Mulberry Torta

30 Nov 2009

It seems like ages since I last posted. I've just enjoyed a 3-day break fom work and I'm in no hurry to return tomorrow. Roll on Christmas.

A few weeks back I found a recipe for Mulberry Torta by Steve Manfredi in the Sydney Morning Herald. I had some mulberries in the freezer so I decided to try the recipe. I didn't have quite enough mulberries in the freezer and the season had ended so I used blueberries instead.

My cake tin was a little larger than recommended so I had trouble spreading the batter over the fruit. If I was to make it again I would increase the batter to fruit ratio a little.

I took the torta into work and it was devoured pretty quickly, which is always a good sign. I'd intended to serve the torta with cream but I left it at home. I only tried my slice during the weekend and I found it a little bland. Next time I would add some grated lemon rind to the fruit mixure cos it just needed a bit of a zing. I think it would be lovely made with some tart raspberries and served with thick cream for a rustic winter dessert.

I'll be back again Wednesday so until then,


Friday Favourites - Bellevue Hill

27 Nov 2009

It's been another hot day in Sydney. I was out in the western suburbs for work and really appreciated the sea breeze that was blowing when I returned home this afternoon. I went to Bondi Junction and had a power shop. In one short hour I bought 3 Christmas gifts, some Christmas cards and stamps and have shortlisted a few more items to buy on Monday my day off.

On Monday I have a date with Kurt, the travel agent, to start planniing my trip for 2010. Dates and locations are hazy but I think you can safely say that London, Glasgow and Paris will definitely be on my itinerary plus some places in Scandinavia, probably Oslo and who knows where else. I'm certainly open to suggestions. As 2009 passed by without a holiday I've already told work they won't be seeing me in June or July. I normally book my trips about 3 weeks before I fly out so I'm not used to such long range planning.

For today I'm leaving you with the last few film images from my little plastic camera. As I was trying to finish off the roll of film, I literally walked out my front door and snapped the last 6 frames around my neighbourhood - the local church, Cooper Park and the block of flats slated for demolition.

It's been a really busy week so I'm glad the weekend has finally arrived. I have a 3-day break about which I'm really excited. See you all next week,


Bittersweet Chocolate Tart

23 Nov 2009

I'd hate to give the impression that all my baking turns out perfectly each time, because that just wouldn't be correct. I've made this tart on many occasions and have never had any problem with the pastry until now. I used my usual almond shortcrust pastry which I'd stored in the freezer. I prebaked the shell and when I tried to remove it from the tin, it shattered into a hundred pieces. When I looked closely at the pastry, it looked aerated as though some raising agent had been added. I thought I must have been tired when I made the pastry and used self raising flour by mistake.

Instead I decided to try the tart with chocolate pastry. I made the pastry and placed it in the fridge to cool. When I tried to roll the pastry out, it cracked...over and over again. Eventually I gave up trying and for the first time ever, I pressed the pastry into the tin before I baked the shell. In the end, it seemed to make little difference to my work colleagues who devoured the tart in record time.

I made some chocolate ivy leaves to decorate the tart, a real throw back to the 80's. It was 40 degrees C on Sunday and it took me 2 goes but I managed to get a few decent ones in the end. I've had a small sliver of the tart and the wickedly chocolate, just set custard filling almost tastes of coffee, although there is no coffee in the tart I made.

I have a deadline to make this week so I may not be back until Friday with a few more film images. So until then,



Friday Favourites- Blue Mountains on film

20 Nov 2009

A few weeks ago I wrote about my new little plastic camera. I collected the film on Wednesday and I thought you'd like to see the end results.

A few frames didn't turn out but overall I thought the results were pretty impressive. The images have a really dreamy soft look with a heavy vignette and a small area in sharp focus. I have a few more images to show you later but I know I'll certainly be playing with my little toy camera again.

Enjoy the weekend and try to keep cool if you can,

Bye for now,


Mr. Brown Eyes

18 Nov 2009

I've always had a thing for little boys with big brown eyes.


Raffaella's Cookies

16 Nov 2009

It seems like ages since I last posted any food photos. I've been really busy the past few weekends so I haven't had any time to bake and it's been noticed at work. Muttering has been heard. I managed to find some time this past weekend and baked up a storm.

No matter how busy I've been, I've made a batch of these delicious cookies every week for the past month or so. I was given this recipe by a kind Italian lady called Raffaella. The first time I made them, they came out like bullets. Her recipe was very specific and my dodgy scales couldn't quite manage a precise measurement like 30 grams. I promptly went out and bought a fancy set of digital scales.

I can't help myself so I'm still working on perfecting the recipe. I've tried using icing sugar/I've added some cornflour/reduced the quantity of dry ingredients and in the end, I think Raffaella's version is the best.

Raffaella sandwiches her cookies with dark chocolate but I haven't convinced myself that chocolate icing wouldn't be a better option. With that in mind I have iced half the cookies and used dark chocolate for the rest and will do a taste test.

I'll let you know next week which cookie is the winner. I'll be back on Wednesday,

Bye for now,


Edit - I forgot to let you know the winner. The plain dark chocolate filling is the best. I use a 45% cocoa content dark chocolate like Club or Old Gold for the filling. 70% cocoa is way too intense and not sweet enough to be used as a filling. I also coat both cookies before sandwiching them together so you get a double chocolate hit.

Paper Tale - Inside Out Magazine

13 Nov 2009

I thought you might like to see the final lay-out of the article on Jo Neville in the Christmas Issue of Inside Out magazine, titled 'paper tale'.

Inside Out magazine were kind enough to send me a copy of the article today. It's a nice article on Jo from Paper Couture and I really like the final product.

The weekend is here and I'm so excited. My place will be a tradesman free zone for the first time in 3 weeks and I have plans to do some shopping and some baking.

Enjoy the weekend and I'll be back again next week,


Family Photos

11 Nov 2009

I know I show photos of food and travel all the time, but I didn't want you to think I no longer photograph weddings or portraits. I spent Sunday afternoon in Centennial Park dodging the rain and trying to work out creative ways to entertain small children.

The girls had been dressed so nicely by their Mum and the Ariel umbrella was the perfect accessory.

How cute is she?

I've been busy editing since Sunday afternoon so I'm now a bit cross-eyed. If you need a family portrait session for Christmas, there's still time as long as you only need prints but you must book in well, now. If you're after an album, portrait boxes or cards, the deadline for Christmas deliveries has already passed. Maybe next year,

Until later,


The Christmas Cake

9 Nov 2009

Every year I make the family Christmas cake and it's become a bit of a ritual. It requires a bit of pre-planning because it's all about the preparation of the fruit. This year I even candied my own fruit rind and I can't wait to see how the cake tastes. I slowly accumulate the fruit over a few shopping trips; weigh and chop the dried fruit; then wash and soak it three times in boiling water before soaking the mixture in rum.

A good fruit cake needs time to mature and I usually make the cake about 2 months before Christmas and I don't think the cake has ever been cut before the end of January and often even later than that. The cake darkens with time so the pictures you see here are not the final product.

Sometimes there is a little mixture left over and I make a little cake specially for the cook. Keep that a secret from my family who always insist on me taking some cake home from Brisbane, not knowing I have my own little cake waiting for me at home.

P.S. I want to give a big thanks to Holly of decor8 blog for featuring my photos of Anna Spiro's shop, Black and Spiro on decor8.

Until the next time,


Inside Out Magazine Christmas Issue - Jo Neville Feature

6 Nov 2009

I wasn't expecting to post tonight but I have something to tell you all about. A few months ago I paid a visit to Paper Couture, a sweet paper shop owned by Jo Neville. I think Paper Couture was my second shopshoot ever.

Fast forward to last month when I received an email from Jo asking if I could take some portraits as she was going to be featured in Inside Out magazine and needed some updated headshots. I think the production deadline for the magazine had come and gone so the shoot was all done very quickly. We wanted to capture the essence of Jo and chose her iconic paper globe as our prop.

This morning I scrolled through my blog list and discovered that the Christmas issue of Inside Out magazine was on the news stands. I checked the Inside Out magazine blog and there was the profile on Jo, titled Paper Tale and there was my image. Here are a few more images from the shoot that Jo selected.

I don't have my own copy of the magazine yet but I had a quick look through the magazine this morning an my way to work and it looks like a lovely issue.

Have a happy weekend every-one,


Hump Day

4 Nov 2009

I don't know if it's called the same thing overseas but here in Australia, Wednesday is known as hump day. I think it's called that as it's the middle of the week and once you've made it through the day, you slide into the weekend. Wednesday is always such a long day for me at work and I'm glad when the day is over.

I hadn't really thought too much about today's post as I've been spending all my spare time trying to rectify some software glitches I discovered on Sunday. I think I know what's going on but haven't quite worked out how I can solve the problem.

I've just taken my camera off to the repair shop to get the sensor cleaned (an annual task) as I have a job on this coming Sunday. With one camera out of action I thought I'd share with you my newest camera purchase.

It's a Golden Half camera I bought a few weeks ago. It's a Japanese toy camera made entirely of plastic and it's very basic. It takes 2 images per frame so I have 48 images from my roll of 24. I haven't quite finished off the first roll but when I do I'll post some of the images.

My newest etsy purchase arrived last week. It's a pretty lace garland from Lobster and Swan. I haven't had a chance to put it up but when I do I'll take some more photos so you can see how pretty it is hanging in my bedroom.

I'm not sure that I'll be back before the weekend so if not, have a great weekend and I'll see you all again on Monday,


Rhubarb Bakewell Tarts

2 Nov 2009

Hi Every-one,

I'm back but my project hasn't advanced much further since I last wrote. One of the drawbacks to digital imaging is the large file size of the images. Although I store my images on an external HDD my poor old p.c. struggles to process the images so everything happens very slowly. I'm long overdue to purchase a new one but that would involve making a decision....

I'm posting images of the dessert I made for my Mum's birthday dinner which was held last month. Mum liked the look of the Rhubarb Frangipane Tart she saw on the blog, so I decided to make some individual tarts. Off I went to Brisbane with a pot of pink grapefruit and rhubarb jam, a batch of almond shortcrust pastry and 4 tart tins tucked away in my luggage.

My Dad was given the task of sourcing the rhubarb. I think he went to 4 different places before tracking down a bunch which cost 3 times the price I pay in Sydney. If only I'd known in advance but life was so busy I didn't have time to make it to the fruit market and I'm not sure how I would have managed carrying a bunch of rhubarb on the plane.

It's a bit of a process making these tarts - there is pastry to make, preparing and oven baking the rhubarb topping, preparing the frangipane filling and making the home made jam. I have to say it's one of the best desserts I've ever made.

I wasn't sure how best to style the tarts so I looked through the kitchen cupboards and found some sweet Scandinavian coffee cups. It's a little hard to see, but Farmer Andrew acted as barista and whipped up some espresso or maybe it was a short black complete with crema to add authenticity to the shot.

Talk to you all a bit later in the week,

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