe I developed recently and is included in Rainbow Recipes. It is creamy, delicious, nutrient dense, totally RAW and sooooo good. Unlike a lot of carob recipes, this one tastes like chocolate. My friends are raving about it – even the non-vegetarians. I hope you enjoy it too.

Unlike cacao, carob contains no theobromine. It has excellent nutritional value and contains up to 80% protein, magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, barium, copper, nickel and vitamins A, B, B2, B3, and D. It also has medicinal uses, including the treatment of coughs and diarrhoea.

Recipe #105: Pure Decadence.

You will need – for the crust:
► 1 cup pitted dates
► ½ cup almonds
► ½ cup pepitas [pumpkin seeds]
► ½ cup sunflower seeds
► 1 tbsp coconut oil

the base ingredients

Place all ingredients into food processor or Thermomix and mix until the desired texture is achieved (for Thermomix users, speed 4-6 for 10-15 seconds will result in a nutty crust. To achieve a crust with a smoother texture process on speed 9 for 20 seconds). Remove mixture from Thermomix bowl or food processor and press into a pie flan. Set aside in fridge to chill.

the crust

You will need – for the filling:
► 2 large avocadoes
► 3 tbsp carob powder
► 2 tbsp coconut oil
► agave syrup to taste

filling ingredients ready to be combined

Place all filling ingredients into food processor or Thermomix and mix together until smooth and creamy (Thermomix speed 4 for 20-30 seconds). Adjust to taste by adding more or less carob powder and agave syrup. Pour into prepared pie crust and sprinkle with ground walnuts or desiccated coconut. Chill before serving.

About the book. Rainbow Recipes is due for release on 1 October 2010 and will retail for $35 plus postage & handling. You can enquire or purchase a copy by emailing Aileen direct via

23 August 2010 at 12:01am 2 comments

Guest Post 1: The Green Smoothie

yummy green smoothie delight

Well, it’s taken over a year for me to do this, but now I am pleased to welcome you to my very first guest post! With this post, I am also pleased to introduce you to a friend who I met in Broome a few years ago – food coach and jeweller, Marion Egger.

I am a recent fan of the green smoothie [it is liquid sunshine!], and I am so excited that Marion has agreed to share her recipe with us [thanks so much, Marion]. Let me know what you think of it!

H :)

Refreshing Green Summer Smoothie, by guest blogger Marion Egger

Hi, I am Marion. I work as a Food-Coach and have a keen interest in how the foods we eat affect our state of health, vitality & well-being.

People often ask me what’s my Number-1-Tip, the single thing that can make the biggest difference?

Well, here it comes… Greens, greens, leafy greens. And more than you can consume in salads all day long! And this is where the ingenious invention of the green smoothie enters stage. A jug of green smoothie a day will change your life forever – you’ll never look back again. I am happy if you’d like to try to prove me wrong, however you gotta give it a go first :)

Now a myriad of research has been done, and countless testimonials from people who walk this path can be found on the internet, however if you would like to delve deeper, the most groundbreaking books on this subject are from the Mother of the Green Smoothie Revolution, Victoria Boutenko (this book is available in Australia through

So why should you be drinking green smoothies?

The chlorophyll – the green in plants – is the magic ingredient here. Did you know that chlorophyll and haemoglobin (the oxygen carrier in our blood) have precisely the same biochemical composition? The only difference is that where haemoglobin has a molecule of iron, chlorophyll has a molecule of magnesium! That’s why green smoothies are so powerful in purifying and building strong blood.

The green smoothie is a yummy healing elixir, full of enzymes, amino acids, fibre, minerals, antioxidants and much more. It is instantly available to you, because the blender does the “chewing”, which is a major part of the digestion taken care of.
It’s a complete food that is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, giving you immediate energy without taking any away in the process. Now that is really rare!

There are virtually hundreds of recipes and combinations you can try, to suit the seasons and your tastebuds. A litre of smoothie includes about 200 grams of fresh, organic, leafy greens and 150 to 300 grams of seasonable organic fruit (fruit can be more to start off with and reduced over time) plus good quality fresh water to top up. Your smoothie can be thicker or thinner, whichever way you prefer.

Recipe #78: Refreshing Green Summer Smoothie.

For this summer favourite of mine, take approximately 10 one-inch cubes of watermelon, 3 large handfuls of baby spinach, 1 large handful of asian mint, 1 lemon peeled + 1 small piece of the lemon-skin (optional), 2 tablespoons of bee-pollen [optional, very delicious & nutritious].

the ingredients

Combine all ingredients in blender, add good water and blend well.

let the blending begin!

Add honey if you like it sweeter. Pour in a tall glass and garnish with mint, bee-pollen & a slice of watermelon. Enjoy.

the finished smoothie: liquid sunshine


You can sign up to receive Marion’s Weekly Health Tip, or find out more about food-coaching by visiting

20 March 2010 at 12:01am 5 comments

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