it’s all about the food | freeze dried rose petals

I usually don’t blog more than once a week, but I needed to share with you a fabulous find … and recipe!  My Ottolenghi’s Meringue Roulade with Rose & Morello Cherries was calling out for sugar-coated (pesticide-free) red rose petals.

If you haven’t already made this recipe, you have the weekend to try it out. Trust me, you will love me for sharing it with you!

I struggled to find pesticide-free petals!!!  Frustrated, yet again, that I was unable to find something I was looking for, until (thankfully your google) I fell across a family run business located in Victoria that produces freeze-dried edible rose petals Simply Rose Petals Family Farm.

IMG_8820Photo | Yotam Edible Red Rose Petals

In a total exciting frenzy, I ordered online and the delivery arrived at my front door the next day (just in time for our dinner party).  They come in just every colour and petals are all they do!  Great for those upcoming weddings!

I don’t think they have much taste, and besides, it was more about the look than the actual taste for me (no less, I did not want to poison our guests).  I did, however, coat a large handful in egg white followed by sugar and roast in a low oven for about 30 minutes.  These did taste amazing (another little sugar rush).

I also purchased a small jar of Freeze-Dried Edible Pansies (see photo below).  While each is freeze-dried, the size and colours remain large and vibrant.

IMG_8851Photo | My Kitchenaid beats egg whites like nothing else

IMG_8856Photo | Morello Cherries (drained and dried off)

IMG_8858Photo | Single Meringue before the cream and roll 

IMG_8860Photo | I love that the double cream has sour cream added! It cuts through the sweetness.  The roll is easier than it appears. You use a sheet of baking paper and gently roll the meringue over into a log

IMG_8884Photo | Sugar Coated Edible Red Rose Petals

IMG_8882Photo | Ottolenghi’s Meringue with Rose & Morello Cherries (2 back to back on a large wooden serving board – serves 12-14 people).  The taste was more about the meringue and the cream than the fruit, which was a refreshing change.

IMG_8822Photo | Freeze Dried Edible Pansies in a Jar – also from Simply Rose Petals Family Farm, Victoria

recipe of the week | celeriac soup with fresh truffle & cream

Can you imagine spending 2 fabulous hours in a kitchen with an awesome Chef?

Well lucky me … I got to do this recently with five other ladies!

We were participating in a Master Class with the very successful Chef and Restaurateur, Chris Taylor, at the iconic Fraser’s Kings Park.


Photo | One of the gorgeous dishes cooked for us in the Chef’s kitchen!

Chris shared quite a few tricks of the kitchen, one of these being how to shuck and serve natural oysters. I am allergic to seafood, which meant that for a while I stood sadly alone on the other side of the kitchen bench, watching the other ladies immerse themselves in the art of oyster shucking. Interestingly, Chef had also demonstrated how to lay the oysters onto a massive bed of ice, and yet a few of the women were more interested in laying the oysters straight into their mouths (hence the oyster didn’t even come close to making it anywhere near the bed of ice. I am not one to name names so one, in particular, will remain nameless (and yet thankfully I do have photographic evidence).


Photo | Evidence 

The lovely young man in the kitchen who was in training saw the look of total starvation on my face (or possibly the dribble running down my chin) and made sure that I got to enjoy a massive serving of the Celeriac Soup finished off with crème and fresh truffle. I am still salivating just thinking about this dish.

I just have to share it with you (and Chef said it was OK):


Photo | Chef Chris Taylor


Celeriac, peeled and diced 2cm cubes

2 litres of milk

2 peeled potatoes

2 sprigs of thyme

2 garlic cloves, finely sliced

1 onion finely diced


-Sweat the onion and garlic in a little olive oil, and add the thyme

-Add the celeriac and potato

-Cover with the milk and simmer with a cartouche for approximately 30 minutes

-Strain keeping the liquid

-Blend adding the liquid bit by bit, until smooth and silky consistency

To Serve:

-Serve with a chunky pesto alongside (however we went for the second option of topping it with cream and fresh truffle), and trust me nothing beats cream and truffle.


Did you know? Cartouche | (I had never heard of this before) means a circle of greaseproof parchment paper that is used to cover a dish while poaching or simmering.

So check out some of these gorgeous photos. I can still smell the delicate hint of the truffle, which was not overpowering, simply melts in your mouth.


Photo | The Real Thing … Celeriac

Once you have made this gorgeous soup (ideally from fresh celeriac), which Chef suggested could also be enhanced with potato or just about any other suitable vegetable (which makes the celeriac go a little further), grab your bowl filled with some whipped cream and then pull out your little bit of heaven, the fresh truffle.

The chef suggested that $10 of truffles would possibly be adequate for a dinner party. I am sure you know just how expensive truffles can be, so it was helpful to obtain this guide.


He keeps his little piece of heaven in an airtight container, packed in greaseproof paper and the fridge.

Dob a generous serving of cream on top of the soup and then shave (using a very fine grater) the fresh truffle directly on top of the cream.

Trust me this one will not disappoint!

Following is a list of the iconic and impressive venues owned and managed by Chris Taylor and his wonderful team. I must confess I am a massive fan of the burgers at The Old Brewery. I am a sucker for a great burger (did I also say fries).






sprinkle cake | mayhem & hell

In my earlier married life, I experienced some massive failures in the kitchen. I suspect we lost a few friends as a result of a few bad dinner parties. Fortunately, things do get better.

I read this great blog titled “The Cake Blog”. Sadly I read Carrie Sellman’s very descriptive and detailed instructions on how to bake a Rainbow Sprinkle Cake, just a little too late.

Her blog is packed with great tips and tricks to save you time and heartache…while also advocating that this is the ultimate treat for the sprinkle cake lover. The tips and tricks are designed to avoid the spilled sprinkle mayhem! Her version of this cake is exactly what I imagined a cake should look like.

So when I was asked to make a sprinkle cake for my God Daughter’s Sprinkle Baby Shower, it was hard to refuse. I think back and wish she had asked me to make the finger sandwiches (and I suspect if there is another time, she might well do that).

I embarked on my sprinkle cake journey without gathering any sensible or helpful information (mistake number 1). To start with my heart was definitely in it, but no sooner did my sprinkle mayhem quickly turn to sprinkle hell.


The Leaning Tower of Pisa | The best part of the day was sharing time with so many lovely yummy mummies’, and yet I did everything I could to avoid looking across at the sprinkle table, only to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa staring back at me! Saved by the Mimosa bar!

So back to the sprinkle cake, which on the face of it looks pretty easy to make and yet there is nothing easy about this cake. It was an absolute fail! Something that should have been easy became utterly horrendous. I could see a scene from Game of Thrones unfolding on my kitchen bench.

I am never great at operating outside my comfort zone and this was one of those occasions, and yet, I thought I can paint so how hard is it to paint a much smaller cake (much harder!!!).


Photo | Ignore the jar of jam. It was a nice idea, but the layers need a solid icing to hold everything together … well almost anyway!

I have never made a sponge before and I have never iced a cake of any great significance. So I decided, let’s cheat and go buy 4 layers of sponge cake from Woolworths. Seriously you have to ask yourself how hard can that be!

Layers of pink and blue | We don’t know if my God Daughter is having a boy or a girl (for the record I think it is a girl) so I made a butter icing in both blue and pink layers.  Surprisingly the icing was quite delicious and yet one further mouthful and I felt as if I had just poured a full cup of sugar down my throat. I could feel my hips expanding just as I stood there.


It was when I started to apply the soft icing to the outside of the cake that I started to make an absolute mess. I look back on The Cake Blog and it appears that I followed the steps reasonably well (without having had the luxury of watching the tutorial until after the massacre). The only problem was that every time I added more icing, I created massive a hole in the cake. So I commenced plugging up the holes with more icing (and more sugar).

Try picturing this nightmare unfolding in my kitchen. The sponge is starting to fall away, I am plugging the holes, the stack of sponges has started to go on a lean and the sprinkles now appear to be smothering the stone bench, not the cake.

Can it get any worse | my blob just continued to become an even bigger blob. So I rolled the cake on its side, gathering the thousands of sprinkles sprawled across my bench (I am certain that I read this tip on some other less helpful blog).

Eventually, I take a final distraught look at the war-torn Leaning Tower of Pisa and the lean does my head in. I start to have visions of the cake falling sideways on the dessert buffet and the embarrassment I feel as a result of this.

Finally, my brain fog clears and I think why not gently turn the cake on its side and cut across the bottom so that it is no longer lopsided (surely you get some credit for this). It worked a treat; until I put it back upright and found that I had cut too much off the other side (argh)! I wasn’t going to be beaten by some rotten sprinkle cake. I grabbed handfuls of sponges that I had just cut off the bottom and commenced stuffing them under the other side. Bingo! Finally, the cake stood straight. I must say I did take just a little pride in this resurrection.

Oh dear me, seriously how can you go from a left-handed lean to a right-handed one?

By this stage, I am so totally over the sprinkle cake and I have no idea whatsoever why anyone would ever want to eat a sprinkle cake let alone make one!

A few of the yummy mummies ate the cake (out of pity I am certain) and I suspect each of them threw up afterwards.

Then of all the people, the Queen of Cakes herself arrived. She was still saying hello and I was already in full flight excusing my sprinkle cake. As always she was gracious, looked across at the mounted cake and told me that it wasn’t at all that bad. I love that gracious expression “not that bad” which means, what a shocker and I are thankful for the support of other women.


Photo | I cannot even bring myself to show you a photo of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

On a more positive note, they had a tarot card reader there (what a great idea). I got my 10 minutes of glory with this gorgeous young tarot reader. Much to my surprise, the 10 minutes was all about my blog. Somewhat relieved it was not about my sprinkled cake!!! How amazing was this … my blog! She told me that I needed to engage more with the heart of what I am writing. She told me that I have so much to share on a far deeper level (so beware ladies the dark might well follow). She said that anytime I spend quality time with my friends who inspire me, I need to sit down and share exactly what comes to mind. What is coming to mind for me right now is, oh great more coffee and cake and I cannot wait.


She did add that I needed to use that inspiration of what comes from this togetherness, sit down, write from the heart and stop overthinking what I am writing.

Sister4sister comes to mind | I always knew when I started my blog that it was never intended to only ever be about entertaining and food (albeit what a great idea), it was also intended to be about women supporting women. It was intended to be a way of reminding each of us just how important friendship is and the older we get the more we need our friends. We have shared so much in this life together, the good the bad and the ugly. We need to stay in touch with each other, be there for each other and above all, support each other to be the best we can be.

Some people arrive and make such a beautiful impact on our lives, you can barely remember what life was like without them.

Source -Your tango

So expect from time to time the sister4sister blogs will find a home on my blog site. We need to constantly remind ourselves, to show empathy and compassion to one another. Be there for each other!

A message from my God Daughter | Just as I was about to finish off this blog, I received a text message from my God Daughter in response to the photo I took of her at her Sprinkle Shower. Her message was hilarious, she said;

Oh dear, I think I look huge! Not so yummy! And it’s my fault, I just polished off a MASSIVE slice of your cake, it’s honestly soooooo yummy, that is my fave type of cake, sponge and icing! Xoxo

So while I am so totally over the sprinkle cake, maybe at least you can please your gracious God Daughter who will eat it regardless of the way it looks.

Sending you love and lots of sugar!

Tip:    If you are mad enough to want to try your hand at this popular Rainbow Sprinkle Cake, do not do anything I did.  Instead, visit You will love the detail and the professionalism.



entertaining made easy | grazing board

“Best friends are the people you can do anything and nothing with and still have the best time”.


If entertaining was made easier, I am certain we would do more of it! Back on my mother’s day, they always went to a party with a plate in hand. What happened to that tradition of sharing food and sharing the load?

We appear to have become slaves in our kitchen. It has become a reasonable excuse as to why we rarely entertain. For fear of repeating myself (which hasn’t stopped me in the past), sharing up the cooking not only lightens the load (and hopefully you get to stay awake until the end of the night), but it also makes for a more shared environment. I have found some of these shared occasions to be some of our most enjoyable.

Recently, a few ladies caught up for a mid-week lunch at our house. The sun was shining and the laughter was abundant. We didn’t need an excuse to get together, we just did! It was a refreshing change from meeting at some restaurant or café.

I set the table, prepared aboard for the centre of the table and we all contributed to the grazing board by bringing something savoury or sweet. I love the chatter surrounding the arrival of each lady and her dish. As always, the conversation quickly turned to food!

Photo|a simple table with stands, a wooden grazing board and napkins




All eight of us sat around the table, oops nine of us – let’s not forget Lucinda, who blew in with grandmother and was just a little treasure (who said iPhones don’t amuse small children) all chatted, laughed and enjoyed the food around us.

Feeling Overwhelmed Entertaining | Why not consider making it a little easier on yourself? Invite a small group of close friends to your house and suggest that you all share the food. It is that easy!

All you need to do is set the table, provide the drinks (and don’t forget the coffee and tea) and arrange some nibbles on arrival and something for the grazing board.   It sounds pretty easy, doesn’t it? It is!

On arrival | I put together a few healthy dips for arrival and set up the table with a long wooden board. I was thrilled that I got to use one of the two wooden boards I picked up a short while beforehand, and on sale (show me a woman who does not love a bargain!).

Photo | arrival tasting board



I used my food stands to elevate the food. I always like to use varying heights, not all the same. If you don’t have food stands, you can use just about anything. Maybe you could try a mix of round and square glass bowls turned upside down. If you want to be truly creative, place a smaller glass bowl in the base and fill it with a single flower. If you are looking for a more rustic look, you can use wooden serving bowls, wrapped boxes for a particular theme, garden pots and the like (ideas here are endless). Just make sure that the base is stable. You don’t want your serving dishes tipping up on the table.

I cannot believe that I overlooked photographing the dessert, and I am disappointed that I don’t have anything to share with you here. I can however confirm that the lime tart and homemade hazelnut chocolates were both delicious.

Menu Ideas | A few grazing board ideas (remembering lunch and women command something a little lighter and healthier… so that we get to eat all the sugar we want afterwards):


IMG_7312 2
Hummus dip
Beetroot dip
Spicy red capsicum dip
Homemade seeded biscuits
Grazing Board:
Salad | figs, feta, prosciutto
Salad | tomato, bocconcini, basil leaves, olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Meat | shaved honey ham
Olives | green, stuffed green & black olives
Quiche | Roast tomatoes, parmesan and ham
Antipasto | marinated mushrooms, roasted red peppers, marinated artichokes
Fresh vegetables | radishes, carrots, asparagus and shaved parmesan
Fresh fruit | green grapes and strawberries
Filo Triangles | curry beef
Dried fruits & nuts | mango and candied walnuts


French baguettes with garlic butter, wholemeal loaf and dry biscuits

Dessert | Tasting Plate:

Lime tart, clotted cream and rich vanilla ice cream

Homemade chocolates with hazelnuts

Tea and Coffee

So no more excuses! Go offer your house as the next venue and get your friends to help out. Nothing is more loving than sharing delicious food and stories with great friends.
Tip | share up the leftover food! Keep a stock of take-home plastic food containers for this purpose.  It could well make for a nice pre-dinner tasting if nothing else.