Pumpkin Spice Cake

31 Mar 2010

Every now and again I like to try something different. One of the girls at work mentioned she'd like me to bake a carrot cake. I found this recipe for carrot cake and wondered how it would taste if I used grated pumpkin instead of carrot.

The cake is really moist and I only used half the quantity of drained pineapple specified in the recipe. Next time I mightn't use any pineapple at all because I have plans to completely turn the recipe upside down and inside out.

The best part of the cake as always is the cream cheese icing. I decided to fill the cake with the same icing as I love it so much.

As the recipe includes dates and toasted nuts, of course I had to decorate the top with a few extra fresh dates and some pecans.

The verdict? It's pretty good but I was left wondering how it would taste if I first cooked the pumpkin and maybe used butter instead of oil, then left out the pineapple, nuts and dates. If I ever revamp the recipe, I'll let you all know how it turns out.

I'm heading to Brisbane for a few days with the family so if I don't get the chance to post before Friday, I wish everybody a Happy Easter or Passover.

Bye for now,


Shopshoot - Samantha Robinson Ceramics

29 Mar 2010

A week or so ago I made my way over see Samantha Robinson in her studio at Alexandria. The studio was abuzz the day I was there with orders being packed and sent overseas. If you live in Sydney you don't have to travel overseas to pick up some of Samantha's work.

I bought one of her vases from the Paddington Markets a few years ago, which I gave to my sister. The vase I bought was white with a beautiful texture but if anything it's the colour of Sam's work that sets it apart.

Apart from vases I loved the beakers and the larger pieces.

I'm still to buy one of Sam's work for my own place but that's solely because there were too many pretty things and I couldn't make up my mind!

I'll be back on Wednesday with some more food photography for you so until then,



Sneak Peak - Samantha Who?

26 Mar 2010

At work, we're all looking forward to next weeks Easter break which made this week seem very long indeed. I have lots of cooking to do on Sunday so I'll be chained to the stove all day. I also have to defrost the freezer as every time I place something into it, another item falls out.

Next week I have some baked goodies to show you plus a studio tour I shot last week. I'll leave you with a sneak peak.

Can you guess who it is? Come back Monday when I'll be able to share the rest of my images with you.

Have a great weekend,



Miss B Aged 4

24 Mar 2010

I've been taking photos of Miss. B since she was 7 days old. One day I'll put together a collage of the photos I've taken so you can see how she has changed with the years. Miss B is an incorrigible flirt with the camera. When I visit, the first thing she asks is have I brought my camera with me.

Even though the blue chair is now broken, we always take a photo there. I think I started the tradition when Miss B was 18 months of age. 

Miss B. first started posing for the camera when she was about 3 and I just assumed this was the usual age when children start to pose. Apparently not so. Here is Miss B. completely camera aware with her best friend, who is oblivious to the camera because she's so engrossed with the task at hand.

Angelic Miss Z.

Miss B with attitude. They are such a funny pair.

I'll be back on Friday with a sneak peak from last week's studio visit, so until then,


Chocolate Raspberry Roll

22 Mar 2010

Last weekend I visited friends for dinner and I promised to bring the dessert. I've been wanting an excuse to make this chocolate roll again for quite some time.

What has this little minx got to do with a chocolate raspberry roll? Well she liked it so much she had 2 servings and ate all the chocolate leaves I'd so carefully made but more about Miss B next post.

Dione Lucas visited Australia many years ago, long before I was born and brought this recipe with her. This is an adaptation of the recipe I pulled from the pages of a magazine many years ago. So long ago that the paper is now yellowed and the edges are torn. The chocolate cake contains no flour so it's more a rolled chocolate souffle than cake. The original recipe dusted the cake with cocoa but I prefer icing sugar with the berry filling.

As the cake contains no flour, it cracks like crazy as you roll it but I think that adds to it's charm. That way you know there are raspberries and strawberries lurking within.

The finished product before Miss. B demolished it. I had a piece as well and it really is a fantastic confection and sure to impress.

I'll be back Wednesday with more photos of my afternoon with Miss. B so until then,


In the Garden

19 Mar 2010

Here are the last few images from the garden in Dungog.

Some fruit; some flowers; some asparagus fronds and some decorative bugs for good measure.

It's Friday afternoon here so the weekend is just around the corner. I'll be back next week with some more food photography, my favourite model Miss. B and a sneak peek as well.

See you all later then,



St Andrews Church Seaham

17 Mar 2010

Whenever I drive to Dungog I go via Raymond Terrace. On the way home I drive back via Tocal. No-one likes or needs to get bored during a 3 hour drive.

Every time I pass through Seaham and see this little church I always think 'I must take some photos next time I drive through'.

Well this time I did.

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


In the Garden

12 Mar 2010

It's Friday evening here and it's been a long week so this post will be a short one. Firstly I'd like to thank Holly from decor8 for featuring my photographs of Empire Vintage on the blog this week.

To tide you over until next week, here's something from the garden in Dungog I photographed last weekend. My brother tells me it's a carrot flower and I think it's just lovely.

I have a few more photos to share from my weekend away but you'll have to wait until next week.

I'll see you all again next Monday. Have a great weekend,


Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne

10 Mar 2010

Well as promised, here is my last blog post from Melbourne. Wherever I travel I like to do one of three things - visit the Art Gallery, the Botanic Gardens or equivalent and the food markets. Even though I was only in Melbourne for 2 days I managed all three.

When I last stayed in Melbourne I stayed opposite the Domain and the impressive Shrine of Remembrance. ANZAC Day is coming soon and no doubt the Shrine will be the centrepiece of ANZAC Day celebrations in Melbourne.

The day I visited the gardens was really bright and sunny so the sunflowers were standing proud and tall.

I visited the Ian Potter Childrens' Garden and was surprised by a sign asking all visitors to remain fully clothed. All was answered when the fountain was switched on.

I hope you enjoyed my little wander through the gardens,


Zucchini Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

8 Mar 2010

I visited Farmer Andrew this past weekend. Farmer Andrew lives in Dungog about a 3 hour drive from my place in Sydney. I thought I'd do a bit of country style baking and decided to make some zucchini cupcakes. I knew I'd be able to get fresh eggs from the girls in the henhouse and when I checked the nesting boxes, there were 4 eggs waiting for me. I brought zucchinis with me but there were some zucchinis growing in the veggie garden.

I can't remember how long I've had this recipe and whether I wrote it myself or copied it from someone else. It's simply a carrot cake recipe which uses zucchini instead of grated carrot. I also use toasted walnuts and crushed pineapple in the recipe, which makes the cake nice and moist. Normally I make a 8-9 inch cake using this recipe but thought cupcakes would be a nice idea.

I was a bit surprised when the recipe made 16 cupcakes. Two came back down with me on the drive to Sydney.

I've not eaten one of the cupcakes yet - I'm waiting to have mine after dinner with a cup of tea but Andrew assures me they're yummy.

I hope you had a lovely weekend and return to work today refreshed and invigorated. I'll be back on Wednesday with my last Melbourne post so until then,


Friday Favourites - Prahran

5 Mar 2010

I'm a bit reluctant to share the details of my accommodation in Melbourne. I'd planned on staying in a place in South Yarra but my the time I was ready to book, there was no availability. I'm a procrastinator from way back so it was entirely my own fault.

One of my friends suggested I look at the Prahran Village Guesthouse. I did and it looked lovely, was close to transport and so I booked it right away. I was so glad I did. The place was immaculate and came complete with a slightly mad Labradoodle, called Toby. Initially Toby was a bit scared of me but by the end of my stay he was dragging me into the house by the hem of my skirt and giving me full blown kisses. The guesthouse was so convenient to both the tram and the train station and Chapel and Greville Streets and the Prahran Market weren't far away, though I had no time in which to shop. Now don't all rush to book because I still want to be able to stay there next time I visit Melbourne.

Prahran isn't far from the city and has some lovely old houses. I roamed about with my camera on Saturday night before dinner getting a feel for the place.

Just as I was about to return home, I caught some local lovelies heading out for Saturday night. Hopefully next time I'm in town I'll be able to enjoy some more of what Melbourne does best - food and wine and shopping!

I'm off to the country this weekend to see Farmer Andrew. What a pity it looks like it will be a wet weekend. I hope you all have a lovely weekend and I'll be back again with some more photos next week.

Until then,


Cinnamon Rolls

3 Mar 2010

Is there something you're really not good at no matter how hard you try? Well I'm hopeless making puff pastry so I buy ready made and my bread making skills are a bit hit and miss. Last week I decided to make cinnamon rolls and also made pizza for my dinner. Using the same yeast and the same flour, the pizza dough rose spectacularly but the sweet bread mixture less well. What gives?

My grandmother was a champion bread maker. My Dad is known for his sweet rolls and my brother is a bit of a bread whizz as well. I must have missed out on the breadmaking gene.

I brought this recipe for cinnamon rolls back with me from Canada and the Winter Olympics coverage inspired me to make a batch. They didn't rise as much as I would have liked but they still tasted pretty good. I froze half the batch uncooked so when I need a sugar hit, I bake a roll straight from the oven.

Next time I'm home I'm going to snaffle Dad's recipe for sweet bread rolls and practise, practise, practise until I get it right. I couldn't track down the original Canadian recipe I used but this one is pretty close. Have fun making them.

I'll be back on Friday, so until then,


Shopshoot - Empire Vintage

1 Mar 2010

When I decided to visit Melbourne I thought it would be fun to do a shopshoot down there. But what place to visit? I haven't been to Melbourne for 3 years so my finger isn't really on the pulse of Melbourne design.

Last year, photos of The White House in Daylesford started appearing on blogs. I loved the decor and discovered the house was owned by Lyn Gardener. I'd read about and seen photos of Lyn Gardener's store Empire Vintage in Melbourne's Albert Park and thought it would be the perfect place to visit.

The suburb of Albert Park is new to me so I took a little trip on a tram from downtown Melbourne and it was easy to spot the store with it's cute sign. One of these days, as a personal project, I'm going to photograph what's left of those old painted advertising signs found on buildings before they're all demolished.

Unfortunately Lyn wasn't in the shop the day of my visit but Marina looked after me very well and let me roam with my camera. So what did I find? Well follow me into the store.....

Empire Vintage is a treasure trove and if you look hard enough you'll unearth some little jewels. I spied pretty china; tram prints from PPD Design; mercury glass; some sweet rose paintings; o-check papergoods; grain sack cushions; pretty fringed aprons; globes and the list goes on and on.

I could have spent hours in the store fossicking around.

I hope you all enjoyed my little visit to Empire Vintage. Thanks once again to Lyn for letting me play in her store.

I'll be back again on Wednesday, so until then,


2016 edit - Empire Vintage has now become Gardener and Marks.

Empire Vintage
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