Tag Archives: the hungry australian

  • summer pudding

    Summer pudding and a new look

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    Redesigning a blog is like renovating a house. Or getting elective plastic surgery.

    You start off thinking that you’re just going to make a few minor cosmetic changes and you end up with a house (or body) that is almost unrecognisable. The thing is, once you’ve made one part look good everything around it starts to look a little tired.

    The Hungry Australian redesign you are now looking at has been a long time in the making. While I really liked my old blog design, over time I began wishing that I could add some new elements and functionality to it. The trouble is, once I started I realised that making a few minor changes would be unsatisfying and that nothing less than a complete redesign would serve.

    Because my blog is such a personal thing and I’m a bit of a control freak, finding a designer to work with me on the redesign was quite tricky. So I’m thrilled with the design that Joseph and I came up with. Thanks for all your (late-night) work getting the new site up and running, Joseph.

    This new design includes a visual recipe index, which is something I’ve been wanting ever since I started blogging and my photos actually started resembling food. You can search by type of dish or dietary requirement: if you want to search by ingredient simply enter the ingredient into the search box on the top right of the screen.

    A few things to note.

    Firstly, the new post column is significantly wider than the old one so photos in old posts won’t be completely sharp when viewed on a computer screen. I may get around to replacing all of these images with new ones at the current width one day.

    Secondly, I’m still re-categorising my recipes so there are actually more recipes in most of the sections. For example, the sugar-free category currently only contains a few recipes but there are actually a lot more sugar-free recipes in the archives. I’ll finish this off by the end of the month.

    Thirdly, old comments haven’t been imported yet. This will hopefully happen in the next day or so but you can still comment in the meantime.

    Lastly, we’re still working on it so you may find the occasional glitch. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

    Now regular readers will know that I’ve been blogging a lot less than usual lately due to firstly a killer flu and then work and family commitments. When you get out of practise with something it can become harder and harder to get back into it. But working on this blog makeover has made me fall in love with blogging all over again.

    So with this redesign almost complete, I’m feeling re-inspired and re-invigorated as I set off on a much awaited trip with Trafalgar: tonight I’m off to Abu Dhabi where I’ll be staying for a day or so before I fly to Turkey for a week’s famil/media trip followed by a two-day extension to central Turkey by myself.

    The week in Turkey was one of the prizes I received as overall winner of the Australian Writers’ Centre’s Best Australian Blogs 2014 competition. Many thanks to the team at the AWC for their support, and to Trafalgar for this amazing prize and for also hosting my add-ons to Abu Dhabi (partnering with Creative Holidays) and Cappadocia.

    I will be blogging a number of current and recent food and travel stories while I’m on the road. If you want to see what I’m up to in real-time you can follow me at Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

    Christina xx

    Summer Pudding

    I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of Summer Pudding, a simple pudding made with stewed berries and bread. So when I had a glut of berries in the house yesterday I decided to give it a go.

    This is not a hard dessert to make and it’s a very light and pleasant one to eat, too. My daughter is notoriously picky when it comes to cakes and she ate four slices last night. How many can you eat?

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    5.0 from 3 reviews
    Summer pudding
     
    Author: 
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Cuisine: Australian
    Prep time: 
    Cook time: 
    Total time: 
    A light, Summery dessert
    Ingredients
    • 1kg grams mixed berries, fresh or frozen
    • ½ cup sugar
    • 45 mls water (3 tablespoons)
    • Fresh bread (crusts removed) to cover the inside of a 1 kilogram pudding basin, about 8 regular slices or 500 grams gluten free bread (gluten free bread is generally baked in smaller loaves so you have to use more as you lose more of it when you cut off the crusts).
    Instructions
    1. Place 800 grams berries, sugar and water in a medium saucepan and cook until juices run (about 3-4 minutes for fresh and 8-10 minutes if frozen).
    2. Meanwhile, line pudding basin with bread ensuring that there are no gaps (cut to fit).
    3. Remove approximately ⅓ cup juice from saucepan and then spoon remaining berries and juice into bread-line pudding basin.
    4. Cover berries with remaining bread and then gently spoon over a few tablespoons of the reserve juice so that the bread is all red in colour. Cover the remaining juice and store in the fridge.
    5. Cover pudding with a clean saucer that fits just inside the pudding basin and then put a heavy weight on top (e.g. a can or heavy plate).
    6. Refrigerate the pudding overnight or for at least four hours.
    7. To serve, remove pudding from fridge and discard saucer.
    8. Place a serving plate over the pudding base and carefully invert the pudding onto the plate.
    9. If there are any white spots on the bread, cover these up with the reserved juice.
    10. Decorate with reserved fresh berries and serve with cream or custard.
    Notes
    SUBSTITUTIONS
    Gluten-free: gluten-free bread can be used.
    Refined sugar-free: stevia, honey, rice malt vinegar or agave syrup can be used instead of sugar.
    Dairy-free: serve with dairy-free ice cream or whipped coconut cream instead of whipped cream.

     

  • dumpling soup

    Dumpling Soup for Leela

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    It’s always nice cooking for someone who really appreciates your food.

    My 5YO niece, Leela, is beautiful inside and out. She’s generous, kind, strong-willed and intelligent. She’s also, along with her younger brother, Jessie, the best eater I’ve ever had the pleasure of feeding.

    A few months ago I cooked some dumplings in soup and took them over to my brother’s house for dinner as a thank you for looking after my kids that day. Now my kids turned up their noses at the dumplings — they didn’t like the ginger or spring onions I’d included — but both Leela and Jessie ate bowl after bowl of them.

    I was so impressed with Leela’s dumpling love that I promised to make them for her anytime she wanted.

    “For my birthday?” she asked.

    “Sure. I’ll make them for your birthday,” I said.

    I then forgot all about it but a few weeks ago, Leela pulled me aside.

    “You know it’s my birthday soon,” she said solemnly.

    “I’m having a party. Don’t forget to make the dumplings. And the fried rice I like.”

    How could I refuse?

    As it turns out her birthday was held in a play centre which served its own food. So I promised to make Leela dumplings another time, which I did recently.

    Now my dumpling record stands at 15 dumplings eaten in one sitting, which I thought was pretty good for someone of my size. But Leela ate 10 dumplings with ease. She started helping herself to them after the first half dozen, spooning them into her bowl one at a time. I watched her in awe, breaking into a grin every time she finished a bowl and asked for more.

    There’s really nothing a cook likes more than an appreciative eater.

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    My dumpling soup recipe includes spring onions and ginger (ingredients 2 and 3) but I make my kids a modified version, substituting 1/2 cup finely diced bok choy leaves for the ginger and spring onions. This was my mum’s idea and while I’m not fond of adapting recipes for kids my kids can’t get enough of the bok choy ones.

    I’m completely addicted to the spicy dipping sauce I’ve included below. I love spooning it over my bowl of dumplings – the vinegar cuts through the richness of the pork while the ginger and chilli explode across my tastebuds like fireworks. If my kids want dipping sauce, I give them little bowl of very diluted soy sauce.

    I like serving my dumplings in a gingery chicken soup with lots of bok choy. In terms of catering, I’d budget five dumplings per small child and 10 dumplings per adult served as part of a meal. If you’re only eating dumpling soup I’d probably budget nine dumplings per child and 15 dumplings per adult. This may give you leftovers but leftover dumplings for breakfast the next day are always a good thing.

    Pork, Ginger and Spring Onion Dumpling Soup

    INGREDIENTS – SOUP

    • 400 grams pork mince
    • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, finely minced (I use my Microplane grater)
    • 4 spring onions, white part only, finely sliced
    • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (from an Asian grocer)
    • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
    • 1 packet wonton or dumpling wrappers
    • 1 litre water + another 2 cups (500mls)
    • 1 litre chicken stock
    • 1 inch piece ginger, peeled
    • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
    • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
    • 2 cups water
    • 4 bunches boy choy, washed, ends trimmed and leaves separated. Chop larger pieces in half for kids.
    • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
    • Bunch coriander to garnish (optional)

    METHOD – SOUP

    1. Mix pork, ginger &  spring onions (substitute: bok choy), soy sauce, wine, sesame oil and white pepper in a medium mixing bowl.
    2. Set up your dumpling station with a chopping board, a small bowl containing water and a large plate.
    3. Work on the chopping board. Using a teaspoon, scoop large teaspoonfuls of the meat mixture and place it onto the middle of a dumpling wrapper. Dip your finger into the water bowl and trace it around the edges before folding them over and pressing the wrapper firmly around the meat, sealing it in. You can fold the edges in a pleat style or leave them as is. Place the completed dumping on the plate and then repeat with the remaining dumpling wrappers and mixture.
    4. Find two large pots. In one pot add the chicken stock, ginger, wine, pepper and 2 cups water and bring to the boil. Drop in bok choy and then reduce heat immediately to a low simmer or turn off (if the dumplings aren’t quite ready). In the other pot add a litre of water and bring to the boil. Boil the dumplings, in two batches, over a high heat for approximately 5-6 minutes or until all dumplings are floating at the top and are cooked through.
    5. To serve, turn off heat under soup and add sesame oil. Remove dumplings from their cooking water with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl. Top with soup and bok choy and garnish with coriander.
    6. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.

    INGREDIENTS – DIPPING SAUCE

    • 5 tablespoons Chiangkiang vinegar (from an Asian grocer)
    • 3 teaspoons dried chilli flakes in oil (from an Asian grocer)
    • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
    • 1 teaspoon finely minced ginger

    METHOD – DIPPING SAUCE

    1. To make the dipping sauce, mix vinegar, chilli soy and ginger in a small bowl. This makes quite a hot dipping sauce so if you like less heat reduce the amount of chilli.

    NOTES

    • Makes 40-48 dumplings
    • Serves 3-4 as a main mean

     More Asian Recipes

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    Quince Crumble and emotional eating

    Quince Crumble

    ‘I ate a whole 200 gram block of chocolate last night,” my friend told me recently, shaking her head.

    I laughed and then sympathised with her. Like my friend and many women, I’m an emotional eater. Forget about wearing my heart on my sleeve – I wear my feelings on my hips.

    Stressed out from too many converging deadlines and not enough sleep? Why, hello midnight snack of spicy two-minute noodles!

    Arguing with my mother again? No, I did not have relations with that whole piece of cheese.

    Confused and upset by a guy? Just hand me the chocolate, OK?

    Don’t misunderstand me. I love food and have an extremely healthy relationship with it for the most part: I don’t diet and I wouldn’t know how many calories were in something if my life depended on it. I exercise regularly and generally make sure I look after myself very well.

    But when I’m stressed food is the first thing I reach for. As a coping mechanism it seems relatively benign compared to some of the things I could be reaching for but it’s still not a habit I like.

    This is a list of things I have eaten standing next to the fridge or pantry or while seated in my car after a trip to the grocery store:

    • salami;
    • chocolate;
    • smoked salmon;
    • chocolate;
    • cheese;
    • chocolate;
    • pork scratchings (crackling); and
    • chocolate.

    Looking over this list, it’s pretty clear that I like chowing down on salty and fatty things when I’m stressed. What can I say? I never met a smoked or preserved meat or fish product I didn’t like. And none of these products are bad per se; they’re certainly not the healthiest foods around but they’re fine eaten as part of a balanced diet.

    However, when it comes to my chocolate addition I blame my mother: while she was pregnant with me she ate a family-sized block of Cadbury Dairy Milk every single day. Do you know how much chocolate that is? I was like a crack baby only with chocolate-coated veins.

    Perhaps I need to somehow reset my brain and taste buds to favour healthy food while I’m stressed. Wouldn’t it be great if I naturally gravitated towards fresh fruits, kale and quinoa when tense? I have a friend who once ate fruit and nothing but fruit for a few months and he says he’s never felt better.

    The problem is that I don’t want to be good and healthy when I’m stressed: I want to be naughty and defiant because it makes me feel fleetingly satisfied and therefore less stressed before the self-loathing kicks in. Plus, if I decide I won’t eat a particular food group it immediately becomes all I can think about.

    In any case, I am good most of the time. Honestly. So maybe the act of emotional eating is actually a a way of letting of steam, in a culinary sense. Perhaps we should actually embrace our inner emotional eater instead of vilifying him or her?

    I’d love to spend more time pondering this but it’s late at night and I have at least another 45 minutes of work ahead of me so I’m off to raid the pantry. Ahem. Just keep that last thought between you and me, OK?

    Quince CrumbleQuince Crumble

    Quince Crumble

    There are few things more comforting and sweetly satisfying in life than a homely crumble. You make it with whatever fruit you have lying around before dinner, whack it in the oven and it’s ready by the time you’ve finished eating. I love making crumbles with apples, pears, berries, peaches and rhubarb. But quinces are in season at the moment and the smell of roasting quinces is so wickedly ambrosial I couldn’t resist buying some.

    I’d be more than happy to bury my sorrows in a bowl of Quince Crumble any night of the week: this is food to soothe your soul, satisfy your belly and lift your spirits.

    INGREDIENTS

    • 5 quinces
    • 2 cups water
    • 3/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract
    • 75 grams butter
    • 75 grams brown sugar
    • 1 cup wholemeal flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder

    METHOD

    1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
    2. Peel, core and quarter quinces and then slice each quarter into three slices.
    3. Arrange quinces in a suitable ovenproof dish in three layers.
    4. Pour over water so that it mostly covers the quinces and sprinkle over vanilla. Bake in oven for 2 hours, turning over slices mid way so none burn.
    5. To make crumble, blitz butter, sugar, flour and baking powder in a processor until it resembles a fine crumb.
    6. Sprinkle over cooked quinces and then bake for 25 minutes or until crumble is toasted and crunchy.
    7. Serve with cream or vanilla ice cream.

    NOTE

    1. Serves 4 people or 1 person nursing a broken heart.
    2. You could substitute 8-10 apples for the quinces but why would you want to? OK, if you really can’t find quinces you can use an apple like Granny Smith. In that case, don’t worry about baking the apples for the 2 hours – just bake the apples with the crumble for 25-30 minutes.

    More dessert recipes

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    The Hungry Australian turns 3 plus White Chocolate and Feijoa Cupcakes

    pretty white cupcakes and flowerswhite chocolate cupcake silver sprinklescupcakes and flowerswhite chocolate cupcakes and flowers

    Happy Birthday to The Hungry Australian!

    It was three years ago that I tentatively hit publish on my first ever post, my dad’s Chinese Sausage Omelette. For any aspiring bloggers or photographers out there, go check out my early posts and raise your eyebrows at my photos. See? We all start somewhere.

    It’s hard to explain all the ways blogging has changed my life.

    Three years ago I was introduced to food blogs, quickly got hooked and a whole new world of publishing and social media opened up to me. The immediacy of the blogging medium was instantly appealing; later, I discovered that a blog is also a platform, a calling card and a wonderful way to make new friends.

    Three years ago I was thinking about returning to work again after a spell as a stay-at-home mum with a husband that travelled a lot. I couldn’t imagine going back to the senior management work I used to do as it was all-consuming but great, flexible jobs seemed to be practically non-existent.

    Now life is a constant juggling act — my idea of the perfect holiday involves a lot of sleeping as well as eating — but I get to do interesting work flexibly from home and my supportive family and ex husband hold the fort each time I head off on a work or media trip.

    Three years ago I would never have imagined that The Hungry Australian would be judged both Overall Winner and Best Food Blog at the Best Australian Blog 2014 competition. It was a tremendous surprise but a very nice one. Thank you again to the Australian Writers’ Centre (AWC), and also to Random House and Trafalgar for my fantastic prizes – I’m especially excited about visiting Turkey in October.

    Creating posts for The Hungry Australian is a joyful exercise, using so many different skills and challenging me each time I begin a draft post. I am someone who is easily bored but I can’t imagine becoming bored with blogging because I find it so creatively fulfilling: I’m always trying to improve what I do and there are always new things I want to learn.

    Constant learning and creative fulfilment aside, the thing I love most about blogging is all the wonderful, food-loving people it has brought into my life. It still amazes me that this little blog connects me with people all over the world and has opened so many doors for me. It just goes to show that a shared passion for food can make friends of strangers.

    Thank you for being part of The Hungry Australian and sharing in my pursuit of a delicious life. Without loyal readers and supporters, this blog would be a very different place so thank you for your comments, emails, shares, re-tweets, pins and posts. I look forward to sharing more stories, recipes and write-ups of exceptional food and travel experiences with you over the coming year.

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    White Chocolate & Feijoa Cupcakes

    My daughter is sensitive and articulate and loves spending hours on the couch reading and writing in her diary. Differently, my son is boisterous and exuberant and enjoys racing his toy cars along the walls. They are chalk and cheese in many ways and yet they both share a deep love for food and a helpful willingness to be bribed by it.

    But even with food their tastes diverge: my daughter loves anything made with vanilla but doesn’t like chocolate while my son has a deep and constant love for chocolate. So when considering what to cook for this post, I decided to make something that we could all happily eat. So I made a white chocolate and feijoa version of these Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes.

    A word on the ganache: after I’d beaten it I decided to Instagram the beater:

    The Hungry Australian instagram

    When I took the beater back to the kitchen and checked the mixing bowl the ganache had already started to set! I quickly reattached the beater to my KitchenAid, beat it again and the ganache became pliable again but the texture was not quite as satiny smooth as before. The moral of this story? Don’t muck around trying to post pics as you make these: when the ganache is freshly beaten and ready to use, start icing immediately.

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    I haven’t gone down the fancy icing path because these cupcakes should not be saved for that once a year special celebration – these cupcakes should be eaten as often as a balanced diet will allow and I don’t faff around with icing bags for our everyday eats.

    How do these cupcakes taste? Well, my ex ate three cupcakes while mumbling something about them being the best cupcakes he’d ever eaten. I’m not sure about that but these are definitely my new favourite cupcakes. I hope you enjoy them, too.

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    INGREDIENTS

    • 125 grams unsalted butter
    • 100 grams white chocolate, broken into pieces
    • 240 grams feijoa and rosella jam (I used this).
    • 60 grams apricot jam
    • 2 large eggs at room temperature, beaten
    • 40 grams sugar
    • Pinch salt
    • 150 grams self-raising flour
    • 150 grams white chocolate, broken into little pieces
    • 150 mls double or thickened cream
    • Silver, gold and/or white pearls to decorate

    METHOD

    1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a 12-serve muffin tray with muffin cups.
    2. Melt butter in a small saucepan and then add chocolate. Take off the heat and stir with a wooden spoon until chocolate has completely melted.
    3. Add jam, sugar, salt and eggs and mix until combined.
    4. Add flour and then mix until fully combined.
    5. Spoon mixture evenly into 12 muffin containers  and bake for 25 minutes.
    6. Leave in tin for ten minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
    7. To make ganache, add cream and chocolate to a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from heat then let cool for 10 minutes.
    8. Transfer ganache to your mixing bowl then beat with an electric mixer for a few minutes until thick.
    9. Ice the cupcakes with an offset spatula or dessert spoon, smoothing the tops.
    10. Decorate cupcakes with balls or sprinkles.
    11. Once made store in an air-tight container if not serving straight away. You can refrigerate these but make sure you take them out 30 minutes before eating so they return to room temperature. Best eaten within 2-3 days.

    NOTES

    • If you can’t find feijoa and rosella jam try using apricot or fig jam instead.

    More cake recipes

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    Best Australian Blog 2014 Winner and a Celebratory Layered Pavlova

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    Nearly everything that has happened since I started The Hungry Australian in mid 2011 has been a welcome surprise. But nothing has been quite as surprising (astonishing?) as finding out on Wednesday that I’d won the Australian Best Blogs 2014 competition organised by the Australian Writers’ Centre (AWC). 

    *Mind blown*

    A huge thank you to AWC national director Valerie Khoo, judge Carli Ratcliff and everyone else at the AWC who worked on these awards. Thank you also to competition sponsors Trafalgar and Random House. I’m so excited about all the fantastic prizes I’ve won. You have collectively made my day, week, month and year!

    I’d also like to congratulate all the talented bloggers who were this year’s finalists and winners. Do check them out.

    Nowadays, I’m a slashie: I’m a writer/photographer/recipe developer/food stylist/consultant/blogger. Everything that I do on this blog I now do for my clients, depending on what’s required. Turns out having an eternally curious mind (short attention span) and a broad range of skills (could never do just one thing) are good things in this new, digital economy. But I am a writer first and foremost because it’s something I have to do, regardless of whether anyone is reading. So winning this writing-focused competition is especially meaningful to me.

    Now following in the footsteps of the three previous competition winners — Cook Republic (2013), Edenland (2012) and Styling You (2011) — is a tremendous honour but it is also somewhat intimidating. However, I’ve come to realise that the best way I can honour the judges’ decision is to continue doing what I’ve always done, which is to blog the stories that mean something to me and that hopefully resonate with readers, too.

    So you won’t be seeing any dramatic changes in terms of content on The Hungry Australian: I’ll continue sharing my own recipes, stories about myself, my family and friends, and write-ups of exceptional travel and dining experiences. I will buy a new camera lens and some props I’ve been eyeing for some time but that’s about as far as it goes. 

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    Now while blogging itself is a solitary occupation I wouldn’t be the blogger I am today if it wasn’t for the support, help and love of family and friends. 

    *Drum roll*

    Thank you to …

    My friend, Kerina, who suggested that I start a blog. To which I replied, “What’s a blog?”

    My parents, who still aren’t quite sure what I do, but who support me in too many ways to count, and who look after my kids so well every time I take off on a work/media trip.

    My kids, who keep me grounded and make me laugh every single day.

    My brother, who helps out with computer stuff and rolls his eyes when I talk.

    My ex husband, who let me share some of our stories and a few of his recipes here.

    The talented bloggers —  Cyn, Peter, Billy and John — in the Servved network.

    Adelaide bloggers, Erin, Celeste, Tash, George, Alex, Kirsty and Shai, plus others blogger buddies throughout Australia and beyond. You know who you are and I’m very glad we’re friends.

    Great local photographers, Grant and Kevin, who took the photos of me on my About page.

    Andrew and Johan for technical support at different times.

    Last, but certainly not least, thank you for reading The Hungry Australian and allowing me into your life. Thank you for your comments. Thank you for subscribing. Thank you for sharing my blog via your likes, shares, re-blogs, re-tweets and pins. Thank you for reaching out to me. Thank you for sharing your own stories and anecdotes with me.

    Here’s to a delicious life!!

    Christina xx

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    Layered Pavlova with Pomegranate and Flowers

    I know there has been a glut of desserts on The Hungry Australian lately but I just had to bake a cake to celebrate this award. After considering several ideas, I decided to do a version of Pavlova, my favourite Australian dessert. I’ve previously blogged a Raspberry and Pomegranate Layered Pavlova recipe and this is the same recipe with some minor adjustments. It was a bit of work to prep the flowers but a special occasion calls for a special cake.

    INGREDIENTS

    • 10 egg whites
    • Large pinch salt
    • 2.5 cups sugar
    • 5 teaspoons corn flour
    • 2.5 teaspoons white or red wine vinegar
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean extract
    • 725 mls thickened cream
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract
    • 2 large pomegranates, seeds only
    • Assorted flowers to decorate

    METHOD

    1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
    2. Line three baking trays with baking paper and draw a 20cm circle on each.
    3. Wipe mixing bowl with vinegar and then beat egg whites with salt until soft peaks form.
    4. Add sugar in five batches (1/2 cup at a team), beating thoroughly between each addition until meringue is thick and shiny. Try holding the bowl upside down – if the meringue doesn’t move, it’s thick enough!
    5. Add cornflour, vinegar and vanilla extract and gently fold in.
    6. Divide mixture equally between three baking trays and spread gently to fill in the circle shape (an offset spatula is great for this). Smooth the top and the sides.
    7. Place the trays in the oven and immediately reduce heat to 120 degrees Celsius. Bake pavlovas for 90 minutes and then turn off heat, leaving them to cool in the oven.
    8. When ready to assemble, whip cream with 1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract.
    9. Take one pavlova and spread with a third of the cream, leaving a 2 cm gap around the edge. Decorate with 1/3 of the pomegranate seeds and then repeat with a second layer.
    10. Place the final pavlova on top  and cover with cream.
    11. Decorate the top layer with fresh flowers as prepared below and half of the remaining pomegranate seeds.

    NOTES

    • I suggest you read my previous Raspberry and Pomegranate Layered Pavlova recipe before you begin this one for some extra assembly tips.
    • Fresh flowers are not food safe unless they have been organically grown and are free of pesticides. And some flowers are poisonous and/or dangerous for human consumption even if they have been grown organically. So unless you are certain of the flower type and its source it’s best to prepare all flowers with a barrier between the flowers and the cake.
    • Gently wash and leave flowers to air dry. Work out where you want to place the flowers and then cut stems accordingly.
    • If inserting the flowers into the cake, wrap the stem completely in florist tape (available from florists, naturally) before inserting the wrapped stem into the cake.
    • For flowers that will be placed onto the cake, place small  and unobtrusive discs of cling wrap on top of the cake before you carefully place the flowers on top.
    • To insert flower stems into pavlova, use a sharp knife to pierce the cling wrap to make a hole and then insert the flower through.
    • To serve, remove the flowers and cling wrap and then scatter the top of the pavlova with the remaining pomegranate seeds.

    My favourite posts

    Some of you have been reading The Hungry Australian from the very beginning, some of you joined in along the way and some of you are no doubt new readers, curious to see what all the fuss is about. For new readers, here’s a selection of my favourite posts. I’ve love to redo some of the photography and food styling but these are the stories I like best. 

     Posts about family

    Posts with a recipe

    Posts about exceptional travel and dining experiences

    Posts about blogging

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    Adelaide Food and Wine Festival: 4-13 April 2014 – the lowdown, the highlights + my food writing debate (eek!)

    The Adelaide Food & Wine Festival is back – hip, hip, hooray!!

    Following the success of last year’s inaugural festival, Amanda Jane Pritchard (Kooki, Ducks in a Row) is back once again steering South Australia’s (SA) newest community food and wine festival into unchartered waters.

    This year, she’s pulled together a massive team of board, committee and volunteers to help share the work load, as well as bringing on board two creative directors, Gill Gordon-Smith (Fall from Grace) and Rebecca Sullivan (Dirty Girl Kitchen), who have helped to plan and program the nine-day festival.

    AFWF_slider_girl

    Now regular readers will know that I don’t usually do event previews. But in this case I had to make an exception because:

    1. I attended some of the festival’s events last year and they were really fun and different;
    2. Amanda asked me to be on the committee this year and I need to start pulling my weight; and
    3. I’m actually doing an event in the festival, which I hope some of you will be able to come to.

    The festival was launched on Tuesday night in the not-yet-open East End Cellars and although I couldn’t stay too late it was a really lovely night. Everyone in the room was somehow connected to the SA food and wine industry, whether they were a producer, a wine maker, a chef, a journalist or a blogger, and everyone was there to throw their support behind Amanda and the grassroots festival she had conceived and developed. The excitement, passion and energy in the room was palpable – it’s this kind of enthusiasm and desire not to settle for the status quo that makes me so glad to be living in my hometown again.

    The 2014 Festival

    To get the lowdown on this year’s festival, I chatted with Amanda this morning.

    Billed as a festival “by the people, for the people,” last year’s inaugural festival impressed a lot of people with the quality, diversity and size of its program. Were you expecting things to turn out as well as it did?

    “Last year I thought if everything went to plan it would be OK,” says Amanda.

    “There were so many different things that held us up along the way but in the end persistence paid off.”

    What are the major changes between last year’s festival and this year’s?

    “Having events that worked in the first year (has made things easier). When you’re doing things for the first time you have no idea how it’s going to work  out! This year, we knew we had an audience for events like The Market Feast, #EastEndWineDownThe Bacon Trail, the Coffee Crawl and the Don Dunstan Tribute. We could have run double the number of Coffee Crawls we did last year, actually. Pretty much any ticketed event that could sell out did so.

    “One of the major differences  is also that we’ve been selling tickets since last year for this year’s festival whereas last year tickets went on sale only three weeks before the festival started. Also, the Pozible campaign was so good on so many levels. It was a risk in some ways but its reach alone has been amazing – it’s reached millions of people all over the world! We offered discounted tickets as a reward for pledging so it meant that we’ve already sold tickets to many festival events.”

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    This year you have an army of volunteers on board. 

    “Yes. The board is the same as last year and the committee is pretty much the same, too, although it’s grown a bit. The real difference this year has been the volunteers – these young people, so talented, have put their hands up. I’m so fortunate – they’re  super talented, they’ve clever and they deliver. Volunteer effort and input is basically 100 times more than last year.”

    Who manages all the volunteers?

    “I personally manage all of them. I’m discovering new skills! I never considered myself a very good manager because I want to be a friend rather than a boss but that’s how I approach it. I sit down with each of them and I go through their resume. I ask them what do you want and why are you doing this? I give them tickets to things so they can go to some events, project manage some events and work at others.”

    lady at market feast copy

    Which new events are you most excited about?

    “Definitely the Baudin and Flinders Breakfast – the level of detail that we’re going into to make it informed and inspired by history is amazing, from the menu to the table settings to the entertainment. There’s this guy, Lance, who is 0f Head of Physics at Adelaide University. He created the Flinders’ Investigator Garden based on the work done by Robert Brown, Matthew Flinders’ botanist, who was the first person to catalogue the flora and fauna of this area. Lance is helping us to do the table settings and so on to make sure they’re all appropriate and of the era.”

    “The menu will also include bacon from heritage pigs,  smoked tommy ruff, foraged and found food and a scurvy preventative!”

    “The other event I’m really excited about is the Town Picnic. I’m basically trying to recreate all of my favourite memories — memories that I know other people share — of childhood.”  

    Highlights of the Festival

    Now I know I might annoy some people by naming favourites so let me preface this list by saying that all of the events in the program are inspired. Whether you’re crazy about food or mad about wine, you’re going to find a whole lot of things to love in this festival. Disclaimer out of the way, here are my picks – click the event name for the official info:

    1) Fork on the Road 

    Any self-respecting food lover in SA who hasn’t made it down to a Fork on the Road event cannot afford to miss this one. The monthly food truck meet ups are a great place to try different street food, catch up with friends and enjoy a buzzing atmosphere. No bookings necessary – simply turn up on the day and purchase food and drinks as your taste buds dictate.

    2) The Bacon Trail

    Richard Gunner’s passion for meat is infectious so I can’t think of a better person to lead the Bacon Trail through the Adelaide Central Market. If you love bacon, you won’t want to miss this one.  I’ve already bought tickets for my brother and his wife, actually. Book tickets.

    Richard-Gunner

    3) Don Dunstan Tribute

    For those unfamiliar with Don Dunstan, he was a pioneering Premier of SA in the 60s and 70s, and did many, many good things. For this dinner, his former apprentice, Sam Smith, now at Fino, will create a menu inspired by Don’s cookbook to be accompanied by Seppeltsfield wines. Yep, we had a premier who released a cookbook and later opened a restaurant. How awesome is that? Book tickets.

    4) The Market Feast

    I went to The Market Feast dinner held in the Adelaide Central Market last year and it was great fun. This year the irrepressible The Happy Motel with chef Duncan Welgemoed (Bistro Dom) are taking the reigns so it promises to be an amazing event. Go with a partner or group of friends and make a big night of it. PS Don’t forget your dancing shoes. Book tickets.

    AFWF_marketfeast_slider

    5) Think. Talk. Food>Wine

    I’m really intrigued by this whole day networking/workshop/talk/debate event that Amanda & co have dreamed up. A whole line up of speakers including Stephen Yarwood, James Erskine, Festival Baron Warren Randall (Seppeltsfield), Amanda Daniel, Paul Wood and Chloe Reschke-Maguire will be debating the topic of ‘Collaboration or Competition’. I can’t wait to listen to, learn from and contribute to the discussion. This is a must-do for anyone who works in the food, wine or media industries (or who aspires to). Book tickets.

    AFWF_TTFWSA_slider (1)

    6) Town Picnic

    Rymill Park. Egg and spoon races. Apple bobbing. Picnic hampers. Peter Combe and the Crunch Munch VERY Sticky Band. Classes by wine writer Max Allen and chefs Jimmy Shu (Hanuman) and Salvatore Pepe (Cibos). Dogs. Kids running around. Need I say more? I’m going take my kids — they know all the words to Newspaper Mama — and a picnic rug and make a day of it. The event is free but you can book a cooking class, reserve your wine glasses, pre-order a picnic hamper or register your dog for the dog area.

    7) Eating Their Words

    A few months ago Amanda asked me if I’d be interested in doing an event on blogging for the festival. So I’m excited to let you know that food writer David Sly (Gourmet TravellerSA Life), I and chef Phil Whitmarsh will be debating food writing ethics, responsibilities and disclosure over dinner at the Daniel O’Connell. My friend George Ujvary, who has both the longest-running food blog in SA, The Foodologist, and an MA in Gastronomy from Adelaide University/Le Cordon Bleu, will be the moderator for the evening. Come along for a night of fantastic food and spirited debate about restaurant reviewing, food bloggers, social media, and the often complicated relationship between food writers, food bloggers and chefs. Book tickets.

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    8) Dessert Degustation

    When Chantelle from Steven ter Horst told me about the dessert degustation she and Steven were planning for the festival the other night, my heart started beating faster. Now we South Australians love our desserts — we have more dessert bars in this state than ANY other state in Australia — so I’m expecting this dessert degustation to sell out quickly. Book tickets.

    9) Sips in the Sticks

    Popular wine writer Max Allen and 12 leading ladies of wine (Kerri Thompson, Corrina Wright, Louise Hemlsy-Smith, Sam Connew, Kate Goodman, Fran Austrin, Anna Hooper, Kim Chalmers, Rebecca Wilson, Louise Rose, Amanda James-Prichard and host Sue Bell) join together with the local Afghan community for a lunch celebrating friendship, rural life and our immigrant past. Each of the ladies will be bringing along a homemade dessert to be judged by Penola CWA President Kate Spencer and special guest Senator Penny Wong. Book tickets.

    10) Porchetta Party

    Back by popular demand, the Porchetta Party features food by local chef Todd Steel (see my write up of his food at last year’s Sea and Vines Festival) matched with wines from Oliver’s Taranga down in the McLaren Vale. Personally, I can’t think of a nicer way to spend a Sunday arvo. Book tickets on tel: (08) 8323 8498 or email: nicky@oliverstaringa.com.au.

    There are lots of other fantastic events I didn’t have room to list here but you can check out the full program online.

    So which events will you be attending? :D

     Useful information

    • The Adelaide Food & Wine Festival runs from 4-13th April, 2014 in various location in the CBD and in the regions.
    • The Festival program can be found around Adelaide at selected outlets or online. Tickets can be booked through EventBrite.
    • The Festival is managed by a creator/director along with a board, two creative directors, a committee and team of amazing volunteers. It is run on a not-for-profit basis.

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    2013: the year that was

    Another year is almost over and I’m feeling sentimental. So if you’ll indulge me, here’s a look at some of the highlights of the year.

    Mimosa Sorbet with Blood Oranges

    Better pinch myself, yes, it’s really happening…

    The year’s biggest surprise was winning the Outstanding Use of Photography award at the Best Australian Blogs 2013 competition for my post Exploring Dubai: Spices, Diamonds, Gold, Fruit & Vegetables. The shock of winning this award — with so many brilliant photographers/bloggers out there — had me pinching my arms until I was black and blue. Big love to the Australian Writers’ Centre.

    Coming a close second was being one of only five finalists in the Lifestyle category of the Best Australian Blogs 2013 competition. I started this blog because I was a writer who had lost her confidence and couldn’t finish anything so this nomination that was especially dear to my heart. Thanks again to the Australian Writers’ Centre for this honour.

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    Pick of the posts

    These were my favourite posts on The Hungry Australian in 2013. I wouldn’t mind re-doing some of the photographs but these are the ones that most meaningful to me.

    1. Messy Pavlova or Eton Mess Down Under Style – nationality, Twitter and baking
    2. Anne of Green Gables and an Upside Down Plum Cake – my beloved childhood heroine
    3. Bloggers and brands: why we’re (mostly) doing it wrong – the blogger/brand relationship
    4. Penang Assam Laksa for Father’s Day – I finally re-blog my grandmother’s beloved recipe
    5. Top 5 Meals I Wish I’d Never Eaten – pretty self-explanatory, no?
    6. Prawn Lettuce Cups with Thai Dressing – a memorable argument with my ex husband
    7. Cockling at Goolwa Beach + 4 cockle (pippi) recipes – a beloved family ritual
    8. Moscato Stewed Quinces – a funeral and a gathering of friends
    9. Steak with Asian Dressing – documents my one gym visit of the year
    10. Thai Prawn Salad – the photo of my dad always makes me smile

    pomegranates at Dubai fruit market

    Cool stuff

    I worked on a lot of great projects this year for my amazing clients. Highlights include the Custard Apples 2013 media campaign, working with the Almond Board of Australia on an ongoing basis, and the Go Behind the Scenery campaign for Tourism Tasmania. I also did the food styling for two Wok in a Box shoots, one of which was a TV commercial that is due to air soon.

    I took quite a few trips this year, which made me really happy because I love travelling and exploring new places. I visited TasmaniaBrisbaneHamilton IslandSydney and Perth for this blog, went on a family cruise and to a family wedding, and did numerous day trips around South Australia.

    In early 2013 I  joined the Servved advertising network, home to some of my favourite Australian food bloggers. I have also just signed on with StockFood, the premier food image agency.

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    Thank you for reading The Hungry Australian and being part of this delicious adventure. Looking forward to sharing lots more recipes and travel experiences with you in 2014!

    Christina xx

    PS new recipe up on Friday :-)

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    Gone fishing

    Hello! I’m a few days into my first cruising holiday with my family. I’m here with my kids, parents, brother, sister in law, niece and nephew. Our family friend, R, came with us, too. No doubt she started regretting her decision to join us before we left Adelaide when my brother and I started bickering in the airport terminal. He started it, of course.

    Grilled Lobster

    The cruise was my parent’s idea. Having been on one last year themselves they thought it would be an easy way to relax, enjoy each other’s company and travel with our kids (aged almost 7, 3 1/2, 4, and 18 months). So a few days ago we left Sydney on Carnival’s Spirit ship for a 9-day cruise. We’ve visited some islands in the Pacific and spent a lot of time in the water swimming and snorkelling.

    Mystery Island, Vanuatu

    As a food blogger I felt it was my responsibility to sample as much of the different food on board ship as possible. Unfortunately I didn’t quite grasp how much food was constantly available at all the different outlets. Let’s just say this: if I still fit into my clothes when I disembark it will be a miracle. I’m not even going to mention the three course dinner including melting chocolate cake for dessert every night. Or the 24 hour pizza oven. I’m not a clairvoyant but I’m suddenly seeing a lot of soup, salad and juicing posts in my future…

    Chicken on Isle of Pines, New Caledonia

    I’d planned to do a whole lot of blogging while I was away but unfortunately it just hasn’t happened. Mostly because I’m sharing a room with my kids who are going to bed between 9:30pm-10:00pm every night because my 3 year old thinks sharing a room equals party time. So the time I thought I’d have to blog has been spent yelling variations of “go to sleep!”and trying to stop my 3 year old from dive bombing his sister from his bunk bed. Totally a #firstworldproblem, right?

    Mystery Island, Vanuatu

    I’ll be back to my regular posting schedule soon. In the meantime, let me leave you with this postcard-perfect scene.

    Christina xx

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    The Hungry Australian turns 2!

    The Hungry Australian recently celebrated its second birthday. So here are some of my favourite photographs I’ve blogged over the last year.

    Willunga Farmers Market, McLaren Vale

    It’s hard to explain everything The Hungry Australian means to me and how it’s changed my life. But I’m going to give it a go.

    Bellini Sorbet

    I began this blog in mid 2011 with a post about my dad’s Chinese sausage omelette after my dear friend Kerina suggested it. At the time I had recently moved back to my home town of Adelaide, following a stint in Melbourne as a SAHM which in turn followed a successful overseas career.

    CQ8uhN on Make A Gif, Animated Gifs
    I was also a freelance writer — I had my first piece published in 1994 — but back in 2011 I wasn’t finishing anything because I had lost my confidence. So I saw blogging as a way of dipping my toes back into my writing again – it would be an outlet where I could safely practise my craft until I was brave enough to jump back into the deep end.

    Foraging for cockles + 4 cockle recipes

    I didn’t realise that a blog can be a deep end in itself.

    Grilled Figs with Vanilla Ice Cream and Strawberry Sauce

    Fast-forward to two years later and my blog has helped create a new career for me as a consultant, freelance writer, recipe developer, food photographer and stylist. Just try fitting that onto a business card! What began organically through my blog with companies contacting me to do work for them is now my full-time gig.

      A lovely afternoon tea - The Hungry Australian

    Blogging has meant that I can work flexibly from home while my kids are small, which is basically my ideal setup. It’s meant that when my husband and I separated last year and I had to get a job after being a SAHM for so many years, the tools and skills to do so were already at my fingertips.

    The Breakfast Rave, Barossa Valley

    The Hungry Australian has taken me to places I never dreamed I’d go. It’s meant I’ve been invited to be part of some incredible food experiences in Adelaide, interstate and overseas. Last year, it led me to start up the Adelaide Food Bloggers Group and to co-chair Eat Drink Blog 3, the third Australian Food Bloggers Conference. Earlier this year, I was also invited to join the Servved network, sitting alongside some extraordinary bloggers who I’ve admired for years.

    Delicious Power Crackles

    Blogging has also brought all sorts of amazing people into my life. People I used to only read about or cyber-stalk (in a non-creepy way) are now friends and colleagues. Some I chat to online but I’ve never met in person, some I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy meals and experiences with, and some have become close and treasured friends. If you’re one of these people — and you know who you are — I am so glad to have you in my life.

    J's Chocolate Cake (dairy and egg free)

    Along the way The Hungry Australian has been honoured with all kinds of recognition. I was especially thrilled to be a finalist in the Best Australian Blogs 2013 competition earlier this year and to win the Outstanding Use of Photography award for my post Exploring Dubai: Spices, Diamonds, Gold, Fruit & Vegetables – see photograph below.

    Exploring Dubai - spices, diamonds, gold, fruit & vegetables

    The Hungry Australian is a work in progress – I’m still finding my feet and working out what kind of blogger I want to be and what kind of things I like to blog about. And I’m not always as regular as I’d like to be with posting content and engaging with readers because of my work and family commitments.

    Bruscetta with Quail Eggs, Truffle & Asparagus

    However I do read every comment left and I do feel a warm glow inside every time you share my work. I really love hearing from you, too – I especially enjoy it when you respond with your own stories and experiences because it’s like a little window back into your world.

    photo-53

    I am just so grateful for everything that has happened because of this blog. I could never have predicted any of this and I guess that’s what makes it all so exciting.

    As to what the future holds, well, I have a few ideas. Which idea I’ll eventually decide on is still up for debate. But I can promise you it’s going to be fun. And there will definitely be food – lots of food. So I do hope you’ll continue to come along for the ride.

    Thanks for reading.

    Christina xx

    Posts from top to bottom:

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    A little announcement…

    Figs

    Regular readers may notice one or fifty little changes around The Hungry Australian today. Yes, my blog has had a makeover!

    We’ve been working quietly behind the scenes for some time now to make The Hungry Australian much more user-friendly. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for so long and I’m really happy with the results. What do you think?

    Behind the scenes there have also been some other big changes that I’ve been dying to share.

    Firstly, my blog is now part of the Servved network by Sydney Stockholm. I’m  honoured to be sharing this space with BillyCyn and Peter – I’ve been crushing on all these guys’ blogs for years so to be sitting alongside them on Servved is incredible. *pinches self*

    When I started The Hungry Australian in June 2011 I could never have imagined all the wonderful opportunities and friendships that blogging would bring into my life. It has been absolutely life-changing for me, in all sorts of extraordinary ways, and I am just so grateful.

    One unexpected bonus of publishing my blog is that it’s led to my current career as a freelancer and consultant. Nowadays I work on all kinds of food-related content —  recipes, freelance or copy writing, styling and photography — and digital publishing projects for clients all over Australia and beyond. I’m thankful that my paid work is now at a level that my parents have stopped asking me when I am going to get a real job. They now understand that I have a real job, as odd as it may seem to them.

    As my work has grown, so too has the challenge of juggling work, this blog and my two kids – let’s just say that I rarely go to bed before midnight and I have to dose myself with a strong pot of tea in the morning.

    So I’m thrilled to be working with Sydney Stockholm who will be managing the commercial side of the The Hungry Australian from now on. Yes, I now carry advertising — you’ll have noticed the single banner at the top of my blog — but it’s contextual and nicely designed. Sydney Stockholm also managed the great redesign of this blog (with a lot of input from me) and look after the technical side of things. This leaves me free to focus on what’s most important to me – the content. I love creating new stories, recipes and imagery to share with you.

    So will my blogging style change from now on? Probably. Hopefully. It’s changed over the 21 months since I started this blog and I hope it continues to evolve. What won’t change, however, is my editorial control of my blog. Regular readers will know that I am an unashamed control freak. So while my blogging style will develop as I do, I will always retain 100% editorial control.

    Similarly, my personal ethics and integrity remain the same: I will always disclose any sponsorships and I will always blog honestly and from my heart.

    I am so grateful to all of you who read this blog and those who take the time to share or comment on my posts. Thank you for your tremendous support. Your feedback and your own food stories inspire me every day.

    The Hungry Australian has always been about the pursuit of a delicious life. So I do hope you’ll continue to join me on this food-filled journey – we have lots of exploring and eating to do!

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    The Hungry Australian on the ABC Foodi App for Ipad

    Yesterday I received a long-awaited email from the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Commission) informing me that their updated Foodi app for Ipad is now available for download from the Apple store.

    Why am I so excited? Well, because three of my recipes from The Hungry Australian appear on the Foodi app, alongside recipes by chefs like Maggie Beer, Simon Bryant, Matt Moran, Bill Granger and Poh Ling Yeow!

    *pinches self*

    I don’t know how I’ve managed to kept quiet about this for so long. I was approached by a producer at the ABC way back in February and it’s been a long six months waiting to see the final result.

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    8 Favourite Things: May 2012

    I’m a Virgo  – as if you couldn’t tell – so I love making lists. Here’s my (inaugural) monthly list of things, foods, events and experiences that I’m loving this month.

    1) Tasting Australia

    The recent Tasting Australia 2012 drew some 50,000 international and Australian chefs, food media, food producers and food lovers to Adelaide, South Australia, for an 8-day festival featuring 80+ events. I’ve already posted a recipe – Red Quinces, Haloumi & Rye – inspired by my Tasting Australia media trip and will be posting many other write-ups over the next few weeks.

    2) Cooking with inspirational pros

    I’ll never forget chopping pears for a pear tart with bubbly Australian food legend Maggie Beer – see photo above – and learning how to bake bread with the charming Mark McNamara, outgoing Head Chef of Appellation at The Louise. Two extraordinary and inspiring food lovers, they’re also two of the most professional and hard-working people you’ll ever meet.

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    A new gig, a new look and a new direction

    When I started The Hungry Australian last June, I had few expectations other than getting in the habit of writing again and easing my way back into the workforce after an extended maternity break.

    Along my blogging journey I found my voice again. Not the self-conscious voice I had been using to pen my short stories and literary non-fiction (memoir) essays but my true voice, my authentic voice. One of the greatest compliments I’ve had about my blog has been from one of my oldest friends who told me, “it’s just like having a conversation with you.”

    That’s exactly how it should be.

    Why all this talk about writing and voice, I hear you ask. Isn’t this a food blog?

    Well, yes it is, but I have always considered myself a writer first and a food blogger second. Blogging was simply a new way of publishing my work, one that I became instantly addicted to for its immediacy and sense of community.

    So I’m thrilled to (finally) let you know about my new gig as Australian & New Zealand Food Guide for About.com, part of the New York Times Company. I’ll be producing eight recipes, reviews and articles for my own section – Australianfood.about.com –  each month, showcasing the best of Australian and New Zealand food to a whole new, international readership. It’s a marvellous opportunity and I’m sure I’m going to have a lot of fun with it.

    Continue reading