Carrot Cake Cookies

30 Aug 2010

I hope you all had a lovely weekend. Looking through a blog a few months ago, though I can't remember which one, I spied a story on Carrot Whoopie Pies. We don't have Whoopie Pies in Australia so I was keen to find what the fuss was all about.

I tracked back the recipe for Carrot Cookies to Gourmet Magazine and thought I'd make them for work. As always, I adapted the recipe somewhat. I doubled the cinnamon and halved the quantity of walnuts and sultanas in the cookie mixture. Instead of honey flavoured cream cheese, I sandwiched the 2 halves together with cream cheese icing.

I stored the cookies overnight in an airtight tin and took them into work the next day. The cookies disappeared very quickly and a 'very yummy' note was taped to the biscuit tin. The cookies were a great success.

I've since made a batch for myself and they were just as delicious the second time around. They're like a mini serving of carrot cake but I found one cookie wasn't quite enough and 2 cookies were too many. I still have 1 left in the biscuit tin to have with my evening cup of tea.

I'll be back again on Wednesday with something new for you, so until then,


London - Borough Markets

27 Aug 2010

When I was in London I visited Borough Markets and spied a couple of photographers similarly laden with camera equipment. I think the stall holders were a bit sick of us because many stalls displayed signs announcing that unless you bought their products, photographers weren't welcome. When you're travelling it's a bit hard to load up with produce hence no stall photos.

I thought their attitude was fairly short sighted in this day and age of blogging, twitter and facebook. Don't they realise how much free publicity is generated through blogland and social networking sites?

I arrived at the markets around lunch time and the place was really busy. I was quite disappointed by the food I'd eaten during my stay in London. The best food I ate by far was bought at the Markets. I bought a great steak, mushroom, onion and rocket bap for lunch from one stall and a delicious lemon curd tart for dessert from another.

I still found things to photograph and used some of my favourite black and white film to do so. Doesn't this lady have the most marvellous face?

I hope you all have a great weekend. See you all again on Monday,


Miss B - The Fairy

25 Aug 2010

It's been a while since Miss B featured on the blog. I visited her on Sunday and found her in full fairy mode.

Now as every-one knows, every good fairy needs accessories, including a pair of perspex clacky heels and matching hot pink nail polish. Have you ever tried to paint a 4 year olds teeny tiny finger and toe nails? I struggled and have the photo to prove what a poor manacurist I am.

It wouldn't be a blog post about Miss. B without a portrait on the blue chair. I've been told the chair is broken but I've been assured it will be replaced with another blue chair so we can continue our tradition.

Thank-you Miss. B for being such a willing, if a trifle demanding, model.

See you all again on Friday,


Beef and Mushroom Pie

23 Aug 2010

For the first time ever I'm posting something savoury. I didn't want you to think that I lived on a diet of cake, pies, puddings and cookies, cos nothing could be further from the truth.

Now that I have my cute little pie dish, I want to use it all the time. I saw a recipe for steak and kidney pie in Delicious magazine a month or so ago and decided to try it.

I don't particularly like kidneys so I left them out and just increased the beef. I can't track down the original recipe but this one from Gourmet Traveller is almost the same except for the addition of some tomato paste.

The pie is fairly simple to make as it's just a well flavoured beef stew with a topping of puff pastry and no, I didn't make the puff pastry from scratch.

I served the pie with mashed potatoes and peas and it was delicious. The filling improved with keeping and I'll definitely be making it again.

See you all again on Wednesday,


City Walks Paris - Hopital St Louis

20 Aug 2010

One of my friends bought me City Walks Paris for my birthday last year and I in turn bought copies for the 2 friends who joined me in Paris. Some of the walks I'd done before but we found some new treasures along the way.

As I was staying near the Canal Martin, as soon as I'd settled into the hotel I took a walk around the area and found a hidden treasure, the Hopital St. Louis.

The hospital was designed by the same architect who designed the Place des Vosges and it's a thing of beauty.

The grounds were shut so I returned the next day to take a look at the gardens.

The internal courtyard garden was as delightful as the buildings. I visited the garden on 2 occasions, once early in the morning with nary a soul in sight and again later in the afternoon. Then, the garden was filled with nannies watching their charges playing in the sun. Totally enchanting and best of all, free.

Friday finally arrived so that means tomorrow I'm off to vote. I wonder who the Prime Minister will be on Sunday? Have a great weekend and thanks for all the comments this week. It's so nice hearing that you like my work.

Bye for now,


Mini Shopshoot - La Galerie Vegetale

18 Aug 2010

When I decided to go to Paris I sent out an open invitation to my friends to join me. I hoped to rent an apartment for a week to house the throng. In the end 2 of my friends from Sydney joined me and we downsized to a few rooms at the Hotel Taylor.

It's always hard choosing a hotel from a website but in this case the Hotel Taylor's rooms looked exactly like the rooms featured on the website. We loved the area, which was close to to Canal St Martin and Republique but far away from the tourist crowds. We also discovered some great restaurants nearby.

Last Christmas I bought Pia Jane Bijkerk's book Paris Made by Hand for my friend 'Little One', hoping it would encourage her to join me in Paris. In case you don't know who Pia is, she worked as a stylist in Sydney before moving first to Paris and then to Amsterdam. Paris Made by Hand is filled with interesting shops she found in Paris, tucked away in out of the way places. Pia has since written Amsterdam Made by Hand. I'm planning to visit Amsterdam next June and can't wait to visit some of Pia's secret shopping locations whilst there.

Well 'Little One' did meet me in Paris and to my great delight I found she'd packed the book in her luggage. While she was having a little nap one afternoon, (I'm a relentless tour guide) I pored over the book and decided on a wander around Canal St. Martin.

The first place we visited was inexplicably shut, which does tend to happen in Paris. We didn't reach the second place on our list until after 5.00 p.m and they'd closed for the day. Finally we found a place that was open, La Galerie Vegetale. I'd walked past the shop every day I'd been in Paris but had never been inside.

What did I find inside? An intriguing blend of cafe, florist shop, gallery and homewares emporium.

They had lots of lovely things but with limited space in our luggage, we had to be sensible with our purchases. We both bought some pots made from recycled rubber and I bought a small pebble shaped vase which one day I'll get round to photographing. 

2014 edit - unfortunately La Galerie Vegetale has closed for business.

After La Galerie Vegetale we walked to Emmanuelle Wittman's Atelier where we both admired her ethereal ceramics.

I didn't take any photos there as my job was to support 'Little One' in the onerous task of choosing which items to purchase. Emmanuelle has the most hilarious little puppy called Gaia who entertained us with her antics whilst we were deliberating.

Last stop of the day was Le Petit Atelier in the Marais but that's a story for another day. I'll be back again on Friday with some more photos from Paris.

Until then,


Double Ginger Biscuits

16 Aug 2010

Do you remember a few weeks ago I when made these cookies? They just weren't right so I tried another recipe I downloaded from here.

Now I can never follow a recipe without doing a bit of tweaking and this recipe was no exception. I replaced the self raising flour with plain flour and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder sifted together. I also added an extra 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger. I used crystallized ginger instead of stem ginger but almost doubled the quantity as I decorated each cookie with a piece of ginger.

So how did they turn out? Well they're absolutely delicious, especially when they're still a little bit warm from the oven.

I've already munched my way though the first batch and made a second batch when I came home from work last week as they take very little time to whip up. I'm so happy I've finally found my perfect ginger biscuit.

I'll be back on Wednesday with my last mini shopshoot from Paris, so until then,


Paris and an Ode to Black and White Film

13 Aug 2010

I was thinking about what to write today. I knew I'd be posting some of my photos from Paris and decided to show some of my black and white film images. Apart from some spotting (removing dust and scratches from the scans) and altering the contrast, the images are as is. No photoshop wizardry has been applied.

I collected the scans a few weeks ago and I've been sitting on them for a while waiting for the right time to post them. There is something about black and white film images that I just love.

I love that I don't know how the images are going to turn out until the film is developed. I love that I have to trust my camera, my instincts and my knowledge to produce an image. It's like a little bit of magic. 

Every time I travel, I debate whether I really need to carry my film body, lens and my lead lined filmsafe bag. Every time the film comes back from the lab I fall more in love with black and white film photography.

Have a great weekend and see you all again next week,



11 Aug 2010

As a special treat during my recent holiday I stayed in Paris for 6 days at the sweet little Hotel Taylor. I'd heard about the Merci store in the Marais and was keen to see it for myself. The store is currently shrouded in scaffolding, so I walked straight past it.

What did I find inside? An intoxicating blend of fashion, furniture, homewares, plus 2 cafes. I was so impressed I visited the store twice.

This is what I came home with, a pretty scarf to brighten up my winter wardrobe and a few necklets to thank the special girl pals who joined me in Paris.

Thanks to Holly for featuring my Merci photos at decor8 today.

I'll be back again on Friday with a few more photos from Paris.

Bye for now,


Apple Macadamia Muffins

9 Aug 2010

Now that I'm back at work again, I'm having to relearn how to squeeze everything into a 24 hour, 7 day week. In my spare moments I'm hard at work putting together a travel album so last week the gym went by the wayside. Tonight I survived my first cycle class in 2 months with no obvious ill-effects, though I'm wondering if I'll feel the same way tomorrow?

I knew you'd be disappointed if I didn't have some baked goods to show you, so Sunday morning I whipped up some muffins.

I'd not made these apple and macadamia muffins before and the combination of apples and macadamia nuts sounded tasty but I was a bit underwhelmed with the one I tried. I found it very sweet, a little dry and the nutmeg flavour was too strong for my taste.

I took the muffins into work today and my workmates loved them so I guess -
  1. what would I know
  2. they're the kind of muffin that improves with keeping.

Did you spot any of my new home-wares? I think there are 4 new items on display in this post.

See you all again on Wednesday with a mini shopshoot from Paris.

Until then,


Shoreditch, the Albion Caff, Labour and Wait and the Columbia Road Flower Markets

6 Aug 2010

Whenever I go to London, I try to visit neighbourhoods I've not yet experienced. A few years ago I went to Shoreditch for the first time and decided it was time to return as I wanted to visit Labour and Wait plus have some lunch at the Albion Caff. 

I'd love to have shown you some photos of Labour and Wait but it's the tiniest little store. I had to wait for people to leave the store before there was room for me to enter. The shop has the most perfect collection of homewares and they are moving to larger premises in Redchurch Street very soon.

In the 5 years since my visit there's been a huge amount of gentrification in the area. When I was there in early July, a new overground station had just opened making it even easier to get there. Maybe that's why the Albion Caff was so busy and no, I didn't manage to get a table.

The building houses both a cafe and a shop which had lots of lovely looking baked goods, like the mini pavlovas you can see in the photo.

The next day I made a very quick trip to the Columbia Road Flower Markets. I was there in time for the markets to open as I had a train to catch to Paris. As you've probably gathered by now, I have a bit of a thing for flowers and how I would have loved to have gathered up armfuls of all the beautiful blossoms and carried them away with me.

There were all kind of cute looking shops lining the road but most weren't open when I was there. I managed to find one shop open where I bought the little enamelware pie dish you saw here. I'll guess I'll have to return.

Loads of colour

It's been a very long week so I'm so glad the weekend has finally arrived. I'll be back again on Monday with some more food photos, so until then have a great weekend,


London Mini Shopshoot - Anthropologie

4 Aug 2010

When I was on my trip, I knew it would be almost impossible to arrange a proper shopshoot so I did a few mini shoots in London and Paris.

My first destination was Anthropologie in Regent Street. We don't have Anthropologie in Australia so I was curious to see what all the fuss was about. With the exchange rate I found all the merchandise out of my price range so I had to be happy with taking photos instead.

Anthropologie is housed in a great building on Regent Street. Don't you just love the red London bus in the background? I'm pretty tiny so I find it hard to find clothes that fit, so I mainly looked at the homewares in the store.

 Anthropologie is not afraid of colour, that's for sure.

I'll be back again on Friday with some more London photos including my visit to Shoreditch and the Columbia Road Flower Markets.

Until then,


Rice Custard

2 Aug 2010

I don't normally make desserts for myself except when it's winter, so when the weather is cold I start thinking about hot puddings. I always have leftover rice in the fridge, sultanas in the pantry and of course eggs and milk in the fridge, so it's pretty easy to whip up some Rice Custard.

The Rice Custard recipe comes from an old Women's Weekly Recipe book I've had on my bookshelf for ever.

My Grandma used to make this pudding when I was growing up and I didn't like it very much. The only part of the pudding I liked were the sultanas and when no-one was looking, I'd sneak into the kitchen and dig all the sultanas out of the pudding. Sorry Mum if you're reading this.

Making the pudding gave me a good excuse to use some of the goodies I purchased when I was away. Can you pick out my new home wares?

Today was my first day back at work for 2 months and I survived, but only just. I'll be back Wednesday with a mini London shopshoot so see you all then,

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