Hello Sydney & Some Healthy Eating

Hi Everyone,

I had a wonderful day in Sydney on Saturday.  Up early on Saturday morning I caught a plane and was there with plenty of time to get to the Sydney Convention Centre to hear the Masters Of Megapixels talk.  It was part of the Crave Sydney Food Festival.  Before the talk I wandered around the food stalls tasting different samples which were all very tasty.  Especially this pizza, grissini stick wrapped with proscuitto and a little mozzarella ball, perfect food to serve if you’re having people for drinks or a party on your rooftop terrace!

After the talk finished I managed to get a photo with Katie Quinn Davies from the mega popular What Katie Ate blog who was one of the masters of the megapixel.  Katie’s husband Mick kindly took the photo on my new iphone 5 (very excited to have one as it’s my first iphone ever!)  Katie was lovely and gave me lots of advice about food styling and photography.

When I’d finished I wanted to try and meet Janine from Shambolic Living who has a wonderful blog about her attempts to create order out of the chaos in the daily life of her family.  Janine was visiting Sydney also and was lunching with some other bloggers but I ran out of time..so quickly walked to the city to check out Laduree.  Laduree has recently opened in Sydney with huge queues of people lining up everyday to purchase some crisp chewy bites of heaven in the most divine packaging.  After buying my little pink box of heaven I met one of my best friends Linda who lives in Sydney for coffee, cake and a big catch up.  I love Sydney and can’t wait to return.

Lastly I’m doing a guest post on the lovely Mel’s blog Amoire Pegs and Casserole this Wednesday where I share a fun recipe for entertaining.  Mel is a Sydney girl based in New Zealand with her french husband and three young children.   Her blog is about home decoration and ideas to live with, pop over and say hi.

Back home on Sunday I did some food shopping with my daughter Hayley, she’s very health conscious and has encouraged the whole family to be the same.  That said the trolley was filled with fresh fruit and vegetables, pasta and nuts.  On getting home and unpacking the bounty I was truly taken with the beauty of vegetables especially this beetroot.  So versatile, the beetroot can be roasted and eaten, you can make a salad from the leaves and a dye from the juice (if you want to go that far!)  The colour, shape and form of this bunch had me mesmerised it really is a thing of beauty.

Same with asparagus, the elongated shape and colour is beautiful..nature never gets it wrong.

That led to this rainbow salad which is filled with a multitude of colours and healthy vegetables by a chef called Allegra McEvedy.  In 2003, Allegra co-founded Leon, the award-winning, healthy, fast-food restaurant group in the U.K.  

I’ve made her superfood salad which was really nice and found this recipe on a blog called 
Jaynie’s Kitchen for this Rainbow Superfood Salad.

My family went mad for this Tortellini with Pesto Genovese, Potatoes and Green Beans.  Upon leaving the venue a waiter from Barilla Pasta offered me a sample of this dish, it was delicious and we all loved the addition of potato, unusual in a pasta dish..so grabbed the recipe to share with you all.

Rainbow Superfood Salad
Serves 6

3 medium raw beetroot chopped into small wedges, 6 large ripened tomatoes or 12-15 cherry tomatoes, cut in half, 600g butternut squash, chopped in 3cm cubes, 200g chestnut mushrooms sliced, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 

1 small head broccoli, chopped into bite-sized florets, 3 tablespoons quinoa, 150g red cabbage, finely shredded, 60g fresh or frozen (and defrosted) peas, 3 tablespoons toasted seeds (pumpkin and sunflower), salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°c.
Lay the cut side of the tomatoes upwards on a roasting tray. Sprinkle with salt, and drizzle liberally with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Put them into the oven for about 40 minutes on the lowest shelf.

Put the cubes of butternut squash on another baking tray and roll them in a little olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper. Roast them in the oven on a higher shelf than the tomatoes for about 50 minutes until cooked. When these veggies are done leave them to cool.

Put the quinoa into a pan, add one part of the grain to three parts water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover for 15 minutes.  Drain any remaining liquid then serve.

In another pan, bring some salted water to the boil, then drop the broccoli florets into it for 4 minutes. At the same time add the peas for the same length of time. When the broccoli is cooked (bite tender) drain the peas and broccoli. Run them under cold water to cool (this helps them keep their bright colours).

Put a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a small frying pan and heat up. Once hot, saute mushrooms, then season with salt & pepper and add the lemon juice.  Put all ingredients into a bowl with dressing and mix together.

Dressing:  2 tsp dijon mustard, 2 Tblsp red wine vinegar, 5 Tblsp olive oil, sea salt & pepper.  Place all ingredients in a jar and shake.


Tortellini with Pesto Genovese, Potatoes and Green Beans

from Barilla stand at the food festival

500g Barilla Cheese Tortellini, 1 jar Barilla Pesto Genovese, 150g potato diced (0.5cm thick), 150g green beans, sliced, 1 garlic clove, crushed, 1 shallot thinly sliced, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt & pepper.

Bring the water to boil in a large pot once boiling add some salt.

Drop the tortellini in the water, stir well and cook according to packet instructions.

In a frying pan cook the garlic and shallot in a little oil, once golden remove from heat and set aside.

Five minutes before draining the pasta, add the potatoes and green beans to the pasta and it’s water.

Drain the pasta, potatoes and beans, reserving a little of the pasta water and add to frying pan to finish cooking.

Once ready, remove from heat and add the pesto genovese.  Mix well to coat pasta evenly.

Serve immediately with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Catherine x


  1. tina

    Oh Catherine, where do I begin??

    1. Welcome to the iPhone club. Whatever did you do before? Now woman, get yourself on Instagram…. immediately (or are you already?)
    I've had no time recently but aim to get my iPhone 5 this weekend.

    2. THANK GOD for Hayley. Now you know what produce I buy and why I always get so excited. Just looking at all this wonderful food

  2. Lauren

    Well, first off I need to go find you on instagram but my phone is sleepy and charging up! Now…

    I am so beyond happy that you got to meet Katie. It's something else isn't it? To meet someone who has really, really inspired you. Especially when they are approachable and down to earth and generally wonderful as she clearly seems to be.

    Your photos and recipes are

  3. Anastasia

    Sounds like a great trip Catherine! Crave Sydney sounds like a great event! so cool you got to meet Katie, shes so talented! I was sorry to have missed Tessa Kiros, she was book signing not far from where i live and Id love to buy her new book "Limencello and Linen water'

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