food photography

Heirloom Tomato, Peach, and Pickled Shallot Salad

Heirloom Tomato, Peach, and Pickled Shallot Salad

Since returning home from Chateau de Gudanes in the south of France I’ve been dreaming about, and missing, the intensely flavoured and perfumed fruit of the area.

The heirloom tomatoes were extraordinary. I’ve never tasted anything quite like them, and the stone fruit, every bite a joy. It was produce at its best, seasonal, ready to be enjoyed without elaborate preparation, or presentation.

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Haddock Mayonnaise and Russian Easter

Haddock Mayonnaise and Russian Easter

Russian Easter has always been one of my, and my family’s, favourite times of the year. Unlike Christmas, we eat the same dishes every year, and there is something so comforting about that, anticipating flavours embedded in my memory, and quite possibly my DNA. We make Paskha, a pyramid of cream cheese impregnated with dried fruit and toasted almonds to be eaten with Kulich, a domed cylinder of sweet bread and dried fruit. I boil eggs, and then dye them the colours of the rainbow.

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Tomato ‘Nduja Sauce with Prawns, Clams and Fregula

Tomato ‘Nduja Sauce with Prawns, Clams and Fregula

I was introduced to ‘Nduja a couple of years ago while I was working on a project for a boutique butcher. He had just started stocking the brand Salumi Australia; they were making it as part of their range of delicious salumi. He asked me to come up with a recipe using ‘nduja, and so I did.

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We call it Chinese Spaghetti

We call it Chinese Spaghetti

‘What does everyone want for dinner?’ A question I ask my family when we’re all together and staying in for the night. Usually the response will be for a family favourite, something that I’ve made many times before, a big dish that’s placed in the middle of the table, to be enjoyed with enough for second helpings, that’s not tricky or trendy, but evokes memories of good times spent together as a family.

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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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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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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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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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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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My Favourite Chocolate Mousse: an American Recipe.

My Favourite Chocolate Mousse: an American Recipe.

I have to start this post off by saying this recipe isn’t mine. Like the recipe for Crème Caramel, (in the recipe section) I can do no better, this chocolate mousse, is simply the best. For someone who’s not a chocolate lover, I make this mousse a lot, one of my daughters will eat it for breakfast, (it covers all the food groups, doesn’t it), and every time I post it on Instagram, I have several requests for the recipe, so, for those of you who don’t have Thomas Keller’s fabulous book Bouchon, here it is. He also uses it in a tart, with the most delicious hazelnut crust (see below): a gorgeous crumbly, nutty pastry with a lovely saltiness to it that compliments the mousse perfectly. 

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Coq au Vin. Revisiting a Classic: No. 1

Coq au Vin. Revisiting a Classic: No. 1

Coq au Vin, such a classic French dish, and one that I adore. Recently I realised it’s a dish you dont see around much anymore, and certainly not on restaurant menus. Maybe its gone out of fashion, considered boring perhaps – who knows? I tend to think however, no matter what the latest food fad, classic dishes like this are important to have in your repertoire. They are perfect with the right glass of wine, and are not too hard to make, provided you have a great stock, which I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about; I know I go on about it, but its important, so I have included it in the recipe below. Just remember, it’s a stew really it is.

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Black Bean and Chorizo Soup, Poached Pears and a Little Smoked Salmon Pasta

Black Bean and Chorizo Soup, Poached Pears and a Little Smoked Salmon Pasta

Hi everyone, I just wanted to let you know that I often put recipes up in my recipe section without writing a post. So, if you go to my site, and into “recipes”, you will find these delicious dishes below.

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