A Day at the Dairy

A Day at the Dairy

I’d like to share a visit to an extraordinary dairy with you. A couple of weeks ago my husband and I ventured off on a nine-day food and wine trip – the main reason to drop in at Meredith Dairy. For the last year or so I’ve been creating recipes for their website and recipe cards. The only reason we hadn’t visited sooner was we live in Sydney and Meredith is in Victoria.

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Chilli with Cornmeal Dumplings

Chilli with Cornmeal Dumplings

I’m a bit behind in posts at the moment, and thought I’d leave this recipe until next winter, but as I’ve been on a road trip in Victoria and the weather was decidedly cold, I thought I’d carry on. So, here is my Chilli, a one pot dinner, and total comfort food for those cold rainy nights.

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Spaghetti with Romanesco, Dried Shrimp, Chilli and Spices

Spaghetti with Romanesco, Dried Shrimp, Chilli and Spices

I have been cooking, on an almost daily basis for many years. And most of the time I cook with what’s in my fridge and pantry, because I like to create something delicious from what’s there, rather than running to the shop for that one ingredient that I’ve run out of. So after bringing home some lovely fresh romanesco from the markets recently, and deciding it would be perfect with pasta, I discovered I’d run out of anchovies (a classic partner) so out came dried shrimp, coriander and fennel seed.

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Honeyed Carrot Tart

Honeyed Carrot Tart

I came across a recipe a couple of years ago when I was browsing through Stephanie Alexander’s wonderful book The Cook’s Companion that intrigued me. It was for a carrot tart that she had adapted from an eighteenth century recipe of the English cook, Hannah Glasse.

I tried it, omitting the sugar, and found that it became neither savoury nor sweet, but oh so delicate and a joy to eat, each mouthful a discovery of beautifully balanced flavours. We ate it, not even bothering to sit at the table, but at the kitchen bench, greedily devouring each morsel. Joy.

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A Slice Of Love

A Slice Of Love

My family knows my obsession with pizza and my love is completely genuine, and perhaps irrational at times. I’m more than happy to go out for it, but also extremely happy to stay in and make it myself. In fact, when I do it’s pretty much non-stop pizza for two days and any leftover dough I make into grissini. For years now I’ve used the same dough recipe (one of Jamie Oliver’s) with no problems. I don’t have a pizza stone (just preheat your baking sheet with your oven and slide the pizza in) you will find the dough holds well enough to last for two days.

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Maugers Meats And Other Oxtails

Maugers Meats And Other Oxtails

Every now and then, if you’re like me, you get a craving for meat: maybe because we don’t seem to eat as much of it as we used to. Well anyway, a few weeks ago, as mentioned in an earlier post, we had a very pleasant food and wine weekend in the Southern Highlands with good friends. And one of the places we always visit when we’re in that part of the world is Maugers (pronounced Majors) – a small, family owned, butchery in Burrawang – and the perfect place to delight that craving.

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American Psycho - And Other Serial Offenders

American Psycho - And Other Serial Offenders

Every once in a while you get a really fun brief from a client. Best Skin (UK) asked if I could style and photograph four very different smoothies that they had created. It was a hoot recreating, and shooting them - and tasting them was just as amazing. These are well worth trying, you can feel the Goodness Police flowing through your veins.

To get the rest of the recipes go to www.bestskin.co.uk.

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Apples Ain’t Apples

Apples Ain’t Apples

On a recent food and wine trip, with my husband, to the Southern Highlands* for a few days I had the good fortune to visit a very special apple orchard – actually a farm consisting of three separate apple orchards: the oldest of these dating back to the late 1800s – that today produces a truly yummy, vintage, organic, sparkling cider. It’s called Pomologist Cider.  The current owners purchased the property, not far from Robertson, almost 20 years ago and after a subsequent trip to England, where they sampled some locally made, organic ciders, returned home and set about creating their own Southern Highlands’ version.

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Charred Broccoli and Spring Onions with Roasted Garlic Coconut Cream

Charred Broccoli and Spring Onions with Roasted Garlic Coconut Cream

Recently I’ve been testing recipes for a client, who has been very specific that they be either vegan, or paleo based. It’s given me a lot to think about, and at times has been challenging, as of course there are guidelines to both these diets. But a challenge is something I’m always up for, and I love it when a recipe with such strict parameters comes together beautifully.

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Fried Coconut Rice with Duck, Prawns and Cucumber Pickle

Fried Coconut Rice with Duck, Prawns and Cucumber Pickle

This recipe came about following frequent visits to the Castagna Vineyard in Beechworth, Victoria, where my habit is to arrive with two or three Peking ducks, pancakes, green prawns, and other ingredients that you simply can’t get in rural Australia. On our first night we usually have a bit of a Chinese feast, and sometimes (only sometimes) there are a few things left over.

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Martini or Mar-two-ni?

Martini or Mar-two-ni?

From Nick and Nora Charles to James Bond, from gin to vodka: unintentionally, Hollywood elevated the simple martini to the ubiquitous phenomenon it is today. And unfortunately, for my clarity of mind, you can number me among its admiring fans. A libation that has inspired a thousand artists: John Register’s 1994 painting, simply titled Martini, my very favourite.

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Butterfly Cakes: for the young, and the young at heart.

Butterfly Cakes: for the young, and the young at heart.

Whether you’re young or old, we all love a pretty little cake. And I’ve never needed an excuse to bake these, and watch with pleasure as a small child gobbles one up: icing sugar and whipped cream on pink noses and tiny fingers, and crumbs everywhere. Lately I’ve been baking these, not for small children, but for Hazel, my dear 91-year- old mother in-law.

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Perfect Late Summer Bruschetta

Perfect Late Summer Bruschetta

For me, using produce when it’s at its seasonal best, and a good price, is just common sense, and I very rarely shop with a recipe in mind, taking inspiration from the fresh produce in front of me. When I see plums I always buy some, just a few to start when they are expensive, and as the season progresses, I purchase buckets. Then after I’ve made jam, and a few cakes, I start to think of different and savoury ways to use them

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Summer Eating and Beautiful Vegetables

Summer Eating and Beautiful Vegetables

This summer has been an unusually hot one, and I’ve sort of lost my appetite for anything that needs time to cook, even the barbecue has lost its appeal, there’s only so much charred food that I can take. I fluctuate between wanting to eat food with gentle flavours, a little something poached in a flavoursome broth, or perhaps a spiced dish that will tickle my taste buds and wake up my palate, but without fiery heat – there’s enough of that happening outside. I’m finding we’ve been eating more vegetable based dishes, accompanied by some sort of grain. They fit the mood right now, and the vegetables around have been gorgeous, particularly from organic Moonacres Farm.

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Thyme, Fennel Seed and Lavender Grissini

Thyme, Fennel Seed and Lavender Grissini

Over the past year baking homemade grissini has become a regular occurrence in my kitchen. I’ve been making pizzas for my family for years, but it wasn’t until I was looking for delicious, well-priced grissini, that I realised there weren’t any. So that started a bit of a trend, and a habit that I thoroughly enjoy. They last well in a sealed jar for two weeks, are perfect on their own with a glass of wine, even more delicious when wrapped with prosciutto or thin slices of grilled courgettes, or served with a bowl of homemade tapenade.

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Easy Roasted Tomato Sauce

Easy Roasted Tomato Sauce

The New Year has begun, and I’m easing myself into it very gently. Last night I woke to the constant drumming of rain on the tin roof outside our bedroom window. Today it’s actually starting to pelt down, the temperature so cool I’ve put on my favourite oversized sweater and am curled up on the sofa slowly going through emails that have been piling up, unanswered, over the Christmas period. These are the days I love, be it summer or winter; for me they are food days. And on these days I like to have something cooking slowly in the oven, or simmering on the stove.

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Watermelon and Plum Daiquiris: a Family Tradition.

Watermelon and Plum Daiquiris: a Family Tradition.

As Christmas approaches, I start to think about family, and how important it is to have them, whether they be blood relatives, or close friends, who are always there for you when you need them. From the moment we are born, we start making our traditions, at first with our parents and siblings, and then, as we grow older and leave the nest, with our partners, children, and friends. These little traditions, whether they be silly or serious, pop up every year like clockwork, and don’t I love them, particularly at this time of year.

One of our traditions is to drink Daiquiris at Christmas, and this started years before our children were born. 

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Three Little Classics

Three Little Classics

I know I’ve talked about Elizabeth David here before, and what an inspiration she has always been for me, her food and writing evoking a satisfyingly delicious life, filled with fresh ingredients and flavours that were a part of her every day living. Her descriptions of what she was cooking and journeys to local markets and quiet provincial villages has always made me want to dive into the pages and be apart of her journey of discovery with food and wine. 

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Hazelnut Tart or a Tender Tart

Hazelnut Tart or a Tender Tart

I discovered this tart whilst reading The Alice B Toklas Cook Book first published in 1954. For those who aren’t aware Alice shared her life with Gertrude Stein in the first half of the 20th century living in Paris. Fredrich (not his real name), an Austrian, was employed as their perfect servant and cook, and was engaged to Duscha, a friend of Gertrude and Alice’s. According to Alice, one day, the devil, in the guise of a dark eyed beauty, met and fell in love with Fredrich, and threatened to kill him if he didn’t marry her instead. On the day of his disappearance (it seems Fredrich was quite weak) we find Alice, Gertrude and the weeping Duscha, enjoying the Tender Tart he baked as a parting gesture, with a cup of tea.

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Rainbow Chard and Tomato Walnut Crumble with Burrata

Rainbow Chard and Tomato Walnut Crumble with Burrata

I can’t get enough of this pretty and delicious vegetable. Its beautiful colours bring sunshine into my kitchen. Cooking turns the leaves silky, and the stems soft and oh so pretty with its rainbow-hues of pink, orange, yellow and red. And I like to keep my preparation as simple as I can, and not play around with it too much, just enjoying its colourful beauty, lemony flavour, and its rustic charm. So the simple addition of tomato walnut crumble and a creamy burrata makes it a perfect antipasti dish.

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