Monthly Archives: August 2011

Fathers Day In Australia

I’m really looking forward to Fathers Day this year.  I’m having my Father and extended family over for lunch and want to make it special.  Here are some outdoor table setting ideas if you’re thinking of taking your Fathers Day celebration outside.  I’m going to recreate the first one…will post some pics on Monday.

and for a bit of escapism….this one

Source:  The Style Files



I just read this inspiration on Claire Jackson’s fabulous blog

“A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes.  It is a spark that causes extraordinary results…”

This is how I’m trying to live my life…with positivity, of course we all have our down times.  If we allow ourselves to feel that then go back to our positive place I believe we will have the outcome of Claire’s quote.

Have the courage to follow your dreams, be positive…it may take a long time but you will get there eventually, enjoy the journey.  If you are working in a full time job and not enjoying it, find ways to indulge your passion outside of work even if just for an hour a week…who knows where it may lead!  The important thing is beginning…
A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a spark that 

Roast Chicken and Salad

Happy weekend entertaining everyone…enjoy the beautiful weather, simple dishes like this beautifully roasted chicken, a lovely bowl of salad and a few bottles of wine make it so enjoyable.



Rub a chicken between skin and breast and all over with combination of some soft butter, crushed garlic, sea salt (I use maldon sea salt) and olive oil mixed together (I usually do it in the mortar & pestle).  Put a handful of rosemary in the chicken’s cavity with a lemon cut in half and place in a pre heated 200 degree oven for an hour or until cooked.
For something different try this salad from Bill Granger.
Quinoa has a lovely, nutty flavour and texture and is similar to couscous and bulgar wheat.
I believe you can get at Coles or from a health food shop.  If you can’t find quinoa use brown couscous or brown rice.
Quinoa salad with pomegranate
3/4 cup quinoa
150g green beans topped & cut into short lengths
handful parsley leaves
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 lebanese cucumbers cut into chunks
1 green capsicum, deseeded & cut into strips
1 small red onion, very finely sliced
100g green olives, pitted
seeds from 1 pomegranate
To serve
extra virgin olive oil
lemon juice
Rinse quinoa and put in a large pan with 2 cups cold water.  Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer for 12-15 minutes until all the water has been absorbed.
Meanwhile blanch the beans in a pan of lightly salted boiling water for 2-3 minutes until they are bright green and tender yet crisp.   Rinse under cold running water and drain well.
Put the quinoa in a bowl and stir in the parsley, lemon juice and olive oil.  Season with sea salt and ground black pepper.  Spoon into serving bowl and top with cucumber, capsicum, onion, olives and pomegranate seeds.  Add a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice to serve.

Happy Monday…it’s going to be a beautiful week

The days are getting nicer and I thought today would be a good day to share an article about flowers for your tabletop and how easy it is to buy some blooms and arrange them in different jars you may have collected or bought to decorate your Spring dining table.


Jars and ribbons
Let the prettiest flowers shine on their own by popping them in a plain old recycled jar.  We chose velvety pink roses and the odd yellow sunflower for this display. Alone in the jars they looked pretty, but ribbons in complementing colours tied around the jars really made the flowers pop. Stems at different lengths and a judicious smattering of green leaves also adds interest.
If you’re having a dinner party, try a cluster of jars as a table display. Or, as an everyday decoration, place them along a windowsill or spread them out around your house — even one on its own creates a striking feature.
Vessels and hues
Anything goes when placing flowers in clear vases, but for best effect when using coloured vases, keep a common colour theme. This sea of clear and blue vases and bottles looks wonderfully fresh paired with the sunny yellow of the sunflowers and red-hot pokers.
Use different-sized vases, and cut your blooms at various heights so they don’t appear perfectly neat — “careful carelessness” is the look you’re after. Keep leaves above the top of the vase and a maximum of five per flower.
The beauty of single blooms? You can spread the joy. Line them up on a windowsill or randomly cluster them on a table or shelf. Again, no need to use only the same-sized vases — different heights are also visually pleasing.
The rules of colour decoration also apply to flower arranging. So by all means go crazy with different-coloured vases, but keep the flowers you use pure white; or use varying shades of the same colour in the vase and flower.

Here’s to some lovely spring lunches and tabletops.

St Katherine’s

We are lucky to have so many beautiful restaurants in Melbourne with the most delicious food and presentation imaginable.

The latest one to open is St Katherine’s in Kew. It’s the latest venture from chefs George Calombaris and Shane Delia. The way the food is served is the way I would encourage you to entertain…fun and even quirky. There is tomato tins on the tables holding the cutlery, the ceramic bucket holding the prawn crackers below was modelled on the cardboard buckets they remember from when they were kids, the clean lines of the white ceramic platters are so fresh and modern.

The patterns on the plates in the restaurant are based on the ones George and Shane found in their mothers kitchens!

It’s all about love, family, fresh and seasonal food, simplicity, excitement and discovery.

Exactly the way I like to entertain!

Images:  Gourmet Traveller


Store Now Open

I’m thrilled to let you know my store is finally open after months of hard work.  I have started off with a simple range based on the essence of my business which you can read about here.  If you like what you see in the photo above come visit my store.  I’d love your feedback and please help me spread the word by telling all your friends!

L’Occitane Cafe Tokyo

When I was in Tokyo recently I loved the L’Occitane store and two level cafe above the store and have been dying to share pictures of it with you.

The store is situated on one of the busiest corners at the Shibuya intersection so there are amazing views if you are seated next to the window like we were.  I really liked the french market baskets they placed near each table so you could put your shopping bags and handbag in there whilst you had lunch.

Lunch was these colourful salads…they were summer on a plate and the drink was very refreshing it was orange and earl grey tea.

then came dessert…I had been eyeing these creme brulees on other diners tables so was definitely going to order one as they looked so nice…my husband and I shared one.

as you can see we scraped the plate…so delicious!

Custard desserts are one of my favourite and this was made perfectly, about an inch thick with a thin layer of toffee.

Following is a recipe for Creme Brulee if you’d like to make it.  It is a perfect dessert if you’ve got friends coming over as can prepare them earlier, keep them in the fridge and do the toffee part just before you are going to serve them.  As a way of keeping costs down you could purchase a jar of Vanilla Bean Paste available from deli’s and supermarkets to use instead of vanilla beans.  I use a nice one called Taylor & Colledge which I get from The Continental Deli, 586 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn - (03) 9819 6645.

Creme Brulee

2 Vanilla Pods or 2 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
300ml Thickened Cream
200ml Full Fat Milk
8 Egg Yolks
80g Sugar

Preheat the oven to 140C.

Score the vanilla pods lengthwise and run the knife up the pod to remove the vanilla seeds.  Scrape these into the pan with the pods, cream and milk and slowly bring to the boil.

Meanwhile beat together the yolks and the sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy.

When the cream and milk are just boiling, remove the vanilla pods and add little by little to the egg mixture, whisking continuously.  Remove bubbles or froth from the mixture before dividing it into serving dishes (dishes similar to the ones pictured are perfect to use).

Stand these in an appropriately sized roasting tray filled with water half way up the containers and bake in the preheated oven for around 25 minutes until the custard mixture has set but is still slightly wobbly in the centre.

Allow to cool to room temperature then place in the fridge until ready to serve.

Sprinkle with sugar and caramelise under a very hot grill or using a kitchen blowtorch.

Serves 6


Giveaway Winners

The winners of the giveaway drawn this morning in random order are:

Prize 1 – green and yellow glazed bowl  Krissy D

Prize 2 – bowl with cracked effect  Lucie

Prize 3 – Pocky   Erica

Congratulations to all of you and thank you to everyone who took the time to enter.

Can each of you please email and let me know where to send your prize.

Strawberry, Apple & Walnut Muffins

Photo:  Catherine Bedson

My daughter Hayley loves cooking and bakes Muffins for her school lunch all the time.  These ones she made last night are so moist and delicious and I love the flavour combination she used, you could smell cinnamon all over the kitchen when she took them out of the oven.  You can use any combination of fruit or nuts or leave the nuts out if you prefer.

Strawberry, Apple & Walnut Muffins

220g self raising flour
1/2 cup castor sugar
3/4 cup milk or buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup strawberries cut up
1/3 cup apple finely chopped

Preheat oven to 180C and place paper patty pans in muffin tin.

Mix sifted flour and castor sugar, add cinnamon .

Combine milk, egg and oil in a separate bowl and whisk lightly
Add strawberries and apple.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, pour in liquid and mix lightly.  Spoon batter into patty pans until two thirds full, place a couple of walnuts on top and push into the mixture slightly.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until browned on top.

Remove from oven, cool for a minute then turn onto a wire cooling rack.

Dust with some icing sugar when cool if desired.