Cooking Across 4 Generations

Using recipes collected from 4 generations of one family

Mandarin Melting Moments

As I was having a friend come to visit I thought it would be nice to bake something. I haven’t made melting moments for quite some time, so that was my biscuit of choice. I couldn’t find the recipe I wanted so I used the Classic Melting Moment recipe from Donna Hay.

I did however jazz them up a bit, I omitted the lemon from the recipe and used mandarin instead. You could of course use orange or lime if you chose to.

They are quite an easy biscuit to make, although creaming with a hand mixer is a slow process. Here they are before baking.

Ready to go in the oven

And here are the completed biscuits. They were quite delicious!

Baked and filled, ready to eat

Thanks for dropping by!!

MADSYD – April 2016

Way back in April I attended MADSYD – a day of talks about the future of food. Held in the Joan Sutherland Theatre at the Sydney Opera house, the day featured talks by some of the biggest names in restaurants both local and international. Chefs such as Rene Redzepi, David Chang, Neil Perry, Massimo Bottura, Kylie Kwong, Clayton Donovan, Peter Gilmore among others. Talks also by Chido Govera of The Future of Hope Foundation, social researcher Rebecca Huntley, Gayle Quarmby from OutBack Pride.


It was a great afternoon hearing about where some of the top chefs think food is headed in the future. One thing I took away in particular is that we really need to look at the food sources that are indigenous to this wonderful country. Rene Redzepi and David Chang were both taken aback at how little of our native plant and animal produce we actually use.

So it is time to go out and try what grows best here and add it to our food repetoire. You can see more of the day and other MAD events at

Thanks for dropping in!!


A Coffee In Port Moresby

I recently participated in the RSL & Services Clubs Kokoda Leadership Challenege in Papua New Guinea. After we finished our trek we headed back to the lodge to freshen up and after lunch headed in to Port Moresby to visit the Bomana War Cemetery and then on to a much needed coffee.

The coffee shop in question is Duffy Cafe. Located in a dark building behind two security doors and 2 metre high security fence , it was a welcome relief after 8 days of instant coffee to have a latte (and cheesecake). The interior is light and bright and an al fresco area at the front makes great use of the light. The interior has a European feel, dark grey and white tiles, bare brick, white wooden shutters and dark furnishings.

Exterior Duffy Cafe
Interior Duffy
Interior Duffy

There is also a creperie and all baked goods are made in house. Amazing selection of both savoury and sweet food to have with your coffee.

Duffy baked goods selection

And of course the long awaited coffee…….

Hazelnut latte

Upstairs is Duffy fashion. Both businesses are the result of a smart father who backed his entrepreneurial offspring. So if you happen to be in Port Moresby drop in to Duffy for a coffee or bite to eat.


Izakaya Yebisu – Regent Place Sydney

Recently while I was in the city, I developed a craving for a Japanese lunch. As I was near Town Hall there were many options, but my choice for the day was Izakaya Yebisu in Regent Place. Regent Place has many Asian dining choices and the way it has been designed and decorated gives you the feeling of being anywhere but Sydney. Being in the CBD it does tend to get a little busy at lunch time.

Izakaya Yebisu has a main restaurant area and also a bar running along the length of the glassed kitchen area. Menus in the bar area are on tablets so ordering is simple, select the menu course screen, press the item you want and then press order and presto the order is delivered straight to the kitchen or bar. If you need help there is a button to attract a wait person. I had a question about the types of Umeshu they had on offer and a waiter was there very quickly after pressing the “assistance” button. After ordering my Umeshu it was time to decide on my lunch choices.

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Umeshu and Gyoza

First course was Gyoza you have a choice of two sauces so I chose the classic ponzu.

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For my main I opted for Chicken Kara-age set which came with salad, miso soup, pickles and 2 slices of sashimi. The chicken was nice and crispy and served with Japanese mayo(possibly Kewpie brand) and rice was under the chicken.

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Chicken Kara-Age, salad, pickles and miso soup

There was also a sign for a discounted dessert for dinners who are members of Washoku Lovers Club, so I quickly joined online and ordered the Tempura ice cream. A generous serve of strawberry ice cream dipped in tempura batter and deep fried. Sort of like deep fried ice cream you get at a Chinese restaurant but battered instead of crumbed. The batter was light and crispy and the ice cream had hardly melted. Topped with chocolate sauce and served with cream and strawberry.

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Tempura ice cream ball

Another great find for a delicious Japanese lunch. Might have to head in another couple of times before my next trip to Tokyo later in the year.

Thanks for dropping by!

Taro’s Ramen – Brisbane

While I was on my flight to Brisbane, I decided to flip through the Qantas magazine. There was an article on the spicy food trend in Australia. Of particular interest was a review on Fire Tonkotsu Ramen at Taro’s Ramen and Cafe in Brisbane. It is always handy to have some dining suggestions before landing in a city.

After checking in to the hotel and relaxing a little it was time to head out and explore a little. On my way in to the CBD I happened across Taro’s Ramen and Cafe while walking down Edward Street. It was nearly 12 so definitely time for lunch.

I forgot to order the Fire Tontotsu Ramen and instead ordered Tonkotsu Ramen with extra soy neck charsiu (Bangalow pork). I also ordered a glass of Choya Umeshu, a Japanese alcoholic beverage which I have never tried before.

Tonkotsu ramen, Choya Umeshu
Tonkotsu ramen, Choya Umeshu

Both were delicious. The creamy looking soup base is cooked for 2 days using bones from Bangalow pork. The charsiu pork was tender and tasty. The noodles nicely firm and slurped down a treat. Perfect for the cool Brisbane day. The iced Umeshu was sweet but went well with the ramen.

Then it was time to head back out and explore Brisbane, a city I lived in for 10 months many moons ago, and see the changes that have happened in the past 25 years.

CRU Bar|Cellar

On my recent trip to Brisbane (AKA Brisvegas) I walked from the city to New Farm to have lunch. A pleasant walk that took about half an hour led to James Street, a lovely tree lined street that is the main shopping precinct of New Farm. Reminded me a bit of Double Bay in Sydney.

Upon reaching my destination the rain came down. Naturally I didn’t have an umbrella as I was taking the risk that it wouldn’t rain. So that meant it was time to eat rather than window shop.

There were several dining choices but I decided to try Cru Bar|Cellar. Located at the front of James St. Market it was a perfect spot to watch the world pass by while it rained.

Cru BAr|Cellar,  James Street New Farm
Cru BAr|Cellar, James Street New Farm

The word cellar in the name got me expecting a great wine list, which it definitely was. Such a huge range of wines by the glass including many great Bourdeaux’s and wines from Burgundy, the USA, Italy, Spain, Australia and New Zealand. I decided to kick off with a glass of Louis Roederer Champagne, one that you don’t see too often by the glass.

Louis Roederer Champagne
Louis Roederer Champagne

For lunch I chose pressed crispy skin pork belly, daikon, green apple and seeded mustard remoulade, soft potato, artichoke and crispy flat parsley. Truly delicious! The pork belly was so soft and tender, the skin crisp with a nice crunch, all the flavours were a great combination. Perfect choice for lunch while it rained.

Pressed crispy skin pork belly, daikon, green apple and seeded mustard remoulade, soft potato, artichoke and crispy flat parsley
Pressed crispy skin pork belly, daikon, green apple and seeded mustard remoulade, soft potato, artichoke and crispy flat parsley

Rather than dessert I chose the Charles Arnaud Comte (18months aged) cheese, served with lavosh, pide, Iranian figs and quince paste. I chose a glass of Pascal Jolivet Sancerre 2014 to accompany my cheese.

Charles Arnaud Comte (18months aged) cheese, served with lavosh, pide, Iranian figs and quince paste
Charles Arnaud Comte (18months aged) cheese, served with lavosh, pide, Iranian figs and quince paste

As I finished my wine and cheese the rain stopped and the sun tried to make an appearance. It was safe to leave the dry environs of Cru Bar|Cellar and head back out to the shops, top of my list was Pottery Barn and West Elm. Behind Cru Bar|Cellar in the market were some great providores of ready to heat and eat meals, and greengrocer, butcher, fishmonger and deli.

After my look around it was time to head back to the hotel and rest after all the walking.

Boys And Girls

Until this year I did not realise that pumpkins had two types of flowers. yes I knew their cousin zucchini had 2 types but it never crossed my mind that pumpkins would too. This is my second year with pumpkins growing, last year I didn’t take a close look at the flowers, but this year I did.

I also planted Gramma which is another relative of pumpkin, mainly used for Gramma Pie. My other pumpkin vine is a butternut and one of those is almost ripe.

The first flowers I saw on my pumpkin were tall and upright on thin stems so I got excited and thought I would soon have pumpkins. I waited and waited and nothing happened, they just wilted and died.

Baby male flower, long thin stem, this one is about 5 cm in height
Male flower nearly ready to open up, this one is about 20cm high
Male flower opened

Then after about 5 weeks and the vines getting longer I noticed a flower low down with a swelling on the base and the flower closed. Pumpkin!! I promptly took a photo. The next day I went out to check it again and it had dropped off. But I found another one. So I scurried in to consult Aunty Google and discovered that the males always show up first. The females show up when the vine hits a certain length (about 3meters) the first one or two may abort. There are always more males than females and if you want to breed true to type only have one kind growing with in 2 km. Much like chillies they cross breed very easily.

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My very first Female, sadly no bees visited her and she died

I have to hand pollinate as bees are practically non existent in my neighbourhood. Over summer I think I may have seen about 5. I use a cotton swab and pretend like a bee, visit the boy then visit the girl.

Baby female flower not ready to open yet
Female flower opened
Larger female after hand pollination and closed, keeping an eye on her as I think she may be Gramma

I hope that the one in the photo above is a Gramma as it has been too long between Gramma pies. If I do have success with it I will do a post about Gramma Pie but it looks like it may be a little way off. The flower part has dropped off today and it looks a little bigger.


My first butternut probably has another three or four weeks of ripening to do before it will be ready to pick. Full size has been reached and the skin has started to change colour.

Almost there, it is about 22cm long and 13cm across

I have to thank one of my high school classmates, Julianne Turner, for supplying me with the Gramma Seeds.

Will post more from my garden in the future and will let you know how my pumpkins/gramma are going.

Thanks for dropping by!!


Who doesn’t love the knock on the door from a delivery man. Today I received my new teapot that I ordered from Analogue Life, along with a sencha cup(tea cup for green tea) that I ordered as well.

Looky here a parcel
Looky here a parcel

This is a replacement one as the first one went to a new home.

Opening up
Opening up
Two smaller parcels
Two smaller packages inside
Almost open
Almost open
There it is
There it is

I like this one as it has a square shaped knob on the lid which gives a bit more character.

The teapot is by Hisao Iwashimizu of Kukan Chuzo and is called Egg teapot. Obviously the name indicates that it has a slight egg shape. It is made of cast iron with an enamel interior and holds 300ml of green tea. It also features a delightful roughened surface that looks almost like the surface of the moon. It also has a removable mesh strainer which makes disposing of pesky tea leaves much easier.

Up close and personal
Up close and personal

Some of the best cast iron ware comes from Iwate Prefecture in Japan. I discovered Hisao Iwashimizu’s pieces on a show called The Mark of Beauty which airs on NHK World. It was a half hour episode about NambuTetsubin.

Not having much awareness about Japanese cast iron it was a fascinating show to watch. It primarily dealt with Nambu Tetsubin,which is the Japanese name for cast iron kettles. The kettles featured in the show are quite amazing, especially when you see the antique pieces.

The difference between cast iron kettles and  teapots is that the kettles are not enameled on the interior where as the teapots are. The kettles are used for bringing the water to temperature and are able to withstand direct heat, and the teapots are purely for brewing the tea in.

Below is a link to a site that has some more information and videos:

My little sencha cup is by a brand called Sfera.

If you like Japanese homewares, kitchen utensils, ceramics etc I recommend Analogue Life. Service has been great and delivery very fast and reasonable.

Some time in the future I will buy a full size Nambu Tetsubin and a brazier for heating the water.

Thanks for dropping by!!

Been A While

Well it is time to get back blogging. There have been some changes in my life and I have been a bit down and off blogging. From now on my travels and dining will be predominantly solo. Although I have high hopes of dragging my mother to Tokyo for a week and introducing her to the delights and sights of that remarkable city.

Over the past few months my dining out has been a bit restricted. I have to say though that I have been enjoying a quick bite at the bar at Rockpool Est 1989 in Bridge Street.

My dalliances at Rockpool started after a wonderful exhibition at Charles Billich Gallery where I got to meet the fabulous artist and his lovely wife Christa. As it was still early I decided to treat myself to a little supper.

I sat at the bar which gives a fantastic view of the crew working their magic. I ordered Prawn and sesame toasted finger sandwich, a glass of Andre Jacquart ‘Experience’ Blanc de Blancs Champagne (from Vertus in France) followed by the cheese selection. So good that I have had the same three items a further 2 times as my pre Opera dinner ( yes I was gifted some tickets to the Opera and have thus far seen: The Pearlfishers, La Boheme and The Barber Of Seville).

The cheese selection also included honey and a wonderful white peach puree which was sublime with the softer cheeses. The chefs have also been very kind and sweet my last two visits and sent out a little extra of scrumptious chicken wings with Konbu butter, topped with caviar. So generous and SO delicious, if you know my feelings about fishy things, you might bes hocked that I actually enjoyed the caviar with the chicken wing, but this is a  sensational menu item.

So I will not be back in to Rockpool for a little while as my next Opera is not until June when I see Carmen. Might have to try something else on the bar menu. They still have the fabulous honey and spelt bread but sadly I am trying to cut back on my bread consumption. I wonder if it would be bad form to just order the bread and a glass of champagne? Yes/No?

Any way Life is getting back on track again and I hope to start posting a bit more regularly again.

Catch you soon!!

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