Monthly Archives: June 2010

Sad day in Australian politics

Happier times at election night in 2007 at Maxine McKew’s celebratory win in Bennalong

Today our Prime Minister, the Hon Kevin Rudd, who lead the Labor Party to one of the most resounding defeats of conservative forces in Australia’s history was booted out of the job by his own party – and in his first term. This is unprecedented. Continue reading


Autumn in Balmain

Balmain in Sydney in Autumn generally means crystal clear days with blue skies and burnt orange leaves on trees and footpaths.

Carpet of autumn leaves in Balmain, Sydney in Autumn

Carpet of autumn leaves on a street in Balmain, Sydney in Autumn 2010

Autumn leaves on a street in Balmain Sydney

Autumn leaves on a Balmain street in Sydney Autumn 2010

Shadows and golden leaves on the street in Balmain Sydney Autumn 2010

Fallen golden leaves and shadows on a street in Balmain Sydney Autumn 2010

Apple and berry crumble recipe

Apple and berry crumble recipe - a winter favourite

Apple and berry crumble

During winter, this is one of my favourite recipes when friends drop in for dinner.


6 large Granny Smith apples
1 cup of frozen berries
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup plain flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup desiccated coconut
2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla essence
2/3 cup melted butter

Cooking apples

Peel and core apples and slice in 2 cms pieces. Place in a saucepan with about 2 cups of water. Simmer covered until apples are just tender but not mushy. Drain apples, set aside in a bowl then toss with caster sugar and cinnamon mix.

Make crumble

Combine flour, rolled oats, coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar in a bowl and mix thoroughly.

Melt butter in a pot over low heat (so it doesn’t burn) and add vanilla essence.

Add the butter mix to the dry ingredients with a spoon. The mixture should resemble crumbles.

Baking the crumble

Add the apple mixture to an ovenproof dish. Place the mixed berries over the apples then top with the crumble mix.

Bake in an oven at 180 degrees centigrade for 30 to 40 minutes. The crumble should be golden brown when cooked. Allow to cool then serve with custard, icecream, cream or yoghurt.

Preserved lemon recipe

Preserved lemon in a jar

Preserving lemons is easy to make

Preserved lemon can add a stunning element to many recipes. Make sure you have enough lemons. I used about five in a the jar shown in the image. Some recipes suggest that you may need additional lemon juice but mine were very juicy and covered the lemons adequately.

What you’ll need

Sea salt
Extra lemon juice
Aromatic spices such as a cinnamon stick, star anise, bay leaf, cloves and peppercorns

What to do

Wash lemons thoroughly then quarter. Start placing the lemon wedges in a jar, flesh side down. After each lemon, add about a dessertspoon of sea salt. Add more lemons and salt. Toss in whatever aromatic spices you choose. Press the lemons down squeezing out the juice and packing the lemons as tightly as possible.

Use a clean glass jar – it helps to use one with a neck so that the lemons stay compressed under the rim. When the jar is tightly packed, pour in any additional lemon juice to cover the wedges.

Set the jar aside in a warm place for about four weeks, turning the jar upside down after three days then back up the right way three days later. Repeat every three days for the four weeks. Top up with lemon juice if you need to.

After the four weeks, put the preserved lemon in the refrigerator. You can start using them after another four weeks.

When you want to use the preserved lemon in a casserole, tagine or in a salad, remove a wedge, rinse well to remove salt, peel away the flesh and discard and cut the peel into fine strips.