Linden Font

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Neil Perry's steamed snapper with ginger and spring onions

Steamed snapper

I've been eyeing this recipe off the past few days. I'm craving clean, fresh flavours and am in dire need of some brain food. The last two weeks of red meat madness was pleasurable at the time, but I'm ready for a break. A short break, but a break all the same. You can take the girl out of the butcher... Wait. This isn't going to end well.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Bocce Town

Pebe at bocce

Bocce rocks. When Matty and I visited his uncle Pebe in the north of Italy, every night we would watch him play at the local club. People compare it to lawn bowls, but I think that's a long bow to draw. As far as I'm concerned, lawn bowls can go take a long jump. Bocce's where it's at. Have you ever heard someone so defensive about a mature adult's ballgame?

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Every blog needs a macaron recipe, right?


Matt isn't the teasing kind - he's a gentleman who refuses to stoop to my level. There is one issue he does choose to rattle my cage on: leftovers. I made a lemon meringue pie recently and at the end of the recipe, I had a load of italian meringue left in the bowl. Matty joked there was no point getting out the tupperware because he'd just have rescue it from the pack of the fridge and throw it out in a week. I racked my brains for a recipe to use it all up, but nothing really tickled my fancy. Nothing, that is, until I found the old faithful, macaron.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Ombra and the world's best gelati


There's not much better in this world that an afternoon spent flitting between bars and restaurants. Fortunately, Melbourne has dozens of options in the CBD alone. On any given block, there's got to be at least three great places I'd happily grab a drink and a quick snack. Spoilt for choice, some might say.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

The thinking man's Iced Vovo

Iced Vovo

I went to a small primary school in a tiny farming community in country Victoria. Before the bell would ring after recess and lunch, top 40 music would blare out over the school yard. You knew it was time to pack up your lunch box and head back to class. Nine times out of ten, I was still finishing off my Iced Vovos.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Butterflied lamb shoulder, potatoes pan haggerty and grilled broccolini

Butterflied lamb shoulder potatoes pan haggerty

Have you noticed how baking is so much easier when there's two of you? I have my sous chef, Nadia, back in Melbourne. Granted, she mostly took photos today but it's the company that counts, right? So basically everything is alright in this neck of the woods. Fun times, loads of baking and rapping til my heart's content. I just need to kick this lurgy to get my vocal chords back in peak rhyming condition and all will be right in the world.

Friday, 25 January 2013

My lady's in town!


I'm so excited - my Nadia is in town! I'm trying my hardest to kick a funky virus at the moment and definitely not succeeding. Do you sometimes get the feeling your body is working against you? I think my throat held off all illness until the exact point I became busy and then pressed the UNLEASH button. I plan on pretending like the virus doesn't exist so I can enjoy the time I have with the little lady.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

London Part III: Stoke Newington


Do you ever have those times when you avoid doing the one productive thing that must be done? I have just spent two whole hours watching Sophia Grace and Rosie videos on YouTube and my whole night is down the tube. The YouYube, so to speak. But seriously, it's easy to lose a night to those little gals - they suck you in with their mad singing skillz and before you know it you're watching a video of them sharing tea with Reese Witherspoon. Seriously, this is my life.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Facecake: the finale


The final frontier: assembly. Once you've prepared all the components, this cake practically makes itself. And not in the way beds are "self-made" like my brother claims. No, you still need to do a bit of prep, but really, the hard part is over: the buttercream is whipped, the cake's baked and the trim prepared.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Facecake Part II: Return of the Buttercream


So, I left you in suspenders with my last post, didn't I? Will she finish the facecake or be washed off a cliff out to sea like Madge on Neighbours? I'm happy to say the cake was finished and really, the most delicious part is yet to come.

Monday, 21 January 2013



Today, I bare my soul. I show you my baby, my sweetheart, my precious.

It's my facecake.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Tropical cream pie

Tropical cream pie

As soon as summer hits, my fruit intake goes through the roof. And while it's mostly eaten in its natural state, sometimes I like to up the calorie content. This one manages to celebrate the fruit that's in season now in Aus while also making it abundantly clear that this pie, the one white as snow on top, is not good for you. I get a muffin top just looking at the thing.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Caramel popcorn

Caramel popcorn

I've mentioned before how we were an overwhelmingly savoury family growing up. Chips, nuts and dry biscuits were our snacks of choice when watching movies, normally Weekend at Bernies or Terminator 2. My brother and I have watched the latter approximately 50 times, no exaggeration. I do an outstanding Robert Patrick impression - it's all in the crazy eyes.

Friday, 18 January 2013

12 tips to myself

There's no point in making resolutions - I never follow them. I have a bash for a week (or a day. Or a meal) and then fall in a big, disorganised, fried food heap. So instead I give myself tips. Take 'em or leave 'em Bennetto. If I follow them, I'll be a better cook, a better girlfriend and a happier person. Let's see how I go with these 12 tips instead of resolutions.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Sugar cane juice cocktail

Sugar cane cocktail

Our Bennetto Christmas this year was not a terribly alcoholic one. My Mum normally opts out after one glass and Alex, my brother's gorgeous girlfriend, will also have a couple but not much more. So when it came to fancy drinks, I needed to think a little harder than my usual routine of "Plonk a couple of bottles of wine on the table". I also needed to be prepared. There was the year we ran out of suitable drinks and my brother and I invented out first cocktail: The Volvo. A mixture of vermouth and Solo, it was a barely passable, dry second rate cocktail. Never to be repeated (though at the time, we thought we were on a winner).

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Strawberry ice cream and the palace guard

Strawberry icecream

We visited Buckingham Palace on our European trip. My sweet friend Paige was our guide for the day.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Sticky barbecue ribs

Sticky barbecue ribs

I know, I know. Ain't nothin' about barbecue ribs that's Australian. Ain't nothin' Australian about starting a sentence with "ain't nothin'". You couldn't get more American than if you fashioned aforementioned ribs into stars and stripes. But there are some days (particularly those after a wild and wooly weekend like mine) where nothing but sweet, salty, sticky ribs will do.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Breakfast burrito and the weekend ahead

Breakfast burrito

It's here! The weekend is here! It's been a long week at work - the first five-dayer since before Christmas. I've been hanging out for the weekend and not because I have something crazy planned. No, it's because I have nothing on at all. I get to mooch out for two whole days.

Friday, 11 January 2013

The Aussie

The Aussie burger

It's amazing how, when I think of Australian food, very little of it is centred around meat. I think of lamingtons, pavlova, peach melba or vanilla slice. Maybe even a prawn on the barbie. I realised this when I started my series of food for Australia Day and decided I needed to mix it up. A little concentration (Sam Neil would tell me that's the red meat kicking in) and the ideas started flowing. Aussie burgers were so obvious they were staring me in my pale, anemic face.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

London Part I

I'm on a bus!

Matty and I chose London as our last major destination on our great European adventure of 2012. We both had family and friends there and thought it would be a great way to wind down and chill out after five fairly full on weeks. We must have had some kind of jet-lag fuelled amnesia, thinking our friends would let us slow down. We didn't really stop the from the moment we landed (at 1am in Stanford, 1 hour west of Toofarfromlondonville).

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Call me Lord Lamington


Almost every Aussie recipe has debatable origins. Normally, the source of contention resides in New Zealand. Not so with lamingtons. They're all ours - probably because they were named after Lord Lamington, an old Governor of Queensland. As far as awesome names go, that's got to be close to the top. Number two only to Steele Sidebottom.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Chilli Jam and chilli chicken stir fry

Chilli chicken stir fry

Before I moved to Melbourne, my style of cooking was fairly simple. Little spice, old classics and no deviation from the recipe. Nothing wrong with that approach, mind you. You've got to get the basics right before you start gussying up dishes. I made lasagne, bucatini amatriciana, stir fries and enough sponge cakes to sink a ship (a small ship - a dinghy maybe - but a ship all the same). My Mum showed me the kitchen ropes and I hit the ground running.

Monday, 7 January 2013

My kinda prawn cocktail

Clean prawn cocktail

It's Australia Day soon. Four years ago on that day, I met my sweetie pie Matty. I baked for my brother's party, serving up party pies, pavlova, and a few other Aussie classics. Mark's buddies rolled around and tucked in. They all enjoyed the food, but one person was particularly effusive in his praise. Matt complimented my on my party pies and I was smitten. A few hours of celebratory drinks and several karaoke songs later, I had him in my clutches. He didn't stand a chance (insert Predator noises here).

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Flying visit to Gallipoli

Turkish flag

When Matt and I visited Europe last year, a case of seriously crossed wires meant we made a quick stop in Turkey. In the months leading up to the big trip, I sent through a vague itinerary suggesting we "talk turkey" that night, ie. lock down dates, check out hotspots, maybe book some flights. Matt, on the other hand, thought we were headed to the land of borek and baklava. His mind was made up.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

The great European adventure of 2012

Emma and Matty in Europe 2012
Matty and I (he's the one with facial hair) in an awesome London diner

Until July of 2012, I hadn't had a holiday for three years. I'd had a maximum of one week off work in that time and it was beginning to show. When you start answering the phone like Lurch you know it's time to take a break.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Peach and raspberry frangipane tart


I grew up in stonefruit heaven. Each summer, we'd eat peaches and apricots until our little tummies felt like they would burst. I thankfully avoided the right-of-passage: picking fruit over the summer. I saw how utterly ruined my sister was after a day on the fruit blocks and promptly begged the local supermarket for a casual job.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Preston Farmers Market


Matty and I cannot agree on farmers markets. I can think of nothing better to do on a Saturday morning - mooching around a park, eating samples of deli bits and other bobs. Matt would rather sleep in. It's not a terrible option but you can't nibble on your dreams and those cheeses won't eat themselves.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Coconut and mango tapioca pudding


When we were kids, we had lemon sago pudding for dessert pretty often. It's not sexy, but I could eat bowls full of the stuff. It's a bit of a standard recipe from Mum's side of the family - so much so that my cousin served it with blueberries on top as a mini dessert at her wedding recently.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

New Years Resolutions

2012 is done and I'm super tired. Matt and I have travelled, moved house, been burgled five (count 'em: five) times, bought a car (his name is George), I started a new job and a new blog. A mixture of good and bad, probably the way it's meant to be.