Paleo dessert salted caramel tart gluten free dairy free sugar free sweet recipe
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Salted Caramel Tart – Gluten and Dairy free and paleo friendly

I had a problem. I was entertaining guests, was on a strict Paleo diet and wanted to make a dessert that they were going to talk about (and not realise was gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free) – tough ask huh?

Paleo dessert. Salted caramel tart. Gluten free, dairy free,  sugar free clean eating healthy food recipe

It was until I stumbled across this amazing recipe by the Merry Maker Sisters (my new sister idols!- go girls!).

You can probably guess that it was a hit, or I wouldn’t be writing about it now. Trust me there are many recipes that have joined the ‘never to be seen on Hey Bernice’ list!

I can guarantee you and your non-Paleo friends will love this. As always I have altered some parts of the recipe. I have posted my favourite version (after trying it many times).

You can also choose to make individual tarts (it makes it so much easier when you don’t have to cut the tart and try to keep it looking good!). I use silicon cupcake moulds – guaranteed to come out easily!

Salted Caramel tart paleo gluten free sugar free dairy free healthy kids dessert sweet recipe


For the base
1 1/2 cups almond meal
1 cup hazelnuts (or almonds if you don’t want the hazelnut flavour, I used these for my husband!)
2 tbsp coconut oil melted or soft
1 egg
1 tbsp maple syrup or honey
1 tsp vanilla extract or essence

For the caramel filling
200 g pitted Medjool dates (soaked in boiling water for at least 10 minutes)
1 cup coconut cream
1 tbsp soft or melted coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract or essence
1 tsp sea salt or himalayan pink salt

For the chocolate topping
100 g coconut oil
6 tbsp raw cacao powder
1 tbsp raw honey
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 180 °C/ 355 °F. Grease a 22cm tart tin.

Place 1 cup of the hazelnuts in a food processor (or Thermomix). Reserve 2-3 tablespoons for later. Grind and process into fine meal. Add the almond meal, coconut oil, egg, maple syrup and vanilla. Mix again until the mixture comes together.
Scoop the mixture out and make it into a large ball. Place and flatten between 2 sheets of baking paper (about 50x50cm). With a rolling pin, roll out the base to about 3mm thick. When rolling, start from the middle and roll to the edges in different directions. Peel the top layer of baking paper off, then flip the base over the tart tin.

If your base breaks a little just fill in any gaps with your fingers. Make sure the area where the sides and the base meet is a little thicker if possible. Place a round layer of baking paper over the base and fill with baking beads.  Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, remove the baking beads and bake for a further 10 minutes or until golden brown. I turned the oven to 170°C for the second 10 minutes. Set aside to cool, in the tin.

Now for the filling. Drain the water from the soaked dates (don’t try to use regular dates for this – it simply doesn’t work as well – trust me I tried!). In the food processor, whiz the dates, coconut oil and vanilla until they form a thick paste. Add the coconut cream or milk and salt, whiz again until really smooth (about a minute, scrapping the sides as you go).

Spread the caramel mixture over the base and place in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes. You can sprinkle the crushed hazelnuts over the base before adding the caramel or sprinkle on top of the chocolate layer.

Now for the chocolate topping. In a double boiler (a bowl placed over simmering water worked well for me), melt the coconut oil, honey and vanilla. Stir until combined. Sift in the the raw cacao powder and whisk continuously until smooth.  About 20-30 seconds, you don’t want to overcook it. Pour the chocolate topping over the caramel and spread with a spatula. Sprinkle with crushed hazelnuts. Place in the freezer for 5 minutes.

Slice and serve with whatever you like – If it is a hot day you might like to serve straight from the freezer to ensure the caramel keeps its form.



Paleo Banana bread healthy recipe cooking baking recipe almonds snack breaky breakfast clean eating
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Paleo banana bread for breaky, a snack… anytime really!

I’m guiding my Paleo eating with two bibles at the moment…

Your personal Paleo diet Chris Kresser book     Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 5.12.44 pm

Chris Kresser’s ‘Your Personal Paleo Diet’ (which is guiding me through his particular Paleo regime), and ‘The Paleo Effect’ by Meghan Little and Angle Ayala Torres which is my daily food inspiration.

The first recipe I cooked from The Paleo Effect was their Banana Bread. It is now a weekly item that I bake, slice and freeze for my breakfast, a snack… and for the kids (they love it!).

(Banana Bread recipe)

Paleo Banana bread healthy recipe cooking baking recipe almonds snack breaky breakfast clean eating

This is really easy to make, and freezes brilliantly. In fact, it will last much longer if it is frozen, it’s not as easy to ‘grab’ a piece quickly when you’re a bit peckish!

So go on, get baking, you will love this banana bread alternative.



Raspberry Chia seed pudding healthy clean eating paleo raw food recipe cooking breaky breakfast sweet fruit berry berries
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My Paleo exploration… Raspberry Chia pudding

raspberry chia pudding paleo clean eating healthy breakfast raw food recipe cooking

I’m coming to end of week three on a very strict 30 day Paleo regime. Firstly, I’m loving it, and starting to feel the benefits of eating such clean food. But finding your favourite meal options can be a little challenging at first.

I struggled a little with breakfast alternatives, until I discovered Chia pudding. This version has been my favourite (and saviour) so far. It’s easy-as to make, provides breaky for 2 days, and tastes ridiculously good.

I wasn’t sure about the addition of lemon, but without a doubt it’s what makes it. Provides a fresh zing that wakes you up first thing!

Raspberry Chia Pudding

  • 1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup almond mylk… (or  soy, cows or coconut milk)
  • 1 tbsp honey (or I used maple syrup)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (I use a good quality organic vanilla paste)
  • the juice of one lemon
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds

What to do…

  1. In your food processor or blender, combine all the ingredients (except chia seeds) and process until smooth. Add the chia seeds and mix together.
  2. Pour mixture into one large bowl, two bowls or jars.
  3. Cover or put the lid on and let it rest for about 1 hour, shake/stir again and let it rest in the refrigerator overnight.

I tried getting away with not sharing this with my kids, but the striking pink colour had them asking for a taste first time! Who am I to complain if they want to eat chia pudding, as long as they leave enough for me!

You can try this recipe with any other fruit, I chose berries as they are preferred on a Paleo diet.




raw cocoa balls hey bernice cooking recipe healthy clean eating snack chocolate
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Raw cocoa balls, clean eating at its best

I can’t help myself. I always seem to make food when I have a massive to-do list (when everything on that list doesn’t involve entering the kitchen!). Clearly it’s a procrastination technique. My favourite raw cocoa balls were part of my procrastination frenzy today.

My to-do list is massive because both my girls were struck down with a flu-like virus this week. They were hit with temps around 40C for 7 days… and many nights without sleep for me (monitoring them all night!). My youngest wouldn’t sleep anywhere but on my chest for days – which rules out doing any paid work, let alone housework!
My days looked like this…

Girls sick in bed Hey bernice

So, on the top of my list should’ve been catching up on lost Z’s, but that never happened.

Instead I made the cocoa balls as well as some dairy, gluten and sugar free blueberry muffins. The blueberry muffins won’t make it to Hey Bernice, they tasted like they were free from all those things, as well as the enjoyment factor!

The raw cocoa balls have made it, and should’ve made it here about a year ago (which is when I took this photo below) they are a winner…
raw cocoa balls hey bernice cooking recipe clean food healthy snack chocolate

Probably the simplest of snacks you could make that send those sugar cravings packing, whilst being a really healthy snack.

Raw Cocoa Balls
45g Raw Cocoa
130g walnuts
235g  Dates
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Place all the ingredients in a food processor or Thermomix and chop until really fine. Add a splash of water to make the mixture a little sticky, which will make it easier to roll the mixture into balls.

To keep the size of the balls consistent I spoon the mixture into an ice-tray. Press the mixture down with the back of a teaspoon. Then use a fork to extract each ball from the ice-tray, and roll it into a ball in your hand.

The balls above have been rolled in cocoa powder which makes them look a little darker.
They are best kept in the fridge, and will last 7-10 days (if you allow them to, wink wink).

The reason I was making these today was for a workshop I’m running this week. I’m providing individual packages for each attendee with two balls in each. It’ll be their survival kit for the afternoon sugar cravings.
Raw Cocoa balls hey bernice healthy clean eating chocolate workshop snack walnuts

raw cocoa balls chocolate finger food workshop catering styling food recipe raw clean eating

Let’s hope my attendees like chocolate snacks!



Raw Chocolate slice almond cashew chia seeds sesame cocao coconut oil wholefoods healthy kids
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Beat your Easter (or any time) chocolate cravings with this raw chocolate slice…

Lying in bed this morning, I noticed a friend had liked this recipe on facebook. Curiosity (and an early morning chocolate craving) forced me to follow the link to discover Flourish Wellness. More importantly, this raw chocolate slice recipe they had posted.

You see, I’m on a bit of a wellness journey. I’ve got the big forty looming over me in about 90 days. To align with this milestone birthday I’ve set a few goals to achieve before then – fitness, weight and general health. I’ve cut down my food, increased my exercise dramatically and along with that has come a chocolate craving (naturally!!).
On my mission to satisfy my chocolate craving (in the healthiest way possible) I walked into Torquay with the kids, and bought all the ingredients required from Surf Coast Wholefoods (one of my favourite local haunts) to deliver on this recipe…

Surf coast wholefoods Torquay Australia organic raw health food healthy raw

Nuts and seeds almonds chia raw cashews sesame chocolate slice wholefoodsThen I got cooking with my chief helper Heidi (3 years old), whilst Zoe (only one) undertook a stocktake on the bottom drawer contents (totally handy, when it involves removing EVERYTHING and leaving it all over the kitchen floor!)…

Hey Bernice Raw chocolate slice brownie cocoa almonds cashews chia wholefoods healthy health kids food recipe

Hey Bernice Raw Chocolate slice almond cashew chia seeds sesame cocao coconut oil wholefoods healthy kids

Thanks Flourish wellness for your recipe inspiration below…


This bar is bursting with omega 3 & 6 promoting soft, supple skin while reducing inflammation. Chia seeds give a nice anti-ox boost helping to increase skin hydration. 

1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup raw, unsalted cashews
1 cup raw, unsalted almonds
1/2 cup toasted seseame seeds
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup linseeds (Bernice: I used pepita Seeds as Linseed is a little strong in flavour for my kids)
1/2 cup melted organic coconut oil
3-4 TBSP organic maple syrup (Bernice: I used 4 TBSP of Rice Bran Syrup instead)
2 TBSP raw cacao powder (Bernice: I added 4 extra TBSP of cacao cause I like it chocolatey)

BERNICE’S SUGGESTION: Next time round I’m going to grate the rind of a couple of oranges into the mixture, I think that would taste great with the coao.

1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1 TBSP raw cacao powder (Bernice: I added 2 extra TBSP of cacao cause as you know I like it chocolatey)
1-2 TBSP maple syrup (Bernice: I used Rice Bran Syrup instead)

Pop coconut, cashews, almonds, sesame seeds, chia seeds & linseeds in blender and whiz until all well combined.

Pour the mix into a medium sized bowl and add the melted coconut oil and maple syrup until you have a sticky mixture. Stir through the raw cacao powder and press the mixture into a lined baking tin.

For chocolate topping mix together all the topping ingredients together (warm the coconut oil if it is not smooth for pouring). For a more decadent topping omit coconut oil and melt cacao butter in a saucepan with maple & cacao. Pour over top and refrigerate to set.

I hope you find it juts as satisfying for your chocolat ecraving as it was for me.



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Hot cross buns and Easter eggs…

Hot cross buns

What would you say if asked what Easter smelled like? I would say hot cross buns

I’ll have to confess our house has been smelling like Easter a lot lately (but more about that later).

If asked this same question when I was younger I would have said rosemary (not the distinct perfume of a distant elderly relative, but the fragrant herb!). I guess you want to know why rosemary, don’t you?

When we were kids (under 10 years old) we, my sister and I, would usually go to our grandparents house in a small seaside town called Point Lonsdale for Easter Sunday lunch. Our Aunt and Uncle, and two cousins would usually be there too. We loved going, but the trip was made especially sweeter at Easter due to the annual chocolate egg hunt.
Our Grandparents Gideon and Judy (Gran and Grandpa to us) would buy the hallow, egg sized chocolate eggs (and lots of them) and hide them all around their beautifully manicured garden. (Yes, I am getting to the rosemary bit)… Around their house was a neatly trimmed hedge of rosemary which seemed to be the hiding place of choice for these eggs. In our mad rush to collect the most eggs we would be diving our hands, arms and heads into this rosemary hedge to secure those Easter eggs. Resulting in a very vivid memory of Easter being associated with the smell of rosemary.
On a side note (perhaps you could even call this a confession)…my sister and I were particularly good at the Easter egg hunt. Completely motivated by greed, but nonetheless we always triumphed.

However, every year we had to face the inevitable. Regardless of how many eggs we collected in that hunt we were directed by Gideon our grandfather to combine all the eggs and divide them evenly with our two cousins.  I hated that part, and felt it grossly unfair that we did all the work, and then had to hand over ‘our’ eggs to our cousins. The strange thing about that… we went back every year with the same drive and enthusiasm to find the most eggs, knowing what the outcome would be. Perhaps our motivation wasn’t greed after all, simply the thrill of taking part in an Easter egg hunt?

Let’s move on from my childhood egg hunt issues, cause I would like to share with you the recipe responsible for the hot cross bun smell in our house. I’ve made these twice now, and they worked both times. Based on that alone, I am branding this a good recipe. But when you also add that they taste great, and are really easy to make – you’re onto a winner! I made these in the Thermomix, but I have included a non TM recipe option too.

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns


20g mixed peel
250 g warm milk
500 g bakers flour
70 g butter
45 g sugar (or I use honey)
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 egg
15 g dried yeast (or 20g fresh yeast)
100 g sultana
70g currants

TM = Thermomix instructions

Finely chop the mixed peel.
TM: Place the mixed peel into the TM bowl and chop for 10 seconds on speed 10, then set aside.

Warm milk and place in a large bowl
TM: Place milk in TM Bowl and mix 1 minute, 90 degrees, speed 1

Place all remaining ingredients in the bowl with the milk and mix together.
TM: Place remaining ingredients, including the mixed peel (except sultanas and currants) in TM Bowl and mix for 6 seconds, speed 7

Turn mixture out onto a clean bench and knead for 10-15 minutes. The hot cross bun dough is very sticky, especially at the start.  To aid the kneading process, sieving a thin layer of additional plain flour onto the bench and over the top of the dough. Having slightly wet hands also helps. You can feel if the dough is ready. It’s not sticking anymore and it springs back and is smooth. All the sultanas are sticking out and you have to poke them back in.
Set to closed lid position and Knead for 3 minutes, interval speed  (should be soft in texture). Add sultanas and currants and Knead a further 1 minute, interval speed. Turn dough onto floured bread mat and hand knead for a few seconds

The remaining instructions are for both techniques…

Place in a greased bowl, cover and leave to prove in a warm place for 60-90 mins, or until double in size.

Pre heat oven to 220 degrees Celsius

Cut and shape into dinner roll size buns and place together on a greased/lined baking tray. Cover and prove in a warm place a further 15-20mins
Pipe with crosses and bake in oven for 15-20mins or until golden. Brush with hot sugar syrup while warm.

Piping mixture:
80g plain flour                      1tsp oil
pinch salt                               80g cold water

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix until it forms a thin paste.Pour mixture into piping bag (or sandwich bag with a very small corner cut off). Pipe crosses onto buns


Sugar Syrup:
2tbsp boiling water                            2tbsp sugar
Place ingredients in small bowl and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Eggs and other Easter activities…

I’ve been collating lots of Easter ideas on my Easter Pinterest Board, so please take a look if you are searching for baking and crafty Easter inspiration. Some of my favourites I have included below…

A no-dye option is the polka dot glitter eggs by Better Homes & Gardens (US)…

Polka Dot Glitter Eggs

Another great resource is the 60 egg activities for kids from Tinkerlab for some creative Easter egg inspiration. My favourite of their long list of links being the ice eggs from A little learning for Twowith the warm weather we have been having lately these would be ideal for Easter.

Or as the blog eighteen25 suggests you could prepare some bunny tails…

Or some absolutely scrumptious looking bunny cupcakes as Betty Crocker

Bunny Cupcakes

Easter can be great fun, with so many activities centered around the occasion, especially in the weeks leading up to Easter. So get into the spirit and bake or create something for Easter this year.

Happy Easter.