Lemon Pistachio Shortbread II

29 Nov 2010

Do you remember these lemon and pistachio shortbread crescents? I wasn't happy with their texture and wanted to try another recipe.

I adapted this recipe (again). I divided the mixture in two and to one half I added a combination of toasted and untoasted pecans and the finely grated rind of a lemon. I'll post pictures next week of what I did with the remaining half.

I kept things simple and followed the recipe (for a change!) and simply cut the rolls into 1 cm thick slices, then dusted the cookies with icing sugar when they came out of the oven.

These shortbread cookies are absolutely delicious and keep well in an airtight in and they were perfect with a cup of tea. Next time I make them, I'll try shaping them into crescents then icing them. The mixture is very soft so it could be an absolute disaster. 

I hope you had a lovely weekend. I spent most of mine writing the annual Christmas letter; making gift lists and buying Christmas cards. Christmas is scarily close. 

I'll be back again on Wednesday,



Roast Potatoes with Rosemary Salt

24 Nov 2010

Who can resist roast potatoes? I know I can't.

My favourite roasting potato at the moment is the kipfler, improved by the addition of some rosemary salt.

Rosemary salt is easy to make. It's just a handful of rock salt, a few sprigs of rosemary, a mortar and pestle and a little elbow grease.

The finished product.

I'm taking a break from blogging on Friday so have a great weekend and I'll be back again on Monday. For those of you celebrating Thanksgiving this week, Happy Thanksgiving and may your turkey be accompanied by loads of potatoes!



Salted caramel and chocolate tartlets

22 Nov 2010

I've been dying to try out the little tartlet dishes I bought in Paris. I found this recipe ages ago on Nordljus's blog and bookmarked it. A few weeks ago whilst flipping through an old Vogue Entertaining magazine I found the original Claudia Fleming recipe. I photocopied it and took the recipe home with me because I thought it would be perfect to show off my little dishes.

But I'd found another recipe on the BBC (link now broken) so I decided to combine the two recipes. I had nothing but trouble with the BBC food recipe. I'd already tried the pastry recipe unsuccessfully in the past so I used the Claudia Fleming chocolate pastry recipe. It makes a very dark fragile pastry which tastes so good you could use it as cookie dough.

I bought all the ingredients for the caramel, followed the recipe exactly and the caramel promptly seized. Undaunted I returned to the shops and bought some glucose syrup to add to this caramel recipe. The caramel was so delicious I think I ate half of it before I could store it in the fridge.

I wanted to make a chocolate custard topping rather than using ganache. I find chocolate ganache way too rich. Another disaster - this time the custard mixture wouldn't set. I persevered long enough to make the 3 tarts you see below but for the mini chocolate, caramel and peanut tarts I looked through the fridge and managed to rustle up enough ingredients to make a chocolate ganache topping.

I took the tarts into work and they were eaten pretty quickly which is a good sign. Would I make them again? I remembered I had another chocolate custard recipe which worked well so I'd be prepared to try the recipe again using Claudia Fleming's pastry recipe/Gourmet Traveller's caramel recipe, topped by Valli Little's chocolate custard topping.

Many thanks to Bison Australia for the cute milk bottle seen in the photos.

I'll be back again on Wednesday so see you all then,


Bourke Street Bakery Cookbook

19 Nov 2010

Do you remember me saying a few weeks ago, how I'd given up buying cookbooks? Well I bought this book for my friend Geoff's birthday last year and was kind of sad about giving it away, because I liked the look of the recipes.

The Bourke Street Bakery isn't far from my home but as there is always a massive queue, the thought of being able to whip up one of their creations at home was appealling.

I succumbed to temptation a few weeks ago and ordered the book online. It arrived yesterday so I'm looking forward to a weekend spent poring over it's contents and yes, the book does include a recipe for the scrumptious plum and almond tart pictured above.

Have a great weekend every-one,


Roast Beef with Rosemary Salt

17 Nov 2010

I'm watching Poh's Kitchen which tonight features Bill Granger. We love Bill because his recipes are simple and pretty much always work. This wasn't what I'd planned to post but I fell asleep last night whilst exporting the images and they're not ready yet. Instead I'm sharing my dinner with you - roast beef with rosemary salt.

It's very simple but delicious and quick to prepare. I bought a roast rib of beef and separated it into individual portions. I pan fried the beef first before sprinkling over some rosemary salt. I finished the beef by cooking it in a hot oven for 25 minutes, then rested it for 5 minutes before serving.

For sides, nothing goes past roast potato and pumpkin, Australian staples and a green vegetable, cos I love my greens. Now all I have to do is tackle the washing up.

Did you watch the final of Junior Master Chef? Weren't those children amazing? On a completely separate issue, for those of you who wanted copies of the lemon tart recipe, if you email me I can send you a copy.

Enjoy whatever you're having for dinner,

Bye for now,


Chocolate Stout Cupcakes and the Psychology of the Cupcake

15 Nov 2010

I found this Donna Hay recipe a few weeks ago and was dying to try it out, especially the peanut butter icing. Off to the shops I went in search of peanut butter.

I decided to make cupcakes and as I can't help myself, used Greek yoghurt instead of the sour cream. The cake mixture is very runny and I'm sure you could either halve the suggested quantity of beer or sour cream with no ill effect.

So where is the peanut butter icing? Well I had a bit of a disaster and the mixture split. Out it went into the bin and instead I used this icing from Nigella Lawson again substituting Greek yoghurt for the cream.

The tang of the yoghurt in the icing went so well with the chocolate cake but I had lots of trouble getting my workmates to eat them. This has happened before when I've brought in cupcakes. I have this theory that eating a whole cupcake looks greedy, so instead they cut the cupcake into pieces and eat morsels of it. If I'd made a cake they would have cut slabs from the cake with no compunction. Thankfully their sons had no such qualms...

See you all again on Wednesday,


Surry Hills

10 Nov 2010

Do you remember my shelf/life shopshoot? As I arrived quite early, I spent about 20 minutes roaming around the local streets.

My sister used to live in Surry Hills and as she didn't own a car, we used to walk everywhere. The back streets of Surry Hills are pretty familiar territory.

When my grandmother lived in Sydney, Surry Hills had such a bad reputation that she used to drive through there with the window blinds drawn down.

Even now, Surry Hills is a curious mix of restaurants, design shops, expensive terrace houses and the down and out. Just about every time I dine out, it's somewhere in Surry Hills. Last Sunday I had dinner at bills, surry hills, an old favourite and with Christmas festivities around the corner might try out some of the new restaurants.

It's been a busy week at work and I'll be at a seminar all day on Friday so I won't be back again until next week,

Bye for now,


Lemon Tart

8 Nov 2010

I've been using a Martha Stewart recipe for lemon almond tart for years but thought it was time to try another lemon tart recipe. I used my own almond shortcrust pastry recipe but tried out a new filling. The recipe involved warming the lemon mixture over a gentle heat for 5 minutes before filling the blind baked tart shell.

I've been trawling through the internet trying to track down the recipe for you without any luck I'm afraid but it was by Andy Harris from the Gourmet Traveller Perfect Match cookbook. I took the tart into work and whilst the tart tasted fantastic, the filling split as the tart cooled.

I had dinner with Miss. B and Ruin a few weeks ago and was in a quandary yet again. What to bring for dessert? Ruin does not like chocolate at all and I didn't want to make the same dessert I brought last time, Grandma's Apple Cake, even though it was a roaring success. Jenny had mentioned that Ruin was partial to anything lemon flavoured and as I had some leftover pastry in the freezer, I decided to make another lemon tart.

When I re-read the recipe it specified double cream and I'd only used single cream for the first tart. This time I used double cream and voila, the filling didn't split.

With fear and trembling, I presented the tart to the world's toughest food critic. The verdict? Ruin loved it and Miss B. who has quite sophisticated tastes for a 3 year old, came back for seconds.

I hope you had lovely weekends. Once again we had the most bizarre weather  in Sydney. It rained all day Saturday but was gorgeous on Sunday and this afternoon I was dodging hail on my way to the gym. Roll on summer.

Bye for now,


shopshoot - shelf/life

3 Nov 2010

A few months ago I visited shelf/life in Reservoir Street Surry Hills. I was looking to buy some fog linen work goodies and shelf/life was the stockist closest to my home. Jess, the owner was in the shop, and we had a long chat about work, design and blogging. Her store was filled with all sorts of lovely things, so I asked if I'd be able to shoot her shop.

Jess and I arranged to meet last Saturday. I arrived a bit early so I filled my time shooting around the local area.

The shop is filled with some of Jess's vintage furniture finds and an amazing hand drawn chalk mural.

I roamed around the store trying to shoot from every angle so you'd get a feel for the airy feeling of the shop. There are so many lovely things in the store and I was a bit worried I'd leave with half the shop.

Isn't this mobile sweet?

I recognised a few items like ceramics from Bison Australia, letter pressed cards from Bespoke Press as well as fabrics from Skinny Laminx.

I loved this colour way of yellow, cream and muted green.

Some touches of green.

My favourite item - Dusty, the chalkboard with her cute puppy shaped eraser.  With Christmas around the corner, shelf/life would be a great place to pick up some unique handmade gifts and as expected, I didn't leave the store empty handed.

I was thinking of doing one more shopshoot this year and I was wondering whether you'd like to help select the store? The store must be in the Sydney area, have stock you'd think fellow blog readers would like to see and I'd prefer if it was a store in which you have no financial interest. Just leave the shop details in the comments section or email me.

Bye for now,


2016 Edit - the shop has now closed but Shelf/Life still has it's online store.

Nonna's Lemon and Pistachio Cookies

1 Nov 2010

Do you remember me telling you I was going to try making a blonde version of Nonna's cookies? Well here they are, Nonna's lemon and pistachio cookies.

Despite using the same quantities and weighing all the ingredient to the gram, the texture was much softer than the original recipe.

I sandwiched the cookies with lemon butter icing and I've found the longer the cookies are stored, the more intense the lemon flavour becomes.

I haven't decided which of the 2 versions I prefer because they're just so different. They're not quite there yet, so I'm going to tweak the recipe a bit next time I make them.

I hope you had a lovely weekend and yes, I had a good weekend. I did a shopshoot on Saturday followed by a quick trip to Paddington. Sunday I made it to the 9.15 a.m. cycle class followed by a power shop at Country Road for some much needed summer clothes. Since then it's rained constantly and the temperature has plummeted, so I'm not sure when I'll get the chance to wear my new things.

I'll be back again on Wednesday, so see you all then,


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