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» star anise organic wholefoods

traditional wholefoods for a modern world

Filtering by Tag: recipe

Banana Date Walnut Loaf


IMG_3652What to do with 3 ripe bananas that will not be eaten and dared not be tossed away? Or looking for a loaf-type nutritious snack or dessert that you can smear an inch thick of butter onto (now that you're not eating much, if any, bread....)? Or craving a cosy and comforting Christmasy treat? Try this easy recipe. Kids will love it and I like that it contains no concentrated sweeteners at all- just dates and bananas. Plus it's gluten-free (and grain-free if you consider that buckwheat is technically a fruit and not a grain). Because the ingredients are so nutrient-dense with no empty fillers it is very filling and, as with all my cake and dessert recipes, a little goes a long way. If you're like me and don't have much of a sweet tooth, then reduce the amount of dates used.


3 ripe bananas (approx 300-400g, weighed unpeeled) 125g butter or coconut oil 225g (1 1/3 cup) activated cinnamon buckwheat 4 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla bean powder 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 cup, 230g, approx 14 medjool dates (weigh with seeds in then remove), roughly chopped (I pull them apart with my hands). 1 cup, 95g, roughly chopped activated walnuts (I break them apart with my hands) plus extra for decorating


Pre-heat oven to 120 degrees Celsius.

Grease a loaf tin with coconut oil and line it with baking paper on the base and all sides.

Process activated buckwheat in a nut grinder (or thermomix) until it resembles a fine flour. I do this in 2 batches in my nut grinder.

Add eggs to food processor and process well until very well beaten - their colour will change from yellow to almost white. Add all other ingredients to food processor other than dates and walnuts and process until mixture is smooth.

Pour batter into a large bowl and add dates and walnuts. Stir well to combine.

Pour mixture into the loaf tin and decorate the top with a scattering of walnuts.

Bake at 120 degrees Celsius for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean. If the top is not brown enough to your liking after 1 hour, turn the temperature up a little and bake for another 5 minutes or so.

When cooled somewhat remove from tin (it should slide right out with the baking paper) and place onto a serving platter or cutting board.

Serve as is or toasted under the grill element and then smear with butter if desired.

Keeps a couple days out of the fridge then refrigerate.

This is the first of a series of loaf recipes I will be making. Others will include an orange peel and spices, a savoury Cypriot olive and mint loaf,  and a basic buckwheat bread loaf. 

Greek Rice pudding (Risoyalo)


IMG_3190 Always a favourite dessert of mine growing up, I have fond memories of my mother frequently whipping up rice pudding dusted with cinnamon powder. I took her age-old recipe and made the necessary wholefood modifications to it and, after a few reiterations, I feel that I have nailed it and it's ready to be shared. My kids can't get enough of this one and have been taking it for morning tea to school. Just a warning, for anyone who loves a creamy comfort food, this is highly addictive!

Risoyalo is delicious served warm or, to take advantage of the resistant starch properties of cooked and cooled white rice, serve at room temperature or cold from the fridge.  I recently wrote a blog post on benefits of resistant starch which you can read here. So this is yet another way to incorporate it into your diet. I know, what a hardship.


1 cup (200g) med grain white rice, soaked in 2 cups of water overnight on benchIMG_3157 2 cups water (additional to the above) the rind from ½ a lemon (slice off with a knife) 2 cups full fat milk 1/2 tablespoon (2 tsps) vanilla essence ¼ cup raw honey (or a combination of honey and maple syrup. I like using half and half) cinnamon powder for dusting 4 egg yolks (optional), for extra nutrient-density


Strain soaked rice and rinse in water.

Add 2 cups of water, rice and lemon rind to a saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil (should only take a few minutes). Lower heat, stir then recover and allow to gently simmer until rice is cooked and all of the water has been absorbed, stirring occasionally (approx 8 mins). Remove lemon rind with tongs.

Add milk, honey and vanilla. Stir occasionally, uncovered, on a gentle simmer until mixture thickens and most of the milk has been absorbed (approx 20 mins). Turn off heat and stir in egg yolks until well mixed.

Pour into individual ramekins or vessels and dust with cinnamon powder.

IMG_3159Keeps in refrigerator for several days.

Makes approx 10-12 x 100g servings.

You can not taste the addition of the egg yolks (something that was not in my mum's traditional recipe). If anything, the texture is more rich and creamy with the yolks. They do give the pudding a yellow tinge instead of its usual white though!

Although I haven't tried it, for a  dairy-free version I suggest using 2 cups of coconut milk instead of cows milk. If you try this coconut milk version let me know and next time I will make it with coconut milk and report back.