Friday Favourite - Favourite Things

31 Jul 2009

One of my favourite wedding photographers is an American photographer called Elizabeth Messina and she has a lovely instagram feed. She recently posted some images of her work station and wrote how she surrounds herself with images of her family.

My work station is nowhere near as uncluttered but I do have a few favourite things handy to provide me with inspiration.
  • a beautiful camellia from the garden
  • a pretty crystal vase which was a present from my brother
  • a photo of my sister and me taken at Seaworld at the Gold Coast. I think I was about 3 years of age at the time and I have no doubt my Dad was the photographer. Photography is in my genes you see.
It's been a very long week so I'm looking forward to the weekend. I'll be back again on Sunday,


Chocolate Caramel Slice - Version 2

29 Jul 2009

When something is to all intents and purposes perfect, can it be improved upon? That's quite a philosophical question, isn't it especially when applied to chocolate caramel slice? I wondered what the slice would taste like if I doubled the quantity of filling. I just love caramel and when I was growing up my favourite chocolate bar was called 'Tosca'. It had layers of wafer interleaved with vanilla cream and caramel, coated in chocolate. By far my favourite layer was the caramel layer.

I made the slice on Saturday doubling the filling, though it cooked in the usual amount of time. I iced the slice on Sunday and then took it into work on Monday.We're really short staffed at work at the moment due to the flu season, so I thought there might be leftovers. No way - it looks as though my work colleagues agree that you can never have too much of a good thing.

I have a little sliver waiting for me in the kitchen and whilst I'm enjoying it, I've left you with some images of chocolate caramel slice versions 1 and 2.

Bye for now,


Meringue, strawberry and passionfruit curd cake

26 Jul 2009

I'm meeting a friend for dinner tonight so I'm posting a bit earlier than usual. It's absolutely freezing out there so I'll be rugging up before stepping outside the front door. I had so many egg whites leftover from my citrus curd marathon a few weeks ago, making a pavlova seemed the best way to use some of the egg whites. I saw this photo and recipe in Gourmet Traveller a few months ago and was just waiting for the right time to make my own version. A work colleague's birthday seemed a good enough reason.

I'm not a great fan of bananas so used strawberries instead. I also used my own meringue and passionfruit curd recipes but I certainly took my inspiration from the magazine.

I managed to carry the creation to work on the train and it survived! One of my workmates declared it the best pavlova ever and ate 3 pieces! She also asked for the recipe but as she has never done much baking, I think she'll find the recipe a bit too challenging.

Back to work again tomorrow.....


Friday Favourite - Greek Orthodox Church Paddington

24 Jul 2009

It's Friday again and rather than posting a travel photo I'm posting another of the photos I took last week. This great looking church is just a few steps away from Paper Couture.

Although we had springlike weather mid-week, we're officially in the middle of winter in Sydney. I thought these images of the Greek Orthodox Church managed to look both wintery and European at the same time - no mean feat in the heart of Sydney.

Have a great weekend every-one. I'll be posting again on Sunday - a meringue and passionfruit curd cake.

See you all again,



SHOPSHOOT - Paper Couture

22 Jul 2009

Last Friday was my day off and in between waiting for the builder and the carpenter and doing my grocery shopping, I found time to visit Paper Couture. Paper Couture is a lovely bespoke paper shop in Paddington, Sydney owned by Jo Neville.

I walked by the shop a few years ago and promised I would visit one day. I didn't think it would take me so long but seeing Jo's work featured in
Inside Out magazine last month reminded me of that promise.

Jo was in the shop and very kindly let me take photographs of her work. I have always loved book stores, stationery shops, flower shops, industrial antique shop and shops displaying beautiful soft leather goods.

Paper Couture nearly ticked all those boxes. Apart from paper, cards and ribbons, there were lots of sweet tags and ties, some papercuts and Jo's amazing clothes constructed of paper. I can see I'll be back!

Apart from the work displayed, the nicest thing about Paper Couture is Jo. Unfortunately Paper Couture doesn't have a website but you can find the shop at 284 South Dowling Street, Paddington (the St. Vincents' Hospital end).

I hope you enjoyed your peek in to Paper Couture.

Bye for now,


Edit 2016 - Paddington shop is now closed.

Mandarin and Orange Poppyseed Cake

19 Jul 2009

One of my work colleagues put in a special request for an orange poppy seed cake. Whilst I make the lime poppy seed cake all the time I've not made an orange poppy seed cake before. I didn't have a recipe either so I modified a pound cake recipe, adding mandarin and orange rind and juice, then finished the cake with a mandarin and orange syrup.

I was quite worried the cake would be a bit dry but I was assured by all that it was just fine. I kept a piece aside for me and decided to try it paired with the mandarin curd that's stored in the fridge. I cut the piece of cake into quarters and planned to have a small piece with a cup of tea but 10 minutes later I was licking the plate clean. I just love the mandarin curd! Next time I think I'll increase the amount of syrup poured over the cake as I would still like the cake to be a bit more moist but otherwise it tasted nice and fresh and zesty.

Coming this week I have a special post on Paper Couture, a boutique paper shop in Surry Hills. Unfortunately there is no website to direct you to, so you'll just have to check back later in the week to see the images.

It's time for the Master Chef final so I'm off to cheer Julie on. Bye for now,


Friday Favourite - Negombo

17 Jul 2009

I visited Sri Lanka about a year before the tsunami hit the region. I took this photo on the last day of my trip at the seaside town of Negombo. I often wonder if the children in this photo survived.

These schoolchildren were waiting, somewhat impatiently, for their hot lunch to arrive. The boys were acting up in front of the camera as you can imagine, but I was far more interested in the young girl in the foreground of the photo. It's one of those rare occasions when the image turns out exactly the way you envisioned it.

This print formed part of my final year portfolio and although I've done a large print for myself I've never managed to get it framed and up on the wall. 'Waiting' is still my most favourite photo.

Happy Weekend every-one,


Chantilly Meringues with Passionfruit Curd

15 Jul 2009

Australia is in the grip of the final week of Masterchef. A few weeks ago during the masterclass, Gary demonstrated a way of making lemon curd in the microwave. I was dying to try it out so a few weeks ago I left the fruit market loaded with citrus fruit and passionfruit and I set about making curd, 4 ways.

I bought some sweet preserving jars and made small batches of lime curd, lemon curd, mandarin curd and passionfruit curd. I think I ate half the curd during the cooking process 'cos it was just so delicious. At this stage I really don't have a stand out favourite as each curd has it's own personality. Now that I have all this curd stored in the fridge, expect a few curd inspired cakes and desserts on the blog.

With all those leftover egg whites, what else could I do but make some meringues? I sandwiched the meringues with a layer of passionfruit curd and cream. The verdict - delicious!


Lemon Almond Tart

12 Jul 2009

It's seriously early on Sunday morning here and I'm about to get started on some baking but before I did, I thought I'd check the cricket score from the first Ashes Test in Cardiff. Australia had reached 600 before I fell asleep last night and this morning England are 2 down. I'm not gloating (well not too much) but I do love the Ashes. As I'm already on the laptop I thought I may as well put up todays post.

This recipe is an adaptation of a Tart au Citron Recipe from Martha Stewart's Pies and Tarts, the only Martha Stewart recipe book I possess. Martha doesn't have the same presence in Australia that she does in North America and I'd not heard of her before living in Canada.

I bought a new tart pan a few weeks back to replace the oblong tart which was damaged in an unfortunate incident. I was dying to try it out and picked this lemon tart for it's maiden voyage. It's pretty easy to prepare and I've made it for many a work lunch in the past. The mixture is generous and was way too much for the oblong pan so I made 2 mini tartlets as well. I thought I'd try making some candied lemon rind for decoration - my first effort. The tart was devoured by lunchtime, which is always a good sign.

Another week coming up at work and another farewell morning tea and I've not yet decided what to bring. I'm toying with the idea of making a deconstructed pavlova so watch this space!

Happy Sunday,



Friday Favourite - Dungog

10 Jul 2009

I know I missed last week's Friday Favourite but I'm always a bit tired by the time Friday comes around so I prepared this image last night as I didn't have Mad Men to distract me.

I thought it was time to post a local Friday Favourite and chose the area around Dungog, where Farmer Andrew resides. As you can see I was fascinated by this old gate out in the middle of nowhere. It didn't really go anywhere and led towards nothing in particular but it just seemed so quintessentially Australian.

Have a Happy Weekend,


SHOPSHOOT - Doug up on Bourke

8 Jul 2009

My Dad owned a factory when I was growing up and I loved the place which we called 'The Valley". I wasn't all that keen on the outside bathroom but I loved the sounds and smells of the factory, the big windows and the weathered timber tables and floorboards.

Visiting Doug up on Bourke is a bit like revisiting the Valley. Doug up on Bourke is housed on the first floor of an old industrial building in Waterloo with the most amazing light - it would make the best photographic studio.

What's inside the store is a cornucopia of industrial wares arranged around a theme. I chuckled at the very uncomfortable looking bedpans and the camel; wished I had space in my flat for one of the old bus rolls and the old shoe lasts are definitely on my "to buy" list.

I particularly loved the little office vignette which I've featured twice on the blog, both in colour and black and white.

Here it is in colour.

It's a lovely way to spend some time on a Saturday morning with Danks Street Depot and Fratelli Fresh just round the corner in Danks Street.

Bye for now,


Edit 2016 - Doug up on Bourke is no longer open but continues to trade online.


Reverse Chocolate Chunk Cookies

5 Jul 2009

When I was back home in Brisbane for my birthday I sorted through old magazines hunting down long lost recipes. I unearthed a recipe for Reverse Chocolate Chunk Cookies from an old American magazine and I made the dough a few weeks ago. I didn't have time to bake the cookies so I stored the dough in 2 separate batches in the freezer.

The first batch I made were "chunky" cookies and the second batch I made were "regular" cookies. I tasted one of the chunky cookies, which took forever to bake, but they were a bit too chunky for me.

I took the cookies into work on Thursday and all but one were devoured by the end of the day. Most people didn't realise the cookies were different but in the end I managed to get a comment from one of the boys that perhaps the chunky cookies were too much of a good thing so I'll be making the cookies "regular size" from now on.

If you already have a favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe it's easy to convert the recipe - just add a few tablespoons of sifted unsweetened cocoa powder to the cookie dough and swap white chocolate for regular chocolate and roasted hazelnuts or macadamias for walnuts.

Next post will feature Doug up on Bourke, a treasure trove of antique and industrial wares, so until then


Rhubarb Yoghurt Cake

1 Jul 2009

As you know, I have a thing about rhubarb and especially oven baked rhubarb. When I found this recipe for Rhubarb Yoghurt Cake I knew I had to give it a go.

The recipe was easy to follow and the finished cake looked just as it was supposed to.

I took the cake into work and it disappeared in a flash, which is always a great sign. My workmates gave it the thumbs up, so I think they're all rhubarb fans as well. As I hadn't made this recipe before I tried a small piece of cake. I'd used low fat Greek yoghurt in the recipe so the cake was very tart and needed a little bit more sugar. Next time I try the recipe I might use buttermilk instead of yoghurt and increase the sugar, just a little.

If you try the recipe, let me know how it turns out.

P.S. Happy Canada Day!

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