Monthly Archives: July 2012

Clean, Fresh, Delicious…

We had this dessert at a neighbours house last summer after dinner outdoors in their rustic, tuscan inspired garden complete with big white market umbrellas and olive trees…this dessert was perfect for the season with beautiful pops of flavour from the berries and the sweetness of the poached pears.  In winter I’d just poach the pears and serve alone or with some season fruits which have been baked in the oven, serve with mascarpone and custard.

Place the platter of fruit in the middle of the table and let people spoon some of each fruit into their bowl (don’t forget to spoon some of the poaching mixture on top of the pears),  top with a large spoonful of italian mascarpone or thick yoghurt…or you can mix the mascarpone with some whipped cream or mix some vanilla bean paste through it if you don’t like it on it’s own.


A soft, mild Italian cream cheese.

Poached Pears
1 1/3 cups (295 g) caster sugar
2 cloves
1 star anise
1 stick cinnamon
4 firm beurre bosc pears, peeled
Place 2 cups (500ml) water in a heavy based saucepan with the sugar, cloves, star anise and cinnamon stick.  Gently add the pears.  Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until the pears are just tender.

Recipe from “Recipes From My Mothers Kitchen”

Catherine x

Farmhouse Home loves…


Any of these cushions from Kerrie Brown a set decorator who loves taking historical graphics and using them in a modern way.



The Agrarian Kitchen
A sustainable farm based cooking school situated in a 19th century schoolhouse at Lachlan in Tasmania’s Derwent Valley, 90% of the produce on their 5-acre farm is used in
their cooking classes.



Any Neil Perry of Rockpool‘s recipes from the Saturday Age 

Good Weekend Magazine.



The What Katie Ate cookbook which comes out early 

October.  Katie is one of my favourite food bloggers, she is

incredibly talented and her photographs, styling and 

 recipes will take your breath away.

 Update:  Katies book is available for sale now, 

you can buy it at Borders Online.

Australian Version

US Version

Catherine x

Cookbook photos from What Katie Ate.
Cushion photos from Kerrie Brown website.
Farm Photo from The Agrarian Kitchen website
Neil Perry Recipes from The Age Good Weekend Magazine

One For The Northern Hemisphere

Seeing it’s summer in the northern hemisphere, I thought those of you who live on that side of the world might like some nice healthy picnic food recipes.
So…below we have Vegetarian Rice Paper Rolls and an Asian Slaw (coleslaw).  You can add any meat you like to the rice paper rolls…shredded duck meat, chicken, pork or beef.  Don’t forget to take along an airtight container of dipping sauce, sweet chilli, hoisin or plum are a few suggestions.  If you’d like a more substantial picnic, a cooked chicken from a chargrill chicken shop and some flatbread would be put some chicken and asian slaw inside the flatbread, roll up, add some asian sauce or mayo and tuck in.
Mini sorrel leaves (like spinach)


Rice paper rolls are also great if you’re having friends around, you can slice the fillings in advance, arrange on a platter  and have your guests assemble themselves.  I’ve done this a few times and people love it.

This Asian Slaw recipe has peanut butter in the dressing..adds a lovely nutty flavour.

Finish up with some refreshing oranges and some chinese tea.

Rice Paper Rolls
Rice vermicelli – place in a bowl & pour in enough boiling water to  cover.  Soak 3-4 minutes then drain & refresh under cold water before draining thoroughly, place on serving dish
Rice paper wrappers 22cm

Suggested Fillings

Carrot batons
Cucumber batons
Avocado slices
Red capsicum slices
Mini sorrel leaves
Chicken, duck or meat of choice (if using)

Place a large bowl of hot water on the table to soak the rice paper wrappers.  Arrange your chosen fillings on a serving platter alongside the rice vermicelli, the wrappers and the dipping sauce.

Soften your rice paper wrapper in the hot water for 30 seconds – 1 minute then shake off any excess water.  Place the wrapper on a plate, top with a little vermicelli and the filling of your choice and roll up, flipping the ends over first and then tucking in the sides.


Asian Slaw
1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
500g cabbage, thinly sliced
200g cabbage, thinly sliced
2 yellow capsicums, de-seeded and thinly sliced
handful of mint leaves
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
100ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
4 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons soft brown sugar
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 tablespoons smooth peanut butter

Place the onion, both cabbages, the capsicum and the mint in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, the oils, soy sauce, sugar, ginger, garlic and peanut butter.  Pour over the vegetables and toss to combine.   Serves 4-6

* If you only want to make a small salad, halve the amount of ingredients.

Recipes:  Rice Paper Rolls adapted from Bill’s Everyday Asian & Asian Slaw from Bill’s Everyday Asian, Harper Collins Publishers, Bill Granger.

Catherine x

Beef Rendang Recipe

Beef Rendang
2 red onions, roughly chopped
    5 garlic cloves, peeled
   2 tablespoons grated ginger  
6 long red chillies 3 deseeded and roughly chopped & 3 roughly chopped
3 lemongrass stalks, white part only, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons light flavoured oil
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2kg stewing steak, diced
400ml tin coconut milk
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon tamarind paste or lime juice
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 tablespoon soft brown sugar
Place the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli and lemon grass in a food processor and pulse to a paste.  Heat the oil in a large heavy based pan over medium heat.  Add the paste and the cumin, coriander and turmeric and cook, stirring for 2 minutes or until fragrant.
Add the stewing steak, increase the heat to high and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the steak is just sealed.  Add the coconut milk, 400ml water, cinnamon sticks, tamarind paste, salt and sugar and bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 2-2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, or until the meat starts to break up and most of the liquid has evaporated.  Serve with steamed rice and asian greens.  Serves 6-8

My friend Linda told me about this recipe when I had dinner at her place in Sydney.
Everybody asks for the recipe for this dish once they’ve tried it, if you like asian food enjoy, it’s delicious, it’s from Bill Grangers Bill’s Everyday Asian cookbook.  A cookbook I’d recommend for the tasty recipes as well as the beautiful food styling.
Above excerpt © Harper Collins Publishers and Bill Granger  |  Photography © Mikkel Vang

Sydney Trip 2012

The Grounds

Donna Hay General Store

We started off on Tuesday morning with breakfast at this fantastic cafe called The Grounds.  The food and coffee were delicious, the interiors gorgeous with beautiful details, after breakfast we had a stroll outside they have a veggie patch and a garden..really worth finding if you’re going to Sydney.

The next stop was the Donna Hay General store in Woollahra..such a beautifully styled store with alot of the props they use for styling in the magazine for sale.  They were very kind to let me take lots of photos.

Around the corner  and searching for lunch we found the best hot chicken rolls with gravy and salad at Chargrill Charlie’s.  The store was’s healthy grab and go food..rotisserie chickens with no steroids, no chemicals and no hormones, gourmet salads, roast vegetables, curries, burgers and rolls.

Bourke Street Bakery, Surry Hills

My daughters fav bakery ever..The Bourke Street Bakery, you can smell their sausage rolls (pork & fennel and lamb & harissa) from metres away as you approach the shop and there is always a line out the door..the shop is so tiny it can only fit half a dozen people in there at a time.  They’ve had a cookbook out for a long time with all their recipes so might think about finally getting it.  Surry Hills is such a fantastic area…so much going on from funky stores and cafes to bars and nightclubs.

Kitchen By Mike

Kitchen By Mike is newly opened and was AMAZING..the food fresh and so tasty, seasonal ingredients selected from the market each morning by Mike and turned into these delicious dishes you see above.  They bake their own bread and there is also a big homewares store as part of the complex called Koskela which sells furniture and lots of different things for your home.  They also stock a big range of Falcon Enamelware products which is what they use in the cafe.

Sydney Harbour

It was so good to spend some time on Sydney Harbour.  Catching a ferry to Watsons Bay and having fish and chips at Doyles is what everybody does..we caught the bus back to the city so we could drive through the eastern suburbs of Double Bay, Rose Bay & Edgecliff.

Glebe, Rozelle & Balmain Saturday Markets

There are markets on every Saturday in Sydney that sell vintage clothing, homewares and the like.  We started off at Glebe Market and then caught a bus to the Rozelle Market then walked to Balmain Market.  Having lunch in between at Rosebud..their Angus Beef & Andouille burger with manchego cheese, peppered bacon & onion jam on brioche bun, served with fries was really good and filled us up until dinner.

I hope you enjoyed seeing photos of my week in Sydney..this is the longest post I’ve ever done and really enjoyed taking lots of photos to give you a taste of Sydney.

I’ll be back soon with a  recipe from Bill Granger.  My friend Linda who lives in Sydney and is a beautiful, generous cook said this recipe is really good and lots of people have asked for the recipe.

Catherine x

Risotto For Dad

My dad’s all time favourite dish is risotto, he orders it everytime he goes out to dinner and will try all sorts of risottos.  I wanted to make some for him today so I phoned him up and asked him what his favourite one was and he said “chicken and mushroom”.
I really enjoyed spending a cold Saturday afternoon chopping and preparing, then stirring for thirty odd minutes to achieve a lovely creamy risotto which was delivered to his house whilst he was out so it was waiting for him for dinner when he got home.
If you decide to make it, take your time don’t rush it..enjoy a glass of wine while you stir.  Serve with a rocket salad.  Off to Sydney tomorrow so look forward to bringing you some great pics from there soon.
Chicken and Mushroom Risotto
The Recipe:  Lifestyle Food