Plum curd

plum curd and tart casesplum curd tarts 1

Once a year I scramble across the roof of our chicken coop to pick a bucket of cherry plums. The tree hangs right over the roof, and conveniently the neighbour’s chicken coop is right next door and the tree hangs over that too … It’s just one little step from our roof to their roof and I do it, cheekily never asking for permission. Up there I’ve got full view of their whole yard, but with my head in a fruit tree I get a bit bold and reckless – I just want to fill my bucket! My six-year-old daughter now wants to join in! (Fruit-focused recklessness carrying on into the next generation.) Continue reading Plum curd

Baby plum friands

baby plum friands

There’s a plum tree in our backyard, down on the fence next to the chicken coop. It’s a scraggly thing – nondescript with lots of thin branches and small leaves sticking up chaotically into the air. We were going to cut it down before we realised it fruited, and eventually decided that with its position right on the fence, the tree wasn’t taking up much space or doing any harm. It’s one of our only established fruit trees so we had to love it a little. Continue reading Baby plum friands

Apple and lime cake

Apple and lime cakeApple and lime cake

I realised there was not a single recipe here for apples! Plenty of apricot, plum and fig recipes – because they’re fruit trees I have, and which I love getting creative with every year. There’s also a bit of citrus (particularly lime!) going on. We don’t have an apple tree, but I do love apples … of course. Apple tarte tatin is about the best dessert going if you ask me, and I also love an old-fashioned apple and cinnamon tea cake – yes, the kind you might have made in high school. I’ve been tweaking a recipe for a few years (primarily spiking my cake with ungodly amounts of brandy; all warm and spicy in the mouth). But here is another apple thing I love. A very simple and yet elegant apple and lime ‘cake’. Continue reading Apple and lime cake

Green salad with fried almonds and ricotta

Green salad with herbs, fried almonds, ricotta

The last time we hosted Christmas, we didn’t have children and possibly didn’t have a Christmas tree (or if we did it was nothing I can remember). Now look at us, we’ve got a real tree (thank you, Oxfam) with a smiley angel that my daughter and I made perched on top, and two polka-dot stockings hanging from our mantel. I even make a wreath of kangaroo paws for our front door. Continue reading Green salad with fried almonds and ricotta

Sultana polenta cake

sultana polenta cake

‘Sultana cake’ is probably not the thing you lust after … but bear with me! This cake is beautifully buttery without being particuarly high in butter, and the sultanas … well, I like sultanas, but in this cake they taste somehow better than plain sultanas – juicy and mellowed and more sophisticated. It’s definitely a case of a thing being more than the sum of its parts. Continue reading Sultana polenta cake

Stuffed flatbreads

Filling for breads

Sometimes life goes so fast you completely forget to take photographs. Or you feel too giddy with the experience to stop to write anything down.

Pulling the back off our house two years ago and embarking on our renovation was like this. My husband worked his butt off through winter rebuilding as fast as he could, while our then-1-year-old daughter and I got on as best we could in our draughty half-house with its bathroom in a tin shed in the backyard. Continue reading Stuffed flatbreads

Tomato kasoundi

tomato kasoundi

Last weekend was the final hurrah for our old kitchen and bathroom. Now our weatherboard worker’s cottage has been stripped of its lean-to addition and reduced to four very cosy rooms, each one really having to pull its weight. We have a study/kitchen, two bedrooms/storage, and a living room/everything else. We’ll be spending the next few months building a new kitchen, bathroom and larger living space, and I’m aiming to be very calm and graceful and to take our chaos in my stride! (A wry smile from my husband.) Continue reading Tomato kasoundi

Apricot, almond and spice cake

apricot, almond and spice cake

I think our suburb must be the apricot capital of Melbourne – there are trees drooping with fruit all around us, not too many birds to steal them, and the owners of most trees don’t seem very interested. It’s perplexing! I’ve taken to doorknocking and last year I found a house with two trees and a lovely Vietnamese family who were happy for us to pick what we wanted, as they eat a few apricots but prefer fruits from Vietnam. They are swimming in apricots – or squelching really, as they are spattered all over their driveway. This year we visited twice and took some eggs from our chickens as a small thank you. Continue reading Apricot, almond and spice cake