in the garden

29 Apr 2011

Whenever I travel to Dungog I make some time to spend in the garden, chatting to the chooks and photographing the flowers. It's between seasons at the moment so the vegie patch was a bit bare.

The dahlias, zinnias and asters were still in bloom though.

Sometimes I find flowers well past their bloom, at their most beautiful.

The solitude of the garden was disturbed by a number of these cockatoos, creating quite a racket. The others were shy and flew away but this one posed happily for me.

A still life from the garden and the promise of things to come.

Have a great weekend and enjoy watching the Royal Wedding. I can't wait to see Kate's dress!

Bye for now,


anzac day 2011 - part 2

27 Apr 2011

I began my Anzac Day post with this image as I felt it best represented Anzac Day - a chest full of medals with a sprig of rosemary for remembrance.

It's been years since I last attended an Anzac Day march so I thought I'd combine a visit to Farmer Andrew with the Anzac Day commemoration. Just about the whole of Dungog came out to watch the parade.

Both the young and the old came to watch

and to march.

The march made it's way along Dowling Street then headed up the hill to the RSL for the service.

I took a few moments to look at the wreaths that had been laid at the memorial. I spoke to the lady who made this one from flowers she'd gathered from the garden earlier that morning.

Maybe next year I'll finally make it to the Anzac Day Dawn Service.

I just survived my first day back at work - now just 2 more to go until the weekend and this event.

Bye for now,


coconut and macadamia macaroons

26 Apr 2011

I promised you a full post on coconut macaroons and as I'm good for my word, here it is. 

I've been making coconut macaroons for passover for years and I've always used the same recipe. This year, I decided to try something new from my man bill.

 It took a little bit of tracking down to find this recipe for you, but here it is.

Coconut Macaroons
2 egg whites
115g caster (superfine) sugar
150g shredded coconut
100g roughly chopped macadamia nuts 
1 teaspoon lime zest

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Mix together the egg whites, caster sugar, coconut, nuts and lime zest in a bowl (you may need to use your hands). Shape tablespoons of the mixture in to mounds on paper-lined baking trays. Bake 10-15 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool on trays. Makes 20.

The grated lime rind was a nice addition to the recipe but overall I think the recipe needed more coconut. 

I baked up a storm for Passover and I'm a little scared to step onto the scales. In addition to the macaroons, I made 2 types of brownies, a batch of Nonna's cookies and a failed attempt at this macaroon tart recipe, so there are plenty more posts and pictures to come.

Back to work for me tomorrow following a much needed 5 day break.

Bye for now,


anzac day 2011

25 Apr 2011

We've had an extra long Easter break here due to the Anzac Day holiday coinciding with Easter. Today was Anzac Day, which commemorates the landing of Australian troops at Gallipoli during the first World War. For my overseas readers, Anzac Day is the Australian and New Zealand version of Remembrance Day.

We like to claim Gallipoli as own own but many troops from many nations died there. I watched the parade in Dungog, a tiny little place but one which would have seen many of it's young men leaving to serve in the War. I took quite a few photos but the 4 hour drive back to Sydney in pouring rain has tired me out a bit, so I'll post the images later in the week.

I hope you enjoyed your Easter break. I'll be back tomorrow with some baking so I'll see you all then,


hot cross buns

21 Apr 2011

Do you remember a few months ago, I bemoaned my inability to bake bread? Well I checked the yeast I was using and it had expired quite some time back. A fresh tin of yeast and my yeast cooking disasters were over. One of my favourite Easter treats are hot cross buns and with my yeast cooking mojo back in action, I decided to make a batch.

I used a recipe from my Margaret Fulton cookbook.

I think I made my first batch of hot cross buns when I was still in high school and this would have been the recipe I used. It's still a good recipe even after all these years. 

As soon as they were out of the oven I had to try one, topped with a little bit of butter. Well actually, I had to try two! I took the rest into work and stored a few in the freezer to eat once Passover is over.

Do you have any favourite Easter treats you like to make?

This week has been a bit of a trial so I'm glad it's at an end. I'm really looking forward to my 5 day break. Have a great Easter and try not to eat too many Easter eggs and hot cross buns. 

I'll see you all again next week,


lemon cake with passionfruit syrup

18 Apr 2011

I did so much cooking this past weekend I really had trouble trying to decide what to post today. I made this cake last weekend 'cos I wanted to try out my star shaped tin again. I do have a bit of a thing about passionfruit and I have plans to make a passionfruit layer cake. It's is on my 'to make' list that's on the kitchen chalkboard. I was wondering if this recipe would provide the basis for the cake.

It's a Donna Hay recipe and I have to say I don't always have great success with her recipes. I just made the cake from Donna's recipe but used a Bill Granger recipe for the passionfruit syrup.

I halved the recipe but there was still a little too much batter for the tin so I made a cupcake for the cook and took the cake into work. The recipe made a lot of syrup so I poured some of the syrup over the cake while still in the tin.

The cake was consumed so that's a good thing but the cake rose more than I expected, way too much for a layer cake. Next time I think I'll use my regular lemon cake recipe with the addition of the passionfruit syrup, which was delicious!

As both Passover and Easter are celebrated this week I'll be back later in the week with some foods representing both celebrations.

So until then,


pronto post - chicken pie

15 Apr 2011

The weather is starting to become more autumnal here and as the temperature drops, so my style of cooking changes. Instead of quick to prepare meals, I look towards soups, roasts, pies and casseroles that can be prepared ahead of time and reheated.

I thought I'd try the chicken pie recipe from Jamie Oliver's 30 minute meals television series. Of course being me, I had to adjust the recipe a little. I used finely chopped french eschallots instead of the spring onions. I also used chicken thigh fillets in the recipe, as I prefer them to breast fillets and substituted light sour cream for the creme fraiche.

Did the pie take 30 minutes to make? No. Sauteing the eschallots until softened added about 5 minutes to the cooking time. As I used chicken thigh fillets and they take longer to cook than breast fillets, I cooked the chicken mixture for about 10 minutes before placing it in the pie dish 'cos no-one likes to eat uncooked chicken. The pie took 30 minutes to cook in my slow oven, so it probably took closer to 1 hour from start to finish. So how was the pie? Well it's absolutely delicious. So much so, that I'll certainly be adding the recipe to my autumn/winter menu.

It's been another busy week here between work, the gym and Japanese for dinner last night with a friend. It's meant to rain here for most of the weekend but I'm happy to stay home. I have so much cooking to do and now that the dvd has finally arrived in Australia, I'm hoping to watch a few episodes of Mad Men 4.

Enjoy your weekend every-body.


bellevue hill fair

13 Apr 2011

A few weeks ago a sign appeared in my neighbourhood announcing the 2011 Bellevue Hill Fair. It was held on a gloriously sunny Sunday so I decided to check it out after my cycle class.

I've lived in the area forever but this was my first visit to the fair.

There were food stalls; music; lots of dogs; pony rides; carnival rides and firemen complete with a big red fire engine.

My favourite was the pony ride. Isn't the expression on this little man's face, priceless? He's really not sure, is he?

The place was packed with children of all ages. Despite all the schools in my area, I really had no idea my suburb housed all these babies and toddlers! I'm sure I'll return to the fair again next year.

I hope your week's been a good one so far. I'll be back again with a pronto post on Friday, so until then,



lime poppyseed layer cake

11 Apr 2011

Are there households chores you simply don't like doing? I don't look forward to defrosting the freezer and I feel much the same about the vacuuming. Well on Sunday I did both - in the same day! I simply couldn't fit another thing into my freezer compartment so I didn't have much choice. Waking at 4.00 a.m. does have some advantages though, because I'd defrosted the freezer and baked a cake by 7.30!

Today's cake was made a few weeks ago but I only managed to photograph it last weekend so my piece sat in the freezer for a week. I made the cake for one of my workmate's birthday and she really likes lemon, lime or orange poppyseed cake.

I decided to convert my recipe for lemon poppyseed cake into a lime poppyseed layer cake with a lime cream cheese filling and a lime glaze.

The lemon poppyseed layer cake was good but I think the lime version was even better. 

I snaffled my piece early in the day, which was a good thing, because the cake was gone by lunch time.

I cut my piece into 2 slices which I enjoyed during the weekend with a cup of tea.

Apart from the domestic chores I met a friend for dinner at bill's in Surry Hills, one of our favourite haunts. I also managed to arrange the second last part of my trip to Europe this coming June. It's already April so June will be here before I know it.

Did you all have nice weekends?


pronto - pasta with peas and ricotta

8 Apr 2011

I was wondering what I should write about tonight and decided upon this quick and easy pasta sauce recipe. I've been making this Marcella Hazan ricotta with spinach pasta sauce for years. I was looking through the freezer and didn't have any frozen spinach left but found some peas. I found this recipe on the next page in the book, The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, one that I'd overlooked for years.

Once again the recipe has just a few key ingredients and takes almost no time to put together, so it's a perfect end of the week meal. I don't eat bacon so I used a few pieces of beef pastrami in the recipe in its place and it was absolutely delicious. You'll need to hold back a few tablespoons of the cooking water to loosen the sauce. 

I'm glad the weekend has finally arrived as it's been another busy week here with work and a trip to see the Sydney Dance Company's performance of Shared Frequencies. The highlight of which was LANDforms starring the voice of Katie Noonan. I've also been struggling a bit with the end of daylight saving. My body clock just refuses to budge and there's nothing like waking up 1 hour and 30 minutes earlier than one needs to. My gym attendance has suffered so I'll have to do a few catch up classes during the weekend. 

I hope you all had great weeks and I'll see you again on Monday,


shopshoot - david met nicole

6 Apr 2011

Many years ago my sister lived in a house in High Holborn Street Surry Hills, just around the corner from 382 Malborough Street. Surry Hills has always had a plethora of restaurants and it's my go to location whenever I head out for dinner. A few years ago, funky shops moved in and nothing could describe David met Nicole better than funky. The store is an intriguing mix of new and old but  everything in the store is highly covetable. 

I approached David met Nicole a few weeks ago, asking if they'd like to take part in the shopshoot experience. They were just about to run a sale so we decided it best to wait a few weeks. I packed up the camera and headed over to the shop a week or so ago.

The gorgeous Ruby was working the day I dropped by and she looked after me while I was there. 

So what did I find in the store that day? You all know how globes are 'in' at the moment in the world of interior design and here is a whole shelf of them for you.

My personal favourite was the installation of red fire buckets.

Distressed leather and weathered cafe chairs.

Picture frames, twine, shoe lasts, glass bottles and vintage lights are just some of the goodies in the shop.

I loved these old tin aeroplanes as well. They look like replicas of the planes I saw at the War Memorial in Canberra.

We all know how vintage kitchenware is all the rage in the world of food photography at the moment, don't we? Now you all know where to source your goodies.

My copy of Donna Hay magazine arrived on Friday and guess what was featured on the pages in the magazine? These very wire cage pendant lamps sans the furry creature.

I hope you enjoyed my little visit to David met Nicole.

See you all again on Friday with another pronto post.


2016 edit - David and Nicole is now closed for business.

fig frangipane tart

4 Apr 2011

I did so much baking in March, it was ridiculous. There seemed to be a birthday celebration every second day or thereabouts so I have at least 5 baking posts in the wings.

The fig season is still in swing so a few weeks ago I bought 2 punnets of figs to make a fig frangipane tart. One of the girls had eaten one in Paris last year and said it was the best thing she'd ever tasted. How could I do anything but rise to the challenge? 

The recipe I used was similar to this one with the addition of some fig jam and creme patissiere in the filling and minus the raspberries.

I made the pastry on Saturday evening then at 6.00 a.m. on Sunday morning, before hitting the gym, I was making fig jam using this recipe. While I was waiting for the jam to cook I sent out an email to my friends declaring my insanity. By the way, I'm not really a jam person but this jam is delicious. I also decided to include creme patissiere in the tart filling, so yet another another step in the process.

I had a little too much filling so I made a few little mini tarts. I was going out for dinner that night, so I took 2 along with me for dessert.

I decided to glam things up a bit and did a restaurant type dessert plating. I made a little fig and orange salad dressed with orange juice and a dash of honey then topped with orange zest. It was fresh and light and a perfect counterpoint to the tart.

My friend's verdict - even better than the tart from Paris! The effort was worth it.

Update 2021
In 2011 when I wrote this blog post I didn't include the recipes and sometimes I didn't even write them down. This fig frangipane tart recipe is one of those recipes, however as I make frangipane tarts all the time it was easy to recreate. Due to popular demand I've written up the recipe for you minus the creme patissiere, which although lovely, isn't really necessary. The link to the fig jam recipe I used to make the tart is included in the text.

For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Fig Frangipane Tart - makes one rectangular tart
¼ cup icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
¼ cup almond meal
1⅓ cups plain flour
110 g (4 oz) cold unsalted butter, diced
1 egg, lightly beaten
Cold water

100g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
2 eggs
2 tbs plain flour 
100g almond meal
1 tbs orange juice
½ cup fig or apricot jam

4 small figs, halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon sugar
Optional - apricot jam to glaze

To make the pastry, combine all the dry ingredients in a food processor, and whiz for a few seconds until well combined and free of lumps. Add the cold butter and whiz until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and sufficient cold water and whiz until a soft dough just starts to form around the blade. Remove the dough from the food processor and gather the pastry into a ball; flatten slightly before wrapping in plastic and placing in the fridge. Refrigerate the pastry for 30 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 190°C, conventional. Roll out the pastry thinly on a floured board then line a rectangular tart tin with the dough. Ease the dough into the flutes and trim the edges before returning the tart tin to the fridge while you prepare the filling. You won’t use all the pastry but it freezes well so just wrap any remaining pastry in plastic wrap and store in the freezer. 

To assemble the tart, remove that tart shell from the fridge. Cover the base of the tart with ½ cup of fig or apricot jam. Carefully cover the jam with the frangipane filling. Smooth the top with a knife. Spoon the paste into the pastry case and place the figs on top then sprinkle the figs with the sugar.

Place the tart on a baking tray to catch any spills before placing in the preheated oven. Bake for 45 minutes – 1 hours or until the filling is set and the pastry nicely browned. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.

When cold, glaze the top of the tart with some thinned, warmed apricot jam if desired. Unmould and cut into slices to serve.

Bye for now,


© DELICIOUS BITES • Theme by Maira G.