glebe - a wander

27 Feb 2013

I was determined to get something up on the blog today so I took my camera for a wander around the suburb of Glebe. I don't really know the suburb at all so I started with the iconic Valhalla building in Glebe, once a landmark art house cinema.

Don't you just love it's art deco lines?  

The Valhalla is on the corner of Hereford Street. I took a walk along the street to have a look at some typical Glebe buildings. I found single storey terrace houses and some very generous multilevel terraces just like the ones you'd find in Paddington.

Some were in pristine condition, many were quite dilapidated.

Just off Glebe Point Road is Palmerston Avenue where I spied this colourful house.The front of the house is bright yellow, obviously a newer addition and it looks nothing like the side of the house.

I loved the details so took quite a few photos of them.

I hope you enjoyed my little wander around the streets of Glebe. I might make these wanders exploring new to me Sydney suburbs, a semi-regular thing on the blog.

See you all again next week with some food and a little shop shoot.

Bye for now,


passionfruit fingers

25 Feb 2013

I think I need some kind of passion fruit intervention. Passion fruit were in season a few weeks ago and in the space of a week, I made passion fruit curd, a passion fruit and lemon curd cake, pavlovas topped with passion fruit and these passion fruit fingers. The only reason I stopped making things with passion fruit was because I ran out of them!

I've always loved passionfruit because you don't need to do anything fancy to them. Just cut them open, scoop out the pulp with a spoon and eat.

I based my recipe on the Edmonds Ginger Crunch I made a few weeks ago, except with a lemon shortbread base topped with passionfruit icing.

It's always interesting taking one of my inventions into work. Will they pass muster?

The passionfruit fingers are very sweet but also very more'ish and they disappeared in a flash.

Here's the recipe for you which makes 16 fingers.

Passionfruit Fingers
Cookie Base
110 g (4 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
75g ( cup) caster sugar
1¼ cups plain flour
¾ tsp baking powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Grated rind of 1 lemon

50 g (1¾ oz)  unsalted butter
1 cup icing sugar (confectioners sugar)
pulp of 2 passionfruit

Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C. Line a 7 x 10 inch slice tin with baking paper.

Sift together the flour and baking powder. In a small bowl or using a food processor, cream the butter with the sugar and the grated rind of 1 lemon until very light and fluffy. Mix the dry ingredients into the creamed butter mixture until well-combined. Add the lemon juice to form a dough. Press the dough into the prepared pan and flatten the surface. Bake for 20 minutes or until it is light golden brown.

Five minutes before the dough is done, make the icing by melting the butter. Place the sifted icing sugar in a bowl and stir in the passionfruit and the melted butter. Place the bowl over hot water or microwave on high for 30 seconds then beat really hard until the icing is very shiny. Pour the warm icing over the hot cookie base and spread evenly. Let the slice sit for about 20 to 30 minutes, then remove from the pan and slice while still slightly warm. When cool store in an airtight container.

If you try the recipe can you let me know how they turned out?

I had the most frustrating of weekends. The weather was awful, so I was housebound. I managed to make my computer crash and spent all weekend reinstalling software. I think everything is working now but I didn't get a chance to go out and do any photography, so Wednesday's post may or may not happen. 

See you all again on Wednesday, fingers crossed.



shopshoot - bison home

20 Feb 2013

When I was in Melbourne I had no intention of shooting any shops. I was there to buy, not to photograph! However when I was in Howey Place I spied bison home, formerly Bison Australia.

Brian Tunks, the owner of bison home is moving bison in a new direction and you can read all about it here.

What a colourful window display.

bison home has a new line out called poplar.  I'd not seen the new range so I walked inside to take a look.

I love the shape of the new vessels, which Brian has matched with co-ordinating serving ware and linen.

I asked if I could take a few photos of the store so I could share them with you.

I hope you enjoyed my little visit to bison home. You can find the shop at 9 Howey Place 273 - 277 Little Collins Street, Melbourne.

2016 edit - the Melbourne store has now closed but Bison continues to sell online and from it's Canberra store.

See you all again next week,



melbourne - royal botanic gardens

18 Feb 2013

I had a great time in Melbourne - lots of shopping and eating; catching up with friends and visiting the Art Gallery. Unfortunately, I came home from Melbourne, promptly lost my voice and spent the rest of the week feeling pretty crook. I had a very quiet weekend and as promised, I spent some time working on my photos.

The Hatton Hotel, where I stayed, has a roof top terrace so as soon as I checked in, I climbed the stairs to take a peek. It's a really modern space looking out over the rooftops of the city.

Here are some more photos.

The Royal Botanic Gardens in South Yarra are just a short walk from the Hatton Hotel. I entered the gardens by the ornate Nareeb gates.

It was a hot day in Melbourne so I was up really early so I could enjoy my walk through the gardens in the cool of the day. It's a pretty popular thing to do so I exchanged quite a few 'hellos' along the way.

The Melbourne Observatory.

A few vignettes from the gardens.

The beauty and serenity of the oak lawn.

Then it was back home to the Hatton Hotel.

I did a mini shop shoot when I was in town so I'll be back on Wednesday with some of my photos.

2016 edit - the Hatton Hotel has closed for business.

Bye for now,


hazelnut and chocolate hearts

13 Feb 2013

When I was at high school I used to work weekends in a flower shop called Twigs of Ascot. I loved working there and my favourite days were the busy days like Mother's Day and Valentine's Day. I can't tell you how many rose cylinders I filled on Valentine's Day topped with curly red ribbons. I wonder if rose cylinders are still in fashion?

Instead of red roses, I've gone a bit Miss Haversham this Valentine's Day with some well past their prime hydrangeas. That's what happens to hydrangeas when it's 46°C outside. 

For Valentine's Day, I knew exactly what I wanted to make - some very rich hazelnut and chocolate hearts.

I took out my heart shaped cutter and went a bit wild.

I can't remember the last time I made a chain of hearts.

The final product - some very chocolatey morsels, just perfect for Valentine's Day or when ever the need for chocolate strikes.

Here's the recipe for you, adapted from Maureen Simpson's book, Australian Cuisine.
Hazelnut and Chocolate Cakes
3 egg whites
⅓ cup caster sugar
1 cup hazelnut meal
1 tablespoon potato flour (starch)

100 gm (3½ oz) dark chocolate, chopped
1½ tablespoons water
¼ level teaspoon instant coffee powder
90 gm (3 oz) unsalted butter
¼ cup caster sugar
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
Optional - cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Line the base and sides of a 20 cm (8 inch) square tin with baking paper. In a medium size bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff, then gradually add the sugar until a stiff meringue forms. Fold through the hazelnut meal and the flour. Put into the prepared cake tin and gently spread the mixture evenly into the corners of the tin. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the mixture starts to shrink away from the edge of the tin.

While the cake is cooking, prepare the next layer. Melt the chopped chocolate with the water and the instant coffee in a small bowl over a basin of simmering water, then put to one side. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg yolks, the vanilla and the melted chocolate mixture. Pour the chocolate topping over the hazelnut sponge.

Return to the oven and bake for a further 20 - 30 minutes until the topping is just set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin before cutting into small squares or heart shapes, if desired. You can lightly dust these with cocoa powder before serving.

Happy Valentine's Day!

See you all again next week,


the hatton hotel - melbourne

11 Feb 2013

I've just returned home from a few days in Melbourne. I was a bit of a forgetful head when I packed and managed to leave my card reader at home. As  a result I've only had time to go through and pick out a few images for you but I promise to do a proper post on Melbourne next week.

Gosh it was a busy few days though. I did lots of shopping and I walked so much on the first day that my blisters developed blisters. I stayed at the Hatton Hotel in South Yarra near the Botanical Gardens.

I loved the building and took a stack of photos. The Hatton Hotel has a great roof terrace overlooking the city but I'll share those images with you next week.

The hotel reception area/breakfast room and bar.

I've just started writing a new food column for decor8 called 'Delicious Bites'. Each month I'll be sharing a recipe with Holly's readers and this month's recipe is for Plum Crumble Cake. I like to have fresh content on my blog so I'm not planning to repost the recipe here but I've attached a link to the recipe for you. 

I'll be back on Wednesday with a Valentine's day treat.

See you then,


beef and chorizo burger with tomato and chilli chutney

6 Feb 2013

I have a confession to make. I don't like beef burgers. Whilst I've eaten a few gourmet burgers, I've only ever eaten one burger from a fast food outlet. I thought it was time to revisit the humble burger because they seem to be very fashionable at the moment. In fact a burger made the front cover of January's Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine.

I decided to try this beef and chorizo burger from Donna Hay magazine. It seemed pretty easy and I had all the ingredients in the house. I've made it once with the featured beetroot relish but I actually prefer it with this tomato and chilli chutney.

Of course, I had to serve the burger with some of my faux chips.

I'm used to making meatballs using egg and breadcrumbs to hold everything together. I was a bit concerned with nothing holding the burger together other than salt, the burger might be dry as a result. The verdict?

I've made these burgers 3 times now and I still don't like beef burgers so I think I'll give up now. I found the meat patty really dry and prefer one of my Dad's home made rissoles in a bread roll! Sorry Donna!

I'm heading to Melbourne for the weekend and I'll be going camera in hand. I'm planning to go shopping when I'm down there and I hope to have some photos to share with you next week.

Bye now,


oat pancakes with oven roasted nectarines

4 Feb 2013

I don't know about you, but my weekends are always busy. I go to an early cycle class on Saturday and my Sundays usually whizz by so I often miss breakfast entirely during the weekend. My weekday breakfast is a bowl of bircher muesli topped with fruit and yoghurt but I've always been partial to pancakes. I tore this recipe for oat pancakes from the Saturday newspaper quite a few months back just waiting for the right time to make them.

As I always have oats in the house I was intrigued by the thought of oaty pancakes. I couldn't cope with the the prospect of salted caramel sauce for breakfast so I oven roasted some nectarines inspired by this recipe here.

I cut the sugar in the batter by 1 tablespoon and the pancakes were still sweet enough for my tastebuds. The batter is pretty thick so my first pancake could have been used as a door mat. I kept thinning the batter with milk and the remaining pancakes turned out fine.

I topped the pancakes with some of the oven roasted fruit, a dollop of Greek style yoghurt and a drizzle of maple syrup.

I froze some of the pancakes and had the leftovers for breakfast on Sunday morning. I'd finished all the nectarines so I served the pancakes with yoghurt, blueberries and maple syrup. They were just as yummy.

As you can see I licked the plate clean. I'll definitely be making these again.

See you all again on Wednesday.


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