Orange Scented Almond and Clementine Cake


Spring arrived right on the dot this year, during the first week of September.  The days have gradually warmed-up ever since, and the garden has begun to burst into life.

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Bee Sting Cake


Food is a completely sensory experience.  Much like certain scents, sights and sounds, the taste of something has the ability to transport us to another time and place.  For me, no other sweet reminds me more of my childhood than the Bee Sting Cake.  I still remember the first time I ever tried one.  When I was a little girl we used to go camping every Summer in Brunswick Heads, a small, sleepy seaside community just north of Byron Bay.  There was an old fashioned bakery on the corner of the main street in town.  My parents would give me some money to buy myself something for morning tea, and I would walk down each day and stand in front of the cabinet with my nose pressed to the glass for what seemed like an eternity, trying to choose between all the different sweets.  I think I must have drove the baker's wife a little nuts as I was so indecisive, so on one particular day she suggested I try a Bee Sting as she had just brought them out to the front counter.  I was a little hesitant at first as it was the biggest thing I had ever seen, but as I adore anything with custard I bought it and completely fell in love with it from the first mouthful.  From its crunchy caramelised almond topping, to its velvety vanilla custard centre, it's completely delicious from go to whoa.  The cake originally comes from Germany, where it is known as 'Bienenstich', but I think us Aussies have well and truly adopted it as one of our own.  Few of us have grown up without enjoying one, and I know I am not alone when I say that it's a childhood classic.

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Oven Baked Spanish-style Risotto



Easy week night meals are a thing of beauty.  Planning ahead is the key to making life easier in the kitchen.  The key is to stick to a meal plan, otherwise certain chaos ensues (i.e. frantically trying to piece together a meal 'Ready Steady Cook' style with whatever's present in the fridge and pantry.  FYI, a tin of tuna, a can of cream of mushroom soup and a limp bunch of celery well past its prime cannot be turned into a family-friendly meal... well, at least not with my family).  If you're anything like me, you start off the year with the best of intentions.  You meticulously plan meals a month in advance, proudly displaying your organisational skills in the kitchen for all to see.  You then take note of what you're supposed to cook that week for dinner so you can pop into the shops to pick up all the ingredients you require to whip-up your pre-approved meals for the family.  After keeping up with this charade for a month or so, you slowly go back to your old ways, flying by the seat of your pants and making crunch decisions at the 11th hour on what to feed the family.  Cue certain chaos.    

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A Weekend in Photos



Judging by the weather we've been experiencing here in Queensland, you'd be hard-pressed to imagine it's actually the middle of winter.  This past weekend has been absolutely gorgeous - sunny days and endless blue skies, with not a cloud in sight.  While the mornings start off a little brisk, come late morning it's time to start shedding layers as the day warms up.  By lunchtime, temperatures are around 26C, prompting some who are brave enough to take a quick swim in the chilly ocean surf.  As the afternoon comes to a close, the temperature begins to drop off quickly and its time to rug-up and venture indoors.  Most nights you'll find me at home in my PJ's warming up in front of the fire, as the temperature drops to single digits where I live.

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A midwinter's day



This time last year I was in southern Tasmania, experiencing the winter Solstice in all its glory.  The days were short, with the sun barely visible until late morning.  When it finally rose in the sky, it was shrouded by a thin veil of fog.  Everywhere the landscape took on an ethereal beauty, as though from the pages of a Bronte novel.  I cherished those cold, dark winter days.  Whilst the countryside seemingly lay dormant under the heavy cloak of winter, it couldn't have been more vibrant and alive.  The scenery truly captivated me as it is so unlike anything we have on the mainland where I live, further north in the perpetually sunny state of Queensland.  I found the Tasmanian landscape hauntingly beautiful.  Its colour palette was soft and muted, as was the light which, when it managed to break through the fog, gave a gentle cast of silver to all it touched.

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