launceston, tasmania

28 Oct 2013

Hi Every-one,

I arrived home last night from my trip to Tassie. My apartment floor is covered in bags and there is washing hanging everywhere. I covered a lot of territory during the week so I have lots to share with you. 

I flew into Launceston so that's where I'll begin. I passed by this scene on my drive in from the airport.

I stayed in an apartment on Charles Street across from Princes Square. There was still some light so I grabbed my camera and went for a wander.

At this stage Sydney was burning so there couldn't have been a greater contrast than with this green, peaceful place.

It was a Sunday night and while there was still light I went for a walk through the empty downtown streets where I found this interesting building. Australia is a very young country but Tasmania houses many of it's oldest settlements. I went a bit mad taking photos of old buildings, so you have been warned.

The next day the rain fell but undaunted I decided to take a walk through Cataract Gorge.

Launceston is so lucky to have this amazing piece of wilderness right in the middle of the city.

Then it was onto Inveresk, home to the
Queen Victoria Museum, located on the site of the old Inveresk railway yards.

I fell in love with these old industrial buildings.

Harsh working conditions in the old engineering buildings.

Then it was back across town to the beauty of City Park. Launceston's cooler climate is so different from Sydney's so I rarely get to see these plants and flowers.

A few more pretty photos for you.

So tomorrow I'm going back to work and the gym. Gosh, that's going to be a challenge. I have loads more images to share with you over the next week or two including an impromptu shopshoot.

See you all again soon,


burch and purchese - shopshoot

24 Oct 2013

Hi there. I'm writing this from deep in the heart of Tasmania using a very wobbly internet connection. It might be spring in Tassie but the temperature is a tad wintery to me.

Last weekend when I was in Melbourne I met a friend at Burch and Purchese Sweet Studio in South Yarra. You may remember seeing Darren Purchese and his amazing creations on the last few seasons of Master Chef. I walked into the shop expecting a patisserie but inside I found so much more. Would you like to come and take a look inside with me?

As well as cakes inside the studio I found their famous salted caramel sauce and chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. It was a little like Willie Wonka's Chocolate Factory on the inside.

My own personal favourite - Mr. Potato Head. If I hadn't been travelling for another week with just a back pack, Mr Potato Head would have made his way home with me.

Some of the other delicious looking goodies on display.

I tried some of the salted caramel and I can report it was very rich and very delicious.

Burch and Purchese Sweet Studio can be found at 647 Chapel Street South Yarra. Many thanks to Cath and Darren for letting me take photos of their shop and especially to Cath for letting me rearrange the goodies for their close-ups.

See you all again some time next week when I've recovered from eating and drinking my way around Tasmania!




21 Oct 2013

Hi All,

Greetings from Launceston. I flew in last night and I've been out and about all day today and I'm absolutely shattered. I think it will be a few more days before I get round to posting any images from my trip to Tassie. Instead here are some images from my work trip to Melbourne. I managed to squeeze in a mini shopshoot so I'll bring those to you later this week.

I arrived a day before the conference began and headed straight to Fitzroy, one of my all time favourite Melbourne haunts. 

I checked out Cote, filled with vintage French finds, before heading back along Brunswick Street, where I found this lovely flower shop.

How cute is this tea cosy from T2?

Fitzroy = Funky

Then it was conference time. I passed Victoria Barracks every day as I walked to the convention centre. I saw 2 separate bridal parties having their photos taken outside the barracks, so it must be one of 'those places' like Sydney's Observatory Hill where brides are parked in a queue. I used to be a wedding photographer so been there, done that.

The early morning walk took me past the NGV and along South Bank.

This really isn't how Melbourne is spelt!

And because I'm a dog person, a photo of this very handsome chap I found patiently waiting outside a cafe in Armadale.

I'll be back later in the week with a mini shopshoot for you all, so until then,



upside down pear, ginger and hazelnut cake

15 Oct 2013

Hi Every-one,

Do you remember the upside down apple cake I made a few weeks ago? I promised/threatened there were more versions in the wing and here is the first of many. 

This is not the first time I've made an upside down pear cake but I wanted to simplify things a little.

As there is no creaming of butter and sugar in this recipe, you simply mix wet and dry ingredients together, once you've assembled all the ingredients this is fairly quick to put together.

If it looks pretty similar to the apple cake recipe it is. I subbed out a few ingredients, swapped a few more and kept my fingers crossed! 

I used corella pears for the topping because they fitted nicely in the tin and used a very ripe Packham pear for the cake batter.

Here's the recipe for you.

Upside Pear Ginger and Hazelnut Cake (makes one 8 cm x 21.5 cm loaf)
20g (¾ oz) unsalted butter, melted
3 tbs light brown sugar
3 small corella pears, peeled, halved and core
a few toasted skinned hazelnuts, halved

1¼ cups diced peeled pear
1 (20 ml) tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup plain flour
¼ cup hazelnut meal
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1½ teaspoons ground ginger
100 g (3½ oz) melted, unsalted butter
⅓ cup brown sugar

⅓ cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
30 g (1oz) finely chopped glace or crystallised ginger
a few tbsp milk extra

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Line a small loaf tin (8cm x 21.5 cm) with baking paper.

Combine the diced pear and the lemon juice in a small bowl. Set to one side for 20 minutes.

Spoon the melted butter over the base of the tin and top with the brown sugar. Place the pear halves cut side down and arrange the halved hazelnuts decoratively over the brown sugar. Place the tin to one side whilst making the cake.

Sift the flour, ginger and bicarbonate of soda into a small bowl. Stir  the hazelnut meal through the flour and set to one side.

In a medium size bowl combine the melted butter, the sugars and vanilla. Add the egg and beat until well combined.

Add the flour and gently fold in the diced pear and juice and the finely chopped ginger. This should make a soft batter. If not then add a few tablespoons of milk.

Spoon the batter carefully over the pear halves in the prepared cake tin and smooth the top. Place the cake tin on a baking sheet to catch any drips and place on the middle shelf in the oven and bake for 50 - 60 minutes at 180°C/350°F or until the cake is cooked when tested. 

If the cake is browning too quickly you may have to cover the top with a piece of greaseproof paper.

Place the tin on a wire rack and allow the cake to cool. Please avoid the temptation to turn the cake out while it’s still warm because it will fall apart. When the cake is cool, remove it from the tin and carefully invert the cake discarding the lining paper.

I made the cake on a Sunday and had a slice then. It was good. I took the cake into work and had another slice 2 days later and the ginger flavour had intensified, which I think made it even better. The cake is very moist and I think it will work really well as a hot pudding, so I'm going to start work on that version in the nearish future.

I'm not sure when I'll next post or from where but I'm hoping to bring you some travel photos from my trip to Tasmania. 

Until then,  


a quick post

14 Oct 2013

Hi Every-one,

it's been a busy few days and I wasn't sure if I'd get the time to write a blog post. I've just flown back from Brisbane and I'm about to pack for my trip to Melbourne and Tasmania. It looks like the temperature in both places could range from 29°C to 2°C with rain predicted as well so I'll have to pack for every eventuality.

I haven't had a chance to prepare my blog post, so I hope this will do until tomorrow. Until then, here's my latest Delicious Bites post for
decor8, a recipe for Country Apple Cake. Please note, there's a typo in the recipe that's yet to be corrected. A phantom '?' has appeared in the recipe instead of '
⅔'. It should read ' the mixture will be quite soft so using floured hands, press ⅔ of the mixture into the base and up the sides of the tin'.

As all posts are better with pictures, here's a picture of some beautiful flowers my sister sent to my parents.

I'll be back tomorrow with a recipe, so see you all then,


summer fruit and white chocolate muffins

7 Oct 2013

Summer fruits are slowly making their way into the fruit shops in Sydney.

Strawberries are in season at the moment so I looked through my recipe books for an easy to make strawberry recipe. 

I found this recipe for summer fruit and white chocolate muffins in my Isidora Popovic book. Apart from strawberries, the recipe included raspberries, peaches, nectarines and white chocolate. Even though the price of a single peach at $8.99/kilo was a bit scary, I bought one anyway to make these.

I adapted this recipe a little. The original recipe made 6 large muffins but I made 12 small ones instead.
Raspberries were used in the topping but they're very expensive at the moment so I used a few blueberries and instead of oil I used the same quantity of melted butter. 

The muffin batter was quite thick so I added a few tablespoons of milk to thin it out and at 25 minutes, my muffins were still uncooked. The little muffins took almost 40 minutes to bake in my slow old gas oven.

Here's the recipe for you.
Ingredients (makes 12 small or 6 large muffins)
2 medium eggs
80g caster sugar
50 g melted unsalted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tbs milk
1 large nectarine or peach, stoned and chopped
70g strawberries, hulled and quartered
70g good white chocolate, chopped

For the topping

30g nectarine or peach, stoned and chopped
12 blueberries or 30 g raspberries

30g strawberries, hulled and quartered

light brown soft sugar, for sprinkling 

Pre-heat oven to 180°C. Line a 12 hole muffin tray with liners.

Put the eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla in a mixing bowl and mix well. Mix the flour and baking powder together in a separate bowl, then combine with the wet ingredients. Add a little milk if the mixture seems too dry and don't worry if there are a few lumps in the batter. Stir in the nectarine slices, strawberries and white chocolate until evenly mixed.

Fill each muffin case about 2/3 full with batter. Scatter the fruit for the topping over the muffins and finish with a sprinkling of sugar. Bake in oven for about 25 minutes. When they are ready, the muffins should be well-risen and springy to the touch. They're best eaten warm from the oven.

I took the muffins into work and they were all eaten but whilst the flavours were great I wasn't happy with how they turned out. In the future, I'd use a different muffin recipe and I'm thinking I could tweak Ottolenghis' blueberry muffin recipe a little with great results.

I hope you all enjoyed your weekends. We had a long weekend in Sydney for Labor Day and apart from the baking you see here and much much more, I went into the city to see the Selling Dreams, 100 years of fashion photography exhibition at the State Library of NSW. Black and white photography always moves me.

I'll be back again next week.

Bye for now,

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