Egg Yolk

Mayonnaise and Seafood sauce

My third and final recipe this week is a simple one, and unless you are Australian one you are unlikely to associate with Christmas. When Christmas is in the middle of a baking hot summer, roast and hot side dishes is not what you want. Cold cuts of meat, salads, and seafood more often grace the tables of an Australian.

On Christmas Eve my family would always sit down and watch a Christmas movie together with a plate of prawns, seafood sauce and a glass of champagne. It was one of my favourite traditions, a night of relaxation with just the four of us spending time together. I love Christmas day, but with all the family I have I was lucky if I only had three events to get to on Christmas day. That doesn’t even include all the events that happened every weekend throughout December. So that night was always my favourite. A brief time to slow down, enjoy some great food and time with my favourite people.

So although I am halfway around the world from those people, tonight I’m going to sit down with my husband, with White Christmas on in the background, a glass of champagne in my hand, and a plate of prawns with seafood sauce.

2 egg yolks
just shy of 1 tbsp lemon juice
200mL olive oil
Seafood sauce
tomato sauce
worcestershire sauce
lemon juice

To make the mayonnaise, whisk the egg yolks, salt and lemon juice together.
Drizzle in a teaspoon of oil at a time, slowly, whisking to incorporate each teaspoon fully before starting the next.
Once you have incorporated about a third of the oil, start slowly drizzling in the olive oil in a very thin stream, whisking the whole time. 
Once you have a lovely thick emulsion that is starting to come away from the sides of the bowl, you have yourself some mayonnaise. 
To make the seafood sauce, combine all the ingredients in a bowl. I haven’t put any volumes, as it really comes down to taste. The ingredients are in order of volume from biggest to smallest, so there should be a big spoonful of tomato sauce, a slightly smaller spoonful of mayonnaise, a drizzle of lemon juice and worcestershire sauce, a pinch of salt and pepper.
Enjoy your seafood sauce with some fresh bread, prawns and a squeeze of lemon.

Seafood sauce-5.jpg


Fruit mince pies

Fruit mince pies were always a Christmas staple for our family. Often topped with a pastry star, or a drizzle of thick royal icing, they were devoured with gusto in our house. Unfortunately, from a young age I have had something against fruit mince pies. Most that I’d come across were full of thick chunks of candied citrus peel, a personal dislike of mine that totally put me off fruit mince for years. It is only now that I started making my own, only including the ingredients I want, that I have realised how delicious they can be. I regret all those years I avoided my mum’s mince pies, claiming that I didn’t like them (without even trying them). I think I will be making these every year from now on.

I made a batch of these recently for a friends’ Christmas party here in the States, and it was only then that I realised what a specifically English tradition this is. Less than half the people there had ever heard of a fruit mince pie, and the only real excitement I got was from someone of English heritage. However, once they convinced themselves to try a sweet tart with the word “mince” in the name, they went down an absolute treat.

This recipe is adapted from one by Kate of The Little Library Café. I’ve added cranberries as a personal preference and replaced the port with calvados – though either would work well here. This pastry recipe, packed with a delicious citrus punch, is particularly delicious. 

Fruit mince
100g brown sugar
60mL calvados
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
100g raisins
100g currents
100g dried cranberries
2 clementines, zest and juice
2 apples, grated
½ tsp vanilla
¼ tsp almond extract
2 tbsp maple syrup
90g vegetable shortening
90g unsalted butter
360g plain flour
juice and zest of 2 clementines
pinch of salt


Combine the sugar and the calvados in a saucepan and dissolve over a low heat. 
Add the spices, dried fruit, grated apple, and the zest and juice of the clementines. 
Cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently, until the fruit comes together and the liquid has reduced. 
Remove from the heat and add the remaining ingredient, beating well to incorporate everything. 
Transfer the fruit mince to jars for storage. 
Next make the pastry by cutting the butter and shortening into cubes and tossing in the flour. 
Chill in the freezer for 20 min.
Combine the zest and juice of the clementines with the salt and chill in the fridge. 
Once the flour mix has chilled, rub the fat into the flour using your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. 
Add enough of the clementine juice to bring the pastry together. If you use up all the juice and the pastry is still too dry, add a sprinkle of cold water.
Wrap the ball of dough in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.


While the dough is resting, preheat your oven to 190 C. 
Roll out a quarter of the pastry between two sheets of baking paper and cut out circles and stars. 
Push the pastry circles into the cups of a muffin tray (or mini muffin tray, depending on your size preference). 
Fill with a tablespoon of the fruit mince and top with a pastry star. 
Bake for 15-20 minutes until the pastry turns golden brown. 
Cool slightly in the tray, then remove and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Dust with icing sugar and devour to your hearts content. 




It has been nearly a month since I posted my last recipe. Travelling, working too hard, and sickness have all gotten in the way of writing. I’ve still been baking now and then, but the writing hasn’t come as easily lately. Maybe I’m just coming up with excuses, but I never wanted this space to become just one extra stress in my life; I wanted to always enjoy doing it. Christmas baking will always be something I love doing. So to get back into the swing of things, I’m celebrating with three days of my personal Christmas traditions. Today I’m starting with cinnamon, that classic Christmas spice. You’ll find it everywhere this time of year, in everything from mulled wine to eggnog to delicious cinnamon biscuits. To me, it just tastes like Christmas. 

Everyone I know loves these biscuits. Slightly crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, with that delicious cinnamon doughnut taste. They make wonderful Christmas gifts, or birthday gifts, or random Thursday gifts. Well, if you can bear to give them away. Excuse me while I go and eat a biscuit (or seven). They are also super easy to bake, using ingredients you would almost always have on hand in the pantry. 

60g unsalted butter, softened
160g caster sugar
¼ tsp vanilla essence
1 egg
240g plain flour
¾ tsp cream of tartar
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
 tsp salt
¼ tsp ground cinnamon


Beat butter, sugar and vanilla together until light and fluffy.
Add the egg and mix well.
Sift together the remaining ingredients and beat into the butter mixture. 
Mix until it forms a smooth dough.
Cover the bowl in clingfilm and refrigerate for 40 minutes. 
Preheat your oven to 170 C and line a sheet pan with baking paper. 
Mix some sugar and cinnamon together (roughly 1:1) in a small bowl or plate. 
Once the dough is chilled, roll rounded teaspoon-sized balls of dough and coat in the cinnamon-sugar mix. 
Arrange the biscuits on the baking sheet and bake for 10-13 minutes (based on your personal taste for chewiness).
Cool for a minute or two on the baking sheet to allow the biscuits to harden slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Pome fruit

Cheese plate

Since the big move to this new country, we’ve been finding it particularly difficult to balance the need to do well in our new jobs with the desire to travel and explore our new surroundings. We are making more of an effort lately to find this balance, between working hard and still taking time off to travel. 

As such, a month or so ago we headed out over the mountains for a much needed mini-break. We stayed near Leavenworth, an adorable Bavarian village style town on the eastern side of the Cascades. Full of cute shops (including the most amazing Christmas shop I have ever seen), beer gardens and restaurants, it was a wonderful place to wander. Unfortunately the weather was not on our side that weekend, and our time consisted mostly of sitting inside or moving quickly between dry shops. We were staying just outside of town, and so were lucky enough to explore the surrounding countryside. This area in Washington is well known for its fruit production, containing an abundance of beautiful orchards. Many of these also had their own roadside stalls, selling apples or pears by the box. So of course, we had to stop and I came away with a huge box full of gorgeous fruit. 

One night we enjoyed a nice dinner out in town, including a delicious cheese plate with soft goats cheese, local pear butter and walnuts. This was such a winning combination, and I suddenly knew exactly what I had to do with the slightly ridiculous amount of fruit we bought. 

The recipe for the quince paste comes from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s The River Cottage Year. 


Quince paste
1kg sugar
750mL water
3-4 large quinces (approximately 1kg in weight) 

Pear butter
3.2kg pears, peeled and cored
½ cup water
zest and juice of one lemon
800g sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla
ground nutmeg
juice of 1 orange
½ tsp cardamom
1 tsp cinnamon 

Dried apple
lemon juice

Pear butter
Combine the chopped pears, water, lemon zest and lemon juice together in a large saucepan.
Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat and boil gently for 20 minutes until tender.
Pulse in a food processor until smooth (don’t liquefy).
Measure out 8 cups of puree (you will have a bit of pear sauce left over) and combine with the sugar, orange juice, vanilla and spices.
Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and boil gently until the mixture thickens and holds its shape. The mixture will reduce to approximately half its original volume.
Transfer the pear butter to sterilized jars.

Quince paste
Dissolve the sugar in the water over a low heat.
Bring to a boil and boil hard for 5 minutes to make a light sugar syrup.
While your syrup is coming to a boil, peel, core and grate the quinces.
Add the fruit to the sugar syrup and simmer on a low heat, stirring regularly, until reduced to a very thick, grainy paste. This is likely to take up to an hour.
Spread the paste into lightly greased shallow dishes and place in the lowest possible oven for 3-4 hours until hardened.
Cool completely, wrap in greaseproof paper and store in a tightly seeled container in the fridge.


Dried apple
Preheat your oven to 95 C.
Add the juice of one lemon to a large bowl full of water.
Peel (optional) and slice as many apples as you have and add to the lemon water.
Soak for approximately 30 min, pushing the fruit down gently every now and then to ensure the top layers do not brown.
Drain and pat dry. 
Place the apple slices on baking sheets lined with parchment paper and transfer to the preheated oven. 
Bake for 1 hour, turn the slices over and bake for an additional hour.
Turn the oven off, crack the door open slightly and allow to cool completely.


A few notes:

  1. For the quince paste: The fruit will take quite a long time to soften and break down, so make sure you are starting with the smallest possible pieces. It is best to grate the fruit rather than chop it up.
  2. For the pear butter: It also takes a really long time to get from pear sauce to pear butter. Be patient and continue stirring every now and then to prevent sticking. You want the mixture to be a uniform texture (rather than fruit in a syrup) and separate cleanly from the bottom of your pan when scraped with a spoon.
  3. For the apple slices: These may need longer in the oven, depending on the thickness of the slices and your own preference of chewy vs. crisp. With slightly thicker slices and a shorter baking time you will end up with chewy dried apple, but slice them thinner and bake for longer to get apple chips. 


Cranberry muffins

One of the greatest things about living in a new country is experiencing the different cultures and traditions it has to offer. I have been enjoying some wonderful American traditions so far this year, including the 4th of July and my introduction to s’mores. With my first ever Thanksgiving celebration looming close, my focus has (of course) been on the food. My sister and fellow foodie will be here visiting from London, so the two of us plan to spend several days next week cooking up a feast. It has been too long since we had the opportunity to cook together, though I frequently watch her cooking over Skype. Our dinner will be full of some traditional (like cranberry sauce and the obligatory pumpkin pie) and some non-traditional dishes (we are skipping the turkey as there will only be a few of us on the day).

I have also already been on the look out for ingredients at the markets. In fact, I have already bought a fresh pumpkin to make our pumpkin pie (watch this space for the recipe in a few weeks). A few weeks ago I came across cranberries and, being unsure as to how long they would be around, grabbed a large bag. When I got them home though, I remembered that it may only be three of us for Thanksgiving dinner and we were certainly not going to need that much cranberry sauce! These muffins turned out to be a great way to use up those excess cranberries you may have lying around post-Thanksgiving.

Recipe is adapted from these orange and quince muffins by Ingrid of Let’s Talk Evergreen. 

100g almond flour
85g rolled oats
85g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
zest of one orange
pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp desiccated coconut
165g whole milk yoghurt
75g butter
100mL maple syrup
50mL orange juice
2 eggs
cup fresh cranberries, halved


Preheat your oven to 200 C.
Grease a muffin tin with butter.
Place the rolled oats into a food processor and pulse to form flour.
In a large bowl, combine the oats with the remaining dry ingredients. 
In a separate bowl combine the wet ingredients.
Add the wet to the dry and stir until just combined. 
Add the cranberries and stir again, but be careful not to over mix.
Divide the batter between the muffin tins, filling about two thirds of the way.
Sprinkle the top with raw sugar and additional desiccated coconut. 
Bake for approximately 20 min until golden brown.
ransfer to a wire rack to cool down.



Huckleberry tart

One of my favourite Pacific Northwest discoveries so far has been the huckleberry. I have so far only come across them at one market stall that focuses on foraged produce (rather than farm cultivated) so I am not sure about their wider availability. While this stall predominantly specialises in mushrooms, I have come across the occasional gem here – including wild watercress, elderberries, and of course huckleberries. If you are able to get your hands on them, do! You will love them. They were a staple in our house for several weeks, mostly added to yoghurt for breakfast (with a drizzle of maple syrup), but they also found their way into a huckleberry jam and this delicious and wonderfully simple tart. 

This recipe doesn’t call for much sweetener, just a scant 1/8 cup of honey. If you like your desserts particularly sweet you may want to add a bit more, as huckleberries are naturally tart in flavour. 

Recipe inspired by this delicious looking Gooseberry tart from The Little Library Café.

tart shell
punnet of huckleberries
3 egg yolks
2 eggs
1/2 cup cream
1/8 cup honey


Pre-bake your favourite tart shell (try the one for this summer fruit tart). 
Once baked, fill the tart shell with huckleberries.
Whisk together the egg yolks, whole eggs, honey and cream and pour the mixture over the huckleberries.
Put the tart into the oven at 180 degrees and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes, until the filling is just set. 
Cool for half an hour in the tin before removing from the tin and cooling completely.
Top with another handful of fresh huckleberries.
Serve as soon as possible with a spoonful of very softly whipped cream.

Additional notes:

  1. Don’t worry if your tart is not perfect. I’m becoming a big fan of the rustic edges that you can see here.
  2. When adding the filling, keep an eye on how close it is getting to the top of tart shell. Depending on the height of your shell and the exact amount of huckleberries you add (which is also fairly flexible) you may or may not need the entire filling. Just stop when you get close to the top.
  3. You can replace the huckleberries in this recipe with other berries if you can't find them. I personally think that a blueberry tart would be lovely.

d'Anjou Pears

Pear and Cardamom Bread

Breakfast is definitely my favourite meal of the day. In my busy life it doesn’t often get the attention I would like it to, but on weekends there is nothing I love more than a good leisurely brunch. With my husband, a group of friends, or even on my own, I love making the time to cook breakfast at home or head out to a nice café and have someone else cook for me. I probably know more places to go to in Seattle for a delicious brunch than I do for a nice dinner. This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a benefit brunch at the house of Sasha Swerdloff (her blog Tending the Table is just beautiful), ate some of the most delicious food, and met some wonderful and creative people. It was so lovely spending a few hours chatting to people who are just as passionate about food as I am. 

I wish I had the time to enjoy a delicious and relaxed breakfast every morning, but the reality is that more often than not I’m running around trying to get to work. On those busy weekdays, it is great to have something stored away in the cupboard that makes breakfast seem a little bit more special than your average piece of toast. I’ve always been a diehard banana bread person, deliberately leaving perfectly good bananas to get slightly overripe so I could bake with them. Then one day in Brisbane I was at a tiny café (that I can’t even remember the name of) ready to grab some breakfast to go, and they didn’t have any banana bread left. Disaster! What they did have was pear and raspberry bread. Grudgingly, I ordered this instead. It was served well toasted, with a huge mound of fresh ricotta and a drizzle of honey, and was one of the best breakfast breads I have ever had. I have been meaning to make my own pear bread ever since. Instead of adding raspberries, I decided to focus on the pears and add some spices, making this bread perfect for autumn.

This bread is super easy to make on the weekend, just a quick stir and then an hour in the oven. It will store very well in an airtight container for at least a week, possibly more. I wouldn’t know though, as mine is always eaten by then! It is fantastic toasted, with a drizzle of honey and a spoonful of fresh ricotta.


2 ¼ cups plain flour
¾ tsp baking soda
⅓ tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cardamom
⅔ cup unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
3 tbsp honey
1 cup caster sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 ½ cup grated pears (approximately 2-3 pears)
1 ½ tsp vanilla


Preheat your oven to 180C and grease a loaf pan. 
Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and cardamom in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl (or your stand mixer) mix the flesh and juice of the pears with the butter, eggs, sugars, honey, and vanilla until well combined.
Add in the flour mixture and stir until the mixture only just comes together and there are no large lumps of flour.
Pour into your pre-greased pan and bake on the middle shelf for around an hour, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely before packing away.

Borlotti Beans

Borlotti Bean Hummus

It is coming round to my favourite time of the year – entertaining season! I like nothing more than looking around my dining table and seeing my friends and family enjoying food that I (or often my husband, who is actually a brilliant cook) have made for them. I hate the idea of guests being hungry, so I always end up cooking WAY too much food. There are usually at least three courses on offer when friends are around. Hummus is one of my favourite nibbles to have on hand, perfect to whip out with some crackers or crudité for your guests to snack on while you finish putting together the main course. This also happens to be one of my favourite workday lunches, since the leftovers are so easy to pack up into a jar along with a bag full of some nice crunchy vegetables.

Usually I’ll make hummus with the more classic choice of chickpeas, but I came across these beautiful fresh borlotti beans at the market and wanted to try something different. It was delicious, and I will definitely be making this when I can get borlotti beans again.

500g shelled beans (approximately 900g in their shells)
⅓ cup olive oil
3 tbsp tahini
uice of 2 small lemons
3 cloves of minced garlic


Shell the beans, discarding any bad ones.
Place the borlotti beans in a large pot and cover with water. 
Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 20-30 min until tender.
Drain the beans, but make sure you reserve most of the cooking liquid – you’ll need it later.
Let the beans cool down, and then place in the bowl of a food processor or blender.
Add the remaining ingredients and process the hummus until smooth. 
Depending on your preference, you may need to add some of the cooking liquid to thin out the hummus. I like mine a little thinner, so I added a good ladle of cooking liquid.
Spoon out into a bowl, top with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of cumin or paprika, and finally serve with some crackers or nice fresh vegetables.


Kiwi berries

Mini Pavlovas

This past weekend we had one of my closest Australian friends and her husband come to visit. I really enjoy showing people around this city; it reaffirms how much I love living here. I’ve been finding it so easy to get bogged down in day-to-day life, and I always welcome the opportunity to play tourist again. We went sightseeing, shopping, and of course ate A LOT of food. I’ve realised that my list of “must go” places when we have visitors is dominated by a variety of restaurants and cafés. What can I say I love food! My friend also lives in the States, and doesn’t get to go back to Australia very often. I think we were all feeling a little homesick, so we headed to this great Australian pub here in Seattle. Their menu is full of simple cheap Aussie snack food, like chips and gravy, cheese toasty’s, sausage rolls, and of course the classic meat pie.

There is nothing spectacular about a meat pie, but when you have been away from Australia it inspires a certain amount of nostalgia. They taste like home, and always manage to bring a smile to my face. Now that I think about it, I believe they also sell them online... excuse me while I go stack my freezer. 

The only thing their menu was lacking was a good Australian dessert. Lamingtons, Tim Tams, caramel slice, or a delicious Pavlova like this one would all have been great additions to an already delicious menu. I made these Pavlova’s a few weeks ago after coming across kiwi berries at the markets. I had never had them before, but this fruit instantly brought to mind the sort of Pavlova I would have had throughout my childhood. Instead of going for the more traditional toppings (banana, strawberry, kiwi fruit, passionfruit), I chose to top my mini Pavlova’s with all local fruits like damson plums, kiwi berries, huckleberries and elderberries. The best thing about a Pavlova though is that you can top it with absolutely anything you like. One of the best I have had was at Christmas last year, made with rosewater and topped with raspberries and pomegranate. This recipe is best to start the day before you need it, as Pavlova should ideally be left to slowly cool down in the oven overnight. 

3 egg whites
190g caster sugar
pinch of cream of tartar
fruit for topping (anything you like – I picked kiwi berries, damson plums and huckleberries)
elderberry syrup

Bring your egg whites to room temperature, clean your bowl, and preheat the oven to 180 degrees. 
Whisk the egg whites on a medium speed until they form soft peaks.
Slowly add the caster sugar a spoonful at a time, continuing to whisk until all the sugar is used up and you have stiff and shiny peaks.
Gently fold through the cream of tartar. 
Scoop out the meringue into 6-8 mounds onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper. I used an ice cream scoop to help with potions, but this does not have to be in any way perfect. 
Using the back of a teaspoon, make a depression in the meringue to form a slight hollow.
Put in the oven and turn the heat straight down to 150 degrees.
Bake for around 35 minutes.
Turn the oven off and leave the Pavlova’s in the oven to cool down completely, preferably overnight. 
Whip the cream to soft peaks.
Spoon some cream into the hollow on the top of the Pavlova and top with fruit.
Finish with a drizzle of elderberry syrup.




I have always been a big fan of toasted marshmallows. Every memory I have of camping trips, either as a child or an adult, contain toasted marshmallows. In fact, every time I was near a fire there needed to be some form of stick or skewer in my hand. We ate them hot and gooey, fresh from the fire. 

Here in the States it is far more common to eat marshmallows in the form of a s'more. I admitted to some friends of mine last week that I had never eaten one, and it was decided that this needed to be rectified as soon as possible. Even if you are not American, everyone knows what a s’more is. A nice toasty marshmallow and some chocolate sandwiched between a couple of graham crackers. While it is traditional to use store bought graham crackers, I’d thought I would try and make my own. They don’t taste exactly the same as the ones from the packet, but I think I actually like the home baked ones more! So this past weekend I baked some graham crackers and headed to the beach with some good friends for a bonfire night. 

It was the perfect day for it. Gorgeous, sunny and just a bit cool, it was ideal for sitting on the beach next to a bonfire watching the sun set over the Olympic mountain ranges. Unfortunately, it seemed like everyone else had the same idea. By the time we got there, all the fire pits were in use. Luckily we have a fire pit on our apartment rooftop, so everyone reconvened there instead. It was still such a lovely afternoon, just not quite the same view as we were expecting!

Also, you will likely have leftover graham crackers from this recipe (unless you are making a LOT of s'mores). Do yourself a favour and use them to make an ice cream sandwich. You're welcome. 

Graham crackers
½ cup plain flour
2 cups graham flour
 cup brown sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
113g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
4 tbsp honey
¼ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
cinnamon and sugar for sprinkling
To finish

Combine all the dry ingredients for the graham crackers in large bowl, or the bowl of your mixer.
Add the cubes of cold butter and mix on a low speed until a crumb-like consistency. If you are not using a mixer, combine the butter with the dry ingredients by rubbing between your fingers.
Mix the wet ingredients together and then combine with the dry, until it forms a firm dough.
Tip the dough out of your bowl into a piece of clingfilm and wrap tightly.
Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
In the meantime, preheat your over to 175 degrees.
Once the dough is chilled, roll out between two sheets of baking paper (or on the bench with a dusting of flour) until only a few millimetres thick.
Cut into whatever size square/rectangle/circle you want your final biscuits to be and transfer to a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Sprinkle the top of the biscuits with a mix of cinnamon sugar.
Bake for approximately 20 minutes until lightly browned and crisp on the edges.
Cool the biscuits on a wire rack.
When it comes time to make your s’mores, get your graham crackers and chocolate ready. Toast the marshmallows over a fire until gooey, then sandwich everything together and try not to drop it when you eat it!