Vegan Strawberry & Vanilla Frozen Yoghurt Cake with Choc Almond Crust


Sometimes, I just get inspired by an ingredient... say, fresh juicy strawberries from Nuwara Eliya and a tub of organic coconut yoghurt. And then I decide it's time to make a vegan cake! It's ALWAYS a good time to make a vegan cake though really, isn't it? This is quite the sweetheart of a cake and one taste whisks me away to fond childhood memories of strawberry frozen yoghurt bars and walks on the beach with Mum. Here's the scoop...


1 + ½ cups raw almonds
1 + ½ cups dates
½ cup raw cacao powder

Vanilla frozen yoghurt layer
1 ½ cups cashews (soaked overnight, or for at least 6 hours)
¼ cup raw kitul treacle, coconut nectar or maple syrup
½ cup coconut yoghurt
½ cup liquid coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
⅓ cup water

Strawberry cream layer
1 cup cashews (soaked overnight, or for at least 6 hours)
¼ cup raw kitul treacle, coconut nectar or maple syrup
½ cup coconut yoghurt
½ cup liquid coconut oil
½ cup fresh or frozen strawberries
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
⅓ cup water

Decorative toppings
2 large tablespoons of liquid coconut oil
3 large tablespoons of cacao powder
3 Tbsp raw kitul treacle, coconut nectar or maple syrup
a handful of roughly chopped almonds


To make the crust, process the nuts, dates and cacao until they stick together. Press into the bottom of an 8 x 8 square cake tin lined with baking paper. Place in the freezer.

To make the vanilla yoghurt layer, blend all ingredients in a food processor until very smooth. Add as little water as possible to keep your mixture thick and creamy. Now spread the mixture onto your crust and return to the freezer for approx. 3-4 hours until frozen solid. It is important that this layer be firm before you pour over the strawberry layer in order to get clear definition between the layers.

To make the strawberry cream layer, blend all ingredients in a food processor until very smooth. Pour the mixture over the set vanilla yoghurt layer, and place into the freezer again to harden for approx. 3-4 hours until frozen. 

Finally, it's time to decorate your cake. Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan on a very low heat so you don't overheat the oil. Stir in the cacao powder and treacle until combined. Remove the cake from the tin, slice into desired portions, and pour the chocolate mixture slowly over, allowing it to drizzle down the sides of the cake. Sprinkle some roughly chopped almonds over and you're ready to serve! Yummy berry goodness time!

Shakti Stories: Rukgala, my new jungle home!


In case you didn't know, 2017 took me on an incredible journey – from my familiar home in Melbourne, Australia to the wild, chaotic, spiritual, beautiful, magical island of serendipity – Sri Lanka. After travelling around working as a digital nomad for almost a year, I felt a strong pull to follow my purpose – to move further towards realising the Jungle Shakti dream of healing others through plant medicine, yoga and connecting with the spirit.

The incredible opportunity arose to work together with the owners of a brand new boutique wellness retreat on the outskirts of Kandy – Sri Lanka's spiritual heart – surrounded by jungles, mountains and lakes. Naturally, I jumped at the chance and, after completing further studies in Bhakti yoga and Reiki energy work, moved up to Rukgala on January 1st to help open this incredible retreat space.

Now, you'll find me living my dream here at beautiful Rukgala – where exotic birds play in the trees, moonlight shimmers on the lake at night, and fireflies dance along with me in the yoga shala. Together with my talented other half, and with the help of some fantastic Sri Lankan chefs, I have designed a healing, high-vibrational menu that features locally sourced ingredients, rare Sri Lankan superfoods and Ayurvedic plant medicines (a first in Sri Lanka!).

I have also begun hosting my own retreats – a dream of mine for many years now – focusing on healing on a cellular level through yoga, meditation, mindfulness practices, self-care rituals and plant-based nutrition. Each retreat is aimed at helping guests re-discover their own inner 'Shakti' for lasting happiness, beauty, longevity and vitality!

Please click here to see all upcoming events.

Kurakkan Roti Pizza with Pink Beetroot Hummus, Spiced Chickpeas & Gotu Kola


Throughout my Sri Lankan Food Safari, I've been discovering all sorts of interesting alternative ingredients and exotic superfoods – from Ayurvedic herbs to gluten-free grains – and Kurakkan and Gotu Kola are two of my favourite finds! What are they, you say? Well, our ancestors have been using finger millet (or Kurakkan) for centuries through China, India, Greece, Egypt and Africa, using it in everything from bread to couscous, cereals to string hoppers.

Though considered a grain, Kurakkan is actually a seed - making it gluten free and rich in vitamins and minerals. It is high in magnesium, for example, which maintains nerve and muscle function, supports a healthy immune system, keeps the heart beat steady, and helps bones remain strong! Sounds like a great food for yogis, right? The seeds also provide serotonin which calms and soothes your mood. So yup, loving everything about Kurakkan, Sri Lanka!

Next up, we have Gotu Kola which basically needs a whole other blog post written about it! I mean, what doesn't it do?! Wow! It is known for increasing blood vessel and collagen growth, contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, excites dopamine and seratonin, decreases cortisol, AND has stronger effects than caffeine! So, effectively, it makes you beautiful and happy. Maybe I should have made a pizza with JUST gotu kola on it?? Hmmm... next time!

Ready to get cookin' good looking? Here's the recipe!


for the pizza base
1/2 cup plain flour
1 1/2 cups kurakkan flour
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup water (roughly)
3-4 green chilli, finely chopped
salt & pepper, to taste

for the toppings
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 spring onion bulb, finely sliced
1 can chickpeas
a pinch of cumin powder
a pinch of turmeric
a handful of fresh gotu kola leaves (can use coriander if you can't find these!)
black and white sesame seeds, to garnish
salt & pepper, to taste


Mix the flours and shredded coconut in a bowl. Add the chilli, salt and pepper. Next add cold water little by little so that all the ingredients come together to form a sticky dough. Take care not to get it too wet. If the dough is too wet add a little bit of flour. Knead the dough and break into balls of about 2" diameter. Flatten on a floured board or plate using your palms, and set aside for a moment.

Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the garlic and onion, and fry until translucent and slightly golden. Add the cumin and turmeric powders and stir until the garlic and onion are completely coated. Finally, add the chickpeas and stir-fry until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.

Now, cook the rotis in a heated heavy bottom pan till golden brown on both sides under medium heat. 

Serve topped with the beetroot hummus, spicy chickpeas and gotu kola. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and a good drizzle of olive oil. You might even light to add a dollop of coconut yoghurt raita, or vegan feta cheese. Enjoy!

Raw Vegan Dark Chocolate Donuts with Beetroot & Maqui Berry Glaze


When you're looking for the ultimate healthy indulgence, look no further than these delish raw donuts! I'm going to be honest here and say that I made about 12 of these and... they disappeared pretty quickly. Ummm... because I devoured about 10 of them without sharing! Woops! I feel a bit guilty about that! BUT I don't feel guilty about indulging because they're packed full of high-vibrational nutrients, plant fibre and feel-good, happy hormone boosters like cacao and maqui berry – both Amazonian superfoods. 


For the donuts
5 tbsp water
7 tbsp coconut nectar/treacle/maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
2 dates
1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup almond flour
3 scoops protein powder (I used hemp)
1/2 cup raw cacao powder

For the glaze
5 tbsp water
1/2 cup cashews (soaked overnight)
1/4 cup coconut nectar/treacle/maple syrup
1 tsp beetroot powder
1 tsp maqui berry powder
1 tsp vanilla


First, blend the wet ingredients together in a high-powered blender until well combined, then add the coconut, almond flour, protein powder and raw cacao. Mix until well combined and a firm dough forms.

Turn the dough onto a flat surface lined with baking paper, and place another sheet of paper on top. With a rolling pin, flatten the dough out to about 3/4 inch thick between the two sheets of baking paper.

Remove the top sheet of paper and cut the dough into small circles. Try using a 2 or 2 1/2 inch cookie cutter. Next, cut out the donut holes with a smaller-sized cutter. Place donuts onto a tray lined with baking paper and gently form desired shapes with your fingertips, if necessary. Pop into the freezer for a few hours until the donuts are firm and cool (this helps the glaze set).

Blend the glaze ingredients together until smooth and pour over icy cold donuts. Return to freezer immediately to set.

When ready to serve, garnish with a sprinkle of pomegranate arils, some grated coconut and a drizzle of liquid raw chocolate sauce . I poured the liquid chocolate into a squeezy bottle to get a good drizzle effect. Then pop back into the fridge or freezer to chill until it's time to serve (or eat a few now, just to test!). Store the donuts in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Al-Uzza's Arabian Carrot Dip with Baharat


Today, I thought I'd share with you a delicious spicy dip – I'm all about making spreads and dips and pestos with fresh vegetables, herbs, nuts & spices to boost the nutritional value of my meals and keep things extra tasty. You can serve this with crackers or vegetable sticks, or get more creative and spread on sandwiches or add to salads and grain bowls, or even as a pizza base with eggplant, onion and chickpeas! Be totally creative with it! 

This is a food that will balance Svadisthana (your orange Sacral Chakra) governing creativity, sexuality, joy and enthusiasm. If this chakra had a motto, it might be "I enjoy life fully" or, in my own translation, "treat yo'self!". And with this dip, you can do exactly that!

Baharat, by the way, simply means "spice" in Arabic. It is an aromatic, warm, and sweet spice blend that gives this dip an exotic flavour and fragrance that tantalises the senses. Interestingly, Arabian tribes once worshipped Al-Uzzā, the Meccan goddess of power, might and the planet Venus, incarnating as the Evening Star. She was known as "the divine lover of the nature god" – I like her already! The main idol of Al-Uzza, which the goddess herself was believed to often manifest in, was a cluster of three acacia trees in the valley of Nakhla near the town of Mecca. I like to imagine I'm channelling her as I enjoy this goddess food...


3 carrots peeled and grated
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tsp salt
½ cup coconut yoghurt (kefir or vegan sour cream also work well!)
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
½ cup pine nuts, toasted

Bahārāt spice mix
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp ground coriander seed
3 cloves
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cardamom
a pinch of cinnamon


Begin by preparing the spice mixture. Simply add all the ingredients in a dry non-stick skillet and heat, stirring until it begins to smoke ever so slightly and become aromatic. As soon as it begins to smoke, add the oil, carrot and a pinch of salt and heat until the carrot is just cooked through. It should be just tender and fragrant. Set aside to cool down a bit – and don’t forget to pick out those 3 cloves! In a small pan, gently toast the pine nuts on a medium heat until lightly golden.

In a food processor or blender, combine the carrot, pine nuts and all remaining ingredients and pulse until the desired consistency is reached – I like my dips a little chunky, like a pesto. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with a little extra sprinkle of paprika and pine nuts.

Shakti Stories: Rediscovering my Path


In another moment of wondrous serendipity (this island was once named Serendip for a reason!), I recently connected with two incredible women from across the ocean. Simone Denny (Simone Denny Wellness) is a Life Coach, Mind Detox Practitioner and Yoga Teacher and Theme Rains (Synthesis Organics) is an Aromatherapist, Herbalist and Psychotherapist. What they don't put on their resumé, however, is that they're essentially a warrior and an angel – the perfect combo – and I'm kinda crushing on them both as I write this! 

One from New Zealand, the other from Australia, Simone and Theme joined forces to create a truly life-changing retreat in the luscious tea fields of Sri Lanka's Cultural Triangle – precisely where I, Miss Jungle Shakti, was lucky enough to join the tribe! Together with a sisterhood of incredible women, from all seasons of life, we came together for a transformational journey at Ashburnham Estate, which we later affectionately named "The Womb" – a warm, loving place of creation and (re)birth. You can read a little more about our beautiful venue in this post.


There's a lot I could talk about in this post – our funny bushwalks, the beautiful aromatherapy facials, the delicious superfood smoothies and cakes, the waterfall – but I'm simply going to share with you the clarity I found at the end of this journey. In a way, writing it down here will put it out to the universe, and you can all hold me accountable. Great plan, don't you think?

So... here I was thinking I just needed a break from the city, time to commune with nature and relax my body, but what I didn't expect was the self-reflection I found in the silence AND the companionship of other women, the looking inward, that allowed a quiet voice that I'd been ignoring to break through.

I'm going to lay it all bare here and tell you that, although I arrived feeling quite content and happy (after all, I AM living the dream here in Sri Lanka... aren't I?!), I felt a nagging sensation that I wasn't entirely fulfilling my purpose on this planet. Yes, I'm doing incredible things spreading the plant-based movement here, creating recipes that heal and do no harm. But, those who know me, also know that I'm working long hours in what I call my "muggle job" as a Creative Director. Too often, I put off doing what I truly love and feel called to do, to work on a project for my day job. It's a conundrum, because I'm really quite good at what I do! I have been blessed with the gift of creativity and I take a lot of pride in creating beautiful designs for my clients. You know, I got into graphic design because, as a child, I loved illustrating fantastical children's books about vikings, mermaids and unicorns. But... it just does not fulfil me. At the end of the day, it's advertising. And I'm not making the world a better place.


What DOES fulfil me? Well... channelling Shakti energy, of course! Over the past 7 years, I have discovered that not only through a holistic lifestyle and a diet rich in living, vibrational, plant foods, but through transcendental meditation, yoga and other daily rituals, I can harness the euphoric, healing, creative power of Shakti (the cosmic energy that flows through everything in the universe, and beyond). If that sounds a bit too "out-there" for you, just think of it as alternative medicine or positive thinking. When I used coloured pencils as a child to draw fantasy worlds to transcend my reality, I guess I was really trying to tap into this energy... 

So, what are the next steps for me? Well... just this week I completed my Level 1 Reiki training (what an absolutely psychedelic experience!), and next week I begin my 200hr Yoga Teacher Training. This will compliment my Diploma of Nutrition and Holistic Therapies and really give me the skills to teach others how to manifest magic and miracles in their own lives – from healing their bodies to experiencing total transcendental euphoria. Essentially, I'll be able to teach others how to harness Shakti in their own lives!

If you ever get the opportunity to join Simone & Theme on a retreat (and I think they're coming back to Sri Lanka next year!), I cannot recommend it enough! Simone's coaching techniques expertly guide you towards your life's true purpose, whilst Theme's unique abilities seem to awaken your spirit, preparing you for the revelations you are about to experience. All the while, you'll be pampered with luscious food, luxurious accommodation, massages, yoga and more. You won't regret it!

find out more...

Simone Denny

Theme Rains


Shakti Stays: Ashburnham Estate


The cool, mountain ranges, jungles and rivers of Sri Lanka’s heart have always held a special fascination for me. From the day I arrived here, I’ve felt an overmwhelming sense of Deju Vu – an eerie sensation that I have been here before, visited this place in my dreams or perhaps in a past life. Somehow, when the light hits the horizon just right, you can almost transcend time and space. All part of Sri Lanka’s strange, beautiful energy, I guess. 

So, when I had the chance to return to my favourite place in Sri Lanka, I was understandably ecstatic! For the duration of a 7 day wellness reatreat (more on that later!) I’d be staying at the stunning Ashburnham Estate, nestled high up in the tea fields of Elkaduwa, far, far away from the rumbling chaos of Colombo. I couldn’t wait to throw my bags on that bus and get away from it all! Planning for the trip, I dreamt of long, solitary walks with nature, heavenly sleeps, brilliant sunset meditations and misty morning yoga sessions. When I arrived at the estate, those dreams (and more!) came true!

Ashburnham is a beautiful boutique hotel set in its own 100-acre tea estate, around an hour north-east of Kandy, in the heart of Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle. The estate boasts stunning waterfalls and far reaching views up to and across the Knuckles Mountains, not to mention around 60 acres of lush tea fields, plucked each day.


The rooms are decorated beautifully, retaining their 1930s charm with hints of French Provincial and Mid Century Design, scattered with exotic plants and well-loved books. Dreamy, four poster beds with mosquito nets and numerous fluffy pillows invite a blissful night’s sleep (Elkaduwa is one of the few places in Sri Lanka where you can cosy up under a blanket, by the way) and you’ll be delighted to find a personal greeting and gift on your pillow on arrival. 

The central lounge has possibly the most comfortable collection of sofas I have EVER encountered, where you can cuddle up with a book and a glass of wine in front of a crackling log fire. And, then there’s the glorious varandah with sweeping views out across the valley, through the branches of giant Mara trees, leaves fluttering gently in the breeze.


The staff at Ashburnham Estate deserve a special mention too – they were all just amazing! The talented chefs, who went to the trouble of making fresh coconut milk for us each day, and even making one of my very own raw vegan cake recipes for dessert, completely spoiled us. Vegan? No problem. These chefs can make plant-based magic! The managers and front-of-house staff were so very welcoming and made us feel like nothing was too much trouble, always smiling and telling me little jokes. You know you’ve experienced true hospitality when you feel like you’re waving goodbye to family on the day you leave.

For me, Ashburnham Estate was the perfect combination of homely creature comfort and peaceful natural surroundings. A place where I could really unwind and get back in touch with the source. But perhaps the most magical place on the estate is the enchanting waterfall. I was lucky enough to return with Mr. Jungle Shakti on a bright, sunny day where we could swim in the rock pools under the spray and lounge about on the rocks in the sun. Time flew by as we watched butterflies and dragonflies dancing in the mist, and even spotted our own personal rainbow –truly magical! So much beautiful energy in that place. I really didn’t want to leave! What finally dragged us away were our grumbling tummies and the promise of lunch... but secretly, I knew we’d be back one day soon.

take me there...

Ashburnham Estate
Elkaduwa Road (B 461),
Kandy, Kandy Province 21012

Shakti Eats: Café Secret Alley


When we first moved to Sri Lanka, we headed straight for the jungle. Finding ourselves in a little jungalow on the outskirts of Kandy was a bit of a shock. I’m not gonna lie, leaving my fancy little seaside suburban life with all the convenience of about 15 vegan-friendly coffee shops and whole food stores all within walking distance was rough. I mean, I could see avocado, coconut and banana trees EVERYWHERE in Kandy but no juice bars, no avo toast and... ummm, no coconut milk lattes! My precious coconut lattes! The horror!

As it turns out, just 10 months later, I discovered all this and more in Kandy... hiding down a secret alley! Not far from Kandy’s famous Temple of the Tooth and just around the corner from Odel, you’ll find this quirky little café doing it’s very best to bring that cool, conscious, healthy vibe I've been longing for to Sri Lanka’s ancient city. With brightly painted walls, cheery yellow coffee cups, pineapple decorations and a chalkboard menu, Secret Alley is a feel-good hippie hangout with some familiar favourites. 


Serving up smoothie bowls, shakes and peanut butter or avocado toast, as well as solid coffee (with coconut milk option... yay!), vegans and vege-lovers can enjoy a little time-out from curries, lentils and rice. It’s also a great little escape from the hustle and bustle of Kandy town and a handy meeting point for travellers. 

take me there...

Café Secret Alley
5 E L Senanayake Veediya, 
Kandy 20000
+94 77 303 2933