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Perfect Day by Lou Reed

Sunday mid-morning ’til mid-afternoon was spent having a picnicking and bike riding through Kings Park. The weather was cool and a little overcast which just made the colours sensational. The wild flowers were in full bloom, brightly coloured and resilient in the harsh Australian bush.

For me, outings are always about the food. A lot of my childhood memories of picnics are of the food we ate there. To this salad I added our baby tomatoes, rocket leaves, bean shoots, yellow capsicum, edible flowers and anise.

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Our colourful carrots were too beautiful to chop up so they were served whole, much to our delight. I served our spring salad with a homemade avocade and cumin dressing. I promise to include the recipe for this dressing in a post in the next few days. A pomegranate, strawberries and organic dark chocolate was served for dessert.




I made rolls stuffed full with spring salad, semi-sundried tomatoes, olives and fetta cheese and dressed with the avocado dressing. The rolls were delicious.




After lunch, we rode our bikes back to the car, through the bush, past the gum trees and shrubs. I stopped to take a few photos of the wild flowers as we rode along.  All in all, a perfect day.

Sep 302011

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My favourite thing to do on a Saturday is to wake up in a leisurely way, read in bed and then go with A to the markets.  We are spoilt over here with the amazing farmer’s markets held in primary schools.  The fresh produce is sold by the growers themselves.  It is fresh, colourful, and inspiring. The growers are growing heirloom vegetables and fruits. It is possible to find about six different colours (and flavours) of carrots. This week we bought a bunch with purple carrots, yellow, whitish and orange. And they all tasted different to me.

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I was excited to find golden beet too. It is such an incredible colour. I haven’t cooked them yet because I love saving the best ’til last. Oh and I haven’t decided how to cook them proud yet.

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I bought some stalks of fresh rubarb and am still deciding what to do with these also. Maybe a rhubarb and strawberry crumble for breakfasts this week. I could have spent all morning at the market. There were a huge assortment of seedlings for sale, blueberry trees, organic berries, sprouts of all sorts – I will get those next time.

Springtime is my favourite time for market. In spring the fruit and vegetables are still fresh when we get home but in summer it is so hot that we bring a blanket to cover the vegies in the back of the car. We also try to park close to the market and bolt straight home to get our gems into the fridge before they start to stink in the back of the car. In summertime, if we stop at the supermarket even for ten minutes, all the vegies start to smell and the greens have wilted and past their best. For now, everything is lovely and fresh.


From the time A was little, she has loved eating apple and cheese together. I think it’s not only the sweet and tart and savoury flavours together but the different textures. There is nothing better than the crispness of a ripe apple and the smoothness of the cheese.


For this simple afternoon tea for A, I took a Grannysmith apple (A’s favourite apple) and sliced it into fine cookie-shaped slices. I then cut thin slabs of semi-matured cheddar cheese and piled the layers of apple and cheese on top of each other in a stack. I then drizzled wild honey over the apple and sprinkled some dried cranberries onto the platter. Sometimes, I sprinkle cinammon, sometimes not.


I love watching A eat this snack. She takes two slices of apples with a slab of cheese in between and eats them like they are tiny sandwiches, licking the honey off carefully before she starts. When she finished, she said, ‘this is the yummiest food in the whole world’. That’s all I need to hear.


I think I have run out of apples or I would send one of these to school with her in the morning.

We are lucky in Perth.   Spring always feels lucky here.   It is our warm respite betweeen a coldish winter and a dry, scorching, relentless, lettuce-wilting summer.   Now, the blossoms tree are all flowering and the orange tree scents the whole back yard with its delicate white blossoms.  Our nights are still chilly and it’s easy to sleep tucked under our doonas, listening to the waves crash on the sand.

With spring comes strawberries and I have too many to use (a weekly present from a friend) so I’ve been cooking everything with strawberries.  The lavender in this recipe is used very sparingly and only the tips of the flower, just a sprinkling.  It is aromatic and heavenly.

This recipe takes me back to being twenty, living in an apartment above a perfumerie in Fribourg Switzerland, looking out onto the alps in the distance and onto the brick townhouses and cobblestoned streets of the old town.  I made so many variations of this galette while living in Switzerland.   These large berries seem to a lack a lot of sweetness, but they taste delicious when combined with sugar in this galette.

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A galette is not common in Australia.  It is like a fruit flan but without a sauce on top.  Sugar and butter combine with the juices from the fruit and produce this taste sensation. There is little done to the fresh ingredients.

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Strawberry and Lavender Galette Recipe


1 square of gluten-free pie pastry
3 cups of strawberries halved
A half handful of lavender flowers
4 gluten-free cookies. I used ginger nut because they add a delicious flavour
1/3 cup of sugar

Firstly, cut the corners from the pie pastry to make it into a circle. Next, crumble the gluten-free cookies in a bag using a rolling pin until they are small chunks. Sprinkle the crumbs onto the pie base and put a few flecks of butter on top, making sure you leave a perimeter cookie-free around the edge of the pie pastry.
Place your halved berries on top of the cookies then sprinkle your sugar on top. Sometimes instead of using sugar I use a combination of sugar and agave nectar. Now scatter some lavender flowers on top of the berries.
Now, fold up the edges of your galette so that the dough covers the edge of the berries. Melt a little butter in a saucepan and brush it onto the edges of the pie and sprinkle some over the berries and sugar.
Place your pie onto a baking dish and cook in a warmed oven. Cook at 200 degrees celcius for 25 – 30 minutes. When your galette is golden brown around the edges, the fruit have collapsed and released their juices and there is a divine aroma in the kitchen, remove from the oven and eat!
It is lovely on its own or with cream or icecream.


Sep 212011

Creating food has been a long, love affair for me.  This affair has been like an endless, twisting road with a few potholes, some steep hills and many stunning, breathtaking vistas.

For me food is about colour, love, wholeness, sharing, beauty, nourishment and, mostly, comfort….

My journey as a passionate cook started at an early age.

As a small child living in a remote highland region of Papua New Guinea, my memories are strong of Missy, our housegirl, taking me and Emma by the hand in the mid-afternoon before the rain came.  She would proudly take us down the road and buy us both a treat.   Each day our treat was some cow-cow, jacket-cooked sweet potato or peanuts cooked by the side of the road….

When I was ten, I lived with my family on a little island in the Puget Sound in Washington, Whidbey Island.  The island was lush and green and memories are of friends’ thriving vegie patches, Amberly’s mother’s kitchen with its strong herby smells, my mother sending me off to school on a yellow bus with my brown bag lunch.  I relished trips with my big brother and sister down to our little beach to pick wild blackberries, returning home to make them into thick, syrupy jam.

A treasured moment was when my mother took me shopping and bought me a Betty Crocker cookbook for children.  I couldn’t wait to get home and remember baking the chocolate chip cookies and sitting in the kitchen eating the hot cookies, paying special attention to the melted chocolate chips….  I fell deeply in love with cooking and cooked nearly everything in that book, a book I still own today.

At age sixteen, I found a few friends who loved good food as much as I did.  We spent many Saturdays cooking all day and hosting very grown up dinner parties at night.  Andrew and I made cooked fresh fish in tin foil, cooked succulent roasts with crispy potatoes and rolled our brandy snaps into flutes and filled them with fresh strawberries and sweet cream.  These days and years were filled with a sense of purpose; good food.

When I was 20 I left my university studies and went to Switzerland.  There I discovered Betti Bossi and made every dish in several of her books.  I cooked pasta, sparsely coated in tomato basil sauces.  I rolled out fresh pastas, filled them with herbs and chicken and cooked them in milk, adding a touch of butter at the last minute.  In Switzerland I learnt to let each ingredient speak for itself and not to crowd the plate with too many strong voices.

There are so many memories of travel, family and friends.  And for me, most of them are strong memories of beautiful food shared around a table….

Now I cook every day for my little family.  I make hearty breakfasts for my athletes.  A lot of my life revolves around feeding them well.  I cook what I like, I cook what makes me happy.  I treat each meal as a way to nourish souls and to jam pack as many life-preserving nutrients as possible into our bodies.  I make most things from scratch.  My fridge is packed full of fresh vegetables, homemade condiments and homemade pastas.  Each week I visit a few markets where I buy seasonal fruits and vegetables.  My friends and I often trade food as tokens of our love for each other.  We fill bags with herbs and vegetables or baked goodies.

And each night, to calm me from the day just gone, I snuggle into my bed with my recipe books from my collection.  I read through the pages, relax and go to sleep thinking about what food adventures lay ahead for the next day.

The posts in this blog will be filled with my eclectic and mood-driven food adventures.  I have been known to travel for very long distances in heavy traffic to get the perfect ingredients.

Above all, food for me is all about love and comfort.

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