Showing posts from May, 2011

Bean Nachos

In the late eighties I discovered a café in Sydney called Dean’s. Dean’s was (and still is) located in Kellett Street, Kings Cross. It was a small, somewhat dingy café with retro memorabilia hanging off the walls and old fifties tables and chairs with rattan chaise longues for furniture.

Dean’s was one of the few vegetarian restaurants in the Cross at the time. Not that I cared too much – but their menu was faithful. It included vegetarian lasagne, baba ganoush, vegetarian pate, and the piece de resistance, bean nachos.

Because Dean’s was open until impossibly late on weekends, we’d frequently head there after a night our clubbing or as the obligatory dawn end to a dance party. Our menu choice: the monster nachos. We’d get one, share it, and woe be tide anyone who was tardy into getting to Dean’s. There was never any left for them!

We made friends with the people who ran Dean’s and eventually some of us even got jobs there. I asked what the secret of the beans on the nachos …

Helping others with their hunger

On this blog I talk about food and eating as if everyone in the world can get a meal of anything they want, any time they want. But for some people in the world that simply isn't the case. Millions of people on our planet struggle to get to have a single meal a day. So my husband and I decided to do something about it.

My husband is a brilliant illustrator, whose work appears at Brandi. He's donated one of his illustrations, printed on canvas, to The Hunger Project's silent auction, which takes place in Pert this weekend. But thanks to the web, anyone can bid on his artwork no matter where they are in the world. if you'd like to own this piece of art, just bid using the absentee bid button. Follow the link here: Brandi art auction.

We also sponsored another artist, photographer Tess Peni, to donate an artwork for the auction. It's a beautiful photo of carp printed on canvas. You can check it out here: Carp by Tess Peni.

Every dollar raised in this auction …


How many of us feel hamstrung when it comes to producing something that involves pastry? I have to say as I've gotten older and more experienced in the kitchen, my pastry skills seem to have diminished. To the point where I've basically given up and just buy frozen ready-rolled pastry.

But when I saw Maggie Beer demonstrate her approach to pastry last Friday night, I felt I could give it another go. It's worth noting that I don't have a food processor. It's the one thing in my kitchen that is missing - mainly because I have no where to put one. And to be honest, in the past I've been let down by food processors. But that's a story for another post! This recipe is made using my trusty Kitchen Aid.

250g plain flour
200g salt-reduced butter
5-6 tblsp milk

1. Place the flour and chopped butter in the bowl of your Kitchen Aid. Using the dough hook attachment, begin mixing the flour and butter together until it resembles lumpy bread crumbs. …

Chocolate Bronwies

Brownies are not an Australian phenomenon. They come to us via the good ole' US of A, and we can all thank the Baker for that! The only thing in Australian baking that comes close to a brownie is the humble chocolate coconut slice, which is a bit more like a flat biscuit and is covered in icing and sprinkled with coconut. A chocolate brownie is a whole other proposition - the best ones, in my opinion, are intensely chocolate and extremely moist. In January this year I published a recipe for Black & White Brownies. I was happy with the chocolate component, but when I cooked it on its own for my in-laws a couple of weeks later I found it was a bit on the thin side, and slightly cakey. Since then I've been thinking about how to perfect this brownie and I am pleased to say I have finally gotten it to a point when I think I've aced myself! Try it out and let me know if you agree!

400g high quality dark cooking chocolate (I use Callebaut)
375g salt reduced b…

My Little Pony cute Cupcake Book

I am thrilled to announce I have finally published a book! It's not the long awaited Kitchen Alchemy book - it's something entirely different. I was very fortunate last year to be asked to design 12 cupcakes for the My Little Pony Cute Cupcake Book. My Little Pony is a world-wide phenomenon. The seven core ponies, Rainbow Dash, Toola Roola, Cheerilee, Pinkie Pie, Scootaloo, Star Song and Sweetie Belle have been creating fun and joy for little girls aged three to seven for over 25 years. So you can imagine I jumped at the chance to work with Hasbro and The Five Mile Press on this unique project. This month the My Little Pony Cute Cupcake Book is released in Australia through Scholastic Books. It features recipes and detailed decoration instructions for seven cupcakes based on the ponie, plus five extra cupcakes representing the world the ponies love to live in. It also comes with stickers and party invitation. I'm so excited to have been involved with the creation …