Monthly Archives: May 2014

Tonka bean panna cotta with raspberry jelly, white chocolate sauce and caramelised pecans

tonka bean panna cotta1

It’s hard to describe the taste of tonka beans. The smell of the beans is reminiscent of sweet marzipan with something else…. One article referred to them as vanilla on steroids, and being a big fan of vanilla, I knew I had to try some. They are a baking little secret and have a distinct, wonderful and unforgettable flavour. Tonka beans take the humble panna cotta to a new level, and combined with a rich and slightly tart raspberry jelly: dessert heaven. I used caramelised pecans for texture and given I made the panna cotta with Greek yoghurt, I served it with a white chocolate sauce for some extra creamy sweetness. I don’t think the white chocolate is strictly necessary, as the tonka bean-flavoured panna cotta is sweet enough by itself.  Continue reading


Warm lamb salad with feta, chickpea and beetroot


I’m not going to write a long spiel about this. All I will say is that this lamb salad is so comforting and well, damn good. I love grilled lean lamb and when combined with soft salty feta, peppery rocket, sweet oven-roasted beetroot and the crunch of chick peas…. it’s just too good. I dress this salad with a little extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and (because it makes it so special) add a fried garlicy ‘crouton’ crumb. The fried breadcrumbs kind of send it astray from the very healthy to somewhat healthy, but they do add a nice touch. All that aside, it’s a super easy light meal.  Continue reading

Bernie’s baked lemon tart

lemon pie slice 2

I absolutely love this lemon tart! It is silky smooth, creamy, yet light and soooo tangy but not too sweet. Apart from the pastry, it is dead-easy to make (you could just as easily use store-bought for a show-stopping dessert). This recipe was given to me years ago by Bernie, a social media friend, when I was wondering what to make using the bags of lemons given to me by another social media friend. The recipe was a photocopy from a book, so I’m not sure where the original recipe came from.

Lemons are in season at the moment in Australia. There are so many things you can do with lemons, like making limoncello, but with winter coming, a comforting lemon tart is a winner for me any day. The recipe basically involves making a light custard with whole eggs, lemon and cream and then baking it very slowly. You need to blind bake the pastry case first, otherwise it will end up a soggy mess. I’d recommend lining the base of the flan tin, as the pasty can end up sticking to the base with the long slow cooking time.  Continue reading

Lorikeet sunrise


It is a bit of a cheat tagging this post with #Canberra, as half the images were taken at the South Coast, near Milton, over Easter. But the sunrise from Gungahlin in the north this morning was so lovely, it made me think of the beautiful lorikeets and flowers we saw while on our Easter break.

rainbow lorikeet rainbow lorikeets

These cheeky birds were daily visitors and we tried to feed them sunflower seeds – ooops, seems they prefer the banksia I have back in my garden in Canberra!


One of may favourite things is riding my bike in new suburbs – there are wonderful roads with clean, smooth surfaces and very little traffic. Gungahlin used to be like that, but now can be pretty busy early in the morning, particularly since the Gungahlin Drive Extension was finished. Still, it’s a good road surface. I took my photos this morning around Gungahlin and I just love this little piece of ‘public art’ on Gungahlin Drive. I’m not sure if it was done by locals or a council worker having a good day, but these really do look like Mario’s drain pipes. 1 up all!

mario drain

Gungahlin sunrise 2

Have a great weekend!



Spiced pulled pork with coke – slow cooker

Pulled pork coke 1

When I mention to friends or people at work that I am making pulled pork in a slow cooker using coke, the reaction is generally and general disbelief. Equally: “how do you cook with coke?” and “how could you cook with coke??” Cooking pulled pork with coke makes so much sense to me, the coke is all caramel, acid and sweetness – everything you need for sweet tender pork. I don’t know what it says about me, but the first time I heard about pulled pork and coke I thought ‘I HAVE to try that!’  Continue reading

Passionfruit curd tart with meringue topping


I made passionfruit curd for passionfruit macarons and I also used it on all sorts of other things, including over French toast.  But it is the king at the end of a meal in a soft buttery tart shell topped with luscious browned meringue.  Continue reading