Kitchen Therapy


Fruit Tart

I really enjoyed making this week’s recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie from Dorie Greenspan’s book, Baking Chez Moi.
I love pastry cream. It is one of my favourite things in the world to eat.
I made this part of the recipe first, a vanilla flavoured pastry cream.
Next I made the crust which turned out wonderfully delicate and flaky. I’m getting to know my new ovens and following directions, I removed the base at 25 minutes to take the weights off the pastry and found the base darker than I had hoped. Luckily there was no burnt taste. Other than that, I had fun making and decorating this tart.
Everyone loved it. What is there not to love?!

To see the what the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group thought of this week’s recipes you can click here.



Rice Pudding with Strawberries and Spiced Hibiscus Syrup


I love rice pudding.
It’s one of those dishes that takes me back to my childhood both in Yugoslavia and then later here in Australia.
My mum would sprinkle chocolate on top and it was real comfort food to me.

This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe sees classic rice pudding topped with fresh strawberries and a spiced hibiscus syrup.
I was surprised by how much I liked the hibiscus syrup. The kids weren’t keen, they said it tasted like medicine! However I loved it. Especially once I added a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to the syrup before serving. The colour was so pretty and vibrant and I think it lifted the flavour of the strawberries. The kids (and my husband) preferred their rice custard topped with just fresh strawberries.

It’s winter here in Australia and it’s been pretty mild, apart from a storm that swept the entire East Coast last weekend.
The northern beaches of Sydney where I live were hit pretty hard, the photo below captures one of the local beaches before and after the storm. It made the rounds on facebook so I have no idea who to credit it to but it captures the impact of the storm pretty well.

This weekend they are predicting another round of storms.
The rain and the wind were so fierce last time, we were pretty much housebound.
If we have a repeat of this weather this coming weekend I am planning to make another batch of this rice custard, watch movies and keep warm. Maybe try some warm winter toppings on the custard!

I am looking forward to seeing what the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group chose to cook this week!





It has been so long since I posted anything I forgot how to!

It’s crazy how easy it can be to lose your rhythm.
Before you know it, months go by.
I’ve missed being part of the French Fridays with Dorie group.
However a back injury and sciatica got in the way.
As did quitting my old job and starting a new one.
You know, all the usual life stuff ūüôā

This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Visitandine, was my son’s welcome back from 3 days at camp dessert!
Dorie Greenspan describes at as “a simple, very white cake with an elegant small-grained crumb, a lovely springy sponge…”

I cut my cake up, served it with berries and cream and the boys started eating before I took photos.
I decided to take actions shots and jump back into posting with what I had!




After 3 days of roughing it in the Aussie bush my son was relieved to be home and eating “real food”.
He loved the dessert. We all did!
I am looking forward to being part of the French Fridays with Dorie group again!


Pavlova with Berries and Salted Caramel Recipe


Maybe it’s an Aussie thing, but I’m very fussy with my pavlovas.
Glossy, thick, white meringue topped with strawberries, kiwi fruit and drizzled with passionfruit.
It just doesn’t get better than that for me.
The sweetness of the meringue balanced with the sourness of the fruit keeps me coming back for more.
Each. And. Every. Time!

However I’ve decided I need to shake things up and try new things.
So I’m making an effort to be open to new taste combinations.
And when I saw my daughter eyeing this recipe in the latest delicious. magazine, it was time to begin.

Everyone loved this recipe by the way.
I loved the meringue.
I could (and did) drink eat the salted caramel on it’s own with a spoon.
It was heavenly.
So after dinner I gave everyone a spoon and told them to go for it!
And as you can see from the photo, not much was left.
It was a hit!
This pavlova was a visual feast and a taste sensation.

Pavlova with Berries and Salted Caramel
(adapted from Delicious Magazine, issue 132, November 2013)

6 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar (sifted)
1 1/3 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp cornflour (sifted)
2 tsp white vinegar

to serve:
300ml thickened cream
2 tbsp soft icing sugar
2 cups mixed berries

salted caramel:
2 1/2 cups caster sugar
1/2 cup water
300ml thickened cream (at room temperature)
1tsp sea salt flakes

Preheat oven to 150 degrees C.
Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

Place egg whites and cream of tartar into a clean, dry mixer bowl and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form.
Add sugar 1 tbsp at a time until all the sugar is added and the meringue is glossy and thick.
Stir in the cornflour and vinegar, beat until combined.
Spread the mixture onto the baking paper in an oval or rectangular shape.
Reduce oven to 130 degrees C and bake for 1 hour or until the outside is firm but not browned.
Then turn oven off, open oven door slightly and let meringue sit in the oven until completely cooled.

To make the salted caramel place sugar in a saucepan with 1/2 cup of water.
Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves.
Increase to medium heat and cook, without stirring, until mixture turns golden caramel (about 10 mins).
Remove from heat and pour in cream.
Finally, return the pan to a low heat and add the salt.
Stir the mixture for 1-2 minutes or until smooth.
Pour salted caramel into a container and leave on bench top to cool.
(This recipe makes a lot more caramel than you need!
Leftover caramel can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks, if it lasts that long!).

To serve, whisk the thickened cream with soft icing sugar until soft peaks form.
Spread over the meringue.
Scatter your choice of berries on top.
Drizzle with salted caramel.

Enjoy ūüôā


Baked Yogurt Tart


I was curious to try this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia baked yogurt tart.
It’s school holidays here in Sydney, so I was afraid this recipe might be filed away in the ‘too hard’ basket. (Which by the way just gets emptied, not revisited!)

The dough was made the night before.
After a day of skate parks, outings to Manly, Yogurtland and trying to get a GoPro set up so the kids could take more pics of themselves skating(!) for instagram.
 The last thing I wanted to do after dinner was make another mess!

Every time I opened the fridge, there was my dough.
Just sitting there…
Wrapped in plastic…
Waiting to be used. 
I threw out the¬†dough I made to be used for a tart¬†that the¬†French Fridays with Dorie group was making not long ago and I¬†decided I wasn’t ¬†going to do it again!

It was getting late, but hey, it’s school holidays!
I could see my the face of my 6 year old son light up with excitement when he realised we were going to cook!
And to his credit, he did most of the work.
He chose strawberries  for the tart and worked out the pattern.

By the time it was cooked and ready to eat he was showered and in bed.
So my daughter and I had fun eating the tart well after 10pm that night! 


The photos are pretty bad however the effort was made and the sense of satisfaction was well worth it!
We laughed a lot and I assured my daughter she wasn’t going to be in any of the photos… ¬†(I lied ūüôā )
I thought the filling would be creamier, softer. I was surprised at the density of it.
Nevertheless it tasted good and went well with a dollop of cream.

I am looking forward to see what the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group thought!

The recipe can found by clicking here.


Strawberry Tartine


To be honest, I didn’t think this week’s French Fridays with Dorie dish was going to happen.
I had goat’s cheese at home and this morning I bought a punnet of strawberries and a baguette.
I started the day off with good intentions.
And somewhere around lunch time, I made the decision that it was just all too hard…
(yes I have a sheepish grin as I say that!)
I mean, come on! Of all recipes, I decided that this one was too hard? It’s not even really a recipe!
Nevertheless, the decision was made and I would just wait until next week and get back on track.

Fridays we tend to just hang out on the school oval and the mum’s chat while the kids play.
By the time we walked home, my older two kids were home from high school with varied friends.
My husband had come home from work.
And as I was thinking of dinner, when to start, how many I’d be feeding, etc…
I noticed my husband was going through every cupboard in the kitchen, snacking on random things.
So I got up.
Cut up the bread.
Spread the goat’s cheese.
Topped it with halved strawberries.
And drizzled some balsamic vinegar….


And I barely had the chance to take a photo before it was gone!
It was ridiculously easy…
I almost felt embarrassed I was going to skip it!
And it would have been an absolute shame because this effortless dish was delicious.

I am looking forward to reading what the rest of the French Fridays with Dorie group.


French Strawberry Cake

We moved house about 6 weeks ago and finally, FINALLY… we have internet!
I brought over our mini modem however reception at our new place (which is only 2km from our old place but at the end of a cul de sac) is pretty much non existent.
Posting my Dr Who Tardis Rainbow Cake and Dalek Cupcakes was an act of sheer will power!
Remember dial up internet speed?
That’s what I had to work with, I’d press a button and then go and do a few jobs as I waited for the page to load.

After many many many many many many hiccups (as my 4 year old likes to say in order to emphasise his point) our ADSL modem finally arrived on Friday.
The first thing I did , was look up the recipe schedule for Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia!
And oh what a great week to return!

This cake is delightful.
It’s perfect in its simplicity.
It makes me happy! ūüôā
And I will make it again and again and again!

P.S. Notes to self next time you try and make this cake…
The recipe calls for one recipe Perfect Genoise.
Don’t think you know better and decide to quickly whip another (cos one just seems way too flat to divide into 3 equal parts) when your husband leaves to pick up your almost 15 year old daughter from a birthday party at 11pm. It’s almost midnight, you’re not thinking clearly or rationally and they will look at you with worry in their eyes when they walk in at midnight to find the house smelling delicious and you sitting on the lounge with a glass of wine and a smug and satisfied look on your face…

Two cakes look about right (for what I had imagined it would look like)…
However, the recipe clearly tells you the Perfect Genoise “is drier than most American cakes”.
I baked two, split them in half to make four, but luckily, I ran out of my sugared strawberries and ended only using three layers.

I broke bite sized bits off the fourth layer and dipped these into the strawberry juices and then scraped the last bits of cream on top before popping them in my mouth.
I kept going until both bowls were clean.
If there was more I would have eaten more.
Instead I had to wait until after dinner for more.

Here is where the lesson comes in.
This cake is dense (as the recipe says!).
There was too much sponge for the amount of strawberries and cream in it.
So (in hindsight) one genoise split into three (as the recipe says!) would have tasted better.

I can not wait to see what the other members of Tuesdays with Dorie thought of this recipe.

And if you would like to check out the actual recipe and give this cake a go for yourself, head over to Sophia’s Sweets or Think, Love, Sleep, Dine.
And follow the recipe!


Strawberry, Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

It’s winter in Australia. And I have to tell you, until I joined French Fridays with Dorie, I didn’t really appreciate what winter meant! This is where we spend our winters…

Manly beach…

I took these last weekend.

I’ve alway declared to everyone and anyone that I prefer winter! But for us, winter means pretty much everything we do in summer minus the swimming.
I had no idea what a real winter was until I joined French Fridays with Dorie and began reading blogs from all around the globe. My goodness I was naive!
The snow and freezing temps were no longer limited to television. I was reading about real people living in these conditions and the impact of the weather on their daily lives and activities. I was also looking at the most exquisite and perfect photos of snow! My goodness the stuff is gorgeous!

We don’t see much of it around here. It’s a real shame!

On the upside though, we get to enjoy salads like this year round…

Dorie’s Mozzarella, Tomato and Strawberry Salad.

I made just enough for one.
Partly because I was hesitant about combining strawberries and tomatoes. And then seasoning with salt and pepper.
Mostly because I was home alone for lunch, a rare ocurance!

So I chopped up 4 strawberries, 4 tomatoes, seasoned them with salt and pepper and served them next to a couple of slices of mozzarella, lightly drizzled with olive oil. I topped the lot with 4 shredded leaves of basil and a few crushed pink peppercorns (okay, I didn’t have the peppercorns) but it still tasted absolutely amazing!

Sweet, juicy, tangy, fresh and totally satisfying! Really enjoyed it and will make it again (with the pink peppercorns next time)

Check out what others thought of and did with, this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe.

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Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

 Oh My Goodness!

We have been working our way through the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook at our house.
We love the Banana Bread which tastes just like the slices you can buy in most of the nicer cafes around Sydney. The golden moist Blueberry Muffins disappear quickly in our house. The kids pack them in their lunch boxes and share them with friends.
Until now I’ve stuck to making the same few things from this book, but we’ve decided to¬†live on the wild side and cook as many of the recipes¬†as we can!¬†
So after a day at¬†Manly beach, we came home¬†and decided to continue our family time¬†in the kitchen. We voted on which recipe to make next and these cupcakes were the clear winner. I didn’t really have any expectations and have never really been a cheesecake fan, I’m more of a European layered cake kinda girl. After dinner, I served these babies up and could hear the exclamations of delight as my family bit into these light and luscious morsels of¬†heaven! The crumbed digestive biscuits on top have you convinced you’re eating a cheesecake, but it’s so much better than that!


120g plain flour
140g caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
a pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter at room temperature
120ml whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
12 large strawberries, chopped into small pieces
200g digestive biscuits

For cream cheese frosting
300g icing sugar
50g unsalted butter at room temperature
125g cream cheese


1. Preheat oven 170 degrees celsuis or 325 degrees farenheit.

2.Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter on low speed until you get a sandy consistency.


3. Add milk and vanilla extract, beat on medium speed until all ingredients are well mixed. 

4. Add the egg and beat well for a few minutes to make sure it’s well mixed











5. Divide the chopped strawberries between the paper cases.











6. Spoon the cake mixture on top and bake for 20-25 minutes.


My husband ate about a third of the mixture and I had to shoo him away! 










7. Put broken up digestive biscuits in a food processor and process until finely ground (you can see Emily’s rose cheeks after our beach¬†fun!)¬†











8. To make cream cheese frosting beat icing sugar and butter until the mixture is well mixed.  









9. Add cream cheese and beat until totally incorporated. Turn mixer to medium and beat for another 5 minutes until frosting is light and fluffy but careful to not overbeat and make it runny! 






10. When cupcakes are cold spoon cream cheese frosting on top and finish with a sprinkling of the biscuits.



(Recipe pretty much as it appears in Hummingbird Bakery Book)