Friday, September 26, 2014

Blackmores Bridge Run

On the weekend I completed another goal and ticked off another thing on my bucket list - to finish the Bridge Run in under 1hr and run across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Gaffa also did the same, but ran the full marathon instead of the 9km run.

Gaffa had been training for this for a long time and it finally paid off, as he finished with a crazy sprint to the finish line, in under 4 hours for 42kms. 

This same time last year I didn't run at all. Hated running and couldn't even run 500m without needing to stop for a breath. So it's been a pretty big year and we've both come a long way with our running goals - first the City 2 Surf and now the Blackmore's Running Festival.

I'm so proud of Gaffa. All the weekend long runs in the rain, I don't know how he did it! Lucky it wasn't blistering hot in race day, and started off with a light shower but ended up with nice sunshine to end the day.

Thank you also to my bro, Rave and SIL, Ms Tjak who ran with me during the start of the bridge run and also came along to cheer Gaffa at the finish line. It must've been a long day for them as they fell asleep quite quickly on the bus ride home. Hehehe.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Gaffa found this amazing gluten free chocolate cake recipe online. I made it for his work friends and made it again for ourselves because it was so damn good.

It's not "clean", but not as bad as some cake recipes (wishful thinking on my part). It uses brown sugar (which is possibly better than standard white sugar? - correct me if I'm wrong), and I use stevia in place of white sugar. It is decadent and with expresso used to melt the chocolate, you get that slight hint of coffee taste with the rich chocolate flavour.

It's quite easy to make as well. No need to use steam to melt the chocolate as the hot coffee does the job for you. Simple ingredients that you should have around the house, and just 60 minutes in the oven. Hey presto, a yummy chocolate cake.

Funny story...Gaffa took a few pieces to work for his work friends. Apparently he told one guy that there was no chocolate in the cake... He was totally amazed by this because it tasted so good. The poor guy was only 18, so young and naive. Lol.

Enjoy x :)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Honeymoon: Langkawi, Malaysia - Part 2

By the afternoon Gaffa was feeling a bit better - thanks to the coconut water, the tablets from the resort doctor and some TLC from me hahaha.

That night we dressed up and had a romantic private dinner on the beach. We had picked a Malaysian style banquet and were seated at a secluded part of the beach watching the sun set over the ocean. It was just beautiful!! We even had our own waiter. They'd decorated the table with shells, candles and napkins folded into 2 birds kissing.

We started off with a few entrees: salad, a meat dish, soup and a cocktail. Then the main was a buffet of various Malaysian dishes of various meats, fish and vegetables, so much food that we couldn't finish it. Then there was dessert still to come! All the food was just so delicious, we felt so bad leaving so much on our plates. During our dinner the resort band came down to the beach and sang to us, it was so cool. They were really good - see my Instagram for a snippet of action! We ended the night in a food coma but still managed a big breakfast in the morning haha.

The hotel has a reef conservation section that are trying to rebuild the coral from the tsunami that hit a few years ago. We went down to the site and helped them out for a few hours removing the algae from their pond so that coral could grow in the best environment. They have a few students there that are studying from local universities helping out also. Guests can do snorkeling tours there and also volunteer to help with the other activities that are required to be done each day to maintain and rebuild the underwater ecosystem. It's a really good program and one of the reasons why we chose The Andaman Resort to stay at.

Later that day, I went for a facial while Gaffa sat overlooking the ocean reading the Tomorrow series on his iPad. The spa had a promotion where you received stamps for every x amount of MYR that you spent there. Once you collected enough stamps you were entitled to a free treatment.

That night we had dinner at the Japanese restaurant. It was a bit expensive for the size of the dishes, probably our least favorite restaurant; but still nice food. You can choose from teppanyaki or a la carte menu. At the end they gave me a grasshopper made from banana leaf. It was so cool, but I didn't pack it in my suitcase. Afterwards we went to the bar for some drinks while watching the band sing a few songs.

They next morning we booked a session of parasailing. The company sent a car to pick us up from the hotel and drove us to the beach. We signed the usual forms then boarded the boat which drove us out into the Andaman Sea for our 10 minutes of parasailing. We were asked if we wanted to be dipped into the water at the end of our session, and how much we wanted to get wet: feet, legs, nose... As you may have guessed, Gaffa and I opted for the extreme.

There were 2 other couples on the boat with us, so they were able to take some photos for us. Unfortunately, my phone died so I only have 1 photo saved. However the experience was awesome. We were hanging in the air by a harness, overlooking the beautiful ocean, being dragged along by a multicolored parachute attached to a boat. Gaffa had his GoPro attached to his hand so we got it all on video. At the end we were waiting for out dip in the water, hoping to get wet. But alas, we only got our legs wet. We both lent forward to try and get our noses wet. When we were pulled back up in the air I spent the rest of the time sitting in the harness with a major wedgie. But still was a lot of fun.

On our final full day we went shopping. Langkawi is known for its duty free shopping. Mainly perfume, alcohol (Gaffa went crazy with Glennorangie scotch) and  chocolate (Daim & Bueno). We came back to the hotel with enough to fill our extra 6kg of luggage we needed to reach our max limit, plus more.

Our last dinner at the hotel was at Tepian Laut. We had a drink in the bar first then headed to our table to watch the sun set. The food at Tepian Laut was probably one of my favourite places. It was similar to the private beach dinner we had - Malaysian style. We ordered 3 courses and a few cocktails. A great end to our week of luxury. We were so sad to leave the resort, not just because of amazing room but also because the people were so nice and attentive. We promised we'd be back again, but we'll be staying in the basic room... Unless we get upgraded again hahaha.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

City 2 Surf 2014

The City 2 Surf has been on my bucket list and one of my Lululemon BHAGs (big hairy audacious goal) for a few years now. The 14km run from Sydney CBD to the iconic Bondi Beach is one of the most popular running events in Sydney, attracting thousands of people from elite runners to walkers with prams. For me, I wanted to run the whole distance including the infamous heartbreak hill, midway through the race.

2014 was my year to tick this off my bucket list. I'd stated seriously running since about September last year and coaxed the hubby into running alongside me, even though he's a faster/more experienced runner than me. (He's running the marathon in September).

Before September last year I didn't run at all. I refused to run, hated running and couldn't run more than 500m without getting out of breath. But everyone starts somewhere. So I started 3km laps: running as far as I could, then walking until I got my breath back, then continued running then walking. After a couple of weeks of this it got easier and the walking reduced until I was running 3km without stopping. After this, I started to increase my running pace and also slowly increased my distance gradually.

My view of running has done a complete 180. I enjoy it now, feel refreshed and get a good buzz from running. I was quite nervous last night about today's race, as the longest distance I'd ever ran was only 8km and I didn't do a lot of training in the weeks prior due to honeymoon and all other excuses I can pull out of the bag. Running 14km was going to be hard, and especially with all the hills, I was a bit unsure if I'd make it to the end or not. Plus I had 2 days off work sick due to a throat infection. But in true Bateman style, I didn't give up, kept my word about running all the way and made it past the finish line in under the time I had hoped for!

Garry was great company and also a great motivation, even if I did get annoyed at him during the race a couple of times. Only because I was jealous of how easy he found it and how comfortable he looked, while I was breathing heavily, couldn't talk and had a major stitch... Blah blah blah (insert poor excuse here) hahaha. It was great fun running with him, having him there to keep me company and keep my pace up. We started together and finished together :) can't wait to see the finish photos :)

My brother Rave was also a good sport and encouragement - finishing the race just shy of 60 minutes, he then stood road side to cheer us on as we entered the downhill stretch into Bondi Beach.

So I finally did it! I made it, 14km later, with a time of 1:25:25 according to Gaffa's Garmin watch. We were both busting for a toilet while we were waiting to start, but since we were right up the front in the Blue pack, we couldn't get to the porta-loos. So once we set off past the starting line, we stopped at the first available toilets just past the tunnel. Gaffa stopped his watch while we went to the toilet and restarted it afterwards. Our City2Surf recorded time was 1:27:31. Either way, it was under 90 minutes which is what I had hoped for, and will secure us a place in the green pack for next year's race if we decide to run.

My feet and legs are a bit sore but that was expected. It was well worth it, mission accomplished. Thrn we finished off with a yummy brunch at Henleys Wholefoods in Bondi Junction.

Now time to plan the next 6 weeks training for the Blackmore's 9km run across the Habour Bridge on 21 September which my awesome SIL has decided to run with me :) yay. And then training hopefully for Huski Sprint Triathlon in Feb 2015.... :) bring it on!!!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Honeymoon: Langkawi, Malaysia - Part 1

It's been a while since I actually wrote this. But I've been reluctant to post because I was waiting for my phone to hopefully be fixed so I could add some photos. But alas, phone is completely dead and photos are gone... So have a read anyway of the second week of our amazing honeymoon :)

After a quick overnight stay in KL we were back at KLIA2 again for another Air Asia flight to Langkawi, which is on the western side on mainland peninsula Malaysia in the Andaman Sea - very close to Thailand. We'd chosen this island for the 'luxury' part of our honeymoon and booked a jacuzzi room in the 5 star Andaman Resort for 5 nights.

Upon arriving at the airport we enjoyed a Starbucks drink while waiting for our driver. About 40mins later we arrived at the resort and were greeted by the sound of a beating drum and walked through the grand lobby. When we checked in we were advised that we'd been upgraded to another room! The second best rooms at the resort: the executive suite, to be exact!! Woohoo, our smiles got bigger as we were escorted down the north wing to our room 139 the Rapala Suite.

The lady took us through all the amenities of the room including our own private pool, outdoor rain shower, lounge area, amazing bathroom and complimentary mini bar. We were in heaven! We decided to unpack all our clothes into the wardrobe and then headed out to book in some spa treatments and dinner reservations for the next 5 days.

The spa at the Andaman has received a few awards for some of their treatments. They are a bit on the pricey side - what you'd expect for a 5 star resort - but yolo, we booked in a massage and body scrub each.

For dinner we wanted to try all the restaurants they had at the resort. So the first night we booked a table at Jala, which is their famous seafood restaurant. The next night we had a reservation at Tepian Laut, then a private romantic dinner on the beach for our monthly anniversary, Japanese the night after and we left the last night open to go back to our favourite restaurant.

We decided to take advantage of the gym facilities and did an intense workout and enjoyed a dip in our private pool before dinner.

Jala restaurant is al fresco dining, with a sandy floor and massive menus lit by a clip on reading light. You can order off the menu or choose your own fresh fish and choose how it's cooked and with sauce and sides. Gaffa and I went all out, 3 course meal with a bottle of wine. We chose a snapper fish steamed in banana leaf with a variety of spicy dipping sauces. The fish was amazing and paired nicely with the sauces and the white wine Gaffa chose. Tummies full, we headed back to our room after a visit to the shoe concierge to use an air hose to blow the sand off our feet before putting our shoes back on.

The next morning we woke for some more delicious food at the buffet breakfast. Pancakes, waffles, eggs anyway you want, an array of breads and pastries, fresh fruit, Malay, Indian, western food.... We filled up enough to skip lunch every day we were there!

Then it was massage time!!! We took the golf buggy up the hill to the day spa and were greeted with a sweet drink and cold towels. After filling in some forms and enjoying the view over the Andaman we walked up to another room with 2 massage beds. We each enjoyed a relaxing massage, and the a soothing body scrub. Ahhhh pure bliss! I think afterwards we were so chilled out that we returned to our room and collapsed on the sun lounges outside and had an afternoon znooze!

Unfortunately I woke to Gaffa not feeling very well. He was vomiting and spending a lot of time on the toilet... We postponed our dinner reservation at Tepian Laut and I ordered room service. We had an early night's sleep which was a bit restless for my poor hubby. The next morning he visited the resort doctor who gave him a lot of tablets to take to help with the vomiting, diahrea, bloating, stomach cramps and dehydration... ;(

We spent an hour or so relaxing by the pool and ordered a fresh coconut for some well needed rehydration. I went on the slippery slide and practiced my handstands in the water while Gaffa watched and laughed.

We then decided to visit the cable car, which gives you an amazing view of Langkawi and the surround sea. The weather was overcast but no rain and the lines were short. We went all the way to the top and had a relaxing day, enough for Gaffa to recover.

When we got back to the hotel, there was a fresh coconut waiting for Gaffa from the hotel, sending him wishes to get well soon. How thoughtful!! The staff at the hotel are so attentive.

Until next time.... Look out for the next post starting with our private romantic dinner on the beach :) :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Honeymoon: Perhentian Island, Malaysia

Hello ETD readers! Apologies again for the lack of posts but another good reason is that we've been on our honeymoon. So look out for some exciting travel and dive posts coming up! You might even be so lucky to read a post by Gaffa, if I can convince him to write one about the diving we did on our honeymoon.... I'm sure I won't have to try very hard ;)

Anywho, we were married in December 2013 and 6.5 months later we left for our belated honeymoon. Initially we were wanting to go to Hawaii but money and time didn't work in our favour so we found somewhere closer and a bit cheaper. We decided on 5 nights of diving and 5 nights of relaxing and the "real" honeymoon. When I say "real" honeymoon, I'm talking the typical tropical 5* resort, some luxury and splurging, relaxing and chilling out. Isn't that what most people do on their honeymoon??!

So we found Malaysia to be able to provide both diving and beach luxury. We initially booked to dive in Sipadan and stay on the oil rig dive resort on the east side of Malaysia near Borneo & Philippines but a few days before we left we were told by some friends that there were some terrorist activities going on in Sabah and the Australian Government Smart Traveller website advised to avoid travel to that area. A bit stressed out, we had to reorganise the first part of our trip, rebook flights, accommodation and find a new diving location. I don't know how we did it, but team WinGaz worked it all out in the end and it turned out pefectly!! :)

Say hello to Perhentian Island. I think this place is a hidden gem. Even some of the locals didn't know where Perhentian was! (Maybe we were just pronouncing it incorrectly?!) It's on the east side of mainland peninsular Malaysia, off the coast of Kota Bharu. We flew into KL and stayed overnight then took a 1hr flight the next morning to Kota Bharu. The resort we found, Tuna Bay Resort included airport transfers - so a taxi was waiting for us when we landed. An hour later we arrived at the Tuna Bay office on the mainland and waited for the ferry to depart. The Tuna Express then took 45mins to get to the idyllic beach resort on the Perhentian big island.

There's not much on the island except resorts and when I Googled things to do, there wasn't much else besides scuba diving, snorkeling and jungle treking. Perfect! Universal Divers are connected to Tuna Bay Resort - Gaffa actually found the dive shop before we found the accommodation! The resort did a 3night/4day dive package including full board. So we opted for that and added an extra 2 nights which included breakfast only.

When we arrived we were greeted with a welcome drink and sat down in their restaurant on the beach front. Our bags were taken to our chalet via a wheelbarrow; which overlooked the trees but there are beach front chalets as well. Apparently the resort closes down in the wet season which runs from about Oct - Mar I think... we were actually lucky to get a last minute booking as another couple we met tried to book a few months in advance and were told it was a 6 night minimum stay.

Our routine for each day looked something like this:
Wake up
8am - go diving
Chill out on the beach
12pm - go diving
More beach chilling out
3pm - go diving
Some more relaxing on the beach

We did a total of 11 dives, including a night dive. The package included 7 dives and we added on some extra ones. There are loads of dive sites around Perhentian and there are a few more islands in the area with some more dive sites (like Redang), so we didn't get to experience it all. But that's just a good excuse to go back again!

The diving was super easy - just the way I like it. Universal Divers had 2 boats, a big one and a small one. All the dives we did were off the big boat except for the night dive when there was only 4 of us so we used the smaller boat. 30 degrees Celsius in the water meant no wetsuits, just boardies, a rashie and my Probe top. Each dive site was about 5-20 mins away by boat, entry by giant stride into the water and out via a ladder made for some easy and pleasurable dives. Not to mention the marine life: wow! So much to see on every single dive, it was crazy. As you can imagine I went a bit happy snappy with the camera underwater while Gaffa experimented with his GoPro. So much, that I saw Nemo on every dive and one crazy clown fish decided to take a munch at my right middle finger!!

Away from the diving we relaxed on the beach and the sun lounges. The resort also had a pontoon out on the water and a large swimming area with a net. One afternoon we went kayaking around to another beach in search for turtles - we found them yay! Gaffa made friends with some Canadians and played frisbee with them while I worked on my tan and practiced yoga and handstands on the pontoon and sand. At night we enjoyed a few cocktails and got an early night's sleep because diving wears you out sometimes!

The rooms were pretty good, 3* but very clean and had everything you needed, including an Aussie power point! The menu at the restaurant included both Western and Asian meals. In the full board package lunch was a Western meal: soup then meat and chips with salad. Dinner was Asian meals and always a lot bigger portions. Their drinks were good (juices & fruit lassi's) and cocktails even better - accoring to Gaffa!

On our last night there we decided to try the restaurant next door: Cocohut. We had heard mixed reviews about it, some guys got food poisoning but some had gone their every night and loved we had dinner there with our new Canadian friends. It was good but the day after I had stomach cramps and a few days later Gaffa was really sick with vomiting and the runs. Eep!

The dive operator was very professional. Gear was in good condition - we used our own gear but had some hoses blow on our regs so we had to borrow a set. Rinsing tanks were clean and drying space was organised. We would definitely recommend them to fellow divers. The guides were fun and knowledgeable and most dives lasted about 60 minutes.

The weather was perfect during the day, hot and sunny and not too overly humid. The sun wad so bright you had to squint sometimes to see. It rained at night a couple of times but was always clear during the day. The island was simple and laid back, a great place to just get away from it all. Gaffa and I will definitely be back for some more diving!!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Paleo Savoury Bread Recipe

Grated carrot in bread?! Say what now?! Yep, I found an awesome bread recipe that asks for grated carrot, or sweet potato or zucchini. It's paleo and it's damn tasty!

The Merry Maker Sisters have a lot of healthy and tasty recipes on their Facebook and Instagram pages - so go check them out! @themerrymakersisters

I'm always looking for bread alternatives because the hubby is gluten intolerant and gluten free bread is mosty really dense and hard. One thing I miss about not eating gluten - soft freshly baked bread....

Anyway... I don't have a thermomix or a bread maker so when I find recipes that are relatively simple and you can make pretty easily, I definitely give them a try.

I didn't have any dry basil flakes or dry garlic so I asked Gaffa what would work well with the array of herbs and spices we already had at home. He suggested thyme and chilli since the lemony flavour would combine with the mild spicy kick in the chilli.

You can find the recipe here


Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Fish Shop, Potts Point

It's very rare that Gaffa recommends a new restaurant to try, but he read in the Qantas magazine on a flight home,  that The Fish Shop was one of the best places for fish & chips in Sydney.

We were finally able to try it last weekend when he was back in Sydney. My parents called to ask if we wanted to have lunch with them so we suggested The Fish Shop. They are happy to try anything, but my Dad can't handle spicy food and my Mum, well she like Chinese food or plain food, mainly tofu, greens, fish and not much else. So it was a pleasant surprise when Mum was complimenting the food at The Fish Shop. 

We drove to Potts Point and found a park pretty easy on Victoria St. I went to school in Potts Point so I knew the area quite well. Gaffa will be working at Kuttabul in a few months, so I'm sure this place will be one of his main lunch joints on Challis Ave.

The restaurant wasn't too busy when we arrived (kitchen opens from 12pm) so we got a table (more of a high bench with stools) inside but with a view of the street. Menus were a newspsper type complete with a 4x4 sudoku, which I completed but found that it has 2 solutions...

Anyway, we got some recommendations from the waiter (who Gaffa said smelt like alcohol). But we later found out that the night before was crazy busy, so he hit the vino after work... lol.

We ordered the cuttlefish with garlic, chilli & parsley and some pickled eggs for entree, which came out with some pickled onions, chillis and betroot too. For mains we shared the fish & chips, the crumbed fish, bacon & chilli burger and a special of whole battered fish with a sweet chilli dip as well as some potato scallops, pea mash and side of chips. FYI the burger comes with chips so no need to order more. But they do have vinegar so we were able to relive the Pommy way of eating hot chips: with salt and vinegar! Yummy!!

The cuttlefish was cooked perfectly. Very soft and not chewy at all. The whole fish was what my Mum loved, she liked the light crispy batter and the flakey melt in your mouth fish. The pea mash was nice too. Burger was "best burger in Sydney" according to the waiter, that's why I ordered it; but it wasn't the BEST, but still pretty good.

For dessert Gaffa and I shared the ice cream sandwhich, since we didn't get to have the one at Reuben Hills the day before. Delicious! Drizzled with caramel sauce, with a thin biscuit 'sandwhich' and yumny vanilla centre. Could've eaten one each if we weren't stuffed with potato chips!

Prices are typical Potta Point prices - more than usual. But for the quality of the food and a special occasion, it's worth it. You could always get take away and walk down to the wharf.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Reuben Hills, Surry Hills

I'm always on the lookout for good breakfast places. I think breakfast is my favorite meal of the day,  but sadly I don't have much time during the week to prepare nice elaborate breakfast dishes. So on the weekends it's always a treat to to out and enjoy breakfast or brunch (so we can sleep in!)

Last Saturday we organised with Rave and Ms Tjak to meet for lunch since Gaffa was back in Sydney for the weekend. And I was given the task to pick somewhere to eat.

Gaffa and I had chiro appointments in the morning then we dropped off Gaffa's road bike to be put back together. Afterwards we got a call from Ms Tjak informing us that they were finished with their morning chores and Rave was hungry. (Gaffa was hungry too or maybe a bit hangry!) so we took this opportunity to head to Reuben Hills early.

I found this trendy 'hipster' cafe on a list of Sydney's beat cafes for breakfast. The menu was a bit different from the usual bacon and eggs, inspired by the owners' travels around South and Central America. We waited around 20 minutes for a table. Lucky there were seats outside and the sun was shinning.
I'd looked at the menu beforehand and decided on what drink and dessert I was ordering, but upon discussions with the waitress, I changed my mind. Reuben Hills are well known for their salted caramel milkshakes but we were told the Aero milkshake was mint choc, so definitely had to order thay one. Lucky Ms Tjak ordered the salted caramel so I had a little taste (and yes it's pretty damn good) but I preferred the Aero. Gaffa had the espresso and white chocolate milk shake. It had too much of a coffee taste for my liking, but not much of a white choc taste...

For food we were told that they could substitute any gluten/bread for corn tortillas. Yay for Gaffa!! He decided on the Crocodile Tostada, Ms Tjak and I both ordered the Dirty Bird (which funny enough I kept calling Dirdy Birdy, who is a Viet pole dancer in Sydney that I follow on Instagram) and Rave had the Not Reuben.

Food came out in a reasonable time. I asked for the gluten free version instead of the brioche. Which was a good option since the brioche looked quite thick and was very filling. The gluten free version cake split onto 2 tortillas, perfect since Gaffa and I always split our meals. The crocodile tostadas came out on crispy shells and the 'return to life' sauce was a slow burner but went nicely with the refreshing pineapple jalapeno slaw. The crocodile was slightly battered with a Japanese flour, which didn't affect Gaffa.

We didn't have room for dessert which would've been an ice cream sandwich - totally devo. But it means we'll be back again. They also have baked eggs which we were told by the waitress is very popular. And the single origin coffee is also a must try, surprised Gaffa didn't order one.

Prices were standard Surry Hills prices, a little more than suburban cafes, but worth it. Plus it was in celebration for Ray's 30th birthday next week. Dirty thirty - he should've ordered the chicken burger instead! :p

Any suggestions for breakfast places, please let me know!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Healthy Snickers & Chocolate Fudge Coconut Bites

Everyone, (well not literally everyone) has been asking me for the recipe for the two raw desserts that I posted up on Instagram a few days ago. So why not just write a post about them so everyone (this time I mean everyone - since this blog is public) can enjoy them both! :) Win win.
I first discovered the healthy Snickers recipe on a Facebook post that a friend was tagged in. I normally don't enjoy chocolate bars like Snickers, Mars Bars, etc as they are too sweet and I'm not really a big fan of caramel (but since salted caramel has become an in thing, that's a different story...) So I was reluctant to make it, but since I had most of the ingredients I decided to give it a try.

Things I noticed:

- it says to include 1/4 cup of flax seeds. I didn't have any so I just substituted them for more almonds. It still works find with any nuts I guess.

- the recipe says to combine 1 1/2 cups nuts/seeds to 1/2 cup dates. In my experience of making raw dessert bases (all are pretty much just nuts and dates mixed together) the ratios didn't seem right to give it enough 'stick'. If you press it together between your fingers it did stick a bit, but not enough, and parts of the base crumbled which resulted in my first failed attempt at making these. So the second time I used 10 dates which is about 1 cup and it turned out nicely.

- for the 'caramel' centre it says to melt and then cool the coconut oil. I'm not sure if this means cool it completely so it solidifies, since coconut oil is a solid when temperature drops below 25 degrees or so I think (don't quote me on that). Both times I made it I let the oil cool, as it not hot but it was still liquid. When I added it to the other ingredients and mixed it, there was some liquid residue that formed. I'm not sure if this is from the coconut oil or the tahini or the natural peanut butter - since they all have natural oils. But don't worry if this happens to you, just drain it off (I put the caramel in a sieve) and it still tastes yummy!

- freezing or fridge? Up to you. I keep mine in the freezer, as I want it to keep for longer. You may just need to wait a bit for it to defrost and not be so hard. Ms Tjak put hers in the fridge and says it still tastes good and isn't too soft.

Ms Tjak made these in mini cupcake moulds to bring to her workmates. They turned out so cute and were a definite hit at work. She was also a little OCD (she thought it was cute) with the placing of the peanuts. (See photo below) Hehehe :p

Now the chocolate fudge coconut bites. I found this on Facebook (as much as I don't like Facebook, it is a very powerful and useful social media tool). I follow various paleo/clean eating pages and saw this recipe. Again I had all the ingredients and it looked easy to make so I tried it out. As you can gather, I'm a non fuss/lazy 'cook'. I like minimal effort for maximum outcome. Whereas Gaffa loves to spend hours in the kitchen creating delicious food. I'm just impatient and hungry all the time hahaha.

Here is the recipe for the chocolate fudge coconut bites.

The dates to nuts ratio were fine in this recipe (I used almonds). It's supposed to be more 'gooey' than other bases, like fudge. It does get a bit sticky though when you're trying to put it in the pan. I used a loaf tin for mine. It has a strong coconut taste since the filling is mainly shredded coconut and coconut oil. If you like coconut you'll like this.

So my dear readers, which one is your favourite? I'm torn....

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