Chocolate cups with blueberry cream and romance

edible heartsI’m not really one for Valentine’s Day. I’ve never been keen on red roses, I’m not a fan of the clichés. I’m really not much of a romantic at all. When asked the other day about the most romantic thing the Boy had ever done for me, my response was that he got me Daisy for my birthday.

My idea of romance involves sausage dogs. Yup.

Gumbo and rainy day comfort food

bowlThe weather has not been kind to Sydney this week. Earlier in the week it was so uncomfortably humid that leaving the haven of my air-conditioned house made me immediately hot – the air was syrupy with humidity. I made my watermelon and feta salad to cool down on Saturday and had planned to eat the leftovers today.

That was an optimistic plan, because today we had rain; persistent, cold and accompanied by wind.

On the plus side, it was good weather for baking! I baked a lemon and coconut cake similar to these little beauties, and one of my new favourite recipes, gumbo.

Mango lemonade and Summer drinks

ice cubesSummer is definitely here. After a bit of a stormy start, Summer has reared it’s glorious head. I got burnt yesterday at the beach; I applied sunscreen (patchily, as it turns out) and have awkward sunburn patches on my back and legs.

On top of the 30+ degree weather, this sunburn makes me feel like I’m melting! I had a box of quickly ripening mangoes and was in need of something refreshing, speedy and healthy to ease the pain of the sunburn. This mango lemonade ticks all of these boxes and it tastes like a little bit of heaven. I’m in love with it.

Champagne pop rocks cake and New Year’s Eve

aboveThis cake is an occasion cake. It’s two-tiered, it’s got champagne in it, and POP ROCKS! All those components make it just a little bit more special than the average cake. This cake really embodies New Year’s Eve traditions to me – it’s fun and unexpected, it’s got a little bit of champagne in it, and the pop rocks are like little fireworks for your taste buds.

Mini mango cupcakes and Summer flavours

Mango is Summer to me. It is impossible to imagine one without the other. When I was at school I always knew that the holidays were close when mango prices had fallen enough for us to buy a box of them. To this day, the thrill of buying a box full of mangoes brings me a ridiculous amount of joy.

image2Which is why long road trips up (or down) the NSW coast also bring me great joy – there are countless roadside fruit vendors! If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen my mango haul.

We bought them about four hours into our trip, and the sweet, syrupy smell filled our warm car, becoming increasingly enticing over the remaining two hours.

Honey choc tops and wanderlust

animalsI’ve been having a bit of a Sweden-athon recently. My Pinterest is filling up with with beautiful, dramatic landscapes and gorgeous Scandinavian design… and I’m stuck indoors working as the Sydney gets gloomier by the day.

All of this pinning is dangerous, it’s making me yearn for a country that I’ve never even been to. It’s on my bucket list, because I’ve only heard amazing things about Sweden. For the moment, however, I have to make do with my own little Swedish baked goods and eat my wanderlust into submission.

Anzac day and passionfruit mint cocktails

IngredientsI’ve already posted an Anzac biscuit recipe. It’s my dad’s recipe and they are delicious. He’s in the kitchen making them as I type. The smell of melted butter combined with the oats and brown sugar is such a simple delight. The mixture is to die for, raw or baked.

Instead of posting another Anzac-based recipe, however, I’m sharing a cocktail today. Sharing a drink with friends is so deeply ingrained in the Australian culture, that I’m pretty sure my entire long weekend consists of pub catch ups.

This cocktail is a far cry from the usual macho feel of Anzac day, where beer and two up are king, but it’s a gorgeous way to brighten up your rainy Anzac day. I also got most of my ingredients from my farm visit last weekend, so this cocktail is a little celebration of Australia in a glass.

With fresh, zesty flavours, it’s also pretty delicious. Enjoy your Anzac day!

Passionfruit mint fizz:

Makes 4 cocktailsscene

  • 8 passionfruit
  • 5cm chunk of ginger
  • 2 small lemons, juice and zest
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • White rum
  • 2 cups soda water or lemonade

scrapsSlice the skin off your ginger, then score it lightly to ensure it releases lots of flavour. Pop the ginger in a heavy based, medium-sized saucepan with the passionfruit pulp and seeds, juice and zest of the lemons, sugar, and water.

Put the mixture of a medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Set to one side to cool. You should end up with about 2 cups of syrup, which will make four cocktails.

mintWhen the syrup is cooled, pour about ¼ cup into a tumbler, add 30ml (or more) or rum and top up with soda water or lemonade. You can always omit the alcohol and serve it as a home made cordial if you please.

Enjoy!

Chocolate tart with raspberry poached pear

sneakIt just so happened that I came into a large amount of pears over the weekend. It was like my inheritance came in the form of pears. It was delightful.

The only problem is, pears do not last forever. And there are only so many pears one can eat before they start turn brown and mushy.

So I started brainstorming pear-based recipes. I’ve already blogged about my ridiculous love of pears and the many recipes I include them in, so I needed to think up some more plans. This post was a French-inspired one. I love everything about France. I love the people, I love the accents, I love their gardens, their buildings, their art, their FOOD.

Damper and brown butter sugar

sceneAustralia day is dawning, and I love how it brings people together. This holiday is laidback, community-focussed and gets pretty warm. The same can be said of this damper! The fact that damper only has six ingredients and needs very little attention is just a plus! Damper is an easy dish to serve at your Australia day gathering – even though I would say it is best enjoyed with a cuppa, this rustic Australian classic will sit comfortably alongside whatever you choose to drink this weekend.

Anzac biscuits and patriotism

This past week reminded me of how much I love Australia. Not in a stupidly patriotic kind of way… I’m just completely gobsmacked by the beauty that is hidden away from major cities and highways.

I struggled with the lack of phone signal, and cursed Google maps when it couldn’t locate us on a map when we were hopelessly lost, but I loved that aspect of the trip as well. I know that I’m glued to my phone far too much, but this trip made me appreciate that there is value to be found in doing nothing and simply being, staying still and watching.

Don’t think I didn’t grab every opportunity to document my trip on Instagram though!

Qld roadtrip