Australia Day 2017

You might recall that last year we indulged in a full tasting menu for Australia Day. Yes, 8 courses that took us on a culinary tour around the Country – celebrating fresh, local and seasonal produce.

And while this year was much more ‘low key’, we still filled the day with family and food, and a favourite pastime – a morning hike!

Needless to say after the morning’s outdoor adventures, we were quite hungry when the afternoon rolled around. Our family joined us for an early dinner – and with the temperature exceeding 30 degrees outside, a BBQ seemed to be the most logical, if not sanest, choice.

On the menu?

Some homemade sausages by our local butcher. Served with a few “Aussie-themed” sides.

Starting with a mango macadamia salad – comprising of salad leaves, fresh mango, avocado and macadamias. Dressed simply with a mixture of lime juice, seeded mustard, oil and sliced red chilli.

I also turned on the oven for 20 minutes or so, in order to make another iconic Australian side…damper! Flavoured with camembert and cracked pepper (and these turned out very moreish indeed).

For dessert we kept things pretty simple. Instead of a large pavlova, I went with mini versions instead. Topped with cream, lemon curd and a fresh raspberry.

And to keep us hydrated, we served a fresh fruit cocktail.

Akin to a punch – I guess you’d say – made with vodka, coconut rum, cooled tea, pineapple juice and ginger ale – finished with some frozen honeydew balls, mint and raspberry.

And so another Australia Day came to pass  – and we retired to bed with full bellies and fond memories of the day.

What about you? What did you get up to this Australia Day?

Mocha Brownie Cake

IMG_6714 When you have a one year old who is yet to sleep through the night, and someone offers to send you free coffee, well you are most certainly NOT going to say no.

Throw in an invitation to create a coffee-inspired recipe, and well it is pretty much a sure-fire thing.

The caffeine hero on this occasion was Di Bella Coffee, who treated me with some coffee beans and aromatic coffee capsules (that I was super pleased to find out fit into our trusty Nespresso machine just perfectly.


Starting as a small coffee roasting business in Brisbane in 2002, Di Bella now has an international reach (although they still source 100% of their coffee beans “directly from the farmer”). I tested their Ari blend – touted to be “rich and strong with hints of raw cacao and a bright citrus finish” – and it did not disappoint. It was definitely smooth, and had a wonderful aroma.


But I also wanted to test out its flavour in a recipe. And given that coffee + chocolate seem to be an appropriate combination when one has a little case of the sleepies, a mocha brownie cake seemed to be a logical solution.


Rich fudgey chocolate cake, that was a little more “brownie” than your traditional chocolate cake. Completed with a little caffeine kick owing to the coffee contained within. On this occasion, we served slices of the cake as an after-dinner treat, although it would also work served warm with a scoop of vanilla icecream.


Mocha brownie cake 

  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 125g butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 pods espresso (extracted / short poured)
  • 1 cup plain flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line a square baking tin (18  x 18cm).
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir until smooth.
  3. Add the sugar, oil, eggs and coffee, and whisk until well combined.
  4. Sift over the flour and baking powder, and fold in with a metal spoon until just combined.
  5. Pour into the prepared pan, and bake for 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan.

A big thankyou to Di Bella Coffee for the opportunity to work with a new (to me) Aussie product (and for the caffeine kick!)

What about you? Are you a coffee fan?


Salted Caramel Apple Crumble

Kids and their appetites can be funny. And frustrating.

While Little J is definitely an ‘eater’, her big sister has a case of the ongoing fussies when it comes to meal times. She does, however, LOVE fruit, to the extent that I probably should take out a line of credit at our local greengrocer.


Her favourite fruit at the moment? Apples. Red, green – it doesn’t matter.


So with a fruit bowl laden with apples, and a desire to create a dessert for a family dinner, an apple crumble seemed to be the logical choice. Jazzed up with a salted caramel sauce because and a crunchy spiced ‘crumble’, this turned out to be quite the crowd pleaser.

IMG_6237IMG_6270Served with cream AND ice-cream because…well…we could!

Salted caramel apple crumble (serves 6-8)

  • 6 apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup brown sugar + 1/2 cup
  • 100g butter x 2
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup plain flour, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup flaked almonds
  1. Preheat oven to 180C and lightly grease an oven-proof dish.
  2. Melt the cream, 1 cup brown sugar, 100g butter in a saucepan over a medium heat (around 5 minutes). Bring to a simmer, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cinnamon, ginger and salt. Add apples and stir to coat. Pour into prepared baking dish.
  3. To make the crumble – place flour, nutmeg, oats and brown sugar into a large bowl. Rub in 100g chilled / cubed butter with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir through flaked almonds.
  4. Top apples with crumble mixture and bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and the apples are soft.
  5. Serve with cream or icecream (or both!)

What about you? Do you have a favourite fruit dessert?