Mrs Ortwieler's Cheesecake

30 Aug 2009

When I flew home to Brisbane 2 weeks ago for my Dad's birthday I'd decided to make a cheesecake for his birthday cake. It's quite hard to find the right kind of cheese in Brisbane so I had a kilo of Farm Cottage Cheese and some almond pastry stored in my luggage, as you do.

My Mum has been making this cheesecake since she was married and I've been using this recipe for over 20 years myself. The cake should be topped with a lattice of pastry but after all that early rising and packing for an 8.00 a.m. flight I wasn't in the mood for fiddling about so made it as is.

I would describe the cheesecake as sophisticated in taste. It's nothing like the cheesecake with which most people would be familiar and I don't think I've ever tasted another cake quite like this. The cake is very light and barely sweet and my parents always served it with coffee in Mum's special coffee cups. Very European especially for Brisbane in the 1960's.

Back to work for me tomorrow. I hope you all had a lovely weekend.



Friday Favourite - Cantankerous Kitty

28 Aug 2009

My mother will chide me for the nickname, but this is what I call my sister's cat, Cantankerous Kitty or C.K for short. C.K is a Himalayan Persian cat and when groomed looks like a marshmallow cookie on legs.

She and I have a "relationship", which is based on the principle that she is top cat and I am very low in the family pecking order. She and all her grooming products have taken over my old bedroom so I now sleep in my brother's room when I come to visit. She isn't all that keen about me sleeping there either, so to let me know just who's the boss, she bellows outside my bedroom door at 3.00 a.m. I do like my sleep so I guess you're starting to get the idea why I call her C.K.

Since her arrival at my parents home just over a year ago, she has firmly wedged herself into my parent's affections and as you can see has also wedged herself quite firmly onto their old bedroom chair. Her favourite activity (or perhaps that should be inactivity) is sleeping and she has a variety of positions. And yes, she really is that fluffy.

Have a great weekend every-one,



26 Aug 2009

A few months ago I saw some pretty things on Design Sponge by a Korean company called o-check graphic designs. Their website is not user friendly but I managed to locate the Australian distributor and saw that Papier D'Amour stocked their collection.

Papier D'Amour is a shop in Double Bay only a 5 minutes drive from my home so I drove down there last month and bought a few items.

After driving home I thought you might like to take a look inside the colourful store in Cross Street Double Bay so I arranged a time with Phoebe.

The shop has just begun opening on Sunday morning and I was up there bright and early at opening time. Lots of people were out and about having breakfast or taking an early morning stroll with their dog.

Phoebe has stocked the shop with lots of pretty things for adults and grown-ups alike and it's quite hard to leave the store without a few items. I think I may have found a few Christmas presents for some of my like minded stationery fiend friends.

I hope you enjoyed your little tour of Phoebe's store,

Bye for now,



24 Aug 2009

Sorry about my lack of post yesterday, but I was having trouble with my internet service. Back home from work and it seems to be re-established so I'll quickly post this whilst I have a connection.

I had a busy Sunday - I did a lot of food preparation and photography so check back over the next few weeks so see what I've been working on. I also paid a visit to a lovely store, so peek back on Thursday to see what I've been up to.

A few weeks ago I stumbled on a website which featured photos of restaurant in Sweden I think. Of course now I can't find the link but I was particularly struck by a photo of a simple meal of dark brown bread, accompanied by bowls of cream and raspberries. It looked so delicious and it immediately conjured up visions of a devonshire or cream tea.

I bought strawberry jam and thick cream on my Saturday morning trip to the shops then whipped up a batch of scones early Sunday morning and had 2 for my breakfast and a third one for my afternoon tea. The battered scone cutter in the photo is one I've had since I was a teenager. It was a gift from my parents following a trip to Hahndorf, near Adelaide and has followed me from Brisbane to Sydney.

There are lots of tricks to making fluffy, light scones. If you want them to rise high, you need to pack them close together in the tin and bake them in a very hot oven. If you like your scones light and fluffy, you'll need to wrap them in a clean tea towel as soon as they come out of the oven to trap the steam.

See you again later in the week, internet willing,



Friday Favourites - Brisbane

21 Aug 2009

I spent last weekend in my home town of Brisbane. Our Sydney winter has been mild but Brisbane's weather must have been close to tropical. I'd forgotten how brightly coloured the flowers are in Brisbane. The flowers in Sydney are much more muted by comparison at this time of year.

I was up bright and early on Sunday and strolled around the neighbourhood taking photos of the flowers particularly the bougainvillea at Camden, a well known apartment building in our street. 

I also took photos of flowers well known from my childhood but I'm embarrassed to admit, I don't know their names.

Before I turned for home I took a walk down Eden Lane and took photos of the lavender at Eden Court and my Auntie Jill's lovely house. Brisbane was looking at it's finest that weekend.

I still have more Brisbane posts to come in the next week or two so look out for them. 

Have a happy weekend.


The Best Chocolate Brownie, Ever!

19 Aug 2009

Coming back from Brisbane on Monday has put my schedule all out of kilter. I still haven't prepared my images from Brisbane but hopefully I'll have enough images so I post about my trip home on Friday.

I've been working on perfecting my brownie recipe all year and I think I may have finally achieved it. I've been reducing the quantity of flour each time I bake them and I think I now have the right balance of doneness and squidginess though I rather think I just made up those 2 words. The brownies are quite dense and chocolatey, filled with walnuts and iced with a melted chocolate topping cos I think brownies look a bit plain unadorned.

One of the girls at work took a bite and declared they were the best chocolate brownies, ever - hence the title of the post. My piece of brownie is still waiting for me in the freezer for one of those days when nothing but chocolate will do.

See you again soon,



Mandarin Bakewell Tart

17 Aug 2009

Apologies every-one but my web server is down so that's why there are no images or header on my blog. I'm hoping this is just a temporary glitch. I've uploaded these new images via a different route and played with the dimensions so I hope they look okay.

I went up to Brisbane for the weekend and will have lots of images to post in the next few weeks. Until I have time to prepare those images I'll leave you with some images of a Mandarin Bakewell Tart I made a few weeks ago. A Bakewell Tart is a British invention that uses an almond frangipane filling over a layer of jam, topped with almonds.

I thought it would be a good opportunity to use the mandarin curd I made during my citrus curd marathon a few weeks ago and I used some almond pastry that I had lurking in the fridge. The tart wasn't perfect (the filling pulled away a littlle from the pastry) but it was enjoyed by my work colleagues. Later on I discovered a full jar of mandarin curd in the fridge so I have no idea what flavour curd I used. I think it may have been the lemon curd but no matter it still tasted fine.

I have plans to make a lime, macadamia and coconut version 'cos you guessed it, I still have a jar of lime curd in the fridge. Well I think it's lime curd.

I hope every-one had a lovely weekend,


P.S Everything is back in order so I'm reposting this with higher quality images.


Friday Favourite - Marche aux Puces

14 Aug 2009

It's a year since I flew to the UK which means it's a year since my last holiday and boy am I feeling the strain! Looking through my images I realised I didn't ever post about my visit to Marche aux Puces. I was in Paris last August which is vacation month in Paris and I had no idea that Paris literally shuts for the month.

I arrived early and not a single shop was open. I was a bit sad that I'd travelled so far and I wasn't going to experience the markets but slowly a few more shops opened. In the end I was able to get an idea of the market experience and vowed to return to Paris and the markets, hopefully in 2010.

I'm going away for the weekend so I won't be posting for the next few days.

Happy Weekend,



Passionfruit Tart - The Egg Thief

12 Aug 2009

I am now unofficially known as the 'egg thief' at work. How did I earn this title? We are often given food at work and when we place it on the table it's known as 'free for all'. When 4 dozen enormous farm fresh eggs appeared on the kitchen bench last Wednesday, we all wondered if they were free for all. When they remained untouched on Thursday the word went round that they were.

On Friday I brought in an egg container and carefully took 6 of the eggs home as I had plans to make a passionfruit tart. They were the largest eggs I've ever seen and when weighed they topped the scales at 75 grams. I made the tart on Sunday and whilst the pastry was crisp and light, the filling was a bit of a disaster. It really wouldn't set properly and cooked into nothingness so I didn't even bother taking a photograph and I dispatched the tart straight to work. I did make 2 small tarts for myself and took a photo of the better one of the two.

Whilst the tart was no thing of beauty, it tasted gloriously and intensely of passionfruit and the whole thing was gone before lunch time. Later in the afternoon, long after the tart had been consumed, I heard the owner of the eggs complaining that by the time she'd taken them home on Friday some of her eggs had been pinched! Mortified I 'fessed up immediately and explained that they were part of the very tart that she'd consumed.

The cries of 'thief, thief' when I walked in the office the next day were a little over the top I thought but I think all was forgiven when I was asked for the recipe. The recipe hasn't been written yet but I think the first instruction might be, don't use 4 farm fresh eggs....


Bride to Be Magazine

11 Aug 2009

Isn't this a pretty magazine cover? I do very little print advertising but I'm proud to say that I am now advertising in Bride to Be magazine. Why am I proud? Bride to Be chooses who they want to include in their magazine and I'm one of only 8 photographers featured in the magazine. I'm in stellar company.

The magazine is now on the news stand and I received my copy last Friday. I might be biased but this issue is absolutely gorgeous and not just because it features my photos of Katrina and Efren's lovely wedding day.

I'll be back tomorrow,


Macadamia Lime and Coconut Cake

9 Aug 2009

We've been having the most amazing weather in Sydney this past week. The skies are blue and the temperature has been pretty mild. It could be spring!

The dinner is in the oven and as I'm writing this I'm archiving files. What used to be a simple process - placing negatives in archival sleeving with a label - has now become a triple back-up process. First step involves downloading the cards onto an external hard disc drive which is back-up one. I then save the prepared jpegs and collages onto the laptop which is back-up 2 and then I burn a copy of everything to dvd - back-up 3. Then and only then do I wipe the memory cards.

I've done quite a bit of baking today, which I shouldn't do when I'm tired. The passionfruit tart I made isn't what it should be, so I didn't bother taking any photos of it. It's now on my list of 'redos' which thankfully isn't too long. Instead I'm posting my version of Bill Granger's Macadamia Lime and Coconut Cake. At work we all like using Bill's recipes as they're simple, don't use too many ingredients and best of all, taste really good.

I live quite close to bills in Woollahra and Surry Hills and the food from the books appear on the menus. 

I first made this cake last year and it turned out perfectly. I made the cake a few months ago and took it with me to a bbq. I was told the cake was delicious but it turned out quite flat and I was a bit disappointed so this time I decided to bake the cake in a 20 cm (8 inch cake tin). This time the cake was a mile high so who knows what went wrong. The best part of the cake - the lime icing! 

Back to work tomorrow so bye for now,


SHOPSHOOT Parterre Woollahra - Part 2

7 Aug 2009

As promised, here is part 2 of my blog post on Parterre. After roaming around the store I made my way into the courtyard garden.

The garden area is a delightful mix of vintage and modern - beautiful gates with the patina of age, water features, topiaries, potted plants, vessels and watering cans. Lots of things to covet I can assure you.

There was also a special visitor to the shop last Sunday - a 5 year old Pomeranian, Maltese cross called Bushie (I think). Bushie trotted happily through the store as I was taking photos, then took a stroll in the garden. Bushie sat quite happily and posed for photos before leaving the shop to continue with his Sunday morning stroll.

I can't wait to see what other treasures I can find next time I visit Parterre.

Have a great weekend every-one,


SHOPSHOOT Parterre Woollahra - Part 1

5 Aug 2009

I love pretty shiny things and if my own apartment wasn't so streamlined design wise, I certainly think I could live with a chandelier. My grandmother loved chandeliers and managed to squeeze two into her tiny 1 bedroom apartment. When she moved, one of those chandeliers went with her. Why am I writing about chandeliers? You may well ask.

I used to live in Woollahra and Queen Street has always been one of my favourite shopping areas. On Sunday I paid a visit to Parterre, a beautiful store housed in an old sandstone building in Woollahra.

Inside is a treasure trove of French antiques and collectibles whilst outside there is a parterre garden. There are magnificent tables, lights, glassware, mirrors and of course, chandeliers on display. I was in heaven.
Robert gave me free rein of the store and I photographed happily for an hour. As I took so many images I'll be doing 2 posts on Parterre. Today I'll post the interiors whilst the next post will concentrate on the garden.

Every time I photograph one of these beautiful stores, I leave with a few mementos. I brought home 2 beautiful Portuguese plates from Parterre - a geranium plate and a cabbage plate - which no doubt you'll see in some of my food photography.

I received an email from Kim today letting me know that a new shipment of goodies has just arrived at the store so even more reasons to visit Parterre!

I hope you enjoy the images. Please check back Friday for part 2 of the post.


Mixed Berry Frangipane Tart - Inspired leftovers

2 Aug 2009

Baking every week means leftovers and I can't bear to throw anything away. That means my very small freezer is home to -
  • eggwhites
  • banana puree
  • passionfruit pulp
  • pastry
  • nuts and coconut
  • chocolate ganache
  • baked tartlet shells and the list goes on.

Every now and then I'll experiment by filling one of the tartlet shells with the leftover fillings and the result is one of my 'Inspired Leftovers'.

I made a Mandarin Bakewell Tart last weekend and used the leftover almond frangipane filling plus some frozen mixed berries I found in the deep recesses of my freezer to make a Mixed Berry Frangipane Tart. This one I kept all to myself and it was delicious!

I've another special treat this coming week - my visit to Parterre in Woollahra - so come back Thursday Sydney time. 

Until then,

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