Real Chocolate Ice Cream + Wholehearted Food (giveaway)

Wholehearted Food by Brenda Fawden | she cooks, she gardens

I’m not sure if I’ve told you all this before but I have a bit of a problem, well actually I have two problems. The first I wrote about in my previous post – my unhealthy addiction to cheese – the second is my obsession with collecting cookbooks. I can’t help myself, if I see a pretty cookbook then I must have the pretty cookbook. I am particularly drawn to wholefood cookbooks with interesting takes on everyday food. Sadly many of the books I buy end up sitting on the shelf without so much as a second glance. Yeah, it’s pretty bad. In most cases it’s because I’ve struggled to get past the first few pages.

I’m one of those crazy people who reads a cookbook from back to front – does anyone else do that? I tend to think that the measure of a good cookbook is the ‘basics’ section in the back – what is their approach to chicken stock, do they know how to make fluffy quinoa, a flaky shortcrust or an interesting salt or herb mix? Further, what does the dessert section look like? Is it all white sugar and bleached flour or has the author experimented with spelt or rye flour and had some success? Are there gf or vegan options? Finally, is there evidence that the author actually cooks these recipes in their own kitchen? The cookbooks that I return to over and over, the ones with dog-eared, food stained pages almost always seem to pass this inital inspection.

Late last week I received a copy of Wholehearted Food by Brenda Fawdon. I immediately flipped to the back and discovered an excellent selection of recipes, including the real chocolate ice cream (which I’ve included for you below), and set about marking out what recipes I would make first. It’s a lovely book, with a focus on healthy eating and sustainable produce, and it has something for everyone. There are gf options, vegan and vego recipes, as well as tips on how to source sustainable meat and eating by the seasons. And it was written by an absolute pro. Brenda Fawdon is a chef and passionate advocate of organic food. She founded the first licensed organic restaurant in Australia, Mondo Organics, and an immensely popular cooking school of the same name. She is a respected leader and voice for real food in Australia, and is passionate about using organic, unrefined and sustainable produce.

The book certainly passed my incredibly ‘rigorous’ tests and I’ve already dog-eared a few recipes that I can see making their way into my regular rotation. Inspired by her recipes and overall approach to food, I caught up with Brenda to find out a little more.

Wholehearted Food by Brenda Fawden | she cooks, she gardens

An interview with Brenda Fawdon, author of Wholehearted Food.

Tell us a bit about yourself – where did your interest in food come from and how would you describe your cooking style?

My interest in food came from my darling mother, she was a wonderful cook and so was my grandmother. Mum was a great entertainer, maybe that was the catalyst to inspiring me to be a chef and restaurant owner. I love cooking Italian, Spanish and Moroccan style food and of course I prefer to use organic, seasonal, local and wholefood ingredients.

You’ve achieved so much in your career; tell us a little about your cooking school and restaurant?

I have been a restaurateur for 31 years now, it’s a miracle I’ve lasted so long… Mondo Organics restaurant serves modern bistro style food. The cooking school operates every week and the schedule of classes is available online. We offer both health and European classes. EG Superfoods, Eat Yourself to Good Health, Gluten Free Dairy Free, Wholefoods, Modern Spanish, Pasta Making, Moroccan, and many other options.

What was it like opening the first licensed organic restaurant in Australia? How have attitudes changed?

Exciting! I was determined, I believe you can do anything you want to do, as long as you feel passionate and driven to succeed. The Australian organic food industry is the fastest growing food industry in Australia. Young people are becoming more aware of food providence, water quality, environmental issues and how and where they can purchase chemical free food. More and more people are choosing to shop at markets and opting for organic home delivery services.

You’ve just released a cookbook called ‘Wholehearted Food’ – how did that come about?

Nearly, release date is the 23rd Of October. Alex Payne, UQP non-fiction publisher thought it was a good idea, and of course I thought she was right. Alex managed to convince the UQP publishing committee that it would work. Now I hope the readers enjoy WHF too. This is UQP’s first cookbook and the team put a massive effort behind it and belief in me, I’m very grateful the opportunity.

Kale Tart by Brenda Fawden | she cooks, she gardensI talk a lot about seasonal eating on my blog and it’s something my readers are really passionate about. Why do you think it’s important to eat seasonally?

I prefer produce that hasn’t been stored in cold storage for months, it tastes better and is usually a better price because often there is are a glut of whatever the seasonal produce is. I believe eating out of season is just plan wrong. When lemons go out of season over Christmas use preserved lemons until they start to come back in, in March. Otherwise you’ll be using hard, dry, small bright yellow speed- balls with very little juice content and probably, waxed – YUK! I suggest talking to stall holders at markets, they usually love a chat if they’re not too busy serving customers.

I have a notorious sweet tooth but everyone seems to be giving up sugar at the moment. Is it really as bad as everyone suggests?

Yep it is sorry. Are you able to find sweetness in your life in other ways? I don’t think ditching sugar completely is wise, we all need a little sweetness, however, the white highly processed, refined, bleached sugar many people have grown to love (become addicted to) is compromising health. Try rapadura, it’s an unprocessed sugar or coconut palm sugar, both great sweeteners.

What are your favourite recipes from the book?

I love the green soup and the kitchari, both are delicious and so nourishing. I also love the juices, I made an orange, carrot and turmeric juice this morning and it was soooo delicious, all the produce was grown locally on Mt Tamborine. The navel oranges are coming to the end of their season, they have been so juicy and sweet this year. I’m now thinking about what I can make with mango and stone fruit for summer.

What advice would you give to readers of the blog who would like to explore a healthier approach to eating?

Simple, buy my book or come to a cooking class at Mondo and say Hi!

Plus, start slowly, don’t throw everything out at once. Maybe, replace your white sugar with rapadura and then replace your white bread with sourdough or sprouted bread, replace your white rice with bio-dymanic brown rice (it tastes much better and it’s way more nourishing) It takes time, don’t try and do everything at once. Make wise choices and above all, have fun!

Thanks for your time!

My pleasure.

choc ice cream by Brenda Fawden | she cooks, she gardens

One of my favourite recipes from the book is this ‘Real Chocolate Ice Cream’ recipe made using raw cacao powder and rapadura sugar – two things that are on my shopping list this week. The recipe is included for you below and I hope it inspires you to find out more about Brenda’s new book.

Giveaway: UQP have offered a copy of this wonderful new book to readers of my blog and I just know the lucky winner is going to love it. To go into the draw to win a copy simply leave a comment on the blog. Entries close 29th October, Australian residents only (sorry!).

4.2 from 5 reviews
Real Chocolate Ice Cream + Wholehearted Food (giveaway)
Who doesn’t love chocolate ice cream? I’ve used raw cacao powder, rapadura sugar, organic full-cream milk, organic eggs and pure cream to create this truly silky smooth, rich and decadent treat.
Recipe type: Dessert
  • 2 cups organic full-cream milk
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 1 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1 cup fine-dried rapadura sugar (page 180) or plain rapadura
  • 8 organic egg yolks
  • 300 ml pure cream
  1. Heat the milk, salt and vanilla in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the cacao powder and remove from the heat before the milk reaches boiling point. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Put the sugar and egg yolks into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk on high speed until pale and thick.
With the mixer on a low speed, gradually add the chocolate milk mixture until incorporated.
  3. Strain the mixture into a heavy-based saucepan and gently heat, constantly stirring until the custard thickens and coats the back of the spoon – don’t bring the custard to a boil or it will separate. Allow to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for 1 hour.
  4. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks with a whisk or hand-held electric mixer. Fold the cream into the cold custard. Churn in an ice-cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions until set, then freeze until ready to serve.
  5. Makes 1.5 litres

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Wholehearted Food via UQP – Views are my own.

Competition rules: To enter you must leave a comment on this post. Entries close Tuesday 29th October and winner will be drawn at random. Australian residents only.


The winner is Kirsty Bell! Congrats!


  • Thanks Erin to both you & Brenda for helping us learn more about eating sustainably and for encouraging a love for (real) food!

  • Leanne Harms says:

    Yum – that ice cream looks (and hopefully tastes) divine. When I get a new cookbook, I sit and flick through every page and then sit down again later and have another longer look through and make a list of the must try recipes…

  • Clare says:

    Oh what a beautiful looking book with stunning pictures. How awesome to have this stuff coming from Australia rather than O/S. Love your blog. Thanks, Clare.

  • Samantha says:

    I love reading your blog erin, it inspires me every time to try something new. Even if I don’t win the cookbook j am going to buy it looks great and the recipes sound amazing! Thanks do much for your information 🙂

  • Cass says:

    This icecream sounds amazing!! Where would one buy the sugar that’s required?

    The family and I try to consume healthy, whole foods where possible, but we find it can be really expensive. Would love to hear your thoughts on eating this way on a budget.

    • Erin B says:

      Hey Cass, I’ve been hunting around for a few of these ingredients this week and have found a couple of places online that seem to offer some of these products at reasonable prices. Check out and I know what you mean about eating on a budget though, some of this stuff can be pretty pricey which I guess is where a lot of the criticism comes from. My advice would be to start with a few items, shop around for a good price and gradually make the shift if it’s working for you. It’s a good point though and perhaps my readers can offer you some tips as well.

  • G’day Erin! Enjoyed your interview today, true!
    I’m cold right now, but could so go for this Real Chocolate Ice Cream too!
    Love stories behind the foods and recipes!
    Re cookbooks and how I read them, didn’t think anyone else was like me! lol
    Cheers! Joanne

  • Lizzie says:

    This cookbook looks great! I’ve been looking for some inspiration to start eating a bit healthier and would love to read through all of the recipes 🙂

  • Alex says:

    I love ice cream, and last year for Christmas I was given an ice cream attachment for my food processor after dropping many hints. I also love providing good variety and healthy foods for my family to eat, I’ll definitely try this recipe from Brenda Fawden. I’ve heard of rapidura, where can you buy it in Adelaide? and how does it compare in price? Like Cass, I’m trying to eat locally, grow more of my own fruit and veg, buy organic where I can …but sometimes cost is prohibitive unless you are on the salary of an airline pilot! It would be great to see a discussion about purchasing ingredients and substitutes like this on a budget too…

  • Carolyn says:

    Yum! I’m certainly going to try that ice cream recipe! Is rapadura easy to come by? Is there anything I should know about using it, or can I just sub it for sugar in other recipes?

  • Judy says:

    I can’t believe your timing, Erin. I have just started making my own ice-cream. Started with vanilla – of course! – then moved on to strawberry and next on my list is chocolate, of course!

    Your recipe looks great, although I don’t have an icecream maker.

    I did a kind of simple blind study with the strawberry ice cream and stirred one container every hour or so until it set, and left the other container to set unstirred. The icecream lovers in the house both thought the stirred icecream tasted better.

  • Tashability says:

    I recently had to admit that I do, indeed, quite like quinoa but sadly I have no idea how to cook the stuff…hint hint.

  • Great interview Erin and you have successfully made me want to add ANOTHER cook book to my collection! I love reading how others use seasonal produce.

  • louisa says:

    Cant wait to win a copy of this book and make some wholehearted food for my family

  • Healthy ice cream is a dangerous thing. I may just finish the whole thing! Oh dear…

  • Sarah T says:

    The icecream looks amazing! What a great giveaway!

  • I like you tend towards wholefoods cookbooks, I also love reading them from start to finish! I’d love a copy of this beautiful book!

  • Gustoso says:

    That ice cream looks yummy. I’ll have to put a hold on the book and get it out from the library.

  • Simon says:

    I have the same problem with cookbooks!! My trouble is with 3 young kids, I don’t actually have time to read them…but they’re there for when I do!
    Love the blog, Thanks.

  • Benjamin T. says:

    Thanks for the giveaway. The Ice cream looks great.

  • Tessa says:

    The book sounds amazing, and yes I read cookbooks from back to front too, to see if they are up to my standard!

  • Ric Allport says:

    In my talks on Total Brain Fitness, what you eat is one of the 4 main factors to keeping a healthy brain for as long as possible. This book looks like it will give people great ideas on how to eat better and also enjoy eating. Who said healthy food has to be boring?

  • Mondo Organics is a bit of a Brisbane institution, and only getting better as it ages. I’ve eaten there a few times, but not made it to a cooking class. One day…

    I most love Brenda’s advice about switching to a healthier lifestyle – start slowly. She is so right. Good habits will be formed if you don’t try and overwhelm yourself with massive change on day 1.

    I’d love to win this book, but will most likely just buy a copy if I don’t!

    thanks Erin 🙂

  • Ros says:

    Love reading your blog, food is awesome and best of all I am always learning something new. Keep up the good work.

  • Lucy says:

    Like you I read a cookbook from cover to cover. In fact I’ve been known to take a cookbook to read in bed as opposed to a novel. That ice cream sounds so good and love the sound of the book and its approach to healthier eating

  • Kirsty Bell says:

    So want to try this recipe for Chocolate Icecream. Yummo. Love the restaurant and want to win the cookbook please.

  • i know i missed the comp – but gosh, that picture of the deep vegie pie looks amazing! i’m going to have to look out for the book.

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