dessert, food

goat’s cheese, pistachio and prune cake with smoked fig and apricot

IMG_9047Do I feel exotic? Do I?
Well hell yeah I do, I just baked a French savory cake, A FRENCH CAKE I TELL YA!
And on ANZAC Day. Oh the irony and insensitivity. I joke, it’s only cake, and like they say, when you can’t bake cookies, bake a savory…cake?

IMG_9048The ‘ultimate’ ANZAC biscuit comes down to personal fussiness. Though traditionally a gooey and sweet concoction of oats, honey and butter,  some prefer a crumbly mess and hazardous crunch. Traditionally a valuable food resource  known to last long periods of time – because the recipe asks for no eggs – they are a sweet symbol of a rather delicate time in history.
Because I know that foodie blogs around this hemisphere will be throwing ANZAC cookies/biscuits/comeon at their screens, I decided to do a post about a loaf. Yep. And remain unpopular. So the un-cookie like pictures are in fact a take on Rachel Khoo’s french savory cake, adding instead a few bits of smoked fig and dried apricot and substituting with some wholemeal flour. But chuck in whatever you like. Or don’t like. Whatever. IMG_9069
Warning. Dismissing that I bothered to add wholemeal flour for a healthier substitute, swipe on some blue vein cheese and drizzle in honey. DO I FEEL EXOTIC?!

Goat’s cheese, pistachio & prune cake, with dried fig & apricot (adapted from Rachel Khoo)


200g plain flour
50g wholemeal flour
20g baking powder
150g soft goat’s cheese, cut into small pieces
80g pistachios, roughly chopped
70g prunes, roughly chopped
30g dried or smoked fig, roughly chopped
small scattering of dried apricot, finely chopped
4 free-range eggs
150ml olive oil
100ml milk
50g plain yogurt
1tsp salt
pinch freshly-ground black pepper

Preheat the over to 180C and line a 500g loaf tin with baking baker, or flour and butter it thoroughly.
ix together the flours, baking paper, cheese, pistachios and fruits in a bowl.
hisk the eggs in a separate bowl till pale and fluffy – if you’re doing this by hand it’s a good 5 minutes. Gradually whisk in the oil, milk and yogurt before seasoning with salt and ground pepper.
Fold in your flour mix to the egg mixture till just under-mixed. If you over-beat this mixture your cake will be too tough.
Pour your batter into a prepared tin and bake for 30-40 minutes, or till a skewer comes out clean. And leave to cool in the tin.


fig frangipane tart with fig jam & honey

IMG_8726IMG_8716It’s fig season down under, so anything with figs is a go-go: fig soup, fig stew, fig on toast, fig on roast, fig on the roof, fig on the run. Hands-down has got to be my favorite fruit, though i do love it sickly un-ripe and sour rather sickly sweet. Before serving this tart the first time I had attempted it, I trialled a small slice my self – dolloped on some freshly whipped cream with ground pistachio, took my first bite and smiled like a zebra happy stripes. IMG_8635IMG_8636IMG_8640After minimal effort and the few hours of pastry-prepping, it’s mostly a lot of worthy waiting around. I’ve adapted a few different methods for the sweet short-crust pastry using Lorraine Pascale’s version and for the frangipane filling also – adapted from a matter of taste – from two different recipes. I then just changed things as I went along and to suit a 24cm round fluted tart tin. So do it, get your fig on!IMG_8693IMG_8706IMG_8715IMG_8684

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
250g plain flour
125g cold butter cube
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp caster sugar
large pinch of salt
1 tbsp single cream or milk if required – I find I require this plus extra
Blitz flour and butter in a food processor till it’s fine and resembles a breadcrumb texture. Or, alternatively, you can rub the flour and butter together with your hands.
Combine with the egg yolks, sugar and a pinch of salt and stir in with a knife.
Squish the mixture together, add some milk – if needed – before turning it out onto a kitchen surface and rollingtogether. It’s important to note that if you’re pastry does feel very dry only then should you need to add the milk or cream. Otherwise try and get by without for a more tender pastry.
Place in the fridge for 30mins.
Rest the dough at room temperature it becomes malleable and you won’t be working with a mess!
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius.
Roll out your pastry on a lightly floured surface to generously fit a 24cm flute tart tin.
Ease the pastry in to the tin and with a small ball of pastry push the corners of the pastry in to the base of the tine. If you have cracks and tears – don’t freak like me – just do some patchwork and keep going, trimming the excess edges of the pastry with a knife and pricking the base with a fork.
Pop it back in to the fridge for 15 minutes. This part will prevent your pastry from shrinking once it’s baked  – unfortunately my pictures contradict this sturdy advice!
Scrunch enough baking paper to fit your tin and place on top of your pastry, filling it with baking beads or dry beans and ‘blind bake’ for 10-15 minutes till just set.
Remove the beans and baking paper and cook for a further 10 minutes till dry and golden crisp.

Frangipane Filling
Fig jam
175g butter, softened
130g sugar
2 eggs
180g almond meal
8 – 10 medium figs, halved or quartered
Spread the jam on your baked pastry. As much as you like depending on how sweet you want your tart.
Beat the butter and sugar in an electric mixer till pale and fluffy, add eggs and almond meal and mix till well blended.
Spoon the mixture into the pastry case and smooth out before placing the figs on the filling.
Bake for 40 – 45 mins till just set and golden.
Drizzle  honey over the figs while the tart is still warm.
Serve with either thick pouring cream, or whipped cream topped with crushed roasted pistachio.

main, seafood

baked salmon with potato & fennel

IMG_8858This Sunday lunch-in-a-pan was a joke to prepare – a laughing matter in fact. Not the ‘haha are you joking?’ type of a joke, but the ‘omg, that’s all? what a joke!’ kind. Bless your breeziness Jamie Oliver and your go-to spectacle of a website – my cyber-cookery bible. The house smelt madly wonderful on Sunday afternoon, salty potent parmesan, sweet caramelised fennel (which, by the why, I think is the punchline of this entire dish –  so definitely ADD MORE FENNEL you won’t regret it), mint infused salmon strips, and soft on the inside crispy on the skin potatoes lathered in garlic, olive oil and butter.

My father praised my skills and thanked Jamie for the blessed feast. Winning. Don’t think twice, catch your fish and click here for the recipe.



chocolate-hazelnut macaroon torte

IMG_8806Incase it’s not obvious – judging by the photographs to follow – this is my first attempt at an any-number-tiered cake, a any-nut meringue torte, and lather generously in whipped cream – neatly. Not obvious?  Oh you are too kind!
But my goodness there has to be a food God out there. And they would rename this cake Ferrero Rocher on high. The minute I saw this recipe posted on Smitten Kitchen – a favey food blog of mine – I was  running, MacBook in hand, towards my kitchen. Try not to run with the screen open. Or  don’t look at the screen.
You can find the stunning recipe adapted from Epicuros on Deb’s blog here and find my no-where-near-replica-at-least-you-tried-version of photographs after the jump. Mouth water over hers, and be sure to come back and point out where I needed improvements. I’ll even give you the answers, *cough* stack your meringues in line? *cough*

However, I am stealing brownie points for originating the crushed pistachio finish.


feeling blueberry


food, main

seriously simple zucchini salad


Too simple and too good, this was my glamorous idea of dinner last night, but it was dinner for one and exactly what I needed.

2 zucchinis
1 ripe tomato
small bunch of basil
1 tsp sea salt
20g of feta or bocconcini to serve (or however much you like really, just watch the salt!)
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs of red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar

Using a peeler, peel the zucchini in thin strips lengthways into a bowl. Sprinkle with salt, toss through evenly and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
Finally chop the tomato.
Create the dressing by whisking together olive oil and your choice of vinegar.
Squeeze out and/or strain the excess water from the resting zucchini  and attempt to pat try as much as possible.Place the zucchini strips evenly on plate, top with the tomato and cheese. Sprinkle over finely sliced basil, drizzle over the dressing and season with pepper.


food, main

grilled chicken with mustard and thyme


Mustard, paprika and tumeric chicken breast, with garlic and thyme. Grilled to perfection!