Wentworth Falls

28 Oct 2009

As promised here are some more photos from my mini break at the Blue Mountains. The Blue Mountains has a number of quaint villages and this was my second stay at Wentworth Falls. I also really like Leura, which is where I spent the second day of my 2 day stay.

I've been bushwalking at Wentworth Falls, Katoomba and Blackheath but have done the National Pass walk at Wentworth Falls on many occasions. Although I live on the coast and love the ocean, I also really love the mountains. There's just something about the smell of the Australian bush and rainforest - a curious mix of eucalyptus and other exotic flora. There are so many interesting plants along the walk and it makes me regret my complete lack of botanical knowledge because I can't name most of them.

I went for a walk around the Wentworth Falls Lake before breakfast at the recommendation of Cathy, one of Silvermere's owners. Before this visit I didn't know such a lake existed. I passed by colourful parrots and waratahs on my way down to the lake shore.

The Wentworth Falls Lake is very quiet early in the morning with the peace of the lake disturbed only by a family of ducks. The Blue Mountains is such a special place.


Apple Berry Crumble Tart

26 Oct 2009

Do you remember a few weeks ago, I told you how I'd found mulberries at the local fruit market? I knew they wouldn't last long and I had a few things on so I decided to freeze the mulberries until I had time to bake them in a pie.

I've had this recipe for years but rarely bake it as a pie though I use the topping to make a luxurious apple and berry crumble when guests come over for dinner. When I spied the mulberries, I decided it was time to try the pie recipe after all these years. I'd made some notes in the past increasing the quantity of crumble topping but when it came time to make the pie I ignored them. When I strewed the crumble over the filling and it was little sparse, I remembered why I'd made those notes.

I took the tart into work last week and one of my colleagues asked if I'd bought the mulberries. She has a tree at home and spends most week nights sweeping the mulberries from her driveway. The next working day, Wendy kindly brought in a plastic container full of the wickedly juicy purple black berries. 

I snaffled a few before I took them home and I can't tell you the difference in flavour between the home grown variety fresh from the tree and the berries that had travelled 400 kilometres to market.

This tart is best served warm from the oven with a dollop of thick cream.

By the way, do you like my new/old knife? I picked it up for $5.00 last weekend at a local demolition yard sale. It reminds me of something my grandma would have had in her kitchen. It's such a pity the building will be demolished though as unfailingly it's replacement will be without any character at all.

I'll be back on Wednesday but I'll be posting less often in the next few weeks. I have a project that's a year overdue and a November 24 deadline so I have to knuckle down and get it done. Bye for now,


Friday Favourites - Silvermere, Wentworth Falls

23 Oct 2009

It's too difficult to explain, but I've just had a 2 day break from work. As it was a last minute thing, I spent Tuesday night on the internet looking for a place to stay in the Blue Mountains, a 2 hour drive from Sydney. I've always loved the Blue Mountains and normally visit once or twice a year but it's more than 2 years since my last visit.

Originally I planned to stay at Echo Point but somehow I managed to find Silvermere on the web. It looked lovely and as I've always enjoyed the walks at Wentworth Falls, I decided to book into the last room available. I drove up to Wentworth Falls on Thursday and did the National Pass walk first before checking into Silvermere. I've done this walk many times but boy I found it hard going and my legs were pretty sore. Thankfully when I drove into the driveway at Silvermere it was everything that it appeared to be on the website and a bit more.

My room was spacious and spotlessly clean. The house was beautifully furnished and the gardens were gorgeous. I roamed around the garden with my camera and wished I could have recorded the scents as well as the images. I spent a peaceful night there before a delicious breakfast which kept me full until 3.00 p.m.

Have a great weekend,

Jillian - as you can see I've finished editing the photos and have added a few more. I'll post the rest next week.

Shopshoot - Black and Spiro

21 Oct 2009

I'm very excited because I have the next two days off work and I'm going to treat myself to a little mini escape to the Blue Mountains. I bought a little toy film camera online which arrived last week and I can't wait to play with it. Of course the camera (s) will be coming with me on my journey but not I fear my laptop. I don't know how I'll survive without it. I'm planning on doing some bushwalking; exploring the beautiful gardens and shops in Leura and eating - a few of my favourite things.

I first heard about Anna Spiro and her blog, Absolutely Beautiful Things via my Mum last year. When I clicked on her blog I recognised her store Black and Spiro straight away as I'd visited it a few times before on my many trips to Brisbane. The store is housed in a beautiful old building in the suburb of New Farm.

For those of you who've not visited Brisbane, it's a major city like no other in Australia. It has a sub tropical climate; unique houses built on stilts that I love and the flowers in Brisbane seem to be larger than life and more colourful than in other parts of Australia. Anna has managed to capture the colour of Brisbane in all her work.

The store has lots of pretty goodies all characterised by Anna's use of colour- ginger jars, furniture, paintings, flowers' cushions, lamps, books on design and interiors and lots of pretty knick knacks. 

It's also the location for Anna's design business so fabric and wallpaper swatches abound.

I hope you all enjoyed my little tour of Black and Spiro.

Hopefully I'll be back in 1 piece Friday night from my little trip away,


Peanut Butter Caramel Cookies

19 Oct 2009

When I was growing up, I was firmly on the vegemite side when it came to the 'vegemite vs peanut paste (butter) as a sandwich filling' debate. In fact I still don't think I've ever eaten a peanut butter sandwich. A jar of peanut butter lasts me for years, as the only time I ever use it is as an ingredient in a Thai curry. That also means until a few weeks ago I'd never ever tasted peanut butter cookies.

A few weeks back one of my clients bought in some leftover candies from a baby shower. I assumed it was chocolate so left it until I had one of those days when I really needed chocolate. When I eventually decided to eat it, I discovered it was peanut brittle coated in chocolate and it tasted just like a scorched peanut bar. Scorched peanut bars disappeared from the shelves a long time ago but they were one of my favourite treats.

I started browsing the internet looking for a recipe that would combine peanuts, caramel and chocolate. I came up with a few that I've yet to try, but found this one from David Leibovitz and using it as a base, came up with my own version.

I used a different peanut butter cookie recipe that's studded with peanuts and instead of the salted caramel in the recipe, I used some caramel filling which I had stored in the freezer and sprinkled it with salt flakes. I decided to leave ½ the batch plain so I could have some regular peanut butter cookies to try and took the rest into work with me.  They didn't last very long.

Why didn't any-one tell me how delicious peanut butter cookies are? I can tell you they last 4 days in an airtight container and thereafter, who knows? They didn't last that long. I did store a small amount in the freezer so tomorrow I'll bake them so I'll have some tasty treats in the house.

Don't forget to check back on Wednesday for my next Shopshoot featuring Black and Spiro.

Until then,


Friday Favourite - Jacarandas, Brisbane

16 Oct 2009

It's Friday night and the couch is beckoning. Before I jump onto it with a nice cup of tea I'll leave you with a touch of jacaranda blue from my recent trip to Brisbane.

The jacarandas are just coming into bloom in Sydney but are out in full force in Brisbane. I just love their flowers. I shot some film while I was away and I've just dropped it off to the lab. I finished off the roll of film by photographing a beautiful jacaranda tree in the crescent where my parents live. Hopefully I'll have something to show you next Friday.

Have a lovely weekend and I'll talk to you all next week,


A sneak peek - Black and Spiro

14 Oct 2009

During my stay in Brisbane, there was a bit of drama involving CK the cat who was a bit out of sorts and needed to visit the cat clinic. I took this photo just before Dad wrangled her into her cat carry case. She's a hefty thing so I carried her down the stairs to the waiting car.

Earlier in the day I'd visited Anna Spiro of Black and Spiro to do a shopshoot. I won't have a full post ready until next week but I've left you with a sneak peek of her pretty store in New Farm.

Now it's time for me to watch Celebrity MasterChef, so I'll leave you here but before I leave you I thought I'd let you know that Nicky of the Near Future has written a lovely post about me on her blog, The Nearish Future (blog address no longer active).


Pear, Ginger and Hazelnut Tart

12 Oct 2009

Life is just so busy at the moment. In the past few days I've done a portrait shoot and a shopshoot plus flown to Brisbane for a family celebration. I've done lots of baking and quite a bit of eating as well. My normal diet has gone out the window and I seem to be surviving on nervous energy and lots of sugar. It will be time to hit the gym on my return to Sydney.

I baked this tart for a work colleague's birthday and it's based on a torn out recipe from a local Women's magazine. That recipe used bought frozen shortcrust pastry and nutella, 2 items that have never been seen in my kitchen.

I decided to use ginger marmalade instead and coarsely chopped glace ginger in the filling for a real ginger hit. I photographed the tart on Saturday just before I left for the airport to catch my flight to Brisbane so I haven't even had a taste of the tart yet.

This is what's waiting for me on my return from Sydney - after my cycle class of course.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends and for every-one returning to work, I hope you have a good week.


Eveleigh Artisan Markets Part 2

9 Oct 2009

Well here is the full post I promised you. I read last Saturday's paper and saw a small ad for the Eveleigh Artisan Markets which are held on the first Sunday of the month. I haven't managed to get to the food market as I never seem to be free between 8.00 and 3.00 on a Saturday but I made time on this very rainy Sunday.

Eveleigh was the site of the old railway workshops and the marketplace is housed an old railway building. It's a great space and as soon as I walked in I could imagine it as a very funky wedding venue.

The markets haven't been running very long and it certainly hasn't reached it's potential as yet, but there was still a decent crowd when I was there. Apart from shoppers, there were lots of families with small children and plenty of dogs so I was happy.

I took photos of stallholders whose work appealled to me so this may not truly reflect other people's impressions of the markets.

Like Selkie and Poe.

The Near Future


Born Again Books

And Electric Firefly.

2016 update - Only Electric Firefly has an active website.

I hope you've enjoyed my little visit to the Artisan Markets. I'm sure I'll be back for the December Markets so I can pick up some goodies for Christmas.

Have a great weekend,



Eveleigh Artisan Markets

7 Oct 2009

We had a very dreary Labor Day Long Weekend. I shelved a planned visit to the Blue Mountains last Sunday and visited the Eveleigh Artisan Markets instead.   The markets are held in an amazing space so I took quite a few photos of the surrounding buildings. I'd planned on doing a full blog post but life is just a wee bit busy at the moment.

When I get a little more time I'll post some more images from the markets,

Until then,


Little Berry Tarts

5 Oct 2009

When I was growing up, I don't remember seeing punnets of mulberries in the shops cos every-one had a mulberry tree in their back garden. Technically we didn't have a mulberry tree in our back yard but our next door neighbour did. Whatever fruit fell off the tree into our yard we claimed as our own and of course we fed our silkworms leaves from the tree. We didn't ever cook the berries preferring to eat them straight from the tree. My grandma kindly taught me how to remove the purple stains from my skin by using lemon juice.

When I was at my local fruit market on Saturday, nestled next to the blueberries and raspberries were some punnets of mulberries. I couldn't resist them so they came home in my shopping basket but what to do with them?

I decided to use some of the tart shells I have stored in the freezer and made a small batch of creme patisserie to fill that tarts. I topped the tarts with an assortment of berries. I chose not to glaze them but simply sprinkled the tarts with some icing sugar.

I didn't use all the berries and I decided to freeze them as I have a very busy week, then I'll be away this coming weekend. I know exactly how I plan to use them though but that's my little secret for the moment.

I hope you all had a great weekend,


Friday Favourites - Castlemaine and Maldon

2 Oct 2009

I'm very glad for the Labor Day Long Weekend this coming weekend and it might just soften the blow that comes with the start of Daylight Saving. I have a very early start each day and I always find the first week a bit tough.
To ease the slide into the weekend, we celebrated by having yum cha (or dim sum) for lunch. I haven't had yum cha in ages so it was a real treat. I ate too much so I'm now trying to decide if I have any room left for dinner tonight.

Todays Friday Favourites are some images I shot around Maldon and Castlemaine in country Victoria. I took the images more than 2 years ago and they've been languishing on my hard drive ever since. I thought they were good enough to make an appearance on the blog so here they are.

Have a great weekend and if you could, please spare a thought for those people in Indonesia, Samoa and Tonga who have been affected by the recent tsunami and earthquake in the region.


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