Pistachio & Rosewater Cake with Cardamom Frosting

— the dusk light, the cloud pattern,
recorded always in your heart

and the rest of the world — chaos
circling your winter boat.

– from ‘Last Ink’, Michael Ondaatje

The hot days are starting to roll across Melbourne, stretching out, settling in. The trees lining our street are heavy with new green leaves, the sky is a high blue question mark up above, dissolving at the horizon. Sweat beads across my upper lip as I bake bread in the morning.  Continue reading Pistachio & Rosewater Cake with Cardamom Frosting

Masala Chai


again the emerald green pallu of her sari
tucked in at her hips, across her breast,
and cough it up over her shoulder a hush
of paprika and burnt honey across my face.

—   from ‘Wrap’ by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

India is unrelenting and wildly beautiful. It is an endless array of colour and scent and sound, a byproduct of the sheer density of population. It is also a geographic rainbow, from rolling tea hills to dry desert, high buddhist enclaves at the foothills of the Himalaya to incense-wreathed Hindu temples, the bustling metropolis of Mumbai to long stretches of sand and ocean down south. The one consistent thread, the soundtrack of India if you will, is the chai-wallah call to arms: chai, chai, coffee, chai, chai…  Continue reading Masala Chai

Flourless Chocolate Cake

The skies today are a bright, pale mid-winter blue, the air still and cold. I’m enjoying a moment of afternoon silence, drinking a cup of tea with a thin sliver of the Rhubarb & Chocolate Ganache Tart that I baked on Sunday afternoon.

T will be waking up any minute now, so I’m going to keep it short and sweet with a list of my latest favourites (if you’re just in it for the Flourless Chocolate Cake, keep on scrolling)… Continue reading Flourless Chocolate Cake

Pear & Strawberry Muffins

Now the leaves are falling fast…

– from ‘Autumn Song’, W. H. Auden

The day we made these Pear & Strawberry Muffins last week was unexpectedly lovely. The morning was the first really cold one of the year. Thick socks and hot cups of tea kind of cold. Frosty breath in the morning air, clear blue skies, thin yellow sunshine turning the autumn leaves still clinging onto tree branches all the shades of gold there are no names for.  Continue reading Pear & Strawberry Muffins

Cinnamon Cake with Labneh Frosting

I made this cake for my niece’s second birthday a couple of weeks ago. A pretty chilled out afternoon – balmy weather, an assortment of salads, cold beers, barbecued snags, kids underfoot. It was a family affair, and my niece had a great-grandmother there from both her dad – my brother – and her mum’s side. Coming from an immigrant family that was almost decimated in World War II, it was especially poignant to have four generations sitting around the table together.

My sister-in-law is one of my favourite people to bake for – she has a killer sweet tooth and so my efforts are always appreciated. I wanted to make a cake for this occasion that had a classic feel – something simple yet sophisticated . I opted for an airy double-layer cinnamon cake – appropriately autumnal – finished off with a rich labneh frosting, tangy and celebratory. I topped it with a bounty of fresh berries too, mostly for the pretty.  Continue reading Cinnamon Cake with Labneh Frosting

Rhubarb & Rosemary Scrolls

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“I want everything
to have
a handle,
I want everything to be
a cup or a tool,
I want people to enter a hardware
store through the door of my odes.”

This excerpt from ‘House of Odes’ by Pablo Neruda seems a fitting welcome for a food blog. An invitation, if you will, to cook and make and share. With me, with your friends, with your family. Food is, after all, a communal experience. Continue reading Rhubarb & Rosemary Scrolls

Blackberry Pavlova

blackberry-pavlova

I spent about an hour this afternoon gardening. I’ve still got dirt underneath my fingernails, and smudged on the knees of my jeans. We don’t actually have a garden per se, it’s more of a terrace. But it’s big and sunny, and we’ve been slowly filling it with greenery. When we first moved in we inherited a few plants – rosemary and thyme, a small olive tree and a dry lavender bush, as well as loads of mint. We’ve since added flowers for the kids, a rose bush that S brought home this morning, a cumquat tree, tomato bushes, Vietnamese mint, parsley, coriander, lettuce leaves, a chilli plant, and a slender ghost gum. Everything is planted in a haphazard mix of terracotta pots and wooden planter boxes.

This detailed rundown of our garden, though, is actually a roundabout explanation for why this is my first post in some three months. Gah!

Continue reading Blackberry Pavlova